Tour of Jordan - Jul 23 - Aug 1, 2018
We booked a 10 day trip to Jordan as a family (2 adult children). Starting in Amman we did the standard trip - Amman, Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba then ending at The Dead Sea.
Lena's communication and advice was excellent. We had a driver (Mohammed) throughout which made the trip very straight forward. I don't see how you could really cover this ground in a limited amount of time without a driver. The car was very comfortable and Mohammed was efficient and punctual. We got a couple of quotes and this was competitive. Jordan is quite pricey so it would be no cheaper to book once you arrived. Plus this way, everything's organised and you can make the most of your time.
We were mid summer so it was very hot but the plus was that it was very quiet and at times, we had the places to ourselves.
Jordan is a fantastic country with a lot to offer. We loved Amman and its eclectic range of markets and restaurants. The old town was much more interesting to us than the more westernised Rainbow Street. Petra was stunning - we didn't use a guide as the published material is very clear and you can then take things in at your own pace. We spent about 7/8 hours there - be prepared for a lot of walking but there are plenty of places inside to rest and get a drink. (Highly recommend The Old Village Hotel - out of the town up on the hill - but a short taxi ride to the sights).
Jerash, Iraq al Amir, Ajloun - all wonderful. The view across Galilee to Israel and Syria is amazing as is the view across the Dead Sea from Nebo. A lot of the place names are familiar from the Bible so it's really moving to actually see these landscapes which haven't really changed after thousands of years. All these sites were pre-planned and were more beautiful and atospheric than we'd imagined. The Karak castle was also really interesting.
Wadi Rum - much more interesting than I'd expected -we had the four hour jeep ride which I had been expecting to be too long but there was a lot to see (including a stunning sunset). We stayed at the Luxury Tented Camp which is a novel experience as the tents have a transparent side - allowing a clear view at night. Food at this place wasn't so good but you are in the middle of the desert! Tents are comfortable with their own small bathroom area. It was quiet when we stayed but there is a bar around a fire which allows you to take in the amazing mountain and desert scenery.
Next to Aquaba - good places to eat in town (recommend Syrian Palace). We went out to the beach for the day which was a welcome chance to rest after all the travelling. Water near the shore was not as clean as you'd hope but if you swim out from the jetty it's crystal clear. You can hire a mask/snorkel.
Finally - The Dead Sea. Now this was a great experience from the point of view of floating in the Dead Sea and covering yourself in the famous mud. The hotels are all resort style. We don't really go for this type of accommodation - (Marriot) it was packed with families and struggling to keep up with being fully occupied. If you don't like this ritzy type of place, it would be worth looking for something more low key and calmer. On the way to the airport we visited Bethany beyond the Jordan - someone was being baptised.
One thing to check- we had booked a cookery lesson and Mohammed duly got us to the place on time but communication clearly hadn't been clear, as they weren't expecting us. They cooked a delicious meal but no lesson. The other thing we didn't see which was on our itinerary was the Dana Nature Reserve - I guess we just ran out of time.
So - if you're undecided on Jordan - we'd definitely recommend! It's different - another culture - lots of historical sites and wonderfully friendly people. It really worked as a destination for all ages.