Sunday, May 26, 2013

Rihlah 6 : Day 4–> Petra, Wadi Rum


28th October 2012

Yesterday was a wonderful and challenging day for the whole family.  So…for today it will only be the two of us.  Bringing kids to this kind of place is a different kind of fun.  It’s a historical and knowledgeable trip.  We tried to fill the kids with stories so that it will be an enjoyable one.  Still, the physical challenge kept them from accepting today’s exploration and today will be much earlier than yesterday since we need to get back to the hotel by 12 pm for check out.

imageAs early as 7 am, we start our journey at Petra entrance.  It was a quiet and cold morning.  Since today will be only the two of us, the walking goes much faster and relax.  We took the opportunity to capture pictures which we have missed yesterday. So…our ‘honeymoon’ today will be climbing more of 800 stairs!  Well…we surely will be testing our fitness level.

While walking towards the siq, there were more number of people coming from the opposite direction.  They must be staying overnight in Petra.  It feels great when there is less people where you get to savour more of the sites and no one is following you persuading of using their services. 

Yesterday we have walk back to Urn tomb,street of facades, the theatre and royal tomb as the donkey boy disagree to let us get down from the donkey to explore those places.Today,we expected to stop by at the temple, collonade streets and The Monastry for our grand finale Smile. day trip is not enough.  Even for two days,we still miss more spots. 


A very quite morning at the temple…

As we were walking at the temple, there were already men offering donkey services to the monastry.  We overheard the guy offering some western tourist JD5 going up to the monastry.  We were thinking of taking the donkey as we are short of time but still felt we able to walk if we continue walking at a fast phase.  The donkey boy told us yesterday that it would take nearly two hours of walking up  from the treasury and an hour going down.  Based on our worst time calculation, seems like we wouldn’t have enough time to be back at the hotel by 12 pm.

While we were considering an option of climbing up with donkey,the earlier guy we saw came near us and offered us his donkey at JD10 to go up.What!  Just now he can offer the western couple JD5 and charged double to his muslim brothers!  Having to face this,makes us determine to climb up on foot.

The early part of the climb were quite exciting.Having the great view with the unique looks of the stones, the surroundings lights up our spirit.  When we were half way up, i can feel the stress on my knee.  Now…i felt…maybe we should negotiate on the price. Who cares of the frustration…haha.  I though i was fit enough Sad smile.

Along the way up, an American lady pass by and stop for a while where we were taking a break.  She inspired me to climb up as she is already 60 years old and much more energetic than me.  Now..i felt the challenge!  She really did inspired me as i am 22 years younger than her!


Force myself to climb up as a lady of 60s and teenage girls climb much faster than me…

Alhamdulillah, with the remaining energy and the support from beloved hubby, we able to reach the Monastry. was worth the climb (though if were ask to climb again i would refuse Winking smile). was not the end.  Since we are up here already, might as well we climb further up to the ‘Edge of the World’.  They call it since it felt like it is the edge when you look at the view from top.  It is the peak of the mountain from the monastry.  We took some rest and feast our eyes with the magnificent view.  Comparing to Saudi Edge of the world, we preferred to give the call to the one in Saudis.

Coming down again from the mountain, we passed back room 468 before going down to the Monastry.  it is called Room 468 from the total count of rooms in Petra.  Wow…like a special room of a hotel Winking smile. Reaching back at the Monastry,we took some more pictures and take a deeper look at the monument.  The Nabataens workmanship really is a ‘no word can describe’ until it came accross our mind….well…maybe it is not done by human!  Maybe…jinn!  Haha!  Our theory maybe can’t be true as the jinn are not a good architect or carpenter based on the quran.


Wish to rent room 468?


The grand monastry…


Taking a break at a coffee shop in front of the monastry…very strategic location for a great view with a sip of coffee or juice…

The monastry or in Arabic called Al Deir is 40.2 metres wide and is carved deep into the side of the mountain. The door itself is 8 meters high. The main inside chamber is huge. It is 11.5 meters by 10 meters, and is lit only by light coming through the 8 meter high doorway. Wondering how big are the Nabataens compared to me!


Now we have to rush back to the hotel as we have only an hour left.  We run back down to catch the time.  Going down is much better than climbing up.  As it is near noon, the path starts to be busier with people, donkeys and donkey poop!  We just need to be careful with the poop on our way down Smile

As we reach down, there were a few numbers of donkey owner offering their services.  We resist most of them at first but one guy made a good offer which we might be able to reach the hotel faster.  He offered us JD10 each for us to reach the parking where the usual service only offer transport until the treasury.  His offer did attract us as he will be giving us a different route (a back route) and we will be taken by car from his village to the parking spot which can save us time.

Look at my size comparing to the entrance…. 

As we are in a hurry, we accept the offer.  We were taken the back road which is used by local.  It was a different view.There were actually many more mountain rocks with ‘houses’ like in the Petra commercial centre but no extraordinary one to be seen. This is where it is said the village of Petra that can be explore if you do not want to pay. 



Going back on a donkey via the back way….

Thought we were amuse with its great workmanship, we remind matter how great man are at building or creating things, Allah is the greatest! Everything that happens is only with Allah’s will.

The back way is quite a journey.  It was worth riding on a donkey while savouring the beautiful surrounding.  The donkey ride now seems even more fun as we became more familiarise in controlling it which makes it more fun.  The chit chatting while walking up with the guy was worth while as well for us in understanding more of the people’s life and culture in Jordan. 

In about 20 minutes later, we arrive near his village quarters with his brother ready in his car waiting for us.  We jump into his car and went through the village small town before getting near to the parking area. 

With a little rush, we able to reach the hotel at 12 pm.  Alhamdulillah, the hotel gave us another hour to get ready before check out.  We have made arrangement for our one night stay at Wadi Rum with the help from the receptionist.  Tonight, we will be experiencing sleeping under the light of the star and the moon. 

After buying some souvenirs at a shop besides the hotel, we quickly rush to Wadi Rum where we supposed to meet a guy name Salem.  We have made arrangement with him to stay at his camp for JD175.  The stay is inclusive dinner, some minor hiking and a drive around Wadi Rum.


From reviews, most visitors recommend Wadi Rum as a destination not to be miss when you are in Jordan.  Visiting here will give us the privilege of being closed to the nature and learning the life of the Bedouin.

What attract us more are the facts about Wadi Rum itself which was declare a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011.  Wadi Rum Protected Area is one of the world’s most outstanding desert landscapes, covering 720 square kilometers of dramatic desert wilderness in the south of Jordan. Its huge mountains and broad sandy wadis are home to several Bedouin tribes and a surprising range of desert wildlife.

Upon reaching visitor center at Wadi Rum, Salem our tourist guide had readily waited for us there.  By identifying our car with Saudi plate, he knew already it was us.  We were immediately asked to follow them inside the Wadi Rum quarters with the permission from the guard without the need to pay the entrance fee.  Maybe the package that we are paying already includes the entrance fee.  Btw, our package cost us JD175 for 2 adults and 4 kids, 1 infant of 1 night stay and 1 day jeep tour.  We also took a bbq lunch for the next day which cost us JD50.  Well, we already compare the price at the tourist centre for the services, so..we felt that we get a good bargain already.


Our jeep for the trip in Wadi Rum…

Not far from the visitor centre, parking lots are build for tourist to leave their car behind.  Quickly collecting our belongings for a one night stay in camp, we jump into the an opened air jeep modified for tourist to comfort while savouring the beauty of Wadi Rum from the jeep itself.  It is not a luxury one but nice.

We pass through the Bedouin village before entering the deserts of Wadi Rum.  Though we just entered the area, the view was magnificent. Further in, we are sure the view will be even more stunning.  It sure felt great savouring the beauty of Allah swt creation.  The rocks, the mountain and the sand with the sun shining ever corner of it, the beauty has shine more. 


Great view all the way to camp..just look how deep the tyres got into the sand…

As Salem, our guide drive us to our camp, we can see a few other camps along the way. The wind were quite strong and the drive were jumpy.  We had to shift our sitting number of times as we kept on sliding down from our seat when the jeep jump.  Still, the kids love it!

After about 15 to 20 minutes drive in the desert, we finally reach our camp sitting behind the mountain.  Ali the owner of the camp greet us.  He brought us around the camp to choose our tent.  We chose to stay in a smaller tent with 2 tenants each rather than staying together the whole family in one camp as the one big camp is more sandy and darker.  So, we took up three tents for the whole family while another two tent occupied by a couple of Hungarian family with their two kids.



Our camp..secluded, neat and strategic place for sunset and sunrise viewing…

Without wasting much time, we  continue our day by hiking up a hill not far from our tent in order not to miss watching the sunset.  The camp really had a strategic location for watching the sunset.  We settle down at an open area up the hill.  Another beautiful day which words can’t describe. Savouring the moment watching the colour of the sun, the sky and the desert blend together proving the greatness of Allah creation. 


Waiting for the sunset….


Our daughter exploring on her own while waiting for sunset….getting further and further…












Got the nerve to go till the edge??


Masyaallah…no words can describe the beauty of Allah’s creation….

We then went down back to our tent to clean up and perform our prayer while waiting for Ali and his brother who own the place to prepare us dinner.  We were wondering what kind of Bedouin dish we’ll be having.  Well, as there is no electricity we had to rely on the moon and the stars to give us some light.  Good thing, the kids got the toy torchlight to help us while in toilet in order not to miss our ‘shot’ when doing our job Winking smile

We can felt the night starting to get cold when night grows older.  The dinner were ready with the candles to light our menu which was white rice, chicken broth Bedouin style, salad and humus.

As we were hunger for rice after two days trip with no rice, the meal sure was tasty specially when the dish is cook by a 16 year old youth…impressive indeed.

After the meal we sit around the campfire while drinking local tea and biscuit. The hot tea were a great relieve to heat up our bodies in the chill night air. It felt great sitting under the full moon and the stars everywhere shining up the sky. The nature sure is a beauty with nothing to compare to human creation. It was a fun night listening to Ali’s stories of Bedouin life, his parachute jumping experience and his learning experience. Don’t be surprised, he even take the extend to learn english overseas in ensuring himself able to provide the best experience for his customers.

We wish we could listen to more stories but we have to get up early for our next day exploration and the kids were sleepy as well. It was a great night having a host like Ali. We surely would recommend friends to stay at his camp. Having a double standard treatment most of the time, we sure appreciate very much Ali’s hospitality who treat us like old friends. We can’t wait to see more of what Wadi rum can offer us.


Boys…always have things to do…


‘Candlelight’ dinner….


Ali…makes you feel at home.  Love hearing his stories…


Watching the stars can be fun as well…

They gave us a candle enough to accompany us until we dooz off for the night.  In the tent we can hear the strong wind outside.  If we are in our normal tent, we are sure our tent will be flown away just by hearing the sound of the wind.  The idea of making the tent with ‘legs’ of about 10 inch high surely helps to prevent the sand from flying in.  Thought the wind actually scared us a bit but as the body was too tired from the climbing and hiking, plus the comfort comforter in the tent, it actually didn’t take long for us to settle our night.

Let see what Wadi Rum will offer us tomorrow.  Maassalamah! -&tw