A heady hodgepodge of ancient sites, vast desert and holy heritage, Jordan is one of the most significant countries in the Middle East. Get it on the travel list right and, when you go, make sure you tick off a few of these:
1. Dead Sea Dip
A trip to Jordan isn’t complete without a plunge in the Dead Sea. The 44% salinity makes it the saltiest body of water on Earth and gives it a silky viscous texture. Once you’re in the water you can float away 'til your heart's content, or usually until sunset when you’re asked to get out! Snap that classic Dead Sea shot with a newspaper in your hands and if you feel like getting dirty, rub a bit of mud over yourself for the smoothest skin you’ll ever have. If you’re feeling brave, dip your finger in the water and have a taste, but absolutely do not dip you head under. The salt water will leave your face and eyes stinging for a good 30 minutes!
2. Sundowner in Wadi Rum
A Martian-like landscape filled with some of the most striking scenes in Jordan, Wadi Rum – meaning 'Sandy Valley' – is truly something to behold. Despite its seemingly harsh environment, people have lived in Wadi Rum for thousands of years. Hunters, warriors, nomads, traders and even the infamous Nabataeans once occupied this other-worldly landscape. Nowadays the majority of inhabitants are of Bedouin origin, and their hospitality is second to none. If you’re lucky enough to be staying overnight, grab yourself a sunset spot and enjoy some of the local Bedouin whisky (aka tea!). Failing that, hop on a camel or try your hand at sandboarding!
3. Jam with the Pipers of Jerash
The City of Jerash has some of the best preserved Greco-Roman ruins in the world. From the magnificent Arch of Hadrian to the striking Temple of Artemis, the ancient city is packed with an exquisite blend of wonders that’ll keep you busy for hours. Perhaps most awe-inspiring is the South Theatre, built in the 1st Century with a capacity of 5000 spectators. The acoustics here are exceptional, as demonstrated by the local bagpipe band (!!) who perform here on a daily basis. If you’re lucky you might even have a group of parading students who will more than happily guide you with a few dance steps.
4. Meander through the city of Salt
Half an hours drive from Amman is the city of Salt, a tightly built ancient trading post sitting on a cluster of three hills. Nowadays the city is a bustling market town with an old-world charm that seems to be totally forgotten by visiting tourists. Whether you’re looking to people watch or wander through the labyrinth of alleys that make up the city, Salt is well worth a visit. It gives you a fairly untainted version of what Jordan was once like before tourism.
5. Petra Treasury by Night
Undoubtably the most iconic spot in Jordan, if not the whole of the Middle East, the City of Petra is an absolute must see when visiting Jordan. Once the bustling capital of the industrious ‘Nabatean’ people, Petra is now an abandoned collection of breathtaking ruins carved into sandstone. The infamous Treasury (aka Al Khazneh), deserved of its World Wonder status, is impressive enough during the day, and it is absolutely breathtaking at night. When available ‘Petra by Night’ kicks off at 20:30. The walk from the entrance gate is a solid 4km, but it is a highlight in itself. The entire walkway is lit by candles, which guiding you through canyons, until you reach the starlit Petra Treasury.