After a short 3 hours flight from Doha, we landed at Amman at 12:15 PM, Jordan which marked our 50th country milestone after 13 years of travel! Arriving at Amman was so different than in Doha, there was no special line for business class passengers; I think we got spoiled haha. We purchased the Jordan Pass online prior since we’ll be spending a few days in Petra, it covers the Petra admission and waived the visa fee which saved us 40 JD (~$56). The line for the visa on arrival was long and slow as only two people were processing them and those passengers who do not have the Jordan Pass will need to make their payment on the visa fee. Then, we went to collect our luggage which took forever. After that, there was another security scan of our luggage. We finally made it to Sixt Car Rental located at the arrival hall and the guy said our reservation wasn’t “confirmed”…what??? I booked the car at least 6 months in advance so why didn’t I get notified if it wasn’t confirmed? He made some calls and he finally found our paper on a separate pile for those reservations that were not paid in advance. He said our van is not here yet and will need to wait for 30 minutes or so. I guess they screwed up so they didn’t have the van ready!
The 30-minute wait turned out to be over 1.5 hours!!! We learned that “slow” is the theme in Jordan, everything takes so long!!! I have read bad reviews on Sixt but they were significantly cheaper and not many rental companies offer the 8-passenger vans so I didn’t have many choices. I was extra cautious making sure we didn’t get charged extra and when we finally got our van, we inspect, took pictures, and videos! There were so many scratches although the van doesn’t look that old (one of the common complaints about Sixt was the age of their car). Finally, we found out that the van is almost out of gas!!!! The guy said to return it empty, oh geez, I hate that and it was one of the most common scams from rental car companies! Thankfully, there were plenty of gas stations right outside the airport and getting out of the airport was straightforward. We filled the tank which cost 70 JD (~$98), gas is more expensive than the US!
From the airport, it was an hour’s drive to the Hilton Dead Sea where we stayed for one night. We originally planned to go straight to Petra (2.5 hours drive) and stay there for 3 nights but Jeffrey wants to check out the Ma’in Hot Springs which is close to the Dead Sea and it would be tight on time the day of driving back from Wadi Rum desert back to the Dead Sea so we made this change. The direction to the Dead Sea was straightforward but the road design was BAD!!! Who’s idea was it to have speed bumps the same color as the road and on “highways” with no sign or warning of the speed bumps ahead? Those speed bumps were so hard to see that by the time you see them, it was too late!!! Yea, we hit a few! And also, locals love to drive in the wrong direction of the traffic, we occasionally saw cars coming our way on the breakdown lane, WTH???
We made it to the Dead Sea with our van in one piece after all those speed bumps! Again, getting into the hotel requires a security scan. We wasted so much time waiting that we arrived at 4:30 PM so we didn’t have time to do anything else, thus, we decided to just hang out at the resort and relax! The check-in was another wait and we felt like the hospitality in Jordan wasn’t great if not non-existence. The staff didn’t have a warm smile or the initiative to greet you. It was a huge difference from Qatar!
Our room with sea view; a free upgrade from my Hilton Diamond status. The room was modern looking, clean, and comfortable.
A separate toilet room:
The sea view from our room, across the Dead Sea is Israel, quite shocking that we can see Israel but not making there to check off another country. Why didn’t we? Not enough time to fit it in 🙁
We quickly changed into our swimwear and headed to the restaurant for our free happy hour drink and appetizer at 5 PM as part of the benefit for being Diamond members. We can choose a drink from the drink menu, I chose a Dead Sea mint drink and it was too sour 🙁
The chicken roll plate portion was big enough to share!
After the quick bites, we went off to the beach passing by the hotel’s swimming hotels and it took a few elevators to get down.
Few more walks and elevators to go to get down to the roped area.
When we got down, we were looking for the instruction on the steps of applying the Dead Sea mud but there was none so we asked around. So….dip yourself in the Dead Sea water, apply the mud, let it dry, rinse off in the Dead Sea (no longer than 20 minutes in the Dead Sea due to the high salt content that you can get dehydrated), and lastly, rinse off with fresh water.
First dip into the Dead Sea!!!
Time to try “floating”, OMG it was no joke that you can effortlessly be floating due to the high salt content but it felt weird to keep balance! The sea floor was rocky and muddy and we tried to be very careful not to trip to avoid getting the super salty water into our eyes, people said it stings very bad!
Next step, rub the Dead Sea mud:
Let it dry…
Rinse off in the Dead Sea while watching the sunset 😀
Finally, rinse off with fresh water 😀
My skin felt smooth afterward 😀 We ran to the Infiniti pool for the sunset….
And immediately, the lifeguard was screaming at us that the pool is closed urg! We went back to our room and the reflection of the sea was beautiful.
Peter and Jeffrey arrived afterward via hotel transfer so the one-night stay at the Dead Sea worked out. For dinner, we dined at the hotel’s Italian restaurant since we figured that we’ll be eating grilled meats for the next few days. The restaurant was not even full but it took a long time for the waitress to get us water, menu, take our order, everything was so slowwww! The waitress came, took our plates, and said our food are coming but guess what, another 30 minutes of wait!
My seafood spaghetti was okay but the seafood was frozen and not good quality for the price. We couldn’t believe how expensive food and everything in Jordan is and not even high-quality ingredients!!!
The seafood soup, on the other hand, tasted good but with the same exact ingredients.
Dinner was $149 for 6 of us and we ordered simple stuff like pasta and salad, nothing fancy.
We made it to Jordan after 2 days of traveling and the overall impression? Expensive and slow, unfortunately. But we were looking forward to seeing Petra and the Wadi Rum Desert!