Backpacking in Jordan

In the past few years, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of mid-range hotels and guest houses available to tourists all over the world. This has had quite an impact on the kind of accommodations people choose while travelling as these mid range hotels offer some good facilities without being too hard on the pocket. This has caused some travel experts to believe that the popularity of backpacking is on the decline. After all, finding a decent place to sleep is one of the biggest costs during a holiday, sometimes even more so than what people pay to get to a certain destination.

However, regardless of how many mid range hotels spring up all over the globe; backpacking has always found its takers and will continue to do so. There is simply no better way to explore every part of a country or city than with fellow backpackers whose main aim is not the accommodations or facilities that a place can offer, but rather its natural sights and culture.

Backpacking in Jordan

The Middle East is fast becoming a preferred destination among serious backpackers. In addition to locations such as UAE, Turkey, Syria, Oman and Lebanon, Jordan too is slowly becoming a backpacker’s delight. The small size of this country may lead people to believe that it does not have much to offer. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, people who love the Indiana Jones’ movies will be absolutely delighted to backpack their way through Jordan! It is quite easy to spend more than a couple of weeks visiting the must-see destinations in Jordan. Having said that, if you cannot take more than 10 days off to visit this amazing country, the top 3 destinations in Jordan that you simply cannot miss are:

1. Backpacking in Petra:The mesmerizing beauty and wonder of Petra simply cannot be described in mere words. Yes, you may have come across several locations in the world where you have felt that the place has to be seen to be believed. Well, that is exactly how you feel when you visit Petra. Such is the awe that one feels upon visiting this destination that it is truly a huge struggle to try and express your feelings.

Petra is a World Heritage Site and has recently been included in the New 7 Wonders of the World. The entire city is carved from a kind of rose-red rock that gives it an ethereal look. The main attraction in Petra is the Treasury, which is an ancient monument carved into the rock cliffs of Petra. Other attractions include a monastery, a fascinating tomb site, and a theatre. Here are some backpacking tips for Petra that will enable you to explore the destination on a budget:

  • Since no taxis or other vehicles are allowed to enter the gates of Petra, you should look for accommodation that is as close to the ancient city of Petra so that you can walk the distance comfortably.
  • In recent years due to the increasing popularity of Petra, prices for hotel rooms have gone up considerably. Even so, you can easily get decent accommodation in a Middle Eastern inn for about $15 to $20. Most of these places offer free breakfast and free tea; so do enquire about these facilities if not offered.
  • There is an entrance fee to Petra and is about $70 for a day. While this may seem quite extravagant on a backpacker’s budget, you simply cannot miss going to the ancient city. Therefore, you may want to try to cut down costs in some other manner, but do allocate enough funds for the entrance fee. Since most backpackers find that they need at least 2 days to see the ancient city of Petra in all its glory, it is best to opt for the 2 day pass which is only $10 more than the single day pass.
  • Plan to get up really early so that you can be at the gates of Petra by 6 am. At this hour, the tourists have not yet started arriving and backpackers can enjoy the city without the hordes of people who can sometimes put a crimp in the amazing experience of Petra.

2. Backpacking in Wadi Rum: Another must see destination on every backpacker’s itinerary in Jordan has to be Wadi Rum. No trip to Jordan can be complete without a visit to its beautiful deserts and that is exactly what you will find at Wadi Rum. The sand dunes and mountainous landscape of the area literally take your breath away. Here are some tips that will allow backpackers to enjoy Wadi Rum thoroughly:

  • Many tour operators offer day trips to this desert region from Amman. While that is a possibility, the best way to explore this area is to spend at least one night camping with the Bedouins.
  • Do make sure that you have a flashlight when visiting this area as there is no electricity in the desert. Camp sites are lit up with lanterns but you do need the flashlight to get around.
  • Make sure you hire a guide if you decide to climb the mountains or go hiking in the area. While the desert is spectacular, it is quite unforgiving if you were to get lost.
  • The nights and early mornings tend to get quite chilly even in the summer months so make sure you carry warm clothing.
  • Expect to pay about $40 for an overnight trip to Wadi Rum with meals and no more than that.

3. Backpacking in Dead Sea: The Dead Sea is the last of our top 3 backpacking destinations in Jordan. Here are some tips for backpacking in this area:

  • Hotel rates are exorbitant to say the least in Dead Sea so plan a day trip from Amman rather than staying there.
  • While public transport is available to Dead Sea, it is best to hire a taxi. If you’re sharing the ride with 3 other friends or fellow passengers, your share should be about $10.
  • Never swim face down in the Dead Sea as the high water density makes it very difficult to lift your face out of the water.
  • While the salt crystals in the Dead Sea have high therapeutic properties, avoid taking a dip if you have any cuts on your body.

Egypt, Syria and Israel are the main gateways into Jordan. Once you are there, you will realize that destinations around this country are truly a backpacker’s delight.

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