Petra City Treasury from top viewpoint
Asia,  Jordan

Plan your Jordan road trip: a 6-day tour itinerary

Whilst planning our 6-day road trip around Jordan, it was proving difficult to find answers to many of our questions (especially those about connecting from Amman, to Petra, to Wadi Rum). I scoured blogs, messaged creators on Instagram and Tiktok, and even sent questions to the more prominent female travel groups on Facebook looking for answers in order to create the perfect Jordan itinerary. 

For the most part, I think we achieved it! However, post-trip, I wanted to get down the learns and things I’d change, to make it easier for those still planning their road trip around this beautiful Middle Eastern gem. In this post, I’ve tried to break our Jordan trip planner into days, including the accommodation we used along the way.

This article has links to places I visited and enjoyed, which I may make a commission from at no extra cost to you. This goes towards web hosting costs and helps me to continue making these free itineraries for everyone.

Jordan hotels and accommodation

Within this post, I’ve included some extra detail about our accommodation. However, here’s a quick list of the places we stayed (including price and accommodation type). 

Night 1 (Amman) – Carob Hostel – £30 a night for a private room

Night 2 & 3 (Petra/Wadi Musa)Esperanza Hotel – £58 a night, including breakfast

Night 4 (Wadi Rum)Memories Aicha Luxury Camp – £473 a night (Panoramic Luxury Suite) or £189 a night (Junior Luxury Tent)

Note: We met a few people in the Wadi Musa area (Petra) who had decided to follow it up with a trip down to Wadi Rum. Whilst finding desert camp accommodation hasn’t been difficult for them, the better-known ‘bubble camps’ were fully booked. If there’s a location here that you’ve really got your eye on, I recommend getting in there fast!

Night 5 & 6 (Amman)Villa Mira Luxury – £70 a night, self-catering with close access to shops

wadi rum desert camp bubble hotel
Memories Aicha Luxury Camp

What to pack for your Jordan road trip in November 

Forget your fancy clothes. Just forget them! Long car/bus journeys and desert adventures don’t call for heels/dresses/smart shirts/ etc. We had taken a few smart/casual pieces for nights in the luxury desert camp and an evening out in Amman, but (IMO) it was a waste of packing space. Casual vibes were a running theme wherever we went.

We visited Jordan on the cusp of its transition from high to low season (early Nov). If I had one regret, it’d be that I didn’t take more (light) long-sleeved tops for the much cooler evenings (13 degrees). In comparison, days were comfortable, with temperatures sitting at around 23 degrees by mid-afternoon. I actually wore cargo pants for our big day around Petra. If you’re going at a similar time, I recommend:

  • A light thermal jacket
  • Walking boots/shoes
  • A light pair of trainers to give your feet a rest from walking shoes 
  • Sandals comfortable enough for hours of city walking 
  • A towel (to dry off after your visit to the Dead Sea)
  • Swimwear (for your Dead Sea swim)
  • Clothing you can layer (for those hot desert day to cooler desert night transitions)

Getting around Jordan – Car or Bus? Is driving in Jordan easy?

There are a number of ways to get yourself around Jordan, though this itinerary is built around you having access to a car (and with such tight timescales, I doubt you could pull it off with the available public transport options) …

Hiring a car in Jordan

The cheaper of the car options, but we went against it after multiple sources told us that getting around Amman in a car by yourself is stressful (to put it lightly). Having witnessed the erratic driving (lanes appear to be a suggestion rather than a rule), our suspicions were confirmed when we met two 25-year-old lads from England who had ‘accepted the challenge’ and told us (quote), “I woke up every morning dreading the next day’s drive … it’s aged me.” It’s not uncommon to find (unmarked) speedbumps on the motorway, and they explained that smacking into one of these things at 70 miles an hour was a constant stress-inducer (and a repair worry we’re glad we avoided).

Hiring a driver in Jordan

The option we went for, but be prepared to pay a much higher price point for it (6 days cost us £600). A few learns:

  • Reiterate your need for an English-speaking driver. Whilst our driver was enthusiastic, the language barrier made it difficult to ask questions and arrange pick-up times, alongside clearing up what was going wrong when he got lost!
  • Confirm you will have a driver that can use Google Maps/knows exactly where they’re going for each stop. We did not and (as a result) we drove around for hours on the first night whilst he tried to find our hostel, and we lost a stop later in the trip due to his resistance to technology.
Bus around Jordan

We only met a small number of people travelling about by public transport, so I’m perhaps not best qualified to dish out advice about this. However, we did learn that there’s only one bus from Amman to Wadi Musa (Petra) and it goes at 6.30 am each day. Whilst you can book your ticket online, everyone we spoke with said they saw people arriving at the station on the day and purchasing their tickets direct.

We also learned that locations closer to Amman (such as the Dead Sea and Jerash) have a couple of bus options (alongside a lot of group day tours).

Can I take my drone to Jordan?

Probably not. Jordan has super strict rules around drones and (despite all my requests to their aviation authority via their formal request forms), I got shuffled about via e-mail before they finally just started ignoring me. 

Technically you could chance getting it in through the airport. There are random luggage checks as you leave, and we didn’t get checked so, in theory, I could have slipped mine through. Be warned, there are no storage areas like there are in places such as Marrakech, and a confiscated drone here is a lost one. You can find all of the official forms/methods and sites I used to apply in my blog ‘How to fly my drone in Jordan’ (Coming soon).

Itinerary Day 1 – Amman – Dead Sea – Wadi Musa (Petra)

We arrived in Amman at 1 am, so we booked a private room in Carob Hostel, very close to Downtown Amman. The team left us clear instructions for self-check-in and the hostel had beautiful terrace views across the city in the morning. We ate breakfast (not included in the hostel price, but definitely the best breakfast we had through the entire trip) and left with our driver at 8.30 am to start the long drive from Amman to Wadi Musa (where you’ll find Petra).

Carob Hostel breakfast Jordan

As part of our itinerary, we’d planned a stop at the Dead Sea along the way. This was a key day for having a driver, I’m still not sure how we’d have made this stop without one. Our driver, Maher, took us to the Dead Sea Hilton, where he was able to sweet-talk the reception staff (in Arabic) into letting us access their swim area for free (alongside the showers and changing area).

There are lots of other spots along this drive south where you can swim for free without having to bypass the Hilton team. However, a lot of these stops don’t have shower facilities. I don’t know how it would have been possible for us to have done the swim without having a rinse down afterwards; my skin was quite stingy by the time we’d finished (only a short 15-minute dip.) If you’re planning to do this by yourself, I recommend taking some large bottles of water to rinse yourself down with afterwards.

Further down the Dead Sea’s coast, we swung in to stop at this viewpoint looking across the salt ridges. Whilst beautiful, this area is literally swarming with large bluebottle-like flies. A warning: slather yourself in bug spray before taking the wall down to explore the salty beaches up close, these flies truly ruined the experience. 

sea salt beach jordan
Dead Sea salt beach Jordan

ADDITIONAL STOP – Wadi Mujib Canyon Hike

One of my biggest regrets of our trip is that we didn’t factor in time to see this, especially given that I’d initially raised it with our ‘itinerary team’/driver group. The starting point for this canyon is just down the road from the salt viewpoint above, and therefore (with a bit of planning), we probably could have worked it in – perhaps with a day trip from Amman. It sits very close to these salt beaches.

ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHT NOTES – Don’t be afraid to ask your driver for camel/viewpoint stops. I was absolutely thrilled to see camels roaming around the deserts without droves of tourists on their backs. Initially nervous about approaching them (after years of being warned that camels are grumpy and have a tendency to spit), Maher assured us that we could get closer for a photograph.

We were told the ropes on their legs were in place to slow them from running away (they are still ‘farmed’ animals). However, they had free roam (and I outright refuse to be part of animal tourism where animals are forced to stand with and carry tourists). This is the best alternative I can offer.

desert camel Jordan

Little Petra 

Originally, Little Petra has been on our Day 2 itinerary. However, as we swung around the final turns to Wadi Musa, Maher told us that we could pay a visit to the site on the way into the town (it’s only a 15-minute drive away). With sunset approaching, we took the opportunity to visit whilst things were winding down; everyone we had spoken to had said that it was so small that it could be done in a half hour.

I disagree. The smaller sister of Petra is an absolute wonder in itself, with plenty of mysterious little stairways cut into the rock to explore at your leisure. Whilst we were grateful to see it during the golden hour, I’d have liked more time to scramble about the lesser-explored trails here.

Little petra main temple building

Wadi Musa Cave Bar

The famous Wadi Musa Cave Bar has a wonderful reputation, backed by the draw that it occupies a restored 2000-year-old Nabataean tomb. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to any of its hype (or positive TripAdvisor reviews). We popped along after dinner, with the promise of a great atmosphere and alcoholic drinks.

After wandering around inside for a few minutes and being totally ignored, we settled on an outside table and asked one of the waiters if we should order inside or wait. We were told to wait for someone to come to us. 10 minutes later, we caught another member of the team and asked for a drinks menu. Another 10 minutes later, we asked another team member for the same thing. Nothing. We left. Terrible service in an average-looking location. I wouldn’t waste your time.

wadi musa cave bar seating area

Day 2: Petra & Petra by Night

Buckle up, this going to be a long (and pretty exhausting) day. 

We stayed at Esperanza Hotel, which I can’t recommend enough! Manager, Mohammed, gave us loads of information about visiting Petra and made sure breakfast was out at 5.30 am so we didn’t start the day hungry. It’s also perfectly located, only a 5-10 minute walk downhill to the main Petra entrance.

Esperanza Hotel Wadi Musa sunset
Esperanza Hotel dining area

The gates to Petra open at 6.30 am, and you need to be sure to have shown your Jordan Pass at the ticket office before heading to the scan point (see my blog on what the Jordan Pass is and why I’d recommend it – coming soon). Even at 6.30 am, there’s a fair-sized queue. However, I can’t stress enough how much the early start time will improve your experience – by the time we were leaving, the place was absolutely mobbed and completely changed (dare I say, ruined) the feel. 

One of the main points that kept coming up in Petra conversations was whether or not to pay the locals (some call them Bedouins, but the Bedouins in Wadi Rum were insistent that they are not) to allow you access to one of the viewpoints to the Treasury at Petra. It’s worth noting, you can’t access either of the two points at the start without paying them, but you can access a 3rd higher one on your own via a long hike up and around.

Petra lower level viewpoint overlooking the treasury
Petra free viewpoint overlooking the treasury

We debated this and eventually settled on a 10 JOD payment to a younger lad named Tiger, who took us to the lower viewpoint of the Treasury. In my opinion, it was completely worth the money (despite what anybody tells you). It was quiet, easy, and Tiger was wonderful at capturing photographs and videos for me, and we were treated to spectacular, uninterrupted views. 

petra viewpoint looking out across the dessert and ampitheatre

The ‘free’ viewpoint that followed the long hike up the canyon actually felt like a bit of a con. Whilst we loved the hike (and would still recommend it – there are some incredible ruins and viewpoints en route ), it transpired that there’s some heavy gatekeeping going on up here; the ‘free’ viewpoint is actually in someone’s shop and you can’t take the shot without buying a juice. If you’re not interested in doing the hike, which we really enjoyed, then you’re as well paying the extra 10 JOD to do both viewpoints at the start. 

Why is this point so important? If you’re on a one-day limit in Petra, this might be the difference between you seeing the Monastery or not. By the time we’d done this hike, we’d run out of steam and my hip injury wouldn’t allow for the extra 4-kilometre hike in the hot sun and uneven terrain. 

What is Petra by Night and is it worth it?

Petra by Night is pretty much what it says in the tin. It only runs on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and entrance is not included in the Jordan Pass. The experience includes a light show against the ancient Petra Treasury and a walk through the dark canyon at night. 

I personally loved it, I actually got talking to one of the locals who pulled me back up to the viewpoint (for free) to get a better view. However, my dad wasn’t so eager for photographs and said he could have done without. I recommend you get in line for this early and shoot straight down to the Treasury. When we arrived 15 minutes early, the queue was already pretty big, seating at the front is limited, and you will have plenty of time to capture canyon photos on the walk back. 

Petra by Night

Day 3: Wadi Musa to Wadi Rum Desert and Memories Aicha Luxury Dome Camp

It’s a 2-hour drive from Wadi Musa to the parking stop for Wadi Rum; it’s worth noting that you can only take your car/driver so far and that afterwards only the Bedouin can drive through the desert routes. The parking area is large and well sign-posted.

Lesson learned: Our room check-in was at 2 pm, so we arrived at the parking stop at around 1.30 pm. Get there earlier! It was a mad rush – the camp’s main 4-hour desert tour (that you definitely want to do) starts at 2 pm. We felt pressured to make fast decisions. 

Bedouin with fire in Wadi Rum desert

Memories Aicha Luxury Martian Camp

I couldn’t wait to get to my room here (and I was not disappointed). I stayed in the Panoramic Suite and everything was absolutely beautiful, from the daytime desert views to the nighttime panoramic stargazing. My only grumble was the vegan food offering (both dinner and lunch are included) – whilst there’s a lot of salad, hot food options are limited (and you can pretty much forget dessert). For the hefty price tag, I expected better. For more photos (including pictures of other room types), see my full Memories Aicha review (coming soon).

woman inside the panoramic room in memories aicha luxury camp looking out at the desert
Memories Aicha Luxury Camp dome at night

Day 4: Wadi Rum – Kerak Castle – Amman

We’d initially scheduled a stop at Shobak Castle for the previous day (on the way from Wadi Musa to Wadi Rum). However, our driver got lost and we ended up not having time. This was a common (frustrating) occurrence, so I’ll reiterate that you push your transfer company to provide a driver who speaks decent English (everyone else we met with a driver had done this).

As a result, we made the additional decision to stop at Kerak Castle on the long road between Wadi Rum and Amman. Many people had told us not to bother with this (citing that the castles weren’t particularly interesting), but we absolutely loved Kerak Castle. The large 12th-century structure has phenomenal views across the city and ruins have been respectfully preserved, allowing visitors to explore its extensive network of basement caverns and rooms.

Kerak Castle underground tunnels

We had also planned to make a really quick stop at Madaba, where you’ll find a church that proclaims to house the world’s oldest mosaic map. However, we encountered such bad rain that we carried on and went straight to Amman, and our final accommodation stop, Villa Mira. 

Kings Highway

Be sure to take the Kings Highway road at some point during your trip, whether it be heading north or south, and take advantage of its viewpoint. This winding road through the desert was the main old trade route connecting Egypt all the way through to Damascus.

Kings Highway Jordan

Day 5: Amman – Jerash – Amman Roman Citadel

A big day for history lovers as we cruise up the motorway to the north of Jordan and the city of Jerash, one of the country’s most popular tourist stops. Just 50km from Amman, it’s home to the best preserved Roman ruins outside of Italy, complete with a hippodrome, ancient columned walkways, multiple temples, and the largest known arch in the Roman empire.

Give yourself at least a half day to explore the site, as it’s pretty large, covering around 800,000 square metres within the old walls. 

Jerash Roman arch

In the afternoon, we shot back to the capital to spend some time at the Amman Citadel, perched on a hill with 360 views around the city. It is thought to be one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited places, and structures from the Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad periods are still visible here. 

This was the final day for our driver.

Day 6: Exploring Amman (Final Day)

We chose to stay in a location just a few streets away from the fashionable (yet casual) Rainbow Street, allowing us to explore downtown Amman by foot. Don’t miss the impressive number of brightly coloured stairwells.

Amman rainbow steps Jordan

Here you’ll find lots of touristy shops selling clothing, gifts, and everyday items. Be sure to keep a look out for The Duke’s Diwan, the city’s oldest building (and former post office) – it’s only small, but an adorable find. The Roman Theatre of Amman is also located in the Downtown area, and your Jordan Pass will give you free access.

Amman amphitheater views inside

We also used this day to explore Amman’s food scene. Our favourites: Bayt Sara (a fully vegan restaurant that uses part of its profits to feed stray animals and spread awareness about the worrying use of donkeys in Petra), Wild Jordan (supporting conservation programs in Jordan), and Hashem Restaurant (one of the oldest and most popular restaurants in the city). 

Take a look at my post, The best vegan restaurants in Amman Jordan, for a full list of plant-based eats.

Bayt Sara Amman Jordan vegan lasagna
Vegan lasagne from Bayt Sara, Amman
vegan aubergine wraps Wild Jordan
Aubergine/eggplant rolls from Wild Jordan, Amman

Have more questions about your Jordan trip planning? Drop me a message on Instagram or TikTok! All our advice is free and I love to hear from fellow travellers.

Travel writer, marketing adviser and blogger based in Edinburgh, with a focus on budget and vegan travel. 39 countries to date, with extensive knowledge of travel within Asia, particularly within Thailand.

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