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takemewithu Apr 17th, 2018 07:56 AM

TO GO OR NOT TO GO - to Israel and Jordan next month
thank you very much to the helpful responses in another thread in this forum on my inquiry on our dilemma to move forward with our travel plans to visit Israel and Jordan next month. hubby was concerned about recent developments in Syria involving US and allies and wanted to cancel or postpone our trip indefinitely. i wanted to go and wasnt as concerned. so here’s the update: WE ARE GOING, ON WITH ISRAEL AND JORDAN !

so i’m back in the drawing board in finalizing details of our 14 day trip and have a few more questions to our knowledgeable posters on Israel and Jordan :

1. we will be going to Jordan via Aqaba border crossing and will be coming from TLV. we can fly into AQJ on Arkia Air for €58 or take EGGED bus for less. Cost of fare not being the issue, we are more driven by convenience, sightseeing opportunities and travel time ( in this order ) considerations. which mode of transportation would you recommend?

2. after crossing the border, we would like to go straight to Wadi Rum but we will have our luggage with us. Depending on temps when we get there, we will either spend the night in WR or return to our hotel in Aqaba for 1 night. in either case, we will be leaving for Petra in the morning the next day. high temps aside, is it practical to spend the night in WR with our luggage ? it just seems odd looking to me to be camping in the desert with our luggage...

3. from Aqaba ( or WR ) we will likely arrive in Petra before noon. taxi, bus or rental car on this leg?
from Petra, we will not have too much time to make sightseeing and overnight stops along the way. We will base ourselves in Amman for 3 nights and explore nearby towns ( Jerash and maybe another town ) before we head back to the US on Sunday, leaving at 6:30 am. we definitely will not keep the rental car (if we go by rental car) in Amman.

we’re hoping we can do the night tour of Petra on our first night. we arrive on Tuesday and we are staying at the Petra Guest House. i think the night tours only run on Thursdays but that could be wrong. we plan to have lunch at or somewhere near our hotel, rest for 1-2 hours then go inside Petra in the late afternoon until closing time or until the start of the evening tour. any suggestions regarding this plan?

xcountry Apr 17th, 2018 11:20 AM

We spent three nights in Wadi Rum with our luggage. Most people there had luggage. It wasn’t an issue.

I hope you spend the night there. The sunset and stars were amazing.

takemewithu Apr 17th, 2018 01:32 PM

thank you for sharing your experience with bringing luggage to wadi rum. so, from border crossing in eilat, we will go straight to wadi rum visitors center. is it better to book our overnight at wadi rum from the border such as deserteco tours or should we just go do it at the visitors center ? in researching our trip, i read that only official guides at the visitors center are allowed inside the camp. so tour operators like deserteco tours et al are probably just going to hand us off to the official guides?

another question: what is the best way to get to wadi rum from border crossing - taxi, bus, pick up rental car from the jordan side ? is there parking at wadi rum?

xcountry Apr 17th, 2018 02:22 PM

I am not sure I understand what you read about official guides etc. We had a reservation made before we arrived in Jordan. It was with:

We signed in at the Visitor Center and then drove 3 miles to the village. Mehedi, the owner of Bedouin Directions, met us there. A lot of your questions are likely answered on his website, including about luggage and temperatures. His camp is a bit farther away from the village than most camps so you might want to look at a few of them. But we loved where we stayed.

We had a car which we used to get from near Amman to Petra to Wadi Rum and back. I have read you can use taxis from Aqaba to Wadi Rum and perhaps public transportation (much trickier) to get from Wadi Rum to Petra but I am glad we had a car. Very easy driving. How a car fits in with the rest of your trip I don't know. Perhaps you can leave the car in Petra and then hire a driver to get you to Amman. Despite having a car we hired a guide with car to take us to Jerash and a few other places..

xcountry Apr 17th, 2018 02:25 PM

PS - yes there is parking at Wadi Rum Village. You can leave the car there and head off with your guide into the desert.

takemewithu Apr 17th, 2018 11:27 PM

thanks for the link xcountry - it did answer most of my questions. we’re now set on going to WR directly from Aqaba after crossing the border and spend 1 night camping. currently looking at different tour operators to tour us inside the village. i liked the futuristic looking bubble for “tent accomodation” - i saw this at Bedoiun Directions’ link. first time I’ve seen those from pictures of WR i’ve come across. if anyone knows the name of the tour operator that’s associated with those white bubble looking tents, please share the name and any info.

mbgg Apr 18th, 2018 01:10 AM

1. The bus from Tel-Aviv to Eilat takes over 5 hours (with one rest stop). The flight takes less than an hour. It's your decision as to whether the extra cost is worth the saving in time.

Are you going to Eilat directly after you arrive or will you be staying several days in Tel-Aviv? If you are going directly then take the flight from Ben-Gurion (you will have to go into Tel-Aviv to get the bus; the airport is 30 min outside of town). If you are staying in Tel-Aviv then you can fly from Sde-Dov airport in the north of the city which is much closer to most hotels than Ben-Gurion airport.

takemewithu Apr 18th, 2018 06:51 AM

we will be staying in tel aviv for 3 nights before going to eilat. counting the trip to airport, 2 hours we have to be at the airport before departure and the air travel time itself, it would be a wash vs taking the bus. i read in another forum that it is a scenic ride so we’re going to take the egged bus. we plan to reserve our seats when we get to our hotel in tel aviv, will ask our hotel concierge to help us book and buy our tickets.

williamscb13 Apr 19th, 2018 01:42 PM

Do not skip a night at the Dead Sea. We loved the pool at the Movenpick dead sea. Half of it was beach and half tile with a gorgeous infinity edge over which looked like it went into the Dead Sea. Then you walk down further into the Dead Sea.

I would try to go to Petra as early in the morning as possible. Petra is a lot of walking and a long, long day.

takemewithu Apr 19th, 2018 02:08 PM

we considered going to the dead sea ( there’s a hilton there where i can use some of my hilton points ) but wasnt sure if there was enough things for us to see and do there. we do not want to go to the spa there and not too fascinated by the mud bath experience. besides the spa and mud bath and floating in the dead sea, are there other things to experience or see there? thanks for the suggestion, coming from wadi rum after a morning tour of the desert, we will probably arrive in Petra somewhere between 2-4 pm and will plan on visiting in the late afternoon and doing the night tour ( i havent checked the days when the night tour is on ). we will be in Petra for another full day - so Tuesday pm and all day Wednesday are our Petra days. we leave Thursday morning for Amman or some other northbound destination - this is the leg that iwe still have to finalize. for now, the plan is to use amman as our base and do the side trips from there. i think the dead sea is a doable side trip from amman.

thursdaysd Apr 19th, 2018 04:00 PM

Glad to see that the trip is on! Have to say that I was underwhelmed by the Dead Sea. Maybe stop by on the way north, but I certainly don't think it rates an overnight.

takemewithu Apr 20th, 2018 07:44 AM

any suggestions on stops (with no overnight) on the northbound trip to Amman from Petra? we definitely would like to go to Jerash but will go there as a daytrip from Aman.

thursdaysd Apr 20th, 2018 08:43 AM

Madaba - see:

xcountry Apr 20th, 2018 08:44 AM

I am not clear if you are driving or being driven or ? Everyone told us to take the Kings Highway south to Petra rather than the Desert Highway (#15) so you might want to do the same heading north. I will name some places but you will get a better explanation of them by googling their names:

Karak - nice castle and the site of an attack in 2016
Shobak castle
A public beach on the Dead Sea

This is the trip report I wrote after the trip:

williamscb13 Apr 20th, 2018 02:24 PM

On your afternoon in Petra, you might consider Little Petra. We enjoyed it. It's virtually empty and much more approachable.

My 5 year old enjoyed climbing Kerak castle, but if you aren't into the Crusades, I don't know.

And if you don't want to float in the Dead Sea, then skip it. We found it a nice break, though one night would be plenty. I think we spent two, got in late afternoon after touring all day then the next day was spent at the Movempick and then left the next morning.

You might consider stopping at the place where Jesus was baptized. Beyond Bethany (?) Yikes, it hasn't even been a year and I'm forgetting details.

takemewithu Apr 20th, 2018 07:31 PM

xcountry, thanks for posting the link to coldupthere’s Jordan trip report - i just finished reading it. it was written with a lot of humor and even if was posted 5 years ago, the family experience was timeless. i added my comment to top it up - good read dor anybody going to Jordan.

he didnt elaborate on the rock throwing incident - what made the kids do them? the condition of the roads and the kids throwing rocks make me rethink about renting a car. has this changed?
reading the report, it made me think about a few more details on our trip such as getting our initial supply of dinars to pay for visa, entry fees,etc, the “beds” in the tents.

paging colduphere ... if you’re somewhere around reading this thread, would you mind answering a few questions regarding the wadi rum village tour ? and everybody, please chime in with your opinions and suggestions.

im reading thursday’s post next. will be back here shortly, most likely with a few more questions.

takemewithu Apr 20th, 2018 07:38 PM

xcountry, from Petra to Amman, we originally thought about renting a car and driving to Amman using the King’s Highway but now im having second thoughts about it after reading coldup’s report on the road condition and the utility of a gps app or paper map.

takemewithu Apr 20th, 2018 07:52 PM

william, i almost forgot about the little Petra - we definitely would like to see it. thanks for reminding about thus gem. We might have to add another night to our Petra stay, from 2 nights to 3. we will be staying at the Petra Guest House hotel. the Cave Bar and the terrace in front look like a lot of fun to hang out in at the end of the day.

xcountry Apr 21st, 2018 03:49 AM

Hi Takemewithu: FYI xcountry = colduphere. If we were doing it again I think we would drive again. The trip between Madaba and Petra as I reported ... we were trying to follow someone. They were a great help but you do lose contact with where you are. I have read that GPS's or their equivalent are pretty good in the area. There were a couple of places I thought yikes this is hard to follow - in Kerak and between Kerak and Shobak castle. I would not drive in Madaba again unless I knew exactly where we were going and I wouldn't drive in Amman even if I did know where we were going.

As for the kid throwing rocks we take small comfort in knowing he wasn't doing it because we were tourists. He was preparing to throw as soon as he saw the car. I was more troubled by the teenagers not wanting to give us directions in Madaba (as translated by our daughter). But in the end they did.

I say all this but the option of getting a driver to take you on a long day trip from Petra to Amman is a pretty good one. I checked our Madaba hotel site and they offer a drive from Madaba to Petra with a couple of stops for $100US. I'm guessing it wouldn't be much more in the other direction.

I'll check back later. Wadi Rum village is a few streets on the edge of the desert. Your tour starts on the edge of town when your 4x4 (with driver) leaves payment and hits the sand. Perhaps there are other arrangements, but we only saw 4x4s plus our jalopy.

takemewithu Apr 21st, 2018 11:12 AM

thanks coldup ! i enjoyed reading your trip report from 2013. how’s your Arabic-speaking daughter ? she must be fluent in the language now. does she get to use Arabic language now where she is at ? and your teen aged boys back in 2013 are probably in college or working now?

i looked at jett buses leaving from Petra to Amman. they have 1 bus leaving Petra near the Visitors Center at 5 pm. We’re staying at the Petra Guest House which is right next to the visitors center too so this might work for us. The afternoon departure is also perfect for us, we can go to Little Petra in the morning and catch the 5 pm bus to Amman. We can take a taxi to our hotel, Amman Marriott, from the drop off point in Amman.

i am now also looking at taking jett bus from wadi rum to petra. our need for transportation really is just for point to point transfer. we will not be needing a car once we get to Petra. if we have energy to explore the town after touring the necropolis, we can take the taxi. with all the climbing and hiking we’re going to do, i highly doubt if we will have energy for anything else at the end of the day. we will likely just want to have a nice dinner and hang out at the Cave Bar until we’re ready to retire for the evening.

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