It’s pretty rare these days to get a lot of time off, so when I do, I try and make the most of it! After swapping a few flights around in June, I was able to arrange a three day trip between my rostered flights to the country of Jordan!
Amman, Jordan’s capital, is about a three hour flight from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. With two Emirates flights daily between these cities, (a third on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday), it’s quite easy for Cabin Crew to hop onboard.
My friend and I opted to travel on EK 903 departing on a Friday afternoon. We left DXB at 2:00 p.m. and landed into AMM at approximately 4:30 p.m. local time. Being from Canada (and my friend from Australia), we were able to pay for our visas on arrival. They were 40 dinars each ($57 US).
We opted to hire someone to take care of our itinerary, food and accommodation based on a recommendation from fellow crew. We paid a flat rate of $220 dinars each ($310 US) for the whole experience (excluding entrance fees to Petra) and we weren’t disappointed. Our guide, Feras, was lovely. He, along with two others, organize these excursions for Cabin Crew and can be contacted via Whatsapp. (Alaa Ahmad, +962795103006).
Feras picked us up at the airport and answered all of our questions as we drove to our first stop: the city of Petra. We arrived at the Edom Hotel at about 8:00 p.m., ate and rested for our hike the following day. Again, our accommodation was included in our rate, but otherwise a room at the three star hotel would have been about 30 dinars ($40 US). The location was great, but the room, food and everything else was quite average. (This was fine for us though. We were just looking for a quiet place to rest between adventures).
We arrived to Petra (the actual site itself) at 8:00 a.m. that Saturday. It was a two minute walk from our hotel. We paid an 80 dinar ($113 US) entrance fee each and spent nearly eight hours there because there was a lot to see! As amazing as it was, it is home to the Bedouins, a group of nomadic Arabic people (known to many as “gypsies”). They have completely taken over the site, harassing visitors to buy souvenirs as well as donkey and camel rides from them.
While I understand the need to make a livelihood, it is heartbreaking to see young children selling postcards that should otherwise be in school, and over 1,300 hopeless animals being whipped for not adhering to the commands of their masters.
There are also dark tales of “Bedouin Romance Scammers” too; men that seek romance with solo female travellers for financial gain. Although I can’t confirm that I witnessed this, I did notice a few women travelling on their own who were being approached by these local men.
There is also the issue of waste. Much of the ruins are littered with plastic bottles and garbage. Animal manure also littered the walkways, leaving the heavily instagrammed destination a lot less blissful than imagined. The Bedouins I spoke to claimed that this was the result of tourism, while the locals blamed the “gypsies” and rising cost of garbage collection by the Jordanian government.
Aside from this, the history of the site is quite impressive. Petra was once, after all, a thriving trading center and the capital of the Nabataean empire between 400 B.C. and A.D. 106 (before being lost for centuries and rediscovered in the early 1800’s by the “Western world”). The ancient buildings, carved directly into the vibrantly coloured sandstone cliffs, are truly worth the title of one of the new seven wonders of the world.
From Petra, we drove three hours to Amman and stayed at a place called the Khuttar Appartments. It has a rating of three stars too, but was much nicer than the one we stayed at in Petra. It would have costed us about 45 dinars ($64 US) if it wasn’t included in our rate.
Feras picked us up for dinner about an hour after we settled in, and took us to a place called Abuzaghleh Restaurant. It was a great place to enjoy the authentic tastes of Jordan. Following this, Feras then took us to Abdali Mall, where we took in some of the Ramadan festivities.
The next morning we checked out of the hotel early and drove with Feras to the Dead Sea. We made a few stops along the way to take some photos and make a few purchases. The drive was less than an hour and we spent only about 30 minutes at the actual place. We accessed the Dead Sea through the Ramada Resort (which looked quite nice if you’re looking to stay closer to it and out of the city).
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth, and has a density of 1.24 kg/litre. Meaning, instead of swimming, you float! The whole point is to soak in the water for no more than 10 minutes before getting out and jumping into a mud pit. You’re supposed apply the mud all over your body and wait for it to dry before scrubbing it off in the water. I hated the sensation so much though, that I chose to run right back into the water after it’s application. Sorry not sorry, guys.
The Dead Sea itself is said to have many healing properties. In fact, many people that come here to float in the water do so to cure themselves of chronic skin diseases. The mud contains high concentrations of salts and minerals, which is why dead sea beauty products are all the rage. The site also plays an important part in many religious histories, but I won’t go into too much detail there.
Following this adventure, we had lunch at the resort and stopped at a small tourist shop on our way to the airport. Important notice- there are a lot of fake dead sea skin products out there, so be sure to do your research if you’re planning on purchasing such products. Another tip too- everything is quite expensive in Jordan. Their dinar is more valuable than the US dollar. Like many countries, business owners do try to scam tourists into paying more for items that shouldn’t be that expensive, so be ready to bargain.
We ate a quick bite at the airport after this and left on EK 904 from AMM at 6:00 p.m., arriving back in DXB Sunday at approximately 11:00 p.m. local time. Unfortunately, my live leave request was not approved, and I couldn’t stay an extra few days because of a rostered duty.
If you plan on visiting, you could do what we did and hire Alaa to plan your trip for you. With such a short amount of time, and last minute schedule changes, this was the easiest option for my friend and I.
If we had more time to plan everything out, we could have probably rented a car, spent less and stayed at nicer hotels, but we weren’t able to do much research beforehand and our priority was to make sure we got to see as much as we could with the little time that we had.
Overall, three days and two nights for two people ended up costing us about $500 US each, excluding airfare. That’s not too bad for a mini vacation!
Next Stop: Los Angeles, United States 🇺🇸
Disclaimer: My posts are my personal views and and do not represent the views of my company.