Wadi Rum Village
Standing between the towering hulks of Jebel Rum and Jebel Um Ashreen, Wadi Rum Village is a small settlement with a population of around 2000 people. It is an entirely modern creation, with the first permanent residences appearing from the 1980s; only the crumbling ruins of a Nabataean temple, an old outpost of Jordan's border police dating to 1932 and a few black goat hair tents of local Bedouin families pitched between seasons were found here before. With its broken streets, rundown buildings and a total lack of ATMs, public bathrooms and many other basic facilities that might be expected in any one of Jordan's major tourism hubs, Wadi Rum Village has the feeling of a place that has been forgotten and neglected. Except for a few climbers staying in the village to explore the nearby local crags, it is a place few visitors currently choose to stay and it does not serve as a destination for tourism in its own right so much as the funnel through which tourism passes to the desert. Nevertheless, it has a special position on the Wadi Rum Trail, being the trailhead where the route begins and ends, and anybody who does stay may find the village grows on them; the local Bedouin community is welcoming, there are several good Bedouin camps and Wadi Rum's most magnificent mountains tower directly above. Cafes, restaurants and shops are all found along with a solid 4G internet signal. A fee of JD5 must be paid to enter Wadi Rum at the Wadi Rum Visitor Centre, located 7km north of the village. Anybody arriving on a public bus must disembark here and take a taxi into the village for 5JD. Asking prices can be 15JD on arrival, so always book the transfer with the Bedouin operator organising your hike before arrival. Every visitor must bring enough cash for the length of their stay in Wadi Rum.
Wadi Rum's village covers just one square kilometre and has a simple grid-plan layout, making everything easy-to-navigate. The busiest hub is located south of the Wadi Rum Rest House; cafes, shops and restaurants are found here, along with taxis, 4x4s and Bedouin tour operators. Wadi Rum's old police fort, constructed in 1932, stands nearby, with most Bedouin camps and guesthouses on the quieter, eastern side of the village. The pretty springs of Jebel Rum and Wadi Shellali, the ruins of a Nabataean temple and the start points for several excellent hikes and scrambles are all close to the village. The Wadi Rum Trail starts at the Wadi Rum Rest House, crossing Wadi Rum to the foot of Jebel Um Ashreen, where the pass of Um Ejil is traversed.
Getting there & away
Travelling to Wadi Rum is easy. The JETT bus company operates a daily service between Aqaba and Wadi Rum from Aqaba's JETT bus station at 8am, arriving at the Wadi Rum Visitor Centre one hour later. Going the other way to Aqaba, the bus leaves Wadi Rum's Visitor Centre at 6.30pm. Tickets cost 15JD either way. The JETT bus service from Aqaba to Wadi Rum continues to Petra, departing the Visitor Centre at 9am daily, with tickets also costing 15JD. From Petra to Wadi Rum, buses leave Petra's JETT bus station at 5pm daily, arriving at the Visitor Centre around 6.30pm. A smaller bus used mostly by local people runs from Aqaba's central minibus station to Wadi Rum every day except Fridays, departing midday and costing 5JD. These minibuses leave when full so departure times are just approximate. This bus also runs the other way from Wadi Rum to Aqaba, trundling around the village from 6am every day except Fridays and beeping to alert any would-be passengers of its departure. Wait for it at the Wadi Rum Rest House to ensure it is not missed when making its rounds. A local mininbus also runs between Wadi Rum and Petra, on which more information can be found by asking around the village. Private taxis cost the following: Aqaba to Wadi Rum, 25-30JD; Petra to Wadi Rum, 40-45JD; Amman to Wadi Rum 100-120JD.
Know before you go
Wadi Rum Village has no banks, ATMs or foreign currency exchange outlets and few places accept card payments so bring the full cash supply needed for your trip. The closest ATMs are 20km away in the settlement of Deesa for which a return taxi trip will cost at least 20JD. Wadi Rum has a small medical clinic in which there is an in-house pharmacy, but supplies are basic so stock up with any medical supplies needed before travelling and do the same with food. Wadi Rum Village has only basic grocery shops. These may be useful for picking up any last minute essentials but any special snacks required for the course of a hike should be brought from bigger towns like Aqaba or from home. Anybody travelling by car to Wadi Rum be aware the village has no petrol stations.
BEDOUIN VILLAGE CAMP - traditional Bedouin camp with a modern touch. Simple interiors, heaters given in winter. Communal kitchen, bathrooms & WIFI. Closest to shops, restaurants & good for early morning buses from the Rest House. 10JD per person. Tel/ WhatsApp: +962779851398.
WADI RUM ORYX HOSTEL - founded in 2021 this camp has luxury Bedouin tents with en-suites, a/c & heaters in winter. Self catering kitchen & WIFI. Quiet location on the village border. Singles 20JD, doubles 10JD per person. Breakfast included. Tel/ WhatsApp +962772696039.
SUNRISE GUESTHOUSE - longest-running & cheapest in village. Simple rooms, named after classic climbing routes. Heaters given in winter. Communal bathrooms & self catering kitchen. 5JD per person, 7JD with kitchen. Tel/ WhatsApp +962795675327, www.wadirumdesert.com.
WADI RUM STARS HOSTEL - newest accommodation in Wadi Rum, opening 2022 on the northern fringes of the village. Comfortable rooms with en-suites, a/c & heaters in winter & WIFI. Contact owner Ahmed Ugla via Tel/ WhatsApp +962795399981/ +962777475646.