Okay, so. This was totally new and out of the blue.
And, extremely impulsive of me, I tell you!
It was a lazy April Sunday when I stumbled upon this stunning trail created by Simran Aneikar about Jordan. It left me speechless, in awe of the country’s beauty!
The next thing you know, I spend an entire week doing an extensive research about Jordan. I NEEDED TO BE THERE!
Honestly, when I decided to backpack around Jordan, in the Middle-East, I had absolutely no idea what to expect from the country. I guess you wouldn’t really learn about another country’s culture until you are actually there. I recall breaking this news to my friends, their apprehensive faces warping with a mix of fear and excitement; they asked absurd questions like, “Is it gonna be safe?”, “Why don’t you ask someone else to tag along?”, “Let the disturbances settle down.” ,“Postpone the trip!” , etcetera, etcetera. Sigh!
With Israel to my left, Iraq, and Syria overhead, and Saudi Arabia nestling its eastern and southern perimeter, Jordan’s at an intersection of the Holy Land, as Jews, Muslims, and Christians cite it. Despite its proximity to the warfare that torments the Middle-East, Jordan rarely makes it to the headlines in India.
I spent a good 15 days in Jordan, hitting the stunners – Petra, Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea – eating home cooked meals, talking to the locals and catching up with some really good people along the way.
All in all, Jordan had every chunk of my heart.
Be it their penchant for hospitality, which is rooted in the Bedouin culture, the astounding floating experience in the Dead Sea, an enthralling candlelit Sufi kind of a night in Petra (for those who do not know, Petra is one of the 7 wonders of the world!), or the feeling of being a Martian at Wadi Rum in the day, and stargazing the desert stars by the night. Well, I can go on, and on, and on.
Instead of me, drooling about the things I’ve seen and done, let me curate a list of things, that you SHOULD NOT miss, come what may, when in the Hashemite Kingdom!
1. Rainbow Street in Amman.
If you have an appetite for experiencing everything local, then Rainbow Street is the place you ought to be. Most tourists would head off to the clichéd places when in a new country, leaving the raw experiences behind.
So, board a local cab, chat with the driver, listen to their stories, and spend an evening strolling in the streets of Amman. Let the aroma of spices, chocolate, and brewing Turkish coffee take you by surprise. Look out for the streets and walls for some really cool graffiti, spray-painted stairwells, and inverted umbrellas overhead. They are a treat for sore eyes! You can also buy their traditional dress, handmade local chocolates, and souvenirs that are otherwise extremely expensive at the boutiques.
Also, enjoy a peaceful dinner at a cozy local restaurant, sitting on the balcony overlooking the street, cars, bikes, lights, and people.
This experience is raw, and you’re going to cherish every moment you spend there, forever.
2. Make your own perfume.
Imagine getting a chance to choose from hundreds of assorted scents to create your own fragrance?
In the Rainbow Street, and downtown Amman, you would find little shops where you can test the variety of fragrances like musk, wood, floral, etc. and bottle up your favorite!
Now, isn’t that exciting?
3. Unwind in a Turkish Bath
If you are a spa maniac as I am, then a traditional Turkish Bath will be one hell of an experience for you. I spent my first Turkish Bath with nothing but my birthday suit on! 😀
It starts with a hot jacuzzi, warm & cold saunas, and a tip-to-toe full body scrub that leaves you feeling fresher and softer than a baby’s bum!
4. Let an Arabic cuppa coffee woo you.
I am a devout caffeine addict, and my love for coffee DOES NOT stagger in any particular region.
Saudi and Turkish – these are the two types of Arabic coffee one can distinguish from.
5. Om-nom-nom-noming in a Mezze!
Do not miss the most important part of the Jordanian Culture, where Mezze is the most popular style of eating.
Mezze is what appetizers or tapas is to the other parts of the world. A sumptuous meal that basically includes falafel, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, hummus, kuboos, olives, and pickles! And yes, everything is vegetarian! 😀
6. How about floating in the Dead Sea, the lowest point in THE World?
Imagine enjoying a drink with a sunset view whilst floating in the Dead Sea?
Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
DO NOT miss this once-in-a-lifetime kind of an experience of swimming and floating in the Dead Sea, which lies directly on the border of Israel and Jordan, and is the lowest point of land on Earth at over 400mts below sea level.
There are resorts that lets one use their pools and through them, one can directly get access to the majestic Dead Sea. There are pool boys around, who would smear your exposed body parts(if you are in a bikini, that is!) with Dead Sea Mineral Mud.
It is supposed to make your skin feel softer, they say. You then jump into the sea with the mud still on your body. The Dead Sea water, they say, has healing properties that help cure ailments.
P.S. Do NOT shave for a few days before a swim. It will ruin your trip and make the saltwater contact unbearable.
P.P.S do NOT get water into your eyes and if you wear contacts, be extra-cautious about it! Not kidding! It blinds you temporarily. I had to come out of eh water and cry my heart out. Yes, THAT painful it was!
Petra is one of the new wonders of the world!Back when Amman was known as Philadelphia, the Nabateans had put Petra on the map. It was Steven Spielberg who brought the “rose-red” to life with his movie ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”
Walk in between the narrow canyon in Petra to reach the Treasury. On the way, you can drool over the dazzling colors and rock formation. You would find a lot of small cafes serving Arabic coffee and their signature tea. There are numerous souvenir stalls as well. When you finally reach the Treasury, you would find a lot of tourists flocked there.
P.S. If you want a peaceful picture of the Treasury without any tourist on it, look for a small cliff to your right. You can climb up there easily, and get an amazing view of the Treasury.
Petra by night had me, and my heart. All of it!
Honestly, I wasn’t really sure if it made sense to come back again, but I did, and believe me, it was one night I will never, ever forget.
Imagine sitting under the starlit skies, listening to the Bedouins sing their melody with emotions that would clearly make you feel happy and content. Over 3500 candles light the path to the treasury. Trust me, you do not want to miss this mystical experience.
8. Walk through Moses’ footsteps in Madaba.
Madaba, a city of Mosaics should be in your itinerary if you are residing at a resort in the Dead Sea. It is about 45 km ride (less than an hour) from the Dead Sea resorts.
Since there isn’t an option for public transportation, you will have to opt for a cab service from the resort.
You can visit St. George’s Church, which cuddles the 5th-century Mosaic Map of the Holy Land, and it is fantastically preserved.
9. Visit the ruins of Jerash – a Once-Upon-A-Time Roman City
The Jerash archaeological site has beautifully preserved the ruins.It dates back to 63 BC when then ‘Gerasa’ was conquered by General Pompei.
You can walk around the city on your own. Don’t really need any wild imagination power to picture or think how people used to live 2000 years ago.
And you can hardly call it ruins actually; it looks like an almost LIVE roman city. It felt as if I had traveled back in time, to 2000 years ago!
Drop by my trail on and see what I have experienced in Jerash. You are gonna love it! <3
10. Feel like a Martian in Wadi Rum.
Wadi Rum will give you an experience of a lifetime!
“You might want to science the shit out of this”. The movie buffs who have watched the Matt Damon starrer, ‘The Martian’, would understand the reference!
YES! The Martian was shot here.
Camping in one of the Bedouin Camps, going all-local with the bonfire and stargazing in the night, is totally an icing on the cake! A camel ride while watching the sun go down at this vast spread of sand dunes and a 4×4 jeep safari, is totally worth it.
The Wadi Rum desert will take you through varied phases of surrealism as you try and grasp the amount of beauty around you!
Being a Spa freak, I HAD to try the Ma’in Hot Springs. It was the country’s BEST they had to offer!
So what makes Ma’in the best spa in Jordan?
1. The mineral-rich hot springs and the natural waterfalls!
2. It is a Six Senses Spa.
Lying 260m below the sea level, the Six Senses Spa, Ma’in Hot Springs, stays warm 365 days a year. Set like an oasis within the dramatic terrain, it defines the resort & spa experience in the Middle East offering relaxation and indulgence. It is a perfect way to relax and get a massage by some of the world-class masseuses whilst enjoying the therapeutic benefits of the Ma’in Hot Springs waterfalls.
During my stay there, one evening was just not enough for me. So, I HAD to go back there, the next day to experience the pampering at best spa I have experienced so far! Coming here is like being a part of a famous Arabian Nights’ tales. Its location, architecture, and services are specially curated for you to have the best time of your life!
I am so glad to have experienced this true Bedouin haven, these 15 days of my life in Jordan! The history, architecture, and extra-sweet hospitality that I have been showered with has given me all the more reason to go back.
So, what is stopping you from having one of the best times of your life?
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