EP005: DIY Destinations – Jordan

Table of Content:

  • Episode Background
  • General History
  • General Information and Holidays
  • Wadi Arabia Crossing (Israel-Eilat/Jordan-Aqaba) / Taxi Mafia
  • Jordan Pass
  • Aqaba
    • Getting here
    • Tourist Information Centre, Sightseeing Bus and Money Exchange
    • Al-Hussein Bin Ali Mosque
    • Aqaba Flagpole and Great Arab Revolt Plaza
    • Aqaba Heritage Museum & Aqaba Castle
    • South Beach Bus Stop
    • Accommodations Must Do Activities: Diving and Snorkelling
  • Wadi Rum
    • Getting here
    • Wadi Rum Visitors Center, Tickets and Rum Village
    • Nabatean Temple
    • Lawrence’s Spring
    • Khazali Canyon
    • Anfishiyyeh Inscriptions
    • Almahama Canyon
    • Sand Dunes & Snowboarding
    • Jabal Umm Fruth Rock
    • Chicken Rock
    • Accommodations, Recommendations and Bus to Petra
    • Bedouin BBQ Zarb
  • Wadi Musa
    • Getting Here
    • Accommodations
    • Cheap Food
    • Petra
      • Tickets and Hours
      • Buying from children and animal treatments
      • Siq and Rides
      • The Treasury
      • The Eastern Cliff
      • High Place of Sacrifice
      • The Monastery
      • Petra at Night
  • Madaba
    • Getting Here
    • St. George Church
    • Artisan Street
    • Shrine of the Beheading of John the Baptist
    • Mount Nebo
    • Church of the Apostles & Jesus Christ Mosque
    • Off the Beaten Path:
      • The Baptist Site (Bethabara)
      • Banana Farm
      • The “Local” Dead Sea
    • Dining and Street Foods
  • Jerash
    • Getting Here
    • Forum (Oval Plaza)
    • South Theater
    • The Cardo
    • Temple of Artemis
  • Amman
    • Inexpensive Foods
      • Turkish Pizza “Ara’yes”
      • Falafels
    • Traditional Jordanian Sweets
      • Harissa
      • Halva
      • Dahdah
    • Roman Theater
    • Sugar Market “Souq al Sukar”
    • Transportation and Airport Transfer

Episode Background:

Many have asked, how comes I am doing so many Middle Eastern countries all at once?  The simple answer is they are relatively cost together and why not explore them all to keep the travel cost down.  Just like all the episodes, my team consist of unpaid local volunteers, which assisted from Aqaba to all the way up to Amman, its amazing how this project takes off and how many have faith in my work.  I also wanted to visit the region to promote its tourism sector, reason being Jordan suffers severe drop in recent years given the turmoil in the surrounding countries, thre recent has being local businesses across the country shutting down.  I want to show that it is safe to visit and feature the best of what it has to offer.  Another note, I chosen to take taxi and accepted rides on few occasions to meet the production deadline.  However, pretty much everywhere I visit can be done by regular local public transportation, except for the Dead Sea and Baptist sites, both near Madaba.  I also went to recommend and thank Eszter Papai for sending a copy of her book How To Speak Arabic In Jordan – Easy Arabic Phrasebook With Travel Tips (Kindle Version / Soft Cover) to made my travel so much easier.

Maps of Jordan

General History:

Officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a Arab country located on the East Bank of the Jordan River, bordering Saudi Arabia to the east and south, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north, and Israel and Palestine to the west.  Despite having a constitutional monarchy, the king (Abdullah II) holds wide executive and legislative powers.  Since it gained its independence from Emirate of Transjordan in 1921, it has developed into a country with a high Human Development Index.  Tourism is one of the most sector, however it has nearly collapsed since the Arab springs despite Jordan being relatively being peaceful.  The popular site includes Petra, Wadi Rum, Jerash, The Dead Sea and many holy sites.

General Information and Holidays:

  • Electrical Outlet: Type C (European), Type G (British), Type D (Indian) and Voltage: 220-240 Volts
  • Drinking Water: DO NOT DRINK tap water without being boiled, AND filtered.  Bottle water is strongly recommended.  Exception is southern Jordan, particularly Wadi Rum, where extremely pure water comes from natural springs at Diseh
  • Foods to avoid: In many area with frequent power outage, DO NOT consume ice cream as it could have melted and been refrozen.
  • Health Advisory: Beware of extreme heat during the day and cold in the eventing, avoid Wadi Rum if you are prone to heat stroke.  Common infectious diseases which I recommend you get vaccinations for: Hepatitis A can be spread through contaiminated water and seafood, Hepatitis B spread thru sexual intercourse, Tuberculosis spread thru respiratory contact and occasionally through infected milk products.
  • Holidays:
    • New Year (Ras Assanah al-Miladi) – January 1
    • Labour Day (Eid el-Ommal) – May 1
    • Easter Sunday (Eid Al Fiseh Al Atheem)
    • Independent Day (Eid al-Istiklaal) – May 25
    • King Abdullah’s Accession to the Throne (Eid al-Jolous) – June 9
    • Christmas Day (Eid Al Milad Al Majeed, Al Eid Il Sagheer) – December 25
    • Feast of the Sacrifice or the Big Feast (Eid al-Adha, Eid al-Kbeer)
    • The Little Feast (Eid al-Fitr)
    • Hijri New Year (Eid al-Fitr)
    • Isra and Mi’raj
    • Birthday of Prophet Muhammad (Mawlid al-Nabi)

Eilat-Aqaba Border (Wadi Araba Crossing):

Israeli side of Wadi Araba Border Crossing
Israeli side of Wadi Araba Border Crossing

Eilat has two international border crossing between Aqaba, Jordan and Taba, Egypt.  Given the security situation in the Sinai, we decided to cross into Jordan instead.  The official name is Wadi Araba Border Crossing and until December 2015, you can enter Aqaba VISA free, but as of January 1, 2016, VISA-on-Arrival is no longer available in this crossing.  Therefore advance VISA is required with exception for Israeli tour groups. The new rules as of January 1, 2016 are as follows – courtesy of Eszter Pápai at Go2Jordan.INFO – Your Guide To Aqaba & Jordan:

The Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) officer gives the tourists a passport list with the ENTRY date stamp and a payment receipt for the JD 60.

  • If they (tourists) leave Jordan from a different border point: they will lose the money JD 60.
  • If they leave Jordan from the same border point  after spending 3 days / 2 nights:  full refund even if they do not visit Petra during the holiday in Jordan.
  • If they leave Jordan from the same border point  after 2 days / 1 ngt or only for a day visit only BUT in both options they visit Petra: they will get refund JD 20.
  • On departure they have to prove that they visit Petra by getting stamp from the visitor centre in Petra on their passport list.

We recommend you buy a Jordan Pass which includes VISA fees and popular attractions which we’ll discuss in the next section.

  • Transportation, we strongly do not recommend you use the Egged Bus to get to the border.  The closest the public bus stop is Eilot, which is over 1.6 km uphill from the Yitzhak Rabin Border Terminal, the road leading to it has no paved sidewalks and can get busy at times.  We simply recommend you get few fellow tourists and share a metered taxi from Central Bus Terminal directly to the border.
  • Exit Tax and Tax Refund, the border only accepts cash for the exit tax of NIS 101 as of January 1, 2016 plus NIS 6 for processing fee regardless number of taxes yo are paying.  So, gather all your newly met friends and pay the exit tax together and all of you save NIS 6.  Also, remember to keep your receipts for merchandise over NIS 400 you are taking outside of Israel.  You’ll get 17% refund on the price of the qualified goods.
  • Hour of operation: Sunday through Thursday6:30 to 20:00, and from 8:00 to 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays, open seven days a week with except the Islamic New Year and Yom Kippur.
  • Taxi Mafia:
    • If you are crossing this border, you’ll need to take the taxi to Aqaba downtown bus terminal. However, the taxi mafia here will not allow you to share a taxi, so make sure to pair up with a fellow traveller before exiting the passport control to split up the fare. Remember, pay only the price what is displayed on board, not what they demand!

Jordan Pass:

The Jordan Pass was introduced by Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in recent year.  The pass includes VISA fees and access to 40 of the popular attractions that are operated by the government, including Petra, Wadi Rum, Jerash, and many museums.  The pass is valid for 12 month after purchase and automatically expire after 2 weeks of the first time it is scanned in the first tourist site.  The catch is you must buy your pass before entering Jordan and must in procession of a smartphone or printer to show the QR code on the PDF.  As of May 2016, the cost for one day package to Petra is 70 JD or $90 USD, 75 JD or $105 for two days and three days for 80 JD or $115.  Given the one day cost of Petra is 55 JD and 60 JD for multiple entry VISA for those not entering thru Sheikh Hussein Bridge Crossing or Aqaba, it is a good value. – http://www.jordanpass.jo

AQABA:

Aqaba City Maps (go2jordan.info)
Aqaba City Maps (go2jordan.info)

Historically Aqaba shares the same city as Eilat on the Israeli side and is considered Jordan’s window on the Red Sea.  The city is fairly small and most places are reachable 20 to 30 minutes on foot.

  • Getting here: If you arrived in Amman, you can get here is frequent buses operated by Jordan Express Tourist Transportation or JETT bus from Abdali Station at 7:00, 9:00, 11:00, 14:00, 16:00, and 18:00.
Aqaba - Tourist Information Center
Aqaba’s Tourist Information Center located near Al Hussein Bin Ali Square.
Aqaba Sightseeing Tour Bus Schedule (Go2Jordan.info)
Aqaba Sightseeing Tour Bus Schedule (Go2Jordan.info)
  • Al Hussein Bin Ali Square, Most likely you’ll be offered a ride to Wadi Rum or Petra at an inflated price, so decline the offer and ask the taxi drop you off at the Aqaba Tourist Information Centre near Al Hussein Bin Ali Square.  You won’t miss it as it is location of the only McDonald’s in Aqaba and the town center.   This is where you can pickup free tourist maps, available tours, a sightseeing bus that takes you around Aqaba’s attractions including South Beach and where you can exchange your money.  The exchange rate for Jordanian Dinar is pegged to U.S. dollars, so its easy to figure out where to get best deals.
Al-Sharif Al Hussein Bin Ali Mosque (White Mosque)
Al-Sharif Al Hussein Bin Ali Mosque (White Mosque)
  • Al-Sharif Al Hussein Bin Ali Mosque, the most beautiful building in the city of Aqaba, the White Mosque is influenced by the Northern African Islamic Architecture.
    • Raghadan Street
    • Visit allowed only between prayers, time changing depending on the movement of the sun
    • Free
Aqaba Flagpole
Aqaba Flagpole
  • Aqaba Flagpole and Great Arab Revolt Plaza, located at the southern end of Aqaba is a huge paved square, the Great Arab Revolt Plaza is home to Aqaba Flagpole, one of world tallest free standing flagpole.  The pole is 132 meter high and it is visble from Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.  Near the dock, you can also ride on boats with glass floor to see the many of marine animal in the Red Sea.
    • King Hussein bin Talal St
Aqaba Hertiage Museum
Aqaba Heritage Museum
  • Aqaba Heritage Museum and Aqaba Castle, located right beside each other, the Aqaba Heritage Museum offer displays of large variety of heritage items as well as real size models of traditional life near the Red Sea. Some of the priceless collection includes rare historic images from the beginning of the past century until today.  The ticket also includes access to Aqaba Castle or Fortress, originally built by the Mamluk sultan Qansweh Al Ghuri in the 14th century.  The Castle was the site of great Arab victory in July 1916 against heavily defended Turkish stronghold.
    • Great Arab Revolt Plaza
    • Admission Ticket: 3 JD
  • South Beach Bus Stop
    • Across from the Great Arab Revolt Square is bus stop for South Beach, the fare is half JD.  It leaves when it is full.
Diving in the Red Sea
Diving in the Red Sea
  • Must Do Activities and Accommodations, South Beach offers one of the world best diving sites along its 20 KM coastline, regardless whether you choose to snorkel or dive, there is dive sites for beginners to advanced.  The main attraction is the amazing condition and biodiversity of the corals.
    • Average cost for snorkelling: 5 JD for gear rental, including mask, snorkel and fins.  15 JD for the guided snorkelling includes the equipment rental, the guide is included 1.5-2 hours, and equipment are can used for remainder of the day.
    • Average cost for diving: 35 JD for non-certified introduction dive, included the cost of equipments and dive instructor, short pool training.  20 to 30 JD for certified divers depending the number of dives.
    • Accommodations: In South Beach the average cost of the double room and free breakfast, depending on the season between 35 to 40 JD (Darna Diving Village), many hotels offers accommodations and diving/snorkelling packages. Avoid Aqaba during high season including Eid al Fitr at the end of Ramadan holidays and Eid al Adha, its always full and the cost of the same room can be as high as 65 JD, same applies with accommodations in the Dead Sea.

WADI RUM

Also known as Valley of the Moon and located 60 KM from Southern City of Aqaba, consisting of valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock.  It is best known in the west in the British officer T.E. Lawrence whom has passed through during the Arab Revolt between 1917 to 1918, depicted in his book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom
The Seven Pillars of Wisdom
  • Getting here from:
    • Aqaba: There is a direct bus leaving from Aqaba Bus Station on King Talal Street, there are morning and afternoon buses leaving before 7:00 am and 2:00 pm for 4JD, departing time is approximately as it leaves when it is full.  Considering sharing a taxi for multiple travellers, the cost for taxi is approximately 20 JD from Aqaba and 25 JD from South Beach.
    • Petra: There is a direct shuttle leaving approximately 6:00 am, depending on number of passengers.  The cost is 8 JD
    • Amman: There is no direct public buses, therefore given the security issues I recommend you visit Petra or Aqaba and transfer on to a direct bus to Wadi Rum.
  • Wadi Rum Visitors Center, Tickets, Rum Village: all visitors needs to start from here by getting their ticket.  If you have a Jordan Pass, then the admission is included.  For international visitor, the cost is 5 JD.  A short drive away is the Rum Village where you get to see the authentic Bedouin ways of life, there is a small post office, and shops selling food and drinks.  This is where the Wadi-Rum/Petra shuttle pick up its passengers.
Nabatean Temple
Nabatean Temple
  • Nabatean Temple, this is a short walk from Wadi Rum Village.  The structure was dated back to 14th century and built in honor of deities Atargatis, the goddness of foliage and fruit and Hadad, the gold of the thunderbolt.
Lawrence's Spring
Lawrence’s Spring
  • Lawrence’s Spring, this is a hidden oasis and off the beaten path site that is rarely visited by tourist.  If you can handle the heat, it is a easy hike from the Nabatean Temple, along the way, you’ll enjoy the magnificent landscape of the Wadi Rum.  This is springs is artificially created to divert water from the natural spring on the top the hill and as it is the only spring in the area, its especially important for the local populations.
Khazali Canyon
Khazali Canyon
  • Khazali Canyon, the canyon is named after the name of the mountain rising about 1,650 meters above sea level.  This is the most famous site in Wadi Rum containing some Nabatiyah, Arab and Islamic drawings dating back thousands of years.  It’s narrow entrance also contains Nabeaten, Greek and Talmudic inscriptions.
Anfishiyyeh Inscriptions
Anfishiyyeh Inscriptions
  • Anfishiyyeh Inscriptions, Anfishiyyeh is a big rock wall containing some of the best Thamudic and Nabatean inscriptions.  Most common is the beautiful drawings of camels, their importance to the indigenous people in the region, including how they are train.
Almahama Canyon
Almahama Canyon
  • Almahama Canyon, this is canyon contains one way path around the rock.  It contains slight slopes, so boots are strongly recommended.  The driver normally waits for you on the other side as it is one way.
Sand Dune Snowboarding
Sand Dune Snowboarding
  • Sand Dunes and snowboarding, the red colour sand dunes is definitely one of the highlight of Wadi Rum.  You can request your guide to bring a snowboard and try it in this sands, feel almost like a real snow.
Jabal Umm Fruth Rock
Jabal Umm Fruth Rock Bridge
  • Jabal Umm Fruth Rock Bridge, one of the many natural arch bridges in Wadi Rum.  However, this is the most popular given it is a require relatively short approximately five minutes to get to the top.  You’ll enjoy a speculator 360 degree view of the landscape, including a speculator drop on both side.
    • Make sure to wear comfortable hiking boots
    • Do not climb under wet conditions especially right after rain
Chicken Rock
Chicken Rock
  • Chicken Rock, a giant rock that resembles a headless chicken.
  • Accommodations, recommendations and bus to Petra: For a ultimate experience, consider sleeping outdoor under the star and wake up a 5:30 am and climb the highest point in your camp to catch the sunrise.  There is a daily bus to Petra around 8:30 am, ask to be drop off at that spot after breakfast.  Typically, a packaged tour includes over night accommodations, I recommend you take 5 hour tour with overnight accommodation with dinner and breakfast for approximately 60 JD, price is always open to negotiations, so bargain hard!
Zarb
Zarb or Bedouin BBQ
  • Traditional Bedouin BBQ or Zarb.  Most likely your dinner at the camp will consist of this must-try dish consist of meat and vegetables is buried and cooked in a large underground pit.

WADI MUSA:

  • Getting Here:
    • Wadi Rum: there is a daily bus shuttle from Rum Village around 8:30 am for 8 JD
    • Aqaba: The public mini-buses has direct route to Aqaba early in the morning for 2 JD, however it does not have timetable as it leaves when every seat is occupied.  From Aqaba, there are public buses that goes to Petra until the noon, there is no timetable and leaves when it is full.  Alternatively, there are mini-bus that goes to Ma’an which connects to both Wadi Musa and Aqaba.
    • Amman: There is the over priced scheduled JETT Bus that charges 10 JD each way or alternatively, you can take the public mini-bus from the Southern Bus Station known as Wihdat for 5 JD each way, include the cost of luggages.  There is a mini-bus that leaves early from Petra, centre of Wadi Musa to Petra from the same station used by JETT.
  •  Accommodations: there are many hostels inside Wadi Musa, we are offered two complimentary accommodations.  Both are in close distance to each other and excellent depending on your budget.
    • by higher end Cleopatra Hotel with extremely clean, comfortable, air-controlled rooms
    • budget hostel Valentine Inn, which offers free shuttle from the Bus Station and to Petra
  • Petra
    • Tickets & Hours:
      • Jordan Pass holder: included
      • One-day non-accommodating ticket of 90 JD (if you do not have proof of accommodation, such as a hotel confirmations)
      • Accommodated: one day – 50 JD, two days – 55 JD and three day – 60 JD, under 12 – free
      • Hours: daily from 6:00 am to 4:00 pm in winter time, 6:00 am to 6:00 pm during summer time
    • Buy from Children and Treatments of Animals:
      • I totally support local population by buying their handmade handicraft, I urge everyone NOT  buying any gift items from children.  I believe they should be in school and being here making quick tourist money will ONLY deprived them a education for a better future.
      • Given majority of animals I witness is poorly treated, I urged you NOT to ride them, especially more than often the horseman will try to ripped you off as I will explain in Siq section.
Siq Narrow Passage
Siq Narrow Passage
  • Siq, literally means ‘the Shaft’ is the main entrance to the ancient city of Petra.  Between the entrance to the Treasury is approximately a kilometre long from the entrance to Treasury along Siq.  The only form of transportation is on foot or camel, donkey, or horse.  Beware many will offer you a ride and claimed it is included in the cost of your ticket, you’ll be asking you for a outrage “tips” at the end of the ride.  I often heard 20 JD or $30 USD for a 1 KM ride, if you do decide to take the short ride, 2 JD should maximum for a horse or 5 JD for a entire carriage.  Remember, please do not ride any animals that appeared mistreated.
The Treasury
The Treasury
  • The Treasury, the Al-Khazneh in Arabic translations stands from legends pirates hid their loot in a stone urn high on the second level and is the most visited tourist site in Petra.  The structure was carved out of a sandstone rock face and initially served as a mausoleum and crypt at the beginning of the 1st Century AD.
The Eastern Cliff
The Eastern Cliff
  • The Eastern Cliff, located near the Royal Tombs, the cliff is a half hour climb where you’ll able to see beautiful breathtaking view of the entire Petra from above.  It is recommend you visit the cliff to see the morning shadows as sun lights up the valley in the opposite.
High Place of Sacrifice
High Place of Sacrifice
  • High Place of Sacrifice, this is located across from the Eastern Cliff is the mountain summit consist of Nabataean carved out site sherines including obelisks and alters dedicated to two main deities represent the goddness of strength Dushara and goddess of water and fertility a-Uzza.
The Monastery
The Monastery
  • Monastery, this is Petra’s largest monument and dedicated to Obodas I and is believed to be the symposium of Obodas the god, dates from the 1st century BC.  This is quite a challenging 800 hike, but rewarding given view are breathtaking especially if you continued to only few minutes up the summit.  By the way, there is many sites in Petra that is worth visiting and we won’t have time mention all of them here.
Petra at Night
Petra at Night
  • Petra at Night, this is a short show where you’ll sit on a matt and served cup of tea surrounded by candles, while the Bedouins will play traditional musics.  Personally, I won’t believe it is worth for the price, but its really amazing walking through the candlelit Siq towards the Treasury.
    • Showtime: 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm
    • Entrance fee: 17 JD, ticket can brought directly from your hotel or tour company.

MADABA

Madaba is located 30 km from Amman and ha earned the title of city of Mosaic for being the location of a 6th century mosaic depiction of Jerusalem and other parts of the Holy Land.

  • Getting Here, Madaba is well connected to Amman.  There is a mini-bus available all day from (6:30 am to 6:30 pm) leaving when its full from all of the three of Amman’s main bus stations, Raghadan Bus Station, Wahedat and Muhajireen.  One advantage of this little town is everything can be reach by foot, no taxi required for most sites.
St. George Church in Madaba
St. George Church in Madaba
  • St George Church, this is the Greek orthodox church that made Madaba famous as it is the site of the ancient mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land.
    • Hours: 8:00 am to 5:00 pm daily
    • Free to visit outside, but 1 JD to enter to the famous mosaic.
Martyrs' Church
Martyrs’ Church
  • Church of the Holy Martyrs & Madaba Archaeological Park, this is a place of see luxury mansion build in the late sixth century and destroyed by fire and earthquake in 749 AD.  The palace was thought to be used by the priest in charge of the almost-adjoining ‘Martyrs’ Church’.
    • Hussein Bin Ali Street
    • Free from alleyway between the shops on Hussein Bin Ali Street
Artisan Street
Artisan Street
  • Artisan Street, located next to the side of the Martyrs Church, while not its official name. It offers unique, authentic handicrafts. Along the street and you will see local craftspeople and artists in the process of production. Including Madaba’s famous colorful hand-woven carpets, and the only places in the world where you can witness the making of mosaics and purchase the handmade products.
Shrine of the Beheading of John the Baptist
Shrine of the Beheading of John the Baptist
  • Shrine of the Beheading of John the Baptist, this is a Roman Catholic Church build in the early 20th century.  This is also the site of a operational ancient well dating back 3,000 years.  The church bell tower offers a wonderful view over city of Madaba.
    • 1 JD for accessing the interior and bell tower
    • King Talal Street
    • Hours: October to April 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, May to September 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.  Close during masses on Sunday.
Mount Nebo
Mount Nebo
  • Mount Nebo, this is the only place requires taxi, it shouldn’t cost more than 2 dinar and takes about 10 minutes. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land. The view from the summit provides a panorama of the Holy Land and, including Jordan valley, Jericho and as far as Jerusalem on a very clear day.
    • Openning Hours: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
    • Admission Ticket: 2 JD
  • Church of the Apostles and Jesus Christ Mosque, there are two other noble religious sites which we did not visit but worth a mention:
    • Church of the Apostles: This insignificant-looking church contains a remarkable mosaic dedicated to the Twelve Apostles. The embroidery-like mosaic was created in AD 568 and is one of the few instances where the name of the craftsman (Salomios) is included. The central portion shows Thalassa, a female personification of the sea, surrounded by fish and slippery marine creatures. Native animals, birds, flowers, fruits and cherubic faces decorate the corners. (Lonely Planet)
      • October – April 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, May – September 8:00 am-5:00 pm
    • Jesus Christ Mosque, this is one of the kind of mosque that was named after the founder of Christian religion in the Arab world.  However, it is not open for visitors, only for prayers.
  • Off the Beaten Path:
    • The Baptist Site (Bethabara), meaning “house of the ford, place of crossing” used by many versions of the New Testament for this site. John the Baptist preached and performed baptisms, including Jesus the Christ here and the site of Elijah’s fiery ascent into heaven.
      • Admission Ticket: 12 JD
      • I recommend you meet some new friends at the hotel to split up the cost of hired driver or shared tour to visit Mount Nebo, Baptist Site and The Dead Sea together.  The cost is approximately 35 JD for three sites combined.
The Baptist Site (Bethabara)
The Baptist Site (Bethabara)
Baptist Pool
Baptist Pool

This is the site of Baptist Pool where Jesus was believed to be baptist on Jordan River, boarding Israeli-occupied Palestine, considered illegal under international law.

Banana Farm
Banana and Pepper Farm
  • My tour guide operates a website localtrips.net and offers visit to out of beaten path places as day trip, including the Baptist Site, Fish Farm, Banana Farm, Guava Trees and The Dead Sea, and more.
The "Local" Dead Sea
The “Local” Dead Sea
  • The “Local” Dead Sea, there are numerous over priced Dead Sea beaches, the price could range $20 to $30 USD with shower and towels.  But if you are adventurist enough, consider getting a local experience by going to free beach.  While there is a showers available for few dollars, you should bring your own towels.
    • Considered suggestion mention above, hired a taxi and share the fare with four other passengers to get here
    • Camel ride available 3 JD or so, but bargain hard and make sure the animal do not appear mistreated.
Fatayer,
Fatayer, meat pie with spinach and cheese
  • Dining and Street Food, there are very limited local, non-tourist options after 9:00 pm with exception few shawarma shops.  One of the cheap local street food is Fatayer, a Middle Eastern meat pie with spinach and cheese.

JERASH

Located some 48 km north of the capital Amman, Jerash is known for the ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Gerasa, also referred to as Antioch on the Golden River. It is sometimes misleadingly referred to as the “Pompeii of the Middle East”, referring to its size, extent of excavation and level of preservation.

North Bus Station in Amman
North Bus Station in Amman
  • Getting Here: There are numerous mini-bus that leaves when it is full from the North Bus Station for 1 JD
  • Admissions Ticket and Hours:
    • Cost of ticket: 10 JD with access to Jerash Archaeological Museum included
    • Hours: Summer 7:30 AM to 7:00 PM; Winter 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Forum (Oval Plaza)
Forum (Oval Plaza)
  • Forum (Oval Plaza), an unusual wide, asymmetrical plaza at the beginning of the Cardo (or Colonnaded Street), built in the 1st century AD. The Oval Plaza is 80 m by 90 m (262 ft by 295 ft) and is enclosed by 160 Ionic columns.
South Theater
South Theatre
  • South Theatre, a beautiful amphitheatre with a capacity of 3000. It is routinely used today for concerts and musical productions. You’ll find bag pipers in traditional Jordanian military dress.
The Cardo
The Cardo
  • The Cardo is the heart of the ancient Gerasa with a 600 meter colonnaded street that runs the entire length of the city. It was once lined with the city’s major buildings, shops and residences with a complex drainage system lies below the stone paving. Be sure to look for chariot tracks in the stone.
Temple of Artemis
Temple of Artemis
  • Temple of Artemis, built on one of the highest points and dominated the entire ancient city.  This temple dedicated to the goddess of the city and is the most important and most beautiful of all the temple of Gerasa.

AMMAN:

Amman is Jordan’s capital and largest city of Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and home to more than four million people.  It serves as a excellent base for wider Middle Eastern region neighbouring Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon.

Turkish Pizza Ara'yes
Turkish Pizza Ara’yes
  • Inexpensive Street Foods
    • Turkish Pizza “Ara’yes”, this is a popular inexpensive street food originated in Levante, crispy out the outside and juicy inside.  It consist of flatbread pitas are stuffed with minced or spiced ground meat with roasted broccoli and labneh cheese.
    • Falafels, the most inexpensive street food, available in the street corner for costing only $0.50
Dahdah, popular dessert which is sold on the streets produced with semolina set into yellow layers and with a brown layer inside
Dahdah, popular dessert which is sold on the streets produced with semolina set into yellow layers and with a brown layer inside
  • Jordanian Traditional Sweets 
    • Harissa, a sweet semolina cake traditionally diamond shaped baked in a large tray.  Once cut a almond on each piece, and finally soaked with a deliciously sweet syrup.
    • Halva, a dense, sweet, tahini based confections of Arabic origin, served across the Middle East
    • Dahdah, this is a popular dessert in Jordan.  The yellow layer is a mixture of semolina and curcuma with the brown layer consist of mixture of semolina and cinnamon.
Roman Theater in Amman
Roman Theater in Amman
  • Roman Theater, one of Amman’s famous landmark, the Roman Theater, a 6,000-seat structure dating back to the Roman period built between 1131 to 161 AD CE when the city was known as Philadelphia.  The layout of Roman theatre includes semi-circular rows of stone bench seating, steeply tiered, facing the centre ‘stage’ where performances took place. The admission also includes Jordan Museum of Popular Tradition on the one side, and the Jordan Folklore Museum on the other side.
    • Admission Ticket: 2 JD
    • October to March: Saturday – Thursday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm & Friday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
    • April – September: Daily 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sugar Market "Souq al Sukar"
Sugar Market “Souq al Sukar”
  • Sugar Market “Souq al Sukar”, the local market and rarely mention in any tourist guide books, the merchants calls out in the busy market selling from fruits and vegetables, to clothings and spices.
    • Stretches from Jordan Museum to the Roman Theater
    • Many shops close Fridays
Airport Express Bus from the North Bus Station
Airport Express Bus from the North Bus Station
  • Transportation and Airport Transfer, this bus leaves the North Station, which leaves every half hour from 6:30 AM to Midnight daily.
    • The cost is 3 JD or $5.00

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