In this article I will tell you more about our special overnight stay in bucket list destination Wadi Rum. The Wadi Rum is on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2011 and that is certainly deserved! It's a unique desert landscape with huge rock walls of sandstone and granite. The largest is 1700 meters high. In Wadi Rum are several tourist bedouin camps, where many tourists spend the night every year and explore part of the area on a jeep safari, on foot, by camel or hot air balloon. Exploring everything is impossible because the protected Wadi Rum area with 720 square kilometers is the largest wadi in Jordan.
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Entrance fees to Wadi Rum
When you enter the protected area Wadi Rum entering your transport will make a stop at the visitor center† Here you pay 5 JD pp as an entrance. Do you have a Jordan Pass† Then you only need to show your passport in combination with your Jordan Pass so that you get a stamp.
Accommodation Wadi Rum – Arrange in advance or on site?
Normally I would always recommend 'on the spot', but with Wadi Rum this is a different story. There is not much to do in the small town, so it is nice if you have arranged everything in advance. We have our accommodation through Booking.com booked and the night before we received an app from our host that he would be waiting for us at the place where tourists arrive. No sooner said than done. Moments later we were in his van and we discussed the options together. Our preference went to a tour with a jeep safari† We could choose from a 2-hour tour, a half day or a full day. We opted for the half day and we paid € 70,- for this. If you still have to arrange this on the spot at booking 'offices', the prices are most likely a lot higher.
Accommodation – Bedouin Way Camp
On Booking.com you will be overwhelmed with the range of camps in Wadi Rum† I think they are all very similar and offer roughly the same bucket list experience. We eventually chose Wadi Rum Bedouin Way Camp and we were very happy with this! It is in a beautiful location and as far as you can see you don't see any other camps. That really makes you feel like a other planet delusion. The camp had all kinds of tents for visitors, a large tent as a communal area and a campfire, excellent sanitary facilities (toilet paper, mirrors & soap, what more could you want?!) and they have very tasty & authentically cooked for us† Behind the camp is a large rock wall that you can easily climb to see the sunset to watch.
Sunset & starry sky
During the day you think it can't get any more beautiful but it doesn't start until the sun goes down. Beautiful colours appear along the rock walls, which makes for unreal pictures.
In the evening you can enjoy a very beautiful starry sky† This is the moment when you realize that you are really entering a bucket list destination. Unbelievably beautiful!
Tip:: the tent you sleep in gets quite warm during the day so we asked if we could sleep outside. A beautiful experience!
Wadi Rum is one big movie set
It's easy to see how Wadi Rum would be used as a movie set. The dramatic landscape of the Jordan Desert was created by nature, but it might as well have come from the minds of the world's greatest artists.
Wadi Rum was thus the location for much of Lawrence of Arabia's filming, the same terrain he may have driven across himself on during his many travels through it.
More recently, it was used as the setting for Matt Damon's film 'The Martian', where this barren land represented the rugged terrain of Mars.
And there have been many other movies in between and there are likely many more to come. Because Wadi Rum not only resembles these locations, but also because there is something so beautiful, almost magical, about this part of the Jordan desert on the screen.
Jeep Tour of Wadi Rum
Hopping over the sand dunes, hot dry air blowing in my face, I find myself surrounded by the red rock formations rising from the sand. While the beauty of Wadi Rum can be captured in a movie, it doesn't even come close to the experience of being here myself.
One of the most popular ways to see Wadi Rum is on an open jeep tour. It's actually surprisingly comfortable and it's wonderful to just have empty space and air in all directions, rather than being in a different kind of vehicle. Still, it creates a few terrifying moments when we suddenly drive down a dune or slide over the sand and I have to grab something quickly. (All of this is done on purpose by the driver, of course, to add to the excitement.)
Why is Wadi Rum so special?
I think it is also important to note that Wadi Rum is not just a tourist attraction. It is a very important historical and natural zone that is listed as a World Heritage Site and a protected area.
Wadi Rum is relatively large, with an official area of 720 square kilometers. That makes it bigger than the Zion National Park in the USA.
In Wadi Rum, if you know where to look, there are over 25.000 ancient rock paintings to discover. These are more than just images of people and animals. They also tell the story of human development over a period of about 12.000 years.
Experts have used these petroglyphs to trace much of our history, including the creation and evolution of alphabets.
Transit from Wadi Rum
The closest places to travel to are: Aqaba or Petra† Transport is easy to arrange through your accommodation and most likely they will also take you to the bus stop.