Petra, Jordan

5 Reasons to Put Jordan on Your Bucket List

… As though you need more than one!

Most people know Jordan as a country somewhere in the heart of a tumultuous and torrid part of the world; lately it seems that most of this region isn’t in the news unless it’s about something horrible happening (then again, how often do we hear news about anywhere that isn’t for those reasons?). When the opportunity to research and share some thoughts about Jordan came across my path, I won’t even pretend it was a difficult decision. The more I learned, the more I loved, and the more I decided that despite those “something horribles” that can happen anywhere, Jordan (has been and) will continue to be on my Bucket List.

I don’t often highlight the fact that I have a travel bucket list; I try to just quietly work to achieve my personal goals, and share the stories I love along the way. While all of the things on the list are important to me for personal reasons (hence my adding them to the list at all), #11 is one of the light-hearted ones I can’t wait to achieve. Today, I’ve added four more reasons to my list, and hopefully to yours too; if you’re going to go all the way to Jordan, you might as well have an unforgettable experience with many amazing components, right? Here are five beautiful reasons to experience Jordan in your lifetime; are there any I missed?

Disclosure: This post was written as part of a campaign to increase awareness for travel to Jordan with Visit Jordan & Bestway Tours. You can sign up to receive more information on the Bestway website.

Dead Sea, Jordan

Sit On/In the Dead Sea

This is the bucket list item I already had on my list; looking through photos and watching videos of Jordan as I enhanced the list only solidified its rightful place among the things that you might want to achieve in your traveling life. Well below sea level and hypersaline, imagine learning more about the geologic formation of this space, and it’s fascinating role in history. Then, let’s be honest, how amazing would it be to feel a pounds lighter and float around in the strangely buoyant way that only this place on earth makes everyone float? It’s like a (temporary) success with your diet and fitness routine while traveling!

Wander through Wadi Rum

While learning about Bedouin culture in Wadi Rum (“The Valley of the Moon”) is certainly intriguing, you can improve your  travel skills by learning to tie the perfect head scarf, eating dinner cooked over an open fire under a sea of stars, and maybe even meeting a baby camel. This part of Jordan — about 40 miles east of Aqaba — looks truly transportative: the beautiful red rocks and stark landscape may be dotted with occasional green grasses, but it’s a harsh climate and worth the cost to visit and experience. It’s likely to strike you as the place one can’t easily forget, and is a great option to pair with visiting other unmissable parts of the country.

Jerash, Jordan

Get Lost Among History in Jerash

Okay, you know I love ruins; I kind of have to explore them whenever I get the chance! Channel my passion with the idea of exploring Jaresh. With a long, fascinating history of changing hands, being buried in the sand, and then uncovering itself again, Jerash is the current site of the former Greco-Roman city, Gerasa. The city came back to life through the excavation of ruins and subsequent economic interests of the early 19th century, and is now the second most visited tourism destination in the whole country. While the experience is largely guided to protect the ruins, there’s plenty of opportunity to learn and experience the influences that have shaped this city, and this part of the world, in Jerash.

Float On in Wadi Mujib

When I began learning about Wadi Mujib, all I could think about were the interesting names of various places in the region, and how it all reminded me of Frank Herbert’s scifi epic, Dune. Then I was grateful that there seems to be plenty of water in Jordan because it looks really hot. Back to Wadi Mujib, this river feeds into the Dead Sea at nearly 410 feet below sea level, and is a popular spot to cool off between hot Jordanian adventures. Particularly popular — and for good reason — is the Siq Trail, is an easy yet physical 90-minute excursion that allows you to hike and float down a stream in the valley. It is one of the only you can take in the region without a guide (in addition to numerous unique plants and animals, the area is known to flash-flood during parts of the season, and can be extremely rugged). Imagine dipping your cold, tired body into the water after a long days’ hike… sound like bliss to anyone else?

Petra, Jordan

Stand Humbled before Petra

I’m not going to lie, even though “Sit on/in the Dead Sea” is definitely on my bucket list, I was surprised that I had never found it necessary to add Petra to the list too. I’ve had many, many friends recommend it to me personally, and my desire to feel like Indiana Jones at least once in my life is most likely going to happen right here. Exploring this beautiful city of ruins, lost to the modern world for ages until 1812 when it was rediscovered, is high on the list of items I have on a mental bucket list but not a digital one. Can you imagine sitting in the rising twilight among this forgotten city for the Petra by Night event after seeing the city by day, just for contrast…? The photo above makes you want to dive through the computer screen into the adventure, doesn’t it?

Photo credits: Dead Sea Salt by Itamar Grinberg via Flickr, “Khazneh” Petra By Night by Sylvian L. via Flickr

  • Oh my goodness I want to go! You’re not wrong about that photo of Petra… I want to be there! I really hope you get your Indiana Jones moment before too long ;). Thank you for sharing this. It’s always such a shame that such a beautiful place slips off people’s ‘to-travel-to’ lists just because of the actions of a few small, narrow-minded people. Love this – fab post as always Valerie. Jordan is VERY much on my bucket list :).

    Gabby

    • Gabby, thanks for your wise words — I believe that the true definition of terrorism is letting someone else change my behaviors because of my fear. Not gonna happen! If it’s on the bucket list, I’m gonna do it!… as long as it’s mostly safe 🙂

  • Lesley

    I love Jordan as well. It’s one of my favorite countries in the world. I didn’t love Jerash as much as the others, but each of the others were unbelievable.

    • Lesley, thanks for your comment — I can’t wait to visit someday. What was it that you did’t love about Jerash? I’m honestly most worried about standing in the hot sun all day! 🙂

  • Joe Ankenbauer

    Such a great list! While I’ve been to Jordan and have completed most of your list, the pictures and experiences make me want to go back! Love the pictures!

    • Thanks so much, Joe! When were you there? I’m curious about how safe it (still?) is?

  • Megan Claire

    I’m actually super psyched to get to Jordan – the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum and Petra are huge items on my bucketlist. Fab photos – thanks for promoting Jordan as a fantastic destination to travel, ultimately when it comes down to it you hit the nail on the head – it’s dangerous to travel anywhere, and for that matter, it’s equally as dangerous to stay at home! So no point letting fear dictate your travel decisions unless you’re happy to wrap yourself in bubble wrap and never leave the house!

    Hopefully I can get to Jordan soon 🙂 Thanks!

    • Megan, thanks so much for your kind comment! Hopefully we can both go to Jordan soon — it’s definitely the kind of place where I want to go if only to say that I travel the world to help people be inspired to overcome their fears too!

  • Connie Reed

    Your photos and descriptions would entice anyone to go to Jordan. It would definitely be awesome to sit on the dead sea and to see the fascinating ruins.

    • Connie, thanks for your kind words — I’ve enticed myself to visit Jordan even more than before. Hopefully you can make it to the Dead Sea one day too!

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