TRAVEL :: Amman, Jordan
Traveling to Jordan should be quite enjoyable and it was for us. The Lonely Planet Jordan guide's a good start on what to do and where to go. Though the information on the website might be more up-to-date than the most recent edition of the book. The guide, though a bit dated (2009), was still quite useful. Seems a new edition will be published in a few weeks (August 1, 2012).
Our travels (me and two of my colleagues) began in Amman, then to Madaba, Wadi Musa (Petra), Wadi Rum, Aqaba, the Dead Sea, back to Amman and then to Jerash.
For this blog post I'll focus on our time in Amman.
One of our best hotels on our 7-day trip was in Amman at Hisham Hotel. We liked it so much that we returned for another night at the end of our stay.
It's a super cute boutique hotel that's locally owned and near the Third Circle. There are lots of embassies nearby. But we really had no reason to venture far away from the hotel particularly after a long day of site seeing in the sweltering heat. They have some amenities (though no pool or workout facilities) like some really comfortable places to sit and read. Also, there's no cost for the wifi.
The front desk service is cordial and informative. The complimentary continental breakfast was plentiful with lots of options including made to order omelets. Breakfast on their sprawling outdoor terrace was breezy and a great way to start the day.
If there's a downside to the Hisham Hotel it's that it's where the cool kids like to hang out in the evening and unfortunately loud techno music is the entertainment option. Even if I loved techno music (I tolerate it), I wouldn't want to try to sleep through what sounds like hours of the same beat. The solution? Ask for a room away from the Seven Barrels Bar.
We hired a driver to pick us up from the airport (though we eventually rented a car). He later drove us around to grab a bite a a local eatery and to see some sites like the Citadel and a nice view of the city.
For shopping in Amman, I highly recommend the Jordan River Foundation's shop. The mostly handmade items were high quality and reasonably priced: carpets, ceramics, and other trinkets. We saw some of the same items at other souvenir shops, but at higher prices.
The cafes and restaurants on Rainbow Street are fun and interesting; just an enjoyable way to see the city while strolling with the Jordanians.
Seven days is a good amount of time to see all of Jordan. We could have done without the trip to Aqaba. It gave me the willies. It reminded me of a trashy resort town. But traveling in late May, the weather was unbearable especially in Petra and Wadi Rum. Plan accordingly.
Finally, it was convenient to book end Amman on this trip since that was our point of arrival and departure.
Future blog posts about the trip to Jordan will focus on driving in the country as well as tips for traveling to Petra and Wadi Rum.