BACKPACKING IN JORDAN ON A BUDGET!
Tell your wife, tell your mother, it's time to sell those beer cans and explore the world one place after another! Let's fill some passport pages, guys! Time to go to the land where Moses spent the last days of his life. Yes, I'm talking about Jordan and no, it was not named after the famous Chicago Bulls player Michael Jordan. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is an Arab country in Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River. The same river where Jesus was baptized!
WHO TRIED TO HURT THE DONKEY?
"Thank you!" said the lovely stewardess and gentle warmth kissed our skin as soon as we moved our cold-ass Lithuanian noses out of the plane. "Finally",- thought Kamile and started clapping her hands. I guess this was her way of expressing the joy of escaping an immense -22°C cold. Our poor old 1996 Audi A6 was doomed to stay in the snow and wait patiently till we finally get back. This is how our Arabian adventure started back in January 2019.
Listen Up! all the readers out there. You are about to witness something extraordinary. Next few minutes will be so immersive that you might even forget the name of your Dearest Mother and the necessity to bring your kids back from school! Who would have known it was possible to experience so much on such a tight budget in 7 days? Make yourself a cup of delicious tea and take a break from the outside world! You deserve it!
In the next few minutes, I'm gonna tell you a story about the exotic Jordan and all the unexpected the twists and turns of fate that have been waiting for us. You'll get to know a lot about the sacred burial place of Moses, mystical qualities of the Dead Sea and a place, where almost all of Martian Hollywood scenes in the history were filmed. Last but not least, I will reveal a secret who was the villain trying to hurt our friend The Donkey...
STRANGE THINGS MAY HAPPEN ANYWHERE!
Visiting Jordan is in your bucket list? This article is for you then! It will provide with some essential information and tips. Thrifty people should stumble too as this story is the story of two avid travelers who managed to explore this part of the Arabian Peninsula while spending only a couple of hundred euros. However, I think we should start from the beginning. I would like to share one strange experience we had in the Amman Queen Alia airport.
As you may or may not know, Kamile is a little bit of a feminist. I guess the Arab world is not the best place to be one. We had a perfect opportunity to realize that while trying to get past the airport Passport control. One of the officers asked if she was my wife. Back then we were not married yet, but I did not understand the question and said yes. They checked our passports and asked me the same question again. This time I said 'yes' consciously. I guess I did not want them to ask me why I lied the first time.
The same thing happened with another Lithuanian couple. The only difference was that they WERE married. Suddenly that other guy and I were told to move our asses to the "Jordanian" side of the checkpoint while our women were trapped on the other side of the fence. In the next 15 minutes, their passports got checked over and over and over again. I have no idea what was the reason for this, but I saw Kamile was getting angry. The funny thing is, that instead of returning the documents back to their owners, the officer decided to give them to us. "You may tell your wives they may enter the country!"
CHANGE OF PLANS BY 180°
Why did I mention Kamile's propensity for feminism? It's because I laughed till I fell on the ground when I saw the look on my girlfriends face after I told her she has my permission to come! When I think about it now, that was a very dangerous move indeed. What can a say? I guess I need to feel at least a tiny bit of danger every single day or I might get depressed. Anyway, where did I finish? Oh, yes... Jordan... New country meant we gonna experience some new adventures.
It was not the first time I was visiting the Arabian peninsula. Back in 2016 my father and I had a very memorable Father & Son's holiday in The United Arab Emirates. However, Jordan was something different! It took us about an hour to reach Amman's center. The Airport Express one-way fare was JOD 2.50 so about 3.2€. Not too bad for such a long ride. It was our first journey in a few months so experiencing the inner energy of a new city was something surreal. We felt like we were finally at home and I am talking about the journey itself and not the particular place!
As I have mentioned in my previous articles, my motto is "The best plan is no plan at all." I guess this time the plan was to surrender to all the invisible forces of the mighty Universe and try to do and see as much as possible with limited resources we had. This meant: no expensive restaurants or entrance tickets and probably no car rentals. We thought we gonna stay close to Amman - the capital city of Jordan and only take a bus once in order to visit the world-famous ancient city of Petra. Thinking like that was naive as everything was about to change in a blink of an eye!
"WHAT'S UP GUYS? LET'S RENT A CAR TOGETHER!"
What amazes me the most in Asia is all of those fancy-schmancy hotel names. Our place was called "Sun Rise Hostel". It's amazing how this dreamy-chick type name did not fit the acidic aroma of unwashed socks in a 10-bed dormitory room. The shortage of oxygen forced us to leave it immediately. In the lobby, the situation was not so different as dense Shisha smoke was hanging in the air. Kamile and I scanned the area in order to find a peaceful spot where we could rest our tired legs after a long trip. We chose to make our selves comfortable on one of the antique sofas, decorated with patterns from the last millennium.
"Where are you from?", we heard a mysterious voice coming from the haze. It was a friendly-looking guy, talking without an accent. It did not take long until he decided to introduce himself, "I was born in India, but I live in the United States of America for many years now." Suddenly he added, "I have only a few days until I have to go back home. Would you like to rent a car and explore the country together. We could split the cost. That would make it pretty cheap. What do you think?" It took only a few minutes in order to change our plans by 180°. I had already paid for two nights in advance, but that did not look like a huge loss. Especially when you think of all the harm done to the lungs by that acidic odor of dirty socks and sweat.
Early in the morning, Uber took us to one of many Amman's car rental offices where we got our nice and comfy Hyundai i30 with an automatic gearbox. I prefer mechanical one if you ask me, but Jordan has some hills and steep mountains and a vehicle with fewer pedals looked like a better choice. But what about the police? Is having a European Union drivers license is enough or you need some kind of international one? Hold your horse cowboy! I will answer these questions in a moment. First of all, we have to leave the city and see reach Mount Nebo - a place where Moses died more than three thousand years ago.
MOUNT NEBO: A PLACE WHERE MOSES DIED!
Strong desert breeze was trying to blow our matchbox-sized car off the road. The winding paths along the slopes of the hills were soothing. It's amazing how quickly Kamile and I forgot about the thick layer of snow and freezing cold that we left in our motherland. The only white thing in Jordan was a handful of lime-painted houses that we saw every here and now.
Our Indian buddy decided to be the first one driving. It was fine with me as squadrons of officers stationed every few kilometers were diligently inspecting passing cars. Luckily, they were not stopping tourists. The first thought that came to my mind was that Jordanian traffic could be called "a neat confusion". I can assure you that this term sounds better in my native language! Those who are accustomed to driving only in "butterflies and rainbows" type conditions may need an hour or two to get used to it. However, it is not nearly as crazy as the traffic that we witnessed in Tehran or Istanbul!
Our Indian friend had a list of places he wanted to see. We were more than happy to go wherever he wanted to go. The first thing on his list was the famous Mount Nebo - a place where Moses died. According to a legend, Moses climbed this mountain right before his death and saw the Promised Land. The prophet died when he was 120 years old. Despite the fact Moses' tomb is said to be on Mount Nebo, the exact location of the tomb remains unknown.
The summit had a magnificent view. One of the main Nebo's attractions is the renowned Brazen Serpent Monument - a bronze serpentine cross created by Italian artist Giovanni Fantoni. In my humble opinion, the archaeological remains of the 4th-century site are worth to see as well. Elements of the Byzantine Basilica have been incorporated into the modern church building known as the Memorial Church of Moses. One of the oldest features of the site is a beautiful 4th-century mosaic cross that currently sits on the altar of the modern church.
THE DEAD SEA: NOT THE BEST OPTION FOR DROWNING YOURSELF!
There is a saying that only two life forms are found in the Dead Sea: bacteria and tourists. What's called the Dead Sea is actually the deepest salt lake in the world. Its unique water is 10 times saltier than the one found in the Baltic Sea, which is washing the shores of my lovely Lithuania. Why is the Dead Sea such a terrible place for drowning yourself? Since the human body is less dense than water, it pushes you up enough for you to float. As I said, it is simply impossible to drown in the Dead Sea unless you are able to use your supernatural willpower in order to force yourself to float down the face long enough.
Across the coast, there are plenty of bathing areas where, for a few dinars, you can soak your precious butt in this saline solution. Unexpectedly we stumbled into a remote place where a lone camel was proudly standing and inviting us to take a swim. For parking, swimming, taking a cold shower after the ceremony and a cup of cheapest tea the camel's owner asked us 5 dinars (€ 6) per person. In general, I believe I could say that Jordan is not too expensive if you split the costs with your travel buddies and if you know how to haggle with locals!
By the way, a can of nasty looking mud was included. It is said that the Dead Sea mud has an endless number of benefits for your skin and overall health. According to some sources, it relieves skin disorders, detoxifies & cleanses toxins, improves facial skin elasticity, eliminates stretch marks, prevents hair loss and so on and so on and so on. Maybe it can not heal every illness in the world, but it can definitely help in many cases. However, I must warn you that once you apply it on your skin, the burning sensation is not the most pleasant feeling. Especially if you have some wounds!
WADI MUSA: THE GATEWAY TO ONE OF THE WONDERS OF THE WORLD!
For the next two hours, we drove up the mountain paths in total silence. The scenic route made me worry that the driver might start taking pictures instead of keeping his eyes on the road. I guess I forgot to mention that our new friend was some kind of Instagram star and taking nice pictures was his main goal of this trip. He used very effective tactics to find the best spots and to choose the best pose for each spot. Long story short, he googled for some special keywords such as "best spot", "selfie", "Instagram", "Petra" and searched for samples or just followed some other Instagramers and used some of their ideas as his own.
For two or three times our curiosity won and we left the beaten path to do some random exploring. It is always interesting to see how do people in rural areas live. Sand-colored dwarf type houses, the black-clad ladies and barefoot children cheerfully running laughing and running around. We also met a shepherd herding his sheep and a lonely camel walking down the road. Poor old giant probably felt the need to escape its master. All in all, camels in Jordan seem to be very much loved. Kamile and I have noticed that Jordanians treat them with respect. They don't even put those nasty rings to their noses which are very common in some other countries. However, I am not sure if it's like that in all country or only in some particular parts where we happened to be fro a short period of time.
After the sunset, it became clear that it was about time to search for a place for the night. In order to keep costs as low as possible, we decided to get a triple room instead of booking two separate ones. After a 1 hour search, we chose the Mussa Spring hotel which was located a few kilometers away from the Wadi Musa city center. What can I say? It was nice and clean, the owner was incredibly hospitable and we have succeeded to haggle. If I remember right, the price for one night stay was 19JOD, which was about 23.4€ or 7.8€ per person. The plan for the next day included seeing one of the Wonders of the world and spending a night in the breathtaking Arabian desert.
WHAT ARE THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE MODERN WORLD?
According to Wikipedia, the historian Herodotus (484 – c. 425 BC) and the scholar Callimachus of Cyrene (c. 305–240 BC), at the Museum of Alexandria, made early lists of seven wonders. Their writings have not survived, except as references. I believe most of us know what those Wonders of the World are. Yes, I am talking about:
- Great Pyramid of Giza, in Egypt, the only one that still exists.
- Colossus of Rhodes, in Rhodes, on the Greek island of the same name.
- Hanging Gardens of Babylon, near present-day Hillah in Iraq.
- Lighthouse of Alexandria, in Egypt.
- Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, in modern-day Turkey.
- Statue of Zeus at Olympia, in Olympia, Greece.
- Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, in modern-day Turkey.
However, not long ago a new list was drawn up. It is called "Seven wonders of the modern world" or "Seven new wonders of the world" and one of them is located in Jordan. Yes, I agree! There is no need to do too much of "Blah...Blah..." Thank you for your immeasurable patience. I will better just give you the list!
- Great Wall of China, in China (700 BCE).
- The ancient city of Petra, in Jordan (c. 100 BC).
- Colosseum, in Italy (80 CE).
- Chichen Itza, in Mexico (600 CE).
- Machu Picchu, in Peru (1450 CE).
- Taj Mahal, in India (1643 CE).
- Christ the Redeemer, in Brazil (1931 CE).
THE ANCIENT CITY OF PETRA!
It seemed like the third day of our trip came in a fraction of a second. All of us agreed to start the day at 5 o'clock in the morning. Kamile and I were amazed at how difficult it was to wake up our Indian buddy. I guess if we decided to hit two pots or pans to one another, there would have been no reaction at all. Luckily, he warned us this might happen. Otherwise, I would have called the ambulance. Once we finally succeeded to wake him up, it felt like we have just canceled his appointment to heavenly angels. However, as we say here in Lithuania, all is well that ends well. It was time to head to the ancient city of Petra!
When it comes to breakfast, there are several types of people. Some of them like fried eggs with bacon, some of them prefer just a cup of coffee or nothing at all. However, there are a few who like to conflict all day long: before breakfast, after breakfast or instead of having breakfast. We were 'lucky' to meet a couple of those while walking towards the Sikh Gorge, which leads to the ancient city hidden in the mountains. Stay with me and I will tell you what happened!
All began when we met several other travelers from Germany and Australia. Our Indian buddy knew quite a lot about the things to see and do while in this stunning place. This is why he decided to share a few tips with our European friends. Long story short, he told them about a few gorgeous places and how to get there. He also explained that local tribesmen may offer their services, but it wasn't necessary as it was fairly easy to reach all the famous sites on your own and without spending a dime.
One of those local tour guides heard him and got furious like some kind of a wild beast. The guy started yelling,- "I see what you do! You want to ruin our business! ” Our Indian friend was not willing to give up. Both of them started proving their own truth. Fortunately, other Beduin tour guides happened to be way more sensible and succeeded to calm down their raging colleague. Everything stopped as quickly as it started.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN PETRA
Camel or donkey riding with a Beduin guide. The truth is, it is not just us humans that disagree with each other or even fight. This little fellow was hit by another representative of his own kind without any mercy! Luckily, it was extremely strong. Otherwise, it would have fallen to the deadly abyss.
As you already know, local Beduin tribesmen organize camel and donkey tours all around the site. The main difference is that camels are only used to carry people across flat areas. Donkeys usually carry all the elders and lazy youngsters uphill. You can't even imagine how tough those ungulates are! Some of them do it pretty much all day every day!
Walking along the gorge of Siq. The Siq is a gorge that was formed when tectonic forces broke the mountain into two pieces. It is a delight to walk through, a snaking path with rock walls towering high above your head. It is very exciting as you never know when you gonna get that famous view of the Treasury.
Seeing the famous Treasury of Petra. It is one of the views that draw so many visitors to Petra. Completely carved out of the sandstone mountains, the Treasury was built as a tomb for the Nabataean King Aretas III. The Treasury is the highlight of Petra, but this is only the beginning of a visit as there is so much more to see.
The Monastery (Al-Deir). It is as impressive as the Treasury. Good thing, because it requires quite a hike to get to it. The hike to the Monastery has visitors climbing over 800 steps for a solid 20 minutes or more. It is an almost entirely uphill journey. Along the way visitors pass numerous stalls, worked by women, selling scarves, souvenirs, and jewelry.
8 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT JORDAN
- Jordan is an Arab kingdom in Western Asia, on the East Bank of the Jordan River, with a population of over 9 million people.
- Jordan emerged from the post-World War I division of the Middle East made by Britain and France. Known as Transjordan from 1922, it was formally recognized by the UN as an independent sovereign kingdom in 1946.
- The final scenes from the movie Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade were filmed in Petra. Other movies shot in the Wadi Rum desert are The Martian, Red Planet, and Lawrence of Arabia.
- Jordan is home to many biblical sites such as the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Mount Nebo where Moses died.
- The dominant religion in Jordan is Sunni Islam. There’s also a Christian minority.
- Traces of human activity in Jordan have been found dating back all the way to the Palaeolithic period (500,000 BC to 17,000 BC).
- Jordan is home to the ancient city of Petra. Known as “The Rose City” it is famous for its unique architecture carved directly into the rock face. The ancient city of Petra is the home of over 800 carved tombs.
- The capital of Jordan, Amman, was once named Philadelphia. It was named after Ptolemy Philadelphus (283-246 BC) who rebuilt the city during his reign before Amman was taken by Herod around 30 BC and fell under the influence of Rome.
ARABIAN NIGHT IN WADI RUM DESERT!
One day in Petra passed in the speed of lightning. "Next time we will stay here for at least two days!", Kamile and I decided at the end of the day. I won't lie. It was not that easy to explore all the ruins and monasteries with our Indian friend. The guy kept asking us to take pictures of him with multiple cameras every two minutes and seemed nervous when those photos did not live up to his expectations. At least I understood that the life of an Instagram star is not for me!
Anyway, the evening came unexpectedly and it was time to look for a place to spend the night. Our travel partner had a flight back home the next day so we didn't want to waste any time. He said,- "It would be interesting to stay in Wadi Rum! Some people say you can't see that many stars in the night sky anywhere else in the world!" In my opinion, this was our best decision in all trip. The last thing we did before heading to the desert was stopping in one of many local canteens and filled our bellies with delicious local food for only 2JOD or 2.44€!
Failure of our navigation system led us to get lost in a remote rural area. I could not say it was an unpleasant experience as this helped us to meet a few great Jordanians and to see how they live in non-touristic areas. One nice guy offered his help and made a phone call to ask his buddy what would be the best way to get to the Wadi Rum Visitor Center. Luckily he was quick. Otherwise, a gang of wild local kids would have flipped the car upside down!
"HELP ME TO HELP YOU". YEAH, RIGHT!
The Wadi Rum Visitor Center is also the gateway to the Wadi Rum protected area. In order to pass the guards, you have to prove that you have made a reservation using Booking.com. We did not pre-book anything so the guard told us we must pay in the building nearby. This was when we learned the hard way that sometimes it is better to pre-book some things online.
We were staring at the huge price list hanging in front of us on the wall of the main Wadi Rum Visitor Center building. Prices were much higher than expected! One guy dressed in traditional Arabic clothing approached us and gave us a deal. “Help me to help you!", he said. The meaning of his words was simple: if we decided to buy an expensive day tour, he would have made us a discount for the night in the desert camp. "What a crook!", I thought.
Determined not to tolerate such a robbery we got back to our vehicle and decided to try to enter the protected area again. Guards apparently came to the conclusion that our wallets had been emptied successfully. Apparently, the tactics proved to be successful, as we were allowed to enter the area and in a short while, we came to Wadi Rum's Bedouin village, where a decently priced accommodation could be easily found. One of the locals took us to the desert camp located 12km away from the Wadi Rum village.
After dropping our stuff in our personal tent, all three of us decided to say hi to the others. Campsite guests were drinking black tea and listening to some Arabic music. "Habibi Habibi" had been played at least for a dozen times. A little bit later the campsite owner invited us for dinner. Everyone seemed happy to have a chance to try such delicious Jordanian meals. We started eating right after the host finished his story about the process of making those dishes.
WADI RUM DESERT SAFARI
The night was freezing cold! Midwinter nights in Wadi Rum can be merciless! Everyone was happy when the night was over. Breakfast was a bit more modest than dinner. After fueling our batteries, it was time for a desert safari. Only one thought kept spinning in my head,- "What a great adventure awaits!" It was time for a desert safari! Old Toyota and Mazda SUVs, the undisputed rulers of the desert, were already waiting for us at the entrance to the campsite!
We could choose a 2 hour, 4-hour, a 6 or 8-hour safari. The only limit was the shallowness of our wallet. We chose the shortest one as we still had a few hour ride back to Amman waiting for us as our Indian friend needed to catch a flight back home. Places we visited were the Um Fruth bridge, the Khazali canyon, the Lawrence Spring and a few others. It's my duty to tell you more about these places. Did you know that so-called Lawrence Spring was named after Thomas Edward Lawrence (16 August 1888 – 19 May 1935)?
Lawrence was a British archaeologist, army officer, diplomat, and writer. He was renowned for his liaison role during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign and the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. The breadth and variety of his activities earned him international fame as Lawrence of Arabia, a title used for the 1962 film based on his wartime activities. On the other hand, the is not much to say about the Um Fruth bridge. You can see it in the picture below.
Travel writing contest! ->
AMMAN - CITY ON SEVEN HILLS!
The capital Amman was built across seven hills (just like Rome), known as “jabals”. Over time, it’s grown to now cover 19 of these jabals. After the Wadi Rum desert safari, we had a four-hour journey back to this ancient city where after four days of traveling together we had to say Good-Bye to our travel companion. Kamile and I agreed to spend the last 3 days in Jordan exploring the capital and its surroundings.
Amman Citadel. Towering above the capital city of Amman on a hill is the Amman Citadel. This historic site comprises a 1700 meter wall that dates back to the Bronze Age, the iconic Temple of Hercules, and the Umayyad Palace. With so many significant landmarks located on one hill, the Amman Citadel is arguably one of the best places to visit in Amman. The city of Amman was originally known as Rabbath Ammon which translated as the royal ancient city of the Ammonites.
The Ammonites were those who lived in the kingdom during the Iron Age. The area of the citadel dates back as far as the Bronze Age. It was during this period that it was fortified (around 1800 BCE). Since then the site has undergone many rebuilds and additional constructions during the Iron Age, Roman, Byzantine and Umayyad eras. As a result of a large number of constructions on this site, very little remains from the original Bronze Age citadel.
Roman Theater of Amman. Here in the Jordanian capital, the 6,000 seats of a 2nd-century Roman amphitheater stand testament to the significance of what was then known as Philadelphia, or “the city of brotherly love.” Commissioned by Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, this northward-facing landmark is divided into three distinct sections from which ancient spectators watched plays and modern ones listen to concerts.
FOOD IN AMMAN: WHERE AND WHAT TO EAT IN THIS MAGNIFICENT CITY?
HASHEM RESTAURANT REVIEW!
Hey, all the food lovers out there! If you enjoy eating as much as I do, Amman is the right choice for you! However, despite the fact I love trying out different foods from all around the world, writing reviews is not my usual field. This is why it should be left to professionals. Are you planning your trip to Jordan and you wish to learn more about traditional Jordanian dishes? I guess the best thing to do would be checking out "The Ultimate Amman Travel Guide for Food Lovers" in Migrationology.com.
Despite the fact I might not be the best review writer, I would like to talk about one special place. Hashem Restaurant in Amman is probably as a popular as the Roman Theatre or Amman Citadel. Visiting Amman and not trying Hashem's meals would be a total crime! The food there is simple and delicious. According to European standards, prices are incredibly low. For example, a huge set of foods (Hummus, Falafel, fresh bread, a plate of Moutabel, fresh veggies, pickles, and black tea) costs around 4.5JOD for two people. It would be about 5.8€ or 6.4$.
I guess some of the reasons why Hashem Restaurant became so popular are the service speed, the simpleness of the menu and great Location. Amman's old town is not that big so if your hotel is somewhere around the city center, keep in mind that Hashem Restaurant may be a great option for the dinner or lunch. However, if you are a budget traveler and eating the same kind of food a few times per day is too much, try out numerous budget-friendly canteens spread all around the area!
JERASH - BEST PRESERVED ROMAN CITY OUTSIDE ITALY!
- The Jerash ruins in Jordan is said to be the best-preserved Roman ruins outside of Italy.
- Jerash is just 48km north of Amman. That makes it a great day trip destination.
- The modern city of Jerash sits alongside Gerasa of Antiquity, an ancient city housing some of the finest Greco-Roman architecture in the world.
- The ancient Roman city enjoyed great wealth and importance largely due to the area’s fertile lands and year-round freshwater supply.
- An earthquake hit the region in 749AD destroying huge areas of the city and leaving the ruins buried in soil for hundreds of years.
- It was in 1806 that German explorer Ulrich Jasper Seetzen discovered them while searching for Oriental artifacts as part of a private research commission.
- Walking at a leisurely pace, and allowing time for sitting on a fallen column and enjoying the spectacular views, it might take a minimum of three to four hours to explore all the site.
- Having arrived in Jerash you can enjoy the beauty of the huge oval square – Forum, surrounded by a fine colonnade, the unique acoustics of the ancient amphitheater, the system of wine fountains at the temple of Dionysus.
- Jerash is also often called the city a thousand columns. 18 churches, most of which have mosaic floors, have been preserved from the Byzantine era.
HOW TO TRAVEL IF YOU ARE POOR? :D
Some of you might think, "What do you know about being poor you buffoon? :D" and you are probably right. I have never been poor in my life because during my adulthood I always had at least some king of resources or sources of income. However, I know very well what it's like to travel for months on 2-3€ per day in a very improvised way. Who knows, maybe some of my advice might help you while planning your own Jordan adventure.
Our journey to Jordan was definitely not one of those shoestring budget type adventures. However, we succeeded to do it with a minimal budget. What is more, we still had enough funds left for the second 7-day trip in the same month. I will talk about it in my future articles. This time I would like to finish this story with some tips on how to travel in Jordan on a very limited budget.
- Plane tickets. If you are not from one of the European Union countries I can not tell you much about it. However, If Ryanair Airlines operates flights from your local airport you can try to get cheap tickets from them. At least last winter Ryanair tickets from Europe to Jordan were incredibly cheap. For example, we paid only 28,49€ for a two-way ticket. I heard some guys from the same flight paid only 9.99€ for a 3+ hour flight and I think this is crazy. How did they manage to get those tickets so cheap? They patiently waited for the last-minute offer.
- Jordan Pass. I can't stress you enough on how worth it is to buy so-called Jordan Pass. It will save you a fortune! You can find all the information about the Jordan Pass on their official page Jordanpass.jo but I will give you a few clues on what it is. If you purchase the Jordan Pass before arrival to Jordan and stay a minimum of three nights (4 days) it will act as a permission to enter the country without paying for the visa.
- Tickets. What is more, the Jordan Pass works as a ticket to over 40 attractions all around the country. There are three different types of Jordan Passes: Jordan Wanderer Pass = a 1-day visit to Petra (70 JD or 99 USD), Jordan Explorer Pass = 2 consecutive visit days to Petra (75 JD - 106 USD), Jordan Expert = 3 consecutive visit days to Petra (80 JD - 113 USD).
- Car Rental. We did not plan to rent a car in the beginning, but now I can say it was a totally awesome idea. However, more passengers mean a lower cost per person. If you are a couple or a solo traveler, maybe it would be a wise decision to try to find an extra travel buddy. By the way, we rented our Hyundai i30 at Eras Car Rental.
- Food. Places like Hashem Restaurant are scattered all around Jordan. If you are low on funds, the daily bread should be your least concern. A simple Jordanian meal at roadside eateries should cost about 2-2.5JOD, which is about 2.6-3.2€ or 2.8-3.5$. What do I have in mind by saying Simple? I mean a big plate of delicious rice, a bowl of stew, some veggies and a piece of freshly baked bread.
- Accommodation. If there is one thing I'm am sure of, is that at least during the winter season, there is no need to prebook on Booking.com. Having this freedom of changing your plans at any time might be a huge benefit while traveling in Jordan. It might also save you a few dollars or euros. The thing is, like everywhere in the world, not all the Jordanian hotels and hostels are registered on Booking.com. There is always a good possibility to find something cheaper when you go from door to door.
- Even if they are on Booking.com, not having a reservation may allow you to bargain, as we did in Wadi Musa. It saved us at least 3-4USD. However, when it comes to saving, it is always wise to keep in mind how important hygiene is. For example, I would no recommend the Mansour Hotel in Amman. Despite the fact a night there was pretty cheap, the level of hygiene was extremely low, the shower didn't work and it was ridiculously cold. Both of us had to sleep wearing our goose down jackets.
- The next day was a bit better as we decided to walk from door to door and try to get a room somewhere else. Such tactics have proven to be successful as we were able to get a nice room with air conditioning, a TV and other benefits, cheaper than the night before. Unluckily, I do not remember the name of that particular hotel, but you can find lots of them in the city center. This time we have not tried Couchsurfing, but I think it might be a good option too.
- Transportation. Traveling by bus in Jordan is very cheap. The main bus station in Amman is called Tabarbour. Walking to the Tabarbour bus station from Amman's center might take a while as it is 5km away. The easiest way to get there is by UBER. Getting from Point A to point B by a taxi is not expensive too but drivers might try to rip you off. It's amazing how friendly they are when you agree to pay twice more than locals. By the way, keep in mind that the public transportation system is a bit tricky. For example, getting to Jerash might take a few hours as the bus from Taborbour bus station to Jerash leaves only when it's full.
- Hitchhiking. This time we did not have enough time to try if hitchhiking in Jordan works, but it is something for the near future. As you already know, hitchhiking is a great way of pushing yourself into some random adventures and meeting locals. For those of you who can't wait to hitchhike in Jordan, I would recommend watching this vlog, filmed by two Russian travelers. "Aqaba to Amman". Wanna visualize how our Jordan route looked like? Check it on Google Maps.
- Travel insurance. Personally I use Revolut Pay-Per-Day Travel Insurance. This insurance starts as soon as you depart from your usual place of residence in your home country to commence a trip and have activated the policy. It finishes on the occurrence of whichever of the following events happens first: when you return home at the end of the trip, midnight on the end date shown in the most recent statement of insurance, when you downgrade to the Standard membership or close your Revolut account if you’re insured via Revolut Premium.
All in all, Jordan is charming, vibrant and it is different from everything we have seen before! These are the main reasons why it's on our TOP5 Countries Visited list. However, we have not tried everything that we wanted to try. I guess Couchsurfing, hitchhiking and visiting less touristy places would be the main accents of our next Jordan adventure! I have to admit that what I miss the most is the delicious Jordanian food and the mystical energy of the Wadi Rum desert!
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