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Remiah went to...Jordan!


Hello! Tell us a little bit about you and where you traveled to...


Hi there! My name is Remiah, and I went on a life changing trip to Jordan! This has been at the top of my bucket list for years, and after moving to the UAE as an expat, I was so fortunate to have the chance to visit there!


I was able to visit Jordan during Spring Break (March 26 - April 3) of 2022, and traveled with a colleague/friend. In UAE, at this time we had a travel corridor between Jordan and UAE for vaccine safe travel. It was an incredible opportunity to explore while crowds weren't so intense and I am fortunate to have done so safely.


In Jordan, we traveled to major cities like the capital Amman, Jerash, Ajloun, Madaba, Kerak (Al-Karak), the national reserve of Wadi Mujib, Wadi Musa, the port city Aqaba, the extraterrestrial Wadi Rum and the incredible Petra!


These stops were all included in the tour package purchased via Tourist Jordan!


How great was this trip?


Throughout my time in Jordan, each day felt like a new adventure and new destination, with each excursion and stop exciting me more than the last. As a Black woman and avid (solo/group) traveler, I felt completely safe and at ease the whole time.


Amman, the capital city of Jordan has a rich history and incredible architecture which made for fun stops and excursions to sites like: Jerash (ruins from a walled Greco-Roman settlement), Ajlun Castle, Amman Citadel and Hyppodrome, the Jordan Archaeological Museum, and King Abdullah I Mosque.


What did you do while you were there?


My tour also included a stop at Mount Nebo which offers 360 views of the Jordan Valley, Dead Sea & the hills of Jerusalem. This archaeological site offers a visit to the Memorial Church of Moses, a Handicraft Mosaic Workshop, Saint George Church, and a visit to Al Shoubak Castle.


Now, everyone knows about the world wonder Petra, but there was one more hidden gem that allowed for a peaceful view of the sunset, small hike, and great Petra-esque photo ops - Little Petra! Located in Al-Baydha, Jordan, Little Petra offers some miniature versions of the sites found in Petra, with a smaller tourist crowd and scenic rest spots.


That being said, Petra 100% lives up to the hype. In hopes of beating the crowd, it’s best to go early, and you can enjoy a lovely stroll up to the Treasury. I opted for a 10JDR Donkey ride up the many, many steps along the path, and this definitely helped me to get my second wind. If you’re brave, continue on to the monastery! Petra also offers some stunning views at night, so I highly recommend that or taking two days to thoroughly explore this site.


The absolute highlight of my trip (besides mudmasking and floating in the Dead Sea, snorkeling in the Red Sea, and everything listed above) was spending the night in Wadi Rum Dessert. I spent the night in the bedouin tents, and was able to explore a 4 hour 4by4 ride through the desert. With stops to see the sunset, enjoy freshly brewed tea, and freshly prepared barbeque for dinner, this unearthly experience is one you cannot miss. When, not if, you go to Jordan, you can opt to stay overnight in the Bedouin tents or Bubble tents!


How did you learn and prepare for this trip?


The company that organized my tour was the company Tourist Jordan. With this package I spent 8 days, 7 nights in Jordan traveling north of the capital city Amman, south of the capital, and departing from Amman at the end of the trip.


Tourist Jordan was a great company to work with, as it offered lots of flexibility in terms of dates and the path of the journey. The trip left lots of room for me and my friend to navigate around freely and feel as though we maximized our time in each place, and allowed us to add in other excursions or destinations that appealed to us for low cost and in a safe and secure manner.

Jordan is a family friendly location, and this style of trip offers a great experience for solo travelers, couples, friends and families to enjoy. It is a great location for being outdoors and exploring historic sites, and the level of physical activity can be adjusted based on your needs and abilities.


To learn and prepare for this trip, I did a lot of research online using tools like TripAdvisor, Google Maps to pin locations, and talked with other expats in my area. I often research videos on Youtube to get a visual sense of what to expect, or will ask in Facebook groups (like Wanderful Woman, for example) to gain perspective on how it is to travel to a set destination.


How did you get there?


I departed from Abu Dhabi and flew direct (roundtrip) to Amman. I had the opportunity to fly Royal Jordanian and Wizz Air, and would recommend both airlines. Both airlines offered easy service, check in, and were great for the price offered.


For ground transportation, my tour included a driver and guide (tips not included in cost), and this made for an extremely easy journey throughout the trip. I’ve learned some arabic words along the way living in UAE, but it was very helpful to have a native arabic speaker help to bridge the gap when seeking out help or information, and to have him know how best to navigate getting around the country was extremely helpful.


When embarking on excursions, it was easy to walk around, but there were often opportunities for tourists to ride camels, horses, mules and donkeys if you chose to!


Where did you stay?


My hotels were included in the cost of my tour, so you will see a further breakdown below. The hotels and hospitality were good throughout the trip and staff were all very willing to help make my stay memorable, but be cognisant of the potential language barrier you may face! Here are links to the hotels I stayed in during my trip (note that I did not opt to stay overnight near/in Petra):

Note that costs may vary based on the increase in tourism/travel post pandemic.


Where and what did you eat?


Food in Jordan is delicious, filling, and heavy. A lot of dishes are meat and/or dairy heavy, so this may be a barrier to consider as a vegetarian/vegan and may require some research, but the meat is high quality and fresh. Some of my favourite standout places offered opportunities to try different unique dishes in Jordan. Here are some of my recommendations:

  • Da7berha - this restaurant was the first place I tried Mansaf, and it truly changed my life. Lamb & rice with a rich, flavourful, creamy yogurt sauce was a filling and satisfactory meal that could truly put you to sleep after (be warned - it’s a heavy meal!).

  • The Boulevard - this was a modern strip that had a multitude of restaurants and cafes to choose from.

  • Rest House - on the journey along Kings Way, you’ll see many rest houses that offer buffet style lunches for a low price.

  • Jabri - Traditional Jordanian and Palestinian meals.

  • Jafra Restaurant & Cafe - This restaurant offered traditional food, shisha if interested, and an upper area with outdoor seating where you can overlook the hustle and bustle of the city!

  • Jadal Center for Knowledge and Culture - this was a chill and relaxed center for young adults to connect, play games, read, listen to music, and vibe. There were fair trade and women owned cafes surrounding this area that were sustainably sourced, run, and deserving of support.

  • Hashem Restaurant - tucked within an alleyway, this outdoor food truck establishment offered amazing food for a very low price!

  • Habibi Sweets Shop - If you have never tried kunafa, this is the place for you. This traditional cheesy cake (and I don’t mean New York style), can be served warm, cold, crunchy, soft, with or without ice cream, and will change your world!


How much did it cost?


The tour that I booked was via Tourist Jordan. The cost of the tour varies based on some of the choices you make (add ons, hotels, etc), but it cost me roughly $1,400. As stated on the Tourist Jordan website, this includes:

  • 7 nights accommodation

  • Transportation in modern air conditioned vehicle with English speaking driver

  • English speaking guide during sightseeing

  • 2 hour Jeep Safari in Wadi Rum

  • Dinner and breakfast in Wadi Rum

  • Lunch at a local restaurant in Petra

It’s important to note that it excludes the following:

  • Meals & Drinks

  • Flights and Personal travel insurance

  • Entrance fees to Petra ($70)

  • Tips/Gratuities for drivers, guides, porters

  • The breakdown of costs is as follows:

  • Accommodation (based on double occupancy): $300-$500

  • Food and drinks: $200-$300

  • Excursions and activities: $200-$400

  • Miscellaneous expenses, tips, gratuities: $100-$150

Jordan is a bit more expensive destination than others I’ve visited in the Gulf/Middle East, but every penny was worth it. Food choices can vary from cheap shawarma shops to buffet style restaurants or fine dining meals, but always be cognizant of potential spots that look less sanitary than others (I always bring tablets and salts in case of food poisoning no matter where I travel, just to be safe!).


Would you go back and do it again?


Part of what made this trip worth it were the people, the food, and the environment. The tour company and driver were so patient, communicative and flexible with requests made before and during the tour. They really allowed me to have the best possible time and see all that I wanted to see in Jordan in a short amount of time!

The people were all friendly, welcoming, and willing to share their culture, food, and architecture with me. Anyone I asked for help or recommendations offered great solutions and suggestions that allowed me to enjoy the full scope of Jordan. It was a safe and family friendly environment throughout, and really made me feel welcome.

 

I would do this trip over again in a heartbeat. The only thing I would change, if I could, would be to add more time. If you want to maximize on your trip, I would suggest ten days to slowly explore, or make plans to hop to other close destinations like Egypt, Palestine, or Turkey!


Advice for people planning to do something similar?


My advice is to visit during a cooler time. My journey during March made for cool mornings and warm to hot afternoons, so you were able to enjoy the outdoors without being too hot overall. Be sure to dress in layers, drink lots of water throughout the day and pack as much SPF as you can carry. Sun protection will be extremely important as you navigate the outdoors!


Along with this, I’d recommend bringing water shoes for visiting the beaches - the Dead Sea has salt and rocks, and often the beaches are a bit rocky and can be uncomfortable. That being said, the beaches in Jordan are worth the tiptoeing!


A must if you visit Jordan is to make a stop at Wadi Rum, and enjoy an overnight stay. This is an incredibly unique camp experience, and the ride through the dessert is one you cannot miss! Opt for the 4 hour ride as opposed to two - the time goes quick, and you won’t regret it!


Any other experiences or businesses you wish to mention that made your trip better or more comfortable?


I highly recommend Tourist Jordan if you are wanting to have a set or customizable tour provided for you. This helped alleviate a lot of my stress in a completely new environment with a language I was unfamiliar with at the time, and provided me with an in depth view of Jordan!


And of course, I recommend you follow me! I am a third year expat looking to explore hidden gems and navigate the most cost effective ways to see the world as a woman and avid solo traveler. I’ll be sure to post some tips, tricks, or budget destinations that catch your eye with me, Remiah Travels!

How can we get in touch with you?

 

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Catch you next time. Happy travels!

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