Another destination that I am more than happy to have visited, Jordan. This trip lasted a week starting from Amman, the north of Jordan going all the way to Aqaba the south. Another pleasant and memorable road trip added to the travel list.
So how does it work with a Mauritian passport? From Mauritius, you could fly to Dubai and from Dubai to Amman it is a 3 hours flight. You will get your VISA for Jordan on arrival at the Passport control itself and it is 40 JD per person valid for a period of three months stay in the country. Before leaving the airport, I suggest that you buy a local sim card from ZAIN provider about 16JD where you will have free calls plus 10GB of internet. Enough for a week stay.
1JD = 1.25 Euro
First stop was the Dead Sea, about an hour drive with a taxi to the Movenpick Dead Sea Resort and Spa where we spent our first night. A beautiful resort full of charm and history. The view from the bedroom’s balcony was on the Dead Sea with the Holyland on the other side. We headed straight to the Dead Sea for the floating experience and well-known mud bath from the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth below sea level. Its water is 9.6 times as salty as the ocean. Anyone can easily float in the Dead Sea because of its natural buoyancy. This salinity, however, makes it impossible for aquatic plants and animals to live, hence it’s named, the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea is a reputed location for health research and many beauty products are made from the salty water minerals sold across the world. Everyone has one way or the other heard about the Dead Sea.
Below is the Itinerary we covered over a week from Amman to Aqaba.
A lovely time we spent at the Dead Sea, the second stop, the Ma’in, Hotsprings here we come. About 30 mins drive from the Movenpick. Ma’in is found in the mountains while still being at the lowest point on earth. Ma’in is a beautiful area with a few waterfalls and Hotsprings around to enjoy. It also has a magnificent spa found right at the bottom of one of these waterfalls. I have never seen something so soothing like this spa location.
Petra – The Rose-Red city
On the way to Petra we wanted to go for a trail in the Wadi Mujib, it is unfortunately closed in winter times (from November to March) the only regret on this trip we could not do.
More than two thousand years ago, Petra was built by the Nabataeans in the heart of the Shara Mountains. It was prospered in the first centuries BC and AD and was a vital part of a major trading route connecting ancient, Mesopotamia and Egypt. Today intricate facades sculpted into the sandstone cliffs of the areas can still be seen, along with other remarkably preserved structure and monuments of this fascinating civilization.
Petra is about 2 hours drive from Ma’in. We opted to stay in an old village hotel which is 15 minutes from the Archeological sites of Petra. Quiet and lovely place the hotel was. However, if you wish to stay closer to Petra you have the Movenpick Hotel, which is found right outside the Visitors Centre, and you can walk from your hotel to the site. I believe in the summertime, peak seasons it must be busy outside and loud.
We stayed 2 nights in Petra which was the perfect timing to discover the lost city at our rhythm. The visitor centre is your first point of entry to the ancient city of Petra. From here you can buy tickets, book guides and visit the history museum with the objects that were found back from the Nabateans time.
You can buy your entrance tickets online or at the counter there itself, there is no limited number of ticket entrance to the lost city of Petra. Entrance for one day is 50 JD, 2 days at 55JD and 3 days 60JD. You will not need more than 3 days to complete the trail. If you wish and I strongly recommend is to take a professional guide with you for the trail, at least for 2 hours else you will miss a lot of the history of the ancient mausoleums and the ,,,,,, Petra is effortlessly one of Man’s most brilliant legacies and achievements, be ready to be amazed by its beauty while you will be walking through the Siqs and slowly the Treasury revealing itself.
Once inside the city, you can go for a camel or horse ride and even opt for a carriage tour. There are also several Nabataeans tent restaurants inside where you can have refreshment and hot food.
With a guide by our side, he went over the main historical parts of the civilization. After which we headed to the Monastery that is about 900 stairs uphill on our own. It was already 3 in the afternoon when we finished including a lunch break, after which we headed our way back to the exit take some rest before closing this day with Petra by Night.
Petra by Night is where you will get to admire the fascinating night view of one of the seven wonders. It is a separate entrance ticket you need to get, as it is not included in the normal ticket to the lost city. Be careful that you do not miss Petra by Night upon your visit as it only happens 3 times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays) The ticket is 17 JD per person and starts from 8.30 pm to 10.30pm. Walking through a canyon, which is illuminated just by candlelight is a unique experience, till the Treasury where there are hundreds of additional candles around it. Take a seat facing the Treasury and enjoy a wonderful traditional musical sound of a Bedouin shepherd’s flute and the rest I rather let you experience it, else there would be no surprises right.
The second day in the red city we continued the rest of the trail and sites like the High place of sacrifice, the Royal Thombs, the Church and the Great Temple which we did not cover the day before.
Wadi Rum Desert
Head full of memories, after two nights in Petra we headed to the Desert of Wadi Rum. Again hitting the road about an hour drive to the Wadi Rum’s visitor centre. Entrance tickets are 5 JD per person. We got there right on time to hop on for a sunset jeep ride, which is an additional 40 JD. The sunset watch comprises of 4 stop stations in the desert, among you will be taken to the Bridge, the sand dunes, at ending at the perfect sunset spot. And this how the first day passed by in the desert. We stayed at Aisha luxury Camp, the best and most comfortable place to stay in the desert. At night do not expect much to go around unless you are an adventurer type and go for a night walk in the desert or join other guests on in the cave terrace for some drinks and shisha. The restaurant is a buffet type and do not miss to try the Mansaf, a typical traditional Jordanian dish if I could say quite similar to the Briani but the process is totally different. Mansaf is lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yoghurt and served with rice or bulgur. Definitely, a must try while visiting Jordan.
The next day we moved on to the last stop, Aqaba, before heading back to Amman where we started this road trip.
Aqaba is the only coastal city in Jordan, situated in the south of Jordan, where it also meets the red sea. The red sea is a calm, crystal clear waters and rich in marine life. It is also reputed to be one of the world’s best diving sites.
We stayed 2 nights in the south coast of Aqaba where we booked a 2 tank dive with the most famous diving centre in Aqaba, the Deep Blue diving centre. One of my best diving experiences I had so far. Was I in the Red Sea or a giant aquarium? This was unreal, about 24 diving spots all wonderful and yet I had to choose two main ones. So I opted for the Cedar Pride wreck and the Tarmac 5, which is also another wreck next to it for the first dive.
For a brief history, the Cedar Pride was destroyed by a fire and was sunk in 1985 in hope to be a habitat for the marine life living in the water. The wreck is 74 long and it is about 25 meters, the deepest point of the ship, where it lays in 2 reefs, so there is a valley under the ship, making it a pleasant swim. It is now a home for multi-coloured corals from the bow to the stern.
If you are an advanced diver you will be able to explore the deeper parts of the ship while penetrating the cabins and there is an air pocket inside that makes it fun to explore. Dive number one check. Back on the boat, we were served grilled meat, kofta and a vegetable salad, which was absolutely delicious. We rested a little, still at sea before moving on to the next diving spot which was the C130 Hercules aircraft wreck about 17 meters deep and ending this dive on the M42 ‘Duster’, a tank, both sunk as artificial reefs. The Hercules can be penetrated from the side doors on the aircraft from both sides and the interior is empty which makes it easy to penetrate. Swimming up to the flight deck is easy and you will be the skeleton of a pilot in his flight suit and helmet strapped into the pilot’s seat. Of course, it is a made up skeleton to add some humour and fun to your dive experience.
Again, one of my best dive experiences was in the red sea. Back to the hotel, we rested an additional day before heading back to Amman to catch our plane. It is a 2h30 drive.
I wish I could put down more words about this wonderful trip, Jordan you were a fairy tale come true. I will keep and cherish the memories and the people I met during this trip.
I want to send my regards to my travel partner and friend Nawel, for all that beautiful time we spent, they were all magical. Looking forward to our next adventure.
Again, a big thank you Itineris travel agency for making my travel memorable.
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