2 days in the Dead Sea and Petra, Jordan

I visited Jordan in April 2014 and managed to spend 2 days in the Dead Sea and Petra, along with the majority of the sites along the Kings Highway. If you have a limited amount of time in Jordan, hopefully our itinerary below can give you ideas on how to plan your trip to this amazing country!

19-Apr-14VA29 SYD-AUH
20-Apr-14EY515 AUH-AMMRoman theatre
Amman Pasha Hotel
21-Apr-14Kings HighwayMt Nebo
The Dead Sea
Dana Lookout
Shoubak Castle
Petra Palace Hotel
22-Apr-14Desert HighwayPetraMosaic City Hotel
23-Apr-14EY514 AMM-AUHDubai MallNovotel World Trade Centre
24-Apr-14Souk Madinat
Al Barasti Beach
Premier Inn Hotel
25-Apr-14VA30 AUH-SYD

We booked our driver/tour guide though Amman Pasha Hotel as we waited to check in the previous afternoon. It was the best decision, as our plan A consisted of us driving ourselves – with the limited time we had in Jordan, we were happy we hired a driver as he knew exactly where the best places for photos were, and took us to places we never would  have known about. To top it off, we could sit back in comfort and my boyfriend didn’t have to worry about my interpretive directions.

Have a Moses moment at Mount Nebo. Or simply take in the view.

cost             1 JOD/person
Whether it be for the amazing panorama of the mountainous terrains, cities of Bethlehem, Jericho, Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, or for the surreal feeling that Moses stood there (or both) a visit to Mount Nebo should definitely be on your list of places to visit whilst in Jordan.
Blessed with a beautiful day, we were afforded the amazing vistas below. We spent a good 30 minutes at the site, taking in the views from several angles and trying to capture as many shots as we could- all whilst dodging pilgrims and fellow travellers and avoiding being that photobomber.

Float away your worries in the Dead Sea

cost             20 JOD/person
Along the Kings Highway we passed several quaint towns, lush olive gardens, and camels. Lots of camels. We made our way towards the lowest point on earth where the scenery changed dramatically. We descended down a rugged, chino coloured Cydonia like terrain, with the occasional hotel dotting the landscape. We arrived at the main road lined with hotel resorts and where our driver Hassam gave us a choice to enter one of 2 public beaches – one cost 20 JOD each and another 25 JOD. We opted for the cheaper version as we thought the beach couldn’t be that much different to each other. We were a bit FOMO as a lot of other tourists were taking floating photos holding books and newspapers. Should’ve brought the lonely planet book!

Ladies, don’t wear a white bikini if you’re going to get mud applied!


Get marinated in mud

Mud was an additional 4 JOD which, may I add, included application by said attendant. I was in a bikini and felt a bit awkward at times- it didn’t help that a fellow traveller proceeded to take photos of me getting mud applied! The perils of being famous. Not really.
With the sun blazing in the sky, the mud quickly cakes up like a masque against your skin, so you’ll probably want to be jumping back into the sea to take it off! We left the Dead Sea very content and very supple skinned humans.

Drink some tea at the cafe at the top of the wadi

Our driver Hassam took us to this amazing cafe, perched on top of a very impressive canyon to drink some teas.


Best view whilst drinking tea

Marvel at nature at Dana Valley

Stop at the lookout point for Wadi Dana. We went in spring so the foreground was lush with green vegetation, and the background, a dramatic rocky valley. We could just make out the village towards the left of the valley – if we had more time here I definitely would have loved to do a hike through the town and the trails that the nature reserve had to offer.

Dana Valley Jordan lookout

Feel like you’re on a Game of Thrones set at Shoubak Castle

cost             free
The roads leading up to the castle are very narrow – pretty easy to manoeuvre if there is only one car on the road, but with two, it is slightly terrifying being on the precarious side of the road. The castle is in ruins and does not have any signage in terms of where you are standing and what you are looking at, which made it slightly difficult to imagine what used to stand there. If you have a wild imagination like me though, you can picture it being the Eyrie or Sunspear castle. Destroyed by Daenerys’ dragons!
I suggest reading the Lonely Planet site as they provide a pretty comprehensive guide on what to see and what you can discover on your visit to the castle if you want facts 🙂

Feel like Indy & step back in time

cost             50 JOD/person
The Petra ticket office opens at 6:00, however as the buffet breakfast at our hotel was only served from 6:00, we chose food over opening time (typical) and arrived at 6:45. There were around 10-15 people ahead of us in the ticket line, but it moved quickly. We opted not to go with a tour guide and visit Petra ourselves – cost for entry was 50 JOD/person. The walk from the ticket office to the start of the Siq is, at a guesstimate, a good 15-20 minute walk.

The Siq
The walk through the Siq is amazing, especially in the early morning when there is hardly anyone else there. The silence is only broken with sporadic click clocks of a horse carriage approaching. A signal to move aside in narrow ares of the Siq to let them pass. Signage is plentiful and informative if you have the time to read it all.

Al Khazneh (The Treasury)
Nearing the end of the Siq, like a tease, the rose coloured facade of the Al Khazneh is slowly revealed through the gorge.
A dramatic and quite epic Indy entrance to the city.


Camels at The Treasury Petra Jordan

The Royal tombs
We followed the path which opened up into the street of facades – a street so called due to its many varying tombs and caves lining it. Towards the end of the street we found our way at the impressive Royal tombs. We explored the tombs and marveled at the different shades of red the its walls were made of.

El Deir (The Monastery)
We continued our journey up a flight of 800 steps towards the breathtaking (literally at times!) El Deir.
Again, guides approached us to ask if wanted a donkey ride up to the site- halfway up 800 steps, the thought of riding the donkey was tempting, but we persisted on and continued by foot. It is a rewarding sight once you get to the summit – there awaits the grand and magnificent rose coloured El Deir.

There is plenty of signage located throughout Petra, however if you wish to know more, a guide will be your best bet. I found this site to be most helpful though in helping identify key sites as it provides lots of pictures and descriptions. Due to our limited schedule, we were only able to explore Petra for half a day. We left around midday but managed to squeeze in lots of sites. We would however, recommend a full day or if time permits, two days to thoroughly explore the entire site at a leisurely pace.

The Monastery Petra Jordan

Where we stayed

cost              54.00 JOD/night
We stayed overnight at the Petra Palace Hotel which is located near a range of different restaurants, souvenir shops and convenience stores (you can read about one of our restaurant reviews on Three Steps Restaurant here). It is also a 5 minute walk to the Petra ticket office.  It is quite an old hotel, however the rooms are very well maintained and everything was clean. Stay here if you want a no fuss experience.

We liked:

The free wifi in the lobby
The extensive buffet breakfast
The location
Swimming pool area


Take plenty of bottled water - I froze mine the night before in our hotel freezer so it remained cold the next day. Although it was cool in April, by 10:00 the sun was fierce.
Go early if you can - by midday bus loads of other travellers doing day trips arrived and it was hard to get photos of monuments without someone else being in them.
Bring some snacks if possible, there weren't much options in Petra itself
Wear suitable walking shoes- Petra is huge
Make sure your camera is fully charged. Petra is beautiful and you will surely be taking lots of photographs.
For more information on what you can see, check out the Jordan Tourism Board website. It is an excellent resource of all things to see and do in Jordan.
My final tip is - start saving for your next trip to Jordan! Although we were only here for a short period, this was in my top 3 places to visit. The people of Jordan were full of kindness and hospitality, the breakfasts were amazing (labneh & hummus everyday, yes please) and the natural beauty just took my breath away.
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