Planning a trip to Jordan? Here's a list of the top ten activities to help give you an idea of great things to do. We've focused on unique things to do in Jordan that provide you with a more authentic experience.
Dining in the Downtown
Can you experience a new culture without tasting the food? No, is the answer.
In Jordan, as in most places you’ll visit, the basics are the best. Falafel and hummus are the standard quick meal or a lovely way to spend the morning if you want an extended breakfast of chatting and getting excited about your day ahead. If the latter sounds great, you can enjoy falafel mezze style with flatbread and vegetables for breakfast (add in some foul and mtauble as well), or for a snack/ lunch try them as a sandwich: stuffed in the flatbread along with a variety of fried vegetables and salad. Zaki! (Yummy)
Hashem’s in downtown Amman is renowned as the top-spot for sampling your falafel. The price of a flavorful selection of mezze is next to nothing, so there’s no excuse for missing it.
Jeep tour in Wadi Rum
A trip to the Valley of the Moon is guaranteed to be one you will remember for life. No matter the season, the beauty of the vast red desert is awe-inspiring. The natural rock formations and expansive mountains that tower overhead both absorb and reflect the sun, creating a haze of rosy light.
The best way to explore this ethereal landscape is by jeep. This may make you cringe if you’re thinking of being a car-confined tourist, but the actual experience is quite the contrary. The jeep will facilitate you getting from rock-bridge, to sand dune, to panorama view, and the ride in itself is exhilarating; you feel as if you are flying, with the wind in your face and hair as you hurtle through the canyons and sandbanks.
Hiking into Petra via the back route
Visiting Petra is undoubtedly a top priority of all who venture into Jordan for travel purposes; one of the seven wonders of the world, this ancient city carved into the rocks is a truly awe-inspiring site to behold, regardless of season or time of day.
However, coming to Petra on foot via the back route magnifies this experience exponentially. The sense of timelessness and adventure is far more present as you hike through the historic landscape of Little Petra, following the paths of the Bedouin shepherds and taking in stunning views over the desert. The excitement of your first glimpse of Petra is given time to build, as you voyage through passages in the rocks before coming, at last, to your destination.
Floating in the Dead Sea
Enjoy a day of relaxation at the Dead Sea, either by the water or in it. Although it’s more accurate to say “on” it, as due to the high concentration of salt in the water one can float with no effort in the water, sitting comfortably enough to read a book!
The Dead Sea is famous for the health benefits and rejuvenation bathing in its waters provides. The mud by the beach provides an invigorating clay mask for the skin, so much so that it is exported all over the world for beauty and health products. However, why get an imported face-mask, when you could experience the real thing?
Star-gazing at Feynan Eco Lodge
Embrace nature, pure and simple, at this cozy, candle-lit eco lodge. The rooftop terrace laden with mattresses offers a prime spot for stargazing; one can sip Bedouin tea as you look up into the clear sky, unpolluted by other sources of light.
The lodge boasts a strong telescope, so powerful that views of Saturn’s ring and Jupiter’s moons are available to be seen! But that is only if you are able to disengage your eyes from the unfathomable beauty of the twinkling Milky Way for long enough to navigate yourself over to the telescope.
The experience is intellectual, the guides know their stuff, and connects with you on a deeper level too; a true reconnection with the natural world.
Petra by night
Seeing the rock city candle-lit offers a whole new dimension to the magic to Petra. Over 1,500 candles line the walk from the Siq to the treasury, the flames illuminating the rock, amplifying its grandeur.
The site is beautiful, but the experience is more than just sight. Local Bedouins play their traditional instruments that echo off the canyon walls; a nighttime experience, so fantastical that you’ll never be sure you weren’t dreaming.
Learning to cook an Arab meal
Trust us; this is truly a top priority. As soon as you’ve tasted a traditional Arab meal here, you will understand that learning to cook it is a necessity for you. It will be far too delicious for you to ever consider never being able to eat it again.
The learning experience - which has got to be the most fun ‘lesson’ known to mankind - can happen in one of several locations, ranging from family homes all over Jordan to locally run businesses such as Beit Sitti in Amman. It will involve the teaching of a few key dishes, including mezze starters and a main course, and will end with the grand tasting experience as you feast on your hard-work.
Eating with a family in their home
Food and family are the two high values in Jordanian society. Thus, spending time with a family in their home is the ultimate way to connect with the people and understand their culture.
Jordanians are renowned for their hospitality, and this is visible in visiting their homes. The phrase “honoured guest” has never rung so true as it does here, where every possible effort goes into securing the comfort and pleasure of the visitor.
Speaking Arabic phrases with the locals
Locals, whether involved in tourism or not, do not expect any visitor to use Arabic for the simple reason that most Jordanians that you encounter will have a basic form of English. However, even using simple phrases such as “Alhamdu lillah” (praise God), and “Shukran” are guaranteed to win you a smile for even trying.
The Jordanians are nation-proud, they love their country, their ways, and their language. Attempting to connect with them through the language shows that you are willing, and wanting, to make an effort, and this is so appreciated by a people who love who they are.
Drinking tea with the Bedouins
Chai (Shay), tea, prepared Bedouin-style is like no other. Delicately infused with sage, the sweet, fragrant drink is enjoyed at all hours of the day. It is simultaneously refreshing, calming and downright delicious. Brought to the boil in the outdoors over a smoky wood-fire adds another dimension to the flavor and to the experience; you’ll never want to use an electric kettle again!
In addition to this, the drinking of the tea is a way for tourist and Bedouin alike to connect; it’s a symbol of hospitality, of community, and of friendship. In accepting the tea, you accept the invitation: experience Jordan.