Category Archives: Travel

My Trip To Jordan: Part1

Posted By :

WP_20140525_08_29_39_Pro

As mentioned previously, I was in Jordan for a week back in May along with a couple of bloggers and media people courtesy of the Jordan Tourism Board. Before talking about the trip, I have to say I am quite impressed by the initiatives taken by Jordan to promote tourism in their country and through the JTB as opposed to what the Tourism Ministry does in Lebanon.

Moving on to the trip itself, and given that it was 1 week long, I thought I divide it into 2 parts:

The first post covering the first 3 days of the trip that includes a short stop and dinner in Amman, the Pope event at Amman stadium, the dead sea and baptism site visits and the stay at the mountain resort Ma’In Hot Springs Evason in Ma’In.

The second post covering the visit to Madaba (Mount Nebo), the desert experience in Wadi Rum, Petra by day and by night experience and last but not least our final stop in Aqaba.

WP_20140523_013 Overlooking Jordan

We took an early morning flight from Beirut to Amman (there are 7 flights every day) and got to Amman in less than 2 hours. It was my first time on a Royal Jordanian plane and the trip was quite smooth and the staff were very friendly. Upon arriving to the newly renovated Queen Alia International Airport, a bus and a tourist guide were waiting there to help us out and pick us up. The first hotel we stayed in was the Regency Palace hotel as it was very close to where the Pope’s mass is taking place and to the Jordanian cultural center where all the press conferences were being held.

WP_20140523_16_09_50_Pro Regency Palace Hotel

Night out in Amman and a selfie with Pope Francis
To be honest, the Regency Palace hotel was by far the worst hotel we stayed in during our trip to Amman as the rooms were dirty, the food was average and the hotel was right on a busy highway. After resting for a couple of hours, we headed out to the city center and had dinner at a beautiful authentic restaurant called Sufra. The restaurant is an old renovated house with a beautiful interior and a splendid terrace. The food was also quite good as we got to try few Jordanian dishes which were quite interesting (specially the Kafta wou Batata with T7eené instead of tomatoes).

WP_20140523_19_33_38_Pro

WP_20140523_19_47_36_Pro

The second day was quite a busy one as we had to be ready by 10am for the Pope’s visit and we spent the whole day between the Jordanian cultural center and the Amman stadium. The security measures taken were quite drastic as there were 2 or 3 police officers every 20 meters and a lot of security checks. Nevertheless, everything went as planned and I got to see Pope Francis which I admire and respect a lot. I even took a selfie with him!

WP_20140524_063

The Dead Sea Experience: At the lowest point on Earth
Our next stop after Amman was at the Movenpick Hotels & Resorts which is located on the dead sea. As opposed to Regency Hotel, this was one of the most beautiful resorts I’ve ever been too. The resort was splendid, the rooms were amazing, the food was great and the facilities were everything one could ask for. As far as the dead sea experience is concerned, I went for a swim and it was quite a weird feeling as you float the whole time. I stayed for around 20 minutes as this is the recommended time then put some of that “magic” mud on my body. Note that it is not recommended to swim if you have a cut, nor is it advised to dunk your face in the water as your eyes will hurt real bad; you just have to lay back and navigate with your hands as if you’re in a tube.

WP_20140525_08_58_26_Pro At the lowest point on Earth

WP_20140525_08_03_14_Pro

WP_20140525_08_05_51_Pro

WP_20140525_12_18_02_Pro

The whole dead sea experience took less than an hour and we spent the rest of the day sunbathing and walking around the resort. I even found some private Jacuzzi entrance and managed to get in after one of the hotel employees gave me the pass code. It was one of the best Jacuzzis I’ve stayed in as well. If you ever want to visit the dead sea, there are a lot of cool resorts along the coast just like the Movenpick.

WP_20140525_10_19_32_Pro

Baptism Site

After leaving the Movenpick and before heading to Ma’In, we passed by the Baptism Site for a short visit. The Baptism Site of Jesus Christ, also known as Al-Maghtas, is one of the most important religious destinations specially for Christians. Despite its symbolism, there’s nothing much to see there except for the few churches and the main site next to the river.

WP_20140525_13_23_57_Pro

What was quite amazing there is that we were standing right on the Jordan River and the people on the other side of the river were in Israel. Even though we were separated by few meters only and no barriers, no one dares to cross the river from both sides.

WP_20140525_13_31_44_Pro

Evason Ma’In Hot Springs

After our short stop at the Baptism site, we drove for like an hour to get to Ma’In, a region situated in the mountains and hosting a beautiful resort next to Ma’In’s famous waterfalls. The resort is called Evason Ma’In Hot Springs (I have no idea how we pronounce Evason) and consists of a hotel and a spa, the Six Senses Spa, set underneath one of the three waterfalls found there.

The hotel itself is really nice and ideal for a weekend escape, the rooms were tidy and clean but there wasn’t much lighting at night for some reason. The biggest waterfall found there is not accessible to the public, but there are two other waterfalls that you can go to. One of them is located inside the Six Senses spa and you have to pay to go there while the other one located right outside the resort is free. There’s also a pool 200 meters away from the hotel but I didn’t like it much to be honest, as I would have preferred some infinity pool inside the resort with a couple of Jacuzzis to relax specially that they have a breathtaking view.

WP_20140525_17_43_20_Pro The healing waterfalls

WP_20140525_16_35_03_Pro View from the hotel

WP_20140525_17_44_38_Pro

As far as the waterfalls are concerned, it’s quite a unique experience and it feels quite weird to be standing underneath them. They call them the “healing waterfalls” because they apparently relax the muscles and make you feel better. All in all, I highly recommend this resort if you are heading to Jordan for a week and looking for a weekend escape. You don’t need more than a couple of days at Evason Ma’In Hot Springs.

WP_20140525_17_59_14_Pro

WP_20140525_17_56_12_Pro

This pretty much covers the first part of my trip which I enjoyed quite a lot, but the best is yet to come to stay tuned for the second post where I will be talking about Petra and the desert experience mainly which were mind blowing!

UK Embassy Updates Travel Advice To Lebanon

Posted By :

FCO_301_-_Lebanon_Travel_Advice_Ed13__WEB_

Bass fi a7la min Lebnen?

The security situation in parts of Lebanon can deteriorate quickly. There is potential for further violence, which could restrict departure options. The ability of the British government to provide assistance with departures may be limited. Keep up to date with developments, be vigilant, follow local advice and avoid any protests or demonstrations. Roads can become blocked due to protests. See Political situation

There is a high threat from terrorism. There is a high risk of attacks by Islamist extremist groups, which could be indiscriminate and affect Lebanese security authorities, checkpoints and places visited by foreigners like hotels, restaurants, tourist sites western-style shopping centres and supermarket chains.

Security authorities are at a high state of alert and conducting security operations across Lebanon. Suspects have detonated explosions to avoid arrest and attacks could take place in areas not previously targeted. If you notice that a security operation is underway you should immediately leave the area. [Source]

Off To Ayia Napa

Posted By :

20140613_150357

I am currently in Cyprus and should be back on Sunday night. One of my closest friends is getting married next week so we’ve decided to go to Aiya Napa to celebrate his last single days in style. I’ll be online all the time but won’t be writing any posts before Sunday night or even Monday.

Until then, I’ll be posting pictures on my Instagram so add me if you aren’t already following me. [LeNajib]

Lebanon: Not As Seen on TV

Posted By :

[YouTube]

These videos are part of the Live Love Lebanon campaign and were shot by young Lebanese to show alternative gateways in Lebanon and emphasize on Lebanese hospitality, eco-tourism and basic pleasures in life.

You’ve seen the international news reports. You’ve heard the talk. But Lebanon is much more than that. From exciting Beirut nights to the serenity of its villages, and from the crashing waves of its shores to its snow-capped mountains, the Lebanese are showing the world what their country is truly about.

[YouTube]

I’m Off To Jordan

Posted By :

Best-Photography-Of-Petra-In-Jordan

In few hours, I’m heading to Amman courtesy of the Jordan Tourism Board. I will be spending a week in Jordan visiting the main sites and attractions and enjoying all the activities they’ve prepared for us. They sent me a couple of days ago the schedule and it includes attending the Pope’s mass, visiting the Baptism site, Petra, Wadi Rum, Aqaba, the Dead Sea and Nebo among other things.

I am excited for this trip as it’s my first visit to Jordan. As usual you could follow me by adding me on Instagram, my username is LeNajib or you can check out my pictures with your web browser by clicking [Here].

Grand Hyatt Beirut Under Construction

Posted By :

WP_20140519_07_17_48_Pro

I was walking around DownTown Beirut when I spotted the Grand Hyatt construction site. I haven’t seen or heard about it before but based on what I’ve read, its construction was suspended due to the regional and local tensions but they resumed the works back in September 2013. The hotel is expected to be open by 2015.

Grand Hyatt

The hotel will be very close to Down Town Beirut, to the Zaitunay bay and Beirut’s New Waterfront.

WP_20140519_07_17_53_Pro

L200446-album

L’Hote Libanais: Lebanese Families Invite You To Stay With Them

Posted By :

cool

Instead of staying in hotels the next time you visit Lebanon, L’Hote Libanais gives you the opportunity to stay with Lebanese families in their own homes. You can either stay with Jamil in his 84 year old Beirut home, chill with the Emirs in Roula’s mountain house in the Chouf area, or chill at Colette’s seaside house in Batroun.

I think a lot of tourists and locals would love this experience as it’s different from the hotel stay and closer to the real life in Beirut and Lebanon as a whole. We need more of these Bed & Breakfast places in order to promote tourism in Lebanon and let people discover the whole country and not just visit Beirut, go to the Jeita Grotto and Baalbeck.

Check out the website [Here].