If you’re looking to escape the daily hustle and bustle of life and explore an entirely new country, or if you simply love driving through new, challenging terrain, Jordan is the place to go.
Swetha Kurada, explorer by heart, veg by nature, and owner of Bangalore patisserie ‘Desserted’, headed to Jordan last year, on a self-drive adventure. She tells us why it was one of her favorite travel experiences to date:
How long was the trip?
7 beautiful days.
What was the route?
We drove from the Dead Sea to Wadi Mujib, and then from the Ma’in Hot Springs to Aqaba. Then we drove from Wadi Rum to Petra and then onto Amman.
What kind of terrain did you drive on?
The roads resembled the US in the 70s, with nice, wide roads (the main difference between the roads in India and Jordan). We had also never seen such diversity in land types in the same country, from otherworldy deserts in Wadi Rum to turquoise waters in Aqaba. It was so beautiful.
What was your favourite experience from your road trip?
The starry night sky at Wadi Rum is my favourite memory from the trip.
What made it all the more special was eating a traditional dish called Mandi, there. This dish is made from rice, meat (lamb or chicken) and a mixture of spices and is cooked overnight underground in a special kind of oven.
Plus, the hospitality of the Jordanians was truly one-of-a-kind. They are very fun-loving and were especially kind to us, giving us thick overcoats to keep us warm and even took us sand boarding! We had to trek to the top of a sand dune, which we found tiresome, but the slide to the bottom, with the wind rushing through our hair, made it worth it.
What are items you must carry with you for the journey?
A cap, scarf, sunglasses, sunscreen, walking shoes and water!
What is the Jordan equivalent of tea/snack stalls on the road?
Just like how we love to stop and sip on a cup of masala chai evn if we are in the middle of nowhere, in Jordan, you must stop and have some Jordanian coffee, which is made with pure coffee with very little milk or no milk.
What was your first impression of Petra?
We simply loved Petra, and this was all due to our super guide who was a very engaging story teller. So much so that when we were walking through the Siq towards the Treasury, we were so engrossed by what he was telling us, that we completely forgot about the Treasury itself!
Then, all of a sudden, he asked to turn around and close our eyes.. We wondered why, but did as we were told. Then, when we turned around and opened our eyes slowly, we found ourselves peeking through the immense rock pillars at the spectacular Treasury. It was breathtaking!
What is the difference between driving in India & Jordan?
Nicer roads! They drive on the “wrong side” of the road, so that might take a little getting used to for those used to driving in India. The roads are otherwise wide and a pleasure to drive on. Since we were driving by the coast and towards Saudi Arabia, we were stopped plenty of times by the authorities who were very friendly once they saw our passports.
How many camels did you see?
We saw quite a few but what caught our attention was that the camels there are a lot shorter than the ones we find in India. Over there, they look like little ponies.
What is the one thing you have to do in Wadi Rum?
Sand boarding and star gazing!
What crazy or interesting things happened along the way?
The Jordanians love Bollywood and boy did it show! Every time someone saw us they would break into a song, from the old-time hits of Rajkumar to current tunes.
I was also pleasantly surprised to see plenty of vegetarian food options available. I recommend going to Hashem in Downtown Amman for a great veg meal.
So, if there was one place everyone must visit, would you recommend Jordan?
WITHOUT A DOUBT!
Safety and fun, vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies, history and tons of activity, all of this and more only at Jordan! Put your pedal to the metal and discover these routes with your own eyes. Join us this October for the Dead Sea Drive and prepare to be awestruck.