|Destination:||Jordan, Middle East|
The sweeping desert and echoing formations of Wadi Rum, the hidden, hand-hewn facades of Petra and the ancient Roman ruins at Jerash all make Jordan a true adventurers paradise. Watch the sunset depict the colour of the dunes from your Bedouin camp, soak up the Arabian sun in Aqaba and snorkel in the coral-clad Red Sea, traverse the narrow gorge of Siq in Petra and marvel at the unforgettable revelation of The Treasury, then bring your weightless dreams to life as your float in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea. Venture across bizarre distant lands without forgoing familiar home-comforts on this upgraded journey through the jewel in the Middle Eastern crown.
Day 1 Amman
Ahlan Wa Sahlan! Welcome to Amman, a cosmopolitan city steeped in biblical history. On arrival at Queen Alia International Airport, you will be met by an Intrepid representative and transferred to your hotel, ready for your adventure to begin at 6 pm with an important welcome meeting. If you arrive early, feel free to head out and explore highlights include the citadel with its amazing sweeping views of Amman, the Jordan Museum, which is home to the Dead Sea Scrolls, or the Roman Theatre, right in the middle of downtown Amman. After the meeting, get out on to the streets this evening for an optional group dinner, or explore on your own and pick up a coffee from one of the cafes, partnering it with an arayes a toasted sandwich filled with spicy mincemeat.
Day 2 Wadi Rum
After breakfast today, journey down the Desert Highway to the spellbinding Wadi Rum (approximately 4.5 hours), a landscape of rugged sandstone mountains standing tall among an ochre desert floor. Meet your Bedouin hosts on arrival followed by free time for lunch, before heading into this desolate, romantic area. Transport into the Rum is by way of rather rickety old jeeps operated by the local Bedouin community, part of an attempt by the Jordanian Government to bring much-needed income into this region (an initiative we support), plus theyre safe and a lot of fun! Visit several of Wadi Rum’s distinctive rock formations and soak in the vast silence and spectacular desert landscapes. The Bedouins live in scattered camps throughout the area and you’ll enjoy an evening under the stars at one of these sites.
Day 3 Aqaba
Enjoy a spectacular sunrise at your desert camp and maybe check out a few more of the local Wadi Rum sites, or just take a walk through this vast emptiness. Depart Wadi Rum mid-morning for the city of Aqaba on the Red Sea. Check into your hotel on arrival and head out for a brief orientation of the town with your leader the small Ottoman Mamluk Fort, dating from the 14th century and from where Lawrence of Arabia rode to Cairo, is worth a look otherwise, most of the fun is to be found in the water. Acquaint yourself with the hotel’s pool or head to the beach.
Day 4 Petra
This morning, enjoy some relaxation time in Aqaba before travelling to the fabled city of Petra. This site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was discovered by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swiss explorer, and was described by John William Burgon as ‘a rose-red city half as old as time’. Simply put, it’s an incredible ancient site you’ll probably recognise from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade if nothing else. On arrival, check into your hotel and check out the village, later tonight youll be welcomed into a home where youll have the opportunity to interact with the locals and enjoy some good food.
Day 5 Petra
Petra is justifiably on most peoples list of must-visit places. Its regularly cited as the worlds 8th Wonder, and in fact made the list of New7Wonders of the World. Petra is the jewel of Jordan, the lost city of the biblical Nabateans. The iconic Petra view the Treasury’s glorious facade, glimpsed from the narrow cleft known as the Siq is arguably the single most striking sight of the entire region. The Siq leads through the rock and is sometimes only a few metres wide, with walls soaring up to 180 metres on either side. As you wander through, its impossible not to imagine the armies and traders who made their way down here in the ancient times. Petra’s greatest surprise, however, is its size. Join your guide and explore the old Roman road, amphitheatre and several old tombs, before enjoying free time to experience Petra at your own pace. Maybe climb up to the Monastery carved from a mountain summit and the site’s second beautiful facade from where you will have a magnificent view of the entire site. This is a memorable day exploring a truly extraordinary destination and is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip.
Day 6 Amman
After breakfast, depart from Petra and head to the ancient Crusader castle at Shobak, which makes an imposing sight as you approach. Stroll the site and discover a small chapel, original gatehouse, and find out where a long, dark secret passage leads. We stop on the edge of Dana Biosphere Reseve for a phot stop before arriving in Madaba (approximately 3 hours), home to a number of fine Byzantine mosaics visit the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George and see an impressive mosaic map of the Holy Land that clearly depicts Palestine and Lower Egypt around 550 AD. Arrive in Amman in the late afternoon, where you can spend the evening in one of its several fine restaurants.
Day 7 Amman
Take a short drive north (approximately 1 hour) to Jerash, once one of the grandest ancient Roman cities in the world and now home to some of the best Greco-Roman ruins around. Jerash has a striking collection of archways and theatres, baths, public buildings and colonnaded streets, and is a beautiful place to spend a morning exploring. Then, youd better have brought your swim gear as you can wash off the dust from exploring with a dip like no other. Drive approximately 1.5 hours to the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth (420 metres below sea level). This isnt actually a sea, but rather a super-salty lake (dead because of the lack of life in it) where the density of the water means youll go for a float, not a swim. The mud here is supposed to have healing properties, so why not cover yourself from head to toe for a nutrient-rich natural mineral mud bath. Spend some time relaxing here before returning to Amman for the evening (approximately 1 hour). Maybe spend tonight at one of the many bars and restaurants in West Amman or ask your leader about the traditional cafes dotted around the city where locals spend their evenings.
Day 8 Amman
Your trip will end today after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around noon and you are free to leave at any time.