Tag Archive | Trip Advisor

Choosing Jordan

Steps in Petra

Every once in awhile, you’ve got to step out of the usual. Our “usual” travel routine is to research, order books from Amazon, research, build spreadsheets, query, plan, repeat. For many weeks.

On our last trip, we used the Explore function on Kayak to identify bargain airfares. Nine months later, we found ourselves landing in Beijing.

In late December, we did a similar search with no destination in mind. Less than three months later, we’re off to Jordan.

The Middle East has always held a certain fascination, but the media tells us that it’s not safe. The State Department Travel Advisories are chocked with cautionary language. Yet, everything we read about Jordan, reported first-hand by travelers, says that Jordan is amazing. And safe.

We hope that this blog adds to the chorus of supporters of travel to Jordan. Although surrounded by oil powerhouse countries, Jordan has relatively little oil resources of their own, and have worked to support an economic base for tourism. There’s a little of something for everyone: bioreserves for hiking and camping and adventure sports, several UNESCO World Heritage sites with layers of history in Nabatean, Roman and Byzantine ruins, sweeping desert vistas, Crusader and desert castles, hot springs and baths, diving, shopping, native crafts – all within driving distances from Amman.

While we used our favorite online tools (Kayak, TripAdvisor) and the Jordan Tourism Board site to sort out flights, accommodations, and itinerary, some of the best parts of the trip were the engaging encounters we had with the people. Welcome to Jordan!

Bhutan Planning Resources

Great Tiger Mountain at Limithang camp

Great Tiger Mountain at Limithang camp

The sheer lack of publications to be found about Bhutan was attractive to us. Yes, Lonely Planet has a guide, but we better enjoyed the Footprint guide penned by Bhutanese native Gyurme Dorje. Because we expected to trek the majority of our time in Bhutan, perhaps the most indispensable was the Cicerone Bhutan: A Trekker’s Guide, by Bart Jordans.

Online resources also helped:

Tourism Council of Bhutan

Because you must book all travel through a government-registered tour operator, Trip Advisor: Bhutan forums were of great help in sorting out tour company and guide services.

But, once we chose a tour operator, our contacts at the company were the most invaluable in answering our 237,459 questions about the trip. After initially sending queries to four or five tour operators, we chose the operator who we felt “got” us: they had read our query, and made suggestions on potential itineraries based on our expressed interests, and not just suggest some standard itinerary that the company operated. Our heartfelt thanks go to Naomi at Blue Poppy Tours & Treks, who walked us through each step of the trip planning, and owner Choki Dorji for personally greeting us the first day we arrived. We felt very privileged to have Rinzin Dorji as our personal guide in Bhutan, as well as our drivers and trekking crew – all making sure that we had a once-in-a-lifetime experience during our 25 days in Bhutan.

But, there’s more about that to come…