February 23, 2003

Jordan Notes

I have compiled some notes for the lovely Adriana who does a wonderful job at Lighthouse Dive Center caring about all of us nicely and teaching me some slovak (albeit very basic, but I'm not a good student).

These notes should give interesting information for those who want to go to Jordan (especially from Egypt). Information in the Lonely Planet or any guide is just completely outdated. The notes give as well some information about visa processing which can be a complete nightmare in Egypt.

You will find as well the prices for a couple of things (bus, taxi, food, ...).

From Nuweiba

- Go to port and pay for the ferry ticket ($45 for the fast one)

- Go in the port complex area, in the departure building and have your ticket checked. Ask for a departure form and fill it.

- Go to the immigration building and have your passport checked with the filled departure form.

- Go back to the departure building and wait for the bus that will transport you during the 200m leading to the ferry...

- In the ferry you can change $ to JD for a reasonable rate (1$ = 0.69JD, 0.7 at the bank as of 20/02/2003). DO NOT CHANGE EUR here. The rate is very bad (1EUR = 0.66JD while 1EUR = 1.08$ as of 20/02/2003)

The trip should last about 1h30.

- At arrival your passport will be collected in plastics bags by officials when leaving the ferry. Go to the arrival building and wait until your visa is stamped (The visa is FREE if you arrive in Jordan from Aqaba and lasts 2 weeks). They should call you by your nationality or name if they can pronounce your name...

- Leave the building. You will probably bump into some taxi drivers that will ask you where you want to go. Assuming you want to go to Petra, they will probably ask for 25-30JD. You can get it for 15JD or a little less, so it is good value if you are 3 or 4 (see below)

- If you want to take the bus that goes to Petra, it will depend on your arrival time. At 5PM there are normally NO buses anymore. So you will need to take a minibus from Aqaba. For this you must leave from the port and go the bus station in the center of Aqaba, it will cost you about 2/3JD with a taxi to go from the port to the bus station. Otherwise you can board a bus that go from the port to Aqaba (no idea of price but maybe 0.5JD)

- At the bus station, ask for the bus that go to Petra (Wadi Musa). As you might be the only one going there, the driver will probably go to Ma'an and drive you to Petra after. You may need to pay 4JD instead of 3JD (negociable I believe but not so much)

- In Petra you can go to the Valentine Inn hotel (3JD in dorms - 4 beds, clean, good value). The hotel arrange FREE transportation TO and FROM Petra site to the hotel (it is 15min walk). A double/single room is 8/10JD.

Note: It is a good idea to get some food from a supermarket around the roundabout or ask the hotel for a 'Petra lunch box' (2JD but value is hardly 1JD). Don't forget to take a 1.5L bottle of water (0.35JD in supermarket, o.5JD otherwise), you will need it for Petra !

- There is a all-you-can-eat 3JD buffet for dinner at Valentine Inn. Lots of vegetables, it might be a bit overpriced depending on your tastes (lots of vegetables, pasta, and rice with chicken). You might find it better value to go down the street at the roundabout. There is a restaurant with very friendly people. You can eat very well for less than 3JD.
Do not hesitate to ask for custom things not in the menu. I had 2 sandwiches with arabic bread, lamb, salads, french fries plus a 1.5L bottle of water for 2JD.

- The price for breakfast is 2JD. (yoghourt, salad, coffee, egg, bread, butter, jam). You may find it more interesting to get some breads at the (mechanical bakery) and buy cheese/yoghurt/jam from the supermarket.

- At Petra, the entrance price is 11/13.5/16JD for 1/2/3 day pass.
2 day is more than enough even though you can do it in 1 day if you are a fast walker and in good shape to deal with thousands of stairs. (Take good shoes !)
Ask for a free map at the visitor center (not so good but better than nothing, you can buy a detailed one at the museum for 1JD (pocket format)).

- Do not take any horse once you are inside Petra, they will probably tell you that you have to walk 5km but with the horse they will only take you 500m below at the Siq (they were asking for 2JD) and the guy has to walk next to the horse anyway, so it is not faster. Useless.

- Go down the Siq (water channel 1.2km long), it will bring you to the Temple were was filmed Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (End of the movie with crusader, Graal, nazis, etc..)

- Continue over the Theatre, just before there are stairs that go to the 'High Place' (sacrifice place, you will find 2 obelisks as well). You can go down from stairs on the other side of the mountain. It should take you about 15-30min to go up depending on your shape (1h if you are 80 year old and asthmatic). Do not listen for the donkey guys "20 min with donkey, 1h walking"

- Go to the Urn Tomb (on the right after the theater) and admire the landscape from there.
Next go to the Church on your way in the Roman path, Great Temple etc...
Spend a couple of minutes inside the museum (on your right next to the museum) and on the other one (on the left, inside the mountain, you have to climb a couple of stairs)

- Go to the monastery (Once again do not listen to donkey guys). It will take you between 20-30 mins depending on shape (1h for asthmatic 80 year old)
I recommend eating on top of the monastery, on the other side. You can then enjoy the silence and the view.

- Go down and and go to the Snake monument (not easy to find, as depending on the angle you will not notice it is a monument...).

- If you did not do it the first time, go up to the High Place.

- Go slowly toward the exit. That's it. You did it in one day. Take the next morning to do the things slowly you did not have time to do the first day.

- On the afternoon (Before 2PM !) deal a taxi so that you go to Shawback Castle first and then to Little Petra. If you have time you can also ask to bring you to a high point to see the sunset. All this should cost you no more than 20JD. (Little Petra only would be something like 8JD but Shawback castle is about 45 min drive from Petra).
Attef at the Valentine will probably ask you 30JD to do Shawback + Little Petra + Sunset. I don't like the guy. Avoid him, but that's very personal. He's just an intermediary.

- The next morning take the bus to Wadi Rum (6:00AM/7:00AM - 3JD)
A tour of the Wadi Rum (night in beduin tent + dinner ) will probably cost 15JD. This might be overpriced but normally you are not able to catch a ferry so you are stuck to spend the night in either Wadi Rum or Aqaba, so all in all, do the Wadi Rum night experience. Don't forget to get some food for lunch and bottles of water (You'd better do this in Petra than at Wadi Rum. No choice at supermarket !!)

- Take the bus the next morning at 7:00AM that goes to Aqaba (1.5JD) it will drop you at the bus station where you can take a taxi (Not sure about the price, 2JD is very good, the driver did not want me to pay and I had to insist).

- Once in the port complex, follow the instructions on the sign at the building entrance. Roughly, go to 2nd floor, take your ferry ticket (21JD or 30$), pay the departure tax (5JD), fill out the passport information and get your passport stamped. Then go down and wait in front of the building for the bus to bring you to the ferry. (If you have to wait over 12:00 you can have lunch on the 2nd floor in the restaurant in the waiting hall. 3JD for 1/4 chicken, vegetables, rice, bread, water, orange juice).

At Nuweiba port, go inside the pyramid building to get your passport stamped. If you need to buy a visa, you need to go buy some stamps (15$) at the bank 500m from there, close to the immigration office !

You're done. Congratulations.

Budget (large):
- Dahab -> Nuweiba : 20EGP
- Nuweiba -> Aqaba : 45$
- Port -> Bus Station : 3JD
- Aqaba -> Wadi Musa : 3JD
- Valentine : 23JD ( 3 nights + 2 breakfast/lunch/dinner)
- Petra Entrance : 13.5JD
- Shawback + L. Petra : 20JD
- Petra -> Wadi Rum : 3JD
- Wadi Rum tour : 15JD
- Wadi Rum -> Aqaba : 1.5JD
- Aqaba -> Port : 2JD
- Aqaba -> Nuweiba : 21JD
- Departure Tax : 5JD
- Nuweiba - Dahab : 20EGP

Total: ~160$ not counting extra like water, food, etc..

NB: Bring some food and water for Dahab -> Petra, Petra -> Wadi Rum and Wadi Rum -> Dahab to save some money and not being thirsty/hungry.

Posted by stephane at February 23, 2003 09:42 AM

hallo stephane
could you send me the phon number of valentine in in wadi musa?!
thank you very much

Posted by: aurelia on December 13, 2003 07:36 PM

Thanks, this is really interesting.
Any idea on transport from Amman to Aqaba?

Posted by: Lisianne on February 21, 2005 11:54 AM