5 Reasons Jordan Is Your New Instagram / Travel Goal
Wadi Rum, incredible NOM, the Dead Sea and so much more...
If your gap year plans include posting several smug Instagram photos a day to make your pals back home sick with envy then we’ve got your covered for your most picturesque trip yet: get Jordan added to your itinerary STAT.
Leave any expectations you might have at the door; Jordan is the gem of the Middle East and a completely safe haven for tourists. I headed over for a week to seek out the most (Insta)grammable attractions in the land...
Wadi Rum is the quintessential desert; dramatic dunes, deep red canyons and an endless expanse of landscape lying in front of you that makes you feel like you're visiting Mars. The best two ways to get across it are by camel and jeep - I did both and they were without a doubt once in a lifetime experiences.
It also gets significant bonus points as it allows you to replicate scenes from your favourite movies. So many films have been shot here - from The Martian to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Prometheus and of course the classic Lawrence of Arabia (ask your nan).
The food is next level
When it comes to quality nommage, the Middle East probably isn’t the first destination you think of, but trust me - the food is INSANE. Colourful salads, falafels, stuffed vine leaves, yogurts and fluffy flatbreads came with every meal. The delicious national dish Mansaf is a lamb-y, rice-y, yogurt-y thing that’s just YUM. Every single meal I had was a mouth-watering work of art.
And if you’re into hummus in a big way, that’s reason enough to get on down to Jordan. The place is absolutely lousy with the stuff and the genuine article tastes a thousand times better than the sludge your local Tesco Metro offers.
Basically, your Instagram game is never gonna get stronger than snapping an actual wonder of the world. Nowhere on this planet is quite as unique as Petra, an ancient Nabataean city with one of the most awe-inspiring monuments in the world (and a location you can’t fail to recognise from Indiana Jones).
The Treasury (al-Khazneh in Arabic) is a 2000-year-old temple carved directly into the sandstone rock, and ridiculously beautiful and intricate. If you get there at the golden hour between 9am and 11am (lazy types can also try 5pm to 6pm), you’ll have a chance to capture the reddish/pink glow of the sun washing over the monument. It’ll blow your mind.
Another wonder of the world? Ah, sure why not.
The Dead Sea is 423 metres (1,388 ft) below sea level which means its basically Earth’s lowest elevation on land. The huge quantities of salt in the water means no matter how much you try and fit in a couple of laps all that’s going to happen is you’ll end up bobbing around on your back like a human lilo.
Cover yourself in the sludgy mineral mud before splashing in for the definition of an organic spa treatment. Just don’t get that salt in your eyes - believe me. Killer.
Dana Biosphere Reserve
Jordan isn’t just all desert. For a change of scenery I headed to the Dana Biosphere Reserve. Nestled in the mountains, the reserve is the largest in Jordan and contains an unusually large diversity of rare critters and plants.
My base camp in Rumman was right under the stars in a teepee tent surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever encountered.
But hiking the White Domes trail the next day through the valley, up close and personal with nature was where I took some of the most enviable shots of the trip.
In short, Jordan is as incredible as it is untouched - stuffed with stunning natural beauty and incredible cultural highlights.
MTV Travelled With... www.visitjordan.com, with flights courtesy Royal Jordanian. Classic Jordan, Abercrombie & Kent, tour includes 7 days and 6 nights, from £1,495 per person including return flights from the UK, and includes reliving Roman society in the well-preserved city of Jerash, tracing the old Kings’ Highway via Mount Nebo, Madaba and Kerak’s Crusader castle and traversing wild Wadi Rum by 4WD with a Bedouin guide. The trip also takes guests on an exploration of the rose-red city of Petra and offers the chance to float in the infamous healing waters of the salty Dead Sea. More info: www.abercrombiekent.co.uk/jordan/tour-jordan.cfm