Touring Amman and Beyond

by  Jim Sherman | Jun 15, 2010
Petra, Jordan
Petra, Jordan / chemistkane/iStock

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For visiting Amman and elsewhere in Jordan, my guide was Moawi, the owner of Travel Club Jordan. He had a car to take us around Amman, which is always a good idea for the first day of exploring a new, exotic city. We visited the Citadel, the Roman amphitheater, and the Royal Automobile Museum. We also stopped for a lovely traditional Jordanian lunch.

For dining and nightlife in Amman, I recommend several options, including Yoshi (super sushi – better than most in New York!), books@cafe (for drinks and dessert), a stroll around Rainbow Street, and meandering around Abdoun, a chic part of town with shops, restaurants, and cafes.

Amman itself, while interesting by day, is actually best as a launching point for tours of the north of Jordan or points south. My friend and I stayed at the Four Seasons Amman and we seemed to be among just a few leisure tourists. Most guests were business or government officials. Interestingly, whenever I asked someone what he did, I always got a vague reply of "consulting." Amman is a crossroads in the Middle East, with officials shuttling to Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Lebanon, etc.

Most leisure travelers are here to tour sights outside of town. The big three without question are Petra (a Nabatean city), the Wadi Rum (desert landscape), and the Dead Sea (mineral baths and swimming beaches). They are not to be missed! Many choose to combine a visit to Israel or Egypt with visiting these three top spots in Jordan. Crossing via Aqaba in the south makes sense if one is coming by land from Israel or Egypt. One good option is to stay over one night at the super impressive Kempinski at the Dead Sea. Then explore Petra and the Wadi Rum from here. One can stay over in quiet Aqaba as well (a wonderful choice there is also the Kempinski).

Read about the places I went in my next post.

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