When you are situated bang in the middle of the world, access to travel is one of the key advantages. But with the kind of work that we all do, long holidays do not always work. Enter, Weekend Getaways.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a peaceful & welcoming country. Keeping in mind the current happenings, this country is extremely safe and tourist friendly. The relatively low cost of travel is another big bonus, making it a great weekend getaway from UAE:
How to Get There
Fly Dubai & Air Arabia offers frequent flights to the capital city of Amman and tickets can cost between AED 900-1000 outside the peak tourist season which is from March until May. We travelled in August and got the perks of cheap travels, cheap hotels etc.
Visa is on arrival for most nationalities and the procedure takes hardly 5 minutes, costs around AED 200 per person. It is always better to make hotel reservations ahead of time and sites like booking.com & dnata.com can give you the best rates.
Network provider Umniah has a counter at the airport and you can purchase a Sim Card with 10 GB data & free national/international minutes for AED 70.
For those like me who thought Jordan is going to be as hot in summer as in the UAE , you are seriously mistaken. The climate was in fact pleasant (30-35C), with absolutely no humidity and a chilly breeze at night.
How to Spend 3 Days in Jordan
DAY 1 -PETRA- A WORLD WONDER
To understand the magnificence of Petra, you need to know that this city hidden deep between cliffs, which might have been one of the most prosperous cities in its day was built from nothing in the most harshest climates on earth.
Built at the intersection of two prominent trade routes, another mind boggling fact about Petra was its dexterity to harness its meagre rainfall and ensure fresh water supply all year round.
The main monument, which is the Treasury (Khazneh) is located 3-4 Kms away from the entrance. Though you have the option of hiking up or using a carriage, I would strongly recommend the walk as you find many fascinating structures along the way.
Cost(Petra by Day)- AED 260 per person, tickets can be bought at the counter.
Cost (Petra by Night)- AED 180 per person, tickets can be bought at the counter/ www.viator.com.
▪ Best time to visit Petra is from sunrise until 11 AM when the sun falls on the face of the treasury, the best time for photographs.
▪ The area is quite dusty and dry so do carry plenty of water.
▪ Try not to hike the off beat trails alone as you will not find anyone nearby in case of an emergency.
DAY 2 – DEAD SEA- THE LOWEST POINT ON EARTH
Two hours away from Petra, the coastal road that leads to Dead Sea is scenic with breath taking views. The sparkling blue colour of the water matches that of the sky so seamlessly that the horizon is just a blur.
One of the must do’s at the Dead Sea is to float effortlessly in its water and also cover your entire body with its mud pack. The mud pack is known to cure skin & muscle ailments and brings inner calmness & tranquility.
▪ Photographic possibilities are best explored in the mornings.
▪ Most of the hotels restrict entrance to the sea after sunset.
▪ There is no street lights on the routes to Dead Sea and night driving can be a challenge.
THE BAPTISM SITE
20 minutes away from the Dead Sea Resorts area is the historic baptism site. As it is closest to its bordering country and heavily militarised, you need to take a compulsory tour guide with you. A mini bus picks up visitors every half hour from the ticketing office to the site and back.
This is the only place in Jordan where we really felt the summer heat, considering its down south and well below sea level. The tour is quite informative, goose bump raising in fact to stand at the very spot where history is believed to have been made.
Cost: AED 60 per person. Tickets to be bought at the counter
DAY 3 – JERASH- THE LOST CITY
The lost city of Jerash is towards the north of Jordan and is 3 hours away from the dead sea.
During the 3rd century, this city was under the Greek rule and was called Gerasa. By 63 BC, it came under the Roman rule and later was reborn as a Christian city in the Byzantine era and has been invaded numerous times ever since. But the fact remains that the city managed to outlive all the attacks including natural disasters and is so beautifully preserved.
As soon as you enter, you can see the Hippodrome where chariot races and other sporting events were believed to be held. If you sit still for a moment, you can almost here the cheering mingled with the sounds of hooves, feel the frenzy this place has witnessed. Places of worship like the Temple of Zeus, churches, mosques depicting the influences of various invasions are preserved here.
Positioned on the spice and incense trade route, the corinthian columns, the market places, the architecture, the fountains all screams out the abundance and prosperity this city has seen in its lifetime.
Cost: AED 50 per person. Tickets to be bought at the entrance.
▪ There is quite a bit of walk involved, so a comfortable pair of shoes is a must.
▪ Tour guides will be found at every corner and may throw at you random facts about the city. If you stop and listen, they will ask you for a tip.
When it comes to weekend getaways, it is important not to over crowd your itinerary. Jordan is a country that offers a lot of attractions and it is impossible to cover them all. Best to research and prioritise and have a good time!