Jordan & Egypt on a Shoestring tour

Jordan & Egypt on a Shoestring tour

Tour Experience

Budget adventure tour of Jordan and Egypt

Available

All year round

Location

Amman, Petra, Wadi Rum, Cairo, Luxor, Aswan

This great tour is jam packed with all the main sights in Jordan and Egypt. Petra, The Dead Sea, The Pyramids and more, and all for an amazingly low price.

Starting in Amman, Jordan, we take tour out to the well preserved Roman remains at Jerash the travel across to the Dead Sea for a dip/float in its very salty waters. Heading south we follow the King Highway stopping at Madaba, Mount Nebo, and the crumbling remains the crusader castle at Kerak, before arriving at Jordan's most popular attraction, the hidden city of Petra. We set aside a full day to explore the sprawling "Rose Red City" of Petra. Enter through the Siq and gaze upon the rock hewn Treasury built more than 2,000 years ago. Next we head into the desert at Wadi Rum, famous for its links with Lawrence of Arabia. We take a 4x4 jeep ride through the stunning desert scenery before returning to Amman for our flight to Cairo (not included - you can book this as part of your main international flight ticket or we can book the flight for you separately).

Arriving into Cairo we start with a visit to the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx before travelling down to Aswan. Here we explore the island temple of Philae and mighty Aswan Dam, with an optional extra early morning tour to the impressive temples of Ramses II at Abu Simbel. Back in Aswan we hop on board our traditional Nile felucca sailboat and wend our way down the River Nile, with support en-route from our facilities boat with on board toilet, showers and massage deck. Arriving into Luxor we take time to visit some of the many temples in this amazing open air museum, and of course we take time to explore the tombs of the Valley of the Kings. We finally head back to Cairo where the tour ends. If you'd like to add some time by the Red Sea to this trip, it's easy to add on a few extra days at the beach resort of Hurghada.

VIEW THE PHOTOS

INCLUDED

  • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary in 3 to 4-star hotels
  • All transport and transfers in AC vehicles (plus Bedouin jeeps in Wadi Rum)
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
  • Services of a specialist tour guides for all sightseeing tours
  • 4x4 jeep safari in Wadi Rum
  • 2 night felucca sailboat cruise with accompanying support boat with toilet & shower
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees in Jordan (worth approx. US$95)

EXCLUDED

  • International flights (available on request)
  • Amman-Cairo flight (available on request or bookable with your international flight ticket)
  • Visa fees (Jordan currently waived for most nationalities; Egypt US$25)
  • Entrance fees in Egypt (allow approx. US$55)
  • Tipping kitty in Egypt (allow US$30) plus tour guide tips
  • Tips in Jordan
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available from Encounters Travel)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Hotel gala dinners (see Tour notes)
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Any other items not mentioned above

PACKAGE DETAILS

Itinerary

DAY 1: Arrive in Amman, transfer to hotel

Upon arrival our staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in Amman for the start of your trip. They’ll help settle in and introduce you to the local area. The rest of your day is free. If you arrive early in the morning, then a half-day city tour of Amman is available this afternoon.
| OVERNIGHT:
Amman hotel
| EXTRAS:
Amman city tour, Extra day in Amman – pre-tour, Single room supplement (JOFAFA)

DAY 2: Amman to the Dead Sea via Jerash

After breakfast, we leave Amman for nearby Jerash, ‘the Jewel of the North’. One of the largest and most well-preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world outside Italy, the ancient city of Jerash boasts an unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more than 6,500 years. The city’s golden age came under Roman rule and Jerash is now generally acknowledged to be one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Having been hidden for centuries in sand, evacuations restorations over the past 70 years have revealed a fine example of the grand, formal provincial Roman urbanism that is found throughout the Middle East, comprising paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theatres, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates.
This afternoon we continue to the Dead Sea, one of the world’s most amazing places. As well as being the lowest point on earth at over 400m below sea level, the Dead Sea region is moe of the most spiritual landscapes in the world as well as being full of dramatic natural beauty. The Sea itself receives a number of incoming rivers, including the River Jordan. Once the waters reach the Dead Sea they are land-locked and have nowhere to go, so they evaporate, leaving behind a dense, rich, cocktail of salts and minerals that supply industry, agriculture and medicine with some of its finest products. The Dead Sea is flanked by mountains to the east and the rolling hills of Jerusalem to the west, giving it an almost other-worldly beauty. Although sparsely populated and serenely quiet now, the area is believed to have been home to five Biblical cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Adman, Zebouin and Zoar (Bela). We stop here to enjoy a ‘swim’, though the internsely salty waters lead to a very strange swimming experience. In fact, normal swimming is not really possible, and it is easier (and more photogenic!) just to float, sitting or lying in the water. Be careful not to get any water in your eyes, as it will sting very strongly – you’ll also discover various tiny cuts you never thought you had.
| OVERNIGHT:
Amman hotel
| MEALS:
Breakfast

DAY 3: King's Highway to Petra via Madaba and Kerak

We depart Amman for a scenic drive south along the King’s Highway to Petra. The King’s Highway is a slower, but much more interesting and beautiful drive than the busy Desert Highway, and during our journey we’ll cross deep Wadis, drive through olive groves, and pass remote rural villages. En-route we stop in Madaba and see the town’s main attraction, the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George where we’ll see its famous 6th Century Byzantine mosaic map of the Holy Land and other biblical sites. We’ll also enjoy great views of the Holy Land from Mt. Nebo, known as the burial place of the propher Moses.
Continuing south we cross several deep Wadis including the majestic Wadi al-Mujib, where the road winds down and down, and then back up the other side of this 1km deep canyon. Next stop is Kerak Castle, one in a chain of Crusader fortresses built across Jordan in the 12th Century on the ancient Egypt-Syrian caravan route. Built in 1132AD by the Crusader King, Baldwin 1 of Jerusalem, the castle fell to Saladin in 1188AD. It is still a hugely impressive building with commanding views over the surrounding hills & plains.
| OVERNIGHT:
Petra hotel
| MEALS:
Breakfast

DAY 4: Full day visit of Petra

We enjoy a full day today inside the world famous Nabatean site of Petra. The ancient capital of the Nabataean commercial empire until the Romans finally took over in 106AD, Petra was largely forgotten, except by the local Bedouins, until it was ‘discovered’ in 1812 by a young Swiss explorer, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Petra is situated on the edge of Wadi Aruba., whose canyon walls and surrounding hills make it almost impossble to approach except through a narrow, winding cleft in the rock, called the Siq. The city itself has very few free-standing buildings, as the Nabateans chose to carve their homes, buildings and tombs into the multi-coloured sandstone cliffs. Nowadays, the Jordanian government and local people are well aware of Petra’s interest to tourists, and the tourism infrastructure in the adjoining village of Wadi Musa is booming, though, thankfully, once you enter through the Siq, the site is protected, and all the building feels miles away.
We have a whole day today to tour this fascinating city (2-3 hour guided tour, then free time to explore yourselves). We start by walking through the Siq, which rises to 200m above us, and narrows to just 2m wide in places. The ancient Nabatean water channel can still be seen on one wall, as well as some remnants of the terracotta pipes that brought water into the city. All of a sudden, a now classic view appears around one corner, and one of Petra’s most impressive monuments, the Khazneh (Treasury) comes into view. Our guide will explain how this, and the other buildings here, are mainly elaborate facades carved into the rock from the top down, and also discuss the spiritual significance of the building style. From the Khazneh, the valley opens out, with tombs carved into the rock on both sides. We’ll see the ruined Roman amphitheatre, and colonnaded street, and during your free time you can walk up a steep and narrow winding gorge past beautifully coloured sandstone cliff walls to the huge and imposing ‘Monastery’. The biggest of Petra’s carved monuments at 50m high and 45m wide, this is truly spectacular, as are the distant views west across Wadi Aruba and the Jordan valley. Another climb can take you to the High Place of Sacrifice, and Lion Fountain. All in all, this is a full & tiring, but hugely rewarding day touring one of the world’s most famous ancient sites. We spend the evening and night relaxing at our hotel.
An option is available to return to the Siq in the evening for the atmospheric Petra by Candlelight tour through the Siq to the Treasury.
| OVERNIGHT:
Petra hotel
| MEALS:
Breakfast
| EXTRAS:
Petra by night

DAY 5: Drive to Wadi Rum via Little Petra

This morning we visit the site of Little Petra, which was a suburb of the main city and provides a great insight into the building of the larger buildings and tombs. Next we head for the spectacular desert & mountains of Wadi Rum. The desert here, with its towering rust coloured rocky ‘jebels’ awed TE Lawrence during his visits during the Arab Revolt of 1917-18, and was later made famous in the film Lawrence of Arabia. After arriving in Wadi Rum, we take a jeep safari through the beautiful desert scenery, seeing more of the sheer cliffs and bizarre rock formations, before finishing at a Bedouin camp located against the cliffs right inside the Wadi Rum reserve. At the end of the day we drive back to Amman for the night.
| OVERNIGHT:
Amman hotel
| MEALS:
Breakfast

DAY 6: Amman, free time, flight to Cairo

Upon arrival our staff will meet you at the airport, assist you with obtaining your visa and luggage, and then transfer you to your hotel close to the Pyramids for the start of your trip. They will help you settle in, introduce you to the local area, and explain tomorrow’s arrangements. The rest of the day is free. If you arrive early you may like to take an evening dinner cruise on the Nile, or enjoy a spectacular sound and light show at the pyramids (both available to book locally on arrival).
Note: the Amman-Cairo flight is left out of the set tour price as it is often more cost effective for you to include this flight as part of your main international flight ticket. We are happy to book all your international flights, just this Amman-Cairo flight, or none of them at all, whichever works best for you. Direct flights are available with both Egypt Air and Royal Jordanian Airlines. You can fly at anytime during the day – all transfers in Amman and Cairo are included.
| OVERNIGHT:
Cairo hotel
| EXTRAS:
Nile dinner cruise in Cairo, Amman city tour, Amman to Cairo flight

DAY 7: Cairo, Museum & Pyramids tour

Our tour of Egypt begins with a trip to the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo. Home to the fantastic Tutankhamun exhibit, the museum hosts a huge number of other ancient Egyptian artefacts. One of our local Egyptologist guides will be accompanying you on this and all of your other sightseeing tours, and you’ll find them a wealth of knowledge and full of enthusiasm about Egyptian history, and their country in general. Following on from the museum we then head to Giza on the outskirts of Cairo to visit the Sphinx and the three great pyramids of Egypt. At 500 feet high and 750 feet wide at its base the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) is an awesome man-made structure constructed of giant stone blocks with a hard limestone casing. The casing has, over the years, been stripped away to leave exposed the inner block structure. Together with the smaller pyramids of Khafre (Chephern) and Menkaure (Mycerinus), the majestic sight of these enormous structures rising out of the desert is a breathtaking spectacle. You will have the opportunity to climb down right inside the pyramids if you wish, though your guide cannot accompany you (a limited number of tickets are available for the Great Pyramid).
In the evening we leave Cairo by coach and head south through the Nile Valley to Aswan.
| OVERNIGHT:
On board sleeper train
| MEALS:
Breakfast
| EXTRAS:
Internal flights upgrade

DAY 8: Arrive in Aswan, Nubian Village, Philae Temple

This morning we arrive in Aswan and transfer to our hotel overlooking the Nile which is at its most picturesque here, with cascading rapids, lush green islands, and feluccas sailing to and fro. Aswan itself is a melting pot of African and Middle Eastern cultures, most easily experienced by wandering through the busy markets. It’s also part of the ancient region of Nubia, which comprised parts of present day southern Egypt and northern Sudan around the Nile rivers. Many descendants of the Nubian people still live here and we’ll visit a local Nubian village to see their colourful houses, simple way of life and to enjoy a traditional lunch.
We continue our tour this afternoon with a visit the Temple of Philae, a beautiful island complex dedicated to Isis and reclaimed from the rising waters of Lake Nasser, which we reach by a scenic boat ride. We also stop to visit the huge Aswan Dam. The evening is then free to look around Aswan’s spice and general markets, and to walk up and down the popular Corniche, on the banks of the Nile. An option is also available to take a camel ride through the sands on the far bank of the Nile to St. Simeon’s monastery. If you’ve chosen the Abu Simbel option then head to bed early this evening to be ready for a very early start tomorrow morning.
| OVERNIGHT:
Aswan hotel
| MEALS:
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9: Abu Simbel option, Nile Felucca Cruise

This morning we have the option of taking an early start for the drive to the UNESCO world heritage site at Abu Simbel. These amazing temples built by Ramses II are one of Egypt’s main highlights and attractions. Those not visiting Abu Simbel can explore Aswan’s markets this morning, walk up and down the Corniche on the banks of the river or visit the Nubian Museum which has a fascinating collection covering the development of the Nubian people in the region.
We board our traditional Nile felucca at lunchtime to enjoy an afternoon sailing down the Nile. Floating down the Nile on a felucca is one of Egypt’s most enjoyable activities and you’ll be able to watch local rural Egyptian life pass you by on the banks of the river as you drift past. Our Nubian crew will sail the boat and entertain you on the way, as well as preparing meals for you. Our separate facilities boat will join with us from time to time during the day and moor up with us at night. This boat has a welcome toilet and showers on board as well as a hygienic kitchen where the crew will prepare a delicious evening meal. You sleep on the deck of the boat tonight (mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets provided). You can upgrade your upcoming felucca sailboat trip to an additional two nights in hotels, and in this case you’ll spend tonight in Aswan and then drive to Luxor, rejoining the group when they arrive after the felucca cruise. All other touring remains the same.
| OVERNIGHT:
On board felucca
| MEALS:
Breakfast, Dinner
| EXTRAS:
Abu Simbel overland, Upgrade from felucca to hotel in Aswan

DAY 10: Felucca, Kom Ombo, Edfu, Luxor temple

You have the whole day today to relax and watch the world go by from the deck of the felucca. We’ll stop at several islands and on the banks of the river for breaks and to walk to local villages. Meals are prepared by our Nubian crew and drinks are available on board.
| OVERNIGHT:
On board felucca
| MEALS:
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: Luxor, West Bank tour, free time

After breakfast on-board we bid farewell to our felucca crew and drive north to Luxor. The town of Luxor is built on and around the ancient site of Thebes, and boasts the largest concentration of ancient ruins in the Nile Valley, if not the world. To the west of the Nile lies the City of the Dead, with its mortuary temples and rock-hewn tombs, whilst to the east lie the Temples of Luxor and Karnak. Our tour this afternoon is to the huge Karnak complex with our Egyptologist guide. Later this evening he’ll talk you on a walking tour of the smaller Luxor Temple which is right in the middle of town and beautifully lit up at night. You’ll also stop at some of Luxor’s popular outdoor cafes, perhaps enjoying a few games of backgammon and trying a shisha pipe with the locals.
| OVERNIGHT:
Luxor hotel
| MEALS:
Breakfast
| EXTRAS:
Hot air balloon in Luxor, Nile cruise upgrade

DAY 12: Luxor, Karnak temple

Your morning is free today and you can enjoy a welcome lie in after several early starts. Alternatively, a spectacular hot air balloon flight over the west bank of the Nile is available (expect another early start to catch sunrise as the balloon rises).
Several optional tours are available today, including one to explore Luxor’s West Bank. Home to the Valley of the Kings, the dusty tombs in this ancient burial site are still revealing their secrets today and so it remains one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. Our tour includes several of these Pharaonic tombs, as well as the temples of Queen Hatchepsut, the huge Colossi of Memnon, and the Worker’s Village.
In the evening we board the coach again for the journey back north to Cairo.
| OVERNIGHT:
On board coach
| MEALS:
Breakfast
| EXTRAS:
Hot air balloon in Luxor, Internal flights upgrade

DAY 13: Cairo, Khan-el-Khalili bazzar and Al Guri sufi show

We arrive back into Cairo early this morning and transfer to our hotel. Most of the day is then free to explore Cairo as you choose or you may take an optional tour. These include a city tour in Cairo which visits Coptic Cairo, the Citadel and Mohamed Ali Mosque, or a half day tour to Saqqara, Dashour and Memphis to learn more about the history and evolution of pyramid building. Other full day options further afield include a visit to the colonnial city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean, or a trip into the desert outside Cairo to see the World Heritage Site of the Valley of the Whales at Wadi Rayan.
In the late afternoon we take a guided walk through the back streets and bazaars in central Cairo. We’ll walk through the huge Bab al-Futuh gateway and explore streets dedicated to metalwork, spices, pottery, fabric, jewelery and anything else you can imagine as we gradually enter the more touristy Khan-el-Khalili bazaar. We’ll have time for a break to try some tea and a shisha pipe and perhaps enjoy an early dinner of Egypt’s unofficial national dish, Kushari. Finally we visit the evening Al Guri Sufi show at the Wikalat al Ghuri, a 16th centry market place with a domed roof and some beautiful Islamic architecture. A colourful and flamboyant show packs crowds of locals, and some tourists in here twice a week with displays of dervish inspired dance, sufi vocals and vibrant percussion. This makes a thrilling and entertaining end to our time in Egypt.
| OVERNIGHT:
Cairo hotel
| MEALS:
Breakfast
| EXTRAS:
Alexandria day trip, Cairo city tour, Nile dinner cruise in Cairo, Wadi Rayan day trip (Valley of the Whales), Saqqara, Dashour & Memphis

DAY 14: Cairo, departure transfer to the airport

Your time is free today for some last minute sightseeing or shopping until we transfer you to the airport for your departure flight.
| OVERNIGHT:
N/A
| MEALS:
Breakfast
a | EXTRAS:
Extra day in Cairo (5-star) – post-tour

DURATION

14 days

Price

A$1649

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