Highlights of Jordan – From the Desert to the Sea

Posted on June 9, 2011 by

I’m still spinning in ecstasy from my week-long trip to Jordan – jam-packed with adventures, phenomenal sights and out-of-this-world experiences. We went from frosty mountain peaks to sprawling deserts to the breezy sea. Few countries offer as much diversity as Jordan: its distinctive terrains all within a few hours’ drive away from one another.  It was not my first visit to Jordan, yet it felt like I was getting to know the country from brand new perspectives. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about the various regions and aspects of Jordan. Meanwhile, here are some of the highlights of my trip.

Wadi Rum Desert

Wadi Rum, the massive rose-red valley that sprawls across Southern Jordan, is most famous for its Bedouins and awe-striking jebels (rock towers). During my 4×4 desert tour, we navigated through red karsts, narrow canyons and slided down dunes. At sunset, I climbed up to one of the jebels and watched the beautiful play of colors. That night, I drank tea with the local Bedouins and slept under the stars at the Captain’s Desert Camp.


Seven Pillars of Wisdom in Wadi Rum

Seeing Wadi Rum from above was one of the most amazing experiences in my life – I went on both the microlight (pseudo-paragliding) and the hot-air balloon at daybreak and saw Wadi Rum work its magic.



Offbeat Nature Reserves

Jordan is home to a number of nature reserves that are protected by the non-profit organization RSCN (Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature). Most of these nature reserves are well off the tourist trail and offer some of the best hiking opportunities in Jordan. I had the chance to explore the Dana Nature Reserve (highlands), Mujib Nature Reserve (hiking through canyons and water streams) and Wadi Ghweir. Wadi Ghweir might not a nature reserve, but it’s one of the best-kept secrets, with dramatic variations in landscapes and flora and fauna.

Dana Nature Reserve

Granite cliffs are replaced by sandstone rocks in Wadi Ghweir

Ancient Ruins

Jordan bears witness to millenniums of history, with the oldest ruins dating back to prehistoric times. Having been home to the Nabateans, Romans and Arabs, Jordan has plenty to stories to tell, through its numerous historical sites and museums. Two of the most important historical sites in Jordan are Jerash, an impressive Roman city, and Petra, the massive ancient city voted as one of the new 7 wonders of the world.

The impressive Monastery that sits on the top of the ancient city of Petra.

   Columns of the Roman city, Jerash


The Dead Sea

The legendary Dead Sea is the lowest point in the world and the saltiest sea on the planet (30% of salt). I’d long dreamt of floating in the Dead Sea, especially since my father has got psoriasis and the Dead Sea is just about his only cure. Although my father still hasn’t made it here, I’m pretty sure we’ll be back soon.

  That’s me, floating in the Dead Sea.

Diving the Red Sea

My dive off the coast of Aqaba was one of the best dives I’ve ever done – both in terms of visibility and marine life. The Red Sea is bursting with colorful aquatic life and dotted with larger-than-life coral gardens. I did just one dive, but probably saw more than what I’d seen during my open-water PADI course. Amidst the corals, we spotted lion fish, butterfly fish, puffer fish and swordfish.

Aqaba Underwater 12

This trip was made possible by Jordan Tourism Board, but all opinions are my own. Read more about my travels in Jordan here.

About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

13 Responses to “Highlights of Jordan – From the Desert to the Sea”

  1. Traveling Ted June 9, 2011 9:37 pm #

    Wow, looks like an amazing trip full of adventure.

  2. inka June 13, 2011 10:14 pm #

    I got to come and read this, given that I visited Jordan shortly before Christmas. Fabulous photos Nellie and I envy you the Wadi Rum experience, I didn't have time for that. I totally agree: there are few countries which offer as much diversity as Jordan.

  3. Tim R June 16, 2011 11:50 pm #

    Absolutely amazing photos — some of the best I've come across in a travel blog. Do you sell any professionally?

    • Nellie October 4, 2011 6:55 pm #

      Thanks for the compliments. I don't sell photos professionally, although I do provide them along with articles I write. Let me know if you're interested.

  4. Cole @ FourJandals December 16, 2011 8:44 pm #

    We cannot wait to visit next year. So much to see and do! Hopefully we have enough time.

  5. house for rent in gensan city April 22, 2013 12:48 am #

    Amazing blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog stand out.
    Please let me know where you got your design. Thank you

  6. Dubai Dune Buggy July 18, 2013 9:32 am #

    I was wondering if there is any extreme adventure tours available. Does Jordan has same wide deserts as Dubai and Saudi Arabia deserts are. I am sure if the have deserts same like saudi arabia,oman,qatar and uae then they will be provide the tours. The most pouplar tours available in Dubai are Desert Safari Dubai in which one can do dune buggy ride, quad biking, sand boarding and 4X4 safari jeep adventure. Nellie what was the charges for the tours how you providing the itinerary?


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