In this latest series, I will be going through all the countries I’ve travelled to from my personal experience. In this article, we will be covering country #8: Jordan. If you haven’t gotten a chance already, read this story first to find out why I’m trying to visit all 193 UN-recognized countries.
VIDEO – Country #8: Jordan Part 1 – Petra
Jordan Video Part 2 – Wadi Rum
- How to Cross from Israel to Jordan If You Don’t Have a Jordanian Visa
- 14 Pictures of the Amazing Authentic Bedouin Wadi Rum Experience in Jordan
- 7 Survival Tips to Exploring Petra – One of the Seven Wonders of the World
- Jordan Scams to Watch Out For
How to cross from Israel to Jordan
After our trip to Israel came to an end, our next destination was Jordan. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a Jordan Visa ahead of time and the only place you can get a Visa on arrival is if we flew into Jordan.
Because we were doing a land crossing, we had to find another way to be eligible to cross over to Jordan. That’s when we found the Jordan pass which lets you visit the country without a Visa. We personally purchased the “Jordan Wanderer” price plan which set us back $99 USD.
Unfortunately, the Allenby Bridge/ King Hussein Bridge doesn’t accept the Jordan pass and we were forced to go to the Southern bridge, Eilat/ Aqaba to enter Jordan.
The journey to that border crossing was both long and expensive (1300 Shekels or $434 CAD). We definitely regret going that route and we would have preferred to just get the Visa ahead of time if we can do it again.
Crossing from Israel to Jordan
The border crossing between Israel and Jordan was pretty straight forward. One of the scary moments during the crossing was when my sister’s Israel passport slip flew away to an area we couldn’t reach. Thankfully, someone from the other side of the gate found it and gave it to my sister.
The Jordanian side was a little bit paranoid. I tried showing them the Jordan pass with my mobile phone and they freaked out. They thought I was taking pictures of the immigration. After we got through to the Jordanian side, that’s when the scam fest started.
One of the things I hate about travelling to middle east countries is the sheer amount of scams that occurs. The moment we crossed over to the Jordanian side, the taxi company owner tried overcharging us for the taxi ride. There’s suppose to be a flat fee to take the taxi. But the guy tried saying that the flat fee is per person in the car as oppose to for the entire car (basically, he was trying to charge us the equivalent of $100 CAD each to take the taxi). Obviously, we fought him.
He then tried to pass it off that there’s some extra tax we need to pay. We were dead exhausted at this point so we just paid him this fake tax. At least we just paid for the entire car as oppose to per person.
Our taxi driver was also a chimney smoker. We had to take a few stops along the way and he would tell us its so we can see the views of the country. The truth is, this guy wanted to stop for a smoke because every men in this country seems to be in a hurry to get lung cancer.
On our way to the city where the Petra is, our taxi driver switched to another driver. This new driver tried selling us a fake Wadi Rum tour. We soon found out that these scammers will take you to a place that looks like Wadi Rum but it’s not. And of course, they took us to a shop also trying to sell us their wares.
Trouble in the hotel
My youngest sister redeemed her Marriott points to stay at the hotel in Petra. She redeemed it for a double queen room so that my two sisters, Karen and I can share the room. But the manager said that each room has a maximum of three people occupancy.
We were dumbfounded and attempted to argue with him about this but he wouldn’t have it and we were forced to pay for an extra room. We were dead tired so we just caved in. The lesson here is not to travel too fast because when you’re tired, that’s when you get taken advantage by other people.
Unfortunately for us, we are not having any luck travelling in the middle east countries.
The next day, we finally get a chance to see the Petra archaeological site. Thrilled, we ate our breakfast quickly and packed some snacks from the breakfast buffet that we can bring with us.
After our ride dropped us of to Petra, we started our hike right away. The first thing we noticed was that the first part of the Petra was beautiful slot canyons that resembles the ones in Zion National Park in the USA.
We took tons of pictures with these beautiful rock formations throughout our hike until from a distance, we can see it. The world famous treasury in Petra.
The Treasury was ridiculous. When my eyes laid upon it, I couldn’t stop staring at it. How the hell did they build this back in the days?
It wasn’t just massive but the details in the carving was so intricate. Obviously, we did the very tourist thing to do which is snap massive amounts of pictures until we felt content. Looking in hindsight, we didn’t realize there was a higher viewpoint we could have visited as well.
Jack Sparrow harassment
After the Treasury, our goal was to continue hiking the Petra complex. Our goal was to hike up to the “High Place of Sacrifice” and to the Monastery.
That’s when things started turning sour for us. The entire Petra complex is full of these individuals that look like Jack Sparrows from Pirates of the Caribbean. They would follow you and harass you non-stop trying to sell you donkey rides or trinkets from their stores.
The harassment was unbearable. This is why I hate travelling to the middle east because touts just loves bothering you to squeeze money out of you. I really hate these people, they ruin the travel experience for everyone.
High Place of Sacrifice
The hike to the High Place of Sacrifice was brutal. It wasn’t really the steep incline hike that got us. It’s the boiling hot weather combined with the steep uphill climb together.
I’m not sure if the hike up the High Place of Sacrifice was worth it. The Petra complex is boiling hot and we were definitely dehydrated. To make matters worst, touts are harassing you leaving you mentally drained on top of the physical exhaustion you’re already experiencing.
After taking our pictures here, we began our final push to reach the Monastery which is our final destination.
Lucky for us, the day we decided to explore the Petra complex was also election day for the Jordanians. Many people closed up shop early so they can go and vote. This cleared up the Petra complex greatly giving us some badly needed peace of mind from the annoying Jack Sparrows.
When we finally reached the Monastery at the end, we had the whole place to ourselves. We were able to take awesome pictures free from other tourist in the background.
On the way back to the entrance of the Petra complex, we got lucky once again. The entire Treasury was empty! I don’t think this will ever happen again so we quickly snapped pictures without any other tourists in the background. We felt so lucky that it was voting day giving us this rare opportunity to take such photos.
My sister Eunice’s feet was hurting very bad at this point. We’ve been hiking the entire Petra complex for over 7 hours at this point. I think one of the reasons my sister was experiencing such pain was because we were dehydrated. When you get dehydrated, your limbs starts expanding. This in turn makes your shoes feel even tighter which I’m guessing constricts blood flow to your feet.
Thankfully for my sister, we found a ride back to our hotel to give her feet a badly needed rest. The individual driving us started talking to us about the election results.
He seems proud to mention that one of the election winners is a woman and that Jordan is trying hard to be a progressive country. Apparently, the country is trying to increase equality between men and women which is sorely lacking in many Muslim countries.
Journey to Wadi Rum
The following day, we would get a chance to visit Wadi Rum and stay overnight at a Bedouin camp. We got picked up and taken to the Wadi Rum protected area. There, we met with one of the guys running these tours and was quite upset that someone tried selling us a fake Wadi Rum tour. He told us about these scammers who takes tourists to a desert that looks like Wadi Rum but is really not.
He seemed very disturbed by this but eventually calmed down. One of his fellow Bedouin then took us to the first part of our trip in Wadi Rum which is an insane scrambling trek at Raqabat Canyon.
Hiking Raqabat Canyon was a massive shocker to us. Little did we know how sketchy this hike turned out to be. Had we known what we were up against, I don’t think we would have booked this hike. I can’t forget how many exposed ledges we had to climb on top of during this hike but there was definitely tons of them.
Our guide was quite helpful but it was definitely a scary hike in a very beautiful desert terrain.
At the end of the hike, we were rewarded with a beautiful view of the Wadi Rum desert where our adventure continued on.
A few years ago, the movie “The Martian” was filmed in Wadi Rum. When I saw this Mars looking landscape, my sisters, girlfriend, and I immediately put this desert in our bucket list of must see travel destinations.
So right after our hike in Raqabat Canyon was over, we got on the back of this truck and our tour of the desert began!
We started our tour by having a nice lunch in the middle of the desert. Our friendly guide cooked us a local meal and took a short afternoon nap. Sadly, the nap wasn’t very pleasant as flies kept pestering us.
The next part of the tour took us to Lawrence of Arabia’s house as well as several rock arches view points.
We also got the opportunity to check out wall art and scriptures at various different caves in Wadi Rum.
Our favourite part of the tour must have been this one view point that gave us this wide landscape view of the entire Wadi Rum desert.
Later in the day, our tour took us to a Bedouin camp where Karen and my sisters began feeding the camels with food.
We also got a chance to just hang out under the shaded camp drinking some Bedouin tea. Before long, we were taken to the camp where we would be spending the night.
While the Bedouins were preparing our dinner, they recommended we find a view point to watch the sunset in the desert.
Once the sun has set, the Bedouins brought us to our individual huts where we would be sleeping at night.
The Bedouin camp also had a washroom and shower area which was surprisingly clean and quite good!
Our dinner was prepared by grilling food under the sand. I’ve never had food prepared this way before but I’ve got to say that it was really delicious.
After dinner, the Bedouins started joking around with us. They told us that the milk from their goats is better than Viagra and everyone had a good laugh.
We enjoyed this magical evening watching the stars above the Wadi Rum desert before calling it a night.
I personally slept well during the night but Karen didn’t. I think she found the huts to be really stuffy.
Our tour took us back to the entrance of the protected area and they bid farewell to us. They also arranged a driver to take us to a city called Aqaba where we would grab a Royal Jordanian flight to go to Cairo Egypt with a connection in Amman.
We ended up just lounging around Aqaba because we were so tired from travelling fast. Our driver was pretty resourceful and found us an affordable hotel where we could rest up before our flight was ready.
We actually enjoyed Aqaba and ate at some local restaurants. This city was pretty funny because the people here thought we were workers in the cruise ships that passed by.
Flight out of Jordan
During our flight from Aqaba to Amman, I got a massive nose bleed. Maybe it’s from the heat but I was definitely freaked out that the bleeding wouldn’t stop. I ended up having to plug my nose and it wasn’t until we took our flight to Cairo that might nose stopped bleeding completely.
Jordan was still a rough country to travel to despite being better than Israel in terms of harassment and hospitality. Our next part of our journey would take us to Egypt where the height of harassment will be at its peak.