5 Bucket List Activities in Jordan

By Ben Bromley | 7 minute read

1. Climb the rock-cut steps to the Monastery in Petra

There’s no doubt where Jordan’s major attraction lies. The ancient Nabatean city of Petra dates back to around the year 300 BC and is accessed by a narrow canyon through the cliffs, known as the Siq. Petra’s most famous site is probably Al-Khazneh, the Treasury. This rock-cut structure was once thought to contain hidden treasures, which explains the name. In fact, it is now believed to have been the 1st century AD resting place of King Aretas IV, a Nabatean king.

Equally as impressive as the Treasury is the nearby Monastery, known locally as Ad-Deir. Although similar to the Treasury in looks, this site is much larger. It can also only be reached by ascending approximately 850 steps, which were cut right into the rock face thousands of years ago. It’s a tough climb in the searing Jordanian sun. But it’s worth it for the incredible views over the rest of Petra and the surrounding desert. If you’re planning on making the climb then ensure you drink plenty of water and take your time. Stop on your way up to catch your breath and sample the view. You won’t be disappointed.

All our Signature Jordan tours spend two nights in Petra, so you’ll be able to explore the city at length.

Monastery in Petra - Jordan best time to visit - On The Go Tours
The Monastery, your reward for having made the 850-step hike!

2. Float in the therapeutic waters of the Dead Sea

Perhaps climbing hundreds of steps doesn’t appeal to you? Well, how about floating serenely in a body of water so salty that it is physically impossible to sink? The Dead Sea is a marvel of nature. Located more than 400 metres below sea level, it is known to be the lowest point on the Earth’s surface and a vital stopover for all Jordan travel. With a salt content nearly ten times higher than the ocean, nothing can live in or around the water, giving the Dead Sea its name. The high salt and mineral content of the water gives it therapeutic properties, and it has long been used by humans. Lathering yourself in the thick mud is great for the skin and sure to be an experience to remember.

We include a visit to the Dead Sea at the end of all our Jordan tours, giving you plenty of time to relax after your sightseeing.

Try and swim in the Dead Sea, we dare you!

3. Navigate the dramatic canyon of Wadi Mujib

Wadi Mujib is a river canyon which feeds into the Dead Sea. It is part of a UNESCO biosphere reserve and is home to a rich tapestry of life, particularly resident and migratory bird species. There are also large carnivores such as the Arabian wolf and striped hyena. One of the most appealing bucket list activities in Jordan is to tackle the canyon for yourself. This involves trekking, climbing, and paddling through the canyon as it winds through the Jordan Valley. The scenery is remarkable, with towering cliffs and giant boulders accompanying the crystal clear ribbon of water on its journey. It’s an adrenalin-boosting experience and a decent level of fitness is required, but you won’t regret making the effort.

Wadi Mujib isn’t navigable all year round, but travellers on our Jordan Signature tours between April and October can enjoy a two hour canyoning experience. All safety equipment is provided, and you will be escorted by expert guides throughout.

Wadi Mujib in Jordan - On the Go Tours copy
Visit Jordan in spring or summer for Wadi Mujib canyoning

4. Spend a night camping in the red desert of Wadi Rum

You may be familiar with the other name for Wadi Rum – Valley of the Moon. A key factor in this nickname is the red lunar-like nature of the magnificent desert. This colour is caused by the iron oxide present in much of the rock around the wadi. The iconic 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia was partially filmed in Wadi Rum and helped to kickstart Jordan’s tourism industry. The Martian starring Matt Damon was largely filmed in the region. And most recently, the 2021 blockbuster Dune and its sequel was partly filmed in the red desert. There are several ways to explore the dramatic landscape of Wadi Rum. 4×4 desert safaris over the dunes are an exhilarating way to take in the scenery, and there are several permanent tented camps styled on the formerly nomadic Bedouin people who inhabit the desert and its surrounding villages.

Travellers on our Jordan Signature tours will take a desert safari across the breath-taking landscape of Wadi Rum before spending a night at a traditional Bedouin camp. Here, they’ll enjoy local food and music before settling down for a comfortable night under the stars.

Jeep Safari through Wadi Rum - Jordan Tours - On The Go Tours
Enjoy an exhilarating jeep safari in the unique landscape of Wadi Rum

5. See the incredible annual Perseids meteor shower

There is a very specific time of year that you’ll want to visit Wadi Rum if you’re into astrology. Usually occurring between mid-July and mid-August but varying slightly each year, the Perseids meteor shower is a spectacular event which has been occurring for nearly 2,000 years. And although it can be seen across much of the Northern hemisphere, there are few better places to watch the meteor shower than the desert of Wadi Rum. With no light pollution, the night sky can be seen in all its glory. And on a clear night the views of the shower will take your breath away.

We run an annual Perseids Meteor Shower tour, timed to coincide with the height of the spectacle. From our Bedouin desert camp, you’ll be able to see up to 60 meteors per hour streaking across the dark sky.