Everyone wants to go to Europe… Maybe Thailand or even venture out to an African safari. I have rarely heard a person say… I want to go to Jordan! There are plenty of reasons to visit this mysterious country…. and here are ten just to start off!
NUMBER ONE: Under appreciated treasures
There are many beautiful places in the world that get quite the acclaim; Jordan is a country that is considerably under appreciated by comparison. Holding one of the new world wonders, amongst many other hidden treasures, I truly do not understand why this country is not on more bucket lists. There are so many impressive sights; one week will barely cut it. From the most obvious and visited; Petra, to the ruggedness of the desert, the relaxation of the dead sea and the history of all the sites in-between.
NUMBER TWO: The Switzerland of the Middle East
There is a huge stigma to travelling to the Middle East or via the Middle East right now. I do completely understand it, but now travelling to it, rest assured- all is well. Jordan specifically is dubbed the “Switzerland” of the Middle East, and it is for very good reason. A surprisingly peaceful country, with also one of the lowest crime rates in the world, I have never felt more at ease and safe in a place (and I travel frequently). You cannot paint one country with the same brush just due to its coordinates on a map, it is like no other, and right now is the time to go! Not to demean the severity of the surrounding countries, but tourism is low in Jordan, and there is no time like the present to take advantage of smaller crowds and the hospitality of the Jordanian culture.
NUMBER THREE: The Food!!!
Foodies unite!! Let me just say, YUM! This was no surprise to me, as I love Middle Eastern food, but wow! Everything is perfect- the hummus, fatoush, baba ganoush, tabbouleh, schwarma, falafel- I could go on, but those were just the starters. It was as though one meal was better than the next. I wish I could have eaten more, but I am still recuperating. If only I could remember all the names!!
NUMBER FOUR: A little bit of everything for everyone
There are some places in the world where you really only go to see one thing. Mind you, when I had first decided to venture into Jordan, I really just wanted to see the Treasury at Petra. Once I got there and started my tour, I was in for a whirlwind of adventure. Jerash is one if the oldest Roman ruins outside of Rome, then you have amazing Bedouin camps and Jeep adventures in Wadi Rum, of course there is Petra, but that is a city, not just the most famous treasury, how can anyone forget about the surreal experience of floating in the Dead Sea. For the more adventurous, you can trek the mountain ranges, perhaps go to Wadi Musa to trek through the canyons. History buff? Well what more can you ask for than the history of Romans, Greeks, Bedouins, Islam, Christianity, Herrera and Arabic? – All in one Place! Oh, and ladies, the shopping is great too!!
NUMBER FIVE: Crash course on the Middle East
Until traveling to this part of the world, and actually speaking to the people, and asking questions; it is really difficult to understand and relate to Islam and the general culture of the Middle East. Now with every country being a little different, I am specifically referring to Jordan in this respect. The horrible stereotypes that were inherited from Western media and preconceptions, made me realize how truly naive I was- regardless of how well traveled I am. It really is a learning lesson in life, that there really can be endless learning opportunities. I never thought my perspectives on multiple wives, arranged marriages, women’s rights and the teaching of Islam could change. Instead I was enlightened and shown a different perspective and thought process on those ideas. This is not to say I’m converted, but I can appreciate the difference in culture in lifestyle more than I have ever before.
NUMBER SIX: How low can you go?
No, I am not referring to the classic game of limbo. But most people know where the highest places in the world are. Do you know where the lowest place is? Glad you asked! Welcome to the Dead Sea in Jordan. Officially the lowest place in the world (1388ft below sea level). So there, don’t just put the highest place in the world on your list… put the lowest on there too…and check it off!!! Not to mention forcibly floating in the Dead Sea is far more bizarre than I had ever expected, so that is one thing that should be on everyone’s list!
NUMBER SEVEN: Come together…
One thing I noticed about Jordan, which was surprising amongst other things, is how social the culture is. Going out in the evenings especially, you would see restaurants filled with friends and families. People enjoying shishas together, and all meals coming in a family style format, everything is meant for sharing. People also hold no apprehension in socializing with you and making conversation. There is a certain standard in hospitality that you don’t really see at home and I wish I could take it back with me.
NUMBER EIGHT: Who’s Jordan?
After this trip I have realized most people have never even heard of Jordan, and would have some definite issues pin pointing it on a map. I find great amusement in visiting some offbeat destinations that people have never heard of. In a way it gives you some bragging rights, and Jordan is an amazing country to brag about!
NUMBER NINE: Water World
Who would have thought that a dry desert country in the Middle East could be filled with some great water based adventure. With the Dead Sea already being mentioned. There is also Aqaba, which is on the northern tip of the Red Sea. A perfect location for some unreal scuba diving or snorkelling with unusually clear water and a great array of sea life, it is a great place to check off the list for the must uncanny reason.
NUMBER TEN: The people
I saved this as my last reason to visit Jordan, because it is the best reason. Notably the most impressive thing about Jordan are the people! Never have I met such exceptionally friendly and hospitable people. Everywhere you turn someone is helping you or welcoming you to his or her country. Not to mention, I have never drank more tea in my life. Any shop you pass by or home you pass by tea is offered, and as one shop keep told me, it is very rude not to oblige. Please know this is actually not a sales gimmick for most. People really want to speak to you and have a chat. Especially with tourism down in recent years, it almost brings happiness to people to be able to show you their hospitality. If anything brings me back, it will not be the sights, but the smiles and the faces- and the tea wasn’t too shabby either.