Beirut and Jordan

Old Dec 26, 19, 4:58 pm
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Beirut and Jordan

I'm planning a trip to Beirut and Lebanon for October/November of 2020. This trip will be over my 50th birthday (suggestions for that day welcome) and I'll be traveling with my sister - so two blonde women.

My itinerary is as follows and I welcome any and all suggestions:
Day 1, arrive in Beirut at midnight
Day 2, Beirut: city sighseeing walking tour; eating
Day 3, day trip Jeita Grotto, Harissa, Byblos
Day 4, explore Beirut or another day trip
Day 5, check out and move to Spa in Broumana (this is a Marriott property - any better suggestions?)
Day 6 (birthday day), spa day
Day 7, check out and flight to Amman
Day 7, arrive in Amman and rent car, drive to Petra
Day 8, Petra
Day 9, drive to Wadi Rum
Day 10, Wadi Rum
Day 11 drive back towards Amman, stop at Dead Sea
Day 12, Amman
Day 13, day trip to Jerusalem
Day 14, Amman
Day 15, flight back from Amman

Do you think we should stay a night at the Dead Sea? I imagine it being just a big touristy cess pool of people in shallow water - not appealing to me at all, but I feel like we need to stop here.

Any suggestions for where to stay in Wadi Rum? We'd like to stay in a camp in the desert, but will need to park our car somewhere...

If you have any great restaurant suggestions for a birthday dinner, please let's hear it.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Old Dec 26, 19, 8:03 pm
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Some comments:

- I'd definitely add in a Baalbek visit to your Beirut itinerary. Roman ruins in great shape with almost no tourists; unless you're bored out of your mind by Roman ruins (NTTAWWT), it's a can't miss. It would work well for day 4. One full day seeing Beirut city cites is fine.

- There are a few easy and common tourist stops on the way to Petra via the King's Highway; if you already have a car, you might as well hit some of them. The Madaba map is pretty cool and can be seen quickly. Mt. Nebo (where Moses died) has amazing views and is very important from a biblical history perspective. Kerak castle is okay.

- Amman just isn't that interesting. Jerash, the Roman ruins near the city, is a half-day activity; nothing much in Amman is very interesting. Two full days in Amman sounds very excessive.

- Definitely do an overnight with the bedouins at Wadi Rum. Many different options depending on your level of luxury -- 5 star camping to roughing it. You can park your non-4x4 rental at the entrance to the village, and your bedouin host will pick you up in the 4x4.

- The Dead Sea in Jordan isn't exactly a tourist cesspool. Way more tourists on the Israeli side. I think the Dead Sea is cool and I've been about 4-5 times total on both the Israeli and Jordanian side, but it's a quick experience -- go in the water and float and take a pic, and maybe put on the mud if you're into that. People make it into a resort experience, but it's not my thing and it doesn't sound like your thing either. So visit it quickly and move on.

- A day trip to Jerusalem from Amman is logistically impossible for a variety of reasons. Consider doing an open-jaw ticket and flying out of TLV
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Old Dec 26, 19, 11:21 pm
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A more efficient itinerary would be:
Day 10, Wadi Rum, Aqaba
Day 11 enter Israel at Eilat, fly or bus to Jerusalem
Day 12, Jerusalem
Day 13 Jerusalem
Day 14 Day trip to Dead Sea
Day 15 Flight back from Tel Aviv

If you don't buy an open-jaw ticket:
Day 11 enter Israel at Eilat, fly or bus to Jerusalem
Day 12, Jerusalem
Day 13 Day trip to Dead Sea
Day 14 return to Amman via King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge
Day 15 Flight back from Amman
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Old Dec 27, 19, 1:10 am
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Originally Posted by mbgg View Post
A more efficient itinerary would be:
Day 10, Wadi Rum, Aqaba
Day 11 enter Israel at Eilat, fly or bus to Jerusalem
Day 12, Jerusalem
Day 13 Jerusalem
Day 14 Day trip to Dead Sea
Day 15 Flight back from Tel Aviv


Agreed

If you don't buy an open-jaw ticket:
Day 11 enter Israel at Eilat, fly or bus to Jerusalem
Day 12, Jerusalem
Day 13 Day trip to Dead Sea
Day 14 return to Amman via King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge
Day 15 Flight back from Amman
The big problem here is that this would require obtaining a multi-entry Jordanian visa in advance through an embassy. At AMM airport, only single entry visas are given. And no Jordanian visas are given when ENTERING Jordan via the Allenby bridge.
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Old Dec 27, 19, 10:52 am
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Thank you guys for your excellent insight! I think I'll drop the Jerusalem part and plan on seeing Israel on a separate trip. When I read about the day trip, it seemed too easy not to do. Instead, I might add another night (for 3 nights) at Wadi Rum, unless you guys think there is another must do in Jordan. We for sure intend to stop at Mt. Nebo, Kerak and Madaba. Either on the way to or from Wadi Rum.
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Old Dec 27, 19, 1:48 pm
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Originally Posted by Loungeact View Post
Thank you guys for your excellent insight! I think I'll drop the Jerusalem part and plan on seeing Israel on a separate trip. When I read about the day trip, it seemed too easy not to do. Instead, I might add another night (for 3 nights) at Wadi Rum, unless you guys think there is another must do in Jordan. We for sure intend to stop at Mt. Nebo, Kerak and Madaba. Either on the way to or from Wadi Rum.
Personally, before I added a third night at Wadi Rum, I'd add a day to Petra or take a day to go north from Amman and visit Jerash/Ajloun.
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Old Dec 27, 19, 2:05 pm
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Originally Posted by Loungeact View Post
Instead, I might add another night (for 3 nights) at Wadi Rum, unless you guys think there is another must do in Jordan. We for sure intend to stop at Mt. Nebo, Kerak and Madaba. Either on the way to or from Wadi Rum.
If you are already in Wadi Rum, you could drive down to Aqaba and dive/snorkel or just spend time by the beach. (and spend the night either in Aqaba or back in Wadi Rum)
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Old Dec 28, 19, 12:34 am
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I'd second an extra (or even two) night in Petra.
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Old Dec 28, 19, 12:55 pm
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Originally Posted by YVR Cockroach View Post
I'd second an extra (or even two) night in Petra.
Really? Currently I have one full day for Petra (two nights). I'll have to look into it more to see if two full days in Petra make sense.

Thanks for the suggestion!
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Old Dec 28, 19, 2:20 pm
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Depends on your stamina an physical fitness, I suppose. We had two full days there and used it all (one day entering via an alternative slot canyon - not advisable). Most people only see the "treasury" which is at the end of the slot canyon used at the normal entrance, and maybe the Roman amphitheatre a little bit further down. We went to the forum, above the "treasury" so as to look down on it, to the "monastery" (via the front and rear means on access) and a few sites around. Could be done in a long day if you are fast and fit enough.
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Old Dec 29, 19, 9:39 am
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Originally Posted by Loungeact View Post
Really? Currently I have one full day for Petra (two nights). I'll have to look into it more to see if two full days in Petra make sense.

Thanks for the suggestion!
Planning a trip next year to Jordan and we're planning to do two nights in Petra. Probably half a day on day 1 (driving there) + the night Petra and then day 2 full day. The price difference for a second day at Petra isn't much more once you get the Jordan pass.
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Old Dec 29, 19, 12:55 pm
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OP: Not sure about the current security/visa situation, but is any of Syria in any way possible now? I did Lebanon-->Syria-->Jordan before the whole Arab Spring / Civil War / ISIS. Syria was amazing. Something to consider. Maybe the time's not right.

Maybe consider spending more time in Lebanon rather than adding on days to things in Jordan if you dont think it's necessary. Lebanon is much more pure/untouristed than Jordan, so I'd value that. I'm not sure what else there is in Lebanon to see besides what you're seeing and what I've already suggested. Maybe a trip to the forest to see the ancient Cedars of Lebanon? (I didn't get there.)

Originally Posted by YVR Cockroach View Post
Depends on your stamina an physical fitness, I suppose. We had two full days there and used it all (one day entering via an alternative slot canyon - not advisable). Most people only see the "treasury" which is at the end of the slot canyon used at the normal entrance, and maybe the Roman amphitheatre a little bit further down. We went to the forum, above the "treasury" so as to look down on it, to the "monastery" (via the front and rear means on access) and a few sites around. Could be done in a long day if you are fast and fit enough.
One very long day was perfect for us. We got there first thing in the morning, and saw everything including the monastery and all the other highlights. We even did some mini-walks that were off the beaten path and away from the crowds / tour groups. Petra was most enjoyable at the very beginning of the day and at the very end of the day, when it's much more quiet without all the tour groups, day trippers, etc. Of course, depends on your energy level.
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Old Dec 30, 19, 11:58 am
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Originally Posted by LAX_Esq View Post
OP: Not sure about the current security/visa situation, but is any of Syria in any way possible now? I did Lebanon-->Syria-->Jordan before the whole Arab Spring / Civil War / ISIS. Syria was amazing. Something to consider. Maybe the time's not right.


One very long day was perfect for us. We got there first thing in the morning, and saw everything including the monastery and all the other highlights. We even did some mini-walks that were off the beaten path and away from the crowds / tour groups. Petra was most enjoyable at the very beginning of the day and at the very end of the day, when it's much more quiet without all the tour groups, day trippers, etc. Of course, depends on your energy level.
It is my understanding that Syria is not an option at this time. Very unfortunate.

I also had to shorten our time all together due to vacation and flight issues, so now we only have 12 days in total, but I think it will work out perfectly. Our new itinerary:

Day 1, arrive in Beirut afternoon
Day 2, Beirut: city sighseeing walking tour; eating
Day 3, day trip Jeita Grotto, Harissa, Byblos
Day 4, Baalbek day trip or another day in the city
Day 5, check out and fly to Amman; rent car drive to Petra via Mt. Nebo, etc.
Day 6, Petra
Day 7, Petra
Day 8, drive to Wadi Rum
Day 9, Wadi Rum
Day 10, drive from Wadi Rum back towards Amman; stop at Dead Sea
Day 11, Dead Sea; drive back to Amman, return car, eat.
Day 12, fly home

I am not sure if we should stay the night at the Dead Sea. I am pretty sure all we want to do is take a dip and put on some mud then shower off. However, if I find a great spa we might stay the night. This will make it easier to find a private beach (as it will be part of the resort), etc. We will still have one day in Amman before we fly home (well after driving there and returning the car) so we can check out the city.

Good to hear about one day at Petra. I imagine we could do it all in one day, but did you find you had enough time to reflect and enjoy the sights? I don't want to rush through, take pics and be out of there I also want to explore that town a bit, but imagine we'd be done with it in one evening. This does give us a flex-day in our preparations if we want to add a day in Beirut/Lebanon or use it in Jordan...
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Old Dec 30, 19, 6:18 pm
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Your overall itinerary looks good. I'd do the Dead Sea as a quick visit rather than an overnight based on your statements. As previously mentioned, if you have the time for Jerash (half-day trip from Amman), I'd definitely prioritize it over anything else in Amman. I don't think you'd get Roman ruins OD'd between Baalbek and Jerash; they're both really good ruins.

We did enjoy Petra in our one full day and felt like we had time to enjoy/reflect. We were there from open to close, which was probably like 12 hours, so we had tons of time and weren't exactly rushing. Obviously that's a long day for many; different strokes for different folks.

I don't recall the Petra town (Wadi Musa) being anything to write home about. All I recall was tourist traps, overpriced/mediocre restaurants, tons of tourists walking around, etc. I don't enjoy these sorts of towns that exist for no purpose other than a popular ancient site that happens to be there... kind of like Siem Riep.

BTW, in Beirut, a couple restaurants:

- Abdel Wahab was a great restaurant w/ traditional food.

- Tawlet was a trendy Lebanese hipster place with really good food -- https://www.timeout.com/beirut/restaurants/tawlet
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Old Dec 31, 19, 1:27 pm
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Originally Posted by LAX_Esq View Post
Your overall itinerary looks good. I'd do the Dead Sea as a quick visit rather than an overnight based on your statements. As previously mentioned, if you have the time for Jerash (half-day trip from Amman), I'd definitely prioritize it over anything else in Amman. I don't think you'd get Roman ruins OD'd between Baalbek and Jerash; they're both really good ruins.
I think we will do that. Skip a night at the Dead Sea and spend half day at Jerash instead and sleep in Amman.

Originally Posted by LAX_Esq View Post
I don't recall the Petra town (Wadi Musa) being anything to write home about. All I recall was tourist traps, overpriced/mediocre restaurants, tons of tourists walking around, etc. I don't enjoy these sorts of towns that exist for no purpose other than a popular ancient site that happens to be there... kind of like Siem Riep.
This is great feedback, LAX_Esq! I was hoping to find a rather authentic town, but sounds like that won't be Wadi Musa

Originally Posted by LAX_Esq View Post
BTW, in Beirut, a couple restaurants:
- Abdel Wahab was a great restaurant w/ traditional food.
- Tawlet was a trendy Lebanese hipster place with really good food -- https://www.timeout.com/beirut/restaurants/tawlet
We will check those out
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