The same drill as yesterday, quick breakfast at 6 and then straight to the Treasury as fast as we could! The camels were there this morning so I took a quick snap.
The Bedouins approached us to the “best view” and after rounds of bargaining, we got the price down to 50 JD for the 7 of us. The guy showed us the hike up to the viewpoint, it wasn’t as bad or scary as I thought! At the top, there was a tent where another Bedouin was setting up the area with rugs and cushions. There was a group of people in front of us but they were making their way out when we got there so we got the whole area for like 5 minutes before more people arrived. I went first for photos and I tried to be as close to the edge but at a safe distance. Oh boy, it was scary looking down (you know I am afraid of height), we were sooo high up there!!!
Jason quickly came in for photos of two of us.
We made our turns and then people started to arrive and they took the middle and the left spots. We waited a few minutes for the left spot, the left spot has this angle:
There were people next to us so we had limited space to play around with the angles.
Once we were done, we walked down to the little flat area right underneath for more photos.
We were finally done with the photos and headed out of Petra. I took a few pics in the Siq while there was no one.
We didn’t see this door carving yesterday! I am sure we missed a few as Petra is huge.
Why is the rush? Our next stop is the 1.5 hours drive to Wadi Rum – the desert that looked like Mars where many movies such as The Martian and Transformers were filmed there! After we got off the “highway” and turned into Wadi Rum Visitor Center to pay for the entrance fee. Since we had the Jordan Pass, it is included. Then, we made our way into Wadi Rum village to meet Mohammed, the driver from the hotel – Memories Aicha Luxury Camp. I have no idea where and how Mohammed looks so we parked at the big parking lot and I called Mohammed via WhatsApp. He said he was coming and described his car etc. After meeting with him, he told us to follow his car to the camp’s parking lot where we can leave our car as it’s gated. There’s a little office in the parking lot where we can arrange the desert tour with him. He recommended the 6 hours tour but we want to spend more time photographing the hotel so we booked the 3 hours sunset tour instead for 60 JD per jeep up. Tim and Laili went on the 6 hours tour for 100 JD per jeep; each jeep can hold up to 6 people.
After we booked the tour, it was time for our transfer jeep ride into the desert to our luxury camp. The driver drove us through the village and into the desert where it started to look like Mars with golden orange sand and dark red sandstones.
In 10 minutes or so of a drive, we arrived at Memories Aicha Luxury Camp! Check-in was relatively quick and we got the key to our room – the panoramic dome #19 for $342 a night. We found out that the domes are covered during day time to keep the room cooler from the sun. They usually take the cover off from 6 PM to the next morning around 10 AM.
The room has its own private flushing toilet with shower and everything just like a hotel room! That’s a luxury in the desert and the room rate reflected that! We were making fun that the water pressure in the desert is better than in Petra Guest House. The toiletries are a local brand with Dead Sea mud ingredients; I love their shampoo, it made my hair smooth and not dry.
The room has beautiful Arabic decor and furniture.
Our original plan was to take photos around the hotel since we only staying for one night but the domes were covered so we need to wait for the next morning. We headed out to the cafe for lunch. The cafe is built partially under the rocks and the interior decors are very pretty.
Milkshake! They have milkshakes on their menu! Since the Antarctica cruise, I got hooked on blueberry milkshakes LOL! Yum, it actually tasted good! Unbelievably their food menu was mostly Western food like salads, burgers served with fries! We were all shocked at how good their burgers were, the buns were toasted, the patty was juicy, this was the best meal so far in Jordan!
After lunch, we went back to our room to take a quick break before heading out to the jeep tour at 3 PM. There are tent rooms as well as domes; the domes were the most expensive room category.
The tour driver/guide arrived at the reception to pick us up for the tour. First stop was Al Ramal Red Sand Dune, he dropped us off near the top of the dune to make it easier for us and said he’ll meet us down on the other side of the dune. It was a quick walk on the sand to reach the top. Sad to see that people litter; lots of plastic bottles and cans on the sand 🙁
The view from the top of this sand dune was incredible! Unlike the Sahara Desert in Morocco where it is all sand and sand dunes, Wadi Rum is much smaller, flat, and does not have many sand dunes but lots of rock formations.
Jason was brave to climb up to this rock!
To get to the other side of the sand dune, we had to hike past those rocks.
We got to the highest point and looked back.
We found this spot perfect for photos.
A lot more people came from this way and someone came up to me and said our driver asked him to tell “the lady in a red dress” that he was waiting for us at the bottom near that tent. LOL I guess I was the only one wearing a red dress.
The dune was high and steep, our driver was really thoughtful to drop us off on the top so we don’t need to waste our energy to hike up!
Next, we went to Khazali Canyon where it’s known for its ancient inscriptions.
It was hard to see the inscriptions if you weren’t paying attention to the wall 😉
The canyon is really narrow and lots of people go in and out so I gave the camera to Jason to check it out if it’s worth it. Meanwhile waiting for Jason, we came across Laili and Tim! We asked how was their tour going so far, and they said they regretted the 6 hours tour because the first half wasn’t interesting.
The pictures Jason took, he said not worth it at all! There were a few “ponds”.
After the canyon, the jeeps seemed to depart at the same time and headed to the same place – Small Rock Arch. The “jeeps” are pickup trucks with two benches on the open back for passengers to sit. The ride was bumpy and sometimes dusty so best to have a scarf or something to cover your head!
The driver asked if we want him to come with us to The Little Arch to help take photos, we said no we can take turns. He stayed in the car while we made our hike up to this rock formation to get to The Little Arch. It’s a popular spot where there was a line to take turns to take photos. When it was our turn, a lady ran through us and go to the other end of the bridge, WTH??? We all screamed at her to let her know there was a line! She got back and apologized, how could she not know that there was a line? Her interruption made us miss the sun grrrr so our photos weren’t as colorful as others 🙁
Next, we went to Lawrence’s House or something, it doesn’t look interesting and with lots of people so we told the driver that we can skip that and head to the next one so we are not following the other jeeps to get ahead. He said okay, let’s go to the Mushroom Rock and the “white sand”. Usually, the Mushroom Rock is one of the stops in the 4 -6 hours jeep tours as it’s further away.
When we got there, we saw a local? boy flying his “kite”, how life can be so simple? It reminded me of my childhood 🙂
There were a lot of jeeps parked at Mushroom Rock as well, I guess we can’t avoid the crowds! The Mushroom Rock as the name from its appearance:
Two “party” jeeps arrived with loud music, it was time for us to go!
The next stop was Um Frouth Rock Bridge, oh boy, people do hike up there!
No to the hike but yes for a quick photo underneath! I guess this is the “white sand”?
Finally, for sunset, the driver took us to a rock formation where we can climb up and wait for the sun to set. It got cold really fast in the desert and the driver was kind enough to lend Jeffrey his blanket. We climbed up the rock and found an open spot for us to sit and wait.
The only downside of this spot was that the sun got blocked by the mountains in the distance so we don’t see it setting completely on the horizon. Laili and Tim’s driver took them to an open spot without the need to climb and with no mountain blocking. Thus, it’s best to communicate with your drive on your preference!
It got really cold after sunset and the driver offered us to sit inside the car! He was a really nice driver! We got back to the camp and the covers were off the domes. We opened the curtains but it was already dark outside.
We headed to dinner at the big dome, buffet style but the food was so much better than at Petra Guest House!
I like that the buffet included all the soft drinks. The mushroom steak was really good!
We finally had a full meal in Jordan! There was a free stargazing activity offered by the hotel at 9 PM but when I checked my SkyView Free app, the Milky Way wasn’t even up at 9 AM so we passed on that. Instead, I set my alarm at 2 AM! I tried not to wake up Jason since he has a long drive in the morning to get back to the Dead Sea while Tim & Laili joined me to see the Milky Way. It was their first time seeing the Milky Way and they were wowed by it. We walked around the hotel for different angles but the Milky Way spanned across the mountain behind the hotel so we couldn’t see the full arch.
I love stargazing in the desert for its clear sky and low light pollution! Although our favorite spot is still at Lake Tekapo in New Zealand, the stars were much brighter there!
Wadi Rum desert’s landscape is beautiful, it was worth a night’s stay. It’s one of those places where it’s justified to splurge on a luxury hotel for photos and comfort. The great food was a bonus! Memories Aicha Luxury Camp is one of the popular luxury camps and often sold out so make sure you book ahead!