How to visit Jordan’s attractions away from the crowds

Foto's: Chris König

1. Admire the colorful splendor of Amman

Jordan.  Photo: Chris KonigVerwacht een grote diversiteit aan kleuren en geuren en opvallende contrasten in Amman. 

Amman is one of the largest cities in the Arab world and brings a pleasant culture shock. Expect a wide range of colors and scents and striking contrasts. Modern infrastructure coexists with ancient culture. Ruins from the Roman era stand next to Islamic minarets. Amman is therefore the perfect starting point for an adventurous trip. Be warned though: the route from the airport to the center will test your driving skills. Due to ‘hidden’ thresholds on the motorway, we came into contact with the low roof of our car several times. The stripes on two-lane roads have little meaning here; riding with four people next to each other is the rule rather than the exception

2. Visit Siq al-Barid, the alternative to Petra

Petra in miniature - Jordan.  Photo: Chris KonigReis over de perfect aangelegde bergpas met unieke vergezichten en veel stopplekken.

Petra, a historic city hidden in a valley, is world famous. Fifteen minutes’ drive from the main entrance lies a lesser-known, smaller and almost as impressive alternative: Siq al-Barid, also known as Little Petra. It is suspected that Siq al-Barid was a suburb of the former Nabataean capital. Via a 350 meter long
seq (gorge) you reach numerous tombs and temples, but also constructed water channels and reservoirs and carved caves. From Al-Baydha you follow a winding asphalt road towards the mountains, which turns into a perfectly landscaped mountain pass with exceptional views and many stopping points where you can enjoy the sunset. Around Al-Baydha you will find Bedouin camps where you can spend the night.

3. Enter Petra through the back door

Petra in Jordan.  Photo: Chris KonigVia de Backdoor Trail heb je grote kans dat je het eerste-eeuwse Ad Deir-klooster praktisch voor jezelf hebt.

Petra, carved out of sandstone, is rightfully a World Heritage Site. The old town was a hub where caravans from all over the world used to gather to trade. The more you delve into the construction techniques with which the Nabataeans constructed facades up to fifty meters high, the more impossible it seems. Do you want to avoid the large group of tourists? Enter the complex via Back door path. This route, on the other side of the area, was once built as a logistical entrance for the shopkeepers, and gives you the chance to discover Petra in relative peace. Chances are, you’ll have the first-century Ad Deir monastery practically to yourself. The Backdoor Trail is also worth it for the beautiful views.

4. Enjoy an alien movie set

Wadi Rum Valley in southern Jordan.  Photo: Chris KonigHet buitenaardse gevoel dat de rode Wadi Rum-vallei in Zuid-Jordanië oproept, is lastig te evenaren.

The Wadi Rum Valley is a protected area in southern Jordan. The desert plain was penetrated thousands of years ago by the Nabateans. The petroglyphs they left behind are still visible in the sandstone canyon walls. Wadi Rum has featured in many films about Mars. The otherworldly feeling that the red rock formations and sand flats evoke is hard to match.

5. Sleep under the stars

Sleep under the stars in Jordan.  Photo: Chris KonigDe woestijnervaring is compleet als je na een lange dag je bedje klaarmaakt onder de sterrenhemel.

A 4×4 tour with a local guide is a great way to explore Wadi Rum. The traditionally nomadic inhabitants know the valley and surrounding mountains like no one else and will take you in their all-terrain vehicle to places that are difficult to reach on your own. The desert experience is complete when you prepare your bed under the stars after a long day and enjoy a cup of coffee in this desolate and peaceful place. chai, very sweet black tea, drinks and falls asleep. Unforgettable!

6. Hike through sandcastles

Sandcastles in Jordan.  Photo: Chis KonigQasr al -Kharana  is een van de bijzonderste zandkastelen.

In the northern part of Jordan you will find the so-called
qasr: sand castles built in seemingly the most random places. A long time ago, the qasr used by wealthy families, among others, as a base for hunting expeditions – something that is hard to imagine in the harsh Jordanian desert. Qasr al-Kharana is one of the most special examples. Its function has not yet been determined with certainty, but it is suspected that the structure was one of the first taverns for travellers.

Want to read more about Jordan? So order Columbus Travel edition 115 now in the webshop.

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