- Middle east
One Day Exploring The Roman Ruins of Jerash
I had a plan in Jordan, but that changed the moment I arrived in Amman, the capital city of Jordan and it changes the way I travel forever. After a great trip in Egypt, I took a flight from Cairo to Amman. My plan was to stay in Amman for a few days, go down to Petra, Wadi Rum and go up north to Wadi Mujib and end my trip in Jerash. The problem was that I have no idea how to do any of that. I did not do any research on the transportation prior to coming to Jordan and that was enough of a reason for me to seek out others who knows.
That plan was scrapped the moment I opened the hostel door and met Moni, a fellow solo traveler from Lebanon who had just started her trip in Jordan. She seems to know her way around so I decided to stick to her and see how it goes. Our first trip started just 2 hours away from Amman in a little city called Jerash. Joined us were a Brazillian guy (who is so fond of taking selfies all the time) and an Irish guy. And then our adventure in Jordan began..
Jordan Travel Video
Getting from the Airport to Amman City Center
It was in the afternoon that I arrived in Amman. From the airport, I walked out of the terminal expecting annoying taxi drivers to swarm me like in Egypt but that was not the case. The process of me going to the kiosk to get a minibus to go to the city was met with no annoyance whatsoever. I arrived at the Tarbabour bus station (Mujammah al shimal, مجمع الشمال) where I got myself a taxi to downtown Amman. The taxi overcharged me 5 dinars for the trip. It was outrageous but since I did not know how much it was supposed to be (supposed to be 3 dinars), I gave in and paid for it. He dropped me off in downtown, only a hundred meters away from the Sydney hostel.
Where to Stay in Amman
I used Sydney hostel as a base several times during the trip because it has good wifi, a comfortable bed, and a good quiet vibe. The common area attracts people and created a nice atmosphere for socializing as well. One caveat was that the guy at the reception can be a little cranky at times but I would still recommend this place. The dorm room price does NOT include breakfast though.
As I rang the doorbell, a woman came to the door. At first, I thought she was the receptionist but as it turned out, it was Moni and once I realized the fact, I quickly switched gears and joked about it. From there, we got the conversation going with her friend, Bianca from Germany and joined us later was the hilarious overly-friendly Brazilian guy who came up with the idea of going to Jerash the next morning. Since I had absolutely no clue how to get there, I decided to tag along. Joined us on this unexpected trip were Moni and another Irish guy. A little expedition was formed in no time.
A Day Trip to Jerash from Amman
We woke up at 8, prepared ourselves and took a taxi back to the Tarbabour bus station. This was the moment I realized I overpaid for my taxi the previous day. At the same distance, it cost us 3 dinars.
We found the right bus to go on to in no time because the bus here would only go when it is full and the drivers were always on a look out for more passengers.
We arrived in less than 2 hours and during that time the Brazilian guy entertained everyone with his selfie stick and his funny attitude. I love the guy! :)
The bus dropped us off right at the gate of the archaeological site. We bought ourselves tickets and headed in.
While walking, we found a steep stairs carved inside a wall just like the hidden stairs I climbed in one of the temples in Myanmar and so the curious me started climbing up.
With all kinds of climb, there is always somekind of a reward waiting for us at the end. This time it was the view of the whole site from the top.
We were up there for several minutes, snapping photos until one of the on-site guide told us to get down since the site was still under maintenance and things could still fall apart. We got what we want from the view point so we came down right away.
Me and Moni led the way as the other 2 guys were a little too fond of taking photos. Moni came from a background of social work and at one point she saw a young kid trying to sell her amulets. She started speaking to the kid passionately in arabic for several minutes until he walked away.
Since I was curious, I asked her what was all that about and she told me that she asked the boy where his parent was, and it should be them who are out here selling stuff, not him. He should be in school getting education but instead he is out here trying to make a living for his family.
"What if his parent doesn't have enough money to send him to schools?" I asked her and she said that there are several organizations that can arrange free education in this part of the world if the parents really want them to be educated. This rang true as well for South East Asia where I saw many young women forced by their parents to sell trinkets (Sapa, Vietnam), instead of getting a proper education.
I liked talking to people who wants to improve the world like Moni. It really gives me a new perspective in life and our role as part of the community.
We were walking a tad bit too fast so we decided to sit in the shade for a while inside one of the many Amphitheatres in the area.
We started diving into topics like religion and how the underlying lessons from each religion are kind of the same. It was this kind of deep conversation that I like about her.
Travelers like this are not stuck in their daily routines that they forgot to care about humanity in a macro scale. I find that people like this are more likely to change the world than people who live safely in their cubicles.
The Brazilian and the Irish guys finally caught up to us and we continued up north to the upper part of the archaeological site.
While we were walking around the ruins, we noticed a crowd gathering around one of the pillar. One of the guide were demonstrating how the pillars were actually being moved by the wind. The guide took a spoon, turned to the handle side and shoved it in between the pillar and the base. The spoon started moving due to the subtle movement of the pillars caused by the wind. It was pretty amazing.
At the temple, we met 2 security guards who were trying to figure out if Moni was an arab or not (she told me she heard them asked each other). They eventually found the courage to talk to her and in the end they asked her to marry one of the guy. It was so random!
This was Moni being blinded by the raging sun of the afternoon Jordan.
At around 2PM, we were done with Jerash and so we left the site trying to find a bus back. Luckily the same bus was on its way back as well and the driver recognized us so we got on it immediately and headed back to Amman.
We were back at the hostel right around 3PM and since we had some time left, I and Moni decided to start planning our next move. She came up with the idea to go to Petra the next day and came back to Amman later. Again, she seems to know where to book a bus and as lazy as I was, I decided to scrap my plan, winged it and went with her the next day.
Next up, we will go to a place where Jordan is most known for, Petra. It had always been a dream of mine to see Petra with my own eyes and that dream would come true in the next entry so stay tuned as we explored every corner of Petra by foot.
Further Reading for Jordan
I hope you found this travel guide useful. I have a ton more written about Jordan and if you are interested to read more, here are a few more travel guides about Jordan:
- Amma is a great place to start your journey in Jordan. Here’s a quick guide on how to spend 3 days in Amman and its surrounding tourist attractions.
- Petra is among the most popular attractions not just in Jordan but the entire world, and for good reasons. Here’s how to spend 2 days in Petra.
- Petra is also a prime place for hiking. You will be able to see the Treasury from a perspective not many seen. Here’s a complete one-day hiking guide for Petra.
- Looking for something to inspire you to visit Jordan? I’ve got you covered. Here are 22 photos that will inspire you to visit Jordan.
- You can also watch my Jordan travel video here: Adventure in Jordan.
- To see all articles about Jordan, visit Jordan Travel Guide page.
- Looking for more travel guides for the Middle East? You can find more on my Middle East Travel Guide page.
- For more of my travel guides, visit my Destinations page.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by Pete Rojwongsuriya, the founder of BucketListly Blog where we will follow his solo journey around the world as he experiences different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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