The Complete Guide to Wadi Rum, Jordan

Wadi Rum – or Valley of the Moon – is an unbelievably stunning desert wilderness in southern Jordan. Covering 720 km2, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for its dramatic sandstone mountains, expansive red dunes, and ancient rock carvings. If you’re planning a trip to Jordan, you HAVE to visit Wadi Rum. You’ll get the chance to experience the Bedouin culture, enjoy various outdoor activities, see starry-night skies and the most incredible desert surroundings. Here is my experience visiting Wadi Rum, with two great friends, during our trip to Jordan.

wadi rum jeep

What to Do in Wadi Rum

Jeep Tours of Wadi Rum

Jeep tours are one of the most popular activities in Wadi Rum, allowing you to explore the vast desert quickly and comfortably. These tours typically last a few hours and take you to the most iconic sites; Lawrence’s Spring, Khazali Canyon and famous rock formations like the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Local Bedouin guides lead the tours, providing insights into the culture, history and geology of Wadi Rum.

Hiking and Rock Climbing

Wadi Rum is home to a variety of trails and climbing routes that cater to all skill levels. The Jebel Umm ad Dami, the highest peak in Jordan, offers a difficult hike with panoramic views of the desert, and even Saudi Arabia on clear days. Those looking for rock climbing opportunities, there are number cliffs and steep rock faces to try out. I’d recommend choosing a guided tour, whether you’re beginner or advanced, to navigate these!

Hot Air Balloon Rides

For the thrill-seekers, you can take a hot air balloon ride over Wadi Rum at sunrise. You’ll be able to enjoy bird’s-eye view of the stunning desert, dunes and rock formations. I imagine the photo opportunities are epic, particularly given the morning colours of the desert at sunrise. I’m absolutely terrified of heights, so I can’t think of anything worse than a hot air balloon ride. But if this is up your street, Google search one of the many tours to find the best price/package for you.

Camel Rides

Another popular part of most tours are the camel experiences. You’ll get the chance to learn more about the camels and how they played an integral part of transport within Wadi Rum. The treks can range from short one-hour rides to multi-day journeys. I felt a bit bad riding on one so we opted for the one-hour session in our tour.

Bedouin Camps and the Bedouin Culture

I’d highly recommend doing a multi-day tour in Wadi Rum, so you’re able to stay at a Bedouin camp and experience some of their culture. We were able to eat authentic meals, listen to traditional music and hear about Bedouin customs. It also allows you to experience the breathtaking starry-sky. Depending on when you go, you can also see the edge of the milky way! You’ll also get to experience Zarb. Zarb is a traditional Bedouin delicacy, where meats and vegetables are cooked on a barbecue located underground, in a large pit. The food is placed on racks which are lowered into a pit, overtop hot coals and then the pit is covered with sand until the Zarb is finished. The food each night was unreal!


Wadi Rum is famous for its clear skies and minimal light pollution, making it the perfect place for stargazing. Many camps have guided stargazing sessions, where guides will point out constellations and planets. Some camps also provide telescopes! Whether you go a guided session, or just enjoy the stars alone, it’s an unforgettable experience!


Given the many sand dunes in Wadi Rum, a popular activity with tours is sandboarding. With boards provided by your tour, you’ll get to slide down the soft, powdery dunes – fun and very fast! Definitely a different way to enjoy the desert.

Sunrise and Sunsets

The Wadi Rum desert transforms from dawn to dusk, as the sky changes colours. Most tours and camps offer specific trips to the best viewing spots, where you’ll be able to unwind and watch the stunning sunrises or sunsets. Both nights of our tour included sunset watching and it was out of this world!

Photography Tours

With its dramatic landscapes and unique light conditions, Wadi Rum is a popular place for photographers. Consider taking an organised photography tour, that’ll take you to the most photogenic spots, at the best times, to ensure you’re getting the best out of the desert.

Historical Sites of Wadi Rum

There are several historical sites in Wadi Rum that you’ll likely visit, particularly if you’re doing a tour. Lawrence Springs is a historic site named after T.E. Lawrence, renowned for its small natural spring, ancient inscriptions and panoramic views. Another historical location is Khazali Canyon, featuring petroglyphs and inscription that date back thousands of years. These are some of the areas that provide fascinating insights into Wadi Rum’s past and the ancient civilisations who lived there.

Where to Stay in Wadi Rum

There are several options to consider when deciding on where to stay within Wadi Rum itself. The most popular would be the Bedouin Camps, where you can get a glimpse of what life is like for people permanently living within the desert. There are different ‘levels’ of these, some basic and others more luxury.

We had a lovely stay in a fairly basic 3-man cabin. Our camp consisted of a few cabins, a campfire area, a main tent for eating and hanging out, and a small bathroom hut with toilets and showers. I would say going to the bathroom in the middle of the night was an experience!! Aside from the little solar lights near the bathroom entrance, you’re in pitch dark! It was very, very dark, so I used my phone torch and sprinted to/from the bathroom.

The image above shows our camp; with the communal tents in the foreground, our sleeping cabins in the back right and the bathroom is the back left.

Alternatively, you can opt for a more luxury option, like the Bubble Luxotel; a bubble dome experience where you can watch the stunning sunsets from your jacuzzi!

Our Wadi Rum Itinerary

Here is an overview of how we spent our 3 nights in Wadi Rum, so you have an idea of what to expect if you book a tour. We chose a 2-day/2-night tour but spent an extra night in the camp before it started.

Day 1: Petra to Wadi Rum

After a few incredible days exploring Petra, we got a taxi to Wadi Rum. Arriving in the afternoon, we presented our Jordan Pass and met our tour guide- Mohammed. From there, he drove us 45 minutes through Wadi Rum to our camp. The views around us were out of this world!!

We were welcomed by Mohammed’s amazing team and spent the evening sat by the fire, drinking copious amounts of sweet Jordanian tea and marvelling at our surroundings. We only had one other person at our camp so it felt intimate and quiet.

As someone born and raised in London, I couldn’t get over how dark and quiet it was at night. Very peaceful and surreal, with incredible stars!

Day 2 – Hikes, Jeep Tours, Dune Surfing & Lawrence Springs

Our first proper day in Wadi Rum started with an early, traditional breakfast before pilling into a jeep for a tour. We spent several hours in the morning touring some key sites of Wadi Rum, before our first main stop, Lawrence Springs.

We were dropped at the base of Lawrence Springs, before starting the rocky climb up to the springs. I’m terrified of heights and found this to be quite unnerving, particularly given the steepness. In the end, I made it 3/4 of the way up before stopping. I hid by some rocks for shade, whilst my friends continued to see the springs. They said it was worth it but that I probably would have struggled, height-wise, going any further up. I was happy enjoying the panoramic views around me.

lawrence springs climb

We stopped during peak sun for lunch, which Mohammed provided. Very filling local food, ample amounts of water and sweat tea were provided. Our guides were brilliant at setting everything up quickly and providing us with everything we could need. Once the peak sun had passed, and we were full from the amazing food, we continued on the tour. This entailed climbing up our first sand dune, more hikes in the afternoon and a last sand dune in the late afternoon for sandboarding. I spent most of it on my arse, but it was very fun!

Back near our camp, we were taken to the most incredible view point to watch the sunset. There are limited numbers of tourists allowed in Wadi Rum at any time, so we shared this area with maybe 10 people maximum. After the sunset, we were driven back to the camp where we had our first experience of Zarb. Safe to say the food was incredible and we enjoyed our dinner by the campfire.

Day 3 – Saudi Border, Camel Rides, Hikes and Sunsets

Our second day of the tour began early, with more walks and hikes. We spent most of the morning exploring the Khazali Canyon, which provided a different terrain and interesting insights into the preserved petroglyphs. We also did a longer walking hike, which gave us great views of the Jordan – Saudi Arabia border! Similarly to the previous day, we found shaded shelter during the peak heat and ahd another feast of a lunch. The tour were so incredible at providing lots of fresh food, water and their famous sweet tea.

In the afternoon we headed back towards our camp, with a camel stop! I wasn’t too sure about this part of the tour but it was great to meet some of the Bedouin’s camels, hear about how they still help. Our tour guide for this part was a young boy (13 years old maybe?) who brought three camels from his family for us to meet. We did a short ride on them before hearing more about how the camels are apart of their every day life.

By now it was getting close to sunset, so we were taken to another fantastic view point. Again, there’s limited numbers allowed in Wadi Rum, so it wasn’t crowded. But nice to see a few other people in the desert, outside of ourselves. Back at camp we had another Zarb dinner under the stars before heading back to our cabin.

Day 4 – Wadi Rum to Amman

After an amazing 3 nights in Wadi Rum, we had our last breakfast before being driven in the 4×4 back to the main tourist entrance. From here we took a taxi to Amman for our last night in Jordan.

Wadi Rum was without doubt my favourite place to visit in Jordan, so I’d highly recommend going on a multi-day tour. The whole country was amazing though and we had incredible times at the Dead Sea, Dana Biosphere Reserve, Petra and Amman.

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