Jordan:the "Rose City", stunning landscapes,hiking and more

#1 Jul 8th, 2014, 16:49
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#1
Here's my blog link: http://ashwinbahulkar.wordpress.com/...rip-to-jordan/ maybe you'll get to read a little more than I'm going to post here. Especially if you're planning a trip to Jordan.

First of all, why Jordan?

Jordan has one of the most dramatic sites in the world, one of the new Seven Wonders, Petra(remember Indiana Jones), then it has the beautiful desert of Wadi Rum, with all it's rocky mountains,sands and even plentiful pastures and greenery, then it has the Dead Sea. As if all of this wasn't enough for a relatively small country, you also have a beautiful, well preserved Roman city, Jerash, several crusader castles, at Shobak, Ajloun and Kerak, and several scattered ancient christian religious sites. All of this combined with the mountain + desert scenery makes Jordan an unbeatable destination. And most importantly, Jordan is among the few MENA countries which offer safety + excellent sites.
Then I got a fairly low priced ticket(Kuwait), and I could take off a few days,so I said, why not? And soon I would be back to studying, and the liberty associated with working life would be gone(this is my 3rd trip in a year,although one was work+travel).

I visited Jordan in March this year. Spring was in full swing, and as you fly into Jordan all of a sudden the landscape changes from the brown deserts of Arabia to the greenery of the Mediterranean region. I landed into the city of Amman, which is the capital of Jordan. Amman is a large city, but a very organised one. Not the most attractive capital cities,but still fair enough. My hotel was located in Amman downtown, which was a good base for exploring the old town. The souk(or bazaar), the sheesha(hookah) cafes, sweet shops, people dressed in traditional attire all had created a nice middle eastern atmosphere which nevertheless which still had a touch of modernity. The chief attraction in Amman was the “Jebel Amman” or the top of Amman where I got see some Roman and Islamic remains of old Amman. However, the best part of this excursion was the sweeping views of Amman.


As you descend into Jordan, things turn green from brown.

Amman souk


Top of Amman

Amman amphitheater,Amman was once called Philadelphia
#2 Jul 8th, 2014, 16:51
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#2
Fantastic photographs. I am looking forward to this report.
#3 Jul 8th, 2014, 16:54
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#3

More amman


Middle Eastern sweets




At one of the famous middle eastern eateries in Amman



How can you not eat falafel while in the middle east.

#4 Jul 8th, 2014, 17:01
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Jerash and Ajloun

One more thing: Jordanians love Bollywood more than we do(almost). People were excited to talk about it with me, but my indifference towards Bollywood dampened them..and they love our TV soaps too, all are dubbed into Arabic.

I took a day trip to Jerash,a fantastic well preserved Roman city and Ajloun, a crusader castle perched on the top of a mountain. The castle was a very typical one, towers, big corridors, secret pathways, dungeons, view points. The top of the castle had great views of the countryside, hills, pine forests, farms, olive groves and so on. Jerash was a big site, it would have been a mojor Roman city in it’s heyday. It was marked by huge public spaces, markets, temples, amhitheatres, colonnaded streets, wine storage facilities. And all of this was between beds of seasonal spring flowers. The Roman architecture and it’s natural setting made this site a winner, def. more exciting than the places I've seen in Turkey.






Mediterranean countryside.
#5 Jul 8th, 2014, 17:02
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Interesting trip report. Three days is about right for Petra, though two is minimum. Wadi Rum is so commercialized, it is like the desert tours out of Jaisalmer.
#6 Jul 8th, 2014, 17:05
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Jerash, Pompeii of the East











#7 Jul 8th, 2014, 17:14
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Shobak Castle

The next destination was Petra, a few hours away by bus from Amman. Good buses, but exploitative bus conductors, was charged twice for my luggage. This is the difference between traveling in a developed and a not-so developed country. The other(+ve) difference is the people experiences, you get to talk to so many people in non developed countries, everywhere.
I visited this crusader castle close to PEtra, hardly know and hardly visited, yet extremely beautiful and evocative.





Landscape around Shobak





View of the Petra town(modern) from my hotel.
#8 Jul 8th, 2014, 17:17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinnaagar View Post One more thing: Jordanians love Bollywood more than we do(almost). People were excited to talk about it with me, but my indifference towards Bollywood dampened them..
Talk to them about Bollywood - It opens doors, even rusty locked doors.

Quote:
I complete my form with assistance from a kindly old man, while the main tout sings out old Raj Kapoor songs to impress on me how clued he was into the Bollywood scene. He sends his side kick with my form, and passport; while I pick a few postcards, and change 100 USD for 72 JD. Being early morning enough, I took the man’s offer to share breakfast of olives, cucumber, bread, honey, dates and hummus. In the meanwhile the young man came with my passport and a entry stamp/VOA. In all the border crossings I have been to (land, sea and air) this had to be amongst the easiest and coolest.
And hospitality too
#9 Jul 8th, 2014, 17:28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycank View Post Interesting trip report. Three days is about right for Petra, though two is minimum. Wadi Rum is so commercialized, it is like the desert tours out of Jaisalmer.
I did spend 3 days in Petra, totally worth it. I actually enjoyed Wadi Rum, got a private guide for 3 days, got to see so much of the desert, all his "secret spots" and hikes,we hardly saw any tourists.
More on that soon.
#10 Jul 8th, 2014, 17:34
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#10

Petra, finally!!

Now was the time for the big destination, Petra, one of the Seven Wonders. Petra dates to the 2nd century BC when the Nabatean tribes living in this part of Jordan became rich as a result of trading and constructed this magnificent city. What makes Petra even more special is it’s location it completely surrounded by huge mountains, which come in all colors, red, orange, yellow, all kinds of features, like canyons and caves, Petra is aptly called “The Rose City” because of the color of the stone. Petra’s entrance itself is dramatic, a 1.5 km long canyon, called as the Siq, leads you trough some interesting rock formations and tall mountains on both your sides and then suddenly you see the big entrance of the Khazaneh, or Treasury of Petra. The site overwhelms you. And it’s even better when you go there at night, when everything is lit.

Here's PEtra by Night:



Getting into Petra, the Siq canyon.







The Treasure, finally
#11 Jul 8th, 2014, 17:39
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More Petra

So how did I spend my 3 days in Petra? Petra abounds with small hikes, all leading to beautiful view points and mysterious structures, like a monastery or a place for sacrifice. The best hike was upto the Monastery. The monastery too is a big structure carved inside rocks and since it faces the West side, the sun’s rays at sundown make the whole structure glow. It’s a one of a kind experience. I used to do a hike in the morning, take a break, have lunch, relax in the shade, and then do another one in the afternoon. And in the early morning and evening, you get the site all to yourself, so touring in the morning and evening and taking a break in the afternoon is a good strategy. The Al-Qutbha trail which goes up the mountains gives you amazing aerial views of the entire site. The Turkmaniya road hike takes you through some greenery, a rarity in the desert. Umm Al Biyara is the 2nd tallest mountain, is also an easy hike. When you get there you actually feel you are on the top of the world.


The Red Rose City.






On the "Top of the World"


The monastery



r
#12 Jul 8th, 2014, 17:45
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Top of the World views

If you love hiking and climbing, Petra' the place for you. Otherwise your options are definitely limited, or you need to rely on a donkey to carry you(yes, a lot of people do that,even youngsters). However, not all hikes are that difficult.


From the Umm Al Biyara.







Up the Umm Al Biyara


The Treasury seen from the top.
#13 Jul 8th, 2014, 17:52
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#13

Petra HDR

A humble attempt at HDR photography.



Petra Royal Tombs

Some really amazing natural caves:





The monastery

#14 Jul 8th, 2014, 17:59
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#14
Thank you so much for sharing your photos and your trip with us! I'm in the planning stages for a trip that includes Jordan.

At first I wasn't thinking that I'd spend much time in Jordan - maybe one day to see the Petra. But the more I hear about what there is to see in Jordan, I more I've decided I may have to re-think the amount of time I'll spend there.

Your photos are amazing, thanks!
#15 Jul 8th, 2014, 18:01
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Getting to Wadi Rum

An anecdote before we proceed: While buying a souvenir, I was haggling a little, the seller says, “ Have mercy on me, I have 2 wives and 23 kids”.

The next destination was Wadi Rum, supposedly the most beautiful desert in the world. The road to Wadi Rum was along the “King’s Highway”, a road through high mountains and valleys with jaw dropping views. As you enter Wadi Rum, you know you are in a different place. Although most of Jordan is desert, Wadi Rum is unique, it’s landscape is closer to the moon than to other deserts on the earth.



Leaving Petra.



The King's highway(and greenery atlast).



The same train in the movie Lawrence of Arabia??



The Wadi Rum village.
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