THE SOUND OF SILENCE
I thought I knew what silence was. That was before I visited the closest thing to Mars on Earth.
"Jalla, jalla!" The line to get a visa at the Jordanian Border is two hours long. It is definately not working for those who scream "Hurry up!". I am surrounded by hundreds of people with several passports in their hands. They all want to cross the border before Eid in Jordan, and Yom Kippur in Israel. I definately picked the wrong day to cross. At the other side of these hundreds of people, my guide is waiting to take me to a new adventure. Will I make it in time?
Two hours later and several different lines later, I am out on the other side - this time in Jordan. And about to experience one of the most breathtaking places I have ever seen.
WHAT IS WADI RUM?
Wadi Rum is a desert, also known as The Valley of the Moon. The valley is cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan, 60 kilometres to the east of the city Aqaba near the Red Sea. It is the largest wadi, which means valley, in Jordan.
"You can sleep if you want, just take a nap". My guide breaks the silence. He just spread a colorful bedouin blanket out on the deep red sand. To my left is a huge mountain with rocks shaped like running, orange water. I lay down on the blanket and close my eyes and listen. To the sound of absolute nothing. No cars, no wind, no birds. Nothing but the wind, caressing the sand and flying over the desert.
WHAT TO SEE IN WADI RUM
Have you never been to Jordan before? Here is a guide to what you can see in the Wadi Rum desert.
The Wadi Rum desert has several bridges. This is one of the smallest, but easily accessible.
Um Frouth rock Bridge
This is the biggest bridge I visited. It is possible to climb up the side on the right, and walk out on the bridge. I was to scared of falling down to step out on the sandy path! Maybe you are braver than me?
This is the location of the movie "Lawrence of Arabia" from 1962, which is considered one of the greatest and most influential films in the history of cinema.
Burdah Rock Bridge
This is not my photo - I did not have the time to go all the way to the bridge with the most amazing view over Wadi Rum. Saving it for next time :D
Watch the sun go down...
As my trip went to an end, my driver left me near a big, red sand dune. He told me to walk up the sand dune and watch the sun go down. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life.
If anything on earth looks like Mars, it is Wadi Rum. That is why the recent film "The Martian" was filmed here. It is nominated for Oscars 2016 Best Picture.
..and spend the night under the stars!
If you want to go to Wadi Rum, here is some practical information for you:
HOW TO GET THERE:
From Jordan: Fly to Amman. Wadi Rum is located in the southern part of Jordan. It can be reached easily by driving down the Desert Haighway from Amman (takes about 3.5 hours). The most convenient way to get to Wadi Rum from Amman is by a rented car, or a tailor made tour offered by several tour companies. Public transport is only availabe from Aqaba and Petra. See more at:
From Israel: Fly to Eilat near the red sea (through Tel Aviv). There are several daily flights from Tel Aviv to Eilat, and the tickets costs from around 10 to 100 dollars depending on when you book. Eilat is only ten minutes from the border. On a normal day, the crossing is done in 15 minutes. Many tour guides can arrange a pickup at the Jordanian side, and drive you to the desert which is around one hour away. You can also take a mini bus that run daily between Aqaba (near the Jordanian border) and Wadi Rum. See more at:
There are many tour companies offering tours in Wadi Rum. I used http://jordantracks.com/
I can also recommend this company: http://wadirum-desertguide.com/
WANT TO COMBINE THIS TRIP WITH PETRA?
The ancient city of Petra is a must-see if you are in Jordan. You can take a bus early in the morning after your tour to Wadi Musa near Petra if you want. This can be arranged by the tour guides above.
IS JORDAN SAFE?
I travelled alone and did not feel unsafe in any way when visiting Jordan. Because Jordan relies mainly on its tourism industry for revenues, the government takes tourism and the safety of tourists extremely seriously.
The tourists visiting Jordan has gone down by 70 percent since 2010 because of the crisis roiling across Jordan’s borders in Syria and Iraq. Since Syria’s war erupted in 2011 and over one million refugees began pouring into Jordan, tourist visits have plummeted close to 20 percent each year. My tour guide was sad because the situation in the neighbouring countries is scaring away tourists, because as he said "Jordan's borders remain secure, there is no need to be afraid".
Watch my adventure on video
Wanna see my Snap Story from Wadi Rum? I filmed my adventure for snapchat: