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JORDAN 2019 (MIDDLE EAST)

JORDAN 2019 (MIDDLE EAST)

Jordan, Middle East
January 8-15, 2019. Two travelers , 8 days trip

In 2019, on February 8, Friday we depart from Vilnius Airport (VNO) at 2:00 pm ->> 6:20 pm we arrived to Queen Alia lnternat Airport, Amman (AMM), Jordan [EUR 62 x 1 pers.] (the price includes a suitcase of 10 kg, a seat reservation, Ryanair airline). We rented a car at the airport – ‘Hyundai Accent’, at the ‘Sixt’ rental station, the fuel tank was full on condition to deliver the car with full fuel tank too [EUR 141 (EUR 70.5 x 1 pers.)] + car insurance [EUR 72 (EUR 36 x 1 pers.)]. Total car rental with full insurance costs [EUR 213 (EUR 106.5 x 1 pers.)]. Buying car insurance online 15 eur cheaper than buying on the spot. We had to leave a security deposit for the car [JOD 300/ EUR 378,19], we made a reservation with the ‘Mastercard debit’ card and they asked to pay for the car with the same card. Before leaving, we were interested about driving permit in Jordan. Everywhere wrote that there was a need for an international license, which can be issued by a travel agency for 100 euros. The document can also be downloaded from America or Canada, and it would take about one month. Finally, nobody did not ask for an International Driver Permit at the car rental point, so the information provided on the internet about license required was incorrect. 7:20 pm we moved from the airport. 8:40 pm we were eating kebabs alongside the road in the bistro [2 JOD/ 2.50 EUR x 1 pers.], we bought a snack from shop (waffles + water) [0,75 JOD/ 0,94 EUR x 1 pers.]. We drove towards the Dana Reserve through the mountains, narrow roads with cliffs on the sidewalks. We passed the local villages that looks like after a war. Everything really frightened me. 10:30 pm we arrived at ‘Dana Moon Hotel‘, which we booked through ‘Booking’. The first impression is tragic: the hotel looks like a farmhouse, around angry dogs and dark everywhere. When we arrived, we was considering whether to go inside. We dared to enter inside, but the owner didn’t speak English, so he gestured with his hands, we understood everything. We found two single beds in the room, breakfast was included in the room price, it was the most expensive hotel we ordered [10 JOD/ 12,48 EUR x 1 pers.] (total double room price 20 JOD/ 24,95 EUR)

On the 9th of February, Saturday morning we were aroused by Arabic prayers, then we went to the hotel reception, but we didn’t find anyone, we wanted to find out where breakfast would be served. When we went outside, we were surprised – in the daytime here is much nicer: mountains around, fog, you can climb on home roofs.

'Dana Moon Hotel', Dana Biosphere Reserve
‘Dana Moon Hotel’, Dana Biosphere Reserve

Breakfast was in the adjacent building, where was served tea, the ‘Pita’ bread which they eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, also hummus, eggs, jam, butter. At 8:30 am we left the hotel. We visited ‘Shobak Castle – Montreal‘ – the ruins of a Crusader castle in southern Jordan, in Earth’s Governorate, Shobak city. It was built on a conical, rectangular hill above the surrounding area. Castle was biult in 1115 year by the ruler of Jerusalem Balduin I, during an expedition to conquer Aqaba. In our opinion, one of the castles here is worth to visit, because the images of all of them are similar. We visited the castle in half an hour, from 9:30 – till 10:00 am, entrance price [JOD 1/ EUR 1.25 x 1 pers.].

Further we traveled by car, 10:40 am we moved towards the archaeological site – Petra. At 11:00 am we stopped in the center of Petra, ate at the restaurant, food per person cost [JOD 9/ 11.30 EUR x 1 pers.], we could pay by bank card. When we arrived at Petra at 11:30 am, we built a car next to the property for free, and we went through the gate. Near entrance there is a tourist information center. The entrance was free, because we had purchased the ‘Jordan Pass‘ [EUR 91 x 1 pers.], which we bought online before a trip. Passport allows you to enter many of Jordan’s attractions. Without Jordan’s passport, entry to Petra costs 50 euros per person. Petra is an archaeological site in Jordan, famous for its stone statues, scratches in rocks about 200 m. pr. m. e. The city is also known as the Red Desert Rose. The paths we walked goes through the canyon, everything really look impressive. Here you will find horseback riding, camel and donkey riding. We were tempted to ride, it cost us [JOD 2 / 2.50 x 1 pers.], although the guides asked them to give 10 jod and hardly accepted our 4 jod. In Petra we found the cheapest souvenirs throughout Jordan. We climbed up the mountain with natural stairs, we had visited the ruins. In order to climb the mountain, 6 km had to be overcome, we chose to climb. That day was 15 degrees of heat. We sat down in the cafe on the top, ordered two sandwiches, coffee, tea [JOD 6 / EUR 8.50 x 1 pers.], we could pay by bank card. The top of the mountain can be reached by jeep, but you need to walk down. The most beautiful view of Petra opens from the top of the hill. We spent about 6 hours in Petra and 5:10 pm we returned to the car. We bought snacks at the roadside shop [JOD 3/ EURO 4].

7:40 pm by car to Wadi Rum – National Park. Vadi Rum or the Moon Valley is a rocky desert in Jordan, 60 km from Aqaba. We had to pass through the gate, in order to get to the national park, security guys asked if we had the ‘Jordan Pass’, the other people stopped our car, asked if we had booked a night and where. Everything is going to happen because the representative of each hostel meets the tourists, shows the area where the cars should be left, tells them to pick up all the necessary items, then settles in the jeep and the journey to the camp begins. We traveled the night, so nothing was around to see, the journey to the camp lasted about 15 minutes. There is no road in the desert, just sand, so you can’t go with your car. 8:10 pm the driver brought to the ‘‘Wadi Rum Camp‘, asked if we wanted a dinner that cost [JOD 10 / EUR 12.55 x 1 pers.], we ordered. For dinner we ate rice with vegetables and meat. After dinner we agreed on tomorrow’s entertainment: bought a full-day safari with jeep + lunch + camel ride for 40 minutes, they offered a dinner for 10 jod each, but we told thet for us is too expensive and we had the rest of the food from last evening. Finally, the host offered the next day dinner for a good feedback online about campsite, so all the entertainment and two overnight stays cost us [JOD 73 / EUR 91 x 1 pers.], we could only pay in cash because there is no internet access. There are plenty of tents in the camp, two tents are separate from the others – one serving breakfast/ dinner, in the other one you can have tea and relax and the separate building has showers. We got a tent with two twin beds, it was very cold inside, there were no heaters, people brought five blankets, but they didn’t heat up

On the 10th of February, Sunday morning we got up, it was really cold to sleep in the tent at the beginning of February. At 07:00 am we ate breakfast at the camp, was served hummus, sausage, eggs, coffee, tea. Coffee at the camp was not the most delicious, but in general in Jordan we enjoyed the taste of coffee, because it boiled with cardamom spice. 08:30 am with a jeep we went to the tour we bought last night. We climbed up the mountain to see the view of the rocky mountains.

As we landed at 09.30 am, we sat down on camel backs and rode in the desert for 40 minutes. Then we visited objects that were in the desert: sand dunes, gorges with water, we saw the rocky arches, the stone ‘mushroom’. At 12.30 pm guide brought us to his chosen place in the desert (each guide has chosen it), in the middle of the desert he laid a blanket instead of a table, fired a fire and bake a stew. After a warm meal, the guide served tea and biscuits, humus and Arabic ‘pita’ bread. At 13:40 pm, with guide Abdul, we continued to travel through the objects in ‘Wadi Rum Valley’. We were sitting in an open pickup trunk, was cold because of a wind. We stopped at the tent in the desert, enjoyed free tea, bought several bags of tea with sage, cinnamon and cardamom [JOD 2.5 / EUR 3.12 x 1 pcs.]. 5:00 pm we arrived in a beautiful place, settled on the rocks and escorted the sun. 5:30 pm we returned to the camp. The guide did not speak English, but tried to show attention, speak in sign language, was fun and friendly, so we gave him [JOD 10/ EUR 12] tips.

At 6:00 pm we went to dinner with other tourists in a common tent, cooks showed how they prepared the rice and vegetable stew: there was a fire in the pit, a pot was opened, then it was buried in the ground, kept for 2 hours, so the food was cooked on the steam. After dinner, the waiters brought a dessert plate for two people: a variety of Arabic pastries and pieces of cake. The rest of the food is given to the foxes. We remembered it was cold in our tent, we decided to open the wine we bought at ‘Duty Free’

On the 11th of February, Monday 7:00 am breakfast at camp. At 08:20 am we left the camp, we were transported to the rented car (the transportation took a little longer than we planned, in the middle of the road we turn around and return to the camp because one of the tourists forgot the wallet). At 9:20 am we tried to visit some of the attractions in the ‘Wadi Rum’, which we were mark on the map, but we couldn’t get there because there was sand everywhere, no roads. We wasted time searching for access to objects that were in the desert. There is no internet connection, so we can’t view the marked objects, but we have concluded that nothing can be visited with your own car in Wadi Rum. At 10:45 am we poured 29 liters of fuel at a petrol station and paid [26 JOD/ 32.44 EUR], it was possible to pay by bank card. At 11:00 am we arrived at Hotel ‘Roza’, Aqaba.

The town of Akaba is located by the Red Sea. Aqaba city – a city in southern Jordan, near the Red Sea, Gulf of Aqaba, Muchafaza Center. Aqaba is connected to Amano by rail and highway. There is King Hussein International Airport, a border post at the Israeli border. There is a strategically important seaport in Aqaba, through which phosphorites are transported. The hotel room was beautiful, with a private shower, toilet, two single beds, a view of the Red Sea through the window [JOD 8/ EUR 10 x 1 pers.] (the total double room costs 16 JOD/ 19.96 EUR x 1 pers., can be paid by bank card). At 11:40 am we went to the cafe opposite the hotel, the food was very tasty [JOD 3/ EUR 3.75 x 1 pers.].

The staff at the hotel advised us where to try diving, so we drove 1:00 pm to the Japanese Garden beach, entry was free of charge. 1:15 pm We bought diving entertainment in the diving center [JOD 30/ EUR 37.43 x 1 pers.]. Cold water… It was really too cold to engage in diving. We drove to a depth of 10 meters, we didn’t see much because of opaque water. 3:15 pm we decided to take a walk around the city of Aqaba. At 4:00 pm we sat down at the cafe, I ate ‘Falafels’ – fried chickpeas [JOD 2.30/ EUR 2.87 x 1 pers.]. After dinner at 5:20 pm we went to the marina, sat in an outdoor café, ordered an ice cream [JOD 1.75 JOD/ EUR 2.20 x 1 pers.], it was able to pay by bank card. When we escorted the sun, at 7:00 pm we ordered a hookah at the beach cafe, which could be taken out on the stairs right by the beach [JOD 4/ EUR 5]. Shops and cafes in Aqaba are open until late

On the 12th of February, Tuesday 8:45 am we went to the city for breakfast, ordered two sandwiches, juice and carbonated drinks, it cost [JOD 0.93/ EUR 1.15 x 1 pers.]. At 9:40 am we left the hotel and went to the beach of Japanese Gardens in Aqaba, because other beaches are paid, another is free in the city center but very open and uncomfortable. 12:00 pm we drive from the beach back to Aqaba city center. 12:30 pm we went to the pizzeria to taste the pizza that cost [JOD 6.75/ EUR 8.42 x 1 pers.]. 1:00 pm we drove from Aqaba city

We continue to the Dead Sea. At about 5:10 pm on the way, we find a nice place on the rocks along the way, and we decided to accompany the sun. By the way, when the sun descends, the police do not allow swimming in the Dead sea.

On the way to the hostel we drove to the nearest road that led to a steep slope. We did not succeed because we were riding during peak hours: when the sun set, everyone was riding somewhere, rushing, running and the road was very narrow. 6:20 pm we reached the ‘Madaba’ Hotel in Madaba city, where we stayed [JOD 7.50/ EUR 9.36 x 1 pers.] (breakfast included in the room rate, the total double room cost JOD 15/ EUR 18.72). 7:30 pm we went to eat at ‘Bawabit Madaba Restaurant & Cafe’ [JOD 13.25/ EUR 16.53 x 1 pers.]

On the 13th of February, Wednesday at 7:30 am the hotel served breakfast and at 8:00 am we moved towards Wadi Zarqa Ma’in Canyon (Amman). At 8:20 am we climbed in the mount ‘Mount Nebo‘ [2 JOD/ 2.50 EUR x 1 pers.]. Mount Nebo is a mountain in Jordan, in Madagasan Governorate, on the eastern slope of the Jordan Valley.  Height – 817 m. From the mountain you can enjoy panoramic views of the Jordan Valley and Jericho. According to the Old Testament, on Mount Nebo, also called Pisga, Moses went up and looked at the promised land. At 8:50 am we were looking for more walking paths that we could walk around, but all were closed and will only work during the summer season

10:30 am we drove to Ma’in Hot Springs
it is a place of hot mineral springs and waterfalls between Madaba town and the Madaba Governorate of the Dead Sea. 12:30 pm we had lunch in ‘Chilly Ways’, Madaba [JOD 3/ EUR 3.75 x 1 pers.]. 1:20 pm we arrived at the beach at Amman Beach, entry price [JOD 12/ EUR 15 x 1 pers]. The host of our hotel called the beach reception, booked our visit and gave us a discount: we would have paid 20 jod/ 25 eur per person but no discount, but I paid [JOD 12/ EUR 15 x 1 pers.]. On the beach we bought a clay for the body which cost [JOD 3 JOD/ EUR 3.74 x 1 pers.], we smear it on our body, wait until it dry and we went swimming to the Dead Sea.

 4:20 pm we left the beach. On the roadside gas station we spilled fuel for [32.5 JOD/ 40.55 EUR, (JOD 16.25/ EUR 20.28 x 1 pers.)], here was possible to pay by card. 4:50 pm we arrived at the Baptism Site , but it was closed (worked till 4:00 pm and last entrance was 3:00 pm). Then we went to Amman city. Going to the city of Amman we got into a traffic jam, completely tragic traffic, I repeat that the best time to ride with car – is late in the evening or early in the morning. 6:30 pm we arrive at the hotel ‘Roman Theater Hotel‘ [JOD 15/ EUR 18.72 x 1 person, for two nights] (total double room cost JOD 30/ EUR 37, for two nights). We chose Roman Theater Hotel – because it is an object of interest – the Roman amphitheater, which can be seen through the hotel window. True, a very unpopular hotel, because here the Arabic hotel, and the tourists there, were also just Arabs. We didn’t feel uncomfortable about it, and the hostel was right in the center of the city, so we didn’t have to drive anywhere. There was a free parking lot next to the hotel. It was possible to leave a car on the street parking, but for free only from 6 pm to 7 am. 8:00 pm dinner at ‘Al Kurts‘ café, Amman [JOD 9.18/ EUR 11.45 x 1 pers.]. 9:30 pm we went to the city shops to buy a souvenirs

On the 14th of February, Thursday we ate breakfast at 09:00 am in the cafe near the hotel [JOD 3/ EUR 3.77 x 1 pers.]. When the cafe owner learned that we are from Lithuania, he prepared us a surprise – played Lithuanian songs and gave a plastic rose. I would like to mention that all cafes are allowed to smoke and have hookah. After breakfast we took a stroll around Amman city. At 10.30 am for [JOD 3/ EUR 3.77 x 1 person] we walked up to the hill about 20 minutes to Amman Citadel – it is a well-known archaeological site with remnants of past civilizations and several famous buildings. From the top of the mountain the view of the whole city opened


12:00 pm we have lunch in the city cafe [JOD 7/ EUR 8.79 x 1 pers.]. 12:50 pm we continue to walk through the city. 12:00 pm we have lunch in the city cafe [JOD 7/ EUR 8.79 x 1 pers.]. I was dressed in black arabic clothes, had to take off shoes to enter the mosque.  It is one of the most beautiful mosques in the city of Amman compared to others

We arrived at Rainbow Street at 14.20 pm – a popular street with lots of cafes, but prices are much higher than elsewhere. 4:00 pm we have come back to the hotel ‘Roman Theater Hotel‘. 6:20 pm we have dinner at the ‘Amman Heart Cafe’ [JOD 11/ EUR 13.81 x 1 pers.]. At 8:00 pm we went to ‘ Pizza Roman Cafe Shisha ‘, here hookah cost 5 euros and was able to pay by bank card. At 9:00 pm we returned to the hotel ‘Roman Theater Hotel’ where we was staying for a second night

On the 15th of February, Friday at 6:30 am we left the hotel. We decided to leave early to overtake the traffic jams. At 7:30 am we stopped at the roadside shopping center, taking care of presents and food on the trip.  At 8:50 we arrived at ‘The Babtism Site of Jordan‘ (we was here once before, but that time was closed because we arrived at the object outside of office hours). At the reception we learned that Jordan Pass invalid and the entrance for us costs 20 iod / 25 eur, but we were lucky for success – the ticket controller at 9:30 am let us into the van free of charge, which took us to the war zone with palestine. The geographically global Palestinian region is made up of areas between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. This region is also called ‘The Old Palestine’. It consists of the Israeli and Palestinian territories (West Cost ant Gaza Strip) Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The term “Palestine” is used throughout the West to the Jordan River. This space is controlled by soldiers, churches are being built here, it is the place of the Christian according to the Bible. The guide showed the water (in other words the score), where did Jesus Christ once baptize, on the other side of the river I saw how Palestinian citizens baptized each other (imitating christening)

When the tour ends about 11:00 am, we drove to the free of charge beach (a place near the Dead Sea, where the hot springs are and is the only part of the beach which can be accessed through the fence free of charge. At 12:10 pm we take the motorway to the airport. 12:30 pm we stopped at the cafe [JOD 4/ EUR 5 x 1 pers.]. About 2:00 pm near the airport we filled a full fuel tank for [JOD 13/ EUR 16.33], it was possible to pay by bank card. There are many petrol stations just like in the whole country. Only one section from Aqaba towards the Dead Sea wasn’t full of gas stations, so if you’re traveling by car, plan to have enough fuel. 2:30 pm we arrive at Queen Alia lnternat Airport, Amman (AMM). At the car return point, we paid a fine for speeding [JOD 35/ EUR 27.89], we paid with a bank card. In the airport security took away the hookah tobacco and hookah carbons which we transported as gifts. These things can only be bought at the airport after you will pass the gate. 6:20 pm by airplane we travel from Queen Alia lnternat Airport, Amman (AMM), Jordan ->> to Vilnius Airport (VNO), Lithuania

Skai Travel Costs:

  • Airline tickets = JOD 49 / EUR 62 x 1 pers. (AMM ->> VNO ->> AMM)
  • Car hire = JOD 84.59/ EUR 106.5 x 1 pers. (car insurance included)
  • Fuel = JOD 35.48/ EUR 44.67 x 1 pers. (driving 1150 km)
  • Accommodation = JOD 40,16/ EUR 50,56 x 1 pers.
  • Wadi Rum camp = JOD 72.28/ EUR 91 x 1 pers. (two overnight stays, food, entertainment)
  • Food costs = JOD 94.29/ EUR 118.70 x 1 pers.
  • Tickets to objects = JOD 16.89/ EUR 21.26 x 1 pers.
  • Jordan Pass = JOD 72.28/ EUR 91 x 1 pers.
  • Entertainment costs = JOD 41.44/ EUR 52.17 x 1 pers.
  • Fine = JOD 11/ EUR 13.95 x 1 pers. (for speeding)

Total: JOD 517.41 / EUR 651.81

SKAI - travel tips:

* Avoid traveling by
car during peak hours:
in the morning
before work starts
and after work in
the evenings.

* It is not possible to
travel by your own
car in Wadi Rum
National Park,
everywhere sand,
no roads. Pay for
the entrance and
travel aroud with
jeeps.

* Buy Jordan Pass
you will definitely
save money.

* In the city of
Shubak visiting
all the castles
seems useless
because they are 
similar to each other.
Choose the most
worthy of attention.

* If you travel by
car here is not
many petrol stations
from Aqaba to the
Dead Sea so plan to
have enough fuel
to pass this section
of the road.

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