New river ship cruising the Nile has just 41 rooms

As North American travellers continue looking to Egypt as a bucket-list destination, the award-winning river cruise line AmaWaterways has launched its latest addition to the fleet, AmaLilia, on the enchanting waters of the Nile River.

Specially curated with upscale regionally inspired décor and 41 staterooms, including 13 suites, the luxurious new ship embarked on its inaugural journey in April 2024. The 11-night Secrets of Egypt & the Nile cruise and land experience includes a seven-night round trip river cruise from Luxor and is paired with three nights pre- and one-night post-cruise stays in historic Cairo at the prestigious St. Regis Cairo, overlooking the Nile River.

 

About the AmaLilia

Newly designed to accommodate only 82 guests, AmaLilia features 41 luxurious staterooms offering panoramic views, including 13 suites measuring up to 522 sq. ft.

Onboard amenities include a sun deck bar and swimming pool, fitness room, hair and nail salon, a massage room and two restaurants serving locally inspired cuisine – The Main Restaurant and The Chef’s Table. Guests will be treated to authentic nightly entertainment and be accompanied by knowledgeable Egyptologists who will stay on the ship and join them on enriching excursions.

 

The immersive Secrets of Egypt & the Nile provides travellers with a unique opportunity to experience the ancient wonders of Egypt, guided by experts through UNESCO World Heritage Sites and legendary locations such as the Great Hypostyle Hall of Karnak, the mesmerizing Temple of Luxor, and the mystifying Valley of the Kings and Queens.

While in Cairo, guests will visit the Egyptian Museum and come face-to-face with Egyptian treasures at the UNESCO-designated ancient capital of Memphis.

They will have the opportunity to marvel at the colossal statue of Ramses II, the Alabaster Sphinx, and the necropolis of Sakkara, home to the famous step pyramid of King Zoser, the oldest pyramid on earth; and enjoy a private tour and gourmet lunch at the Abdeen Presidential Palace, the principal workplace of the President of Egypt and one of the most luxurious palaces in the world.

AmaLilia will cruise this itinerary, sailing round trip from Luxor and offering a Cairo program with intra-Egypt flights between Cairo and Luxor, seasonally from September through June each year.

For more information, visit AmaWaterways.com

This tour operator just launched a women’s only trip to Saudi Arabia

Intrepid Travel has introduced a 12-day Saudi Arabia Women’s Expedition, designed to offer an authentic and transformative travel experience while empowering women and supporting female-owned businesses in the destination.   

The tour will be exclusively led by female leaders and guides, aiming to showcase a different side of the country beyond the luxury resorts and high-end offerings.

Starting in Riyadh and finishing in Jeddah, groups will stay in a female-owned boutique hotel, heritage property and desert camp, directly supporting a total of nine female-owned and operated businesses.  

Five departures available

A limited run of five departures, each with a maximum of 12 travellers, will start on 26 November 2024. The 12-day trip will start at $7,975CAD.

Highlights include: 

  • Visit Madinah – the second holiest site in Islam, after Mecca – with a local female guide. Non-Muslims have recently been allowed to visit the holy site up to the perimeter 
  • Take a sunrise visit to the Nabataean site of Hegra, the southern capital of the Nabataean kingdom, guided by a local ‘rawee’ or storyteller 
  • Take a bullet train to Jeddah and explore Al Balad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with Saudi’s first female guide  
  • Head to a female-owned, female-only salon for a spot of pampering. Chat to the locals and learn how these types of businesses have created opportunities for the women who live here 
  • Meet two sisters running a local citrus farm near Alula, sample their produce and have lunch under the trees  
  • Visit an abeya shop to learn how women are modernising this staple piece  
  • Jump on a boat and cruise the Red Sea, snorkel, swim, and enjoy a barbeque lunch before ending the day on a private female only beach. 

For more information, visit intrepidtravel.com.

Futuristic hotel opens in the middle of the Saudi Arabian desert

The Board of Directors of NEOM, the sustainable regional development taking shape in northwest Saudi Arabia, recently announced Epicon, its latest luxury coastal tourism destination, including a residential offering.

Located on the Gulf of Aqaba, Epicon aims to set a new standard of hospitality and architecture. Rising from NEOM’s desert landscape like a glistening mirage, the property will feature two striking towers, one 225 meters tall and one reaching 275 meters.

The towers will be home to an ultra-premium 41 key hotel and luxury residences that comprise of 14 suites and apartments. A short distance from the hotel is the Epicon resort, which blends tranquility with indulgence and features 120 rooms and 45 stunning residential beach villas.

A gateway to the future

Designed as a gateway to the future, Epicon provides an opportunity to escape the stresses of the everyday.

Whether relaxing at the beach club, visiting the spa for bespoke wellness treatments, exploring the surrounding nature, participating in one of the many watersports on offer, or dining at destination restaurants for an unforgettable culinary experience, Epicon has been conceived to meet the full array of guest and resident needs.

The guest experience

A highly attractive visitor destination and an optimum place to live and thrive, Epicon’s guests and residents can expect a truly immersive and life-affirming experience. The luxurious residences and beach villas aim to deliver new levels of livability through cutting-edge innovations, world-class services and first-class experiences, positioning the resort as a benchmark for iconic living.

Guests and residents of Epicon will enjoy unrestricted access to world-class facilities, complemented by views of one of the most desirable shorelines in NEOM. Amenities include a state-of-the-art gym, library, workspaces, pools and lounges.

Canadian airline launches non-stop flight to Dubai

Air Canada’s inaugural flight departed from Vancouver on Oct. 28 and has arrived in Dubai, linking Western Canada with the Middle East.

In Dubai in cooperation with Air Canada’s codeshare and frequent flyer partner Emirates, a multitude of destinations across the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and East Africa are available.

With convenient departures from DubaiInternational (DXB), Air Canada’s new flights provide a seamless link between the Canadian West Coast and Dubai. This expansion complements Air Canada’s existing daily service between Dubai and Toronto.

The Vancouver and Dubai flights are operated with Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft featuring three cabins of service for customers to choose from, including Signature Class with lie-flat seats, Premium Economy and Economy Class.

5 reasons to visit Cappadocia at least once

Cappadocia is one of the most breathtaking regions in Türkiye, attracting tourists with its breathtaking natural beauty and historical locations.

This ‘fairy-tale region’ offers a unique experience every season with its cave hotels, colourful hot-air balloons, peculiar cultural stops, and thousands of years old viticulture and pottery-making heritage. Here are five reasons why you should not miss a trip to Cappadocia.

Fairy Chimneys: The Symbol of Cappadocia

‘Fairy Chimneys’ are ancient rock formations that are emblematic of Cappadocia, and can be spotted from anywhere in the region. The finest examples of fairy chimneys are in Paşabağ, where their conical bodies with ‘hats’ are formed of hard rocks.

The best way to experience the breathtaking view of these rock formations is from a hot-air balloon. As the balloon gently ascends at sunrise, you will have the chance to see the spectacular valleys of Cappadocia beneath your feet.

Choose your room in the cave hotels

Staying in a ‘cave hotel’ is one of the most unforgettable experiences that Cappadocia offers its visitors. The unique architecture and design of the cave hotels adds a charm to the place, making it a must-visit destination for travellers. Watching the sunset while sipping your coffee in these hotels, where the historical and natural textures of the region blend with modern luxury, will make your Cappadocia trip unforgettable.

Magnificent underground cities that take you back in time

Cappadocia is home to significant remnants dating from the Hittites of the second millennium BCE to the continuing dwelling of civilisations. 

Göreme Open Air Museum, on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1985, is remarkable for its sacred sites carved into the rocks and frescoes depicting significant scenes from early Christianity.

The underground cities are in fact the main attraction that make trips to Cappadocia indeed spectacular. Originating from the seventh and eighth centuries AD, the underground cities were used by the early Christians to openly worship.

The cities of Kaymaklı, Derinkuyu, Özkonak, and Mazı have survived for decades and take you back in time, offering a look how the people in these underground cities lived, with their tunnels, rooms, barns, wine cellars, dining halls, churches, and food warehouses. The Gomeda Valley, stretching along the Üzengi River, contains churches carved into rocks, dovecotes, vines, and an underground city. The ‘Three Beauties,’ which are three adjacent fairy chimneys defined as ‘the father, mother, and kid’ at Ortahisar Castle and Ürgüp district, are also must-see spots in Cappadocia.

World-renowned hot-air balloon tours

One of the most popular activities to do in Cappadocia is definitely a hot-air balloon tour. However, your options for adventures in this beautiful city are endless. Off-road safari experiences allow a closer look at the region’s valleys, rock settlements, and fairy chimneys. Exciting hiking trails are perfect if you want to explore Cappadocia on foot.

This region is also known as the ‘land of beautiful horses,’ where you can explore the area riding horses familiar with the territory. Pottery is another unique experience that Cappadocia offers to its visitors, who can attend a pottery workshop in Avanos, which is famous for its soft and oily clay that comes from the riverbeds of Kızılırmak.

Unique Gastronomy Experiences

Cappadocia, where local delicacies turn even the most ordinary meal into a ‘feast,’ is a famous attraction for gourmet travellers. 

Testi kebabı is a must-try delicacy of Cappadocia cuisine, which is rich in recipes prepared with vegetables and fruits that are grown in the region’s fertile lands. Other regional specialities include apricot stew, rice pudding with turmeric, Nevşehir mantısı (a type of ravioli), and clotted cream.

Cappadocia also has a deep-rooted winemaking heritage that dates back thousands of years, and wines made from endemic local grapes are a must have! 

Desert oasis opens in the United Arab Emirates

For travellers seeking unparalleled opulence in true Emirati style, the desert oasis of Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara in the United Arab Emirates is now offering the chance to stay in complete privacy amid the dunes at the all-new four-bedroom Sahra Villa and two-bedroom Al Sarab Villa complete with its own private majlis.

Located a few minutes’ drive from the resort in a secluded area offering unobstructed views of the fiery-red dunes of the Empty Quarter, both villas are part of the exclusive villa compound designed to offer utmost privacy and discrete service.

The 5,263 square-foot Sahra Villa is a palatial hide-away furnished in noble hues that can accommodate up to eight adults in its master bedroom and three twin bedrooms, each with their own private terrace. The villa also boasts a private swimming pool with a cabana and sprawling indoor and outdoor living spaces including a magnificent terrace.

In addition to two elegant bedrooms accommodating a maximum of four guests, the lavish villa comes with ample space to entertain both indoors and outdoors, including a grand reception majlis and a fireplace to enjoy starry desert nights.

On the outdoor terrace, a dining table sits alongside a fully equipped barbecue area, with sun loungers circling a private pool overlooking the dunes.

Guests staying at Al Sarab Villa can also choose to book the private majlis situated in a separate building close by, boasting floor-to-ceiling windows maximising the natural light. Warm and inviting, the space is designed for entertaining in true Emirati style amid contemporary Arabian design and artworks, with a team of butlers on hand to attend to every need.

With a seating capacity of up to 20 guests indoors and an additional outdoor entertainment area, the sumptuously appointed majlis is ideal for private events and get-togethers. 

In addition to having access to all the comforts of the luxury accommodation, guests staying in villas belonging to Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara’s Exclusive Villa Collection can enjoy 24/7 dedicated personal butler attention, a private entrance with shaded parking, Apple TV, Nespresso machines, pillow and soap menus, and other exclusive amenities.

Corporate groups looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city can revel in the resort’s new ultra-secluded villas and experience a tranquil destination that blends Arabian heritage with desert zen, for gatherings, workshops, and soul-soothing retreats. As well as the ultimate luxurious accommodation, groups can expect personal butler service and international gourmet cuisine from the resort’s multiple dining destinations. 

For reservations, visit https://www.anantara.com/en/qasr-al-sarab-abu-dhabi/villas.

5 things to do in Israel this summer

With tourist numbers exceeding 2019 statistics by 22 per cent, Israel is one of the hottest destinations to visit this summer.. As you think of your next vacation, Israel offers the ideal package – diverse landscapes, bustling culinary scene, and great weather.

Here are six recommendations from a much longer list of well known attractions and unique experiences for this summer:

1.  Jerusalem 

Take the high-speed train for a 25-minute door-to-door ride or experience a Sherut (shared taxi shuttle) straight to Jerusalem.

Drop off your bags and head straight to Jaffa Gate of “The Old City” and take a walking tour of Jerusalem’sdistinct 4 quarters – experience the Arab market that winds its way through the ancient walled city. It is recognized as a key UNESCO World Heritage site, where thousands of years of glorious history seamlessly intertwine with modern day life.

At the same time, the city’s strikingly modern attractions promise around the clock excitement and pleasure for all lovers of culture, arts, music, and culinary delights.  Whether simply for the cultural experience, history & archaeology, street food bites exploration, or to experience true religious pilgrimage, Jerusalem offers something for everyone.

2.  Israel National Parks Authority 

Whether fans of history and archaeology, or simply to connect with the diverse geography and topography presented throughout Israel.

Hikers, mountain bikers, bird watchers, rock climbers, jeep safari or camel riders, and those choosing to simply connect with nature and camp under the stars. One of the major projects is The Ancient Sussita (Hyppos) archeological site, recently reopened to the public.

3.  Culinary journey

From the vast array of street food inspired by ethnic flavors, or international fast-food chains, to larger culinary hot spots where innovative Israeli chefs are making their mark.

Where to eat is part of the buzz factor generated by the local population and for visiting tourists.

Most consider Tel Aviv as the food capital of Israel with its over 4,000 eating establishments just in greater Tel Aviv to choose from. As for line-ups around the block, in 2011, Israeli Chef Eyal Shani added another to that growing number. Miznon was opened in Tel Aviv, and in 2023, Miznon expanded into Canada’s upscale Yorkville, Toronto neighborhood location.  Miznon is known to be a strong supporter of fresh local farm-to-table ingredients to create a new kind of Mediterranean street food experience, even in Toronto. Grabbing a connection to Israel via a unique Israeli inspired experience does work to inspire culinary foodie travel to the places where it originated.

4.  Taste a non-Scottish single malt

In an off-the-beaten-path commercial building on the edge of Tel Aviv sits M+H (Milk & Honey) Distillery.

One of their popular spirits, M&H Elements Sherry, was recently voted the world’s best single malt whisky at by the 2023 World Whiskies Awards.

 It is made using the finest sherry and ex-bourbon casks and is crafted with great care and attention to detail. The M&H Elements Sherry is the first and only single malt whisky in the world, aged in kosher sherry casks. This single malt reveals robust flavors of red fruit, dark chocolate, and oaky notes. M+H products are available at fine liquor merchants across Canada and around the globe.

5.  Mediterranean Cruising 

For centuries the Mediterranean coastline of Israel has been the landing spot for travellers and even conquerors. From biblical times to the Knights of the Crusades and centuries onward including Emperor Napoleon, Israel has been a hugely desired destination for all sorts of cruises. There is a growing popularity to explore the new nautical and land frontier for enriched travel.

Major international cruise companies landing or sailing from Israel’s two cruise ship ports at Haifa or Ashdod, offer pre-cruise and post-cruise options for multi-day or shorter tours. Such opportunities draw on carefully designed itineraries specially crafted to highlight the natural beauty and spectacular culture and uniqueness of Israel.

Here are some of the best things I did on an eight-day trip to Israel

Of all the things I envisioned doing in Israel – from floating in the Dead Sea to visiting the historic Western Wall – one thing I didn’t remotely anticipate was to wind up defacing public property.

Yet here I am, feeling like a rebel, with a can of light pink spray paint in my right hand in the back streets of Tel Aviv – in broad daylight to boot. 

Let me rewind a bit. This wasn’t my idea. It all started innocently enough under the guise of a graffiti tour through the artsy Florentin neighbourhood. After seeing some impressive pieces and learning about different types of street art such as site-specific murals that incorporate structural elements of a building, like an exterior cable or a pipe into the design, our tour guide and Tel Aviv-based musician, Maor Abitbul, opened his backpack and proceeded to pass out cans of spray paint. “Now it’s your turn,” he says. 

One by one, everyone on the tour quite literally started leaving their mark on Tel Aviv. Suddenly, our amateur creative process was interrupted by a family who had witnessed our mischief. But rather than stopping us, they asked to borrow a can of spray paint and we watched on as their young daughter stepped up to the wall to continue our masterpiece. 

In all honesty, it was a practice wall for artists so no damage or vandalism was done, but looking back on it now, it’s one of the experiences that made my first visit to the country so memorable.

New charm in the Old City

In a destination where old meets new, iconic religious sites like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre —the site where Jesus was said to have been resurrected — are steps away from vibrant markets and lively restaurants. 

The Machane Yehuda Market, also known as “The Shuk,” truly comes alive at night. During the day some 250 vendors sell fresh fruits and vegetables, spices and a variety of street food and desserts, but at night it’s a hotspot to hangout. Craft beer fans will want to visit the Beer Bazaar, which offers more than 100 types of Israeli beer.

Right next door is a trendy spot called Thinkers Distillery, which is known for its vodka.

Michael Ginosar, vice president of business development for Thinkers Distillery, says the idea behind Thinkers is to build on Israel’s reputation as a start-up nation and take advantage of advances in science, technology, chemistry and physics to take spirits to the next level. “We incorporate all that into the production process with the goal of making the best possible spirits,” he says. “The aim of this whole company is to make the best possible spirits and start exporting them all over the world.”

Today, Thinkers Distillery has a visitor’s centre that’s open for tasting sessions as well as distillery tours. Although they have big ambitions, he says there aren’t many others in their industry in Israel. “Israel has a lot of wineries — and it’s a good place to grow grapes. There are excellent wines coming out of Israel,” he adds. “There’s a brewing industry that’s really grown in the past 10-15 years, you’re seeing a lot of craft breweries, but for spirits, it’s still a really, really small industry.”

Wine tourism is another area that continues to expand in Israel.

Over the last two decades, Israel’s wine scene has grown tremendously from a handful of producers to more than “300 boutique wineries,” notes Nevo Winery’s general manager Lior Perl. The winery, which has indoor and outdoor tasting rooms, is located in the Judean Hills, about a half hour from Jerusalem. 

Set on the premises of what was previously a kindergarten, she says Nevo Winery has the distinguishing feature of having a wine cellar that’s located in a former bomb shelter. “We produce about 20,000 bottles a year, on a regular year,” Perl explains ahead of a tasting. 

Where to stay in Israel

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel

Want to follow in the footsteps of Justin Bieber, Anthony Kiedis, 50 Cent, and Keith Richards? The main entryway to Dan Tel Aviv Hotel is lined with autographs from the celebrities who have previously stayed at the five-star property.

The hotel is situated directly across from the main beach with unforgettable sea views to catch the sunset. One of the aspects that sets it apart is its lavish breakfast spread. We’re talking shakshuka, smoked salmon, fruit, freshly baked goods and even multiple kinds of cheesecake! 

The Magdala Hotel

For a one-of-a-kind experience, The Magdala Hotel at the shores of the Sea of Galilee is built around an archeological site.

The boutique hotel actually has fewer rooms than were initially planned because ruins were discovered from the first century town of Magdala in the building process. Known as the crossroads of Jewish and Christian history and the birthplace of Mary Magdalene, Magdala Hotel is home to The Magdala Stone and a first century synagogue.

To make it even more unique, there’s an original first century fountain in the lobby of the hotel. 

This city in Jordan is actually home to some of the best Roman ruins outside Europe

Visiting the Jordanian capital of Amman can quickly turn into an open-air history class.

Tourism officials note that the Romans, Greeks, Byzantines and Muslims all left their mark on the city, with plenty of historical reminders found in both Amman itself and nearby as well.

Roman ruins — including an amphitheatre — can be found in some parts of Amman, with local guide Ahmad “Ace” Malhas saying there was a time when the Roman presence was even more visible.

“Wherever we’re stepping there was a ruin,” Malhas told a recent group.

“Roman ruins are not just in Italy,” adds local tourism official Tamer Nassar.

A hilltop museum also tells of the long past of Amman, known as Philadelphia during the Roman era.

Near Amman are the Greco-Roman ruins of Jerash, home to remarkably well preserved structures.

“Basically the Greeks came and then the Romans added their fingerprints,” Malhas says of Jerash. “I believe it is the most preserved Roman city outside Rome and signifies the history of the Middle East.”

Jerash attractions include the Hippodrome, which the Romans used for chariot races.

Many Jerash ruins have yet to be excavated, Malhas adds.

Malhas notes that Amman’s largest mosque faces a Coptic church, which he says underscores the “peaceful co-existence” found between Christians and Muslims in his homeland.

Meanwhile, Malhas says there’s a lot more to Jordan than a historical side underscored by the likes of Roman ruins and the famed archeological site of Petra.

“If they (tourists) come to Amman they will  know this is an urban country too,” he said, citing the likes of stores, restaurants, upscale hotels and nightlife found in the city.

—STORY BY IAN STALKER

Day and Night: The ultimate Jordan itinerary

Jordan will provide visitors with an endless number of exotic experiences, regardless of whether it's sun-up or sundown. The country's storied history and intriguing landscapes ensure that there never needs to be a dull moment for vacationers.

DAY

The Jordan Trail

Duha Fayyad is inviting energetic sorts to trod over terrain that has hosted the likes of Roman Legions, Biblical figures and even Indiana Jones. Fayyad is the vice-president of the Jordan Trail, a 675-kilometre walkway that links northernmost Jordan with the Red Sea-fronting resort destination of Aqaba, with those who hike it in its entirety seeing some dramatic Jordanian tourist attractions. “It is a completely different experience. You miss out on so much when you take a vehicle,” says hiking enthusiast Fayyad of the non-mainstream manner of touring her homeland.

The Jordan Trail officially opened in 2017 and covers eight regions that Fayyad reports differ noticeably. Northern Jordan, for instance, has a lot of greenery, while desert awaits those who head to the trail’s southern part. Trail officials rate day-long hikes by degree of difficulty, with the scale ranging from Moderate to Challenging.

Among trail highlights are Petra—the ancient Nabatean city carved from rock faces and part of which was showcased in the blockbuster movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Wadi Rum, the desert retreat associated with Lawrence of Arabia and the Arab revolt. Those who opt for the entire marked trail can do it at their own pace, perhaps taking more than six weeks to complete it, at times staying in homes in villages along the way, eating local dishes with the “super hospitable” occupants of those houses. Camping is another option, including in areas with few people.

“It forces you to connect with nature and the land,” Fayyad says. Participants may spot both domestic and wild animals, with the latter possibly including the likes of foxes, birds and different reptiles. Fayyad says those who complete the trailoverseen by NGO Jordan Trail Associationwill see parts of the country that are steeped in history, with the trail’s mid-section built along Roman trade routes. More information can be found at jordantrail.org.

Wadi Rum

Visiting Jordan’s Wadi Rum region can be uplifting in a literal sense for energetic sorts. And perhaps a little tiring as well. Wadi Rum is best known for serving as a hideout for Lawrence of Arabia and other participants in the Arab Revolt and today attracts tourists eager to see an intriguing landscape of sand, dunes and rock outcroppings.

Those exploring it on a four-wheel drive desert safari are welcome to climb a steep, lengthy, sandy slope that leads them to a level area bordering towering rock faces, with tour guide Ahmad “Ace” Malhas cautioning those eager to trek upwards that the gradient won’t be the only challenge. “They think it will be easy but when they try it they say, ‘Oh my God! It’s so long,'” he reports, adding the sand surface makes planting your feet somewhat tricky.

Would-be trekkers are advised that the upward jaunt will be easier barefôot than with shoes, thanks to the sand. After descending, climbers can have traditional Bedouin tea. Meanwhile, Malhas says those who top the massive dune will be rewarded by looking down on the type of landscapes Lawrence called “vast, echoing and God-like.”

Ammarin Camp

Jordanian tour company employee Tamer Nassar will happily introduce tourists to some Bedouin-style baking and brewing. Among locales Nassarwith Kawar Tours, which sends people throughout Jordancan take visitors to is Ammarin Camp, a Bedouin encampment near the interior Jordan setting of Bediah, with the encampment found in the type of desert-like setting that Bedouins have long called home.

Those visiting Ammarin Camp can enjoy such traditional foods as hummus while sitting on low cushions, eating in a traditional Bedouin manner. The food itself is placed on a table in a recess in a dramatic rockface. Guests can stay in the camp, or overnight in the Bedouin tents and enjoy meals cooked and eaten amongst local residents, too. Those visitors can also watch a local woman bake Bedouin bread and another area residents produce traditional coffee in a manner that might seem laborious to Western coffee drinkers.

Nassar says coffee is very much part of Jordanian culture. “Wherever you go, they will offer you coffee,” adding such useful pointers that those visiting Bedouins should limit themselves to three cups of coffee as requesting a fourth is considered disrespectful in their culture. More information on the encampment can be found at bedouincamp.net/. More information on Jordan tours can be found at kawartours.com 


NIGHT

 

Petra beneath the stars

Night time can be the right time to view Petra’s most dramatic feature. The Nabatean archeological site hosts Petra By Night three times a week, with those attending finding the famed gorge leading to The Treasury illuminated by candles, while the area before the towering, beautifully carved structure is also lit by a huge number of candles.

Visitors will hear Bedouin flute music and a narration tells of Petra’s storied past. Those who oversee Petra want people to realize that Petra By Night isn’t a modern sound-and-light show.

“Walking through a canyon, which is illuminated just by candlelight, is a unique experience,” the Petra Development & Tourism Region Authority says. “Once you have reached The Treasury, enjoy the magic atmosphere: listen to a Bedouin playing his flute and reciting an old tale of the Nabatean times. You will enjoy an organic sound and light exaltation of the innate talent of the Nabateans, who so magnificently enhanced the natural beauty of their capital.”

 


 

Petra Kitchen

Those interested in learning how to cook up a storm Bedouin-style should consider taking a class at Petra Kitchen, which is found close to the archeological site of Petra and offers classes that can teach people how to make such Jordanian staples as lentil soup, tahini, baba ganoush and other dishes in a spotlessly clean kitchen.

Among those offering tourists pointers is Ahmad Daana, who sports a chef’s jacket and learned to cook from his mother. “They do a very good job,” he says of his students. Those students have included New Yorker David Yaw Anokye, who learned to appreciate cooking during his many travels and says Petra Kitchen inspired him. “I’ll keep practicing,” he says of Jordanian cuisine. His sister, Love, also took a class and says she was more than pleased with what she helped create. “I’m proud to help cook the food and have it taste so good,” she says, adding she was pleased to see vegan-friendly dishes available for guests to prepare.

Star gazing

There’s no question that those who vacation in Jordan may return home feeling a little star-struck. The country offers many great locales for stargazing, including Wadi Rum, where stars help light up the night. Wadi Rum is considered ideal for viewing the heavens after dark, thanks to a combination of factors, among them few people living there, meaning light pollution doesn’t affect views of what’s shining overhead after sundown. The desert environment also leads to clear skies.

 

There are many accommodation options for visitors, among them Bedouin tents for those wanting to experience a Bedouin lifestyle. Those wanting to look to the stars will also find geodesic domes to overnight in. The dwellings enable people to look directly skyward after deciding to hit the hay.