Jordan: A day by the Red Sea in Aqaba

By Cubie - February 13, 2020

Getting to Aqaba
Hatem, the owner of Wadi Rum Legend Camp arranged a taxi for us (my newfound friends from HK, N and H, and I) to get to Aqaba. N and H were going to cross the border to Israel while I wanted to get to Aqaba city centre because it is a city by the Red Sea and the convenience of getting back to Amman. We paid JOD 30 for the taxi and splitted 3 ways. From memory, taxi directly straight to the city centre is slightly cheaper, around JOD 25.

Taxi driver was very sweet and gave us a chocolate each as we got into his taxi. He didn't speak much English and our Arabic were negligible so we didn't communicate further aside from the usual "hello". I chatted a little with N and was grateful when H offered to take the front seat.

Taxi driver dropped them at the border crossing first before sending me to the hotel in Aqaba. That was the closest I got to Israel. The rest of the time I stood from Jordan land and looked longing at the forbidden land. If you hold a Malaysian passort, you probably share the same sentiment.

On arrival at the Amir Palace Hotel, the taxi driver even got off his car and walked me up to the reception.

Map courtesy of Amir Palace Hotel
After securing a bus ticket to Amman and had my lunch, my first stop was of course, to the beach.

Al-Ghandour Beach
Eilat, Israel
From the map above, the circled area near Royal Yacht Club is the access to free beach area. By the time I got there, it was already bustling with visitors. The beach itself wasn't remarkable and the sands were rather coarse but hey, it is the Red Sea and that's a reason good enough.

Very clear water

I didn't have a swim but merely playing with the cool water. If you don't feel like snorkelling or diving, there was also option of glass-bottomed boats to go out to the sea.

Aqaba Castle / Mamluk Castle
Aqaba Castle or Fort, also known as Mamluk Castle was originally built by the Crusaders in 12th centruy. The fortress was destroyed when Ayla (ancient Aqaba) was captured in 1187. It was rebuilt under Mamluk Sultan Al-Ashraf Qansuh Al-Ghuri in the early 16th century.

A fort was built on the shore from the 13th century onwards was likely related to the involvement of Mamluk sultans in protecting the Egyptian pilgrimage to the Holy Cities of Arabia when Ayla was the stopping point for caravans.

Entrance fee was JOD 3 but covered under Jordan Pass.

Downtown Aqaba
It was particularly warm as I travelled from Petra and then Wadi Rum to Aqaba. No better time to have fresh pomegranate juice and walkabout Aqaba.

Side note: I just learned that Swan River was so named because of resemblance to a swan. 

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