Journey to the Lost City - Family Holiday Trip Notes

At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.

highlights

  • Follow Indiana Jones' footsteps into the lost city of Petra
  • Float in the Dead Sea & explore the desert in a 4WD
  • Play gladiators in Jerash & visit Kerak Crusader Castle
  • You and your family can enjoy playing traditional games with locals

Our Jordan family holiday allows you to try something different as you experience a journey to the lost city of Petra and follow the steps of T. E. Lawrence to the magestic seven columns of wisdom in the vast desert of Wadi Rum. You will visit the ancient Roman city of Jerash, which has survived an incredible 2,300 years. Take to 4WD vehicles to explore the towering sandstone landscapes of Wadi Rum and camp Bedouin-style, under vast, star-filled skies. Petra, the superb 'pink city' of the Nabateans which was hewn by hand from solid rock is a highlight of the trip. Explore Kerak - a key staging post for the Crusaders and descend to the lowest point on Earth, the incredible Dead Sea, where you'll float in its salty and amazingly buoyant waters. Relaxing at the Dead Sea is a perfect end to your magical holiday. Families will enjoy interacting with the local community. You will learn about their lifestyle while having fun, playing football and Jordanian traditional games with locals , sharing tea with bedouin families, sleeping in typical Bedouin tents.

 

trip-grade

Standard

Ideal for those that enjoy the quirkier side of a destination without roughing it. Join inquisitive travellers of all ages for a fun, informative experience.

  • A number of included activities
  • Tourist class, family-run hotels
  • Various meals included throughout
  • Public & private transportation

 This tour is operated by our partners The Adventure Company

daily-itin

 

Day
1

Amman

The tour starts at the Amman hotel. Amman is a modern city with an ancient history and is the starting point for your exploration of this desert kingdom.Toledo or Al Fanar Hotel (AAA) - 2 nights

Day
2

Jerash & Amman

After breakfast, please meet your tour leader in the hotel reception at 08:00. This morning you head 50km north to Jerash. With a history stretching back at least 2300 years, Jerash is one of the finest examples of a provincial Roman town anywhere in the world. Although it was inhabited in pre-Roman times, it was with the coming of Alexander the Great that things really took off! As one of the league of ten cities known as the Decapolis, Jerash (otherwise known as Gerasa) grew in importance until, in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, it was home to more than 25,000 people. The extraordinarily complete remains, which include a forum, a nymphaeum, hippodrome, two theatres (complete with numbered seats!) and several temples, date mainly from this period. Along the famous Colonnaded Street, grooves in the paving stones show where chariot wheels once rolled - kids will love playing gladiators! Elsewhere, remnants of exquisite mosaics still cover some floors.You have ample time to wander the site and imagine life in ancient times, before returning to Amman with time to relax, or the opportunity to visit some of the city sights, including the Citadel. (B)

Day
3

Madaba to Petra

This morning you head south towards Petra, taking the Desert Highway. En route you drive to Madaba, famous for its 6th century mosaics set in the ground like giant jigsaws. Just beyond is another biblical site, Mount Nebo, which overlooks the Jordan Valley. The Bible tells us this is the final resting-place of Moses; from here he looked out onto the Promised Land and, thousands of years on, you can do the same.On your journeys today you may see the black ‘beit ash shar’ tents of the hardy Bedouin who still wander throughout the Middle East as they have for centuries. Moving between the few grazing spots which dot the parched landscape, they survive by breeding goats, sheep and camels. Although the traditional nomadic way of life is starting to disappear as some Bedouin succumb to the lure of fixed accommodation, many adhere stolidly to the old way - albeit with the occasional addition of a 4WD vehicle for transport! Living in such a hostile environment has taught them the importance of a friendly welcome and the ancient code of hospitality to travellers still survives today.Next, you drive to the small town of Kerak. Here a formidable Crusader castle overlooks a long, winding road down to the Dead Sea. The Crusaders had a huge impact on the region in the 11th - 13th centuries, and fought the forces of Islam in a long campaign, which saw many atrocities committed. Their temporary successes can be attributed - at least in part - to an outstanding ability to construct impregnable defensive fortifications, of which Kerak Castle is a prime example. Amazingly - given that it is over 850 years old - a great deal of the structure remains intact, and you can explore the dungeons, passages, refectory and kitchens of the castle, which also houses a small museum. Continue on to Petra and visit Little Petra along the way, a great introduction before to explore this majestuous site. Uncovering Little Petra's secrets will also be the opportuntiy to have fun learning some new traditional games such as '7 stones' with locals and share tea with bedouin famillies.Amra Palace Hotel (AAA) - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (B)

Day
4

Explore Petra

Petra's exact location was unknown in the West until 1812, when the Swiss explorer J.L. Burckhardt, a convert to Islam, made a short detour to sacrifice a goat at the nearby meli (tomb) of the prophet Harun. As he picked his way towards the foot of the mountain, he stumbled across the siq, the narrow defile that leads to Petra - and the rest is history. The siq has multi coloured rocks all the way through and you can see the layers of strata as you walk to Petra. Since that day many others have made their way along the same path and, as Burckhardt must have done, gazed in awe at the splendid monuments that adorn this remote valley.This morning you'll make your way to the fabled site, following the same path as Burckhardt, which funnels you through the banded rock walls that tower above. At the end of the kilometre-long path, you are rewarded by a glimpse of the most beautiful building of all - the Khazneh or Treasury - so-called because the Bedouin believed that the urn crowning the edifice held a cache of gold and jewels. The first sight of this perfectly proportioned tomb, carved from the towering rock, is truly unforgettable, but there's much more to come! Some 2,400 years ago the Nabateans taxed the trade caravans that plied between Arabia and the eastern Mediterranean and, using the proceeds, built the first houses and temples here. Later these taxes proved even more rewarding, and today the Nabatean legacy includes houses, tombs, temples, a (Roman-built) amphitheatre and much more.Although it is a tiring walk for kids, it is well worth making the hour or so ascent up the rocky path, which leads to the Monastery, a vast structure rivalling even the Treasury. Time should also allow you to climb to one of the High Places, the mountain-top altars where ritual sacrifices were made; from here there are spectacular views of the mountains, valleys and canyons below. (B)NB - Watch out for donkeys on the walk up to the Monastery, they can be quite pushy so take care.

Day
5

Wadi Rum

Today you drive to Wadi Rum which offers some of the most extraordinary desert scenery. From a distance, Wadi Rum's sheer sandstone cliffs appear to hover like a shimmering mirage on the horizon. It's only from close quarters that you can fully appreciate just how large some are, rising to a height of 1800 metres. It's hard to describe the majesty of this setting without sounding too effusive, suffice to say that the beauty that captivated Lawrence of Arabia is just as evident today. To the Howeitat Bedouin, who have taken it as their own, the area is known as the Valley of the Moon. These people are reputedly the remainder of Lawrence's Arab army who marched with him from Azraq in the north, then stayed behind once battle was done.You will enjoy a 4WD desert discovery, stopping to enter a narrow siq where many inscriptions can be seen. Passing Thamud nomads from Saudi Arabia and the Nabatean people have both left their mark on the surrounding rocks. Nature provides a number of rock bridges that offer some stunning views. There is also the opportunity to explore by camel (additional charge). What best than the vast desert land of Wadi Rum to challenge the local bedouins over a football game...You camp in the protected area of Wadi Rum, surrounded by high mountains and sand dunes and in true desert fashion, you can sleep in a traditional Bedouin tent or under the stars. As the sun sets on the rocky outcrops - the sandstone changes hue, passing through a spectrum of yellow, gold, orange, red and finally purple, as the shadows lengthen and the stars come out. Children (and adults!) will love camping in the desert - the skies are clear and stars stand out brightly. The Milky Way, satellites and shooting stars can be clearly seen - a great way for kids to learn a little about the solar system.Bedouin-style private camp (CC) - communal sleeping arrangement - 1 night (BLD)

Day
6

Aqaba

You then transfer to Aqaba on the coast of the Red Sea, where you will have free time to relax or take an optional boat trip (additional charge) to go snorkelling. The warm and relatively shallow waters of the Red Sea support a series of coral reefs unsurpassed outside Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Over the years, successive generations of minute polyps have deposited the calcium they extract from the sea as limestone external skeletons on to the fossilised remains of their predecessors.Aqabagolf Hotel (AAA) - 1 night - Swimming Pool (BD)

Day
7

Dead Sea

Leaving Aqaba, travel along the King's Highway, a winding road which follows the contours of the rocky hills, occasionally passing nomadic shepherds as they tend their flocks in the few areas where there is water. You lower and lower until eventually you arrive on the shores of the Dead Sea - at 400 metres below sea level it's the lowest place on earth. Here the mineral content of the water is so dense that anybody attempting to swim finds that they float, rather than sink. It's a remarkable feeling and one you'll be able to experience for yourself as you relax this afternoon.This evening you can meet up with the rest of the group for a final meal together, and reflect on your adventures in this fascinating country! Holiday Inn Dead Sea Hotel (AAAA) 1 night - Swimming Pool (B)

Day
8

Tour ends

The tour ends after breakfast. (B)

 

included

 

Transport - Minibus, 4WD, on foot, (camel).

Accommodation - Comfortable Hotels (5nts), guesthouse (1nt), Bedouin camp (1nt, possible multi-share).

Meals - 7 breakfasts, 1 lunch & 2 dinners.

Overview

For centuries the deserts of Arabia have held a special fascination for Western travellers. You will visit the ancient Roman city of Jerash, which has survived an incredible 2,300 years. Take to 4WD vehicles to explore the towering sandstone landscapes of Wadi Rum and camp Bedouin-style, under vast, star-filled skies. Petra, the superb 'pink city' of the Nabateans which was hewn by hand from solid rock is a highlight of the trip. Explore Kerak - a key staging post for the Crusaders and descend to the lowest point on Earth, the incredible Dead Sea, where you'll swim in its salty and amazingly buoyant waters - an amazing end to an amazing trip.

fitness

Relatively short journey times make Jordan an ideal destination for a family adventure. In Wadi Rum, desert tracks are rough and although we provide all necessary camping equipment (excluding sleeping bags) conditions are, as one would expect basic, with limited facilities. Please note: swimming pools at some of the hotels in Jordan may close during the winter season, especially if they are outdoor pools. If they are open, outdoor pools in Jordan don’t usually have heating and so swimming may be cold! Minimum age: 5 years.

what-to-take

For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.
One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase).
A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.

preparing-to-travel

Make sure you try a glass of the local Bedouin tea whilst you’re in the south. Made with mint and lots of sugar, it’s very refreshing even on the warmest of days.

Suggested reading:
Your Child’s Health Abroad – M. Ellis and J. Wilson-Howarth, (Bradt)
Travel with Children – M. Wheeler (Lonely Planet)
Arab Folktales - Inea Bushnaq
Kingdom of the Film Stars; Journey into Jordan – Anne Caulfield

Useful phrases:
Do you have vegetarian food available here? - Hal Ladaika taam nabaty?
Is the weather always so nice in Jordan? - Hal al taqs dayman jameel hakaza?
Thank you, I would like to have tea with you. - Shukran, ana owad an ashrab al shai maak
Did Lawrence of Arabia ever tread here? - Hal Lawrence al Arab kan hona?
Is that camel comfortable? - Hal haza al jamal moreeh?

local-payment

Local Costs - Jordan

Approximate costs are given for guidance only, and may vary widely according to location and type of establishment. The below guideline is in Jordanian Dinar (1 JD is approx 1 GBP)

  • Coffee/tea JD 3.00
  • Soft drink JD 2.50
  • Water bottle (1 litre) JD 2.00
  • Medium beer JD 6.00
  • Local snack lunch JD 2.50
  • 3-course dinner* JD 25.00

*reasonable mid-range tourist class restaurant

Sleeping bag hire JD25/pp/per night

visa-information

Visas & Permits - Jordan

Holders of UK & IRL passports do require a visa. A group manifest (free visa) is available for groups of 5 or more who arrive and depart on the same flight. You will be met by a local representative prior to going through immigration who will advise you if a visa is required. If your group is less than 5 or you are travelling on different flights you will need to arrange your own visa, this also applies to Land Only clients. A visa can be obtained on arrival at the applicable port of entry for a fee. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the end date of the trip. Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Information can also be found on www.travcour.com.

This information is given in good faith, but may be subject to change without warning. Please note that, where appropriate, obtaining a valid visa is ultimately your responsibility. Please consult a visa agency or the consular authorities 4-6 weeks before departure for the most up-to-date information.

 

Medical---prep

Vaccinations - Jordan

The following are recommended:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Polio
  • Typhoid † Tetanus

NB: Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required if travelling via an infected country.
For detailed information and advice concerning vaccinations go to:www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk
Vaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information.

International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.

single-room-sup

For most trips prices are based on sharing a twin room. Therefore, if you’re a solo traveller you’ll be paired with someone from the group of the same sex, unless you decide to pay a single room supplement. Details of this supplement can be found on the Extensions & Extras tab on our website. Occasionally we use multiple-share or dormitory accommodation – particularly when stating in remote places.

Rooming arrangements – Family trips

If you’re a family of 2 you’ll be accommodated in a twin room. If you’re a family of three you will usually be accommodated in a triple room. If you’re a family of four you’ll probably be accommodated in two twin rooms and we’ll do our best to ensure they’re as near as possible. We cannot always guarantee a triple room. If a triple room is not available, an adult from your family will automatically be roomed with a fellow adult member of the group of the same sex. If you prefer to have a room of your own we can sometimes offer a single room for the entire trip or on selected nights within a trip. However a single room supplement applies, look on the Extensions & Extras tab on our website or ask our Travel Consultants for details.

Single room supplement

A single supplement is available for this trip priced from 146 GBP. This does not guarantee a single room for all accommodation. please contact us to discuss this.

 

responsible-travel

At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.

Responsible Travel is twofold. It's about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.

Our Aims

  • It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
  • We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
  • Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.

Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.

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