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.
Jaggi Family (with children aged 6 and 8)
Travelled Christmas 2019
Dear Jane – We had a fantastic time in Jordan, everybody absolutely loved it! Our driver Ziad was great and helped a lot. For the kids the highlights were: floating in the Dead Sea, exploring castles (Shobak was our favourite), riding a camel in Wadi Rum and climbing around in Petra. The Red Sea was too cold, so the beach time ended up to be only about 10 min : ). We didn’t mind that at all, but were happy we had only 1 night in Aqaba instead of 2. The hot springs in Ma’in were also very nice, especially now in winter, and the Wadi is spectacular. Thank you for organising this trip! We are actually now already thinking about our next holiday…
Petrow Family (with children aged 8, 9 & 11)
Travelled October 2019
The trip was fantastic, we really enjoyed it. There was something for everyone and it felt like a real adventure. The organisation was all perfect and our driver/guide was fantastic. We were really happy with all of your service and I have already mentioned your company to a couple of friends. We are thinking about Asia for Easter so I’ll be back in touch soon to discuss!
Lampitt Family (with children aged 9, 11 & 13)
Travelled October 2019
Hi Kelly – We had a wonderful holiday from start to finish with so many highlights along the way and we’re immensely grateful to you and the team for looking after everything so well and making the whole trip so easy and hassle-free… Please do feel free to pass on our thanks and compliments to the local team as well… I can only say that we have raved about the trip and the country and already recommended it to many others as well as giving you guys all the credit for putting everything together so well for us.
Bilal and Taher (our drivers) were superb, super friendly, very helpful, knowledgeable and just charming people and great with the kids. They could not have been a better advert for the country and its people…
Day in Petra was fantastic and we covered a lot of ground on foot! You may know that there is a horse-ride on the entrance/exit but when we came out at approx 530pm (closes at 6pm) the horses had already finished for the day – something worth noting for others as the kids were on their last legs at this point and hoping for a bit of help to get them over the line home!..
Night Camp – very nice although if you feedback anything to them directly, I would tell them that they had way too many bright lights on around the camp through the evening which actually made star-gazing less effective. Great camel ride in the morning which we all loved…
Dead Sea – the drive took a bit longer than expected and we also missed the fact that the clocks went back the night before so we actually should have left earlier to maximise the time at the Dead Sea (we left at 9 but didn’t arrive until about 1.30pm and the sunset was at 5pm due to the clocks). But v nice place, good food and an amazing experience to finish the trip.
I’ll get some photos together (we took a lot!) and send over in a separate email – and then I’ll be back in touch about the next holiday! Borneo, Belize/Guatemala, and African safari are the current favourites… :-). Thank you again Kelly – I’ll drop a comment into the google review for you and look forward to being back in touch soon.
Mawdsley Family (with children aged 10 & 13)
Travelled October 2019
Hi Caroline. We had a fantastic trip to Jordan – thanks for all your help in organising it. The itinerary was pretty much perfect for us – enough action but also some downtime for us all to relax. Being able to fly into Amman and back from Aqaba worked particularly well. Our driver, Ahmad, was superb, so please do pass on our thanks to him.
He was always exactly where he said he would be at the agreed time, and drove perfectly. He was also a great source of advice and knowledge. Having someone to advocate for us at hotels and restaurants and the various sites we visited made the whole holiday much more relaxing – we knew we had someone who would sort out any problems.
Highlights of the trip for us were exploring the ruins at Jerash, floating on the Dead Sea, the donkey ride to the monastery in Petra and walking in the Wadi Dana.
D’Arjuzon Family (children aged 9 & 11)
Travelled October half term 2019
Hi Kelly – Just wanted to check in following our return from our fabulous Jordan trip for half term. We had the most wonderful time and wanted to thank you so much for organising it for us – everything went like clockwork and children and adults alike lived every minute of it!
I know you like a few details so here you go:
Arrival – being met before visa desk on arrival was really helpful and pretty smooth which was nice as it was late and the kids a little grumpy!
Night one and two – the hotel was the ideal choice for us in the end – welcoming and familiar but also friendly. We had a quick dip in the outdoor pool (note kids not allowed in inside pool) and I even used the jet lag to have a relaxing early morning swim in the spa on my own – nice. The chef at breakfast even invited C into the bread station and taught her to make flatbreads, which she made and cooked in front of us (and several intrigued business travellers).
The day trip to Jerash and the castle were good – our driver (Hani) was perfect, stopping en route to take the children with him to buy fresh pomegranates, which we munched in the car. The castle was good and Jerash spectacular. Only thing is for some reason we didn’t get lunch until after both visits which was pretty late (4ish) – not sure what happened to the idea of picnic – but anyway after that we became more assertive and everything fine. No chariot racing happening unfortunately but just wandering around and discovering the amphitheatre and various other gems was amazing. We ate that night in the Lebanese restaurant in the hotel as we were on half board and it was truly amazing – definitely recommend that, plus people watching the glitterati of Amman was fun.
Visit to Karak – this was fun and very quiet. Had a good explore and a nice local lunch in the town before going to Petra. Hani stopped en route to show us various beauty spots and points of interest that was good. Good hotel – super friendly staff and directly outside Petra. Used the pool again and then had dinner in a local restaurant recommended by Hani.
Visit to Petra – we had a full day and it was fab. 3 hours with guide was plenty for us – enough to learn the basics but then free to go at our own pace. I would say one day is plenty if the kids are good walkers – we saw everything (including climb to Monastery) and explored all over and took horses back up the last stretch.
Next day – Hani kindly added in an additional trip to Little Petra the next morning which was nice – not too long but very quiet so that was a good chance to get a different atmosphere plus you go via the new Bedouin village and get to see how they live (combine donkey travel while watching YouTube on a mobile 🙂 ).
We then pushed on to Wadi Rum (Hani picked us up more fab local snacks en route – goats milk bread). Wadi Rum was brilliant and a real highlight – the 4×4 trip was lots of fun, we stopped and went sand boarding (really fun but utterly exhausting walking up the dunes – seems I’m not as fit as I thought I was) and then stopped to watch the sunset. Our guide was nice and walked the kids up to the rock bridge as neither of us fancied it….The night at camp was really atmospheric with the Bedouin meal and the tents super luxurious. We then went for the sunrise camel trek which was another highlight.
Aqaba – given we were up early for the camels we got here by 9 so that meant we got 3 full days relaxing which was nice. Kids loved the pools etc and we went snorkelling and joined in the various sporting activities they provided such as water polo, volleyball and yoga. Atmosphere and staff at the hotel were really friendly. Food wasn’t amazing (v generic international buffet) but ok for a few days.
Dead Sea – last day was here. Fun to experience floating around and the mud and get the photos but obviously you don’t need long here. Timing worked for us given early flight next day but if you had a later flight I would suggest just a call in for a dip would be enough.
Return to the airport very smooth.
Thanks again for a fabulous trip.
Family T (children aged 9 & 11)
Travelled Easter 2019
Hi Kelly – We had the most amazing time in Jordan. Thanks so much for all your help and advice. Everything worked very easily and smoothly and we felt completely safe and well looked-after the whole time we were there. Petra was a real day to remember but Wadi Rum was just as good and spending a night there really gave us some time to appreciate the breathtaking scenery. The girls really enjoyed a day to bob-about in the Dead Sea.
Jerash was beautiful and manageable in a few hours visit but ruins rival the forum in Rome and Pompeii in terms of being able to visualise a Roman city.
Our driver Tariq was lovely and obviously very keen to show off his country, he was very keen to help and we would certainly recommend him. We are not used to being driven round on tours like this and so to be honest it took a little getting used to, I think we took a while to work out that we needed to be a bit assertive about what we did and did not want to do (there was a certain amount of stopping at rest stops that were essentially souvenir shops where we sometimes had to point out that we didn’t really want to buy anything!)
In fact though he showed us far more than we had agreed on the itinerary, which worked well. He added stops at Mount Nebo and Madaba to see the wonderful mosaics and we managed to make time to stop at Shobak Castle on the way down to Petra, which was very atmospheric in the dying sun and left us arriving in Wadi Musa at sunset which was beautiful.
We also stopped at Wadi Rum station where there is a steam train set up as for the days of the Hejaz railway in the first world war (although it looked to be in remarkably good nick to be ‘one of the trains blown up by Lawrence of Arabia’ as suggested by out driver… so we took this with a pinch of salt!!!)
A few things that we found as we went round which may be useful:
At the time of year we went there seem to be vast variations in temperature (Petra close to freezing the day we went and the Dead Sea 36 degrees!) so packing for all eventualities was sensible! Initially we would have liked it to be a bit warmer at Petra but in fact the colder weather meant that we could cover the whole site in a (long) day and we could get up to the Monastery and beyond and also climb behind the Royal tombs to get a view of the treasury from above. Our girls (nearly 10 and 12) are reasonably active and managed this walking pretty easily in the weather we had but I think the temperature went up to the mid 20s there on other days and I suspect that we would have struggled to cover that much ground if it were that warm so 2 full days at Petra might be worthwhile for people keen to see everything at a more leisurely pace.
We found the Petra Palace to be absolutely fine for 2 nights (all of us in the same room and very close to the entry to Petra). I think some of the negative reviews on Trip Advisor etc were a bit overdone and we were expecting a bit of a dive when we arrived but it was perfectly clean for us and bearing in mind its just somewhere to rest for the night we were really glad we didn’t pay for a more expensive hotel. The night we arrived we went tot he Cave Bar near the entrance to the site, which was good fun, with good food and reasonable prices for food and alcohol.
The resort in Aqaba (Movenpick) was clean and spacious but very busy. It is also worth saying that it was pretty windy and we got the impression that tis was not uncommon, making the sea a bit choppy and meaning that our youngest was not able to do a trial dive in the sea but just in the pool (we tried to confirm before we went if we would all be able to sub-dive in the sea and had the impression that we would so it would be worth bearing the potential for rougher seas if people were particularly keen for the children to dive). There was plenty to do for a couple of days though and it was nice to get a rest after all the site-seeing. The pools were great.
The Movenpick at the Dead Sea was well worth the upgrade to and it also had nice pools and views with very comfortable rooms and great access to the Dead Sea with very helpful lifeguards down by the water who were very friendly. It was also great to be quite close to the airport as the BA flight leaves at 8am and there are multiple security checks at the airport so you are advised to be there at least 3 hours before departure…..
All in all it’s been one of the best trips we have done and we are recommending you to all of our friends. Jordan is a great place to go with the children and the only problem you have caused us is trying to decide where to go next but I think its very likely that we will want to book through you for our next adventure!!
Thanks so much for all your help and patience when we were organising it all, it was all we had hoped for and so much more.
Payne Family (with children aged 10 & 12)
Travelled Easter 2019
Dear Kelly – Thank you very much for organising our trip to Jordan. Overall we had an excellent adventure that we all found educational and full of special experiences. We will certainly be recommending Jordan and Stubborn Mule to friends. Jordan is a fantastic adventurous country. We enjoyed the itinerary and were glad we had some relaxation time in Aqaba… Tariq who drove us on many of the journeys was really kind and attentive. He went out of his way to look after us and he took us to local shops when we asked him to, thus giving us more experience of Jordanian life. We are now enjoying looking at our photos of a very memorable holiday.
Howard Family (parents, grandparents and children aged 2 & 5)
Travelled December 2018
Just a quick note to let you know that we loved our trip, thanks a million for all your help. We were just very happy, and the driver was fantastic, thanks again! We would definitely recommend your services to friends in the future!
Hinchliffe Family (with children aged 5 & 9)
Travelled October Half Term 2018
Hello Kelly. We had a fantastic time thank you! All in all a brilliant family adventure – Petra and Wadi Rum definite highlights.
Family P (with children aged 13 & 17)
Travelled October Half Term 2018
We had a really great trip! It was a real inspiration and we all really enjoyed it. All of us agree without doubt that trekking in the Wadi Run desert was the best thing of the week. The 4×4 and the camel were fun, but to be walking on our own with just the Bedouin guide felt like a real family adventure.
Melcher Family (with children aged 8, 14 & 16)
Travelled October 2018
Hi Liddy – Just wanted to say we had a wonderful, memorable holiday in Jordan. We arrived after a very comfortable flight (Royal Jordanian are great, kids delighted by movies and free food and drink!). Next day we were met by our first driver Mohammed who was an absolute star. Please feed back to your colleagues in Jordan. He was so smiley and friendly, and great with T, our 8 year old – thanks to him the journeys were manageable however long.
The Kings Highway took a lot longer than I’d thought but was worth it… The stops were fascinating even for the teens! and the view magnificent. The lunch stop was great, high in the mountains. The kids were not bored, even for a second.
When we arrived in Petra Palace Hotel, they couldn’t find our booking and kept us waiting 30 mins even though supper ended at 9.30! They served us after the food had finished, but it wasn’t great. the rooms were small, a bit grubby and no wifi. The following day they moved us to the renovated side of the hotel and it was much nicer – highly recommend your clients try and get these rooms.
Petra itself was amazing. We only spent a half day because everyone was tired, but it was amazing. the kids loved the donkey ride and horse and carriage ride. Our guide was good.
In the afternoon A and J went and had a Hamman and T tried to swim but it was freezing!
We sadly said goodbye to Mohammed and our new driver Bilal drove us to Wadi Rum. The space village was fantastic! So comfortable, great food, friendly staff. Highly recommended. This was the highlight of the trip. The jeep ride was great, the kids loved going fast down sand dunes! The early morning camel ride to watch the sunset was an experience we all loved and will remember forever.
Aqaba was lovely and relaxing… we swam, relaxed and read. we didn’t venture out!
…Overall it was amazing and I’m so glad we did it. I can’t understand why more people don’t visit Jordan. It’s a fascinating country and the people are friendly and hospitable – plus they love kids (though T found it odd that the drivers would come up and hug and kiss her, but she got used to it)
I’m now looking ahead to my 50th birthday in the summer and hoping we can do another adventure with you!
Kilchofer Family (with children aged 6 & 8)
Travelled October 2018
Everything in Jordan went really well. Everyone was very helpful and Bilal was an excellent driver – not fast at all 🙂 There was even someone to meet us at the southern border crossing, which we weren’t expecting. It all went very smoothly. Thanks again for all your time, help and support!
Birnie Family (with children aged 12 & 14)
Travelled October Half Term 2018
Helene – Thank you for checking in with us on the holiday. I’d have to say that overall it was excellent and we all thoroughly enjoyed it!… Thank you for all your help and advice in organising our trip, which is one of our favourites. I have recommended you to many friends already and hope they book with you in future!
Here is some specific feedback which we hope helps you/others:
– Visa and airport process very quick! Transfer to hotel was smooth and fast, which we appreciated given it was late!
– Hotel in Amman was excellent (albeit a short stay), but we would recommend this.
– Driver (Bilal) was great – courteous, friendly, good English and helpful.
– Local travel company – helpful and friendly, including guide to Jarash and with clarification over the camp in Wadi Rum. We found them responsive and very good English
– Jarash – our guide (sorry forgot his name) was extremely knowledgeable and made the visit very interesting for us all. He made a real effort to engage the children which we appreciated (teenagers are not easy to please at times!) He was also flexible about our plans and adapted to meet our needs.
– Hotel at the Dead Sea – excellent again. We really enjoyed our stay here and would recommend as a minimum an overnight stay plus a full morning to make the most of it.
– Madaba, Mount Nebo and Karak – we enjoyed these “stop-off” points on our journey to Petra, as they broke up the journey.
– Petra – this was part of the trip was amazing and exceeded all of our expectations! It was just incredible to see the Treasury, etc and we were glad to have the day and a half here. We also enjoyed seeing Little Petra on our way to Wadi Rum.
– Wadi Rum – the activities here were great! We were so pleased we had chosen to do both safaris, as they were different and one would not have been enough. Also the camel ride was one of the highlights for the children. Abu-Rad, our bedouin guide was friendly, fun and spoke excellent English, so we had a great time with him. The camp was very nice and clean and the food was good… Also, the communal seating area around the camp fires, with hot tea, music and lights as a backdrop on the mountains was fun at night.
– Aqaba – we enjoyed the stay here to relax at the end of our trip. The hotel was good, if a little tired in places. However, the rooms were great, the food was nice and varied and they also had an excellent Italian restaurant, which we enjoyed on a couple of nights. We all enjoyed the pools and beach (which was stoney getting into the sea, so you’d need water shoes) and we enjoyed a snorkelling trip organised by the hotel, which was fun – such a lot to see under the water!
Would do differently:
– Petra – the hotel was comfortable but very basic and I would not call it a 4 star, it is 3 star at best. The food was very limited and the rooms were very tired (albeit large) and there was no pool or any other facilities, so we would not stay here again, except that the location was very good being next to the entrance.
– Wadi Rum… I wish we had known about the option of the space tents, as we would have chosen these. It is worth mentioning to people that there is this option – the children would have loved to be in one of these.
Thank you for all your help and advice in organising our trip, which is one of our favourites.
Wongkhwan Family (no kids)
Travelled Easter 2018
Dear Liddy – I just want to thank you so much for this trip!! It was ABSOLUTELY AMAAAAAAZING!!! We loved it! My friend was so happy and we have not stopped talking about it. We loved Wadi Rum and we loved Mohamed, the man who cooked and cleaned everything at the camp! He was so amazing!!
Travelled Easter 2018 – Egypt and Jordan
Hi Liddy – I just wanted to make contact on return to say thank you for organising such a wonderful trip. Your colleagues in Egypt looked after us really well. Our guide, Ibrahim, was wonderful and we loved spending time with him. We got on so well and had a great laugh; we have made a new friend! He is extremely knowledgeable about the history but we also enjoyed discussions about politics and issues facing both Egypt and the UK.
La Bedouina in Jordan were also great. Our driver Naim was lovely, so kind and generous and also very knowledgeable having a degree in Byzantine studies! We were offered, and accepted, a free upgrade on the Bedouin camp and stayed at Wadi Rum Space Village Luxury Camp. This was amazing, nicer than some hotels. This for me was a highlight and I want to return and spend longer. They have a facebook page but I can send photos for reference if that helps.
In both countries I was really impressed with how smoothly everything ran. We never had to wait for transport, bookings were organised, everyone was expecting us, we felt like royalty!
In summary I would thoroughly recommend the whole experience and I will be telling all my friends to go. Before travelling lots of people were saying “ooh it’s so dangerous” but we felt safe the whole time. The locals were always friendly; they enjoyed the banter as much as we did! I can’t wait to return.
I look forward to working with you again in the future.
Marlow Family (with children aged 6 and 8)
Travelled Easter 2018
Thanks again so much for organising the trip to Jordan, possibly our best family holiday ever. We loved it. Highlights for the girls included the 8 year old’s first dive in the Red Sea, the 4×4 and the camels in Wadi Rum, Roman towns to wander around in and all the tea and hospitality from the locals. For the adults all of the above, plus the walks in Dana/Feynan, stargazing, Petra, the food… What a wonderful country, we should have gone years ago.
Ruane Family (with children aged 7 and 10)
Travelled Easter 2018
Hi Lee – Some detailed feedback for you…. The chap who met us and ushered us through immigration was super. Tip for future families is that cheapest way to change money is at exchange offices, not by getting cash from a cashpoint (which charge in addition to any bank charges from your own bank).
I would recommend anyone who is into the history to get a guide for Jerash. We didn’t and regretted this a bit. This site was truly amazing, we were really impressed.
Dead Sea cycle trip
This wasn’t really suitable for the kids. They didn’t have a bike small enough for A (135cm is really the minimum size) – H could do a bit of the flat riding at the end and she enjoyed that. We liked it and the kids rode down the hillside in the car.
Dana / Feynan
Both these locations were amazing, loved both lodges. Could possibly have spent an extra night at Feynan had we had time, there were quite a lot of organised things to do.
It would have been better to go to Shobak I think on the way to Petra rather than on the last day (also see below) to split up the castles. The hotel in Petra is the only one we didn’t really like… Rooms themselves were spacious and fine and location was good, just felt not so nice as the other places.
All our guides at Dana, Petra, Wadi Rum were great. Even got A on the camel with no fuss. Wadi Rum – the trek part was a bit pointless – there were lots of things to visit with little walks involved and that would have been better to take the jeep to these rather than the couple of hours we were traipsing through hot sand only – though probably rather good exercise at least! We loved the desert – T declared it better than Petra, though I disagreed.
Hotel was good, kids loved the pools. Very Russian heavy – unsure if just time of year and there was a lot of fruit theft from the buffet! Nice little marina and we took a good glass bottomed boat trip. Failed to read the beach sign saying there were stonefish and scorpion fish(!) but no mishaps. No idea why and no explanation, but our driver arrived 1.45 hours late on the last day for the big drive. That meant we couldn’t visit both castles on the way and annoying as if we’d have known it would have been easy enough to have a last swim or so.
Shobak with the escape tunnel was the one we chose and this was super. Kids could dress up with helmets and swords and they will remember the tunnel I think for a long time.
Holmes Family (with children aged 12 and 14)
Travelled New Year 2017/18
Hi Lee – The trip was outstanding with a perfect mix of history/culture and fun activities for the kids. The variety of accommodation also added to the excitement – especially the night in the desert. Particular highlights were the cycle ride, bobbing about in the Dead Sea, Petra, Wadi Rum and the Red Sea. We were very glad we upgraded and extended for an extra day in Aqaba as this gave us the chance to go snorkelling off a boat which the kids thought was the best bit.
The organisation of drivers and guides was great, with daily communication with your local representative. All vehicles were in excellent repair and the drivers were all punctual and courteous. If I was going to be negative in anyway, then the bike ride day would have been better if we could have visited the church in Madaba instead of the mosaic factory (which was quite a hard sell), and had a chance to stop at mount Nebo.
That said it was a truly amazing trip, which I would thoroughly recommend to other families with actives teens.
Manser Family (with children aged 6 and 8)
Travelled October Half Term 2017
Hi Kelly – Thanks for the email. The good news is that the trip was amazing! Some tips for you/up to date information…
Aqaba is currently a huge building site and is frankly very ugly and lacking in attractions. I am sure it was lovely once upon a time and will be fancy in the future but right now unless you want to dive, dive and dive it is best avoided.
Dana Eco Lodge has a new wing with en suite family rooms and a shower with perhaps the best view in the world. However for walking and doing things with the kids you still need to take a ride down Rummana Campsite.
Petra at Night: This has become an overly commercial spectacle and the limit on the number of tickets sold has been lifted to be as many as they can fit in so the air is full of dust from the thousands of feet. I’d almost say avoid it as Petra is better by day. Think instagram images versus reality!
Mövenpick in Aqaba was lovely and very friendly. We learnt that from 8-years old, children can try diving within the PADI system. Our daughter tried it and loved it!
Hotel Toleda in Amman was also very nice but for mum and dad there is no chance to buy a beer.
Finally in Jordan a lot of people approach you to sell you things. A polite “No Thank You” is the right answer when you are not interested. Anything else will be taken as a Yes and they will keep going and start making arrangement for you, which they will expect you to keep and pay for! However the magic No Thank You will usually be met with a smile, a handshake, a no problem and everyone can go on with their trip without hassle.
Christison Family (with children aged 8 and 12)
Travelled Easter 2017
We got back yesterday and I wanted to let you know how much I and my family enjoyed it. Everything was wonderful, the beautiful countryside, the ancient monuments and the seaside at Aqaba. Everything went to plan, no mean feat with so many moving parts. Most of all, the driver, Mahmood, could not have been better. He was a real gentleman to me, my wife and the children, great company and an excellent driver. Sorry to be back to reality today!
Bhagat Family (two adults)
Travelled February 2017
Dear Liddy – Just a brief note to say thank you for organising our Jordan trip perfectly in every way. We throughly enjoyed the beautiful Jordan experience.
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.
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
Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.
Jordan in pictures
Talk with our friendly team about your family travel needs.