Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum, also known as the Valley of the Moon, is a natural wonder located in the heart of Jordan. This desert of red sand and majestic granite mountains offers a unique experience for travelers seeking adventure and beauty. Its name derives from the Arabic word “wadi”, which means valley, and “Rum”, in honor of a biblical character. Despite the challenging, with temperatures that can exceed 45°C in summer, this place has been inhabited for millennia.

Wadi Rum offers a variety of exciting activities such as trekking, climbing, jeep tours, camel rides and stargazing. To end the day, you can spend the night in a Bedouin camp and enjoy a traditional dinner under the starry canopy. Although you can explore most places in one day, I recommend setting aside at least 1 or 2 days to fully explore the beauty of Wadi Rum during your visit to Jordan.

Wadi Rum is home to the highest point in Jordan, Jabal Umm ad Dami, from where you can see the Red Sea and the border with Saudi Arabia on clear days. This vast desert has also been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011.

History of Wadi Rum

The formation of Wadi Rum dates back to millions of years of geological evolution and was introduced to the Western world by T.E. Lawrence, better known as ‘Lawrence of Arabi’. Additionally, the region has been inhabited by nomads for thousands of years, with the Bedouins in particular having a long history in the area. Ancient civilizations like the Nabataeans and the Romans, also left their mark on the area through inscriptions, petroglyphs and works of architecture.

When to go

Wadi Rum can reach high temperatures making it especially hot during the summer months. While you can still visit between June and September, I would recommend going from March to May or even September to November, when the temperatures are not so extreme. On the other hand, if you want to avoid the crowds, you can explore Wadi Rum in the winter months and enjoy the cold temperatures. 

Getting to Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is easily accessible via car or bus. You can take a taxi from Amman, which is where most people arrive to Jordan, or from Petra ($50 or so) or even rent a car. If you choose the latter, you will be asked to park your car in Rum Village’s large car park, which is free and secure, and move your belongings. The trip from Amman to Wadi Rum is approximately 4 hours, as there are no direct buses connecting Amman to Wadi Rum.

If  you are traveling through Jordan by public transport, you can take the Bus from Wadi Musa in Petra ($10) or Aqaba to reach Rum Village, the entrance to Wadi Rum. In my case, I booked a tour in advance.  They took care of everything, including transportation from Amman and accommodation in the desert.

To  enter the protected area of Wadi Rum it is necessary to pay a fee, which is charged to all visitors who enter the desert. It works to support local Bedouin communities and protect Wadi Rum.
The current rates (From July 2023) are:

  • 5 JOD per international visitor.
  • 1 JOD per Jordanian.
  • 0.5 JOD per Jordanian student.
  • Children under 12 years old are free.

I would recommend purchasing the Jordan Pass if you plan to visit more places like Petra (Petra + Wadi Rum), since it will be cheaper than paying for them separately.

What to bring to Wadi Rum

The camps in Wadi Rum are self-sufficient, so you don’t need to bring anything other than your clothes and personal items. However, I would recommend bringing a flashlight if you plan to get up during the night or at dusk. It would also be wise to bring layering clothing, as temperatures tend to drop once the sun goes down.
Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and make sure you wear comfortable shoes. It is also important to have water with you, especially due to the high desert temperatures during the day.

The Food

I only had breakfast and dinner included with my tour I chose. For dinner, they surprised us with an authentic Bedouin barbecue called zarb, which is basically a multi-tiered stand with meat, in our case chicken, which cooked underground in a small pit. I seriously can’t describe how delicious it was! Our breakfast was a basic buffet, but still very unique and tasty.
Additionally, they offered us ‘Bedouin’ tea, which is a unique blend of black tea, cardamom, sage and other ingredients. It was strong but delicious, this drink is a true tradition among the Bedouins. Most places offer a similar dinner or lunch, so I would recommend trying it at least once. It is a unique culinary experience that you cannot miss.

What to see in Wadi Rum

Sand dunes wadi rum

The sand dunes of Wadi Rum

These sand dunes are one of the main attractions of this desert region in Jordan, famous for their beauty and unique shapes, some reach up to 100 meters in height. You can do some sand-boarding as well, it is extremely fun!

Lawrence Spring

Located at the highest part of the nature reserve, Lawrence Spring offers a panoramic view of the region and is famous for its relationship with Thomas Edward Lawrence. Also known as T.E. Lawrence, this character was a British soldier and writer who played an important role in the Arab Revolt of 1916 against the Ottoman Empire. For this reason, he was used as a base during the Arab Revolt.

Anfishiyyeh Inscriptions

The Anfishiyyeh Inscriptions are Thamudic and Nabataean petroglyphs that date back more than 12,000 years. It is known that these signs were carved into the rock by the Bedouins and Nabataeans, who lived in the region during ancient times.

Burdah Rock Bridge

This bridge is stone arch was sculpted by millennia of erosion, which is why it rises majestically above the rocky landscape.

Mushroom Rock

Mushroom Rock is an impressive rock formation in Wadi Rum, famous for is distinguished unique mushroom shape, with a round head on top of a rock stalk, created by the erosion of winds and rain on layers of sedimentary rock.

Khazali Canyon

Khazali Canyon is approximately 100 meters long, a canyon located in the most remote part of the desert It features Nabatean petroglyphs, representating human beings and animals on the walls.
. It is advisable to hire a local guide to obtain additional information about the history and culture of the region.

The Hejaz Train wadi rum

The Hejaz Train

The Hejaz Train is a historical relic and a symbol of the golden era of rail transportation in the Middle East. Built at the beginning of the 20th century by the Ottomans, this railway dazzled travelers with its mountainous and desert landscapes. This fascinating piece of railway heritage connected Damascus in Syria to Medina in Saudi Arabia, via Jordan. Although it is no longer fully operational, some sections have been restored.

Wondering what to wear or when to go? Check our Jordan guide to discover more!

Check Jordan Travel Guide

Tours in Wadi Rum


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