7 Reasons you should visit Wadi Rum from Israel
The pictures you'll take, the charming locals, and the activities are just some of what makes Wadi Rum a destination like no other; No wonder Star Wars movies were filmed there. So what's there for you?
If you’re vacationing in Israel or looking for an ‘off-the-beaten-path’ trip, then there’s no better place to head to than Wadi Rum, in Jordan. Located in the south of the country, close to the Saudi Arabian border, you’ll find an astonishing landscape that will, in all probability, take your breath away.
Welcome to Wadi Rum
In the heart of the Jordanian desert, Wadi Rum boasts towering cliffs, dark caverns, narrow gorges, impressive mountains, sweeping dunes, and refreshing springs. Even better: it suits not just those who are looking for beauty and solitude, but adrenaline junkies as well. So let's start with 7 reasons you should visit Wadi Rum, and then talk about how to get there.
1. The Martian Scenery Will Blow Your Mind
Also known as ‘The Valley of the Moon’, because its desert landscape looks so utterly alien. In Arabic, a wadi is a usually dry riverbed (save for a short rainy season) and ‘rum’ means ‘elevated’ or ‘high’. This gives you an idea of how dramatic the scenery in this part of Jordan is.
Just like Mars. Wadi Rum
You'll find no roads or buildings in Wadi Rum, and the only thing around you visible will be sandstone and granite mountains. It really does look like the moon’s surface, which is why it’s a popular film location (both ‘Dune’ and ‘The Martian’ were filmed here, and several Star Wars movies).
Whether you want to hike, climb, or take a jeep tour, this extraordinary landscape will make this trip unforgettable.
Wadi Rum camps. yes, this is Earth
2. The Spectacular Colors
There are dunes all around Wadi Rum and they are truly astonishing - if you want an idea, think of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ (which was also filmed here). Yellow, red, and orange - they are wonderful to look at and the photos you'll snap will make all your friends jealous.
Wadi Rum Jeep trips are an amazing opportunity for photography lovers
It’s also possible to ride between the dunes on buggies and jeeps. And for the more adventurous, there’s sandboarding, where you climb to the top of a dune and then slide down it on a board, with both your feet attached. The most popular of these is known as ‘Big Red’.
Dunes are a truly unique natural phenomenon and whether you want to climb them or just stare at them, Wadi Rum is the place to do it.
Wadi Rum Dunes
3. The Authentic Bedouin Experience
Wadi Rum is a Bedouin community; Bedouins are nomads who have roamed Jordan’s empty spaces for hundreds of years. With a reputation for warm hospitality, staying at a Bedouin camp and living life as they have done for thousands of years is a marvelous experience.
ProTip: Sorry, Italy - but Bedouins make the best coffee on earth
The Bedouin camps in Wadi Rum are not uncomfortable either - in fact, some of the tents in which visitors stay are utterly deluxe, with air-con, hot showers, balconies, and mink blankets to keep you warm at night! And when you factor in the traditional Jordanian cuisine you’ll be served, you’ll quickly realize that this is not camping - this is glamping.
Finally, if you really want to push the boat out, we’d suggest booking one of the ‘martian tents’. Also known as ‘star pods’ or ‘bubble tents’, they have transparent panels built in, allowing you to look out at the stars. It’s the closest you may ever come to thinking you’re in outer space, and the little extra cost is well worth it.
Martian tents in Wadi Rum
4. An Uninterrupted Date with the Milkey Way
Don't miss stargazing tours in Wadi Rum; This place sits in the middle of a huge desert, which makes it - for the most part - quite undeveloped. The skies, therefore, are an inky black at night, save for the twinkling stars.
Most of us live in cities and aren’t used to seeing clear skies. But in Wadi Rum, for approximately 300 days a year, you’ll be guaranteed perfect visibility. With its low latitude and high altitude, it really is one of the best places to stare at the sky and trace the outline of the Milky Way.
The stars await. Wadi Rum Stargazing
5. It’s a Rock-Climber’s Paradise
Wadi Rum is home to some astounding rock formations, all of which were formed millions of years ago (geologists believe it was between two separate Ice Ages). Indeed, the entire valley is cut out of sandstone (soft and white quartz) and granite, making for stunning scenery and remarkable views.
Just look at these rock formations!
No wonder then that it’s such a utopia for rock climbers; there are limitless opportunities. Do take a guide, however - the topography is complicated and because of the endless streams and canyons, it can be very challenging.
Of course, if you don’t want to strap on gear and dangle from the top of a ledge, you can simply trek. However, please don’t forget to take a lot of water (even in the winter, you’ll need to be drinking at least 2 liters per day). Moreover, if you’re going without a guide, take a buddy and let people know your route in advance - finding yourself lost in the desert is no joke!
The famous Seven Pillars of Wisdom, in Wadi Rum (by Daniel Case CC BY-SA 3.0)
6. It's so close to Petra!
You should not come to Jordan without making a trip to Petra (which is 110 km away, about a 2-hour drive). This fabled lost city, built by the Nabateans 2,300 years ago, is the country’s most visited attraction and once you’ve seen it for yourself you will understand why.
The Petra Treasury
‘The Rose City’ as it is known (because the rocks out of which it is carved are rose-pink, although they change color throughout the day) is quite spellbinding, from the narrow Siq passageway through which you walk to the renowned Petra Treasury (once a tomb and a temple).
Note that a single day there might allow you to see some of the attractions of the Petra Archaeological Park, but you'll miss many special gems.
Dozens of ancient temples and shrines, all carved into the rosy cliffs. Petra
For those who want to spend more than a day in this lost city, 2-day Petra tours are highly recommended; this way, they'll have enough time to explore the whole park, and see the High Place of Sacrifice and the Petra Monastery - both are well worth the trek. Plus, you’ll be able to return to Petra at night and see it lit up with thousands of candles.
7. You can Combine Wadi Rum with a trip to Israel
It’s extremely easy to travel to Jordan from Israel - and many visitors like to see both countries on the same vacation.
They usually start in central Israel, where they enjoy many attractions in Tel Aviv - an unstoppable celebration of a city - and the ancient splendor of Jerusalem. Then they take a bus ride or a flight to Eilat, Israel's No.1 resort city, and cross the border to Aqaba, Jordan. Wadi Rum is a few more hours by bus from there.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem
Many visitors don't like to handle all the details and possible mishaps on their way to adventure - and prefer to travel worry-free, so they just take an organized tour.
Here at Bein Harim, we offer such package Israel and Jordan Tours (focusing on historical, religious, and ‘classical Israel’ themes) as well as day trips and privately-guided tours. We’ve been in business a long time and with our professional staff and expert guides (all certified by the Ministry of Tourism) we can make your trip to Israel and Wadi Rum everything you dreamed of - and then some.
Interested? Feel free to contact us, and learn more about Israel and Jordan in the Bein Harim Blog.