Have you ever wished you could sit atop a cliff that looms over a wide landscape with no civilisation and watch the sunset? The wind ringing in your ears, the world around you silently welcoming the night. It is possible – and I did it in Jordan.
Yes, I went on my very first international vacation to Jordan – and that too on a girls’ trip. When I wrote this post, the five of us had just completed our second day in this beautiful, mystic land and it was nothing short of amazing. So, we had planned the trip in January after which we most naturally did a lot of research on the best places to visit. A fellow tweeter (@ChillMaarYaar) suggested – actually insisted – that we don’t miss out on Wadi Rum, and we are more than thankful to him for it.
Wadi Rum is a landscape worth travelling miles and miles for. It comes on the route to Aqaba (Route 35) in Jordan. We spoke to a local guide, Omar Ghazi who has been given rave reviews on Trip Advisor and the likes, and he appointed his brother Mohammed to accompany and guide us to Wadi Rum. And, we happily obliged by sitting in the open pick-up truck. He took us on a sandy road surrounded by larger-than-life looming sandstone mountains.
Now, wadi literally means valley and Wadi Rum was quite an important one. It was a route that was used by Bedouins and later Muslim travellers from Mecca who would travel through the valley to get to other parts of the Arabian land. Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H), too, had travelled through Wadi Rum to Mecca, according to what Mohammed – our guide – told us.
Wadi Rum’s beauty is indescribable. Desert land surrounded on all sides by sandstone mountains. The canyon has four points that Mohammed took us to. The first was a huge rock with inscriptions in a Bedouini language written by travellers in around the 13th century.
The second was an absolutely gorgeous ravine with a rocky interior with similar inscriptions on the rocks. While the third was a small red sand dune which we walked up – with much difficulty I must admit – but the view was worth it. We sat on the dune top watching the world down below us, the winding blowing past us and feeling small and inconsequential in the wonderous world.
The last point was the rocky cliff that we all sat on to watch the sun as it set. And as we sat down, all I could feel was peace. That all was well with the world below and around me and there could be nothing better.
As the sun set we walked down only to find our guide sitting under a rock brewing Bedouin tea over some drift wood with local music playing on the pick-up radio, and we couldn’t have asked for more. We sat on the mats provided for us sipping our tea while twilight approached just talking to Mohammed and enjoying the moment.
The first day in Jordan was probably one of the best I’d ever spent – just close to my honeymoon experience in Nubra Valley in Ladakh – and a promising one for days to come.
Here are some tips for Jordan Travel and Wadi Rum:
1. Ensure you book your tickets in advance along with hotel bookings. We stayed at Petra for the night at Petra Moon Hotel – which was quite good.
2. Omar Ghazi is an amazing guide. He was hospitable, ensured that we were in good hands and seemed extremely hospitable. The Jordanians we have met up to now in general have been extremely hospitable and seem to love India.
3. Wear sturdy shoes and thick socks to Wadi Rum. If you are a lady, ensure you have something to cover your hair.
4. It’s easier and cheaper to rent your own car than hire taxi services.
5. Wadi Rum also has night stays where you can stay in a Bedouin camp overnight under the stars and interact more closely with the locals.