One Day at Wadi Rum - Why you should visit it at least once
If you are traveling to a new country, the first thing that you will probably be searching online is for things to do in the said country. On that note, Wadi Rum will most definitely pop up in your search results as a top attraction if you are thinking about visiting Jordan.
I highly recommend that you add this to your itinerary! This experience will fill your cup with adventure and open up your mind to new ways of life that you may not have witnessed before.
This vast ancient desert land is popularly known as the "Valley of the Moon" and is a protected heritage site listed under UNESCO. Wadi Rum is a boundless desert surrounded by towering canyons, and sandstones enshrouded by majestic sand dunes in hues of red, orange, and brown.
Rock engraving, inscription, and remains found on the site suggest that this land has been inhabited since primitive times by the Nabateans. Today, wadi rum is a famous tourist spot and a main source of income for the Bedouin Tribe that still live in the desert in tents made from goat or camel hair. They continue to preserve the ancient Bedouin traditions and live like their forefathers as much as possible.
Wadi rum is as close as you will get to Mars without having to leave this planet and is often depicted as an alien planet in movies. If you don't already know many popular Hollywood movies were filmed in Wadi Rum. Among the movies shot here include The Martian, The Lawrence of Arabia, Prometheus, Aladdin, Transformers, Star Wars, etc.
The most ideal way to get the best out of this experience is by spending a night in a Bedouin tent under the starlit sky. I felt that 1 day / 1 night was sufficient to see the top sites but if you are an adventure junkie who loves exploring and hiking the off-beaten paths then I would recommend spending two or more nights here. There are plenty of hiking excursions available for you to choose from.
In this post, I will share information on how best to maximize your trip and address the how's and what's about this trip.
How to get to Wadi Rum?
It is important to note that transportation options to access Wadi Rum are scarce. So the best way to reach Wadi Rum is by renting a car or hiring a taxi. The duration to get to Wadi Rum from Amman is 3.5 hours, 4 hours from the Dead Sea, 2 hours from Petra, and an hour from Aqaba. There are buses available but I am not familiar with the schedule.
I strongly suggest that you consider renting a car during your visit to make the most out of your trip as it will give you flexibility and freedom to travel around the country. Many car rental companies in Jordan have an active online presence. There is a ton of options available to choose from. I would recommend getting in touch with Mr. Abdullah from 360 days. He is contactable at +962 7 7036 0360 (mobile), +962 7 8036 0360 (WhatsApp) and email@example.com (email)
How to access the Wadi Rum Village?
Your first stop as soon as you enter Wadi Rum is the Visitor Centre. There is an entry fee of 5JDs to enter the village since it is a protected site. Entrance is free if you have a Jordan Pass but you will still need to report at the Centre to get it stamped.
Protip: Carry sufficient cash because there are no ATMs at Wadi Rum.
Wadi Rum village is located about 6 km from the Visitor Centre. The Visitor Centre is the main entry point. Upon clearance continue driving until you reach the Resthouse, Rum village, the first building on your right as you enter the village. You can park your car at the designated spaces next to the said building.
We booked a tour with Rumstar and opted for their half-day tour. You can click on the hyperlink to find out about their accommodation and tour packages. You will be met by your tour guide at this point and the expedition begins. Your luggage will be sent to your campsite in a separate vehicle.
You will be cruising through the desert in a jeep, so take only the essentials.
We opted for the classic Bedouin Tour and the highlights are:
Lawrence Spring - You can trek the rock formations to reach the spring where TE Lawrence stopped to quench his thirst or bathe. Lawrence TE is a British General who aided the Arabs in their revolution against the Ottoman empire. You will be rewarded with a stunning view overlooking the valley once you reach the spring.
Jabel Khazali Canyon - Ancient rock engraving and paintings by the Nabateans.
Red Sand Dunes of Wadi Um Ishrin, where you can climb the dunes or even sandboard if you wish.
Jebel Anafishiya - You will witness 2500 year old rock inscriptions by the Nabateans
Lunch by the Barrah Canyon.
Wander through the amazing Al Mahama Canyon via a self -guided trail. The tour Guide will pick you up at the other end of the canyon.
Um Fruth Bridge - Natural rock formation and arches. Also an excellent photo op!
Sat atop a mountain and watched the sun set against the vast landscape while sipping some hot sage-infused Bedouin tea.
As the sun sets and the night begins to fall, you will be driven to your campsite; ours was located at the base of Gazelle Mountain.
We checked into our suites and put on some warm clothes for the next activity.
We reconvened at the main hall and learnt a few things about Bedouin food.
We also had the opportunity to see how Zarb, a traditional Bedouin dish is prepared. Zarb is technically an ancient barbeque where meat is cooked in an underground oven that is submerged in sand. Zarb is normally prepared with sheep, goat, or chicken and is served with vegetables and potatoes.
We were all famished after a long day and proceeded to dig into the delicious food that was prepared for us. We could hardly move by the time we were done.
After dinner, guests are encouraged to take a nice stroll under the starry sky. Wadi Rum is one of the world's best destinations for stargazing. Alternatively, guests can hang out in the common area to chill, read or play games. There is no internet connection in the village so it was nice to see people actually bonding with one another instead of being glued to their devices. It was really nice as I think everyone needs a good internet detox every now and then.
We sat around the campfire outside while sipping hot tea while some smoked hookah while our guide shared stories, offering a glimpse of the Bedouin life. We also got acquainted with a German couple who were traveling around Jordan. We exchanged travel stories and experiences.
Sometime later we retired to our rooms and hung out in the outdoor space; it had a swing which we sat on and just watched the beautiful sky. The atmosphere was so soothing and it felt as though mother nature was lulling us to sleep.
The next morning we woke up to the most gorgeous sunrise - sunrise in the desert is one of the most wonderful experiences and I think it is something that everyone should experience at least once.
We had breakfast and at 8:30 am our jeep was waiting for us to take us back to the Rest House. Our driver pulled some amazing stunts and showed off his kickass skills on our ride back. What a dramatic close to our thrilling trip!
What is the best time to visit Wadi Rum?
The best time to visit Wadi Rum is during spring and autumn when the weather is most pleasant. I would not recommend visiting Wadi Rum during summer as the weather can get really hot during the day - you won't want to be scorched by the blazing sun. If you would like to avoid the crowd, you can visit during winter - the weather is a little chilly during the day but manageable. It is important to note that the weather drastically drops at night especially in deserts so please pack warm clothes and layer up accordingly!
Where to stay?
There are many options available online and you can browse booking.com to choose an accommodation that best fits your budget and style. Most of the accommodations are equipped with modern amenities. So fret not.
Some of the luxury bubble hotels even have a pool so go figure! You can also choose to make a day trip but I personally feel that you should spend at least a night to gain a more wholesome and authentic experience of Bedouin life.
Also, the livelihood of most Bedouin folks depends on Tourism so you will be supporting the community if you opt to stay in one of the locally owned campsites instead of one of those huge bubble villas.
However, this is entirely up to what your personal preference is and what best suits you! Either way, you are guaranteed a good time!
How much is the trip?
The trip can cost you anywhere between 45 -100 JDs per person and is inclusive of room, board, and tour. The price varies between different companies and it depends on the type of packages that you opt for. It is best for you to look at a few packages to compare before deciding.
Miscellaneous Travel Tips
Wear comfortable footwear. If you plan on hiking, wear proper hiking shoes. Sneakers are fine otherwise.
Shawl/ scarf to protect your face
Small bag to store your essentials
Flashlight to walk around the camp at night or for stargazing
Good Spirit to make the most out of your trip!
Basically, that is pretty much how my trip went. Feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions about this trip! I will be happy to address your queries!
Till next time, Toodles.