Some destinations in Jordan are popular with everyone: Petra. The Dead Sea. Wadi Rum. These are the big three – and planning your Jordan itinerary to include them is a surefire way to have an incredible trip with unforgettable memories.
Wadi Rum in particular is a somewhat more challenging part of your trip, as you might not understand exactly what’s in Wadi Rum, how to get around, and other important logistics. That’s where I’m here to help. Based on my first trip to Jordan back in 2016 and return trip in 2022, I’ve put together this Wadi Rum itinerary that will show you how to spend 1-2 days in Jordan’s desert playground.
Some call it Mars, others call it historic, and everyone says it’s beautiful. If you’re ready to plan the Wadi Rum portion of your Jordan trip, read on and soon you’ll have it all sorted.
Best Time to Visit Wadi Rum
As I always say, Jordan and its attractions are worth visiting any time of the year. Each season has its pros and cons, but when it comes to an unbeatable time to visit the Middle-Eastern hotspot, spring – March, and April, to be more specific– takes the prize.
Some travelers feel tempted to organize their Wadi Rum itinerary around winter, fearing spring and summer will welcome them with unbearably hot temperatures. However, the taxing cold temperatures make it hard to spend the night in Wadi Rum. While you might think that just seeing Wadi Rum’s landscape is enough, spending the night in the desert is an unforgettable and authentic experience, and you can only have it during warmer months. Wadi Rum records temperatures as low as 39.2ºF during winter to give you an idea.
How to Get to Wadi Rum from Amman or Aqaba
Wadi Rum is one of Jordan’s highlights, meaning you’ll find numerous transport alternatives to get to the desert. Below, I’ve included the best ways to get to Wadi Rum from Amman and Aqaba as they’re the most convenient cities from where to reach it.
How to Get from Amman to Wadi Rum
Amman is Jordan’s capital. Naturally, you’ll find tons of options to visit Wadi Rum, from tours to taxis.
Considering time, money, and flexibility, the best ways to get from Amman to Wadi Rum are by booking a taxi, a private driver, or a tour. Private drivers or taxis are the best alternatives if you want more freedom to organize your Wadi Rum itinerary. In contrast, tours will suit people who want everything arranged for them.
How to Get from Aqaba to Wadi Rum
Aqaba is a port city sitting on the northeastern tip of the Red Sea. It is a convenient base to move around the country and is only 43 miles apart from Wadi Rum. Same as Amman, the best way to get from Aqaba to Wadi Rum is by booking tour excursions or a private driver/taxi.
How Many Days in Wadi Rum
“How many days in Wadi Rum should I include in my Jordan itinerary?” is a question that pops into every traveler’s mind before organizing their itineraries. There’s no shortage of things to do in Wadi Rum. So one or two days should be your starting point.
- With one day in Wadi Rum, you can see a decent portion of the desert and even book a few cool excursions, like sunrise camel rides.
- With two days in Wadi Rum, you get the chance to indulge in less conventional activities, like sandboarding or hot air ballooning.
Keep on reading for more details about how you can spend your days in Wadi Rum.
One Day in Wadi Rum
Let’s take a look at all the activities you can fit in your Wadi Rum itinerary should you spend one day in the desert.
Sunrise Camel Ride
Channel the Bedouin in you and join your guide for a sunrise camel ride into the desert. Camel rides are one of the best experiences you can get in Wadi rum as you get a taste of how Bedouins navigate through the land. Needless to say, riding a camel while the sun rises above the horizon just makes the whole experience even more charming.
Relax from the Midday Sun
Once you’re back from your camel ride, find a tranquil spot in your camp’s common room, grab a cup of tea, and simply relax. Wadi Rum’s heat is the most intense during midday, so it’s best to push back any activities to the late afternoon or early evening. You can continue reading that book on Jordan you started back home or simply marvel at your immense surroundings.
Afternoon & Sunset Jeep Tour
Jeep tours are the most practical and fun way to explore the desert if you have only one day in Wadi Rum. Your guide takes you to Wadi Rum’s most famous rock formations and a few hidden nooks. Below, I’ve listed the locations most sunset jeep tours cover.
- Seven Pillars of Wisdom – The Seven Pillars of Wisdom is one of the desert’s most famous hikes. They are impressive rock formations shaped like towers and sit inside the Wadi Rum World Reserve, listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Register.
- Lawrence Spring – Named after T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence Spring sits in the shadows of a cliff. The picturesque spring is one of the few places in the desert where there is still a natural water source and therefore a popular site where camels come to drink water.
- Khazali Canyon – Khazali Canyon is more than an impressive rock formation. Its inner walls are home to Thamudic, Nabatean, and Islamic inscriptions, dating back to 2000 years with petroglyphs depicting humans and animals. You can also climb up the canyon slot and even see pools of rainwater.
- Anfishiyyeh Inscriptions – The Anfishiyyeh inscriptions are on the south-facing side of Jebel Anfashieh towards Jebel Um Kharg. These petroglyphs belong mainly to Thamud and Nabatean peoples and depict hunting scenes and camel caravans.
- Umm Fruth Rock Bridge – There’s a high chance you’ve seen Um Fruth Rock Bridge in photos. The bridge has arguably become the most Instagrammable spot in the entire desert. It rises 49 feet from the ground, and many travelers choose to climb to the top for the views and, of course, the iconic photo.
Spending the night in Wadi Rum means you get the opportunity to experience the so-called Bedouin hospitality. Come the night, your camp’s chef concocts a delicious Zarb dinner, one of the delicacies of the Bedouin culture.
The dish resembles a barbecue, with grilled vegetables and meats, but its cooking method is nothing like in the West. Bedouins dig a hole in the sand, add coals, introduce the food into the hole, and cover it with sand again until the food is ready.
Two Days in Wadi Rum
If you have two days in Wadi Rum, here’s what you can do. For day one, follow the exact plan I mentioned above. On your second day, you can take part in more unique activities.
Hot Air Ballooning
If Wadi Rum is stunning at eye level or from the top of a bridge, imagine how it looks from the sky. Flying in a hot-air balloon above Wadi Rum is a very serene, beautiful, and quiet experience (setting aside the short burst of propane burners.) You’ll also get a real sense of how vast Wadi Rum is and grasp the importance it has had for all the tribes and people that have walked its lands.
Raise your adrenaline levels with a sandboarding tour! Wadi Rum is home to numerous dunes where travelers can experience the thrill of sandboarding. Try to schedule your tour for the morning to avoid the relentless heat.
Wadi Rum’s 280 square miles unfold under the most pristine skies you’ll ever see. The desert has no cities nearby, and the camps use lightning only when necessary. Consequently, the stars above shine as brightly as ever when the night comes. All you have to do is find a secluded spot, spread a blanket on the sand, and gaze upon the stars.
Best Wadi Rum Camps
There’s only one more important detail to determine at this point in your Wadi Rum itinerary: where to stay. There are a number of camps in Wadi Rum to choose from, and it’s really a matter of finding one that matches your travel style and budget.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Memories Aicha Luxury Camp is a luxurous option with beautiful bubble domes.
- Wadi Rum UFO Luxotel is another luxe option with domes, and is right next to the even nicer Wadi Rum Bubble Luxotel.
- Sun City Camp is my favorite, as they pioneered the “Martian domes” in Wadi Rum; this is where I stay whenever I visit Wadi Rum.
There are lots of budget options and more traditional accommodations like Bedouin tents too, if that’s what you prefer.
Have any other questions about how to plan your Wadi Rum itinerary? Let me know in the comments or join my Jordan Travel Tips Facebook community.