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10 Photos From Jordan (That Aren’t of Petra)

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My yearning for Jordan was fostered by Petra. But I found so much more to love:

In This Jordan Travel Article You Will Discover:

  • The lush and green north
  • The friendly people
  • Lesser-known ruins
  • And more!

Petra. That’s why we all go to Jordan. And for good reason—the 200-square-kilometre UNESCO World Heritage Centre is a stunner. I had high hopes, and it blew them away like dust in a sandstorm.

But I also spent another week exploring the north, the Dead Sea and more. There is a lot to see—but, as Jordan is only 90,000-square-kilometres, give yourself 10 days and you can get a pretty good overview of the nation.

Scroll along and take a look—north to south, with so much more left to explore:

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The lush landscape of the mountainous northwest was, to me, unexpected. It reminded me of Central California or the interior of British Columbia. Here we are hiking a segment of the Jordan Trail, less than 50 kilometres from the Syrian border.

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Tea. Always. Even on a 30-degree-day like this one, hot tea was served at every break. Couple things you should know about Jordanian tea. For one, it’s mostly sugar. Followed by sage leaves. Then some tea. Then more sugar.

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Of all the villages I visited in the north, Rasoun was my favourite. Framed by 2,000-year-old olive trees and pastel-hued, it was picture-perfect. And the lunch we had that day was to die for. Jordanian food—a reason alone to go.

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Sitting unassumingly in the village of Iraq Al-Amir, about 20 kilometres east of Amman, Qasr Al-Abd is the oldest ruin in Jordan. This Hellenistic palace was built some 2,200 years ago. Today, it’s rarely visited—despite incredible access and beautifully preserved features.

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Qasr Al-Abd is a mindbender. Imagine if a ruin that predates the birth of Christ was just sitting in a suburb in your hometown with a small fence and a bored security guard milling about. Just look at these features! Zero crowds!

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The Iraq Al-Amir Women’s Center is a place of joy and good spirits. Here, local women learn crafts they can use to support themselves and their families outside of the traditional patriarchal structure. Plus, lunch was amazing—just mind the rogue kittens trying to steal your food.

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Welcome to Mars. Here, in the vast desert of southern Jordan, tourism is on the upswing. These pods are being installed so guests can stargaze the unpolluted night sky. The film The Martian was shot around here, for obvious reasons.

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And welcome to Mars Bedouin Camp! Bedouin hospitality is legendary. We ate zarb, drank tea, socialized and stayed up late. Of course, the latter was due to the sandstorm that shook my tent all night. But it’s still one of my most treasured memories.

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A bit of a cheat—this is Little Petra. My advice? Check out Little Petra before you venture into the main attraction. That way both will impress. Little Petra is very much worth of a visit; and it only takes an hour or two to explore fully. And you’re free to climb, roam and explore throughout.

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Ah, the Dead Sea. I’ve known about this body of water for what seems like my whole life. And yes, it really floats you like a cork—it’s like being in zero gravity. Funny thing, though, there is a side effect to this salinity. It’s also like floating in poison. Get it in your eyes? Pain. Get it in your mouth? Gag. On wavy days like this, lifeguards shoo you away from the water—an eyeful of this stuff while swimming offshore could mean real trouble.

About the author: David Webb is a Vancouver, BC-based travel writer, photographer and magazine editor.

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