48 Hours in Jordan: Petra, the Dead Sea, and Falafel
A trip to Jordan is on every traveler’s bucket list – as it should be!
We got lucky enough to visit a little bit of the country during a weekend getaway recently – we literally spent only 48 hours in Jordan – but we have so much more to see in the country and can’t wait to go back to see more of it.
From the beautiful wonder of the world, Petra, to Amman’s most famous falafel joint, through Wadis and the Dead Sea, here’s our full guide to our 48 Hours in Jordan.
48 Hours in Jordan | Day 1: Petra and Amman
As you know if you follow our travels, we both work full time, so we had to adapt this itinerary to fit in exactly 48 hours – from Thursday evening after work to Sunday morning back to work.
We left the office and headed straight to DXB Airport, where we boarded our Royal Jordanian flight at 9.30pm direct to Amman.
Arriving in Jordan at 11.40pm, we smoothly flew through immigration and picked up SIM Cards as we planned to drive and we needed directions at all times (and to post Insta Stories, let’s be honest).
Grab a SIM card at the Zain stand by the Starbucks when you land, it’s cheap, easy and reliable 4G!
Once done, we swung by Sixt rental car to pick up our wheels and got going – no time to waste!
If you’re confident in your driving skills, we really recommend you to do this. The roads are well lit and safe, and the drive is just short of 3 hours, so make sure to drink plenty of coffee and prepare your best road trip hits! With so little time we wanted to drive direct to Petra when we landed to be there first thing in the morning when the doors opened.
Once we arrived in Petra around 4am, we had a couple hours to get a snooze (in the car, but there’s also a Movenpick right by the entrance of Petra if you feel like taking a longer sleep!).
The best tip we can give you, however, is to be right there at 6am at the opening of Petra. Be the first there, and avoid the crowd of tourists coming later in the day. This is really the best piece of advice we’ve received, and we reeeeally recommend you do the same!
Once in Petra, we started the short 2km walk to the Treasury, down the windy and path through more and more epic mysterious landscapes.
“The Treasury” is the iconic facade you imagine when thinking about Petra and probably the only picture you’ve seen from this massive site. The feeling when you see it appear around the corner through the winding pathway is incredible – especially if the sun is just rising!
We hung around the Treasury for a little bit, but shortly began our hike towards the Monastery, which is the highest point in Petra. It is a steep 4km hike up further into the mountains but 100% worth it, and a much larger site than the Treasury.
Walking through Petra made us realize how little knowledge we had about it – who built Petra? When was it build? What IS IT? The Nabateans of 3,000BC originally build the site – a fact you’ll be quick to learn as well.
After a quick Google search (oops), we continued on our way to the Monastery, stopping here and there to drink tea with our new best friend Rosa, and buy a couple things on the side of the road.
Once we arrived to the top, what a sight this was! The Monastery was absolutely empty, so again, make sure to be the first up there – really worth walking a little bit faster (though please don’t use the donkeys!!!).
Tip: Get to Petra at the opening at 6am!
After drinking a coffee and sharing a few moments in the calm with the cutest stray dog, we decided to explore around and finally, head back down. Our best advice is to really take your time enjoying and exploring this massive site. Having never visited before, we were absolutely shocked at how massive the area is and how much there is to see – truly amazing and 90% of it after you pass the Treasury.
It’s only when we arrived back at the Treasury that we realized how coming in at 6am was the best idea ever – the place was crawling with tourists and selfie sticks – we hardly recognized it to be honest, the magic was nearly gone.
By then, it was about 12pm and we were starving – so we stopped for lunch at the Movenpick next door to Petra’s entrance, and had FALAFELS (in case you didn’t know, we LOVE falafels. More on them later).
Now full, we got back on the road, direction AMMAN! We had heard so much about this great city, and yet had so little time to discover it – so we sorted out how to make the most of our evening!
After checking in to the Art Hotel Downtown (which was the cutest place ever), we headed straight out to Rainbow Street, one of Amman’s most popular areas. The traffic can be quite mental in Amman, but even arriving at 5pm on a Friday we were welcomed by friendly locals helping us park on the street very close to the hotel.
We walked through the most magical staircase, covered in artsy graffiti and colourful umbrellas, and arrived to Canteloupe, a rooftop bar/restaurant we heard so much about.
After a couple Carakale local beers, we headed out to our next favorite thing – FALAFEL.
We HAD to check out the Hashem restaurant – we heard it’s the most amazing falafel in Jordan. And guys, we were not disappointed!
The 50-year-old joint is always busy with both locals and tourists (always a good sign!) and the service is quick but efficient, and the food… Let’s just say that you really haven’t tried falafel until you go to Hashem!
Tip: Go to Hashem for falafel!
Aaaaand finally, time for bed, after a whopping 40 hours without sleeping – needless to say we started to get a bit delirious!
If you do have more time in Amman, try and check the Citadel, sitting on the highest hill in Amman, and the Roman Theatre.
If you have more tips about Amman, please leave them in the comments below!
48 Hours in Jordan | Day 2: Wadi Mujib and the Dead Sea
After an early start, we drove to – what we thought was – Wadi Mujib for a few hours of wadi exploring and canyoning.
Now guys, we had some issues with our navigation and, long story short, wasted quite some time trying to find the place. Keeping it real, right?
So for all of you who want to experience canyoning and hiking in the beautiful Wadi Mujib, HERE is the only place to go (save it somewhere, because if you type “Wadi Mujib” on Google Maps, you might also get lost!)
Plan to have plenty of cash on hand as well, as we – again – messed up and only had a debit and credit card. With the closest ATM more than one hour drive away round trip, we decided to skip it as we didn’t have enough time to then go see the Dead Sea – a mistake we were happy to make so you don’t have to!
Tip: Bring enough cash (about 200 Dh per person) – Also don’t forget the GoPro!
After this slight disappointment, we kept on driving along the coast, and man the view was absolutely gorgeous!
To check out the Dead Sea and get a moment to relax, we stopped at the Oh Beach Club. We were now at the lowest point on Earth, about 400 meters below sea level – an absolute must visit during any 48 hours in Jordan!
There is an entrance fee to the beach club, but it’s also a good way to really enjoy the Dead Sea, as opposed to stopping on the side of the road to take a dip- and you get to post this on the ‘Gram!
Tip: Don’t get the lunch included, it’s not worth it! We’d recommend grabbing lunch somewhere else as we were super disappointed with the buffet (for the price we paid).
Once we were all muddy, we took a bath in the saltiest water on Earth, and what a feeling it is to just be able to float! You can go all the way down to the beach to float in the sea or just relax and enjoy floating in the pool and smoking a shisha. Don’t expect anything close to a 5-star beach resort, however, as this place is pretty banged up and in need of repairs and some upkeep – there are also flies everywhere. Everywhere.
Tip: Don’t lick the salty rocks. Just don’t. It’s gross.
After bathing in the Dead Sea and relaxing for a while, we had to get going and headed back to Amman Airport to give the rental car back and catch our flight back to Dubai at 11.30pm.
Tip: Give the car with a full tank, or you’ll be charged a lot more than the normal petrol price!
Following a painful 3.30am landing back in DXB, we made it back to our desks on Sunday at 8am!
48 Hours in Jordan – Quick Tips!
Currency: Jordanian Dinar (JOD) – JOD 1 = AED 5.18 = USD 1.4 (as of April 1st, 2018)
Time change from Dubai: -1 hour
Language: Arabic (English spoken in touristy places)
Rental car company: Sixt, at Amman Airport
Flights: Flydubai and Royal Jordanian have great flights from Dubai. Check the best option on Skyscanner!
Hotels: Art Hotel Downtown Amman, Movenpick Resort Petra
We hope you get some useful information from this 48 Hours in Jordan guide – don’t hesitate to comment below if you have more! Sharing is caring 🙂
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See you soon team!
Anne & Jeff