Dead Sea (Jordan)

Dead Sea shore, Jordan

The Dead Sea (Hebrew: ים המלח, Hebrew transliteration:Yam HaMelach; Arabic: البحر الميت, Arabic transliteration: al-Bahir al-Mayyit) has its eastern coast in Jordan. It is the lowest point in the world at 394.6 m (1269 ft) below sea level.

Get in

On the Jordanian side, the Dead Sea is possible as a day trip from both Amman and Aqaba. The road is a good dual carriage way. Tourist areas are accessible from the main road that runs along the eastern side of the body of water and connects to Jordan's Desert Highway running to Amman. Highways leading to the Dead Sea are clearly marked by brown tourist signs. It is an ambitious 3-hour drive from Aqaba in southern Jordan.

Taxi services for travel to the Dead Sea can be purchased for the day 20JD if you hail a cab from down town, down town hotels charge 35JD for the same service. Many of the local hotels and resorts have shuttles that travel from Amman to the Dead Sea for a fee. There are a handful of bus lines that also run from Amman on a daily basis. Bus from Mujaharin bus station to Rame costs 1 JD. Taxi from Rame to Amman Beach 4JD or less. Especially on good weather Fridays and Sundays, busses leave from Muhajarin bus station directly for Amman Beach, but if not they will at least drop you of along the road only a couple of kilometers before reaching the Sea. If you are used to hitchhiking it is then very easy to get a lift onwards.

From Aqaba a taxi can be hired for a full day. If booked through the reception of a nice hotel expect to pay about 100 JD. If you find a driver on your own you an haggle and get the price down quite a bit (80 JD in January 2010 - possibly better deals can be agreed on). Make sure to arrange with the driver before you leave if you also want to stop by any other sites as part of your trip as the diver may not want to drive any farther than initially agreed.

The cost to enter the public tourist beach (Amman Beach) is 16 JD (April 2012) (with swimming pools) and 11JD for the Locals/Jordian beach (it's only 15m to left of the tourist entrance; not recommended for women on Fridays). Many hotels also sell day passes that include full use of hotel facilities as well as their Dead Sea beachfronts; at the Mövenpick Resort, day passes cost 20 JD per person for hotel guests, while non-hotel guests pay 40 JD on weekdays and 50 JD on weekend.

Around 10km south of Amman Beach is a local's favourite place that is easily recognized by a couple of stands selling snacks and water near the road. The place is dirty and nobody takes care of it, but if you're on a shoestring, the Dead Sea there is just as good as everywhere. There is a small water fall coming from a hot spring that can serve as a shower afterwards to wash off the salt from your skin. Getting a lift from there back to Amman is easy and occasionally even buses pass by on which you can jump on for a small fee.

Understand

Salt deposits

The water in the Dead Sea is extremely salty, and has been estimated to be the second saltiest major body of water in the world. Its name is derived from the fact that the water is far too salinated for marine inhabitation.

The Dead Sea is naturally endorheic (no outlet streams) with the Jordan River being its only major source. The northern part of the Dead Sea receives scarcely 100 mm (4 inches) of rain a year; the southern section receives barely 50 mm (2 inches). Due to the man-made reduction of the Jordan River (the river waters are 70-90 % used for human purposes) and the high evaporation rate of the Dead Sea, the sea is shrinking. All the shallow waters of the southern end of the sea have been drained and are now salt flats.

Although the Dead Sea would never entirely disappear (because evaporation slows down as surface area decreases and saltiness increases), measures are currently being proposed to siphon water from the Red Sea through a series of tunnels or canals in order to replenish the rapidly shrinking waters and provide water and electrical solutions to the surrounding countries.

Climate

The climate at the Dead Sea varies depending on the season. Temperatures during the tourist season can become extremely warm, ranging from 30°C (86°F) in the spring to upwards of 40°C (104°F) in the summer. The area receives an average of 330 days of sunshine per year, with rainy days occurring only during winter (if at all).

Although the Dead Sea is very sunny the low altitude and extra atmosphere makes the sunlight weaker. It is therefore said that sunbathing here carries a lower risk of sunburn, but it is still advisable to take normal precautions using sunblock and adapt gradually. This quality of the Dead Sea sunlight is the real secret behind its mythological curing ability for several diseases, especially skin diseases. This is, in fact, natural phototherapy.

Caution: During winter and spring there is a danger of floods on rainy days. The Dead Sea basin receives rainwater from relatively far-off areas like the Jerusalem Mountains. This means that sometimes during a sunny day a flood will suddenly and unexpectedly occur. Therefore, be careful when hiking to distant narrow places during these seasons and stay tuned to the weather news. The weather forecast always gives warnings if there is a possibility of flooding. Always do as national reserves staff order - they know the terrain very well. In 2007, several Israelis who had been "snappling" (rappelling) were killed by a flood because they did not obey national reserve staff orders.

See

The hypersalinated water of the Dead Sea itself is its own attraction. There are several nearby attractions that are worth attention:

shore

Talk

On the Jordanian side, both Arabic and English are spoken.

Do

It is nearly impossible to sink in the hypersaline waters

Short of actual drowning, inhalation of the water can cause specific, sometimes life threatening medical problems not seen with other bodies of water, because of the water's very high electrolyte content so be sure of your swimming abilities and confidence in the water before deciding to swim on your front.

Buy

Visitors can purchase packets of the famous mud, as well as other cultural artifacts and handicrafts, from local gift shops.

Eat & Drink

The restaurant options near the Dead Sea are sparse.

The Jordanian public beach contains an over-priced buffet-style restaurant and a small beach-side snack bar. It is recommended that visitors planning to visit the public beaches bring their own food and drinks. There are many resorts that can be found in Jordan to cater to tourists.

Sleep

Budget

Splurge

Despite the antique look of the village, all 346 rooms are luxuriously furnished in warm and natural colours. The latest Beach Rooms and Beach Suites are contemporary with modern furnishings and large terraces. Self-controlled air-conditioning, satellite TV, direct-dial phone, coffee and tea-making facilities, hairdryer, and a safe are standard fittings in every room. A special benefit is our free minibar, available in all rooms. As well as the famous ZARA Spa, there are several swimming pools, some of which feature different mineral concentrations, including a heated pool for winter. A wide private beach runs along the Dead Sea shore, and there are jacuzzis, tennis courts and a fitness centre. There are also a total of four restaurants and several cafes and bars. Rates starting from JOD 99.00++.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, April 02, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.