Y Magazine

Postcard: Jordan, ancient biblical times

Relaxing on the Dead Sea, looking curiously at the time-worn sand walls of the Ad Dier and trekking across Wadi Rum are a few of the sights that come to mind when you think of visiting Jordan.



While these are details that have been publicised time and again by travel websites, television shows, famous Hollywood celebrities (almost exclusively) on tour, social media influencers and the whole lot, two things continue to reign: the beauty and the serenity of Jordan.

Still, there’s no denying that most of you here reading this wouldn’t mind being featured on television as you walk past the Ain Ghazal statues making awe-struck faces.

As you all would know, Jordan is an Arab nation which, much like its neighbour Egypt, harbours much of the region’s secrets. They’re not kept particularly well though, which is great for tourism in the country. It doesn’t matter where you look; there’ll always be a tourist around the corner taking a selfie. Sigh!

Just gloss over the annoying bits and you’ll be left with quite a lot to experience. Jordan is defined by its ancient monuments, which came into existence during the biblical times. The Roman Theatre that still stands tall in the heart of the city, for instance, is known to have been built in the 2nd century. Just the thought of brushing your hands on the stone and sand surface – which was laid and carved into place by the people from the time – gives you goosebumps.

Then there’s the famous Petra. Let me put it this way: It has starred in more movies than – well – you. The site came into life circa 300 B.C. and has been featured in movies such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Arabian Nights, Passion in the Desert, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, The Mummy Returns, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, etc. Petra is set a narrow valley with tombs, temples and shrines carved into the surrounding pink sandstone cliffs – thus it is nicknamed the “Rose City”.

The people in Jordan – at least those that interact with tourists on a daily basis – will take care of all your needs depending on your budgets. They’re friendly, and those travelling from Oman,  up to an extent, will feel like they’re at home.

TOP 5 THINGS TO DO

1. Take videos of you floating on the Dead Sea

2. Visit the iconic Petra

3. Trek across Wadi Rum

4. Get amazed by pre-modern
era structures such as the Roman Theatre

5. Check out the Ma’in Hot Springs

My favourite place  The Dibbeen Forest Reserve is a must-visit for all animal lovers – and that’s also my place of choice. The reserve is one of the driest places in the region and has changing altitude due to which the temperatures vary too. However, the centrepieces, so to speak, are the pine-oak trees, which are several hundreds of years old, and the fauna in the region, some of which are endangered.

Highlights  By now you would’ve learnt that Jordan is a nirvana for those seeking a trip down the early days of humanity. But there’s more to this country: If you’re a car enthusiast, head to the Royal Automobile Museum which houses some of the world’s most sought-after cars. Art enthusiasts can catch glimpses of rare paintings at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, and adventurists can head to Wadi Rum, which is a perfect trekking spot in southern Jordan.

Lowlights Not much, really. But Amman is a busy hub for tourists: If you’re looking to spend some time peacefully tanning at a beach or sightseeing, it’s best you head down south to Aqaba.

Souvenirs  Skin products made from the Dead Sea (I’m not sure of the ingredients), personalised silver jewellery and the Indiana Jones head scarf are must-haves.

Getting there Take an Oman Air flight from Oman to Amman for about RO108. Keep in mind that the operator only flies to the country on select dates.

Where to stay  This is the best part: Hotel rooms in Jordan are as cheap as dirt (figuratively). A stay at a reputed three- or four-star hotel will only set you back, on average, about RO10.