Jordan…

With unique harmony of the modern and ancient, extremely Arab but as far west as possible, where you can use desert and water in the same sentence, far away but so close.

Have you heard anything called the colour of Petra? I made it up J It is a colour that calls you, between dark and light red, not brown but seems orange. I do not know if we have been overexposed to this colour lately or those fascinating photographs that we are constantly seeing, but our way to Jordan has now appeared. We couldn’t bear it any longer and started to make plans.

While making plans about Jordan, we determined that there were conditions that were not very suitable for Mete, who is the tiny member of our team, and we continued planning much easier with the decision to leave Mete to his grandmother. When we say unsuitable conditions, do not immediately think of bad things, only the activities we planned to do (accommodation in the desert, desert safari and long walks) and the date we were going in (August) were not appropriate. That’s all; otherwise you can go to Jordan with your child and have a very nice holiday.

Completing the plans away from Mete, We settled for going to Jordan on the next day of our return from our European holiday. Jordan has begun to make us happy before we even go because it doesn’t request a visa, and also, that we can reach it by direct flight from Ankara with Pegasus Airlines. The fact that the visa is not required is not only perceived as getting rid of the load of paper work dealt with, but also means that you are exempted from 40JOD per person paid for the visa, that is, approximately 200TL

We leave our baggage which are small luggage (and getting smaller since mete came to life) then we move forward to ride the plane which will give us a chance to meet a country that is misjudged because of its geographic location and it is the reason why it is not on so many people’s ‘countries to visit’ list but actually must be seen

After an hour and a half flight from Ankara, we land at the airport in Amman, the capital of Jordan. With the landing, we are gradually beginning to get rid of the prejudices we have. The airport is fairly new, tidy and clean. We enter the country by entering the line of Jordanian people at the passport control counters due to the fact that they are visa-free. Know in advance which is the correct line for you to stand in, so you don’t end up like us, as we stood in the line of citizens of other countries and waited until the end and then the security sent us to the Jordanian people line.

To get our sim cards that we will use during our trip before leaving the airport, we are moving to “ZAIN” counter, the company that I read about while planning that has the best attraction in Jordan. We get the sim card with 5GB internet package for 12JOD, about 60TL. I suggest you ask the employee to insert your SIM card into your phone and activate it.

Let’s talk about Jordan’s Dinar (JOD Jordanian Dinar), which is the currency of Jordan. Due to being an old English mandate, its currency always equals British Pound, really valuable (1JOD = 5,5TL August 2017. The question of whether Jordan is an expensive country may come to mind here, yes, Jordan is an expensive country, it is expensive even when compared to a European country. Well, although it is so expensive, are its people in luxury?, no, it is expensive for us, the tourist. They solved the job.

Taking our sim card and 1 small suitcase, we continue towards the exit to meet the employee from the car rental company that I have already booked. I got very excited when I saw for the first time in my life someone waiting for me with a sign that has my name on it, we moved forward to him. It was a really exciting thing.

I highly recommend you to rent a car, which is the most logical and comfortable way, as we have determined that transportation is also a problem despite the fact that Jordan gets most of its income from tourism. Rental prices are at average prices, diesel vehicles are almost absent and gasoline is cheaper than our country. It is possible to find international car rental companies as well as local companies.  My only advice is that more than half of the tourists coming to the country think like us and rent a car, so you should make a reservation in advance. Otherwise, you may not find a car or you can make an uncomfortable trip with a very old car. If you do not think about renting a car and plan to travel by taxi, I would say do not get into the car without negotiation.

My first suggestion when renting a car is of course for it to be cheap, but the situation in Jordan is a bit different. Since the roads are not in very high quality and the traffic flows according to the rules set by the drivers, you can rent a more comfortable and safer car by giving three cents more if necessary. We had a bad experience by renting the cheapest car Hyundai I10. But don’t you .It is also worth noting that companies at the airport are more expensive.

We have officially started our adventure in Jordan by taking our vehicle from the employee. We are on our way to Wadi Rum in the south, our first stop. We made our plan starting from the south and going north. In this way we saved ourselves the long desert ways and choose a more comfortable way on our return day.

Even if it is 1 and a half hour, Ozlem takes the chance of metes absence and immediately takes the sleeping position on the back seat. Our road is long, 291 km and about 3 and a half hour. There are two main roads in Jordan that cover the country from north to south 15 and 35 roads.  We continue on the 15 road.  There are no traffic lights along the way, but contrary to the fact that there are constant bumps, it seems quite weird to us. In addition, a different thing is that there is a police checkpoint almost every 30-40 km. It is a good application in terms of making you feel safer than an uncomfortable situation. When they stop you they check the passport + driver’s license and the license of your vehicle. By the way, unlike our vehicle license, you have card information in the form and size of a credit card.

The main purpose of these police check points that we learn later, is because it is located in a problematic geography, to control the excessive number of immigrants who have come to their country recently and to identify illegal entrants.

When it is finally dark, we can see the “Wadi Rum” sign, which is “Moon Valley” in Turkish and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. After returning to Wadi Rum from the main road, it takes about 25km to reach the entrance of Wadi Rum National Park, we pay 5 dinars with an entrance fee and we go to Wadi Rum Village, which is the last settlement for 10 minutes. Here the system works like this. You tell the Bedouin camp / hotel that you have previously reserved for when you will be in Wadi Rum Village and they welcome you in the village with 4×4 vehicles at that hour. Because it is forbidden to continue with other vehicles.

We park in the parking lot that is made especially for the village and we meet with the Camp employee. Although we could not see this fascinating place because of the darkness but we can already understand because of the sense that we get from wondering what kind of a place we will encounter in the next day. The camp we choose was relatively expensive compared to those around it. the reason we preferred this one is because that we will be staying in the desert for the first time and we saw that it was better, has stronger structure and more accommodation options than the other options around. We are over to our hotel by driving almost 45 minutes through the desert. After the check-in process the next step is making a plan for the next day the activity of wadi rum is safari. If you come here and say I won’t pay almost 90 JOD which is almost 500 Turkish lira for a full day safari for two adults including lunch then do not visit wadi rum in the first place. We head towards the tent where we will stay while making the plan of the next day.

There are two types of tents in the hotel. The first one is the Bedouin tents made of black hair, which we prefer because it is cheaper. And the other is bubble tents with transparent ceilings. Don’t call it a tent, I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see such a clean, large and comfortable place in the middle of the desert. The thing about the transparent bubble tents, seeing stars from where you sleep at night. yes, it sounds good but the transparency of the bubble tents was not very clear because of the sands that are carried by the desert wind all day. People who stayed in them were happy to sit on the pear bags in front of their tents and watch the stars, like us, for a clear view.

I recommend not to sleep without seeing the stars shining like diamonds sprinkled on black canvas in the night pitch black darkness. Also, as the desert weather is known, even in the hottest day the night is cool because of the sudden drop in temperature. So don’t say, “I’m going to the desert in August, nothing will happen to me!” don’t miss packing a long sleeve outfit.

After breakfast, we meet our Bedouin driver at the scheduled time. Let’s also clarify the subject of clothing before the tour, since you will be exposed to an excessive amount of dust during the safari, at least one shawl, cover; since your shoes will be filled with sands and will be ruined, an old but comfortable shoe, slippers, that you can preferably give up on; Since that you will be in the sun light for a long time do not wear too short clothes, shorts or else you might get sunburn here or there.

First, we go to Wadi Rum Village with our Bedouin driver and get our food and drinking water for lunch. Then we discover this fascinating place in the daylight that we passed last night but could not see anything. Wadi Rum is a wonderful place in itself. The hills, which are unique, covered in Petra colour, which I mentioned at the beginning of my writing the immense sands and the rocky hills which look like the remaining  part  of  a bitten chocolate, it take you from this world and make you feel like you are on Mars.

During the safari tour, you can reach the red sand dunes, the only source of water in the middle of the desert, canyons, rock bridges, historical ruins, places with inscriptions drawn on the rocks, Where The Martian – Lawrence of Arabia and movies like it where shot, places where you can view from above by climbing up, camel farm, mushroom and cow-shaped rocks and many more.

Since we preferred the whole day tour, we eat the food prepared by our Bedouin guide in a rock shade at noon and continue the tour with some rest. It is entirely up to you to choose the duration of the tour. Prices depend on your selection. Our reason for choosing the whole day tour is both to see every place in Wadi Rum and to watch the amazing sunset. I strongly recommend you to plan a tour to cover the sunset, even tho not all day.

Wadi Rum is a truly fascinating place, during the departure the next morning, we understand this one more time and slowly move away even though our feet want to go back. Next is Petra.

The lesson learned; the activity of Wadi Rum is safari. Of course the accommodation is important, but I can say that there is no need to give a lot of money. It makes more sense to stay in a very convenient place, give safari longer and therefore more money.

During the return, I suggest you to visit the train between the Wadi Rum and the main road, which remained on the Hejaz Railway built by the Ottoman Empire and on which the Turkish flag was waved above. It is right next to the road and easily accessible.

At noon we arrive at the city of Petra. The hotel we will stay in here is Petra Moon Hotel. The reason for our accommodation is the distance of 300 meters to the entrance of the Ancient City of Petra and the suitability of its price. In fact, Petra Mövenpick is the closest to Petra Ancient City entrance and I think the most beautiful hotel in Petra, but we are willing to walk 200 meters more due to the price gap in between.

It’s time to see it! There are some places, it is not important how many time you have seen them, you will not be tired of seeing and looking for more, you will be excited to feel more of your emotions. For me and Özlem Petra is one of these places. We enter the ticket queue with these feelings and thoughts.

Tickets are 50 per day per person. The two-day 55JOD is about 250-300TL per person. Even though this is the highest amount we have ever given to a ticket, we paid it gladly. Let’s add that this price is the price if you are going to stay in Petra city for one night, or you will get the ticket as 90JOD per day. But I am sure you can overcome this with a reservation printout that can be taken from booking sites, you know. By the way, if you fly to Jordan with THY, you can get a 15% discount by showing your ticket.

We bought our ticket and we continue with our indispensable at least 2 bottles of  1 and a half litre water. After passing through the ticket office, a 600-meter gravel and dusty road is waiting for you until you reach the valley. Throughout this road, you are likely to be polled by the Bedouins who constantly come to you and insist that you ride animals such as horses, mules and donkeys, and even say that they are included in the entrance ticket, whereas there is no such thing and they ask for a high amount of tips if you get on.  We did not get on, I do not recommend you to get on, because you are in a place where you can see a different beauty with every step you take on foot.

At the end of this dusty, gravel road, we begin the journey to the hidden planet amongst the rocks that are about 200 meters called Siq. This hidden city, which was founded by the Nebatis years ago, speeds up the heartbeat before you even arrive with its curved corridor.  I do not want to reach the end of this corridor so soon and I recommend you not to miss the beauty that you can see right and left (water line, fig trees coming out of rocks, monumental tombs, Petra shades of rocks, inscriptions, stairs, half-finished camels and human figures, stones on the ground). If you want to know about these beauties and the Ancient City of Petra from the experts and get more information, local guide friends who speak English at the ticket office are your best options. They demand 50JOD as price (no we did not; we studied our lesson well before coming).

If sounds start to rise at the end of the corridor and you hear people screaming with excitement, know that you have arrived at Al Khazneh (The Treasury. This is the colour of Petra!  Many years ago about 40 meters high, 25 meters wide art piece made with all human effort is really an engineering marvel!  Özlem and me stand unastonished for a while in front of this work, one of the seven wonders of the world.

In order to extend the time of our happiness, we sit at one of the benches just in front of it and rest, as well as look at the Treasury and enjoy the moment. According to some, this work, which does not have a complete understanding of why it was built, is a tomb, for some, it is a temple. Whoever did it, good job!  We continue our way by taking lots of photographs, continuing on the right of the Treasury.

Despite how beautiful and impressive the treasury is, unfortunately, the crowd, noise and persistence of the tourist hunter local sellers is so sad at the same time. The only thing we wish that wasn’t like this, but nothing to do.  In the meantime they do not allow us to go up the side of the cafe on the left, to take a photo of the Treasury from above, they said it was absolutely necessary to go up with a local seller and the price was 10JOD per person, which is or 50TL per person. It was very annoying, so we continue our way by leaving this part be incomplete.

After a while, we pass through the city ruins and graves carved into the rocks on the left and right and come to the ancient theatre from the Roman period. At every step another piece of art appears. After passing the ancient theatre, the Royal Tombs, which presents itself to you with all its beauty, appears on the right.  If you have time.  each of these tombs have their own beauty;  Urn Tomb, Silk Tomb, Corinthian Tomb, Palace Tomb, Sextus Florentinus Tomb are waiting for you.

We continue our walk through the columns on the Roman road, which we encounter after the graves. The place we are trying to reach is another carved work in the rock in the Ancient City of Petra. but the biggest work is El-Deir Monastery.  Of course, we continue by circumventing other beauties on our way, knowing the necessity to climb around 800-850 stairs, the price of seeing this magnificent work.

If you bought a two-day ticket and got uncomfortable by the heat, you can leave the Monastery to the second day,  If you have a one-day ticket, I would like to state that you should not leave Petra Antique City without seeing this unique work.  Despite the fact that our ticket is two days, with the energy we find in ourselves, we decide to continue to Monastir and head to the stairs.  If you are tired, you can take the local animal transport alternatives until the Monastery.

By folding hundreds of stairs, we finally arrive at the El-Deir Monastery which is breath taking beautiful (The stairs have a big share in our breath taking, no lies). We celebrate our triumph with Turkish coffee, which we have never expected to find here, sitting in the tea garden opposite the Monastery as a movie screen, from a side seeing the victory of reaching here and on the other hand, seeing the magnificent Monastery. Be sure that it is one of the best places to drink Turkish coffee.

Another good thing about our arrival time in the monastery in the afternoon, watching the magnificent sunset from the point that we can reach with a 5-minute walk from the cafeteria. Of course, we should not stay here for a long time under the greatness of the sunset, because these roads also have a turn. I am not sure if it is because of the pleasure we got or because it was  getting down but the way back was pretty enjoyable. We are moving among the stalls where the crowd is decreasing and the locals selling souvenirs are closed. We had a little delay this time that when we reached Siq Canyon, it was dark and chilling, don’t you! set the time well.

Finally, we arrive at our hotel, and get relieved of the tiredness of the day, fell our stomach and visit the Mövenpick hotel right next to us, and end the day by eating something in its cafe. The next day, we travel to Petra Ancient City, especially the section of the Tombs of the Kings, taking our time we take the photos missing from yesterday and say goodbye to Petra.

We were very pleased with the Petra Moon Hotel where we stayed, then we continue to the Dead Sea, which is our next stop, starting from 35 roads. The road takes about 3 hours. It is very difficult to find a resting facility along the way or a gas station like in our country, so you can take water, snacks, etc. with you, I advise you to. Among the places that can be seen on our way are Kerak Castle and Ma’s Hot Spring Hotel. No, we haven’t visited it, but for those who has time it is a place that deserve to be seen. It is reached by turning right from the 35 road and following a half-hour bumpy road and only 15JOD per person for its entrance. The expenses inside are up to you. Please google for the activities here.

We finally feel that we are going down from the sea level. Dead Sea begins to appear on our left, which means that we have also approached the hotel we will stay in. Here we will spend money and stay at the Hilton to end the tiring and hot days of the desert (very cool J).Although we parked the most incompatible vehicle in the parking lot and arrive at the lobby, we are finally here.

We settle in our room and immediately continue to the beach, which is about 400 meters below sea level and the third most saline lake in the world, Lut Lake (dead sea). The lake is really very, very salty. It’s so salty that you never sink or dive so don’t dive anyway. To put your face in the lake is very painful for your eyes, I am telling you! I have a friend who did it.

The lake is so different that its ground is like a swamp. There is definitely  no time to be wasted, so we are go out in a short time and we are move from the lake towards the station where clay is spreaded out on face, hands, and body. We also do this and believe that it is useful, then we say goodbye to the lake and move to the hotel pool.

There are accommodation options at all levels around Dead Sea. But my advice to you is to choose a hotel with its own beach. Otherwise, if you enter the lake elsewhere, there is no place where you can take a fresh water shower, you will suffer a lot. Of course, this can be solved with a 5-liter demijohn.

It is time to give a little break to these poor bodies that have been in the dust for a long time, taking long walks and exposed to excessive sun. We find ourselves happy with the fact that they are keeping us alive, and on the other hand, we are faced with the sadness that we will leave this other planet and return to the world the next day.

It’s time to say goodbye to these wonderful places despite knowing that we are going to miss a big part of their beauty behind us. As Özlem said; How beautiful you were, Jordan. Bye!

Briefly:

1-Do not leave without seeing: We could not see due to the limited time, but when you see these places and return, you will you tell us: Amman, Aqaba, Jerash cities; Mount Nebo, Baptism district, Mujib Valley, Kerak Castle, Ma’s Hot Spring Hotel, Madaba Town

2- Attend the “Petra By Night” event. Do not miss the visual show with hundreds of candles. It is held on Monday-Wednesday and Thursday nights. For detailed information; http://visitpetra.jo/detailspage/visitpetra/entertainmentsdetailsen.aspx?pıd=4

3-Their foods are close to our kitchen, do not think what to eat. Try Maklube-Humus-Mansaf-Et stew.

4-Do not forget to show your THY ticket at the entrance to the Ancient City of Petra.

5-Whatever you buy, be sure to negotiate.

6-Always bring shoes and clothes that you will give up on.

7-Forget about Wadi Rum if you have a baby or child under the age of 5 and avoid long walks in the Ancient City of Petra.

8- You can choose your bikini-swimsuit and shorts for the Dead Sea.

9- Avoid expensive options in Wadi Rum, spend your money on the long and detailed of the safari.

10- If you are going with a drone, thoroughly investigate the customs rules before you go. There is not very detailed information or I could not find it. What I found was that it was forbidden, so I did not take it with me. The cops I asked at the airport could not fully realize what the drone was.

11-There is an exchange office at the airport, you can change your money with a 5% commission. They also exchange the Turkish Lira. If you say I don’t give commission, the closest offices are in Amman and Petra.

12- Take care of renting a car before you go.  Note that companies at the airport are more expensive.  Make sure you get insurance.  If possible, choose a more comfortable and robust vehicle.

13- Wadi Rum has no phone service, zero signal.  The only place that has service is the places around Wadi Rum Village.

14- Be sure to take your water with you before entering Petra Ancient City.  But do not be afraid, if it finishes you can find water to buy inside.

15- Although Jordan is touristic place, but pay attention to your clothing because it is a Middle Eastern country in the end.  Do not wear too much revealing clothes (for both men and women)  Especially women as they might give extreme looks regardless of who they are with.

16- Do not go to Jordan without buying hats, glasses, sunscreen creams with you.

17- Jordanian Visa is not required for Turkish citizens.

18- in passport control stand in the Jordanian people’s line.

19- Jordan is a very expensive place.

20- While you are staying in Petra, you must visit Petra Mövenpick Hotel even if you are not welling to accommodate there. Discover the interior décor, the bar and the wonderful desserts in its cafes.

21- With ZAIN operator, you can connect to the internet without problems

22- You can reach Aqaba from Amman in a domestic 50-minute flight with the Royal Jordanian Airlines.  Route descending in this way from Turkey to Amman, from Amman to Aqaba, Then you can create the route moving from south to north by the rented car, leaving the vehicle in Amman.

23- Avoid making short time trip to Jordan.  Take at least 5 days.  Because the activities you will do are tiring and take a long time

24-The period between June and September is considered low season because it is too hot in Jordan.  As a someone who was there in August, I can say that it’s not a deadly heat.  Evaluate this according to your budget.

25- Before you visit Jordan watch movies like The Martian (Martian), Lawrence of Arabia, Indiana Jones , Ayhan Sicimoğlu’s Lemonade and the National Geographic documentary of Petra.

26- If you say I don’t care about money bro, make a balloon tour where you can see Wadi Rum from above.

27- Credit card is not as common as in our country and other European countries, make sure to always have cash money with you.  Especially in Wadi Rum, safari fee is collected in cash.

28- Do not return without enjoying tea while watching the sunset in the desert. Be aware if you don’t like it as all teas are made with sugar.

29- Before you go to Petra Ancient City, either do your research well and study, or get detailed information from one of the guides at the entrance. If you don’t have these two please don’t go there.

30- Either give 10JOD to a local guides or learn the long way to see Al Khazneh from above.

31- Be sure to see the El Deir Monastery in the Ancient City of Petra, but plan your time for return.  Don’t stay until dark.

32- Take a look here www.visitjordan.com

33- Remember that there is almost no public transport at all.

34- Traffic signs and signs are insufficient.  Look up the roads of the place you plan to go in advance.  Don’t expect too much efficiency from Navigation. But it does get you there at last (used on phone)

35- make sure to Take a long-sleeved, thick outfit with you.

36- During the journey by car, there are very few resting facilities that you can take a break in.  So you should definitely carry your snacks and water with you.

37- They take tips in almost everywhere and considering that one dinar is almost five Turkish lira I advise you to always carry coins and small amount of money like 1 JOD or 1 USD

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