Disclaimer – I am a travel PR and Ayla is a client of mine and I was a hosting a media press trip. This is not a promised blog post and all thoughts and opinions are my own
I’ve just returned from a whirlwind trip to Jordan which saw me pack in three of the most famous experiences on the planet – Petra – one of the seven modern wonders of the world, floating in the Dead Sea and jeep safari through the Wadi Rum Desert. So, I thought I’d share my jam-packed three-day itinerary with you.
Where is Jordan and how to get there?
So where actually is Jordan? Well, it’s mostly landlocked between Israel, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia with the very south on the coast of the Red Sea and makes up part of the Middle East.
In terms of actually getting to Jordan there are daily non-stop direct flights with Royal Jordanian and British Airways from London Heathrow to the capital Amman which cost around £500 return and then from October there will be twice weekly flights from London Gatwick to Aqaba on the Red Sea coast for around £250.
When to visit?
Jordan is generally warm for most of the year but from December through to February it can drop below freezing at night. I’ve just come back in mid-June and temperature wise it was in the high 30s.
What to do – three-day itinerary?
Although my trip was technically five days long, I only had three full days on the ground. The outbound flight from London doesn’t land until midnight and then my return flight from Aqaba leaves at 8.40am and then the flight from Amman departs at 12noon – so two full days of travelling to get to and from Jordan.
Day One – Amman Citadel and the Dead Sea
Jordan has a rich history and the Citadel on the highest hill in Amman details this through the ages. The Citadel has been home to the Romans, Greeks, Persians, Assyrians and many more throughout history. Now, if you are a history buff you will love this! I think the most impressive sight was the two columns from the Temple of Hercules which stand at the very top of the sight. Being so high up above downtown Amman I was treated to an amazing view of the Roman Amphitheater as well.
From the Citadel we drove to the Dead Sea which is about an hour from Amman and is the lowest point on the planet. It’s at least 10 degrees hotter at the Dead Sea than it is in Amman so plenty of high factor sun cream is advised!
We had lunch at the gorgeous Kempinski Dead Sea, which is so beautiful with infinity pools, a private beach down to the Dead Sea and water features everywhere.
Floating in the Dead Sea is such a surreal experience, I really did just lay back and bob about on top of the water.
Three top tips before you visit:
- DO NOT shave your legs the day before – they will sting like crazy
- If you have any scratches on your body these will sting
- Wear a swimsuit you don’t mind getting the Dead Sea mud on
To make the most out of the mineral properties of the Dead Sea it’s not advisable to be in the water for longer than 10 minutes, after this slather up in mud and wait for it to dry before washing it off in the Dead Sea with a final rinse under a cold shower. This will leave your skin feeling so super soft.
From the Dead Sea we drove to Ayla which is a brand-new development on the coast of the Red Sea, the drive took about five hours but there are internal flights between Amman and Aqaba which only take 40 minutes; so it’s quicker to fly!
Day Two – Petra and Wadi Rum
Petra is one of the modern seven wonders of the world and it’s easy to see why. It’s known as the City of Mysteries because it was hidden from the western world for decades before being rediscovered in 1812. The site is vast and to really explore all the trails you’d need at least a full day, if not longer. As we only had half a day, we focused on visiting the famous Treasury which has been carved from the sandstone and is the central point for visitors to take camel rides.
My advice when visiting Petra is to carry and drink plenty of water, wear a hat – there’s very little shade from the sun and wear lots of high factor suncream.
Entrance tickets cost £57 per person – this allows you to join a tourist guide group for the main trail. It’s worth exploring with a guide, they are so knowledgeable about the history and will point out things that you’d might otherwise miss.
Throughout my visit to Petra I was offered numerous rides on horses, donkeys and camels, although I chose not to, all the animals looked extremely well cared for.
From Petra we drove to Wadi Rum which is about an hour away. Wadi Rum is a protected area of desert in Southern Jordan and has also been the backdrop to several blockbuster movies including the new Disney’s Aladdin.
It’s epic and a stunning place to watch the sunset. We explored by jeep, but it is possible to join a camel trek and hike through Wadi Rum. As part of the tour we stopped at a Bedouin camp for tea, it’s also possible to overnight in the Bedouin Camps or alternatively there are several new stargazing pods – since there’s no light pollution it’s the most incredible place for stargazing.
Day Three – Beach Club Bliss at Ayla
Ayla, the reason I was in Jordan, is a brand-new mixed-use development on the coast of the Red Sea. It’s got an 18-hole championship golf course, marina big enough for 300 boats, residential apartments available to buy, the five-star Hyatt Regency Aqaba Ayla Hotel, gorgeous beach club and by the end of the year a whole host of shops, bars and restaurants.
Since the start of the build Ayla has added 17 kilometers of coast to Jordan’s Red Sea coastline. The man-made lagoons have become important for the conservation of marine life in the area. The development has been built to be ecological and sustainable to the surrounding environment.
I spent the day at the gorgeous B12 beach club, which is as bright and colourful as it is relaxing. The sand is peppered with yellow and pink loungers which reminded me of those fruit salad sweets. Definitely eat at the restaurant, the food is amazing, and the menu is a mixture of light bites, salads and amazing pizzas cooked fresh in the onsite pizza over with dishes starting from £4.50. Entry into B12 is £22 which includes a towel, use of the sun loungers and access to the inflatable jump park.
I wish I’d had one more day on the ground, I would have spent more time exploring the Petra trails and definitely more time relaxing at Ayla.