As well as a bucket list of sights for closer to home (see the post here), we’ve also been busy researching some ideas for destinations further afield to add to our lists for 2018 and beyond…
What’s the story?
Jordan has so much to offer and despite it’s position neighbouring Syria and Iraq, it is very popular and a safe destination for tourists. Jordan provides an action packed itinerary and has something for everyone. If you are looking for relaxation then top of your list should be the Dead Sea resorts where you can experience the novelty of properly floating (no lilo needed here) due to the extremely high salt content.
But you’d be doing Jordan a disservice if you just stopped there. There’s also the beautiful expanses of desert in Wadi Rum, so striking that is been used by Hollywood to depict the surface of Mars in a number of Blockbusters. You don’t need Hollywood glamour to truly appreciate this location though, so instead opt for a traditional stay. Wadi Rum is the place to experience true Bedouin culture and sleep in a tent under the stars.
Another must see is Petra. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a city carved into the rocks dating back to Pre Historic times (you might recognise it from the movies as well!).
I’ll be completely honest, I wouldn’t have had Jordan on my list at all before moving to Dubai and that would have been a huge error! I really knew very little about the country, but since moving here I’ve heard so much about it with many friends recommending it as their favourite destination so far. It’s relatively easy to get to from Dubai, with a flight time of just under 4 hours. I’m hoping to see the above sights as part of my trip later in the year, but there’s much more so it just depends on what you are looking for. For instance, there’s great snorkelling to be had in Aqaba, as well as a whole host of other historic and religious sites to explore.
Best time to visit:
Although in the Middle East, and therefore susceptible to the hot summers (especially in places such as Wadi Rum in the desert), Jordan has a much more varied climate. It can actually snow and reach minus temperatures in the capital Amman and Petra during the Winter months. With this in mind, Spring is the optimal time to visit from March to May to avoid the more extreme temperatures.
The Guestbook’s comment: “If you want somewhere completely different with lots of variety then this is a destination to consider. It’s perfect for those who like getting out and about and seeing different places, but also offers relaxation (and novelty!) with the Dead Sea resorts”.
What’s the story?
This one is a recommendation from Chris (my Dad and the other half of The Guestbooks team!). Chris visited New Zealand a few years back and loved it and it’s definitely inspired me to make sure it’s high on my list of places to visit too. There’s also been countless times when I’ve seen a stunning photo and looked for the destination and it’s been New Zealand. It just seems to have it all. From the stunning beaches of the North Island with the Coromandel Peninsula, as well as other famous stretches like Ninety Mile Beach.
Then there’s the geothermal activity of Rotarua and extensive Maori culture to explore. That’s before even getting onto the South Island and the stunning national parks such as Abel Tasman in the North and Fiordland National Park near Queenstown. And that’s still the tip of the iceberg in terms of places to see. Yes it might be a long and expensive trip, but I’m pretty sure it’s one worth saving up for if the photos are anything to go by. New Zealand definitely has something for everyone, but number 1 has to be the natural beauty of this place.
New Zealand has always wowed with pictures in travel magazines and comes highly recommended from my Dad’s travels as mentioned above, and now I am 7 hours closer being based in Dubai it seems like somewhere that should definitely make the travel list. It will take up a big proportion of holidays though and people are still laughing at me when I ask whether it’s possible to do both islands in 2 weeks?! Recommendations for the North Island from Chris’s travels there include the Bay of Islands and Russell so they will be on the list. Watch out for a post from Chris on his guide to planning an itinerary which will help to plan your trip if you’ve set your sights on New Zealand like me!
Best time to visit:
This is subjective depending on the plans for your trip but a lot of people often choose UK Spring (March – May) when Autumn begins in New Zealand. Having said this, there’s lots to do throughout the year and snow capped peaks offer skiing opportunities in the South Island during Winter months (UK Summer).