At first driving in Jordan may seem like a daunting task but actually it’s not that bad, I would have to say it’s safer than driving in China. Heading back to Amman city from Jerash is mainly highway and if you just following navigation on Google Map then you should have no problem (download an offline map if you need).
Not so bad to drive along right?
There are a few sights you could see in Amman but the one I recommend is the Amman Citadel. It sits on the top of a mountain and gives you a magnificent view of Amman city. The Citadel itself is worth a tour as it is a national historic site with occupation by many civilisation. But as I said the crown jewel is going there before sunset and watch the sun come down onto Amman city.
Looking over Amman City
Part of the Amman Citadel
For accomodation in Amman, there are five star hotels like Sheraton, but for single travellers like me I went the hostel option. The hostel I picked after some research was called Sydney Hotel (http://www.sydneyhotelamman.com/). The location was great and easy parking outside too. It’s literally 10min walk from the town centre and where all the food and shops are. In terms of cleanliness and quality I would give it a 3/5 rating, it wasn’t bad and especially in Jordan, but I have seen hostel in better shapes.
So my first destination from the airport was to a town called Jerash. It’s about 50km north of Amman and the drive from the airport was just a bit over an hour (made a stop to grab some supplies). Jerash is one of the better preserved roman ruins from about 300AD. Entrance fee to Jerash is 8JD, remember to buy some water before you go in. The sight is quite big so you can spend a good 2-3 hours exploring. There are guides which you can hire once you instead, and depending on your negotiation skills it can be 30-50JD. A few mentionable sites to visit would be The Forum, Zeus Temple, South Theater & Propylaeum. If you are hungry, I recommend to head back to Amman but if you want to grab a bite there is a shop outside where you can grab like a kebab.
So I arrived in Jordan and this the entrance of Jerash City!!!
Last one! Don’t want to spoil it all for you.
My journey to Jordan started with flight from Hong Kong to Dubai via Bangkok. First time flying with Emirates and the experience was quite pleasant. The checkin lady was kind enough to put me onto the emergency exit seat, so I can stretch my legs out. Total travel time to Amman was 14 hours including 3hrs transit in Dubai. Arriving in Amman at 9am, first surprise to me was the airport. It was actually a pretty nice airport.
The immigration process was quite smooth. For most countries you can get a Visa on arrival for 40JD, some countries passport are free (e.g. HKSAR). Check with the staff before immigration which queue you need to go to. For the visa fee its only accepted in Jordanian Dinar and there is an exchange office before immigration. I found that the rates were probably the best I have seen around Jordan, as hotels offer less, so good idea to change all your cash needs at the airport. After immigration and picking up my bags I headed thru customs and out.
Waiting for me at the arrival hall is a guy from the car rental company with a sign with my name on it. The car rental company I went with is called Monte Carlo, they are not a major brand and their office is not at the airport but their rate is much better. I paid 25JD/day for my car which is a Mitsubishi Lancer. The car was clean and had a few dents on it but otherwise was running fine the whole time. The guy will take you around the car and get you to sign and pay for the rental. You can pay cash or credit card. After he will drive you out of the airport onto the rental office about 5km away where the car needs to be returned. Not too hard to find.
So with all that sorted I set off on my adventure and drove to my first destination in Jordan. Now, driving in Jordan I would say is not too bad. The roads are quite wide but most roads don’t have lanes marked or if it does its pretty faint. So you have to use some common sense and pick the right lane. Secondly, through out the country you will come to some checkpoints where the police or army will ask for a license but not your drivers license. It’s the cars registration license card, the guy from the rental company should tell you where that is. Last point, petrol stations are readily available except on the highway next to the Dead Sea.
Lastly if you are like me and want to stayed connected you can buy a prepaid SIM with 1GB data for 12JD. Just take a left once you at the arrival. The company I got it from was Zain and the coverage and reception was good, except of course when I was out in the desert.
So off I went for my 6 days in Jordan!!!
Just when I was about to fork out some $$$ for the Canon S120, this little beauty gets announced. This is like the Canon version of the Sony RX100. From the review, it seems Sony finally has a rival except Canon has a better zoom and focus time (as reviews say). So I guess I will just to have to hold back my purchase until this baby turns up in the shops in October.
So my high school mate from London came visiting HK and wanted to visit Taipei. Being a good buddy I agreed and we jetted off for our weekend in Taipei city. If not for the transport and flight delays, I would actually visit Taipei more often. It’s a great city and with plenty of awesome food to go for it.
Waiting for departure
So we took the Friday night flight with a bit of delay and eventually ended up in Taipei City at about 9:30pm. Our first stop was of course to heal our hunger and my friend in Taipei took us to a hotpot shop (was told its really famous). And i must say it was actually very good food and even my mate enjoyed it.
And after dinner I took my mate to check out the night life of taipei. My personal favourite is Sparks ATT, good vibe and great DJ. Recommend to visit if you do head to Taipei and like to check out the nightlife but do get there early and be prepared to queue (thanks to my taiwan friend, i jumped the queue).
With my high school mate at Sparks ATT
The next day I booked a driver to take us to some scenic spots about an hour drive away from Taipei downtown. The driver was really good and he spoke cantonese which made it all that much easier (Msg me if you want his contact, he speaks mandarin, cantonese and english). So we went to three spots on this day tour, first stop was Yehliu Geopark (野柳地質公園) and then we went to Jiufen (九份) & Shifen (十份).
Now the geopark wasn’t so bad if not for us picking the hottest time of the day to go. So it was all sweat sweat sweat. Couldn’t wait to board the air conditioned car again.
Jiufen has a narrow street that lead to an observation deck. Inside this street, lots of yummy food and interesting shops. Now tip for tourist, don’t buy your tea or souvenirs here, it cost much more than downtown.
Shifen (Sky Lantern)
Shifen is the railway track where they filmed that famous taiwanese movie 那些年，我们一起追的女孩. It’s where you write on lanterns (天灯) and send it to the sky. It’s an interesting place, as trains run through the tracks still but everyone is still pilled on the rail track until a train comes by and everyone scrambles to the side.
So this is my travel tablet, the Nexus 7. For some odd reason it decided not to boot up a few nights ago. Thought I had to get a new tablet for my trip!!! But wait, after hours of trying and googling. I got it working again!!! I love this tablet actually, just the right size for travelling and great offline apps to go with it.
Those who wants get one can snap one up pretty cheap now. Although I heard there is a new one coming out soon and you can bet I will be updating to that.
So going start of my first post with this new backpack which I bought and hopefully will follow me around the many destinations to come. I did much research and decided to get this Osprey Waypoint 85. I couldn’t find it at any retailers in Hong Kong so I had to order mine from Amazon. This costed me USD$210 plus shipping. I chose this backpack for two reasons, one it has the daypack which is detachable and secondly it was the right size (85L of space!!!). I will report on how comfortable it is through out my trips and hopefully I made the right choice. Should be here in about 2 weeks!!! Already getting excited about my upcoming trip to Jordan & Turkey!!!