With the growing intrigue of the Middle East being a destination of choice for many travellers, the incredible Kingdom of Jordan has recently reignited its flame for travellers who are looking now more than ever to venture beyond its common trade route. With more to offer than ever before from stunning archaeological wonders, mountainous regions dotted with quaint villages, golden deserts to traverse inhabited with nomadic Bedouin, remote hiking trails and incredibly friendly locals known for their warmth and hospitality, Jordan is back on the radar of travellers. We share with you five unique and lesser known experiences for your next visit to Jordan.
1. Stay in the smallest hotel in the world
Perched in the wild and remote area of Shobak, approximately 190km from Petra lies the world’s smallest hotel. This small four-wheel hotel is actually an old car which is decked out with a comfortable interior consisting of mattresses and blankets. Whilst it looks absolutely tiny, the hotel will comfortably sleep two people and has stunning views of the surrounding desert landscapes and Shobak Castle. This is definitely a fantastic experience and a great way to explore the Jordanian desert in a unique way!
2. Explore Petra a little differently
Petra, originally known as Ragmu, is a historical and archaeological city located in Southern Jordan. Ever since explorer Jean Louis Burckhardt brought news of the pink-hued necropolis back to Europe, Petra has impressed travellers with its vast rocky landscape and a mood that changes with the shifting light of dawn and dusk. Whilst this is an incredible site and a true highlight of Jordan, why not see it in a different way? You can hike into Petra following the Jordan hiking trail which takes you through stunning desolate landscapes to the back entry of Petra- not through the siq with the crowds of tourists. Along the way you will see some lesser visited ruins of Petra and experience this amazing destination in a different way minus the masses.
3. Explore the Ajloun region and experience traditional village life in Jerash
Ajloun, is the capital town of the Ajloun Governorate, a hilly yet beautiful town situated in the north of Jordan. Many travellers find this town fascinating due to its impressive ruins of the 12th- century Ajloun castle. Ajloun castle is placed on a hilltop belonging to the Jabal Ajlun district, a Bedouin tribe which had captured the area in the 12th century. From its high ground, the castle was guarding three wadis which descend towards the Jordan Valley. To make this experience even more unique, why not combine it with a homestay in Jerash. Experience traditional village life and stay with a local family for the night. Participate in their cooking, daily activities and learn about their cultural, traditions and customs. This is a great way to meet local people and gain a deeper understanding of their unique way of life!
4. Umm Quais
If you enjoy incredible views and amazing sunsets, this destination is for you! Umm Quais, previously known as the Decapolis city of Gadara, is a small, secluded town situated in the hills of north-east Jordan. Umm Quais is an incredible destination as it showcases a striking juxtaposition of Roman ruins with an abandoned Ottoman-era village. Why not stay in a local guesthouse in Umm Quais and use this location as a base to explore nearby ancient ruins such as the ruins of Ancient Gadara. There is also a tremendous vantage point worth visiting with spectacular views overlooking three countries (Syria, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories).
5. Mujib Biosphere Reserve
Located 410 metres below sea level, Muijab Biosphere Reserve is the world’s lowest and newest nature reserve on earth. It’s spectacular and rugged mountains border the Dead Sea coast and are divided by several water-filled canyons. Mujib Biosphere Reserve is a perfect place to explore for those adventure-seekers and nature lovers, offering four different hikes. Over 300 species of plants, 10 species of carnivores and numerous species of birds have been recorded. Parts of the mountains and valley areas are difficult to reach in the reserve, offering a safe haven for rare species of cats, mountain goats (Ibex) and other animals. The breathtaking scenery and the challenge of negotiating Mujib’s fast-flowing rivers make the Reserve one of Jordan’s most incredible and unique natural attractions.
Want to make these experiences yours? Check out our range of Jordan small group tours!
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.