Quick Guide to Wadi Rum, Jordan
Wadi Rum is a desert landscape with reddish sand that became a protected area in early 1997. This landscape provides an uncanny Mars-like scenery making it popular in several Hollywood films. Wadi Rum is a must-visit for travelers in Jordan as it provides uninterrupted views of the stars and exciting adventures from sandboarding to atv-ing.
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Entry to Wadi Rum
All visitors staying or doing excursions in Wadi Rum must register their visit at the visitor center. They must pay a fee that is used to maintain and protect Wadi Rum and to help local Bedouin communities living in the region. The current fee is 5 JOD for international visitors. If you have a Jordan pass, the visit is complimentary. They will scan your QR code on your phone or stamp your ticket if you have a printed copy of your Jordan Pass. You will not be able to check-in to your accommodations without registering beforehand.
→ JCQM+MPH, Wadi Rum Rd, Wadi Rum Village, Jordan
Since Wadi Rum is a desert, a regular vehicle will not function properly. There are no paved roads from the visitor center to the hotels and/or activities. You will need a 4×4 to drive on the sand. My driver tried to get us as close to our hotel as possible before having to call our hotel. Sure enough, as soon as he called our hotel, our vehicle got stuck in a ditch. Our hotel had to come and tow our vehicle out. We said our farewell to our driver and our hotel drove us the rest of the way.
Where to Stay
Wadi Rum is known for its unique dome accommodations. These luxury camps range from $200 to $450 a night. In addition to the domes, Wadi Rum also offers luxury tents for less than $100. I stayed at the Sharah Luxury Camp for $250 which is probably the cheapest hotel to experience dome living. It is a no-frills hotel but it offers a great complimentary breakfast and dinner buffet and a cozy room. Note that everybody eats dinner around the same time. I arrived later and the dining hall was full. The employees jumped into action and squeezed a table to accommodate us. Since we are in the desert and water is limited, water is shut between the hours of 9pm to 7am.
How Many Days Do I Need?
You do not need to stay more than 2 days in Wadi Rum. Depending on the excursion that you would like to do will determine how many days you will stay. If you do not have an excursion booked, there is not much for you to do since you’re surrounded by sand. I arrived in Wadi Rum in the evening. I checked in, had dinner, then went stargazing. The following day, I went on a jeep tour and departed Wadi Rum. Initially, I had several activities lined up but also a lot of free time in between those activities. Instead of spending a full day in Wadi Rum, I decided to move onward to As Salt.
What to Do
During dinner time, the RumSky Stargazing tour company went to each hotel to promote their activity set to begin at 8pm. People were able to sign up for stargazing just by showing up outside at the vehicles. It was $30/pp to participate. After the company collected payment, we were escorted to the presentation room where we learned about the universe and how to look through a telescope. After the 20-minute presentation, we spent the rest of the night looking through six telescopes of different constellations. The activity was about 90 minutes. Overall, it was a wonderful learning experience. I suggest dressing warmly as it does get chilly.
The Jeep tour is amazing and it feels like you are on the set of Indiana Jones. There are several tour options ranging from 2-hour tours to 5 Day tours. My coordinator only booked us for two hours but our driver asked if we wanted to extend our tour. We decided to decline since our tour driver was meeting us up at a specific hour. During the 2 hours, we visited the Lawrence’s spring, sand dunes, and Khazali canyons. Below are the details of the tour from the company’s website.
Hot air balloon, sandboarding, camel riding, and ATV-ing are other activities that can be done at Wadi Rum. Due to time constraints, we were not able to do them. You can find more activities here.