Jordan Customer Reviews
We are very proud of the feedback that we get from our trips and are pleased to share reviews from past travellers. These are kept as up to date as possible. Please have a read through to get a real sense of the kind of experience that you might have on a family trip to Jordan.
Family B (with two children aged 10 and 17)
Travelled Summer 2015
We returned from Jordan yesterday. My mind is still spinning with a whirl of impressions. I wanted to say thank you, and give some feedback whilst it was still fresh in my thoughts.
The country did indeed feel very safe despite the regional disturbances. However, various people with whom we spoke – such as local shopkeepers – were extremely concerned about the future, and spoke of getting guns to keep their families safe. Tourist numbers were predictably low, which was good for us though not so great for the local economy. This did mean that we got upgraded rooms at the Dead Sea Spa Hotel, which was definitely worth while (sea view infinitely better than rear ‘mountain’ view) and I’d suggest the agency tries to negotiate this themselves for future guests.
We were extremely happy with the itinerary. Dana was spectacular, we loved our morning walk there (with a local guide organized by the Dana Hotel). Petra by Night appealed to me, but others in the party found it a bit tacky. Wadi Rum camp very atmospheric: One small issue here was that I recalled you mentioning a 4-hr desert drive (contrasted to the 2hrs with another company) and this was apparently only booked for two hours; however, our driver arranged for us to return from the Bedouin camp the following day via a different route which included the rock arch, and this was actually far better than doing one long drive the first afternoon. Our driver, Mohammed, was excellent: a very cool character with excellent road skills. The only problem was his English, which was quite rudimentary – he would find his job a lot easier if he could learn a little more. I don’t know if this can be fed back strategically as he was a lovely man, and took his responsibilities towards us very seriously.
Overall a very interesting and enjoyable holiday. I am entranced by the region, and would love to return.
Thanks again for all your help in arranging our visit. I will certainly be recommending Stubborn Mule to our friends.
Family K (two adults and no children)
Travelled October 2015
Overall it was wonderful. We both found the country extremely beautiful, and really liked the generous and welcoming friendliness of the people as well as marvelling at the spectacular sites we visited. It felt sad that the country is really suffering from peoples’ fear of going to the Middle East.
From our point of view of course, it had some advantages as normally very popular tourist places like Petra were not crowded at all. Our local guide there, who was very good, said that one of the problems they suffer from is that many people come over from Israel/Palestine just for the day, bringing their guides and even their boxed lunches and therefore not spending any money at all in Jordan. Despite this, most Jordanians we met seemed optimistic and truly proud of their country and their king. I hope they prove right. Difficult not to feel a bit sorry for the many, many people offering rides or goods and having few takers.
There were just a few things that were less than ideal:
I rather regretted our attempt to cost cut meant that we didn’t spend as much times originally planned, in the Dana Reserve. It was beautiful and the Eco lodge sounded great even if expensive. In the event our scheduled 3-4 hour walk was less than 2 hours (including a cup of tea) and this was a pity.
Not sure whether that was because it had been raining and parts of the path a bit muddy, but it was a shame. Also the hotel in Shoback we stayed with the night before had its problems – certainly the least satisfactory place we stayed. It was virtually empty yet when we pointed out there were wet patches on the floor and that they had spread considerably while we were having dinner, the person we told just shrugged his shoulders and said “its raining and it is coming in under the balcony doors” (which was nonsense as the balcony floor was dry and one of the larger wet bits was in the middle of the floor). There was no offer to move us to another room or anything. Having said that, the food was good and more than plentiful. And the room very pleasant (except for the wet floor!)
Just one other disappointment and that was the camel ride in the desert was pretty meagre. A very young boy meandering along seemingly in circles. All very slowly with the camels (who did not look in good condition) endlessly stopping to nibble every pant we passed. The whole thing was only about 40 minutes rather than an hour. [This meagreness was emphasised by the contrast with the camel ride at Giza that members of our group took. This cost very little, they went at a pace at least quicker than a snail and gained what they described as a wonderful additional view of the pyramids]
The 4×4 ride however, was great. We did feel we got good value from this and we enjoyed staying in the camp (even if it was in cabins looking like beach huts, rather than the beduin tents we had expected) They were very friendly, cooked us delicious food etc. Very glad to have done this. And glad not to have had to leave before dawn.
Thanks for your part in what was a really great holiday.
Family C (with three children aged 3, 5 and 8 + grandparents)
Travelled October 2014
The trip was fabulous and definitely one of the best holidays we have done with the kids. It was the right pace for our family and mix in between travel, excursions and relaxing. All hotels were good quality and clean. The food was good too – breakfast and dinner. We wished for a heated pool a couple of times as the water was really cold, especially in Petra. The driver was nice although a bit pressing us the days of long drives.
The main comment we had on the trip is on the Aqaba part. As we didn’t have anything planned we followed the recommendation of the driver, which wasn’t the best with insight. We went in one of the glass boat for 3 hours for 150 JD. We didn’t know the port was so long so it took more than an hour for the small boat with an awfully smoky and smelly engine to get us to a reasonably decent place where we could snorkel, and after 20 min we had to get back for a long trip again. All of us felt quite disappointed after the high standards of the trip before. I would recommend that you provide guidance for the free time especially in Aqaba. We went to the red sea before on the Egyptian side, and it frankly doesn’t compare at all with the coral and quality of the sea we saw in Aquaba where things are really industrial and dirty. I guess a big boat to go out on the port at speed is key?
Starting saving for our next trip with you.
Family C (with four children aged 8, 8, 9 and 11)
Travelled Easter 2014 to Jordan and Egypt
Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you sooner. The details of coming home have swamped me, and I haven’t yet taken the necessary time to fully digest our trip and write the necessary follow-up emails and evaluations!
First of all, I’d like to thank you for everything you did to put our trip together for us. It was everything we had wanted and more. I guess the easiest thing for me to do would be to write a list of highlights/suggestions, so here we go:
**Your communication, planning, and pre-trip materials were all excellent and extremely informative.
**Scariest moment: landing in Cairo on Egypt Air – most out-of-control landing I’ve ever experienced!
**Cairo hotel and airport transport – perfectly fine.
**We met Sem-Sem the next morning, and that began 6 days of learning and fun in his good hands. He was absolutely perfect for us. Being an Egyptologist, a scout leader, a dad, and also young and energetic, he was always informative and fun. We felt completely safe with him. One of the nicest little perks of his service was that he took care of every single tip up front. He had made a long list of what they all would be, calculated it, and asked us for that money up front, and then wherever we went all week, he handed us an envelope with the tip in it. Honestly, tipping just stresses me out, and he completely removed that stress from the trip. He also helped us navigate the pushy salespeople and vendors by being firm but always respectful and kind.
**Our day at the Cairo Museum and Pyramids was great. We were practically alone at the pyramids, which was just amazing. Egypt Museum was a little creepy, being surrounded by military tanks, but SemSem put us at ease. And inside the museum itself was very cool.
**We loved the overnight train. Super fun.
**Dinner with the Nubian family, Philae Temple, various little boat rides, camel rides, and lastly our felucca ride were all great. **Hotels in Aswan and Luxor great.
I guess every detail of the Egypt portion was great. Use Sem Sem again, if you can. Really.
On to Jordan:
**Our driver, Ashraf, was very good. He really looked after us, talked to us about what he knew, even though he was not an official guide, was nice with the kids, kept us company when appropriate and left us some space as well. We didn’t have the same emotional connection to him that we did to Sem Sem, but he really grew on us, and by the end of the trip we were very fond of him.
**The Roman Ruins at Jerash were okay. They no longer do the chariot races, which we found out when we arrived, even though supposedly they haven’t been doing them for a long time, so it seems the tour company should have known that. It’s a cool site, but the local guide we got was pretty lame. We would have had more fun exploring it on our own, I think.
**The crusader castles we saw were really fun.
**The Amman hotel was nice. Excellent food.
**The Dead Sea swim was great. Lovely resort. Relaxing, nice place.
**Petra hotel was friendly but kind of dingy. We didn’t mind, but you might make a note of it for pickier travelers than us. Their food was okay, but their chef was particularly nice and did a lovely birthday cake and singing for our son who turned 10 while we were there.
**Our Petra guide was okay. We did learn some stuff from him, but again, it might have been better to be running around there on our own. The kids began to feel a little “guided-out.” We LOVED our day exploring Petra.
** The next day we ended up having some extra time in the morning and we stopped in for the second time to Little Petra, which the kids loved best of all. We even happened upon some archaeologists doing a dig near the Neolithic Site there at Little Petra. They welcomed the kids over and put tools in their hands and let them help out with the dig. It was an awesome spontaneous experience.
**The Wadi Rum desert drive was very cool. Every site we stopped at was special. The desert camp was perfect. And they too did a really nice job helping West celebrate his birthday.
**Ashraf drove us to the border, where we picked up some kind of border agent, who held our hand through the border station, and we walked into Israel. Couldn’t have been easier!
So again, thank you for everything, and I can assure you that I would highly recommend your services to anyone looking to do a trip like ours. It was the trip of a lifetime. Thank you!
Family T (with two children aged 11 and 15)
Travelled Easter 2014 to Jordan
Just wanted to write and say what a wonderful time we had in Jordan last week. The itinerary was excellent and our guide, Ali was the icing on the cake – so much so we will keep in touch with him. We were so impressed with the whole trip – from all the hotels – even at the Montreal Hotel in Shobak where we were the only guests! The only hiccup in the entire week was at the Raddison Blu hotel – the one we sourced ourselves where the check-in was horrendous.
Thank you again for providing such an inspiring trip – we did things that we would never have done – we will be happily recommending you and Jordan as a country to visit.
Family S (with two children aged 10 and 13)
Travelled Easter 2014 to Jordan
Apologies for the delay – we have been rushing around UK for the past week and have only just got home. We had a fantastic holiday and it all worked out really well. The kids had a great time and we will have some amazing memories for many years to come.
The following comments are all minor, so please take it all in the context of a great holiday that was extremely well planned by your team and your partners in Jordan.
1. Visa – all the guidebooks and advice say that the visa at the airport should be JD20. However, the customs official insisted on JD40 for each of us (a month visit) and wouldn’t have it that we were only there for 10 days. We couldn’t talk our way around it – he didn’t speak any English and was getting quite heated, so we ended up paying.
2. Amman was great and a day was long enough for the kids – Citadel, Amphitheatre, Souks, lunch at Hashem’s and then wander back to the hotel via the Mosque. We hired a guide at the citadel and paid JD25 – I think this was a little over the going rate, but we didn’t know any better; he was also better at French than English. Some advice on booking these would be helpful.
3. Jerash is a must see, and our guide was excellent. Get there early, as we did, especially on a Saturday if you want to avoid screaming school children. Ajlun Castle was fine – but we preferred others on the way round – especially Shobak. If we did this again, we might opt to go to one of the nature reserves nearby instead.
4. Mt Nebo, Madaba and Dead Sea all on the ‘must do’ list, and good to get these all into a single day. A minor frustration was that the only option for lunch was a buffet at the 5* resort on the dead sea, so ended up paying JD75 when all we really wanted was a kebab or ‘Shawarma’ from a roadside take away. Our guide/driver was excellent (see email below) but we did get the impression that they think that people on private tours and made of money and want to eat in 5* restaurants all the time – we prefer to eat what the locals eat but this was not always an option.
5. The hotel (Montreal) in Shobak was fine – food less good than some of the others, but made up for many times over by the view of the castle. We loved Shobak castle, and would recommend any family goes there with torches to explore the many caverns and tunnels.
6. Dana was a highlight for us. We would definitely recommend having a guide – we had not pre-booked one and were very lucky to get one on the day we turned up. Most guides seem to be pre-booked and leave at about 8 am, so turning up at 9am was risky. We did a 3 hour walk booked through our driver via ‘a man at a Dana Hotel’ – and saw everything we needed, and more, including a family of Ibex!
7. Petra – outstanding as expected. Hotel and food good. Our specialist guide in Petra was pretty good – he pushed us quite hard and it was probably a little fast for the kids who were exhausted by early afternoon. Not a major problem and after a nice lunch we had more energy and could amble back at our own pace. We would certainly recommend going to the High Place of Sacrifice and the Monastery. The additional trip round the back of Petra would have been an extra JD30 and we think that would have been too much for the kids especially at the pace the guide was setting.
8. Cycle to Little Petra was really good and the effort to get there made the site even more worth a visit. The guy with the bikes followed/led all the way which was really useful, especially as there is a big hill on the way back that not everyone was able to cycle up – 2 went in the van. Highly recommended for active families but noting that it is not easy! We had an afternoon off in Petra and we really needed it by then as we were all quite tired.
9. Wadi Rum was excellent – the 4 hour jeep trip was very memorable and the kids would go back to Jordan just to have another go a ‘Dune Running’. Wonderful scenery and it got even better at the campsite in the evening where we all gathered for sunset over the Wadi. 1 hour camel ride the following morning was really good – and for bottoms that are unaccustomed to camel saddles, an hour is long enough!
10. Aqaba. We booked a snorkelling trip for the afternoon through the company you suggested – it ended up as JD48 for the 4 of us, including transport from the hotel in town to the beaches, equipment hire and about 3 hours in the sea. Great value, and loads to see – the ‘Japanese Garden’ being a particularly good reef. If snorkelling from the beach, you certainly need beach shoes. The following day we took the boat trip as booked, and was an excellent way to finish off the holiday. A gentle cruise out, some good snorkelling off another reef and then back to the resort for an excellent lunch.
11. The airport hotel was good, and a good option prior to flying out the next morning.
12. Tipping. As ever, we found the tipping culture very difficult and we probably ended up over-tipping in order not to cause offence. Ashraf the driver/guide gave us some advice, but we still never quite got the hang of it. With the guide in Dana, I think we made a minor faux pas by paying the guide rather than Ashraf, but there was quite a lot of wheeler-dealing afterwards in order that everyone/anyone involved got their cut.
All in all a fantastic holiday. It was everything we expected and was also great family time. I would have no hesitation in booking through Stubborn Mule again in the future.
This is probably a longer email that I expected to write, or that you needed! Please let me know if you need anything else
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Jordan in pictures
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