Traveling to Jordan is one of the most amazing travel experiences I’ve had. There is so much history and archaeological sites that are beyond astonishing and if you have only 3 days to spend in Jordan, I highly recommend you spend time planning in advance.
Also, be sure to learn some of the basic Arabic greetings and phrases, it will definitely set you ahead!
What is Wadi Rum?
Wadi Rum is a gorgeous desert set in southern Jordan, filled with rolling sands, massive rock structures, and a breathtaking night sky. Also, known as “Valley of the Moon”, Wadi Rum is a 720 square kilometer UNESCO World Heritage site with an interesting history.
It was inhabited by humans as early as 12,000 years ago as shown by the ancient petroglyphs and inscriptions from around the desert. It was even once home (temporarily) to the Nabateans, the builders of Petra.
Today the desert still plays a role in housing Bedouins who live in the desert and acting as a stage for numerous Hollywood productions such as The Martian, Lawrence of Arabia, two Star Wars movies, Dune, and even the live action remake of Aladdin.
How to Get to Wadi Rum
There are a few ways to get to Wadi Rum depending on your preferred type of transportation and where you’re coming from.
The choices you’ll find in getting to Wadi Rum are to rent a car, take a taxi, or take a bus from a nearby city/tourist destination. If you’re renting a car, I simply recommend getting GPS or a map, as that’s the easiest way to get there. Also, if you’re camping in the desert, no tourist is allowed to drive through the desert.
So, you’ll either be parking at the visitor center (which costs 5JD to enter or free with the Jordan Pass) or Rum village and will be picked up by your host and taken into the desert.
If you’re coming from Aqaba there are buses/minibuses that can take you to the Wadi Rum turn off. If decide to take a taxi from Aqaba, it should be around 35 JD to get to the visitor’s center.
Coming from Petra a taxi will cost the similar 35 JD but a bus costs 7 JD and will take you to the Visitors Center or Rum Village. The bus can also be scheduled to pick you up from your hotel in Petra.
Where to stay in Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum has quite a few comfortable camping spots in the desert, some surprisingly luxurious considering the location. Self-camping is an option, but you’ll still need to find a way into the desert, pack food and water accordingly, and be fully prepared for any emergencies.
Honestly, self-camping is not going to be a relaxing time in Wadi Rum unless you have a vehicle to take you around.
The option we chose and recommend was staying at one of the camps with shelter, food, and transportation provided.
A luxurious option of these is the Wadi Rum Bubble Luxotel. I know you’ve probably seen the see-through bubble tents being advertised and these are those tents. Take in the Wadi Rum sunset and night sky from the comfort of your tent and enjoy all amenities necessary for a relaxing time.
Another cheaper option would be the Wadi Rum Green Desert campground.
They offer similar amenities such as food and showers, but the washrooms are public and there’s no see-through roof in your tent. By no means should the discount option be assumed “cheap”. The hosts of the camp were incredibly nice and very helpful on anything we needed.
We went with the cheaper option to save money as we were there to see the sites around Wadi Rum as exploring was our focus.
3 Days in Wadi Rum
All of this rich history and only so many days to see it. Let’s see how to separate some of Wadi Rum’s most iconic sites to fit into a 3-day schedule.
Day 1 in Wadi Rum
Every day will have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so be sure to plan around those as well.
To start with which sites to see, coming into the visitor’s center will be the start of the adventure. Upon reaching the desert gates, you’ll see the first site.
Seven Pillars of Wisdom
Viewable left of the visitor’s center is the first notable landmark of Wadi Rum, the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Named after the famous book of T. E. Lawrence “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”, is a massive rock formation with the base of the rock dating back to 4.6 billion years ago!
Lawrence’s Spring is next on the list since it’s not far after leaving Rum Village to get toward your camp.
Also named after T. E. Lawrence and his influence during World War 1, helping to fight against the Ottoman Empire. Visiting the site won’t take long but will be a nice place to experience some history and prepare for your time in Wadi Rum.
Khazali Canyon can be seen shortly after Lawrence spring.
All of these sites on the first day are relatively easy to see and won’t take up a load of time. I think it’s best that way since you’ll spend some of the day arriving to Wadi Rum, getting a ride ready to go into the desert, and need time to settle into your camp.
Khazali Canyon will take maybe 30-45 minutes to explore and is worth the visit! It may be a little crowded depending on when you go, but it didn’t make it harder to see any of the canyon writings or navigate the area.
Day 2 in Wadi Rum
Obviously, these sites don’t have to be seen in this order, because the best route for the day will depend on where your camp is. But all are close compared to the rest of the sites.
Um Frouth Rock Bridge
The Um Frouth Rock Bridge offers a very interesting sight and some sweaty heights to experience. It’s not a frightening experience, but if you’re very wary of heights, I wouldn’t recommend walking across the bridge itself.
Although, access to the bridge isn’t a hazard and can be accessed fairly easy. So even if you don’t want to cross the bridge, there is still a wonderful view from the top.
Abu Khashaba Canyon
An interesting walk through time in the Wadi Rum, Abu Khashaba Canyon houses shrubbery and life despite being in the middle of a desert.
The hike through the canyon may take 30-45 minutes and will be a nice reprieve from any sun that has been beating down on you throughout the day.
Burdah Rock Bridge
NOTE: If the Frouth Rock Bridge was too high for you, this one will be too. This one is significantly higher and will trigger those little belly rumbles you get from being up to high.
If you’re fine with the heights, then the Burdah Rock Bridge will be an incredible hike. I would set aside roughly 3 hours to hike up and back as it’s a time-consuming hike. Because of the time, heat, and severity of the hike, it’s also not a trip for anyone who isn’t physically able to hike for prolonged periods of time.
Sunset at Um Sabatah
Overlooking the Wadi Rum desert is a tall mountainous structure known as Um Sabatah, a landmark to native Bedouins. It also offers a wonderful spot to end the day.
Um Sabatah offers a unique view over Wadi Rum from its cliff side and is a common spot for tourist to view the sunset. While it may get a little crowded, it will come as no surprise once the sun begins to set. Just make sure you have safe transport back to whatever camp you’re staying at.
Day 3 in Wadi Rum
The final day!
Hopefully the first two days are as rewarding as they were for me, but it’s not over yet!
Little Rock Bridge
If the two rock bridges mentioned earlier in our list were too high, then this one is more relaxing and much less stressful in terms of height. There is still a little hiking to get to it, but it was not very exhaustive.
It did offer an awesome sight over Wadi Rum and was a nice place to spend some time and really take in all that the desert has to offer.
Al Ramal Red Sand Dune
This was an unexpected stop for us that our guide surprised us with. We were heading back to camp to stop here and take a short hike to the top.
If you’re looking for a little rush, they have sand boards available and can ride the sand dune like snowboarding down a mountain! Just be sure to let your guide know ahead of time so they know to have boards ready.
Make sure before you ride down, you take time to appreciate the peak. At the top of the Al Ramal Sand Dune is hard rock to stand on and take in Wadi Rum. It also offers a magnificent view of Khazali Canyon.
Rumored to be a place where Lawrence stayed during his time in Wadi Rum, Lawrence’s house is in ruins but still a historical spot.
It’s also very popular for its unique views over the desert.
If you’re going to Jordan for Wadi Rum, it’s worth staying longer to see the rest of the country. All of Jordan is rich in history and there is so much to see. Which means that if you’re spending 3 days in Wadi Rum, you may need to plan plenty of more time for the rest of the country!
If you’re interested in other places to see in Jordan, check out our Best Places to Visit in Jordan list!
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