Many travellers arrive into Aqaba thanks to the ever-increasing number of low-cost flights into Jordan’s Red Sea region. Whether it is to visit Jordan’s Golden Triangle (Aqaba-Petra-Wadi Rum), or as the start of trip backpacking in Jordan, there are several ways to get from Aqaba to Wadi Rum to enjoy the stunning desert and enjoy a Bedouin camp!
Thanks to Aqaba’s proximity to Wadi Rum (just a 1 hour drive away) it is possible to leave the resort town and see one of Jordan’s top sights in just a day trip if you are based in Aqaba. When you are finished this guide, check out other day trips from Aqaba.
How to Get from Aqaba to Wadi Rum
Bus From Aqaba to Wadi Rum
JETT Bus offers daily service by bus from Aqaba to Wadi Rum. The Aqaba Petra bus schedule changes from time to time, and I find the JETT website quite difficult to navigate. Your best bet is to physically visit the bus station to book your tickets one day in advance. If you do want to see their posted schedule, you can see it here
According to the poster below a round trip ticket from Aqaba to Wadi Rum to Aqaba with JETT is 18JD. Ensure you have the cash to pay for your tickets. This poster is outside the JETT Bus station in Aqaba.
A one way trip on the JETT bus from Aqaba to Wadi Rum is 12JD.
Aqaba to Wadi Rum by Rental Car
It is quite easy to rent a car in Aqaba and drive to Wadi Rum. It takes about 1 hour to drive to the Visitors Center and there is free parking on arrival. The cost to visit Wadi Rum protected area is JD5 and payable on arrival. If you have a Jordan Pass, the cost to enter Wadi Rum is included in your pass. Even if you are going to Al Diseh village for your accomodation, when you get to the turnoff to Diseh (by the police check point) make sure you check in at the visitors center first.
When you arrive you can book at 4×4 Jeep Tour inside the visitors center. There is almost always driver’s waiting in the parking lot for guests who have not made advance reservations. You can also arrange this with your accomodations on arrival. They can arrange sunset tours, or sunrise tours etc.
Unless you have arranged a Jeep tour with lunch, pack yourself a lunch or buy something before turning off the highway towards Rum. There is very little in Rum Village or the Visitors Center.
Consider getting a local Jordan Sim Card so you have GPS, while there are signs on the highway to Wadi Rum, if you plan on doing more driving or continuing on to Petra, you will want to be able to find your hotel in the winding streets of Wadi Musa.
Aqaba to Wadi Rum Day Tour
If you do not want to worry about getting a car and driving, there are day tours from Aqaba to Wadi Rum. A local operator can take care of the logistics of picking you up from your hotel, arranging lunch and a jeep tour and bringing you back to you your Aqaba hotel at the end of the day. With a day tour, you do not need to worry about arranging a tour with a local Bedouin, just relax and enjoy and everything will be taken care of for you.
Check Out these Day Tours from Aqaba to Wadi Rum
Viator: One Day Aqaba to Wadi Rum
This 6 hour private tour hits all of the highlights of a visit to Wadi Rum including a 2 hour Jeep tour, enjoying sweet bedouin tea with locals and the option to add a camel ride before you bid farewell to this beautiful part of the world.
This 8 hour private tour offers a longer 4×4 ride including visiting some of the rock bridges. It also includes lunch at a Bedouin camp. It has great reviews and you are sure to enjoy the desert landscape as you spend an epic day visiting this UNESCO site in Jordan
Get Your Guide: Aqaba to Wadi Rum Tour
Travel by private vehicle to Wadi Rum where you will transfer to a 4×4 Jeep to experience the dramatic landscape of Wadi Rum. This is a quicker day and does not include lunch.
Aqaba to Wadi Rum Private Tours Tipping Guide:
Tips are not included in any of these tours. It is suggested to tip if you were happy with your service. Most drivers and guides in Jordan are very polite and will not hassle you for tips (unlike some other countries). This is a guide for tipping for a private day tour from Aqaba:
Driver JD10 carload (USD15)
Local Bedouin Guide and Driver in Wadi Rum JD5 carload (USD7)
Lunch 1 JD/person (USD1.50)
Aqaba to Wadi Rum Taxi
Taking a taxi from Aqaba to Wadi Rum is the no-hassle way to get there. It will cost around JD40. Ensure you negotiate the rate before you get in. You can also arrange a two-way taxi and they will wait for you and take you back to Aqaba.
Best Way to Get from Aqaba to Wadi Rum
The best way to get from Aqaba to Wadi Rum depends on your travel style, and your itinerary. If you are on a shoestring budget, JETT but at JD12 one way is the cheapest option.
If you are a couple or a family then a rental car might be cheaper than the bus, or at least more convenient. You can leave Aqaba when you like and after Wadi Rum, you can continue to Petra, Feynan or Amman. Most of the driving is highway driving and self-driving is a great way to see the country.
If you are not comfortable driving, then a one way or round trip taxi is an option if you are not able to take the JETT bus.
If you want someone else to take care of all of the logistics, then booking a guided tour is the best way to see but Jordan as a whole. The guides in Jordan are extremely knowledgeable and they provide so many insights that you cannot read from a guide book. There are several local companies that can arrange a private tour based on your desired itinerary or even provide transportation for you from Aqaba to Petra and back.
If you think you want to book a tour, check out my post on choosing the right Jordan tour for you.
5 Things to Bring with You to Jordan
I have always been a guide book person and physically having that book in your hand as you plan your day, in addition to blogs like this one, can help immensely. Pick up a Lonely Planet Guide to Jordan (or the kindle version) before your trip to Jordan.
Whether you want to keep the sun off your head or want to show a little modesty, a scarf goes a long way in Jordan any time of the year. You can bring one with you or pick up one when you arrive, but don’t leave your hotel in the morning without it! It can serve as a hat to keep the sun off your head and neck in the summer and can add some warmth in winder and can offer modesty to cover shoulders for women.
A Grayl Water Bottle is something I recommend for every traveller, not just those going to the Middle East. Some people say the water is safe to drink from the tap, others say it is not; it is not something I am going to chance. And Jordan has a HUGE garbage problem. The streets, the forests and even the desert are littered with plastic bottles.
If you consider drinking at least 1-2 big water bottles a day while you are there, think of how much plastic that creates when every visitor and the population’s 9 million people do the same. With a Grayl, you can filter any tap water (or actually any water source) and have clean drinking water in seconds. Since most people travel with water bottles already, consider one like this with a filter so that you are not just pouring from big water bottles to small. It might sound expensive, but when you compare it to spending a few dollars per day on water while you travel (and do not forget how expensive the water is inside airports), you will pay for this very quickly.
An inexpensive Universal Travel Adapter is another must for Jordan. You will find an assortment of 220V plugs, from European 2 pin, another style of 2 pin and UK Plugs. While European 2 pin is most common, it is best to carry one of these adapters with you. With a handy USB input, you do not need to bring your plugs from home.
Kleenex or Wipes are another thing to put on your list. Jordan’s public washrooms (and even restraint or hotel lobby washrooms can often be unstocked. Unless you are good with a bidet sprayer, bring yourself some kleenex or wipes just in case! You will find that most washrooms in tourist sites and rest stops have an attendant that will give you toilet paper and paper towel for a small tip. Usually half a dinar is fine.
In Jordan, the plumbing is not set up to handle toilet paper. Every bathroom (even hotels) you should use the garbage can beside the toilet for your toilet paper and any sanitary products.
Motion Sickness Pills might be needed if you are prone to motion sickness and plan on traveling by bus or in the back of the car. There are many windy, hilly and bumpy roads in Jordan. The trucks in Wadi Rum can also get bumpy. Sea Bands might work for you if you are prone to motion sickness.
Travel Insurance for Jordan
There are a few other things to think about when it comes to travel. The first thing is travel insurance. Whether it is an emergency room visit for something as simple as strep throat, or an emergency appendix surgery, or an unfortunate moped incident things do go wrong when people travel everyday.
I highly suggest travel insurance and a good policy. I personally never travel without it, and I even checked into my policy about care for my children if I am ever in an accident or hospitalized. There are just too many things to think about.
You can find out more information and buy your travel insurance here.
More Jordan Travel Resources
In order to help make your visit to Jordan as memorable as possible, I have created a number of resources from planning guides to local eats.
If you have just begun the planning, check out 101 Things to do in Jordan to give you some inspiration on the places you want to make sure you have time to see.
Save on Air BNB
If you are planning on booking an Air BNB during your trip (or anywhere for that matter), use this link to save on your booking.