Petra to Amman via the Dead Sea & Kerak Castle – Day 13 to 15 Travel Talk Egypt & Jordan Discovered Tour


Jordan / Travel Talk Tours Egypt & Jordan Discovered
Petra & Amman Highlights & Recap

After spending an amazing day in the Lost City of Petra the Travel Talk Tours Egypt & Jordan Discovered Tour is slowly coming to a close as we enter the final stage of the tour departing Petra and continuing the journey north with stops today at Kerak Castle and the Dead Sea before arriving at our final destination the capital of Jordan, Amman. Previously on this tour the group was able take in the impressive sights of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Petra, it’s going to be pretty hard to top that.

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RECAP: Wadi Rum to the Lost City of Petra – Day 12 Travel Talk Egypt & Jordan Discovered Tour

Today we have a bit of fun ahead of us as we encounter the Dead Sea and jump in the water, trying to resist nature by seeing if we can sink. We’ll end the day today by arriving at our final destination, Amman where we will spend two final nights and spend our final full day of the tour exploring the city of Amman. Once day 15 approaches everyone will say their goodbyes and either depart Amman or explore more of the city on their own.

Sites & activities include…

  • Kerak Castle
  • Dead Sea
  • Amman Citadel
  • Roman Theater

Day 13: Petra to Amman via Karak Castle & the Dead Sea – 08 December, 2016

Our final travel day on this tour arrives as the group gets ready to set off on what will be a long but a fun filled day. After breakfast this morning we all check out of the La Maison Hotel Petra to begin our journey towards Amman, however along the day we will first head towards the small town of Karak where we will visit the Kerak Castle perched high up above the town.


On our way out of Petra we make an unexpected stop first to what is seemingly a random building on the side of the road. Upon going inside we find a small creek flowing through and a random rock sticking out of the corner. Turns out it is believed that this is one of the rocks that the Prophet Moses struck in order to bring the people water to this region. I’m not a religious person at all so the meaning of this place was lost on me and admittedly went over my head so I didn’t really see or feel the significance of seeing this.

The thing that stood out to me the most was that for stuch a supposedly sacred place the walls were covered with graffiti and the spring water had litter in it, particularly if you look outside the window where the water flows, it was full of rubbish. Some people decided to jump down the steps to have a drink of the water… and with that we jumped back on the bus and kept on moving.

Our next stop on this journey was to the town of Karak and its crusader castle. Getting up here was interesting in itself as our large bus tried to navigate the narrow hilly roads leading up to the castle. Although getting up here wasn’t too bad, later when we leave the castle we’ll have quite a set back, but more on that shortly. Once we arrive at the castle there is no need to pay for the entry as it is covered by our Jordan Pass.

Our guide Osama leads us all inside the castle which was constructed by the crusaders of the time around the year 1140 and changed hands a number of times depending on whom the occupying forces were. The heavily fortified castle gives impressive views of the region given its highly perched location. On one side you look out into barren mountain ranges and on a clear day you can make out the Dead Sea. On the other side of the castle is the town and the massive drop off the side with the steep fortified wall to keep enemies out.

VIDEO: Kerak Castle with Travel Talk Tours


As we go further inside the castle we are shown the labyrinth of tunnels that link all the sections of the castle together and you can really appreciate how strong the castle was to be able to keep the enemies out. To be still standing to this day is a testament to the construction of the castle hundreds of years ago. A castle like this, especially of its massive size, isn’t all about military installations as we are shown where the kitchen and sleeping quarters were for the hundreds of people that would have manned the castle, as well as the prison. It is said that in order for the enemy to defeat the occupiers of the castle they would have to wait outside the castle, completely surrounding it for possibly years until all the supplies ran out, only then would the castle be surrendered.

The castle has had many additional works added on to it as different conquests have come through and taken over the castle. It was even used right up until when the Ottoman Empire controlled the Middle East using it as an outpost and was also the residence of the local governor appointed by the Ottomans.

When we were finished with our guided tour we headed back on the bus for our journey down to the Dead Sea, but not without trouble trying to get out of the town. Being a large bus and having to drive down narrow streets was difficult enough, but we also needed to turn around a sharp corner which was more difficult. A car was parked on the side of the road where it shouldn’t have been and so the bus got stuck trying to get around the corner much to the frustration of the locals, all of whom came out to watch the events unfold of trying to get the bus around. Eventually with some help from bystanders, the car was pushed out of the way far enough so the bus could just squeeze past. We were stuck there for a good 30 minutes and all the while the roads in and out of the town which seemed to all be one way streets meant that when we eventually got back to the entrance we saw that the traffic was banked up all the way through to the outside of town.

As we made our way to the Dead Sea which is the lowest point on the Earth, you notice a change in landscape starting to occur as we navigate the bus down the steep mountainside from the higher elevated Karak. Closer to the water more plantations start to appear as opposed to the desert looking sands we had become accustomed to. We reach the waters edge however we still had a bit of a drive ahead of us as we were aiming for the northern tip of the Dead Sea and we were still at the southern end.

Background Story: Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is an inland salt lake encompassing the borders of Jordan, Israel and Palestine and is the lowest piece of land on the Earth. What makes the Dead Sea unique is the salt concentration of the lake which is 9.3 times more salty than the ocean, giving anyone who goes into the water the ability to float without trying.

The Dead Sea is slowly shrinking with water volume from the Jordan River at the north end of the lake being diverted meaning less water is entering the lake.

VIDEO: The Dead Sea with Travel Talk Tours


We finally arrive at our swim spot, but we are also starving and this resort style location will also host us for lunch along with the throng of other tour groups passing through the area. This is certainly a popular spot, although it wasn’t crowded so I think we must have arrived as the other tour groups were leaving for the day. Lunch was another buffet which wasn’t too bad, I think most people by this time were really hungry so it didn’t matter what was on offer.

After lunch we all got changed in the change room and slowly headed down towards the water. The region is most famous for the minerals not only in the water of the lake but also the mud in the area, so for an additional cost you’re able to lather yourself up in the ‘healing properties’ of the mud. The only thing is that whilst everyone jumps in the water you have to stand outside for about 15 to 20 minutes and wait for the mud to dry on your skin before getting into the water.

Once in the water and walking around, you still don’t process in your mind that you’re not going to sink in this water. As you get further out you start to see other people struggling with trying to sink and yet you still think as if that’s not going to happen to you. As you walk further into the water you then release yourself off the ground and the highly concentrated salt water takes over, bobbing you to the surface no matter how much you try to fight it. In the water you skin now feels like it is covered in a slimy sludge, but you embrace it as you try and move yourself around but find it difficult to do so. It was recommended to us that we shouldn’t put our heads under the water of which some people did anyway and regretted it soon after.

Half an hour later, after the novelty of it all wears off and before the overly salty water starts to irritate your skin, it’s time to head back up and have a quick cold shower to wash as much of the sludge and salt off your body as possible. We then all jump back on the bus as night slowly descends on us even though it is about 4:30pm and we make a stop to a shop that sells Dead Sea products. The shop is full of all sorts of ointments, creams, soaps, you name it, all originating from the Dead Sea sprucing health benefits.

A few hours later we make it to the capital of Jordan, Amman. Compared to Cairo this city is really calm and orderly with traffic lights and people actually giving way to each other. We head straight to our hotel, the Art Hotel Amman which is where we would spend the next two nights, apparently run by our guide Osama’s old boss who is waiting to greet us all on arrival in the lobby. The night was now free for us to do what we wished with the city at our doorstep there were plenty of dinner options just outside. A small group of us opted to go to a restaurant that was recommended to us on the bus. It was pretty good and really cheap too, around JD 9.00 (AUD $20.00) for 5 people which included plates of falafel, chips, a pile of wraps and some dips and sauces.

After dinner it was an early night considering it was a rather exhausting day of travelling. Although I didn’t like my chances of getting much sleep considering my room was on level 1 overlooking the main street with the hustle and bustle of cars tooting horns and people walking and talking in the street below. Tomorrow is our final full day on the tour where we will get to see some of the capital with the Amman Citadel first up followed by the Roman Theatre.

Day 14: Amman – 09 December, 2016

This morning we awake to find ourselves in Amman for the final full day of our guided tour. Today our guide Osama will this morning show us around his home town as we get ready to depart the hotel after breakfast. it was nice this morning not having to pack our stuff before leaving, a rare treat. The bus is waiting for us just down the road from the hotel and we are taken on the short drive up the steep hill to the Amman Citadel.


The city of Amman itself is made up of many hills, making it not a very walking-friendly city and although the Citadel is close to the hotel it would have probably worn us all out trying to reach the summit. The main attraction at the Amman Citadel is the Temple of Hercules, or what’s left of the Temple of Hercules, along with a church built during the Byzantine occupied years and the Umayyad Palace. The views from up here put into perspective how large Amman is and at the moment it is spreading out even further.

The Citadel is located on top of one of the seven founding hills that make up the original city. Now as the urban sprawl continues property prices in Amman have skyrocketed the closer you are into the city centre. Osama explains to us the many incarnations of Amman as a Roman city, a Byzantine city, an Ottoman city all the way through to a modern Jordanian city.

VIDEO: Exploring Amman with Travel Talk Tours


The Umayyad Palace is one of the more preserved buildings on the Citadel, however it wasn’t always this way. The palace has been partially restored to its former glory, the dome on the roof has been replaced with a wooden version of the original. Back in its glory days this would have been the grand entrance guests would have been wowed with as they were welcomed by their host, certainly an impressive location overlooking the city.

Out the back of the palace are more ruins which have been identified as living quarters for the inhabitants of the Citadel at the time. Some of the rooms can be identified as kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms which were very cramped living spaces considering multiple amounts of people would have been living there.

Also on top of the Citadel is a museum containing many artifacts found from all over Jordan. This was only a small sample of artifacts as there is a much larger museum dedicated to all things Jordan in downtown Amman. After we spent ample time looking around the Citadel and one more last close look at the Temple of Hercules, we made out way back to the bus to be taken down to the bottom of the hill to the Roman Theatre.

The impressive Roman Theatre is a pristine example of Roman architecture with the theatre capable of holding a few thousand people at one time. To the side of the theatre is a small museum dedicated to Jordan’s history and outside the large Roman Theatre is a smaller theatre also. From here the group was escorted back to the hotel and this is where we said our farewells to our guide Osama. The great thing he did was write down where he allocated all our tipping kitty money, most of which went to our bus driver but also tipping the various hotel staff along the way.

The rest of the day was ours to do as we wished. A lot of us went back to our rooms to have a bit of a chilled out afternoon with a plan to meet up later in the day. A small group of us decided to walk up one of the hills close to the hotel to a street called Rainbow Street. The street is basically the more posh part of town boasting some really nice looking restaurants and some really delicious looking takeaway food. Some people decided to stop off for some pizza while others including myself decided to eat at a rip off version of KFC.

Finishing our dinner up at Rainbow Street we walked back down the hill to the hotel stopping at a small supermarket along the way. Once we were back at the hotel we said our goodbyes to some of the people leaving early in the morning and planned to see some others tomorrow who would be leaving later on in the day. Everyone went back to their rooms to either pack for tomorrow or just chill out. For me, I had a date with the movie channel before drifting off to sleep. Tomorrow I’ll depart Amman and head for the more tropical climate of Singapore.

Day 15: Amman to Singapore – 10 December, 2016

That’s a wrap! Our fifteen day adventure with Travel Talk Tours has come to an end this morning. Officially the tour ends after breakfast and then everyone goes their separate ways, however some people left really early in the morning and a lot left before I managed to have breakfast so it was quite scattered. From here members of the tour group are heading off in many directions, for me today I have a pretty boring day with nothing planned other than to wait around at the hotel all day. As sad as it sounds I don’t really have any desire to see anything else in Amman and feel that I’ve seen everything that I would want to see.

My flight out of Amman isn’t until the evening but I head off to the airport via a private transfer from the hotel that cost me JD 25.00 (AUD $40.00) at around 2:30pm to get there early and to have some dinner at the airport (good old Maccas Jordanian style). Tonight my flight departs at 7:45pm for Doha first and then a final connection to Singapore with Qatar Airways.

After fifteen days of travelling on the Travel Talk Tours Egypt & Jordan Discovered by Nile Cruse Tour I’ve had an absolute blast experiencing some of the many wonders of the world that you only dream of visiting one day. Highlights along this journey all the way back when it started in Cairo include visiting the Great Pyramids, the Valley of the Kings and the various temples of Egypt in Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel and Edfu, hot air ballooning over the Nile river, going to Dahab to mix the trip up with a bit of fun and experiencing the Blue Hole will all stand out, but without a doubt the biggest highlight of this entire trip for me was visiting the Lost City of Petra.

But it wasn’t just all the sites that were visited that made this trip so good, our guides Shady, Rani, Osama and Sam from Group A in Egypt, all along the journey need to have a special shout out, all of whom went above and beyond to make sure we were looked after at every point along the trip. They were all passionate and dedicated to educating us all on every aspect of life within their respective countries weather it be from the sites we visited, to the local culture and customs and even explaining in a rational way the conflicts that have carved up this region and still do to this very day.

Not only were the guides instrumental in the smooth operation of the trip but our bus drivers as well that stayed up all sorts of crazy long hours constantly driving us all around as well as the many staff that we could see running around the hotel lobby to make sure everything went smoothly. I cannot recommend doing this tour highly enough with Travel Talk Tours, even if you cannot spare the entire 15 days of doing Jordan on top of Egypt it is worth it alone to just see Egypt on one of the 9 day adventures.

TRAVEL SAFETY: EGYPT & JORDAN

Even before finishing writing up this in-depth look at this tour around Egypt and Jordan I have been sent some messages on the loneXplorer Facebook page specifically asking about the safety of travelling to both Egypt and Jordan, given the recent events that have been unfolding there. Just after leaving Egypt there were two separate incidents in Cairo where people were killed in explosions and a week after visiting Kerak Castle in Jordan over 30 people were injured in a shooting around the castle.

All I can say to anyone that is thinking about going to Egypt or Jordan or has already booked to go to these destinations is that I felt safe the entire time and didn’t ever feel that I needed to avoid travelling anywhere whilst in either Egypt or Jordan. The guides on the Travel Talk Tours trip were always looking out for their guests and I certainly felt my safety was their number one priority the entire time. If it were me, I wouldn’t hesitate and I would see these two fabulous countries where you’ll be welcomed with open arms.

UP NEXT
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Travelling from Amman to Singapore, the city state

(COMING SOON)

About this tour

Egypt & Jordan Discovered by Nile Cruse
During this two week adventure with Travel Talk Tours our journey starts off in the capital of Egypt, Cairo before making our way south, down along the River Nile. Travelling by road to Luxor and Aswan, and checking out many of the famous monuments and temples along the way, we also have the choice of participating in some exciting optional extra activities. From Aswan at the bottom of Egypt and close to the Sudanese border, we jump on board a boat and spend three nights sailing along the Nile back to Luxor, checking out Edfu Temple and get a brief glance at Kom Ombo Temple along the way.

We end up back in Cairo to explore the capital in greater depth with a city tour before we start heading east towards Jordan. Before hitting the border we arrive in Dahab for two nights of relaxation by the sea and then travel by road from Egypt into Jordan via a 30 minute crossing through Israel. We spend our first night in a new country out in the desert park of Wadi Rum before heading to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Petra, a real highlight. We’ll go for a swim in the Dead Sea on our way to the capital of Jordan, Amman where our tour will come to an end. Before bidding farewell to our fellow travel companions we’ll spend two nights exploring this exciting capital.

This tour of Egypt and Jordan can be taken in three different forms, however a number of people on this journey travelled on nine day Egypt tours that started in Cairo and ended when we returned to Cairo. Other travellers with the group also did fifteen day tours that followed the same path to Dahab and spent just short of a week there before returning to Cairo…

GUIDE BOOKS

A guide book isn’t cheating! Before you leave on your next adventure ensure you plan to get the most out of your trip and check out the range of guide books from Lonely Planet. The comprehensive guide books on Egypt & Jordan from Lonely Planet will give you an insight on what to expect on your Travel Talk Tours journey of these two amazing countries.

ACCOMMODATION ON THIS TOUR

Booking your accommodation has never been easier with our preferred hotel partner Agoda.

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loneXplorer travelled as a guest of Travel Talk Tours on the Egypt & Jordan Discovered by Nile Cruse tour. The cost of the 15 day tour was covered by Travel Talk Tours however all reviews and opinions on loneXplorer remain those of the author and have not been influenced by the tour operator, accommodation provider or anyone else. For more information on all the reviews you see on loneXplorer and the links provided to advertisers please click here.

Just your average guy doing his 9 - 5 job as a Senior Payroll Officer by day, writing about his travel adventures and hopefully giving you inspiration and ideas for your next travel adventure here at loneXplorer...

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