Hear about travel to Jordan as the Amateur Traveler talks to Yulia Denisyuk about this wonderful middle eastern country.
Yulia says, “I love Jordan. I have been there maybe 20 times in the last 4 years. Most people really fall in love with the country. For me, it was really a combination of several factors. First of all, it’s such an incredibly diverse place. Most people, when they think of Jordan, probably think of Petra only as the destination to see Jordan, but there’s so many different diverse landscapes. There’s there is the desert. There are two seas there. There are incredible forests and olive groves in the north of the country. There’s just so much to see so much diversity and in a very sort of compact area. So you can see a lot of these different places in a very short amount of time. On top of that, on top of the diverse landscapes, the incredible culture in Jordan, the Bedouin communities who are still living in the way that they used to live centuries and centuries ago. The people are incredible, very welcoming, very hospitable. The food is amazing, it’s just there, you know, there is just so much to see and to experience.”
Petra is the best-known site in Jordan. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is an amazing lost Nabatean city from 2,000 years ago. You absolutely should see Petra, but Yulia encourages you to see more of the country than just Petra.
She starts us at the Amman airport, and we immediately head to the Dead Sea to relax at one of the resorts and recuperate from jet lag.
From there, we head to the city of Madaba, which is a town just outside of Amman. It is one of the few Christian towns in the country. There are several incredible churches there. In St George’s Church in Madaba, a well-known Roman/Byzantine mosaic floor is an early map of the middle east.
We take the King’s Highway south through to the Dana Biosphere Reserve, which holds desert landscapes, historic sites, and Bedouin communities. Stay at the Feynan Ecolodge, which is run with the help of the local Bedouin people. Get out into the wadis with one of the local guides to learn how to make Beduin tea or bread or learn about the native plants.
Now it is time to visit Petra, but Yulia recommends we enter via the backdoor through the much less visited site of Little Petra. Spend the day hiking in little Petra and get to Petra in time for the Petra at night presentation when the Treasury and the slot canyon that lead to Petra are illuminated by luminaria. Come back to Petra the next day and do some of the more extensive hikes, like the hike to the Monastery.
The other UNESCO site that you should not miss is Wadi Rum. This is a special site for Jordanians. You should go on the 4×4 tour to explore Wadi Rum but also stay overnight in one of the Bedouin camps for a more authentic experience.
From here, Yulia suggests either heading to Amman or, if you are a diver, heading to Akaba.
On the way to Amman, make a stop in Karak. I suggest you stop there to see the Kerak Castle, which was built by the crusaders, but Yulia suggests you stop there to get some of the best Mansaf, which is a rice-based dish.
Amman is the capital of Petra, whose roots go back to biblical times. It has extensive Roman ruins, such as the well-preserved theatre. See historic Amman, shop in the Souk, and then explore the modern part of the city for great falafels and other good food.
Further north in Jordan, you can visit the extensive Roman ruins of Jerash. Yulia recommends the Ajloun Forest Reserve, where you will see a different side of Jordan.
There is more to do if you have time, like canyoneering in Wadi Mujib or visiting the Baptism site of Jesus at Bethany. No matter what you do or how long you stay, we are willing to bet that you will love Jordan.
This episode is sponsored by EveryPlate. Make affordable, crowd-pleasing meals at home. EveryPlate does the shopping. They send you ingredients and recipes and you cook them up in about 30 minutes. Yum.
Get started with EveryPlate for just $1.99 per meal plus an additional 20% off another 2 weeks by going to EveryPlate.com and entering code TRAVELER199.
right click here to download (mp3)
Places to Visit in Jordan – Ancient Cities, Crusader Castles, and Canyoneering – Amateur Traveler
Places to Visit in Jordan besides Petra
Dana Biosphere Reserve
Ad Deir (The Monastery)
Wadi Rum Nomads – How to prepare Zarb, Bedouin barbecue
Rumi Cafe, Amman
Carakale Brewing Company
Ajloun Forest Reserve
My Day as Paparazzi for the Pope in Jordan
Please take our listener survey