In September 2019, we decided to travel to Jordan and visit one of our top bucket list destinations – Petra. One of the seven wonders of the world. I was a little apprehensive planning family travel in Jordan and we considered a few itineraries before we settled on our trip. We booked our trip within Jordan with Jordan Select Tours. No affiliation or sponsorship, just a lot of research. And I felt this company offered the best service and quality for our needs here.
Arrival in Jordan
You need a Visa to travel to Jordan. But if you are booked with a local tour agency and staying more than two consecutive nights the Visa is sorted and waived for you by the agency. When we arrived at Amman airport, our representative met us before immigration checks and went through everything with passport control. Then our itinerary was double-checked, payments made and we were introduced to our driver. He would be with us for the next five days.
Amman City Tour
As soon as we arrived our tour began. We drove through the crazy city streets and arrived at our first stop, the Citadel. The views across the city are amazing. The city was how I imagined but also so much bigger with sprawling houses on top of each other across the hillside. The site dates back to the bronze age and we explored the ruins of the temple of Hercules and perused the museum on site. It was a hot day. (around 35 degrees C). But we didn’t want to miss out on exploring this historic place.
Next, with well-needed bottled water in the car, we drove a short distance to the Roman theatre. We climbed the steps explored the site and visited the folklore museum. Out three-year-old climbed right to the top and looked down at the theatre below. Then our driver took us on a whistle-stop tour of different parts of the city.
Next, we checked into our hotel, The House Boutique Suites. We could have explored more of the city that evening, but we decided to make the most of the hotel. We enjoyed a relaxing dinner of the local shwarma, our girl dipped her toes in the rooftop pool. Plus, we enjoyed the views across the city from the hotel terrace.
Amman to Wadi Rum
The next day we were picked up at 7 am by our driver and started the long drive south to the desert. An added bonus was our car had WiFi included so we kept our girl entertained with her tablet for a while. The drive took 4 hours. Then we stopped to pick up some shwarma to take away and met our desert guide, Mohammed.
Then from what appeared to be a roadside takeaway and petrol station, we were driven into the desert. We spent 3 hours in the desert exploring the amazing landscape. The most memorable thing from the experience was how quiet it was. Not a sound, it was amazing. We stopped for a picnic in the shade and enjoyed our lunch. Then we stopped to see some desert carvings or petroglyphs dating back thousands of years, I love experiencing this kind of history.
In the Desert
We traveled some more and found a beautiful spot to set down and enjoy some Bedouin tea. Our driver and guide set a fire and prepared our tea in a traditional pot. After taking in the views and our daughter making sand angels and building sand camels, we waited for our delicious tea to brew.
We moved on from this peaceful setting to visit a cave where Laurance of Arabia once stayed. Then we met some local people and their camels to take a ride through the desert landscape. We almost didn’t take a camel ride, our daughter was a little scared, but after some convincing, she thought it was the best thing ever. Mohammed lifted her up once the bumpy part of the camel getting up was over and we all had a great time. We could see that the camels were loved by their owners. It is always a difficult consideration when dealing with animals in tourist destinations. However, we thought of them as similar to a horse ride, a traditional method of transport where the domesticated animal is cared for by their owners. Definitely a must for family travel in Jordan.
On to Wadi Musa
After exploring in the desert we met our driver and headed to Wadi Musa. Before arriving in town our driver stopped at a lovely little playground looking down on Wadi Musa and our girl had fun in the park. Probably one of the most scenic places for a swing and slide!
We were dropped off to our hotel, Petra Boutique Hotel. But not before our driver offered to get us tickets for Petra by candlelight that evening. Although we knew it would be tiring having a late night and getting up early the next morning we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. It was definitely worth it!
After checking in we had a little wander and looked for somewhere to have dinner. We chose My Moms Recipe restaurant for some traditional food. After a delicious meal of lamb, rice and flatbread washed down with more Bedouin tea. We strolled the short distance to the entrance to Petra.
Petra by candlelight
Guided by lanterns on the winding path, we walked the mile-long trek with the crowds. On arrival, we were guided to some small pillows on the floor in front of the treasury and we enjoyed the candlelight view. The night started at around 9 pm. There were music and an interesting talk about the site. But we didn’t stay until the end as we had an early start and our girl had fallen asleep in daddy’s arms. I definitely didn’t envy him carrying a three-year-old the mile back through the siq.
Bucketlist visit to Petra (in the daytime)
As part of our tour, we had a private guide for two hours in Petra. Mamoun met us at our hotel at 7 am and took us to through the entrance and gave us an amazing insight into the site of Petra. He explained how the Nabataeans were astronomers and the history of how the site was used. I enjoyed the talk and compared it to the great ancient civilizations of the Incas and the Mayans. He was also amazing with our daughter, guiding her through Petra and so patient. We also avoided the hawkers. Mamoun was quite clearly well known and told people to leave us alone so we weren’t hassled.
We made our way to the theatre, the residences, and healing houses. Our guide left us at the Temple of Dushares and The Great Temple. Not before explaining the camel rock was named after our girl. I honestly 100% recommend our guide Mamoun with Jordan Select tours, such a great morning.
After our guided tour was finished, we continued our exploration. (It was nearing on three hours when Mamoun actually left us and we are thankful for his extra time). We continued to the next site we were excited to see the Monastery. It wasn’t easy, especially for the hubby. 800 steps in the heat was not an easy feat with a three-year-old on his shoulders. But the view was worth it. Seeing the amazing monastery, speaking with some locals and their children at the market stalls and enjoying the viewpoints over the desert mountain landscape. A truly memorable day.
I started writing this thinking I would write about the whole trip in one go. But I have quickly realised there is too much for one post. So I will need to continue our adventure on another post. Any questions about our trip so far, just ask!