What is Wadi Rum?
Wadi Rum is located in the far south of Jordan. It is a massive raised plateau expanse of 720 kilometers at the western edge of the Arabian desert. Hugely credited for its cultural landscape and attributed for its formations looking like the ones on Mars. Inhabited by the Bedouins for thousands of years who have survived harsh living conditions by hunting, breeding cattle and by trading goods.
Wadi rum was declared as a protected area by the Jordanian Government in 1988. This is an extravagant place with immense desert plains, gorgeous canyons and caves with ancient inscription.
Wadi Rum has been popular among the tourists in the recent years. An immaculate bucket list place to visit in Jordan (apart from Petra) for sure. Once made famous by the British Officer T.E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia) who was a frequent visitor during the Arab revolt in 1917-18.
Wadi rum has been a celebrated place ever since. Its immaculate landscape has been termed as one of a kind by celebrated photographers and travelers.
The cultural significance boasted by Wadi Rum cannot be missed. More than 25,000 petroglyphs (rock carvings), 154 archeological sites and 20,000 inscriptions are discovered in here. Tracing its way from the human evolution and the Alphabet.
The gargantuan rock formations, clear strarry skies over the ripples sand dunes make a fairy-tale vacation destination.
Picking your camp in Wadi Rum
From Lux camps to a basic (yet with everything you need) you can find a fantastic range of camps in Wadi Rum. Keep in mind that it is a protected area and you cannot go individual camping. Actually you can but you need to take permission from the visitor center and a guide tags along. A different Bedouin family hosts in every camp. Your chosen camp will offer you with 4×4, food, accommodation, camel tours and Bedouin dinner.
They are a close knight community that respect and help each other. The prices of all those activities would be similar if not the same (camel tours – nearly 15 JOD/ 21 USD; 4×4 tours – 25 to 60 JOD / 35 to 84 USD, depending on the length of the tour; dinner – 10 JOD / 14 USD) Yeah, you got to pay for dinner which is a Bedouin traditional meal called Zarb (cooked underground in the sand). Now that being said, let’s hop right into it.
Wadi Rum Bedouin Tour with a Camp – Basic tents, no wi-fi and clean bathrooms. They offer 4×4 tours with the 10 JOD for dinner (common for all camps).
Wadi Rum Dream Camp – The biggest highlight of the dream camp is its huge-window tents. An amazing feature. Imagine lying on your comfortable bed and watching the billion desert stars at night. Make sure to request the window tents as they have regular ones too. They also have wi-fi.
If you are wondering what is going to happen to your soul without a wi-fi or electricity and that too in the middle of a desert. Chill, all camps come with a common room. Where there are plenty of charging sockets.
Bedouin Tours Camp – Located deep in the Wadi Rum protected area, this camp is among the highest-rated on booking.com. Slightly expensive than the previous one but affordable just yet. With cool bathrooms embed in rocks. This camp is a crowd favorite.
Wadi Rum Glamping – Now we are talking! One of the most luxurious camps in Wadi Rum where you can stay in a glamp. The Wadi Rum bubble luxotel is made popular by the most famous Instagram influencers. Its bubble looking interiors with white finishing makes it look like a space station. No, not just a space station but a space station on Mars!
Memories Aicha Luxury Camp – This is a 5 star hotel not just a camp. Its panoramic suits give panoramic views to make it almost impossible for you to leave your camp. This place looks like an actual palace in the middle of a desert.
Biuvac camping in Wadi Rum – last but not the least, this camp is the basic one. It’s simple but mighty, know why? It’s only you and the stars. Can you do this anywhere else? You always have the visitor’s center if you need anything. Be it a guide or a hotel or hike etc.
What to see in Wadi Rum?
Seven pillars of wisdom
An impressive rock formation that is named after T.E Lawrence book (seven pillars of wisdom)
Water is a rare commodity in desert. While, here you can find a small puddle of natural water situated among rock boulders. Beautiful sight!
An ancient temple with rock foundation.
A 100 meter long canyon located among the popular part of Wadi Rum. Here you can find rock-carved Nabataean and Thamudic inscription. People, spirits, animals, ancient texts and everything you can possibly imagine.
Siq Umm Tawaqi
One more stunning canyon with a history of hundreds and thousands of years because if you watch closely you can find sea shells and sea sand here. Which only means, this place was a sea before. There are no inscriptions here though.
Well this place is a place of significance and significance alone coz you can only see a few rock boulders. The fact that it was a home for someone remains.
Jebel Burdah Rock Bridge (The Big Bridge)
A 300 meter high rock bridge which is rewards you abundantly with its view from the peak.
I swear to God, do not miss this one. Wadi Rum has no eye bugging lights. Just wander away from your tent (not too far away) and look up. There is nothing more romantic than looking up into the night sky while sands are shifting not far from you. You can also reach out to the many organizations working in Wadi Rum who offer night shows and telescopes.
Movies made in Wadi Rum
From Star war to Disney many films had their set in Wadi Rum, Jordan. Popular among them are – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016); Dune (2021); Prometheus (I) (2012); Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker (2019); The Martian (2015); Aladdin (2019); Lawrence of Arabia (1962) Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009).
Other places to see in Wadi Rum.
Red Sand Dunes (Umm Ishrin)
Little rock bridge
Jebel Umm Fruth Rock Bridge (The Medium Bridge)
The Anfashieh Inscriptions
Shifting sand dunes
How to get to Wadi Rum?
Jordan is a very difficult place to travel. Just Kidding! Jordan is an incredibly easy place to move around. Be it by bus or self drives or guides, Jordan offers a travel friendly hand.
The closest city to Wadi Rum is Aqaba. Thus, the transportation options are way better from here. Jett buses do their fair share around here. You can always reach out to their main office in Aqaba. Return ticket cost 18 JOD / 25 USD; a one-way ticket should be around 10 JOD / 14 USD.
Public transportation – many public buses will take you to Wadi Rum anytime of the day. The only con is that will be only for the day. The buses take you back and won’t stay. So, make sure to not miss out on camping.
Car- You can rent a car from the airport and drive yourself to Wadi Rum. It would take around 1.5 hours. The other option is a taxi. The price there should be about 25 – 30 JOD /35 – 42 USD.
Petra to Wadi Rum is a very popular tourist route. Obviously, making a trip to Jordan and not seeing Petra would be an offence. There you can find a bus departing daily at 6 – 6:30 AM. It costs nearly 7-10 JOD / 10 – 14 USD. To get on it, you are required to reserve a seat through your accommodation. Another option would be to hire a taxi. The price should be around 40 JOD / 56 USD.
What about the Indian Visa?
Jordan is a free country. Well, for Indians! Indians looking forward to visit Jordan can easily get a Visa/Tourist visa by the Jordan embassy or upon arrival.
What should you know more about Indian Visa?
There is no option for Indians for an eVisa to Jordan. But, there is something called as Jordan pass. It is a single-fee package introduced by the Jordan Tourism Board, allowing the buyer to visit all the major tourist sites without paying entrance fees. Offering discount packages for 40 tourist destinations in Jordan, such as Petra, Jerash, Wadi Rum, and others. Also, with the Jordan pass you do not have to pay the single-entry tourist visa fees if you stay in the country for a minimum of 3 nights or 4 days. Just keep in mind that the immigration officer might ask you a few questions when you are obtaining visa on arrival.
So, if you HAVE a Jordan pass upon arrival, you will be exempt from the visa on arrival visa. If you DO NOT HAVE a Jordan pass, then you must pay a JOD 40 or USD 56 (approx. 4500 INR) visa-on-arrival fee for a single entry.
How to leave Wadi Rum?
If you are going to Petra, you can catch a bus that comes from Wadi Musa. Days without a bus is a rare occasion. If you want to go anywhere else, contact your camp chief, they will surely help.
Is Wadi Rum safe?
It is perfectly safe. You might find venomous snake and scorpions rarely, just don’t mess with them. The area is cared by the Bedouin community. Don’t mess with them either. Just make sure to plan your days and find a suitable camp. If Wadi Rum in Jordan is not in your bucket vacation list yet, then what are you waiting for?