Land in AMM at 23:30 in 2 weeks and after gathering luggage and picking up a car, plan to drive direct to Petra via Dessert Highway. We hope to start our visit in Petra as soon as they open at 6am.
My boys want to float in Dead Sea so we will pack snack and eat in the car to cut down meal time. Where would you recommend we go with good shower/restroom facilities for floating and playing in the mud? Any 4/5 stars hotel offer day pass to access Dead Sea? When should we leave Petra to get there before they close? I see King’s Highway is a nice drive, but I am guessing there won’t be enough time for us to enjoy the drive. How’s the road condition for taking Dead Sea Highway north bound? Assuming we should come back on desert highway to save time, where do I make the turn off toward your Dead Sea recommendation?
Our departing flight is at 23:30. After Dead Sea experience, any suggestion on what we should visit? Bethany-Beyond-the Jordan would be cool, but last entry is at 3pm.
Mar 15, 12, 7:34 am
I did Petra last year and it will be hard to achieve what you want in the limited time you have you did not mention what time u need to be at the airport next day for your departure but visiting Petra is worthwhile it is about. 4 hour drive and there are lot of places near dead sea to access the beach
To answer my own question and share with others that might do the same, this is what we did….
Airport agent (Egypt Air contract worker for RJ) in CAI wouldn’t check our bags direct to IST since we have a such a long lay over. After talking to a supervisor, he has no problem checking our bag directly to IST. We landed in AMM at 11:30pm, purchased visa and was at Avis counter by midnight. There is a Tourist info desk at arrival hall, be sure to go there and get a free Jordan map. We found that map is better than what Avis has.
As others had pointed out, be ready to get a rental car running on fume. Avis agent claimed that we didn’t ask for “full tank” in our booking so all the cars are delivered empty and we can bring the car back empty too! Pretty profitable scam if you ask me. He told us gas stations on Desert Highway is 24 hours and as we hit south toward Petra, there will be one 2KM away. After talking to Tourist Info desk, he suggested to go north first for gas before going south. 3KM out of airport parking, gas warning light come on and we hit north first for the gas. We will never make the next available gas station had we gone south. US driver license was sufficient (with credit card to my name) to rent the car, AVIS didn’t ask me for an international license.
Road toward Petra on Desert highway is easy to drive. There seems to have more pot holes on the right lane and there were warning signs before you reached speed bumps. Small shacks along the road selling drinks and I got 3 skinny cans of Coke Light for JD$0.90. After you leave the freeway toward Petra, speed bumps weren’t as clearly marked.
We reached Petra parking lot around 3:30am and did a power nap before they open at 6am. 100JD for 2 adults and kids were free. Our mistake was not taking donkey all the way to Monastery. AT 6:30am, it was only 7JD per person. For 4JD per person (starting price was 7JD), we took donkey ride back from Basin Restaurant to Treasury….it was worth every penny to rest our tiring feet. Horse carriage ride back out was JD30, but we walked instead.
After talking to shop keeper, we decided to cut across toward Dead Sea highway at 2:30pm instead of desert highway back up to Amman, then down to Dead Sea. Drive toward Amman, then follow signs to Shawbak and then Tafila on King’s Highway. At Tafila, you will see a brown sign marked for Feifa and Dead Sea. This is a steep downhill road, be sure to use low gear.
We arrived Tourist beach by 5pm. The parking lot is set up as an off/on ramp from the main road, entrance from southbound road. The first parking area is more expensive, but with a fresh water pool. We paid JD48 for 2 adults and 2 kids. Mud on the beach was JD3.5 or US$5 per person. 4 towels cost US$30, $20 of which was the deposit. Second parking area was very crowded with locals and much cheaper in admission. Pool closed earlier so we didn’t get to use it. Shower is pretty cold, but really no other option to rinse off.
Driving to airport, follow sign to Amman. As you get close to Amman, don’t panic like we did when you see South Amman to the right, East Amman straight….etc. Just go straight, 2 lights later, you will see big sign for airport. Since I already paid for full tank of gas, I didn’t mind waste them in our detour towards airport.
We were stopped by police for random check point. Windshield has “Avis” sticker and as soon as we stopped and rolled down our window, a friendly smile said “Welcome!” and signal us to proceed without having to show any of our passports.
We made it back to the airport by 9pm (should be just an hour drive from Dead Sea parking lot) and we used 3/4 tank of gas in our midsize Nissan Sunny. Return car at arrival hall and there was no agent at AVIS counter, so we asked Tourist info desk to call them (phone number on Avis counter). New and much larger terminal will be open later this year, so this could be all different for you….