Ten reasons to visit Jordan now

Photo of Ten reasons to visit Jordan now 1/3 by Megha Goel

Standing there in front of the Treasury, admiring the colossal structure built by the Nabataeans in around 300B.C, I knew why I had chosen Jordan as my second International destination. It doesn't fall on the regular tourist radar and has so much to offer.

To all those people who filled my inbox asking "Why Jordan", I am listing down ten reasons that brought me to Jordan.

1. Lost City of Petra

Photo of Ten reasons to visit Jordan now 2/3 by Megha Goel

Did you know that Petra is one of the new 7 wonders of the world. It's famous for it rock-cut structures and water-channel system. Once a flourishing city is now a famous archaeological site that lives to tell stories hidden in every corner. The Siq trail leading to treasury is particularly gorgeous one. To have a more ethereal experience take a tour of "Petra by night" where the entire trail is lit up with camps and the a light and music show is performed at the Treasury with a hot cup of Bedouin tea.

Give at least two days to explore Petra completely as it's huge and has a lot to offer. Hike up to the Monastery and bask in it's grandeur. It's hard to believe that it was carved from one single rock with no advanced technology in ancient times.

2. Float on Dead Sea

Photo of Ten reasons to visit Jordan now 3/3 by Megha Goel

Ever since I read about it in my textbooks in School, I wondered how it would be to float endlessly on a sea. The high salt content in Dead Sea makes it very easy for anyone to float due to Natural buoyancy.

But make sure to cover all your cuts and bruises before getting in cause that salt water is going to sting like anything.

Watching the sunset in the background while chilling in the Dead sea with a mud pack is definitely the best feeling. Once done you can rinse off the dead sea mud, which has a lot of medicinal benefits, in the hot water spring.

3. Wreck Diving in Red Sea

Driving from the scorching deserts of Wadi Rum to the turquoise blue waters of Aqaba was refreshing. To our surprise the red sea wasn't red in color as expected. Normally the water is blue in color but occassionally turns red due to an algae, called trichodesmium erythraeum, which, upon dying, turn the usually blue-green water, reddish-brown.

Based on your scuba experience you can opt for different levels of dive. We were allowed to do only 130ft deep and hence opted for the military tank wreck dive. The tank was bustling with marine life and home to several colorful corals. For people holding certifications, there is a plane wreck dive which sounded very interesting to me.

4. Experience Mars in the deserts of Wadi Rum

For your "mars-on-earth" experience head over to Wadi Rum. With it's red sand and barren landscape, you feel that you have stepped into some other planet. The dramatic sandstone mountains and natural arches are fascinating. The most mesmerizing thing to do here is to watch the sun setting down the desert and the sky turning all kinds of red.

You can book yourself a glass dome or stay in Bedouin tents according to the budget. We booked a package that included a day tour of the desert, Bedouin dinner and overnight stay in camps.

Bedouin dinner is cooked underground with the help of heat that gets captured in the sand particles. We were all awestruck and excited to see our food emerging from the ground.

5. Try canyoning in Wadi Mujib

This caught my eye while I started my research on Jordan and definitely the main reason why I chose this country. Canyoning had been a very first time experience for me and I would definitely recommend this to everyone visiting Jordan.

Imagine canyons with narrow trail in between gushing with water stream. The water level get low in as you move forward and the flow gets faster. To easily cross the stream there are bars and ropes installed. They even have guards who help you out with the tricky portions.

For those of you scared of water, you can hire a guide like we did. The 2 km trek ends with a waterfall where you can try cliff jumping or just swim in the natural pool. Coming back majorly comprises of sliding down, jumping off or simply lying down your back and float with the water current.

6. Explore Roman ruins in Jerash

48kms away from the city of Amman lies Jerash. The city of Roman ruins which was once a bustling city. It is said to have the best preserved roman ruins outside of Italy.

This can be covered as part of a day trip from Amman. The city has some of the finest Greco-roman architecture which got destroyed during an earthquake in 749AD and was buried under soil until excavated by German Explorer Ulrich Jasper Seetzen in 1806. Since then it has become a major tourist attraction.

Some of the notable sites include Temples, theaters, Food market, stadiums etc. Make sure to carry sunscreen, water, caps and umbrellas as the sun shows no mercy here.

7. Visit Amman Citadel

The Citadel is situated on the top of a hill, situated 850m above sea level overlooking the old city of Amman. This dates back as far as bronze age. The main attractions are Hercules temple, The Umayyad Palace and Byzantine church.

The Museum holds some of the very important artifacts from the Citadel and other Jordanian sites. It has some of the oldest statues that are made of Lime, plaster and reed.

After you're done exploring the Citadel, you can walk down to visit the Roman Amphitheater.

8. Try Jordanian Food

No Jordanian meal is complete without a cup of tea. You'll be offered tea for free at the end of the meal in a lot of restaurants. Tea is very popular beverage and is part of their hospitality.

If you're a non-vegetarian, you have landed in food heaven. There are plenty of options here but I must warn you that Jordanian portion size are huge. The two of us would struggle to finish just one dish. Try the national dish of Jordan, Mansaf. It is a traditional dish made of lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt called Jameed and served with rice or bulgur.,

For vegetarians, stay assured that you won't starve. Visit the Famous Hashem's in Downtown Amman and gorge on some delicious Hummus, Falafel, Pita bread, fuul with a side of Salad.

To satiate your sweet-tooth, don't forget to get a taste of Kunafeh and Baklava.

9. Bask in Jordanian Hospitality

I was asked if Jordan was safe to visit . We were two girls and not even for a moment did we feel unsafe in this country. People were friendly and eager to help us. They made sure that we felt at home and have a great time.

A shopkeeper from Jerash invited us in his shop and told us about his country and what places we shouldn't miss out. He even gave us gifts from his shop as a friendly gesture. Our hostel manager helped us in finding public transport by writing a note in Arabic.

Our guide in Wadi Rum shared his stories about growing up in the area and how he purchased his new car.

Our Scuba instructor shared his experiences from the time he visited India and also ensured that we all felt absolutely safe diving with him.

10. Budget-friendly

Currency of Jordan, the Jordanian Dinar is stronger than USD (1JD = 1.4USD) which makes one think that it can not be done in a budget. But with careful planning, staying in hostels and using public transports it is possible to not burn a hole in your pocket.

We were able to finish our 8 day trip within 1000USD inc flight tickets from India to Jordan.