5 Things You Must Do In Jordan

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When me and two of my girlfriends had planned a trip to JORDAN back in 2018, everyone around us questioned our choice of destination. From concerns about 3 women travelling in an Islamic country to curiosity regarding why we chose Jordan, of all places - there were many questions directed at us. But so much was our passion for visiting Petra - an UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of the World - and our interest in exploring a country which is not a part of the run-of-the-mill bucket lists, that we ignored all questions, and went ahead with the trip. And boy, was it one of the most exciting travels of our lives or what!

Jordan, as a country, intrigued, mesmerized and impressed us beyond expectations. From the stunning landscapes and gorgeous historic sites to the great food and the amazingly warm people, Jordan wowed us at every turn!

I had brought back tonnes of pictures and content from this trip...and had planned to share them all here. But work, procrastination and lethargy got the best of me. So, here I am, writing my first post on my Jordan travel experience (hopefully more to follow) almost 2 years later. #facepalm

Nevertheless, I gave it a lot of thought and decided that, as an overview of the trip, this post has to be a highlight of some of the best experiences that country has to offer. So, here are the 5 things that are must-do when in Jordan...at least, if you ask me!


1. Petra by Night

Petra - one of the most popular tourist destinations in Jordan - is a stunning sight during the daytime. But, Petra by Night is an experience that I'll cherish forever! The 2 kms-long walk through the canyons to the Treasury, guided only by candle-light is exciting and intriguing. But, when you come across the main heritage Treasury site - a larger-than-life building cut from rock, lit up by hundreds of candles - accompanied by mesmerizing flute music being played by Bedouin nomads, it's surreal beyond words! The whole magical experience transports you back to a different world, a different era and a different time altogether! So, this is something you definitely must not miss!!
  • Petra By Night is an event that is held only on Monday, Wednesday & Thursday. So, plan your trip in such a way that you can do Petra by Night on one of these days, and then explore the old rock city properly the next day.
  • The experience starts at 8.30 pm at the Visitor's Centre, from where you have to walk around 2 kms down the Siq to the main Treasury site.
  • The fee for Petra By Night is 17 Jordanian Dinars. Most hotels/resorts will be able to provide you with the tickets for the event on payment of the said fees. 
  • The whole experience includes the magical walk through the canyon-flanked Siq, a surreal music-filled environment as you reach the Treasury and hearing Bedouins tell stories about the magical city of mysteries, in the candle-light, under the stars. You need to be back at the Visitor Centre by 10.30 pm.
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The magic of candle-lit nights

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The Treasury at Petra lit up by hundreds of candles

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Lights will guide you to the old city of Petra


2. Hike Up The Cliffs

One of the main things to do for any tourist visiting Jordan is to explore the old rock-cut city of Petra.  The same 2 km path that you walk in candle-light during the Petra By Night experience looks equally mesmerizing, but in a completely different way, during the daytime. The canyons towering high on both sides, with a cave here and a rock-cut sculpture there makes for an interesting pathway to the centre of the city. But, if you are the adventurous kind, I would recommend you to try the hiking trails through the cliffs at least once. We ended up doing a 4-hour hike, wearing maxi dresses, up the cliffs in a completely unplanned last-minute whim....and that has been one of our most cherished experiences on the trip!
We took a trail that veers left from the Siq, and our guide Ahmed expertly guided 3 girls in flowy dresses over rocks, rugged hilly terrain, rough steps carved on the cliff-sides and ups & downs that I couldn't even dream of attempting ever. But the magical place makes you do crazy things, without even realising it! After many moments of self-doubts, some apprehensions, some skepticism and many bouts of adrenaline-inducing frights; we reached the top vantage point that gives you a stunning view of the Treasury below....and everything seemed totally worthwhile! The beautiful Hellenic architecture of the buildings carved out of rosy-hued sandstone on the mountainside by Nabataean nomads all those years ago is so mesmerizing that you can't stop ogling at its grandeur!
Ahmed even made us sit on a ledge (which seems scary even now when we look at our own pictures) and climbed further up to take Instagram-worthy photos of us with a bird's eye view of the Treasury below.
The way down is even scarier as you have to clamber over rocky ledges, uneven steps, jump down the cliff-side and basically do things unadventurous souls like me rarely do....but it takes comparatively lesser time that the hike up, and before you know it, you have reached the centre of the old city with tourists crowding the front of the Treasury for the perfect selfies.

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All set to explore Petra in the daytime

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Starting the hike with swag

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Up rocky terrain and through rough cliffs

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The reward - the view of the Treasury from the top

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On hindsight, I would never sit there again in a sane state of mind

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We did it! Hiked up a cliff in flowy long dresses!

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Totally worth it!


3. Be a Jedii at Wadi Rum

A desert valley, cut into rosy sandstone rocks, Wadi Rum is home to the Zalabia Bedouins of Jordan. Thanks to the stunning landscape which is not like regular deserts, this vast expanse of sand and rocks has made an appearance in many movies, including Star Wars, Transformers and Lawrence of Arabia, among others. The red-rock desert, with its rosy expanse of barren geography, makes for an impressive sight. There are various camps strewn across the valley and ATVs or jeeps transport tourists from the visitor centre to the camp they stay at. The lack of internet and cellular service compels you to look up from your phone and embrace the beauty of the land surrounding you. The camps are fun, with open decks where you can lounge, tents upholstered in fabrics sporting traditional Jordanian weaving patterns, yummy food cooked by the Bedouins in old nomadic styles (the chicken was cooked by burying the sealed pot under the sand for 4-5 hours) and interesting company of people from all over the world brought together by the same sights. All in all, an experience you should definitely not miss.
P.S.: We thought of being our own Bollywood version and flaunted sarees in the desert!

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An artsy salute to the red rock desert

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Our campsite

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Bedouin tea being served in Facebook cups :P

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The dining tent upholstered in traditional Jordanian patterns

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Having my Bollywood moment

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Saree in a desert - ticked off the bucket list!

4. Have the Hummus at Hashem's

On our entire Jordan trip, we pretty much survived on big bowls of hummus, piles of pita bread, heaps of falafel, yummy mansaf and endless glasses of cool Limonada.
All around the country, I tasted some of the yummiest hummus I've ever had....but the best was ironically saved for the last (by destiny)! On our second last day in Jordan, we were exploring downtown Amman...and after hours of shopping & sightseeing, our guide & friend took us to Hashem's Restaurant, which is one of the most popular eateries in the capital city. We ordered a huge spread of pita bread, falafel, fries, labneh etc., but the hummus was just out-of-this-world!! It was the smoothest, silkiest, yummiest hummus I've ever eaten....and if you are in Amman even for a day, you must try the hummus at Hashem's at least once! You can thank me later.

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Unimpressive looks, but impressive food!

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Yummy lunch spread

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The yummiest hummus ever!!

5. Enjoy the Red Sea at Aqaba

Aqaba might not be on all Jordan itineraries, but it was nevertheless, one of my fav places in the country. This coastal city on the shores of the Red Sea is an important port due to its strategic location between Asia and Africa. I loved the laidback vibe of the city, and the gorgeous Red Sea coastline where you can spend hours just enjoying the crystal clear water. The beach was perfect for chilling....with clear water that you can wade in till about 200 mtrs into the sea. The water is so beautifully clear, that you can see shoals of fish, jellyfish and mussels moving around your feet fearlessly. (Though steer clear of the jellyfish as you won't want one to sting you!)
We had a great time walking down the boulevard, visiting the town center, sipping coffee with the sea breeze in our hair, eating yummy seafood at seaside restaurants and generally enjoying the cheerful vibe of the carefree crowd (we were there on a weekend, so everyone was out & about)!
This seaside town is very near to Wadi Rum and Petra, so make sure you stop by, even if for a day, on your way to either of these more famous tourist destinations.


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Enjoying the seaside sun
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Stroll in the sea


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All kinds of marine life visible clearly in the water

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In Do Not Disturb mode

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Local children playing in the clear sea water

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Yummilicious seafood platters


There are loads of exciting things to do in the wonderful country of Jordan....but these are some of the things that I would not miss if I go there for a second time, and you must not miss either whenever you plan a trip to this place!
I hope you find this post helpful while planning your Jordan trip. Do hit me up on Instagram or email me on thestyleprism@gmail.com if you have any other queries regarding traveling to this country....I'll do my best to help answer your questions!

Stay tuned as I plan to share a couple of more posts regarding my Jordan trip with you guys....hope to make an appearance more often here in this brand new year!

Love,
Anupriya




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