The Dead Sea; the lowest point on earth where nothing lives and floating is your only option.
Accessed from the Jordan side it can be visited as part of a day trip from Amman, nearby Madaba, Wadi Musa (the town to access PETRA) or you can choose to spend a few expensive fly-swatting nights and days there.
It IS touristy, but it IS an experience. As you wind your way down the scenery of rolling hills, glimpses of the sea, Bedouin tents and herds of goats make for great viewing as you feel the temperature getting hotter and hotter.
There’s a choice of experiences; a public beach with showers (you really want to wash the stuff off, it’s almost like a thin layer of slime) with food and drinks on offer for 10JD. Sometimes you can get these as part of a day trip deal if you ask your organiser/hotel to book ahead and it can be cheaper. Or you can get day passes to some of the top hotels, but just check beforehand that they’ll take you on the weekend (Friday/Saturday in Jordan).
I stayed at the Mujib Chalets, which feature a few small apartments with hammocks with steps down to pretty much your own private beach (that has showers).
It’s a quiet place, the sea was void of people so I was able to take a floating selfie without feeling too embarrassed (!). There isn’t much of a beach though – more rocks and sea – but what you do have is a people-less place to explore.
In the evening, from any of the hotels, you can watch the sunset over the Gaza Strip.
MUD. Cover yourself and then wash it off. And repeat until you’re done. Can be found on the shores of the water. I didn’t find any at Mujib Chalets, though I didn’t look that hard – seems to be a lot easier to find along the main stretch of hotels/public beaches.
Accommodation options aren’t cheap, and no matter how much you’re paying you’ll still have to deal with the flies. They’re everywhere. So either sit in front of a fan or take a helluva lot of spray.
If you have a car, make sure you drive the full length of the sea as the landscape changes as you move from end to end, from low villages, rolling yellow hills to rocky canyons.
Finally, make sure you hurry and visit in this lifetime. If reports are to be believed, in the next 50 years there’ll be nothing left …
When visited: April
Weather: Warm. T-shirt and shorts (or equivalent!). Not very breezy down by the sea.
Further information: Visit as part of a day trip from Amman, or from Madaba. In high-season, or if in demand, one of the hotels runs a bus to the Dead Sea. At the time I was there it wasn’t running but it’s worth asking at your hotel. Also, ask other travellers and you can share a taxi journey.
Mujib Chalets offers the doorway to the RSCN‘s Nature Reserve which is right on its doorstop.
Jordan Tower Hostel/Hotel offers affordable group trips to the Dead Sea from Amman.