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Monday, February 20, 2017

10 Top Things to do in Jordan

Jordan is a shining jewel of the Middle East and it comes as no surprise that it is immensely popular with people all over the world. From the lowest point on planet earth to the iconic archaeological site in Petra, from the Martian desert of Wadi Rum to the rich coral filled waters of the red sea and from the Baptism site of Jesus to the immense shopping avenues, this country has it all.

The highlight of Jordan - Petra Treasury

Personally, I love this fabulous country! Jordan visas are easy for us Indians as we get visa on arrival and with low cost airlines like Air Arabia, flights to Jordan don’t bore a big hole in our bank accounts. Below are 10 of the top holiday experiences that you should indulge in on your next Jordan holiday.

1) Climb up to the Monastery of Petra

A monastery special sleep, Petra, Jordan

I am sure most of us have heard of Petra or at least seen it in the Indiana Jones or other Hollywood movies. This beautiful rose red city from the 6th century BC is a UNESCO world heritage site and is definitely one of the top attractions of Jordan. This ancient capital of the Nabataean kingdom is stunning both by day and by night. Right from the time you walk through the canyon like Siq to appear at the Treasury to walking through the street of facades towards the theater and the tombs, this place is bound to enthral one and all.

Trekking path to the Monastery in Petra archaeological park, Jordan

While Petra by night is the most popular attraction here, I prefer the climb the steep climb to the monastery, a mighty and magnificent piece of rock art. This steep climb over jagged rocky steps gives you spectacular views of this rocky landscape and the entire city of Petra. Additionally, it gives you the opportunity to connect with the local bedouins who make a living by selling food, beverages or trinkets on the top of the hill.

2) Float in the Dead Sea

Salt rocks by the Dead Sea from a view point, Jordan

The lowest point on planet earth, Dead Sea, is something that has to be experienced on a holiday to Jordan. Right from floating in the dead sea, feeling the sting of the salty water in your eyes and skin to indulging in mother nature’s best mud spa, Dead Sea is a special experience all the way. Dead Sea is also known for its healing properties and hence this is a great place to buy those bath salts, skin creams and other beauty products.

3) Snorkel in the Red Sea off Aqaba

The beach resort of Aqaba, Jordan

A duty free destination in Jordan, Aqaba is blessed with pristine white sandy beaches, emerald waters and rich marine life. If you feel like a beach holiday in Jordan, Aqaba is your destination. And if you feel like snorkeling and scuba diving (reef dives, wreck dives), Aqaba is where you need to go. North Bay, Visitors Bay and South Bay are home to the best dive sites and they offer you the opportunity to come in close contact with rich marine life that includes hump-head wrasse, moray eels, glass fish, parrot fish, morays, toad fish, torpedo rays, hawksbill turtles, spotted eagle rays, lobsters, lion fishes and many more exotic species.

4) Take a camel to watch the sunset in Wadi Rum

Photographing the stunning landscapes of Wadi Rum, Jordan

With martian landscapes on Earth, Wadi Rum is a spectacular mountain desert that is home to rolling red, yellow and white sand dunes, prehistoric rock paintings, super big and juicy watermelons and an amazing Bedouin culture. Dune bashing, sand boarding, rock climbing and mountain climbing are some of the top adventure activities of Wadi Rum. But, the iconic attraction here is the camel ride to the top of a tall sand dune or a rocky outcrop to catching a stunning red sunset over this mountain desert landscape.

5) Shop for Local Specialities at Amman

Sand Artist of Amman and his sand creation

All those of you who love shopping for rare items in a foreign country, you will find a lot of value in Jordan’s capital Amman. From the premium Dead Sea bath salts, creams and beauty products to the ancient mosaic art and ceramic work, from the delicious Medjoul dates, pistachios and sunflower seeds to the aromatic herbs and spices like Zaatar and sage and from the local Kajal (Kohl) to artifacts handmade by the Bedouins, you can let the shopper in you go crazy. Not only are these products special and of the best quality, but they are really light on your wallet.

7) Watch Mosaic Art being made at Madaba

Mosaic artist creating the tree of life mosaic at Madaba, Jordan

Madaba is the city where the mosaic map of the Holy Land was created. Even today, this ancient art form is practiced by the locals and can be seen everywhere from its churches to its shops. Seeing the completed mosaic art is great, but watching it being created from different colored stones is simply amazing. Visit any of the local mosaic workshops or the mosaic school to experience this ancient art form up close.

8) Jesus Baptism Place at Al-Maghtas

Pilgrims getting baptized at Bethany on the Israel side of the Jordan river

Set beside the east bank of the Jordan river is the baptism place of Jesus Christ. This UNESCO World heritage site offers the visitor a deep understanding of Jordan’s  connection with the Holy Land and three of the world’s popular religions. Explore this green valley and see people get baptized in the holy waters of the Jordan river.

9) Sing in the Amphitheatre of Jerash

South Theatre, Oval Forum, Cardo Maximum, Jerash city and other ruins from the top of the amphitheatre

A massive Roman city from the 3rd century BC, Jerash is one of the popular archaeological sites of Jordan. Located an hour out of the capital Amman, this city in ruins comprises of a hippodrome, amphitheatre, food market, victory arches, temples, oval plaza and fountains. Its highlight is the amphitheatre, which has stood the test of time and where you can sing to test its acoustical strength. Personally, I love the acoustical engineering of this amphitheatre and the large oval plaza.

10) Relax in the Man’in Hot Springs

Camels and their riders at the entrance to the street of facades, Petra, Jordan

Relaxation is an integral part of any holiday and what better than soak yourself in the natural hot mineral springs and waterfalls of Ma’in, another of Jordan’s many natural wonders. Located between Madaba and the Dead Sea, this place is ideal for that perfect day of peace, tranquillity and relaxation.



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