Wadi Rum is Jordan's desert wilderness, a vast wonderland of towering dunes, canyons, and brilliant starry skies. The area is a major attraction in Jordan, and getting there is easy as part of a tour or otherwise with a dedicated private driver from Amman, Wadi Musa (gateway village to Petra), or the Red Sea resort town of Aqaba.
It's possible to get there with a taxi or rideshare from any of these starting points, but this option is best for a day trip, as you'll want your driver to wait for you at the entrance to the reserve for your return trip. Buses also run on these routes, but given the remoteness of Wadi Rum, this is a much less convenient option.
Duration: 5 hours by private transfer; 6-8 hours by bus
It takes about four hours by car to travel the 201 miles (324 km) between Amman and Wadi Rum. Going by car with a private driver is the fastest, most preferred mode of transport, and it's also a beautiful drive down Jordan's famous Desert Highway. This well-traveled freeway has plenty of places to stop for a bite to eat, gas, or souvenirs.
All visitors to the Wadi Rum wilderness area must first check-in and pay an entrance fee at the Visitor Center. It's also best to book your camp accommodations in the park ahead of time to avoid any issues. Whether you come by private transfer or taxi, your camp guides will take you the rest of the way into the desert in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
If you opt for a bus, it will require more planning and time as there is no direct route from Amman. However, JETT tourist buses operate from a number of stations in the city and are worth taking for the comfortable amenities offered onboard. They will get you as close as Aqaba and Wadi Musa (Petra). From either of those locations, you'll have to switch to taxi or minibus to complete your journey.
Duration: 1.5 hours by private transfer; 2.5 hours by bus
To travel the 65 miles (104 km) between Petra and Wadi Rum, private transfer is the most popular option. The drive south to Wadi Rum is a mix of the scenic but windy Kings Highway and the modern Desert Highway.
Renting a car offers flexibility, and driving in southern Jordan is pretty straightforward for travelers—most signs have English translations. If you’re not on a fixed schedule, there is plenty to see, as these 4 Scenic Roadtrips in Jordan point out. Public mini-buses are the least convenient option—they're frequent, but you’ll have to contend with crowds, timetables, and waiting around.
Duration: 2 hours by private transfer; 3 hours by bus
Wadi Rum Village and the Aqaba city center are about 45 miles (70 km) apart. The best way to travel between the two destinations is by car with a private driver, and the drive will take a little over an hour. The route starts on the Aqaba Highway, and quickly merges onto the Desert Highway, which will take you all the way to Wadi Rum.
If you're interested in going by taxi, finding one in Aqaba shouldn't be a problem—you'll need to secure a taxi for your return trip, either by arranging directly with a driver or with the assistance of your camp or tour group in Wadi Rum.
If you want to rely on the cheaper option of public transport, there are daily buses that run to Wadi Rum. Keep in mind, this is a popular route, so they can quickly become crowded with both tourists and locals.