Jordan - anyone visited recently with young kids?(25 Posts)
We're contemplating a private tour to see Karak, Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea. Have a fairly energetic 2 year old who's a good walker. Has anyone travelled to the area with young kids? Any advice?
No. However my DD went last Autumn and trekked for 6 hours 2 days running to see sights in and around Petra. (Which was fantastic). She also went everywhere else you are thinking of. You need a good 2 year old to actually get the most out of such a holiday when most 2 year old just want sea and sand to play with. Lots of travelling and really an adult holiday in my view. What would your 2 year old get out of it?
Jordan’s an amazing country, but I don’t know how great of a holiday it would be kids that young. The places you’ve mentioned aren’t particularly child friendly (very hot in the summer, a lot of walking, can’t drink the tap water etc) and at that age she wouldn’t get any benefit out of it.
You should definitely take her there one day, but wait until she’s old enough to appreciate it.
I loved Jordan, one of the best holidays I’ve ever had
I've just spent a week in Aqaba with 22m DS. We considered day trips to Petra and Wadi Rum but it was snowing and would be such a hassle with a pram, or carrying a 15kg child in a carrier. Petra is a lot of walking and quite uneven steps, I wouldn't want DS on my back.
I love Jordan and am considering it for a long weekend in autumn. I went with my mum years ago but have held off taking the kids because I think they really do need to be older for them to appreciate it. However, in my experience a 2 year old rarely appreciates anywhere you take them so you might as well go where you want to go if you think your toddler will manage it. I would say that the Jordanians are lovely people and the Bedouin are very welcoming so your toddler would be well spoilt by the locals. However, here are my thoughts on Jordan with a 2yo.
Firstly, I remember a lot of driving to fit in all the sites. Jordan is a small country and there is much temptation to try and fit everything in, but a 'short drive' can sometimes mean 4 hours of driving across fairly featureless desert.
Petra is amazing, but it is a kilometre walk from the entrance of the Siq to the Treasury (the first building you come across.) I would say in order to see most of the sights here you would be walking about 6 or 7 miles in a day, and climbing some hefty mountain paths. We went at a cooler time of year but it was still very hot and quite strenuous. A 2 year old would not walk round Petra, so you'd miss out seeing the full site.
Wadi Rum is fabulous too, but it's more driving, and unless your toddler is big on deserts, Lawrence of Arabia, and rock formations its likely to be another boring day. At the Bedouin camp on the evening s/he would be treated like royalty though.
Aqaba is really only a great destination for the keen scuba diver. The beaches are rocky and steep, you gain entry to the sea to snorkel via floating pontoons which have lion fish (poisonous) lurking under them.
The Dead Sea is great fun and I can see how a toddler would have a good time here, but the salt stings so make sure s/he doesnt have any cuts or gets the water in their eyes.
Karak is impressive but a long drive from anywhere.
Jerash is also impressive and is much closer to Amman, so you could stay in a resort style hotel and still get out there for the day, same with Mount Nebo, Madaba, Bethany-beyond-the-jordan, Al-Joun and various other places less well heard of.
I am certain you'd enjoy the country, but it could be quite testing with a 2 year old in tow. I can think of lots of other cultural places that have much more toddler-friendly activities - Mexico, Greece or Italy, for example. But it's up to you.
Petra is a lot of walking, even by adult standards IMHO. It’s about 15 min adult pace walk from site entrance to the Siq (canyon) and then another 20 min from there to the Treasury. The first bit you can pay (“tip”) to do on a horse, but not sure how safe/feasible that would be for a 2yo. Then, from the Treasury, there are miles and hours of potential other walks to properly explore the site, including climbing up the standalone cliffs (via rudimentary steps) to get great views and see more buildings. And then, obviously, you have to walk back.
You could take a pushchair as far as the Treasury I think, and a bit further, but won’t get the most of the site. Definitely think it’s better to wait until your DC are 6+ at least.
Wadi Rum and the castles should be Ok at 2. In the Dead Sea he may scream if he has any (old, tiny) cuts as they sting. Plus you’ll have to make sure he doesn’t drink it or get it in his eyes.
If you do decide to go, consider temperatures - I would avoid the summer.
Just echoing what the others here have said - I would wait until they’re older.
We went (no kids) for 10 days in March and loved it, but we did so much walking! Some of the best parts of Petra are the hardest to get to - high place of sacrifice, monastery, viewpoint over the treasury - and the stairs are steep and worn in places, with sheer drops. The path up to the monastery is also very busy with donkeys pushing by. We saw very few families there. Wadi Rum is probably a bit more child friendly but it is still getting out the jeep, walking / climbing up rocks / dunes / rock bridges etc. then back in the jeep and driving on.
Oh dear, I totally forgot I posted this and now reading the replies, I wonder if I did the right thing booking the trip! 😂 Ah well, it's done now. I probably should have said we live abroad so actually Jordan isn't far for us to go and if we love it, we can go again when DS is older. Agree Mexico would be perfect but way too far for us to fly.
DS is very happy walking - the buggy is fairly redundant already. So I think we'll manage in most places with a bit of carrying up stairs etc and accept that we won't see all of Petra. We might get a babysitter in the hotel one evening and do Petra by night. We have a private tour so we're doing all the driving in short bursts of 1-2 hours mostly which we'll aim to time with DS nap ... wish me luck!!!
@BubblesBuddy As to what DS gets out of it, he loves going new places and running around so I think he'll do plenty of that. Plus we booked hotels with a pool & Dead Sea at the end so he'll get sand and swimming too. We do that loads where we live too so it's not like it's a massive treat for him.
Booked for October so weather should be nice. I'll update after the trip 😁
Ok. I cannot imagine it will be huge fun for him as a 2 year old. I’m sure running around could be done anywhere!
Fab place, I do hope you enjoy it, but I think you will find that you need to go back again once your toddler is older to actually enjoy the sights you say you want to see. As I said above, it is a long walk before you even get to Petra, and could still be quite warm. We rode horses there but you have to walk the last half mile as it is a 10 ft wide canyon. The whole thing about Petra is that it is entirely shut off from the outside world unless you rock climb in or walk through the siq. Be aware Petra by Night only runs 3 days a week and is not considered to be a patch on the daytime experience.
@Backinthebox No, I didn't know that!! 😂 Oh well, there's a pool in the hotel at least. We'll see how we get on.
@BubblesBuddy Fair enough - not going to pretend this trip is chosen with him in mind but I think he'll be fine with it.
We’ve booked Jordan for Feb half term and are really looking forward to it. 3 DCs ages 6,6, and 4. We’re planning to take our time and not be too ambitious. A few nights in each place so hopefully not too rushed. The resort in Aqaba looks very relaxing; we don’t need a beach, just a hotel with a pool. I think our kids will love Wadi Rum. What 6 year old wouldn’t want to take a hot air balloon ride and a camel trek and sleep in a desert tent? Petra we’re planning to have a fat budget for horse/donkey/camel rides so they stay entertained and don’t get worn out too quickly. Little Petra is meant to be good for kids to have a scramble. And at the Dead Sea again we’ll just enjoy the resort pools and views with a cursory float.
We have been all over the world with our kids to some places that people say are not kid destinations. I think it’s all in how you pace yourselves and making sure to find little things to keep them entertained. I’d also recommend getting a Connecta Solarweave toddler carrier. Great for giving extended ‘piggyback rides’ and a built in nap station! They’re super lightweight, quick drying, and UV protective.
@Linguaphile Thanks for the tip - I'll definitely check out the carrier. DS is a very lively kid, big and tall for his age so I'm hoping he'll enjoy all the camel rides and scrambling around. He coped fine with a week in Japan just after his 1st birthday and is used to flying and hotels so fingers crossed it'll work! Enjoy your trip too!!
Hope you both enjoy your trips!
Just wanted to add that the horses, donkeys and camels are really not well cared for at Petra, so please consider whether you use them.
I’ve had horses all my life, and was really upset by the state of a few of the animals and the fact that they were being ridden by tourists that were far too heavy for them. Obviously not so bad with just kids riding them as there isn’t the weight issue, but still badly fitting tack, no shade or water, obvious injuries, locals whipping them up the steps and galloping them back down to try and get their next fare... The horses at the top entrance are better kept than the donkeys in the site, they actually have vets and stabling, but even with them I saw 2 lame horses pulling carriages and one almost slip over being whipped to canter on the cobbles.
It was the one thing that put a downer on the trip, I actually emailed the Jordanian tourist board after we got back
We went with a two year old and had a fab time. We stayed in Aqaba and did day trips to Petra and Wadi rum which aren't far. Our daughter enjoyed herself although she won't remember any of it obviously. Petra was tiring but doable. We are good walkers though. We find Jordanians really like children and felt very welcome. Have fun!
@OneKeyAtATime Thanks for the positive story!! 😁
We've just got back from Jordan with a five and 3 year old. It was amazing but it was tiring. It depends really what you are doing. We spent some time in high end posh places and made the most of the kids clubs and then more basic places like at wadi rum and Petra. Mine loved Petra! Will your DC go in a carrier? Petra should be ok. It's huge. The main trail is 13 miles.
Wadi rum they enjoyed for a morning then got a bit fed up of the heat and sand to be honest.
Really enjoyed Red and Dead Sea.
We self drove. Super safe. Friendly country. Great food!
Yes echo what others said about driving. It's a small country but the drives can be long 4 plus hours and not much of interest to stop at in between. Make sure your car has air con! And try not to pack in too much. Hope you have a brilliant time
We took DS when he was 3. We all had an amazing time. We stayed in good hotels and had a driver. In Petra, we paid to have a donkey which we led with DS on its back! in wadi rum he came on a camel with me rather than walking for miles. There are ways and means!
Hi, great to read about people’s experiences. Just wondering about Kids food options. I have a super-fussy eater (mild Asd) with a dairy allergy. Will he need to survive on chips and bread or will we find plain pizza without cheese, breaded chicken and fish fingers in tourist hotels in Jordan? Theoretically I know he’d survive for a few days on chips and oat bars (which we can take with us), but it’d be great to know in advance as I find it a bit stressful (he was extremely difficult to feed as a baby and underweight so I swear I have mild PTSD!)
Also anyone been there in December? Is it too cold to enjoy the sights or will we still have a nice time?
Thanks for any advice!
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