No, Jordan ist not just a Basketball player. That joke might seem a little old but unfortunately the small kingdom of Jordan hasn’t gotten the amount of traveller enthusiasm it deserves. Due to its location in between war zones such as Syria and Iraq as well as its proximity to the Palestinian territories and Saudi Arabia, many people might shy away from visiting this beautiful country though it is absolutely safe to travel there. Low-budget backpackers as well as tourists with a higher travel standard are easily able to enjoy the culture and interesting history of this delightful part of the globe. Let me introduce you to 4 places in Jordan that you simply have to visit and therefore 4 reasons to hop on a plane and travel there immediately!
No matter whether you are on the hunt for antique Roman ruins, magnificent mosques, night clubs, the remains of Umayyad culture, bazaars or amazing food: you fill find all of that and more in the country’s capital. Amman is a modern, vibrant city in which original Jordan culture has still managed to survive modernization and globalization. People from all walks of life, different religions and various tribal belongings fill the streets of this hilly city and made my experience there incredibly special. If you are lucky enough to participate in this madness, make sure to visit the majestic King Abdullah Mosque and enjoy the incredible view from the Wild Jordan Center’s balcony above the old town. Travellers on a budget will enjoy staying at the Tower Hostel which offers very basic accommodation but scores with a spacious and lovely decorated common room where I met many fellow backpackers from all over the world. If you are willing to spend a little more I would recommend the Art Hotel. Altogether, Amman is one of the greatest cities I have ever been to and I highly recommend you checking it out!
Do you happen to be a fan of the latest Star Wars movie Rogue One? Well, take a little bit of the enthusiasm surrounding its sets, add some curiousity about traditional Bedouin lifestyle and the urge to experience something out of the box and then pack your bags and travel to Wadi Rum!
This is the largest wadi in Jordan and has a lot to offer: from sleeping under the stars, to enjoying Bedouin music at a fireplace, climbing rocks overlooking the border to Saudi Arabia and having fun with sand dunes. I would recommend checking out Rumshines Camp with whom I enjoyed a combined tour that lasted for three days. It included sleeping in traditional Bedouin tents, a couple of hikes as well as a camel ride (which I would only recommend if you enjoy being sore for the next few days).
Learning about Bedouin culture and long conversations with local guides gave me a true understanding about how presumptuous we as westerners can sometimes be and how important it is to really broaden your horizon every once in a while. Even as I am looking at the photos I took there now, I don’t find it hard to understand why scouts for film locations keep coming back to this special place: it is simply breathtaking.
This archaeological and historic Nabatean city in the South of Jordan is probably the country’s most famous sight. That’s why it is definitively worth considering getting up extra early to avoid tourists and increase the chance of meeting Indiana Jones among the abandoned buildings carved in the canyon. Petra actually has much more to offer than The Treasury which you have probably seen several times in photos. If you are a decent hiker make sure to take a long hike in the mountains surrounding the antique city.
I decided to hike up to the Place of High Sacrifice, which took me about 1,5 hours and was absolutely worth the effort as I was rewarded with a pretty spectacular view. Extra tip: there is no need to pay a lot of money for the overpriced hotels near the entrance to antique Petra. Check out Cleopatra Hotel instead, which is a lovely hostel in the heart of the town where you can enjoy amazing and affordable food as well as the owner’s advice for making the best out of your Petra experience.
Unfortunately the city of Al-Karak and its famous crusader castle recently came to the global community’s attention when at least ten people where killed there during an attack by gunmen in December of 2016. Vicious attacks similar to this one happen every day and all over the world but in this case it was particularly tragic because the Jordan people depend so much on tourism. Don’t let yourself be stopped exploring the world by some crazy idiots trying to spread fear and hate! Kerak Castle will delight every history fan out there while reminding us of the terrible crimes crusaders committed in the 12th century. Make sure to visit this magical place right before prayer time: standing on that hill and hearing all the different mosques calling for prayer is pretty spectacular!