Unleash the inner Indiana Jones in you.
I am a fan of a treasure hunt and luckily in Jordan, its easy enough to map out its colourful riches.
Jordan is the Middle East’s treasure trove – filled with otherworldly landscapes, ancient ruins and cultural charms. It is adventure rich; enough to make Indiana Jones busy for future franchises (take note Hollywood bosses) with its myriad of contrasting sceneries (Mars on Earth, vivid marine life, sandstone cliffs) and cultural allure.
As the iconic action hero celebrates its 30th anniversary of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade in Jordan, we take a look at why you should crack the whip and choose Jordan as the set of your next intrepid travel adventure.
Petra is a window to a lost world. Known as one of the 7th New Wonders of the World, Petra was rediscovered in 1812 and received UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1985. Since then, many have marked Petra as the spot to venture into a lost world of caves and temples carved out in giant sandstone mountains covering over 60 sq km. Yes, Petra is enormous!
Snaking through the towering corridors of the Siq (or Siqit) is a moment not to forget. Stretching out over 1km, this narrow canyon acts as the grand entrance to reach Petra’s most iconic site – Al Khazneh, or commonly known as the Treasury Building. The 39-metre high Treasury Building (a King’s tomb) entrance is the ancient Nabataean city’s most famous attraction and is one of Petra’s most preserved sites.
One of Petra’s other most impressive sights includes trekking to its 40-metre Monastery building on a cliff face. It’s not an easy feat trek; however, it is worth the sweat and leg muscle hiking up and down mountains to admire just how innovative our ancestors were.
Tip: Follow in Indiana Jones’s lead and slop on an adventurer’s hat as exploring Petra is a big feat in itself under the belting sun – but an incredible one at that!
Jordan’s seaside city, Aqaba is the country’s springboard into the depths and multi-hues of the Red Sea.
Jordan also proves to be a pinnacle spot when it comes to exploring abundant marine life. It is hard even to envision a rainbow playground exists between desert country and yet it does in clear view – and it is astounding.
The corals are vivid; explored by the likes of manta rays, sea snakes, barracudas, and Moorish Idol, but they are not the only places they like to explore. Sitting alongside its sublime marine life is a growing network of artificial reefs created to lure more snorkelling and diving enthusiasts.
It’s common to explore a shipwreck when diving, but Jordan raises the awesome (and unnerving) factor with its seabed also being home to a Hercules C-130 aircraft sunk at 17 metres. Thankfully, the plane purposely sunk for it to become an artificial reef. The uncommon sight is eerie yet alluring enough to enter the aircraft itself and dive in it and say hello to its scarecrow pilot!
Less than an hour away from the underwater life at Aqaba, Wadi Rum exists to take us into yet another world. If there is a Mars on Earth, then Wadi Rum is it.
Its burning red sands and matching playdough-like sandstone mountains make up for Jordan’s surreal desert landscape in its south-west. Many people flock to Wadi Rum to partake in its thrilling 4WD tours that cascade along its zig-zagged red dunes amid its incredible luna-like scenery.
To feel like you left Planet Earth and ventured to Mars, do a digital detox and opt to camp under a blanket of stars. Let sitting by a bonfire, taking a puff on a shisha, enjoying the local cuisine, walking through the desert and climbing mountains all become your new favourite past times in Jordan. Here you can really take in both the beauty of this uniquely rouge environment and the welcoming nature of Jordanians.
If you are up for a cheap way to treat your body to some earthly extravagance, float on to the Dead Sea.
Sharing its borders with Israel, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth and a salty one at that. Its waters consist of 21 minerals that can work miracles for the skin. It is no wonder many tourists opt to come here to float along the sea and of course, receive a free beauty treatment from Mother Nature itself.
Step back in time and amongst the world’s best-preserved Roman architecture outside of Italy with a pilgrimage to Jerash, Jordan’s largest Roman site dating back 63 BC.
Jerash (also known as Gerasa) is one of Jordan’s major tourist attractions and one of its most fascinating archaeological sites. Visitors to this ancient city can experience the life of an ancient Roman by strolling through Jerash’s colonnaded streets, temples, plazas, theatres, hippodrome and monumental gateways.
The ruins of the Temple of Zeus is a sight not to be missed. Built-in 162 AD, it is worth the small feat to climb to stand amongst its remaining pillars and get a magnificent panoramic view of this once imperial city.
Even if you aren’t an archeological buff, it is hard not to be captivated all that remains of Jerash. That is what makes Jordan so intriguing, so many mesmerizing lost worlds in such a small space.
Intrepid Travel – 8 Day Explore Jordan tour. Please note: A visit to the Red Sea is not included on this tour and was visited separately.
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Image source: Julia D’Orazio
Julia was a guest of Intrepid Travel and all thoughts and opinions are of her own.