Tour type: Private
Group size: Min: 1 | Max: Any
Accommodation: 4/5-star hotels and Bedouin camp
Transport: A/C car/minivan & Bedouin jeeps
Highlights: Amman, Bethany Baptism Site, As-Salt Harmony Trail, Jerash Roman ruins, Madaba mosaics, Mount Nebo views, Scenic King's Highway, Kerak Crusader Castle, Full day in Petra, Wadi Rum jeep safari & Bedouin camp, Desert Castles
At arrivals in the airport, we'll meet and greet you before transferring you to your hotel set in the centre of the capital city of Amman, which is located perfectly for exploring the surrounding sights.
Those who wish to rest can do so in their rooms or the hotel's restaurant. You can also walk around the area and check out the nearby shops and cafés before the city tour tomorrow. If you have any questions or need help settling in, our staff will be on hand.
Pella and Umm Qais
Extra day in Amman - pre-tour
Single room supplement (JOTMJH)
Half board supplement (adds 7 dinners)
5-star hotel upgrade (JOSGWJ)
4-star hotel upgrade (JOSGWJ)
The tour travels to the hilltop town of As-Salt in the morning, which is a 40-minute drive from the city of Amman. As-Salt was a former trading link between the Jordan Valley and the Eastern Desert as well as the capital of Amman.
Your guide will point out the striking Islamic architecture made out of yellow limestone and you will walk the winding narrow streets, crammed with shops and stalls. This town still provides an example of the religious and cultural friendship between the local Muslim and Christian population. You will then meander along the self-designed 'Harmony Trail' to understand more about the history of the town and life of its residents today. Lunch will be enjoyed with a local family, allowing you to taste some traditional delicacies.
Lunch will be followed by a stroll out of the hills to the Baptism Site at Bethany. This site was recently excavated and is believed to be the biblical 'Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan' - where John baptised Jesus Christ. You will see a collection of churches, caves and pools from the Roman and Byzantine periods. Your guide will tell you how both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI visited this area. An electric minibus will transport you from the visitors centre to the three sites of Mar Elias, the Baptism Pools and John the Baptist's Church.
The day will conclude back at your hotel in Amman where you can take it easy for the evening.
Hotel in Amman
Today you will get to see more of Amman and learn about its interesting history. Your guide will go into detail about how many archeological discoveries have uncovered remains from the Neolithic period as well as the Hellenistic and late Roman to Arab Islamic Ages.
The walking tour will head off to the Citadel, which was the home of the ancient Hercules Temple, the Byzantine Church, The Umayyad Palace and a 6000-seater Roman theatre, built during the Roman Period. This theatre is still used as a space to showcase cultural events.
Leaving Amman behind, the tour will venture on to Jerash - one of the world's most well preserved Roman architecture sites outside of Italy. This site was hidden under layers of sand for centuries and was only discovered 70 years ago. Jerash is an important example of Roman urbanism with its towering temples, public squares and plazas, colonnaded streets and imposing theaters.
You will vacate your hotel in Amman and take to the King's Highway for a picturesque drive to Petra. This leisurely drive will allow you to view the beautiful scenery, the deep wadis, olive groves, farmlands and rural villages.
Before arriving in Petra, the tour will get off at Madaba where you can visit the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, famous for its 6th century-old Byzantine mosaic map of the Holy Land and other biblical sites. Your guide will escort you to Mount Nebo - the known burial place of Moses with some spectacular views of the Holy Land.
The tour will then continue south over more deep wadis and canyons and reach the Kerak Castle - one of many Crusader fortresses scattered across Jordan in the 12th century. The Crusaders called the castle 'Crac des Moabites' or 'Karak' in Moab. This castle is perfect for taking in the enchanting vista of the hills and plains.
After arriving in Petra, you will have some time to unwind in the evening. There is also an option to see the city with the Petra by Candlelight tour through the Siq to the Treasury.
Petra by night
This day will be spent adventuring around the renowned Nabatean site of Petra. This site was the capital of the ancient Nabatean commercial empire until the Romans took over in 106AD.
Resting on the edge of Wadi Aruba, the best way to get into the site is through the Siq - a constricted curving gorge that cuts through canyon walls and hills. In Petra you will soon see that there are not many freestanding buildings as the Nabateans preferred to construct their homes into the pink sandstone cliffs.
Your guide will show you through the city and you can enjoy some free time to walk around by yourself. The guided tour begins in the Siq and continues to Khazneh - one of the most elaborate temples in Petra. Your guide will describe to you how the houses were carved into the cliffs and the spiritual importance of the site.
The tour will also walk to the ancient ruined Roman Amphitheatre and the colonnaded street and in your free time you can make your way up the gorge to the Monastery - the largest of Petra's carved monuments. This route can take some time and be quite tiring, but the views over the Wadi Aruba and Jordan Valley are worth it. If you keep on going, you can reach the High Place of Sacrifice and the Lion Fountain.
Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum
The tour will drive straight into the desert landscape of Wadi Rum. You should look out for the copper-coloured rocky 'jebels' that inspired the writer TE Lawrence during the Arab Revolt and appeared in the movie Lawrence of Arabia. Travelling by jeep safari, the tour will pass by sharp cliffs and notable rock formations.
Continuing north, the tour will go towards the Dead Sea - one of the world's most remarkable destinations. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth at 400 metres below sea level and is also a dramatic sight. A number of rivers including the River Jordan flow into this sea. As these rivers are landlocked, they then evaporate and create a dense mixture of salt and minerals - supplying high quality products to a variety of industries.
Mountains surround the Dead Sea with the hills of Jerusalem to the west. This region is now quiet and sparsely population, but was believed to have been home to the five biblical cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Adman, Zebouin and Zoar (Bela).
You will get an opportunity to paddle in these salty and salubrious waters. As a result of the salt, normal swimming is not possible so it is better to float or sit in the water. Avoid getting any water in your eyes, as it will sting.
The day will finish back at your hotel in Amman.
Petra camel ride
When breakfast is over, the tour will leave Amman again to seek out the assortment of Jordan's Desert Castles - remnants of early Islamic art and architecture. These 'castles' were built on the old trade routes during the Umayyad era and resemble forts, bathhouses and palaces rather than castles.
Your guide will show you the remaining mosaics, frescos, carvings and illustrations that were molded by Persian and Graeco-Roman traditions - offering insight into life during the 8th century. The tour will venture around the castles of Qasr al-Kharrana, Qal'at al-Azraq and Qseirr Amra.
The next stops include the nature reserves run by the Jordanian Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN). The first reserve, the Aqraq Wetland Reserve is an idyllic sanctuary in the eastern desert, set between a limestone desert in the west and a basalt desert in the east. This oasis is filled with verdant marshland and sparkling pools and streams that attract a wealth of migratory birds on the Africa-Eurasian flyway.
The second reserve is the Shaumari Wildlife Reserve, which was originally created as a breeding and reintroduction centre for globally threatened and locally extinct wildlife, particularly the Arabia oryx. Over the years, a range of rare animals now reside in the reserve, including ostriches struthio, goitered gazelles and Persian onagers. Red foxes, wild cats, striped hyenas, caracals and wolves also roam the area. Bird lovers should also look out for imperial eagles, pallid harriers and Egyptian vultures.
The visitor's centre on site is a good starting point and guided safaris also take place in the reserves. You can arrange a safari with your tour if there is time and availability before the tour returns to Amman.
You can enjoy your last evening in Downtown Amman, feasting on Jordanian dishes. We recommend tasting the national dish of Jordan, Mansaf (lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented yogurt) or tucking into falafel and hummus along with a sweet dessert.
Petra camel ride
Your last day in Amman is free for doing any last minute shopping or visiting some more sights. A transfer will then collect you and drive you to the airport for your departing flight back home.
Alternatively, you can go on an optional day trip with choices like an excursion to Aljoun Castle, the Desert Castles and the Baptism Site at Bethany or a tour into Israel to see Bethlehem or Jerusalem.
It is also possible to extend your tour and get a transfer to Tel Aviv by flight or overland to connect with the Biblical Israel tour, starting on Sunday. You can also extend your stay at a resort by the Red Sea or Aqaba.
Note: Options and extensions are subject to flight departure times and may require extra days adding to your tour.
Pella and Umm Qais
Extra day in Amman - post-tour
Camel Ride in Wadi Rum
Post-tour Wadi Rum camp extension
Hotel Gala Dinners
Most of Jordan's higher level hotels arrange a very special gala dinner with entertainment in the evening on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Payment for these is often optional on Christmas Eve (24 Dec) but normally compulsory for all guests of the hotel on New Year's Eve (31 Dec), whether you attend or not. Prices can range from around US$50 to over US$150 per person. Final decisions on prices and whether dinners are compulsory are made relatively close to the time. We aim to always select hotels that make their Gala Dinners optional, though this is is not always possible. Gala dinner prices are therefore not included in our prices above, but will be added to your booking if they become required. Please budget accordingly. More information is available on request.
This tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often use on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
The House Boutique Suites
The House Boutique Suites is rightly one one of the most popular hotels in Amman with a good location close to the centre, a boutique feel, large clean suites and good service standards. It is our preferred property for private tours in Amman.
The House Boutique Suites is rightly one one of the most popular hotels in Amman. It has an excellent location (unlike many Amman hotels) within 500m walk of Rainbow Street with its wealth of shops, cafes and restaurants. You can also walk to Downtown from here.
The hotel has a boutique feel with excellent service and friendly staff. Entry level Studio Suites are large and comfortable at 45 sq m, with kitchen facilities and a fridge as well as a working desk, safety deposit box, free WiFi, and en-suite bathrooms. Upgrades are also available to Superior Suites (75 sq m), Grand Suites (82 sq m), plus larger 2 bedroom suites at both levels.
The hotel itself has an outdoor pool and a fitness centre. Overall this is our preferred property for private tours in Amman.
textLocated in Amman, In front of Amman Chamber of Industry, The House Boutique Suites boasts air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi throughout the property. The hotel has an outdoor pool and fitness center, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Free private parking is available on site. The rooms have a flat-screen TV. Certain rooms have a seating area for your convenience. You will find a kettle in the room. Every room has a private bathroom. For your comfort, you will find slippers and a hairdryer. There is a 24-hour front desk at the property. Rainbow Street is 550 yards from The House Boutique Suites, while The Jordan Museum is 0.7 miles from the property. The nearest airport is Queen Alia International Airport, 16.2 miles from The House Boutique Suites
Old Village Resort
This newly renovated 5-star property is located just outside of Wadi Musa, 2km from Petra. It has a traditional design, and fully-equipped rooms with modern amenities. It has an indoor pool, sauna, several relaxation areas, and free shuttle service.
This 5-star resort boasts a highly convenient location just outside of Wadi Musa, and 2km from the famous World Heritage site of Petra. It has been recently renovated, and has an old-style traditional feel with rooms spread about a village style area. Rooms are fully-equipped, with amenities including Wi-Fi access, air-conditioning, tea and coffee facilities, TVs, minibars, and safes. Complimentary toiletries are offered as well. Facilities include an indoor pool and sauna. There are several areas to relax in and enjoy the views, including a sun deck, terrace, garden, and spacious grounds. The resort offers a free shuttle service to Petra, and transfers are included on our tours as well.
Overall we feel this is a really nice resort with lots of character but can be considered a good 4-star level rather than full 5-star standard.
Wadi Rum, Jordan
This Wadi Rum desert camp has a fantastic location on the desert sands against the cliffs in the Wadi Rum Protected Area. Accommodation is in permanent goat hair tents with proper beds and all bedding provided. The food is generally excellent.
This Wadi Rum desert camp has a fantastic location and setting on the desert sands right up against the cliffs within the Wadi Rum Protected Area. We like it for its spectacular and remote location well away from the main road, and for the excellent food and friendly welcome the Bedouin hosts always provide.
Accommodation is in permanent traditional goat hair tents with proper beds and all bedding provided. We book the standard tents with shared bathrooms, though some en-suite tents are also available and subject to availability you can upgrade to these locally if you wish. You can also bring a sleeping bag if you wish, and find a sheltered spot on the rocks on the edge of the camp and sleep under the stars.
WiFi is available throughout the camp. Meals are traditionally cooked, with a delicious underground 'BBQ' prepared nearly every night.
Sunrise and sunset camel rides are available to book locally (around US$30).
Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination youre visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.
All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.
Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.
The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.
We use good quality hotels at the local 5-star rating on this tour, and aim to use more boutique style hotels with some character, rather than more generic international chain hotels. These hotels can generally be considered to be a good 4-star international level. A night is also spent in a comfortable Bedouin camp inside the Wadi Rum desert reserve. Accommodation here is in en-suite tents with all bedding and facilities provided.
However, as this is a private tour, hotel levels, styles and options can always be adjusted to suit your preferences and budget. Please visit the accommodation tab of this tour for examples of the hotels normally used on the tour. If you have any specific accommodation requests please let us know and we'll be happy to provide you with a customised quotation.
As this is a private tour, we can run the itinerary for however many people you happen to be travelling with, starting from 1 upwards. The prices given for this tour are based on a minimum of 2 passengers travelling, so if you have a different number of passengers in your group please contact us for a customised quotation.
In Jordan our standard tour prices are based on an English speaking escort driver running the tour for you, plus specialist local guides in Petra and Jerash. A professional escort guide can also be arranged for the full time in Jordan for an additional supplement. We also use local Bedouin staff from your desert camp for your time there.
At Encounters Travel we aim to only use local guides and reps. as we feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.
Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.
To promote tourism to the country, the Jordanian government has designed the Jordan Pass. This provides most nationalities with a free single entry Jordan visa (for stays of 3 nights or more), a discounted package of entrance fees, and free digital brochures for the various sites in Jordan. Please check the Jordan Pass tour note for more information.
Double or multi entry visas for Jordan are no longer available and you will need to arrange two visas if you are doing a combination tour (eg. with Egypt and/or Israel) that visits Jordan more than once. Exceptions may occur if you are crossing to and from Israel via the King Hussein Bridge - please contact us for details.
If you wish to arrange your visa separately in advance, or if your stay will be shorter than four days/3 nights, then a visa fee of 40JD (approx. USD 57) will be due.
Other nationalities may require a visa prior to arrival and to obtain this in advance, please contact your local Jordanian embassy or consulate or a visa agency for details. In addition, if you plan to enter Jordan via the southern Wadi Araba crossing (Eilat-Aqaba) or the Allenby Bridge/King Hussein border with Israel in the north, you will need to obtain your Jordan visa in advance as these are not available on arrival at the border.
The local currency in Jordan is the Jordanian Dinar (JD). You do not need to arrange to bring any Jordanian Dinar with you to Jordan as exchange facilities are available in the international airports and in most hotels, banks and bureau de changes in major towns. You should try to obtain and keep hold of small denomination notes or coins on you during the tour as these are useful for toilets, tips and small purchases. ATMs are readily available in major towns and many local shops will accept VISA/Mastercard or Amex, but may charge fees of up to 10% - check before you pay. Travellers cheques are not recommended as they can not be changed in many places now, and can incur high fees.
While in Jordan you will need sufficient funds to cover meals not included in the itinerary, drinks, snacks, souvenirs and personal expenses such as laundry. These should generally all be paid for in Jordanian Dinar, though tips for guides and drivers may be paid in hard currency (GBP, USD, EUR).
It is difficult to recommend a level of personal spending money which will suit everyone as this can differ greatly, but as a guideline, we would suggest allowing USD 15-25 per person per day as a minimum. Allow more if you plan on doing lots of shopping, or buying many alcoholic drinks.
The time in Egypt, Jordan and Israel is GMT plus 2 hours. Daylight saving adjustments have historically been applied in some years but not others. At present it appears that there will be no daylight saving changes in Egypt 2016 and beyond, though this may change at short notice (with a resulting impact on flight times and schedules). In Jordan and Israel, daylight saving of one hour is generally applied between the end of March and the end of October, making it GMT plus 3 hours. Exact dates vary from year to year and sometimes the changes may be scrapped altogether.
You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.
Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:
Egypt: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A
Jordan: Tetanus, Hepatitis A
Israel: Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis
Lebanon: Dipheria, Hepatitis A
Malaria is not generally present unless it has been contracted abroad; you do not need to take malaria prophylactics.
Note: We are aware of some places in Egypt using ‘black henna’ instead of pure brown henna. Black henna contains a chemical dye PPD (paraphenylenediamine) which can result in severe allergic reactions and resultant scarring. To be safe we recommend avoiding any henna tattoos while in Egypt unless you are certain they are using pure brown henna.
If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You can pay your deposit or full balance online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer. We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.
Sockets are two round pronged and 220 volts (Type C). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don’t have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.
Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...
You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.
If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.
IMPORTANT: We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour. If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.
We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected. Financial failure insurance is provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of their tour.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.
It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.
All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).
You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')
It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.
General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.
You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.
Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.