Our family spent 1 week of touring the beautiful country of Jordan with Petra Nights Tours. It was perfectly arranged and organized. We had contacted the company 2 months prior to our scheduled trip to discuss the details of the tour itinerary. It was easy and the company was very accommodative of our requests, even going through several iterations of the itinerary before finalizing the tour.
On the day of our arrival in Jordan, we were dutifully met by their representative who escorted and assisted us through immigration and helped us with our luggage. We were then introduced to our driver who was with us throughout the entire duration of our tour. The driver was very friendly, professional, spoke excellent English and very accommodative. The minivan was comfortable and clean; with perfect functioning air-conditioning. Our tour included substantial amount of travelling on the road, visiting all the major historical sites including Jerash, Dead Sea, Petra and Wadi Rum.
Each day we will be driven to the designated site and handed over to a local guide, who took care of us, explaining all the details about the site/area. This was particularly evident in Petra and Wadi Rum since special knowledge of these areas was required in order to be able to explain the intricacies and the history of the site/area. On conclusion of our program for the day, the driver would take us back to our hotel.
Though we had an excellent time going with Petra Nights Tours, we felt that it is important for others who are planning to use the company for their visit to Jordan to understand the nature of how the tour company operates. Even though we were assigned a ‘dedicated’ driver during the entire course of our tour, we soon realized that we were NOT the only customers the driver is handling at any given time. There was at least 1 other group who were sharing the same driver at the same time. We happened to obtain this information by coincidence and by putting the puzzle pieces together.
Now, one must be wondering why this information is important and how it will affect you as a tourist.
Here’s how … On several occasions, our itinerary was changed during the course of our tour. For example, instead of starting early in the morning, it was pushed back to the afternoon; thereby reducing our time in the next destination and vice versa. Also, some sites though not significant; were skipped in order to reduce the travelling time. Of course, the driver never revealed the true reasons as to why the itinerary was changed nor will he take the decision to effect the change. He will however coax you into making the decision by mentioning things such as; there is no scheduled activities happening during that time of the day or it would be better if you start early/later so that there will be less crowd, possible bad weather conditions etc. On hindsight, it was all very cunning maneuvers, cleverly executed; allowing the driver to handle another group of customers who happened to be around the same area/location. We do not blame the driver simply because he has been given strict instructions and orders from the company. It is the people at the company’s operational planning that should be accountable.
However, our main concern was not so much of having to deal with the changes in the itinerary; we were more concern of the driver’s fatigue which could comprise our safety on the road. Fortunately for us, nothing undesirable happened during our trip.
We also suffered the same fate as one of the reviewers whereby the admission to the RACE show at Jerash was cancelled (or unavailable) although we have paid for it and was included in our itinerary; we were never refunded for the tickets.
We are not sure if the other tour companies operate in the same manner and cannot comment on the reasons why such situation occurred. But we felt that Petra Nights Tours should be more considerate when dealing with their customers and not to over commit themselves by taking on more businesses, thereby compromising the safety of their drivers and customers; and jeopardizing the agreed itinerary.
So, if you are planning to use the company for your tour in Jordan, be prepared for any unplanned changes and insist on sticking to the scheduled itinerary, especially if your tour involves substantial amount of road travelling from one place to another. Be sure to ask for any refund from the company for any ‘unused’ tickets or admissions that were included as part of your itinerary.
TIPS: Book your own accommodation, you can get much cheaper rate ...
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