A rocky trip to Petra

Hello! I’m back after a little break from writing. I really want to return to regular blogging now that flights are slowly picking up. I am somewhat flying more these days as borders are opening… and then closing and then opening and then closing… is anyone else sick of this pandemic?

Regardless this blogpost is entirely dedicated to my trip to Jordan last month. What an eventful little trip it was, I’ve included my Youtube vlog at the bottom of this post for those interested to see the visuals. Jordan as a country is so beautiful, I was blown away by it’s diverse scenery from the desert to the beach. I booked a three day tour to Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea with a particularly tour guide who was referred to me by a lot of my colleagues… let’s name him “Bob” for his discretion as I don’t think he will like what I’m about to say…

I’ve been conflicted whether or not to say anything about my trip because I was somewhat bribed into staying silent. Bob knew how dissatisfied I was with his tour and in an attempt to redeem himself he gifted me with a lot of nice beauty products which I happily accepted. I took the products as an unspoken agreement to not share my story. I don’t know if it’s my higher self or my guilty conscience but something in me needs to speak my truth… so here it is!

Before arriving in Jordan I had issues with Bob. In hindsight that was my cue to find another tour guide… the issue started with me wanting to stay at a hotel called Sun City Camp, a beautiful bubble tent hotel located in Wadi Rum (rated number 1 on trip advisor for hotels in the area), I’ll also mention that this was one of the hotels listed on the itinerary Bob sent me. I told Bob that Sun City was my preferred hotel to stay at. Bob insisted that I stay at Al Sultana Camp instead, he told me that “Sun City is not safe”

“Not safe? Can you please explain why it is unsafe?” I asked Bob

After arguing back and forth, I’ll summarise Bob’s arguments for not wanting to book me at Sun City Camp:

  1. It’s not safe because there are stray dogs at Sun City
  2. Sun City is boring, there is nothing to do after dark
  3. The food at Al Sultana Camp is traditionally cooked underground and you won’t have this experience at Sun City
  4. You can not see the stars at night at Sun City

After the longest argument over a hotel I’ve ever had in my life, I decided to look at booking another tour guide who would allow me to stay at Sun City Camp in Wadi Rum. It was then that Bob informed me that two other female Emirates crew were travelling to Jordan the same dates as me and asked if I was interested to join them for a cheaper price. As I was planning to travel solo I decided to book with Bob because I felt more comfortable travelling with two other girls and I thought the trip might be more fun that way. Because of this I was also forced to book at Al Sultana Camp…

The day before I travelled (less than 24 hours before my flight) Bob messaged me that I will now need to pay the price for a solo tour as the girls have a third person to travel with and I can’t join them in the car. I told Bob I was disappointed to hear this as the only reason I booked with him and agreed to stay at Al Sultana Camp was because I was travelling with the girls. At this stage it was too late for me to change my plans after already completing a PCR test, booking my flights and visa so I continued with the tour as planned.

When arriving at the airport I met my three colleagues who I would partially be joining for our three day tour of Jordan. I met Bob and his coworker who escorted us to two cars, I would take my own as I had paid the price of a solo tour while the others took another car all together. Bob initially began driving me to our first stop, Petra. I was still feeling upset about the situation and it didn’t help that the first thing Bob began to discuss was how bad it is to stay at Sun City Camp (way to rub dirt on an fresh wound!) The more he kept talking, the more I felt upset and this led to an awkward tension in the car. After five minutes of driving Bob pulled over at a service station and got out, I assumed to fill up petrol. Soon after Bob’s coworker jumped in the driver’s seat and announced he would be driving me to Petra (NOT awkward at all!!!) I asked Bob’s coworker why he switched cars and I was told that Bob needed to speak with one of the other girls. I later found out that he swapped cars to escape the awkward tension with me… how professional right?

After a long car ride, we finally made it to Petra. It’s like a ghost town at the moment as the majority of hotels and restaurants are closed due to the lack of tourists. Myself and the other three crew woke up early the next morning for the hotel breakfast before walking to the lost city of Petra to embark on a long hike visiting historical sites such as the Monastery and The Treasury.

We spent about 8 hours hiking in the heat but it was totally worth it. We nearly had the entire place to ourselves! The rock formations are stunning due to their vibrant colours and shapes.

After a long day walking abound Petra, we drove from Petra to Wadi Rum to stay at the bubble tents of Al Sultana Camp, the hotel Bob highly recommended as if his life depended on it! I’m not sure if you remember Bob’s original arguments about why I cannot stay at my preferred hotel but after staying the night at Al Sultana Camp I can confirm:

  1. There were stray dogs at Al Sultana Camp
  2. There was nothing to do after dark
  3. The food at Al Sultana was not cooked underground as he said
  4. I couldn’t see any stars at night (also bare in mind that Sun City Camp was next door so I don’t understand how you would be able to see the stars from one camp and not the other?)
Al Sultana Camp 😆

After my one night stay at Al Sultana Camp, I had an honest conversation with Bob on the drive to The Dead Sea. I explained why I didn’t have a good experience at the hotel and why I would have still preferred to have stayed at Sun City Camp. This conversation led into a heated discussion where Bob refused to take any accountability. Personally I felt a little attacked as his mannerism was very aggressive and defensive. As a customer I felt that Bob did not care about my happiness and my experience in Jordan. I felt as soon as I paid him at the beginning of the trip that his level of care disappeared. His response to my feedback was “you should have booked with someone else”. I agree, I should have booked elsewhere but I told him the reason why I didn’t was because I wanted to join the other girls on their tour and when I found out that I couldn’t it was too late. What really upset me was that he then lied to my face and told me that he informed me “at least two days in advance” that I was unable to join the girls, I had to physically show him the messages on my phone to catch him out on his lie. He didn’t say anything after this but refused to apologise to me.

I’m not going to speak on behalf of my colleagues but the others I travelled with were also unhappy about misleading information they received from Bob. 

After a very awkward 4 hour car drive to the Dead Sea, I spent the rest of the day enjoying nature’s spa, covering myself in mud and floating in the salty water. My only regret is that I didn’t stay an extra night, I would have loved to just relax at one of the nice Dead Sea resorts after a hectic few days.

Just casually …

It was on the way back to the airport, Bob handed me a small gift from the Dead Sea. I thanked him and he somewhat apologised for what happened. We continued driving for a little until he pulled over at a shop and told me he’d be back in a minute. When he came back into the car, it appeared as though he had purchased the entire store of beauty products as a peace offering for me! I thanked Bob and accepted his gift and in exchange I stayed silent about my trip. I didn’t post any negative reviews about Bob as I originally planned but because I accepted his peace offering I decided not to use his real name in this blogpost.

In hindsight if I were to travel to Jordan again I would hire a driver and organise the trip myself so I could have stayed at the hotels I wanted to stay at. I’ll also mention that Bob didn’t take us around Petra and didn’t explain the history behind it so a driver would have been suffice. I’ve travelled a lot in my life, I’ve used a lot of tour guides and I hate giving negative reviews but if you are a solo female traveller like me you will know how important it is to feel safe and taken care of when you are travelling and out of your comfort zone. Bob didn’t make me feel taken care of, I didn’t feel like I could trust him with my money, I was left feeling upset by the way I was spoken to.

For those people looking to visit Jordan, please ensure that you go despite of what’s written here. Like I mentioned earlier Jordan itself is amazing, the landscape is something I’ve never experienced before. Unfortunately my tour guide was not the best but the memories I have of my short time in Jordan are nothing short of amazing thanks to Mother Nature!

I’ll also add that my Dead Sea beauty products are really nice, my skin is so soft! 😀

Check out my VLOG to see the highlights of my trip:

Until next time, I’ll definitely keep things more light hearted in the next post xxx

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