Wadi Rum, located in the south of Jordan is a beautiful desert valley and is a must visit on your trip to Jordan! The terrain here is so unique and literally feels like another world! It is one of Jordan’s most popular tourist attractions and many people coming to Wadi Rum actually choose to stay overnight in a bedouin camp to really experience the true beauty of this place! What’s more, there are luxurious bubble tents you can stay in where you can gaze out to the stars all night!
Related Post: Photography in Jordan – Most Instagrammable Places!
Why is Wadi Rum so special?
Wadi Rum (“Valley of the Moon”) is truly one of the most beautiful parts of Jordan and one of the most beautiful deserts in the world. Therefore it comes as no surprise that it is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site. Miles and miles of beautiful red sand dunes, towering red canyons and vast open plains give it a spectacularly eerie and other-worldly look. This led to it being used as a backdrop for many movies including The Martian, Lawrence of Arabia, Transformers, and most recently Aladdin. Due to this it has gained fame worldwide and is continuing to grow in popularity.
Nevertheless, the desert is so vast (720 square kilometres!) that you can still drive for miles without seeing anyone else! In total contrast to nearby Petra which is always heaving with people, Wadi Rum seems almost empty in comparison. Visitors to Wadi Rum love this as it really offers them a chance to take it all in at a slower pace and in a much calmer and quieter environment.
Wadi Rum desert camps:
Almost everybody planning a trip to Jordan (even a short 3 day trip!) will come to visit Wadi Rum: some will take a day trip here but the best way (and what the majority are now choosing to do) is to stay overnight in one of the Wadi Rum desert camps to really relax and unwind and to get away from everything. Staying overnight in one of the desert camps also gives visitors a real insight into the local Bedouin culture. It is a really enjoyable experience and something that I definitely recommend!
An overnight stay in a camp in Wadi Rum was once considered something really remote, unique and ‘off-the-beaten-track’ for tourists to experience. Now though it has gained so much popularity that it has become a staple item on almost everyone’s itinerary to Jordan! But for good reason though, it is an absolutely incredible experience! Don’t worry though, even though it is now a popular activity to do, it definitely doesn’t feel over-run with tourists.
Due to the increased popularity camping in Wadi Rum has gained over the last few years, several desert camps have popped up in Wadi Rum to offer tourists the experience. Most offer the traditional Bedouin style black tents (still VERY luxurious) but a select few also offer ultra-luxurious “glamping” tents known as bubble tents.
Some of the luxury camps in Wadi Rum offer the option to stay in a bubble tent in the middle of the desert – something that is high on many people’s bucket lists! These bubble tents are also known as pods and the experience of staying in one of them is totally luxurious! The pods are shaped in a dome shape so the ceiling is very high and they are VERY spacious. They are also decorated to a very high standard and the decor is very modern. The bubble tents vary slightly in design from camp to camp.
In our camp, the pods each had a King size bed (or 2 single beds if you wish), bedside cabinets, a seating area and plenty space for your belongings. The beds were really comfortable and there were even dressing gowns and slippers for us to use! They also had air-conditioning, excellent lighting, a fridge and plenty of blankets for when it gets cold! All of the pods have their own spacious en-suite bathrooms with western toilets and showers inside too!
The pods also have a really big window which is so nice – you can look out and enjoy the view during the day, or stargaze during the night! All the pods also have their own private outdoor decking area where you can sit and relax, and they are far apart away from each other that you feel disconnected from everything which is great.
Which camp to pick?
When deciding on which Wadi Rum camp to stay in, you’ll quickly realise there are several and they can vary greatly in price. We stayed in Sun City Camp which is one of the best and most luxurious camps and I would definitely stay there again (this post is not sponsored in any way). It has several types of tent available, from traditional Bedouin tents to Royal tents and family suites and of course, it has the signature bubble tents, or Martian tents as they like to call them (there are 20 here). Sun City Camp totally exceeded all my expectations – the staff were great, the communal area and dinner was fabulous and the views were fabulous. They also offered several activities such as sunset yoga, camel riding and desert safaris.
* Fortunately Sun City Camp has wifi in the communal areas but be aware that not all camps will have wifi! If you choose to stay at another Wadi Rum camp besides Sun City Camp you may wish to buy a local SIM card beforehand if they have no wifi and you need to access the internet.*
The local people (Bedouins) have been living in the desolate area of Wadi Rum for centuries. They are very kind and humble people, totally unlike the Jack Sparrow type you will meet in Petra!! They are the ones who developed Wadi Rum into one of Jordan’s most well known and loved tourist destinations. Whilst you are at a Wadi Rum camp you will come across many local Bedouins who are very hospitable and welcoming!
Dinner at a Wadi Rum Camp:
We were told dinner at Sun City Camp is prepared in the traditional Bedouin style, which I was very excited about as I love experiencing local dishes and traditions! We joined the other guests by the large fire near the Main Tent at dinnertime, and I wondered where the food was as I couldn’t see any meat cooking. That was until I realised the food was actually underneath the ground: an ancient tradition amongst the Bedouins here in Wadi Rum is to actually cook their food underground!
A pit is dug into the ground, filled with charcoal and then the food is placed in there in a metal dish stacking system and is slow-cooked for a few hours. When they are about to lift the food from the ground (it was chicken and vegetables) they call everyone over so they can witness it coming out of the ground, to which everyone lets out a big cheer and applause! When we sat down to eat the food, it was absolutely delicious!
After the meal we sat by the campfire drinking mint tea and chatting to some of the locals, it was really nice! After an hour or so we headed back to our pod and sat outside on our deck just looking up at the stars, it was so peaceful and the stars were amazing!
Is staying in a bubble tent worth the price?
Staying in a bubble tent at a Wadi Rum camp is most definitely a LOT pricier than staying in a normal tent (expect to pay around £250 for one night in a bubble tent at Sun City Camp!). This is over £100 more than staying in their regular tents! Whilst it is a lot of money, it is certainly a memorable once-in-a-lifetime experience! If you can afford to treat yourself then I would say definitely do it! If however staying in a bubble tent is totally out of your budget there are plenty of other camps you can stay at for a fraction of the price though – some start from as low as £21! You will still get an incredible experience in the desert and with the locals. Click here to check out other Wadi Rum camps on booking.com.
What else is there to do at Wadi Rum?
From jeep desert safari rides to hiking and camel riding, there is so much to do at Wadi Rum! When we woke up the next morning we went for a really nice sunrise camel ride before our Bedouin guide started a little fire and made us some mint tea which was so nice. Click here to visit the official Wadi Rum site.
What to wear at Wadi Rum:
In Wadi Rum please dress conservatively with your shoulders and knees covered as the local Bedouins are very traditional. This goes for Jordan as a whole as the country is predominantly Muslim. Also remember to bring bring suncream and sunglasses as the sun is very strong here! As with many deserts, the climate can be harsh and extreme: ranging from scorching heat in the day, to being quite cool at night so remember to bring a sweater for the evenings.
When is it best to visit Wadi Rum?
Being in The Middle East, summers here are stiflingly hot. However as Wadi Rum is a desert, it also can get very cold here at night. I visited during late September/early October and the temperature in the day was perfect, but it was a little nippy in the evenings and in the morning so I was certainly glad I had layers! I would recommend to visit in spring and autumn for more pleasant weather, although a visit to Wadi Rum at any time of the year is always going to be special! Just remember to pack accordingly, depending on which season you plan to visit. Sometimes temperature here in the winter can go as low as zero degrees Celsius at night time!
What time is best to photograph Wadi Rum?
Sunset and sunrise are simply beautiful at Wadi Rum and you can get some stunning shots of the beautiful colours in the sky! Especially if you are visiting during the hot summer months, make the effort to get up for sunrise as it won’t be so hot at this time!
When taking photos during the day, the lighting is better after 3pm and Wadi Rum appears more beautiful after this time! Night photography is also great at Wadi Rum and you can see the stars perfectly due to the lack of light pollution!
How to get to Wadi Rum?
Wadi Rum is 4 hours drive from the capital city Amman and 2 hours drive from Petra. Even if you are on a tight budget I recommend using a car (either hiring a car or a driver) to get around in Jordan. Whilst the country isn’t terribly huge, the public transport system is not that great, and so having a car will really maximise your time. Car hire isn’t too expensive and driving from Petra, Amman or Aqaba to Wadi Rum is pretty easy as the roads are fairly smooth (just be careful in the centre of Amman as the driving there is quite hectic!). Road signs are in English and Arabic. Click here to look at car hire options in Jordan.
If you are driving a car, do not drive it in the desert as you can get stuck! Arrange your accommodation and arrival time beforehand, leave your car in Wadi Rum village and the camp staff will pick you up in a 4×4.
Alternatively you can hire a driver if you don’t fancy driving (I can put you in contact with a reliable one if you need, I have used him twice and highly recommend him, just drop me a message in the comments below).
Cost to enter Wadi Rum:
You need to enter Wadi Rum via the Wadi Rum Visitor Centre to pick up your park permits and pay for entrance. Entrance is 5JD (£5) but if you have a Jordan Pass entry to Wadi Rum is free. Click here to be directed to the Jordan Pass website – it is something I really recommend to buy as it includes the cost of your visa and several tourist attractions in Jordan, so you will save money in the long run.
Which other places do people visit in Jordan?
The most commonly visited places in Jordan are Amman, The Dead Sea, Petra and Wadi Rum. You can also visit the baptismal site of Jesus Christ at The Jordan River, Mount Nebo (where in The Bible Moses was granted a view of The Promised Land) and Jerash in the north if you have time.
Is Jordan expensive?
Jordan is very expensive, especially comparing it to other nearby countries. The Jordanian Dinar is strong (roughly 1 JD to 1 GBP) and I actually found the prices to be similar to London prices! But don’t let this put you off visiting this stunning country! There is so much history and beauty here.
Wadi Rum is truly a stunning place and is without a doubt worth a stop on your Jordan itinerary. Let me know in the comments if you have ever stayed in (or would like to stay in) a bubble tent in Wadi Rum!
Click here to discover the most photo-worthy spots in Jordan to help you plan where you would like to visit when you plan your trip!
For advice on female solo travel in Arabic countries, click here to read!
If you are looking for inspiration on other Middle Eastern countries to visit, click here to check out my other Middle Eastern blog posts!
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