Wadi Rum, The Valley Of The Moon
I was tired like a hell. Exploring PETRA by walking for the whole day, it was not a joke. I should combine my exploration way with using the service of the horse carts, or ridding the horse, camel, or even donkey, where I could find at any corner of Petra. But, Hello.. I chose to walk. When I arrived at Cleopetra Hotel, I felt like dying. My body was like want to get rest forever. After having a quick shower, I hardly climbed onto my bed. I tried to get to sleep when somebody knocked my door. It was Ahmed, the reception guy. He reminded me about dinner time. Ohh. If I don’t remember how delicious Jordanian meals they made, I probably skipped dinner and return to sleep. Moreover, Ahmed reminded me that after dinner, he would try to arrange my trip to Wadi Rum with some guests who had the same purpose.
I did not regret that I did not skip my meal. It was the best Jordanian meals that I ever tasted when I was in Jordan. Ahmed cooked lamb mansaf, with delicious traditional soup, some fried snacks, fresh salad and of course, the desert. After dinner, Ahmed called me and introduced me with two girls that would be my travel buddies to Wadi Rum. I knew them already. They’re Nathalie and Daniella, the girls who I shared the shuttle bus to go to Petra this morning. The next morning, we left Petra at 8 am. The driver already waited for us. He would take us to Wadi Rum, and left us to the guide there. Then when we finished, he would take us back to bring us back to AMMAN.
Located in south-western JORDAN, a spectacular landscape with breathtaking shades and rock formations gave the look of Wadi Rum as the Valley of the Moon. Huge granite and sandstone mountains as high as 1,700 meters above the sea level, line valleys filled with red and orange sand found the same as the film The Martian took place in 2015, with Wadi Rum stood in as the red planet. Wadi Rum has been a home for many human cultures since prehistoric eras. Following the Nabataeans who were known once lived in the desert from the graffiti and rock paintings they left, the place is also more well known with its connection with British officer, T.E Lawrence who passed there several times during the Arab Revolts in 1917. It became the scene of the famous movie of Lawrence of Arabia in 1962. Since then, Wadi Rum became the famous filming locations. The Red Planet, The Last Day on Mars, and Prometheus were also set here. Today, the Bedouin tribes still live among mountains of rum with their goat-hair tents as a special feature of the landscape. To protect its unique desert landscape, Wadi Rum had been declared as protected area and included in one of UNESCO heritage list.
When we arrived, a Bedouin guy named Aziz came and greeted us. He would be our driver and tour guide for half day. Apparently Ahmed offered me to get the experience to spend a night in the desert. But, I remember my night experience in SAHARA. That was awesome experience, but once in a lifetime is enough for me. Moreover, my time in Jordan was almost over and I still had to meet some friends in Amman before I left. Therefore, I agreed that I just took half day tour to Wadi Rum instead of one.
Aziz took us to his jeep, and our journey started right away. We started with the Lawrence Spring. It is a regular stop on the 4WD circuit. The spring was named in honored of Lawrence’s evocative description in the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. The spring is situated next to the fig tree. It had become an important waterhole for caravans traveling between Syria and Arabia. We just stopped like five minutes and continued the adventure. The second place, Aziz took us to Khazali Canyon. It is the most visited canyon in the entire desert. The Nabatean and Thamudic petroglyphs and inscriptions found on the walls are probably the main reason why so many people come to this place. Aziz did not talk much. When he took us to the place, he just mentioned the name and let us wander around by ourselves. But I did not mind with his quietness since I was also busy with my mind while wandering the valley of the moon.
Red Sand Dune was my favorite place during this tour. We visited two of them. The one near Khazali Canyon was easy to climb and has beautiful view. While the one near Wadi Um Ishrin was more challenging but visitors will be rewarded with terrific views. It is also perfect place to see the sun goes down. We spent more times here more than other places.
The bridges are the other things that you should see when you are in Wadi Rum. There were three bridges found in this desert, but Aziz was kind enough to take us to see two of them. These bridges were shaped through natural process. The first one is called as the Little Bridge. It is named after its size. When people stand on its base, they can even easily touch the bridge. Both Nathalie and Daniella tried to climb, while I prefer to see it from the base of the bridge. It is also a great place to get nice picture. The other bridge is Um Fruth Rock Bridge. It is the one of the most photographed places in Wadi Rum. You will see this bridge in almost every brochure used by the travel agent in Jordan. The bridge has 15 meters up from the base. For the people who are fear of the heights or some degree of vertigo, climbing the bridge could a a quite challenging. If you decide not to climb it, it is still well worth to pay it a visit. Again, Daniella and Nathalie climbed the bridge, while I was waiting for them at the desert base.
Lawrence House was our last visit. The house was built upon the remains of a Nabatean building, even though nobody has the evidence for this. In fact, it was the house of Lawrence. The house itself is only a ruin, and not so impressive. But the location is another pretty spot that you don want to be missed.
The overall tour itself was not so interactive. Aziz spent most of his time with himself instead of talking with us. Language barrier might be a problem. But I satisfied with the tour, and I had Nathalie and Daniella with me along the tour. They were good companions. And top of it, the view was tremendously amazing. It is not wrong when people said it is the valley of the moon. Driving through the dessert and passing the spectacular canyons and mountain is like driving on the moon with the gravitation still applies. We finished our tour at 2 pm. We said good bye to Aziz and headed to Amman.