Travelling in Jordan can be a tricky business, especially when it comes to making an itinerary that can cover at least all the attractions of the country. Based on my research and my trip in September this year, I thought why not write this a post that will help you. If you are planning your trip to Jordan, it can help you decide which route is best suited. I won’t mention how much time is ideal to follow these routes because it varies for everyone. Basically, there are two ends of the country (South and North) that are thankfully also the two major airports in the region, Amman and Aqaba. The presence of the two major airports on two different ends of the country gives you two routes to choose from.
Route 1: Amman to Aqaba
In this route, you have to fly to the capital that is in the North of Jordan. It is recommended that if you are planning to follow this route, then you should book your return ticket from the Aqaba. Usually, travellers who start the trip from Amman follow this route. Since it is the most followed route, it becomes easier to find fellow travellers to share the transport cost if you stay in the hostel or use the websites like Couchsurfing.
First thing first, Amman has a lot to offer to travellers of all age groups. I have written a brief post about things you can do in Amman in my previous post (Read Here).
Using public transport or a taxi, you can easily make a day trip to the Roman ruins of Jerash city in the North of Jordan. To know more about how to get to Jerash by public transport or taxi, you can read in my post here (Read Here). I have also given a brief description of Roman Ruins of the city in my post about things to do in Amman (Here)
Let’s move from the city of Amman and head to the South of the country. A taxi only goes via Kings Highway, which is the main highway to get to North and also hosts all the major attraction on the way.
There is no public transport to the Dead Sea; it’s only accessible by taxi.
From Amman, taxi costs about 30 JOD. If you can find other travellers to share the cost, it’s more economical. Mostly people just spend a couple of hours on the Dead Sea and then move on, because you can only float in the water and cannot swim. It becomes a little boring after the first hour.
The 11th-century castle is located just about 140 km in the South from Amman and is one of the stops while heading to the South. Read more about the Kerak Castle in my post (here).
Not everyone has this on their to-do list, but who doesn’t want to see the last hill Moses climbed before he died—not to mention the stunning view of the Dead Sea and Israel side of the mountain from the top of Mount Nebo. These stops are usually very quick unless you are a historian and are on a research trip.
Wadi Musa (Petra):
Petra is the biggest attraction in Jordan. Usually, everyone who takes the taxi from Amman follows this route and after stopping over all the places mentioned above, by evening they reach Petra. The city of Petra is called Wadi Musa and you can find all sorts of hotels and cheap hostels very close to the Petra visiting centre. The hikes start here. Note that if you are taking public transport from Amman to Petra, you won’t be able to see the above places because buses come from Desert Highway, which is another direct connection between Amman and Wadi. It is highly recommended to take the taxi if you have more people to share the ride with you, because a taxi from Amman to Petra (with all the above stopovers) costs about 60-80 JOD, depending on your negotiation skills. I will be writing more about my Petra experience and all the practical information related to it soon.
Wadi Rum (Aqaba):
60 km in the East of Aqaba, the valley of sandstone and granite rock Wadi rum is the largest Wadi in Jordan. Wadi Rum is also the home of Zalabia Bedouins, who now run a successful tourism industry in the region by working with the travellers. You can stay with the local Bedouins in their camp, and eat and learn more about their lifestyle. It’s a different experience altogether. It takes about 3-4 days to explore the Wadi Rum. Camel rides, desert sports, long desert trekking and camping, and rock climbing are some of the adventure sports available there. Sunset of Wadi Rum is very famous and lots of people just drive from Petra to Wadi to see the sunset. I couldn’t go there this time, but Wadi Rum is the only thing I have left for my next trip to Jordan.
Once you visit Wadi Rum, you can head back to Aqaba and take you flight out of the country. If your return flight would be from Amman, you would have to drive back all the way back for no reason. This is why it’s recommended to have both tickets from the two opposite ends of the country.
Route 2: Aqaba to Amman
There is no particular advantage in following this route; it’s totally based on your convenience. You can land in Aqaba and book the return flight from Amman, which means you will have to follow the same route as above but in reverse. There are split opinions about which option is better, but most people prefer this route because Wadi Rum and Petra are the two biggest sights in the country and these are the one that takes a lot of energy and strength. You need to be at your best to survive the weather and all the desert experience in both the places, including the hike in Petra.
On the other hand, I met a couple in the Petra hike who were following this route and were having a hard time because Wadi Rum was pretty exhaustive. The camel ride in the desert caused some back pain, which made it difficult for them to hike in Petra.
So both the routes have their advantage and disadvantage, so choose based on time and convenience. Write to me if you need any information for your trip and I will be happy to help. Next, I will write about my Petra hiking experience, which was one of the most impressive things parts of my Jordan trip. Till then, keep wandering.