Jordan in 1 week
Jordan - Destination 2 on our trip round the world and what a difference it was to chaotic Cairo!
It's the 2nd week of our backpacking trip and when we landed in Jordan's fancy Queen Alia Airport, it felt like a world of difference compared to the dust of Cairo that we just left. We visited Petra, Wadi Rum, Jerash and even got to share the best Hummus, Kebaab and Shisha with Asem, our new Jordanian friend.
In this blog I'll recount our 7-day trip in Jordan.
Day 1 - Sim cards, Hummus and Ice-cream.
We got off the plane about 1:30pm local time and the first thing we did was buy Sim cards. We followed instructions from this guy's blog and went straight to Zain's counter.
We bought the 20GB with local calls and texts for 24JD.
Stepping out of the airport we were greeted with our first feeling of cold air :)
We decided to take a Sariyah Airport mini bus into town which costed 3.3JD
We jumped off the Sariyah bus at the "Housing Bank Complex" and walked the rest of the way to JETT bus offices. It should be noted that it seemed the bus driver didn't want to drop us off there and wanted to drive us to the last stop (North Bus Station) but a local man spoke to the driver and got him to agree to drop us off.
It's was a just a short 15 minute walk to the JETT bus office.
Here we bought our bus tickets:
Amman-Petra = 11JD
Petra-WadiRum = 15JD
WadiRum-Petra = 12JD
Petra-Amman = 11JD
Amman-Dead Sea-Amman = 15JD
in total 64JD
Multiply that by two for us and then convert to Aussie Dollars and that's about $270AUD! Just on bus tickets! Next time I think we should hire cars...
I noticed that people in Amman like Hybrids and Electric cars!
We got picked up in an Uber from JETT to our hostel and it was a Nissan Leaf. Not only that but it seemed like every second car was a hybrid so I asked our driver what he thought and he said that there's no Government incentive but the people like Hybrids and Electrics. And also petrol cost over 1JD per litre. Seems like electric cars are a big thing here though which is awesome.
|The Cabin Hostel|
After checking in to our hostel we went to town and looked for some food!
Lisa wrote a foodie post on what we ate in Jordan read it in detail here.
|This place called Hashem had the best Hummus! That is until we were introduced to Abu Jbarah|
After Hummus we walked to Rainbow street for ice-cream. Rainbow street was meant to be a nice place according to Trip advisor but it was pretty small and not so decorated. If you only wanted to come here for a photo I think it's not worth the uphill trek.
|The most decorated part of Rainbow Street|
|mmm Arabic ice cream. Tasted like pistachios and roses mixed in a vanilla ish ice-cream.|
The best part of Rainbow street was going into one of their hipster fashion stores and finding this hoodie that I think it describes Lisa perfectly!
|Hoodie says "A girl who defies authority and is determined to have her way regardless, just because." Lol aka Lisa.|
Day 2 - 4hr bus to Petra!
Our bus ticket is for 6:30am and we needed to be there 15 mins early...but we slept in so we had to rush out and fast!! It was already 6:15am and another Traveller named Mark was also rushing to go so we went together to get a taxi. We got on the street and saw one that raced towards us with the driver yelling "Jett bus?!". We all nodded and made our way into the taxi when we noticed a German traveller already inside heading to the same bus stop. That's weird lol.
The taxi driver added one more and now there were four of us crammed in and speeding to the bus stop.
When we got out we asked the driver "what do we do about the fare?" and he pointed to us one by one and said "2JD, 2JD, 2JD, 2JD"
It should've been only 1.5JD altogether! This was definitely a rip off but we paid anyway so we could get out and onto our bus. The lesson here is don't sleep in and call an Uber.
|if you're hungry there's a sandwich coffee and tea vendor set-up right next to the JETT bus station.|
When you get to the bus stop there will be un-uniformed men asking you if you have a bus ticket. They don't work for JETT. They are trying to sell you a car share ride and scramble a small group together. So don't be fooled. Just walk straight into the JETT office and buy your bus ticket.
|One of the men asking you if you have a JETT bus ticket. If you don't, he'll try to sell you a car share to Petra.|
After about 2 hours we stop at the Mid Way Castle. Here there is tea coffee and breakfast. For breakfast they offer a buffet for 7JD or 4 slices of pizza for 4JD. We went for the Pizza.
|Four pieces of bread for 4JD|
|Ham, Cheese and Boiled Eggs buffet for 7JD|
Back on the bus and we both can't wait for Petra as the bus ride was so long already.
|Image: wind turbines on the way to Petra. Mr Uber driver told me that there's no Oil or Gas in Jordan so I wondered where the rest of their electricity comes from....|
Our room was not ready yet so we wait upstairs and have some relaxing tea on the terrace.
|Image: Rocky mountain hotel terrace room looking out over Petra.|
By the time our room was readied and we freshened up it was about 1:30pm. We caught a taxi back down to the Petra entrance and the taxi driver tried to sell us a trip to Little Petra. He said that it's already late in the day and takes 1.5 hours just to walk to Petra's gate so we'd be wasting our time. Lisa wasn't convinced so we said no thank you and went into Petra anyways.
Lisa's written a complete post on Petra and Wadi Rum. You can read that here :)
So it turns out entering at 1:30pm was not that late. We made it to the treasury by 2:30pm snapping photos the whole way and even climbed to the lookout point!
We walked a bit further and made it to the Amphitheatre by 3:30pm but left the rest of the site for tomorrow.
That afternoon we had dinner at Jordan Heart and ate traditional Maqlaba and Mansaf.
|Left dish is Mansaf (Lamb) and right dish is Maqluba (Chicken)|
The walk back to our hotel was super steep but at least we came back to some nice views over the town Wadi Musa.
|View of Wadi Musa from our Rocky Mountain Hotel|
Day 3 - Full day at Petra
Today we left our hotel at 7:30am to spend the whole day at Petra.
The Petra site is kind of like one big road to the Monastery with a couple of tracks that off shoots to the side.
The walk to the Monastery is about 5km and uphill. With me stopping for photos at every corner and Lisa petting every cat, donkey and dog it took us 3hrs to get there.
Check out Lisa's full post on Petra and Wadi Rum here.
Day 4 - Camping in Wadi Rum.
A local told us that the landscape of Wadi Rum is so unique because the rocks have been shaped by water instead of wind as this area was once under the ocean. I thought that this place was straight out of star wars.
|Wadi Rum desert is how I imagine mars to look like|
Lisa booked this camp through AirBnb which included pick up and transport which was really fun as it was our first time riding in the back of a Ute.
We got to the camp about midday and tea was ready. The people who inhabit this desert call themselves Bedouin people. They really like these red carpets.
|Sip tea all day in the shade of this Bedouin Camp|
We had some time to kill and wandered the desert and snapped some more photos.
It's red and sandy. The redness is about as deep as the redness at Uluru but the sand is a little more coarse and grainy kinda like beach sand.
For dinner we had a traditional underground meal of chicken carrot potatoes and onions. Our host then played some traditional music to bring the night to a close.
With no internet & no power. Wadi Rum camp was a great place to disconnect. I wish we had another night so I could experience the feeling of all my batteries going flat and then doing nothing but drink tea all day like a true Bedouin.
Day 5 - a full day for a bus back to Amman.
Long bus day today. On this day we pretty much knocked out.
Day 6 - Jerash! But first coffee.
Jerash is an area that has an old Roman city in Jordan that is now in ruins. These Romans really did spread their seeds far and wide!
But first, I had to find a coffee place and a quick google search for "third wave coffee v60" and we were just 15 minutes from my snobby coffee (as Lisa likes to call it).
|ahh just like home|
From Dimitri's we took an hour long UBER for about 15JD and arrived at Jerash about midday.
Of all the buildings that remained in Jerash my favourite was the tetra. The tetra is made of four arches and a dome. It's must've been very interesting to cut the stones at precise angles. The result of the dome is a very stable structure that even survived the earthquake.
|Tetra is like a four sided arch gate with a centre dome|
|Looking up into the ceiling to see the precision of the dome|
At the end of the day we took the public bus back to Amman. We had to ask around for where is the bus stop as it's in marked. If you are looking for the public bus stop from Jerash to Amman it is here. The public bus costed 1JD per person.
|This is the public bus we took back from Jerash to Amman. About an hour ride.|
|Big smile because I just finished my mulled wine haha|
There were a few stalls but not much. We had some mulled wine hot chocolate and also ate at a burger joint called Black Stacks
We later learned from our friend Asem that Jordanians love their burgers and he shared with me his personal list of Burger places to try next time we come back. So if you are looking for a burger place in Jordan here is Asem's list:
After experiencing an upscale shopping mall in Amman we went to try an escape room called Breakout Jordan. We did their Se7en room which is inspired by the 1995 Se7en film. A post about escape rooms will be coming soon!
Day 7 - Dead Sea, Hummus, Kebaab, and Shisha
Last night our Uber driver found out that it was our last day in Jordan and wanted to make sure that before we left we tried the best Hummus and Kebaab in town with him! We were a little shocked at the sudden hospitality but were glad to make a new friend in Jordan and met up with Asem later in the day after our trip to the Dead Sea.
|Asem our Uber driver sharing his enthusiasm for food who we will go out later for dinner|
Our final day in Amman started early with an 8:15am Jett Bus departure to the Dead Sea.
When we booked our bus tickets at the Jett Bus office they gave us two choices for tickets to the Dead Sea: The Dead Sea Spa Hotel or the Movenpick. We went with the Dead Sea Spa Hotel.
Lisa's written a detailed post about our dead sea day which you can read here.
I will say though, that I think the Jett Bus Dead Sea Spa Hotel experience is not worth the 30JD each. No hot showers. No private showers. The showers are the outdoor type. No shampoo or soap dispensers.
Asem later told us that the both the Dead Sea Spa Hotel and Movenpick offered by Jett Bus are bad choices. Asem recommends the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea. Next time we'll definately be checking that out instead.
After our day at the Dead Sea we met up with Asem for dinner. He also wanted to take us to the airport after as well which we kindly accepted. He asked us if we tried Hummus in Jordan yet. We told him we have eaten at Hasem's and with a shocked look he said "No! we must try Abu Jbara!" and off he drove us to try the best hummus ever!
|in front of Abu Jbara|
Abu Jbara have a few locations in Amman but he took us to this one because it's close to the kebaab restaurant and also close to the highway to take us to the airport.
Asem ordered for us and made sure we tried the hummus, falafel and olives too.
Everything was super fresh and super clean. Definitely the best Hummus and Falafel we've had!
The next piece of food that Asem made sure we tried is lamb kebaabs at Amman alkubra Restaurants - فرع الخامس. He said the lambs were very special in Jordan. He said he learned about this restaurant from his father. The decor was very simple and the meat very good! Seasoned with just salt it was perfect.
To finish the night Asem said it was typical to smoke hookah and just socialise. So he drove us to Pastiche Cafe. The place looks like a place where the locals go with modern lounge type of furniture.
|Lisa, Me and Asem|
After sharing a few giggles and finding common interests with Asem over Anime we had to end our night and make our way to the airport.
Jordan's such a beautiful country with plenty of history to explore. If you haven't been you should definately visit!