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please help with short itinerary

Brisbane, Australia
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please help with short itinerary

We are very excited about our impending visit to Jordan ( in 3 weeks) but I am starting to think we need to flesh out a bit more of a plan.

At present we arrive at 5 am on a Friday and leave at 10am 2 days later. I have booked 2 nights at a hotel on the Dead Sea but can change if needed. Our main objective is to visit Petra but if we can fit in some other sites then we will. I know the Dead Sea would normally be an attraction and its relatively central location makes it appealing anyway but it will probably be too cold to swim so dont need to hang around long. We have been told by a good friend and frequent visitor ( ie 50+ times) that the ruins north of Amman are not to be missed so how do we do that too....

We are two adults and two teens ( and 4 suitcases)

My main questions are :

1. Should be rent a car and self drive ? We have done this before in UAE and Oman ( and many others countries) and found it worthwhile.

2. Would we be better off staying at a hotel in Amman on the first night, seeing the local sight the first day and heading to Petra on the second spending the 2nd night at the Dead Sea ?

3. There dont seem to be many guides ? Have looked at organised tours but they dont really appeal. Would prefer a local guide we could use privately but would have to have big enough car and correct insurance etc...

4. Is there anything else we could realistically fit into out visit ? It sounds like the Kings road will be too time consuming so need to be frugal with what little time we have

thanks so much for your help

Aqaba, Jordan
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1. Re: please help with short itinerary

you are cramming too much for 2 days.... (arrive fri. 5am / dept. sun 10am)

The Dead Sea would not be an ideal place to locate yourself..

If Petra is your main reason for the visit,,,, I would suggest heading straight to Petra,,,,, stay overnight in Petra, as it will be a tiring day... You can get an Airport Taxi to Petra..

You can pick up a guide once you are in Petra.

That then leaves you with a choice, of visiting the Dead Sea on the second day,,, then up to Jerash (the ruins north of Amman) ,,,, spending the night in Amman. or Dead Sea, Jerash and back to the Dead Sea for the night.

ciao

A99

Fontainebleau
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2. Re: please help with short itinerary

If you want to go to Petra, then definitely do not base yourselves at the Dead Sea. It might look central on a general map of Jordan but it is round a corner for the roads, and practically a dead end (sorry, no pun intended).

I agree with A00: go direct(ly to Petra to the airport and spend time there. If you only visit here in Jordan, then that's fine, but you can pick up your reservation for the Dead Sea hotel the night before you leave, although you will need a taxi to get there.

The ruins at Jerash are very interesting and are worth a visit, but not in the time you have available when you want to go to Petra which is 250kms south of Amman.

A rental car is probably the best solution when you have no time at all to waste; the Jordan main roads are excellent, clearly signposted and if you have a map with you, even a basic one which a rental company should supply, you would have no problems with route finding.

You can always download a map from the Internet if you don't have one. Have a good look at www.jordanjubilee.com before leaving!

Perth, Australia
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3. Re: please help with short itinerary

Hi 40ishcouple and teens

I assume you be arriving on Emirates from Brisbane and you might need some time to recover from jetlag,but that is another matter.

Since time is limited and prescious the best way to go about it is to hire a comfortable ie a van/ car/driver for duration of your visit.

From airport head direct to Petra 3 hours drive visit Petra for the day and you could either stay over night or return to Amman if you are up to it.You can decide on that on the day.It is easy to book into a 4/5 stars any day of the year at short notice.

From Amman on Saturday head to visit Jerash for 3 hours then down hill one hour drive to Dead Sea for R and R .You can stay overnight or return to Amman for the night.enjoy visiting the Rainbow street in Jebal Amman or just have a stroll in down town and have a real taste of Amman

Sunday in Amman special breakfast at famous Hashim restaurant(where kings dine) in down town Amman or the Abu Jbara in Almadina Almunawara street before

heading to airport.

UK
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4. Re: please help with short itinerary

Try this... from www.hooleytime.com

Hooleytime share their advice and schedule for a Week’s holiday in Jordan

If you want to experience Jordan and its people in a week – here’s the backbone for a brilliant experience. Here’s some first-hand 2011 advice and pointers to those also wanting to enjoy their holiday in alcohol friendly locations! We’ve tried to keep this as a simple and to the point practical guide so that you can use this as a ‘cheat’ schedule but keep the discovery on your own trip!

(We recommend the Lonely Planet as a detailed guide!)

We took a Group trip of 8 independently minded professionals for a week to Jordan in November, having first done a recce in May; so we had been able to work out what to focus on for the group trip. The group had a memorable, eventful and above all a brilliant holiday, filled with Adventure, Culture and developing friendships, enhanced by the welcoming Jordanians we met along the way.

Flights

Easy jet started flying into Amman from Gatwick at the start of 2011 and if you book your flights quickly, you can get them for around £200 including baggage allowance and speedy boarding if you’re lucky. You can’t get flights every day, but we did a Sunday night to Sunday night experience and except for the really late flight back to London and miserable return to work the next day, it worked well.

Remember to take 20JD in cash for your visa at the airport.

Getting Around Jordan

We hired cars. You can get buses, but it’s not easy to get everywhere with them and you’re likely to have to use taxis or a driver as well. It’s not difficult to drive in Jordan (you drive on the right!), providing you avoid Amman (think driving in Central London with no rules!) and try to avoid driving at night. The Jordanians specialise in driving huge articulated Lorries with poor or no lights either driving at breakneck or snail speed – incredibly dangerous and terrifying.

Make sure you negotiate your car hire – don’t take the first offer. We used www.montecar.com on both occasions and paid 197JOD for each car, plus additional insurance of 49JD to avoid any excess – I would recommend this!

I searched in many map shops including Stamford’s for a decent map of Jordan – it doesn’t exist. The best way to navigate is to use a sketchy Country map (the car hire people will give you this), the city maps in the Lonely Planet (they’re actually pretty accurate!) and the dreaded Satnav. Don’t rely on Satnav completely – it’s quite happy to tell you to go up one way roads or even onto a road which is yet to be built! However it is useful to find a hotel when you’ve already reached the town that you’re staying in. Be prepared to get lost – on occasions this was quite stressful when you’ve got a group of people relying on you to navigate – but there were times it took us to parts of the city and to people we would never have otherwise come across and made the trip more unique for us!

How strict a Muslim Country is it?

Jordan is a pretty relaxed Muslim Country. As a female I organised and ran this trip, although it was useful to have a man to negotiate on your behalf – they do prefer to deal with Men. In terms of dress, we tended to dress conservatively in loose trousers and tops, apart from in Aqaba at the Private Beach Club, however there are plenty of Westerners who walk round Petra in strappy tops and shorts.

Don’t expect to meet many women in Jordan when you’re outside Amman; we met a couple running hotels and restaurants in Madaba but after that I don’t think I spoke to one for the rest of the trip.

Currency

1 JD = £0.87 (Nov 2011)

Time Difference = 2 hours ahead of the UK

When should you go?

Best times to go are April, May, October and November. May is hotter so Petra will be more of a struggle but you enjoy warmer weather at the Dead and Red Seas. Avoid booking during Eid in November as it will be much more expensive.

Suggested Trip

We only had a week and so after the initial recce we did in May at breakneck speed over 10 days – for the group November trip we dropped Amman (hectic and impersonal) and Jerash (Roman ruins can be visited in the UK ) and headed South from the Airport…

Sunday Night

If your flight’s on time, you’ll get out of the airport around 9-9.30 after queuing for your Visa (20JD) and sorting your car hire. Car hire takes time so be patient!

We then drove to Madaba, which is approximately 30-40 mins from the airport and relatively easy to get to in the dark. Ask the car hire guys to lead you out of the airport and to the Madaba turn off and it will be much easier for you. We were meant to have a booking at the Haret Jdoudna Complex, but they were shut when we arrived there at 10.30pm having dumped our bags at the hotel. (I previously would have recommended this as a sophisticated Jordanian experience which is popular with the locals) Instead we went to a lovely restaurant which is just opposite St Georges Church down an alleyway and up some stairs called??? Delicious Jordanian food and wine.

We stayed at http://www.mariamhotel.com/ and paid 35JD for twin rooms B&B. 3* equivalent hotel, really efficient, central, clean with a swimming pool. We stayed in Madaba on Sunday night because it was easy to get to from the airport and was a good starting point for the Kings Highway to Petra the next day.

Monday

We left the hotel at 9 and started driving up the Kings Highway towards Petra. The aim was to get there for a late lunch with the intention of spending a couple of hours in Petra that afternoon. We got distracted! The Kings Highway is a beautiful road and you just have to slow down, stop and enjoy the amazing sights and experiences with the locals along the way. Several coffee stops later, we arrived at Karak and decided to abandon plans of Petra in the daylight – and explore one of the world’s best Crusader Castles.

Monday Night to Tuesday Night

We eventually arrived in Wadi Musa around 6pm and some of the team took advantage of the hotel Turkish Bath, before a speedy supper at the hotel and onwards to Petra to do ‘Petra at Night’. Don’t bother looking for a decent restaurant in Wadi Musa – there surprisingly isn’t one. We stayed at www.amrapalace.com, which had been recommended to me by a Canadian couple on my first trip to Petra. We negotiated this down to 52 per twin room, b&b. Great 3* ish hotel, brilliant value and we had a delicious local buffet supper here for 7.5JD.

Make sure you do Petra by night – they only do it every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. The Siq is lit up by hundreds of lanterns – it’s exciting and magical (even when it’s raining and the Siq is flooded on your return so you have to wade back!)

Finish the night off with a drink at the Cave Bar, which is on the left hand side as you come out of Petra back into Wadi Musa. If you’re lucky the locals will be up for dancing and you won’t be able to refuse to help turn the Cave bar into a Night Club!

Get up as early as you can and spend the whole day in Petra. Guidebooks will suggest that you can spend at least 4 days exploring Petra. For our group they were satisfied with Petra at Night and then a full day there, but if you’re doing a longer trip I’d try and spend more time there – it is like nothing you have ever experienced.

Tips for Petra are to take a packed lunch with you (your hotel will prepare you one for about 4.5JD) as there are only two places you can eat at once you’re inside Petra and actually the best place to have your lunch is on a rock overlooking the amazing views, perhaps under some shade with some delicious Bedouin tea!

Other tips are to choose your top three priorities to see in Petra and then let the mood and the locals dictate the rest of your day, soaking up the atmosphere and feel of Petra itself.

My top moments were at the Top of the High Altar, looking down on the hustle and bustle around the Amphitheatre, the Glorious Monastery including the climb up there and numerous stops for sweet tea and to buy presents and watching the sunset over the Treasury. (Actually I didn’t make the latter, I made the Royal Tombs and flaked there… but I wish I had!)

A wonderful way to finish the day (if you don’t lose one of your party and have to send out a police search party in the dark) is to have a Turkish bath – even better when you can have it at your local hotel at the Amra Palace.

We then punchily drove from Petra that night to Aqaba, to make the most of a full day’s diving and snorkelling. I wouldn’t recommend it – it’s hard enough to navigate your way round Jordan in the daylight and some of the roads are treacherous at night. If you do decide to drive there at night – don’t be tempted to take the back road around Aqaba to the beach resorts; it’s really only used for Lorries on their way to the Port and they drive at breakneck speed and often with few lights. It was a terrifying experience and we nearly got wiped out. Twice. Oh and visited the Saudi border.

Tuesday Night – Thursday Lunchtime

Aqaba is a large sprawling city and you go there predominantly for the diving, snorkelling and beach action.

Because of this, you need to stay on the coast outside Aqaba and make the most of it.

You can either stay at the large impersonal chain 5* hotels, or opt for a more travelleresq option and stay at one of the more budget hostels. Don’t go midrange – they tend to be run down, depressing and empty. In November, we stayed at the Bedouin Garden Village bedwinjamal@yahoocom, which is a hippy hostel also popular with ex pats on holiday from Amman. If you stay here, remember to bring alcohol with you as they don’t sell it but are happy for you to bring it in. It’s very basic here but we loved the chill out areas to catch up on e mails with the free Wi-Fi and smoke shisha. It cost us 30 JD for a twin room B&B per night.

Although we slept at the Bedouin Garden Village, we spent all our time at the new and luxurious Beach Club and Diving Centre run by Nabeel and the Jordan Diving Center www.jordandivingcenter.com

Some of us went diving for 2 days, some went snorkelling and a couple of the girls didn’t move from their sun beds for 2 days, making the most of the luxury of this beach club.

Expect to pay around 50JD for a ‘Discover Scuba Diving’ course or 45JD for 2 dives plus equipment. Diving and snorkelling is very accessible and stress free in Jordan – the majority of the dives are accessible from the beach and there is a great wreck dive right next to the Beach Club. The instructors are excellent, patient and delightful to look at. 

You have to pay an entrance fee of 10JD to use the beach club, but it is worth it and I wouldn’t recommend sunbathing in a bikini on a public beach in Aqaba.

This set up was perfect for a group – we could all stay together but be as active or as inactive as we chose to be and meet up for delicious and affordable lunches at the club.

For suppers, try Ali Baba in Aqaba, which was recommended to us by Francois one of the diving instructors. Huge choice, great service and good value.

We set off for Wadi Rum on Thursday afternoon around 2pm, to try and get there in time for the sunset. It’s very straightforward to get to by the Desert Highway and takes about an hour from Aqaba.

(Don’t speed you will get caught as they have lots of manual speed guns on the highways and unlike the majority of the other Jordanians we met, they aren’t so friendly!)

Thursday Night to Saturday Lunchtime

Staying in the desert had been our highlight in May, so for the trip in November we stayed there for two nights and yet again had a unique and fulfilling desert experience.

We stayed with Ahmed and his brothers Eid and Saalem www.rumstars.com - We slept under the stars in May - but in mid-November it gets bitterly cold at night and we needed the tents and blankets provided! It is the most wonderful place and staying with these Bedouin brothers is the best way to see the desert. Delicious food and the brothers were totally up for Scottish dancing at night to keep warm under the carpet of stars.

I would recommend that you design your own trip with Ahmed at the start of your trip - we did a big trek to look over Saudi and also rode out of the camp on camels on the last day - make your trip bespoke and get rid of the other tourists... one little bridge is pretty similar to another one but sitting on your own on a rock watching the sun going down is unique.

For our bespoke trip for 2 nights, 1 day in the desert and 3 hours coming out on camels, we negotiated 100JD per person. This included all delicious food and drink. You can take alcohol with you into the camp – they quite happy with you doing this; one of the girls had her Birthday and we celebrated with champagne by the camp fire, Scottish dancing with the Bedouins and playing cards.

Saturday Lunchtime to Sunday Night

The group came out triumphant and dirty on camels desperate for a decent loo and a large bath! We made our way to the Dead Sea via lunch in Aqaba, which took around 3 hours to drive there. Go up the Dead Sea Highway with stunning views of the Mountains, Dana nature reserve and the Dead Sea across to Israel.

The Dead Sea was treat time and the best (and I think the only) way to do it is to stay in one of the 5* hotel complexes. The top ones are either the Kempinski or the Movenpick and both have huge and impressive spa complexes. Make sure that you negotiate your rates with them; often the best way is to book one last minute through an online offer, although that’s difficult to do if you’re booking a group. We paid 161JD including tax for a twin room b & B.

Sunday morning was spent either draped in mud or floating on the Dead Sea. Our group then parted company, with some going off to treat themselves with massages at the spa and others off to visit Bethany-Beyond-The-Jordan, where Jesus was baptised, and to Mount Nebo. Be careful to get to the former site before 3pm in the winter, otherwise you’ll find uncooperative guards; the only unhelpful Jordanians we came across on our trip!

After another packed day, we made our way through the dark and the rain to the airport, just scraping in for check in. We thought it would take 40 minutes to get there, but it took nearer to 1 hour 30 minutes with the weather and heavy traffic close to the airport.

Dos and Don’ts (and a documentation of all incidents!)

1. Do check that you have the right Camera before you get to the airport and realise that you’ve left the one with the film ability behind

2. Do get Speedy boarding and annoy all the other passengers by saving some great seats for your group so that you can get off first and be at the front of the visa queue.

3. Don’t drive in Amman.

4. Do walk rather than drive up vertical road to get to Karak Castle; to avoid almost certain wheel spin, lack of control and an expensive hire car bill

5. Do follow your Karak castle guide; he may get upset by you disappearing down holes and into graves

6. Don’t lose any of your party at Petra by agreeing on a meeting point at the end of the day. The Cave is a perfect one and the Police really aren’t that enthusiastic about looking for a lost English man in a Kilt.

7. Do take a raincoat; otherwise you’ll end up spending most of your time in a pink condomesque plastic mac bought at great haste in Petra.

8. Do take a packed lunch with you to Petra, there is very little choice when you’re in Petra and this way you can decide which rock to have lunch on

9. Don’t drive in the Dark and whatever you do don’t be tempted to pull out in front of those crazy speeding lorries on the way to the Red Sea. Expect your car sliced in two under another crazy lorry doing a U-turn on a dual carriageway. It’s quite normal in Jordan.

10. In light of above hairy trip to Aqaba, do remember to take emergency wine provisions for when you arrive in Aqaba and realise you need to bring this with you for travel recovery purposes.

11. Do try to avoid the only pesky tree in the desert (by Laurence’s water hole) and avoid slicing your face before TV presenting job 2 days later.

12. Do remember that a Chelsea lass will only last 2 nights in the desert before a breakdown about the Bedouin’s desert facilities (or lack of)

13. Do dance in the desert! The Bedouins love Scottish dancing in the desert. A great way to get warm at night under the stars and show them some of our culture!

14. Do take warm kit for the desert – it is freezing at night in November!

15. Do grilled not fried hallumi

16. Don’t get caught speeding

17. Do think about a good group number. 8s the perfect number for a group trip like this. Not too many to ensure the trip remains flexible; enough to have much hilarity.

18. Do take Imodium. We thankfully got hit at the end of the trip, but this allowed me to exit the plane without another incident!

Perth, Australia
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for Syria, Aleppo, Jordan
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5. Re: please help with short itinerary

hooleytime thank you for taking the time .That is a wonderful trip report action filled and best utilised your time in Jordan.I enjoyed reading.

Your advice is valuable to many readers especially the Imodium in summer time where you are likely to catch a bug or two if you eat contminated food from the street .

cheers

Brisbane, Australia
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6. Re: please help with short itinerary

Thank you all for your replies. Great TR Hooleytime and especially helpful for other travelers from the UK I would think.

We are actually flying in from Bangkok on RJ ( which will b a first)

Would have loved to spend the first night in Petra but am a bit concerned about a 3 hour drive after a 10 hour red eye. I think we will definately hire a car - whilst taxis sound easy we will have 4 suitcases ( on our way to italy with winter clothes) so am not confident there will be room or at least the ability to

travel with a degree of comfort.

Perhaps we should stay in Amman the first night - straight to hotel to check in or at least dump bags the to Jerrash. Somewhere good for dinner in Amman ( some great reviews on a number of places ) . the drive to Petra the second day and spend that night at the Dead Sea ?

I know distances can be deceiving on a map but remember we are used to covering very large distances in Australia. It's not unusual for people to drive 90 minutes to work and back every day here. and I know we seem to be trying to do a lot but we are pretty seasoned travelers and usually get a lot of bang for our buck. also have to keep everyone's interests in mind - our youngest is in fact 10 so probably a half day at Petra will be sadly our limit.

( until recently I was a DE in Australia. Our forum is full of people trying to see the whole country- 20 times the size of Jordan- in 4 days, lol )

So do you think 1 night Amman, 1 night dead sea + hire car sounds like a plan ?

So do you think 1 night Amman and 1 night

Edited: 09 December 2011, 23:18
Brisbane, Australia
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4,135 posts
91 reviews
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7. Re: please help with short itinerary

Thank you all for your replies. Great TR Hooleytime and especially helpful for other travelers from the UK I would think.

We are actually flying in from Bangkok on RJ ( which will b a first)

Would have loved to spend the first night in Petra but am a bit concerned about a 3 hour drive after a 10 hour red eye. I think we will definately hire a car - whilst taxis sound easy we will have 4 suitcases ( on our way to italy with winter clothes) so am not confident there will be room or at least the ability to

travel with a degree of comfort.

Perhaps we should stay in Amman the first night - straight to hotel to check in or at least dump bags the to Jerrash. Somewhere good for dinner in Amman ( some great reviews on a number of places ) . the drive to Petra the second day and spend that night at the Dead Sea ?

I know distances can be deceiving on a map but remember we are used to covering very large distances in Australia. It's not unusual for people to drive 90 minutes to work and back every day here. and I know we seem to be trying to do a lot but we are pretty seasoned travelers and usually get a lot of bang for our buck. also have to keep everyone's interests in mind - our youngest is in fact 10 so probably a half day at Petra will be sadly our limit.

( until recently I was a DE in Australia. Our forum is full of people trying to see the whole country- 20 times the size of Jordan- in 4 days, lol )

So do you think 1 night Amman, 1 night dead sea + hire car sounds like a plan ?

So do you think 1 night Amman and 1 night

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
4,135 posts
91 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: please help with short itinerary

Thank you all for your replies. Great TR Hooleytime and especially helpful for other travelers from the UK I would think.

We are actually flying in from Bangkok on RJ ( which will b a first)

Would have loved to spend the first night in Petra but am a bit concerned about a 3 hour drive after a 10 hour red eye. I think we will definately hire a car - whilst taxis sound easy we will have 4 suitcases ( on our way to italy with winter clothes) so am not confident there will be room or at least the ability to

travel with a degree of comfort.

Perhaps we should stay in Amman the first night - straight to hotel to check in or at least dump bags the to Jerrash. Somewhere good for dinner in Amman ( some great reviews on a number of places ) . the drive to Petra the second day and spend that night at the Dead Sea ?

I know distances can be deceiving on a map but remember we are used to covering very large distances in Australia. It's not unusual for people to drive 90 minutes to work and back every day here. and I know we seem to be trying to do a lot but we are pretty seasoned travelers and usually get a lot of bang for our buck. also have to keep everyone's interests in mind - our youngest is in fact 10 so probably a half day at Petra will be sadly our limit.

( until recently I was a DE in Australia. Our forum is full of people trying to see the whole country- 20 times the size of Jordan- in 4 days, lol )

So do you think 1 night Amman, 1 night dead sea + hire car sounds like a plan ?

So do you think 1 night Amman and 1 night

Brisbane, Australia
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4,135 posts
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9. Re: please help with short itinerary

Sorry cannot edit on IPad ( TA posts won't scroll so can only edit the top of them .You also cant do preview ;-) Am not dyslexic. nor usually repeat myself, lol ;-))

Perth, Australia
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10. Re: please help with short itinerary

A van and driver cost a little bit more than car/driver but a lot more comfort for the family to meet you at airport.

Straight to your hotel in Amman dump you bags and may be a quick breaky.

Head to Jerash for 3 hours visit then down hill to Dead Sea via Madaba and Mt.Nebo /At Dead Sea enjoy a dip and mud paint then a buffet dinner at Amman Beach before retun to amman .

Next day early to Wadi Mousa to visit Petra and return to Amman for the night. in total six hours of driving and four hours visit Petra.

I think this is the most you could do in the short time that you have.

Cheers