Wadi Rum & more Jordan Sights

Camel in Wadi Rum, Jordan

Wadi Rum.

What is Wadi Rum?

Wadi Rum is is home to one of the world’s best desert landscapes, with soft yellow sand dominated by pinnacles of melting red rock and the place of inspiration for T. E. Lawrence’s classic work ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom’, a true account of his World War I experiences leading Arab and British forces in Jordan, military strategy, the geography of the middle east and Arab culture.

Tourists can travel on foot, horseback, camel or 4WD around the dunes and rocks. It’s worth staying at least a couple of days locally, even if a ‘proper’ hotel in Aqaba is more comfortable, as Bedouin nights and moonlight forays into the dunes are a fun way to experience the desert.

Wadi Rum accommodation

a camp site in Wadi Rum, Jordan

One of the more primitive Wadi Rum camp sites.

Accommodation in Rum is still only tents but there is a variety of over 20 campsites and comfort levels available. The bugcrew are not natural born campers but loved the experience in the Rum.

WadiRum is an easy drive from Eilat, Aqaba or Petra – about 40km from each and there are plenty of hotels, hostels and guest houses there if camping doesn’t suit.

a bedou guide making tea in Wadi Rum, Jordan

At night the action continues with moonlight desert tours, mock Bedouin weddings, or Zarbeques – a traditional Bedouin method of cooking meat underground. Or just have a nice cup of tea?

Wadi Rum Sights

a huge pink dune in Wadi Rum, Jordan

Climbing pink dunes is one popular activity, day or night.

strangely eroded red rocks in Wadi Rum, Jordan

Some of the spectacularly eroded rum rocks.

rock carvings in Wadi Rum, Jordan

On rocks of Anfashieh Mountain are Thamudic and Nabataen inscriptions, in addition to crude images of animals and humans. The gorge Siq Um Tawaqi is decorated with a carving of the head of T. E. Lawrence.

goat herds in Wadi Rum, Jordan

Sunset in Wadi Rum and it’s Goat’s Head soup for dinner.

Wadi Rum, Jordan

One form of Rum transport. Camels are the obvious alternative.

Things to Do

Trekking: around Wadi Rum (hard sand, wandering Bedouin and lots melting rock formations) and Petra (though even regular visits involve plenty of leg work).

Cycling: Mountain bike tours with some walks thrown in include all Jordan’s major attractions.

Riding: tourists love to follow in Lawrence of Arabia’s tracks – either camels and horses – around the majestic desert/rock landscapes of Wadi Rum.

Climbing: the rock pinnacles of Wadi Rum. Basic gear available for rent locally.

Diving: Aqaba and further south into the Red Sea contain some superb dive spots with 100 species of soft coral, 120 species of hard coral and over 1, 000 species of fish. Aqaba also has dive centres offering PADI courses.

Health Spas: the Dead Sea is about 400m below sea level and due to high evaporation has an intense concentration of salts and minerals – particularly magnesium, sodium, potassium, calcium, bromine – that have curative effects on many skin conditions, as well as allowing visitors the odd experience of lying almost on the surface of the sea.
Mud packs are a popular option. Hotels in the area offer a huge variety of spa treatments and costs. The Dead Sea is about an hour from Amman airport.

Beach Life: Aqaba (50kms from Wadi Rum) is a pleasant though primarily commercial town offering some small, sandy public beaches that are on the grubby side, but private hotel beaches can be used for a small fee and are well manicured. The water is warm (generally about 23C) and multicoloured marine life is rampant; coral reefs are not far off.

More Jordan Sights


Jerash [Gerasa] in north Jordan

Jerash (Gerasa) in north Jordan.

Just north of Amman and known oddly as the Pompeii of East, Jerash is a large and superbly preserved Greco-Roman city. The area was inhabited as early as the Bronze Age around 3200 BC but Rome took control in 63 BC, Emperor Trajan had roads built in AD 106 and Hadrian visited in AD 129. Although only 10% is currently exposed, there is plenty to see. Only a handful of hotels currently stand nearby though.

The Dead Sea

a tourist floating on the Dead Sea, and beach, Jordan

Floating on the Dead Sea and getting skin care simultaneously; not to be confused with the Red Sea (further below).

a tourist covered in black mud beside the Dead Sea, Jordan

Get a therapeutic mud bath then plunge into the Dead Sea to wash it off.


Amman city view, Jordan

Amman, the capital of Jordan, offers little of interest to the tourist, unless you love modern mosques.