HomeFam TripsThrowback Thursday: Jaw Dropping Jordan

Throwback Thursday: Jaw Dropping Jordan

Jack Goddard ITTN’s intrepid reporter winged his way to Jordan as a guest of Nebo ToursTurkish Airlines and Accident & General Insurance.

Joining Jack were Tony Flynn (Nebo Tours), Paula Cross (Platinum Travel), Lorraine Kenny (Sunway), Robert Wilson (Travel Solutions), Carol Anne O’Niell (Worldchoice), Dominic Burke (Travel Centres) and Caroline Kerr (Atlantic Travel).

Day 1

Jerash, Jordan’s Lesser Known Marvel

Jack and the group began their day of fun with a visit to Jerash. Famous as being one of the best preserved Greco-Roman cities in the Middle East, Jerash is one of the top attractions in Jordan (alongside Petra) and is certainly a must-visit. Walking around the city Jack and his group really got to take in the culture of the city while Wael was able to give them a more in-depth history lesson on Jerash.

The Citadel

After Jarash, the group were brought to the incredible Citadel. The Citadel is an area which sits high up on the hills of Jabel el Qala. The Citadel stands beside the Jordan Archaeological Museum (visit included with admission) and several other structures can also be seen in Citadel. The Citadel also offers a spectacular view of the entire city. It is an area that has both military importance and religious value.

Amazing Amman

After the group’s visits came to an end, they made their way back to Amman but not before stopping off for some lunch at an extremely popular Jordanian cuisine restaurant ‘Restaurant Hashem’ where they were treated to some of the best hummus and falafel you can get anywhere.

Arriving in Amman in the afternoon, Jack and the group were given time to really take in what the city is like. The group was dropped off downtown where the streets are jam-packed with markets and stalls, selling everything from spices to classic Jordanian garments. The group had the chance to interact with locals and get a sense of how Amman is day to day.

The group ended their day with a pre dinner reception in the ‘Oriental Room’ of the Regency Palace sponsored by Craig Donnelly and ‘Accident & General Insurance followed by dinner in one of the hotels restaurants ‘Trader Vics’ hosted by Mr Hanna Sawalha CEO of Nebo Tours. The night ended with a nightcap or two in the ‘U Lounge’ which is on the roof and offered spectacular night views over Amman.

Day 2

Excitement Around the Dead Sea

Day two started with Jack and the group checking out after a wonderful stay at the Regency Palace hotel.

The group had a busy day ahead of them as today they were visiting the Dead Sea – something that Jack has had on his bucket list for quite some time!

St. George and Marvelous Mosaics

The first stop of the day was a visit to Madaba. Madaba is an ancient town in Jordan, south-west of the capital Amman. It’s known for its 6th-century mosaic map of the Holy Land in the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. While visiting St. George, Wael, the extremely intelligent and knowledgeable guide was able to really give the group an in-depth history of the church and its meaning to Madaba. Jack and the group were actually lucky enough to experience a religious service taking place within St. George.

After a quick stop at St. George, the group had a brief tour of Archaeological Park of Madaba – an area that displays part of a Roman road, intricate byzantine mosaics and Ottoman-era buildings. Again, Wael was able to provide the group with valuable information which really almost sent you back in time to the scene.

Views at Mount Nebo

The next stop for the group was Mount Nebo. Mount Nebo is a high ridge located in Jordan and is part of the Abarim mountain range. Mount Nebo is mentioned in the Bible as the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land before his death. Nebo offers amazing views and incredible photo opportunities that are worth the admission alone. Entrance costs 2JD which is approximately €2.70.

It was time, Jack was finally on his way to the Dead Sea. After visiting the Holiday Inn and the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar in the Dead Sea area to show the group the variety of hotels and a delightful lunch provided for the group by the Kempinski, the group then made their way down toward the Dead Sea.

The Holiday Inn Resort, The Dead Sea
Kempinski Hotel Ishtar, The Dead Sea

It’s Time for the Dead Sea

As Jack had floating in the Dead Sea on his bucket list, this was very exciting as he neared closer to the world’s saltiest sea. The Dead Sea is a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel to the west. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River. The Dead Sea’s main attraction point is the fact that it is very hard to do anything in it but float. Jack tried numerous times to push himself down but to no success. It truly is a surreal experience.

After floating in the Dead Sea, guests are advised to cover themselves with mud which was provided to the group at the seaside. This is to remove impurities and dead skin on your body. An added benefit of Dead Sea mud is that the salt and magnesium in it can improve your skin’s functionality by making it a better barrier and more elastic. Dead Sea salt has also been shown as a treatment to make skin healthier. Jack and the group had an extremely enjoyable time at the Dead Sea and it is something none of them will ever forget.

A little fun fact that Jack and the group learned was that the Dead Sea is over 430 meters below sea level and that no living organisms live in it.

The group after a long day of travelling had one more stop before getting to their hotel, the five-star Old Village Hotel.

The Old Village Hotel

Slowing the Pace with the Sunset

The final stop of the evening was a quick visit to a viewing point in Tafielah, which gives guests an extraordinary vision of the sun setting over the mountains in a quiet, relaxed environment. A perfect ending to an exhilarating day.

For all hiking and trail hunters, near to Tafielah is Dana. Dana is in the Feynan area in central-western Jordan. It is situated on the edge of Wadi Dana, a large natural canyon, and has views over Wadi Araba. Dana is an extremely popular spot for moderate to advanced hikers which also provides some less difficult options for beginners. It is one of the main areas in all of Jordan for adventure walking.

Day 3

Petra and Al Khaznez

Arriving at the site where the treasury stands tall, the group was guided along a walking trail being educated about Petra, the capital city of the Nabatean Arabs. The city is one of the most famous archeological sites in the world and Jordan’s national treasure. Petra – which means Rose Red city, gets its name from the color of the rocky mountains the city is carved into. The city prospered in the 1st century AD through the trade of frankincense, myrrh, and spices. The Romans annexed the thriving city but abandoned it in mid of the 4th century after a strong earthquake hit the city. The city was rediscovered by a Swiss explorer Johannes Burckhardt in 1812. Today Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is visited by thousands of people every day.

Reaching the treasury is a sight to behold. Jack and his group were expecting to be gobsmacked, but your first sight of the unbelievable structure still managed to blow the group away. The attention to detail of the structure and precision is mind-boggling.

A nice added bonus to the trail – if you have difficulty walking long distances there is a few forms of transport on the way. You have the option to walk, travel by buggy, or if you are feeling adventurous – camel.

After the incredible visit to the treasury, Jack and the group did a couple of hotel inspections to have an idea of the variety of hotels in the area. The hotels they visited were the five-star Mövenpick and Petra Moon Hotel.

Mövenpick, Petra
Petra Moon Hotel

Wadi Rum

Jack and the group really got to experience something special next as they made their way to Wadi Rum. Wadi Rum is a colorful desert with sandstone mountains and sheer cliffs that resemble a landscape from Mars – fun fact, Matt Damon’s ‘The Martian’ was actually filmed here. It’s a unique landscape that has been the backdrop of several Hollywood films over the years. Tourists flock to this desert to enjoy watching sunsets, desert safaris, trekking, camping and other adventurous activities.

On arrival, the group was transported through the desert on the back of 4 x 4 trucks and were brought to several glamping-style camps dotted around the Wadi Rum while also visiting some of the hot photo opportunities on the way. From high-rise dunes to rocky marvels, the Wadi Rum is really something special.

Nebo tours always have a nice surprise up their sleeves. Jack and the group were unexpectedly treated to a wonderful set up put together by Tony, Hanna and Ksawlha of some delightful canapes, prosecco and fruits to watch the wonderful sunset over the high dunes. The fun didn’t stop there though – each of the group was treated to a quick camel ride around the desert and was also gifted some traditional Jordanian dress to really immerse themselves in the culture.

After the sun had set, the group was brought to their home for the night, Sarya Rum. The camp was more like a hotel in the desert – the pinnacle of luxury glamping. The group was also treated to a scrumptious dinner that was cooked underneath the Wadi Rum sand.

Day 4

Aqaba, Jewel on the Red Sea

The group was on their way to their last city of the trip – Aqaba. Aqaba is Jordan’s jewel on the Red Sea and its only port. The once quiet fishing town is a thriving city with many beach resorts, hotels and scuba diving clubs. There is a lot to do in the city including water sports, world-class golf, shopping in the local markets, or just soaking in the sun on the sandy beaches.

Luckily, the group had the opportunity to visit a stunning golf resort Aqaba – Ayla Golf. With over 800,000 square metres of gorgeous flat green fairways, both beginner and expert golfers are sure to enjoy this one-of-a-kind, eco-friendly golf course overlooking Aqaba’s captivating mountainous landscape.

Ayla Golf Course

Ayla also provides a fabulous beach club – B12. One of the more popular spots beach in Aqaba, featuring all-day dining, great drinks, and activities to keep your whole family entertained. Take a quiet nap in a hammock, or sign up for activities with your entire family. There are limitless options as to how to enjoy B12’s beach vibes.

B12 Beach Bar, Aqaba

Before the group proceeded to their final hotel of the trip, they had a quick hotel inspection of the Hyatt Hotel in Aqaba.

The Hyatt Hotel, Aqaba

Jack and the group had, sadly, come to their last stop of the trip. The group would set up camp in the Kempinski Hotel, Aqaba waiting for their flight to depart from King Hussein Airport. The group was given a brief hotel tour by the Hyatt’s general manager, before being treated to a delicious meal at the Lebanese restaurant at the hotel.

Kempinski Hotel, Aqaba

A very special thank you to Nebo Tours, Turkish Airlines and Accident and General for such an incredible trip.

Jack Goddard
Jack Goddard
I have joined the ITTN team after working in many different disciplines across my career. Having worked in a solicitor’s office, the bar trade, and the travel industry. I bring a young and fresh dynamic to our editorial team.


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