We have just returned from a wonderful short holiday in Jordan. Thanks to all forum users for your help in planning this vacation.
For our tour company we used Petra Night Tours (see separate review). They were very easy to work with and provided a great service.
We arrived in Amman in the evening and were picked up at the airport and transfered to Toledo Hotel. The hotel is not centrally located, but it was good enough for one night. There were a few restaurants nearby, but we chose to have dinner at the hotel. We felt safe exploring the neighborhood even though it was close to 11pm.
Early next morning we set out for our road trip en route to Petra. We stopped at Madaba, Mount Nebo, Kerak (with time to explore) and Shobak. The latter we only saw from afar, as we wanted to get to Little Petra before sunset. After Little Petra, we checked in to Amra Palace. For dinner, we walked to the main street to Petra Butcher BBQ. Good food and decently priced.
We got back to the hotel for some rest, and were later picked up to attend Petra at night. I must say, this is one of the best travel experiences I've ever had.Try to go the night before you explore Petra, so you do not know what to expect. There will be candles lightning up the path. Once you reach the Treasury, you will sit down in rugs and tea will be offered. Then there's a show-some siging and music. This while you look up at a thousand stars in the sky. Next day, when you visit Petra, you will be mesmerized at all the stuff you passed along the Siq you could not see at night. In january, it was a bit chilly when you sat down, but it was rather warm when you where walking around. So be sure to wear layers. A headlamp can be useful but it is not necessary.
Next morning we got to Petra at 7:30am and stayed until 4:30pm. We had a wonderful guide arranged by Petra Night Tours that explained the site. I usually don't use guides, but I have to say that we got much more out of the experience. Get one if you can. We had him for 3 hours, enough to explain the different sights at the Siq, the Treasury, the Royal Tombs and the roman ruins. Once we were finished with the guide, we hiked up to the Monastery. It took us about 45mins. We are in our 30s and we exercise regularly, but we are certainly not athletic. After we got to the top we rested for a while with a drink from the shop. On our way down we did some souvenir shopping at one of the little shops set up along the way. Better prices than at the ground level. The lunch buffet at Basin was 13jod and exactly what we needed to get some more energy to hike to the area of the royal tombs. After this it was getting late so we did not hike up to the high place of sacrifice. For us, one day of Petra was enough. If you don't think you can walk that much on one day, then split your visit in 2 days.
We then drove to Wadi Rum to stay at Rum Stars Camp in the protected area. There were 6 more people staying there for the night. We had a great dinner prepared on site by 2 wonderful young men from the bedouine tribes. They made sure we were comfortable and answered all our questions. Be sure to bring a headlamp and dress warm for the night. In January it was cold, but not unbareable. One blanket and one comforter were enough to keep us warm.
Next morning we took a 4 hour jeep tour were we saw the rock bridges, Lawrence of Arabia castle ruins, sand dunes and bedouine writings. By 1pm we were taken to the Arava border, where we crossed to Israel. Please see my trip review for that part of the trip.
So that was my trip. A few other things that come to mind:
Airport visa: There is an ATM and exchange from a jordanian bank right across the visa desk. There will be other ATMs at the airport arrivals, but none are from foreign banks. So feel free to get money here, no point waiting to get outside the airport.
Safety: As a woman, I felt completely safe the entire time, even when we walked around Amman late at night.
Roads: The roads were well paved and traffic outside of Amman was minimal. Don't think it would be too hard to drive if you are so inclined.
Language: English was widely spoken.
Our stay was only 3 days, but it sure felt like a lifetime of experiences. Jordan is now one of our top recommended destinations (after Iceland). If you have more time, include Jerash, Umm Quais and the Dead Sea in your visit.