“We travel to see a certain destination, to experience new things, but, our attitude while on the journey dictates the outcome of our trip.”
We decided to stay longer in Jordan so we don’t have to rush from one places to the other, so we can also chill by the beach for few days. So, after searching of where to go, to stay and what to do for this trip, we booked our return flight via Etihad, hotels thru Agoda and decided to purchase a Jordan Pass. We also checked the airlines and Jordanian Embassy in Abu Dhabi if I, a Philippines passport holder with a valid UAE residence visa, can get a visa upon arrival. The airlines helpline did not answer query, as expected they advised us check with the embassy even though it’s in their system. And, the embassy confirmed… so I got my visa on arrival.
Here’s our Jordan Itinerary and detailed expenses…
We arrived in Amman at 12nn, since it’s still early we decided to have an afternoon tour to Citadel, and with Jordan Pass that includes a free entrance to most of the attractions & museums, we waived the 3JD entrance of Citadel. The place is overlooking the city which gives you a different view of Amman. We can also see the Roman Theater from the place but decided not to go anymore. In Citadel you can stay for about 30 minutes to see the entire place or spent hours to relax, sit on the grass, or work on your photography skills in capturing the picturesque scenery. The weather is cool and windy, it’s a perfect afternoon, less crowd and so we enjoyed roaming around plus the pictorial of course.
Getting a taxi from Citadel, expect the driver will ask you more, it’s crazy, like 5x more. But, we argued and yet we paid 5JD. Around Amman, if you’re a tourist, most of the time they will charge you 3JD from point A to B, instead of having a meter. So, be patient.
AJLOUN & JERASH
We have a day tour to Ajloun and Jerash the next day. I was thinking of going with the public transpo but since our hotel offered 40JD for the tour, we agreed – for a hassle free trip. From Amman it’s about an hour drive to north, to Ajloun. Ajloun castle was built ages ago to protect the place from enemies, it’s on the highest place in the city so they can see people coming. They have this wooden weapon that was used to throw rocks. But, that’s it, there’s nothing more to see and the entrance without Jordan Pass is 3JD. We just spent about 20 minutes in the place and headed to Jerash that’s about 30 minutes drive.
Jerash’ attraction is spacious, with Roman inspired structures/ruins. Entrance fee is 10JD, but with the Jordan Pass it’s free. We arrived after our lunch at 1 freakin pm and it was quite a long walk from the entrance to the pillars and theater. There are a lot to see, to capture, but we were just so exhausted… so after an hour, we drove back to Amman. Tip, go to Jerash early in the morning, before going to Ajloun.
As we all know, a trip to Jordan is incomplete without Petra. From Amman, it’s a 4 hour drive. There’s a lot of ways to reach Petra, but the famous one is the 6AM Jett bus. All taxi drivers know where you can catch the bus, but it is better to be there early, you would not know if it will be full, or better buy the ticket a day before.
Petra is an Expensive place! A day pass itself is 50JD without a Jordan Pass. The resto outside Petra, expect to pay double compared to other places in Jordan. The Hotel, the one that we booked in Agoda has a high ratings and a lot of positive feedback, but it was old & dirty, with a no use rusty & dusty balcony. They were renovating some rooms and the tools and scrapes are just on the floor, but Edom Hotel is a few minutes walk to Petra but it made me think, how much more those with less ratings & recommendations… how does it looks. Anyway, those disappointments were compensated when we went to Little Petra and much much more when we spent the whole day in the Forgotten, Rose City of Petra.
Petra is magical, I feel like I travelled back in time, the experience is beyond words. It is the combination of history and nature. We climbed to “The Sacrifice” and couple of times I made myself believe that we’re almost there, few more steps but the truth was we’re just halfway. This is what happens when your days was spent with zero exercise. But, going back is never an option. This is by far the most rewarding hike I ever did, one of the most beautiful views in the world. I can’t get enough, I wish I can stay longer, without even realizing that we were already sitting there for about an hour.
Going down, good thing we listen to Beduin’s advise, to take the opposite trail. I am uncertain of the path but we just continue anyway, we have not seen anyone anymore, and we don’t know where we are. When we’re almost at the bottom, a great relief coz there’s a couple resting, we’re not lost after all. As we continued walking, again we are out of the trail… haha, but eventually we see other tourists and so we followed them and find our way to the “Monastery”. We spent 10 hours in Petra, we did not catch a camel or a donkey, we walked all throughout from our hotel and back. I felt that I lose 10lbs lol. I can roam Petra again for 2, 3 days, why not.
Now, if you are planning to go to Little Petra, it is better to go there before visiting Petra. Walk all the way to the end, the view is also amazing.
The Petra by Night, we missed it because I booked our hotels without checking and I just found out few days before our trip that our stay in Petra will not coincide the Petra by Night and it was too late to rebook. So check their website.
The Red Sea… We did not able to do diving or snorkeling, it’s too windy for the entire 3 days that we’re there. I tried to swim and it’s freezing. But we enjoyed the scenery and the breakfast too.
The Mars on Earth… We agreed to skip Wadi Rum and I’m happy that we decided to go. From Aqaba we went by public transportation to Wadi Rum, and the driver asked for 5JD each. It’s an hour drive. There’s a schedule of trips from Aqaba to Wadi Rum/Petra but the driver will leave when it’s full. And take note, there’s no trip during weekend and holiday. The tour is short and I admit that I should have booked a night here. The place is beautiful. Tip, look for a group that you can join, the 4×4 is too expensive.
Madaba is just 20 minutes from Amman, and this place has so much to offer… The place we stayed, Mariam Hotel, did not disappoint us. It’s place is clean and they offer a reasonable price of tours. They are transparent on their prices, which I appreciate the most.
In Madaba alone you will see how diverse is the one place to the other. From the farm to the barren mountain, to the Dead Sea, Spring, River and to the historical/biblical places. We did a day of tour to Mount Nebo, Bethany and Beyond, and the Dead Sea. I enjoyed the roadtrip as much as the destination. We had a quick stop in Mt. Nebo and drove down to the Bethany & Beyond, the exact location of Jesus’ Baptism. Bethany & Beyond is a military zone, it’s the boundary of Jordan & Palestine/Israel. We dropped off at the visitors’ center and waited for the shuttle and the tour guide. It’s included in the 12JD entrance fee, but we got it for 8JD thru the Jordan Pass.
Last stop for the day… The Dead Sea. We went to Amman Beach as recommended by many. The place is more of a resort that what I was expecting. I just thought of a wide open beach, sand loungers and changing area. So, anyway we paid 25JD each plus 14JD buffet. I had fun in floating and floating, and covering myself with the mud. But, I am really imagining of a wide shoreline, with crystalline everywhere, I expected more… well, the experience is still good after all.
TO WRAP UP
We stayed 2 nights in Amman, Petra and Madaba, and 3 Nights in Aqaba. During our stay in Madaba, I then realized that we should just went straight to Madaba and should have not stayed in Amman. Yes, the tours in Madaba is so much cheaper than we had in Amman. Mariam Hotel is clean, the food are cheaper. I also realized that Booking.com is much better than Agoda. Why? because the hotels we booked in Agoda did not send the confirmation of our stay, especially our transportation requests. I have to contact the hotel directly. Good thing that I did the last minute changes and stayed in Mariam Hotel.
Jordan Pass (70JD) is so worth it if you need to get a visa upon arrival which is 40JD, and if you will visit Petra for 50JD. These alone we already saved 20JD each. 🙂 But let’s do the math further, with all the attractions that we visited and did not pay for the entrance and the discount we go for the Bethany & Beyond, we save a total of 45JD each, and there are still a lot of attractions & museums that are included in the pass that we did not visit anymore.
Another tip, don’t leave your valuable stuff in the car, no matter how kind the driver may seem to be, my 50JOD bills was stolen. Thank goodness he did not leave us and took all our belongings, thank goodness that he just took 50JD, he might have been thinking that I would not notice. We suppose to have another tours with him, but we changed our plans. And because of it, we met a new tour guide who showed us Jordanian hospitality. Even if we refused, he still took us to his place, met all 3 generations of his family. They offered us unlimited snacks, hehe, it’s kinda awkward, but, really we appreciate the kindness and so thankful for it.
Our 10D/9N Expenses…
Conversion: 1JD = 1.5USD, 1USD = 3.69AED
By the way, there are free tours in Madaba… just check their website or visit Madaba Visitors Center. Enjoy.Tags: Aqaba, breakingthecomfortzone, Dead Sea, Jordan, Madaba, Petra, Roadtrip, travel, Travel Tips, Wadi Rum, wanderlust