Visiting Jordan from Israel: A trip to Petra Jordan is well worth it if you are in Israel and have a couple of extra days. You can see Petra and Wadi Rum in a day but it will end up being one of the longest days ever. Instead I would opt for at least one night in Petra. Arrive early morning at one of 3 Jordan borders – the one near the Eilat Airport in Israel is the easiest place to cross. You can get your Visa at the Border or have your Jordanian guide or tourist company arrange it ahead of time. We knew a local Jordanian guide that handled all of our paperwork. We booked an early morning flight online to Eilat on Akria airlines ($110 roundtrip fro Tel Aviv). Took a 10 minute Taxi to the border. Walked across the boarder and our Jordanian guide was waiting for us with paperwork and car. We went directly to Petra with a tourist souvenir stop on the way.
We checked into Movenpick http://www.movenpick.com/en/middle-east/jordan/petra/resort-petra then headed to Petra which was just across the street. After our 6 hour tour we hung out by the pool and had drinks on the Rooftop then dinner inside. Then at 8pm we headed 1/2 way down Petra to see Petra by night. The dark trail is lit by candles but you cannot see anything until you get to the main square. The main square is lit up by 100’s of candles on the ground. They have a few speeches and solo musical performances then the main building is lit up with many different colors for about 2 minutes. Get ready to photograph. People are everywhere, so grab one of the mats sit and enjoy. There are no concessions at night so bring water…and maybe a bottle of wine. Once done head back to the Movenpick and get a goods night sleep. Head over to Wadi Rum in the morning and spend 2 hours in an open bed truck riding and enjoying the landscape. Then head back to the border. If hungry grab a quick meal at the border town before going back. Papaya was one of the better places to eat in town. Very local and very friendly. The lamb and chicken skewers were amazing and cooked on a little grill right at your table. The french fries were quite tasty too.
Petra – This incredible Nabatean city was built around 2300 years ago. It is in the southern part of Jordan and worth a visit. It was made famous in the West after the filming of Indiana Jones. It is approximately a 4 km walk each way and well worth it. Food and drinks are available along the way. Price for admission is approx $50 and includes a horse ride for 30% of the way. You can hire a horse and buggy, plus solo horses and camels if you would rather not walk it. Be careful the local Bedouins (nomadic locals) handle the transportation and they will push you not just for a tip but as much money as they can get from you. Ours offered to have the horses take us right to our hotels cash machine. They are camped out all over the site also trying to sell you local crafts.
Wadi Rum – a huge dessert valley in southern Jordan. It is a popular destination due to it’s rock climbing, hiking, outdoor adventures and a night filled with beautiful stars. The mountains, rock and sand are a beautiful pink and salmon color. The sand can get pretty hot in the summer so do not even try wearing flip-flops or sandals. If you also want to stay the night you have many choices of Bedouin camps. They range from 4 Seasons like accommodations at the Memories Aicha Luxury Camp – http://www.mlc.jo/en/ or mid – level at Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp – http://www.wadirumnight.com or very basic and as cheap as $25. The more expensive camps have air conditioning in individual rooms. The cheaper ones do not. If you like the most basic just make sure it is not going to be 90 plus degrees.
Below are pictures of Banksy’s hotel that he secretly built in Bethlehem. And yes it faces the wall 10 feet away. The rest of the pictures are of the interior of the hotel except for the Dove and Flower Thrower pictures that are actually painted on the wall.
You can actually stay in the hotel and walk through the museum inside that Banksy created about the conflict. Seeing his hotel might have been better then seeing the girl with the balloon destroyed at auction. The guy is a a creative genius. When I was asked recently, if granted a wish, who was the one person that I would love to have dinner with, I can unequivocally say it would be Banksy. Please go see and even stay in his brilliant hotel. And maybe track him down at a concert or two???
Sulwis Suleiman – firstname.lastname@example.org +972 54 582 3612 – he tours all over Israel including: TLV, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, West Bank, Jordan etc.
Bethlehem Tour Guide – Issa (Abu David) Phone number – 0523730465
Al – Surfara Restaurant – www.facebook.com/مطعم-السفراء-Al-sufara-Restaurant-315722595985/ – this is a very local family owned hole in the wall with great shawarma and falafel. They make the falafel right in front of you on the street. The salad and pita are also very very fresh. This place is in front of the church 100 yards up the little shopping street near the fake starbucks.