Jordan – also known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan – is a country in the Middle East which I recently had the chance to explore on a G Adventures Highlights of Jordan tour. Before visiting Jordan, I had dreamed of visiting the ancient city of Petra (its number-one tourist spot) and I had hoped to float in the Dead Sea, but aside from that I wasn’t too sure what to see and do there. Now fresh off my tour, I can tell you that Jordan is whole lot more than Petra and the Dead Sea, and there is so much to see and do.
Snorkel or Scuba Dive in the Red Sea
A small piece of Jordan is on the Gulf of Aqaba, which is an arm of the Red Sea. This Gulf is actually shared by Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt, and is known for its awesome coral reefs and shipwrecks including a submerged tank. It’s also a great spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. Also, where else can you lay on the beach and see three other countries within 270 degrees?
Eat falafels and hummus
While in Jordan I literally had the BEST hummus of my life, and the best falafels as well, but that might be in part to the fact that it was my first time ever eating falafels. I was told that I picked a great place to try them for the first time. My favorite place to enjoy them both was at a popular restaurant in downtown Amman called Hashem. One of the only restaurants open 24/7 in the city, it is also a favorite place of the Kings.
Visit the ancient city of Jerash
Located north of Amman, this ancient Roman city was destroyed by earthquakes and wars and wasn’t found again until 1806. It is now home to a modern city that was largely built upon the ruins; because of this, only 20% of the ancient city has been excavated, but that is still an extremely large area. Here you can visit the ancient forum and theater, and walk down streets flanked with ancient Roman columns. Jerash is best seen with a tour guide that can tell you every amazing detail about this ancient city.
Spend the night in Wadi Rum
While on my G Adventures Highlights of Jordan tour, we got to spend a night in the famous Wadi Rum desert at a Bedouin camp. We took a 4×4 excursion through the desert, rode camels, had a bonfire, did some amazing stargazing, ate traditional Bedouin food and probably had one too many delicious Bedouin teas. At night we slept in our own tents at our private fully-equipped G Adventures Camp, and it was definitely an experience I’ll remember forever.
Spend at least one day at Petra
Petra is simply beautiful and amazing – no wonder it is the number one tourist destination in the country. If you visit, make sure you plan on spending one or even two days there so you have enough time to explore the city. Many people think of Petra and think of the iconic Treasury, and don’t realize that there is so much more to it. Petra was originally carved with 500 tombs and only 100 of those are visible from excavations today. You can climb over the rocks and get amazing 360 views of the area, ride camels and donkeys or “Bedouin Safaris,” and just be in awe of this masterpiece. The treasury alone took 50 years to be carved from stone from top to bottom, so I can hardly begin to imagine how much time and effort went into making this ancient city what it is today.
Float in the Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is one of the oddest phenomenons in the world. At 37% salinity, it is eight times saltier than the ocean, and because of this no living things are able to survive – and everything floats. It is literally impossible to swim in the Dead Sea, although you can certainly try. My two big tips would be to avoid getting the water in your mouth or eyes, and definitely go for the Dead Sea mud and cover yourself in it. Your skin will definitely thank you after.
To learn more about things to do in Jordan watch my newest video Jordan in a Minute.