Dead Sea (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.
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.
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.
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/Muhajireen 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.
There are daily JETT buses from Amman to the Dead Sea. It leaves at 8:30am from outside the Intercontinental Hotel in Amman, and then from 9:00am at the JETT office by the 7th Circle. The bus arrives at the Dead Sea at 10am, and arrives back in Amman at 6:00pm.
There are no public buses from Petra, and a taxi to the Dead Sea will cost anywhere from 50-80 JD (3 hours, may include stops at Mt. Nebo and Kerak Castle 100jd), In 2015 The Price for a Taxi to go to Petra is at least 90 JOD. To save money you can take the bus from Amman at 6, 7, 8 or 9 in the morning (leaves when full from the station near the mosque) for 7 JD. It takes around 3 hours. When you arrive to the south bus station in Amman, ask a local to show you where the bus to the Dead Sea is (it may not be marked in English). The bus from here will cost 2 JD (1 hour) and if your hotel is off the main road they can drop you there. (September 2014)
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 driver may not want to drive any farther than initially agreed.
There are 2 beaches called Amman Beach. - The first one you find coming from Amman costs 20 JD (March 2016) (with swimming pools) and 10JD for the Locals/Jordanian beach (it's only 15m to left of the tourist entrance; not recommended for women on Fridays). The dead sea clay collected is available for 3JD and they may also help you with applying it on your body. - The second one is at few meters ahead from the first one. Entrance there is 12 JD, there are showers (outdoor) and toilets, umbrellas, a bar, FREE mud - just ask the life guard for it. Here you will find mainly locals. Unfortunately the beach is quite dirty: Jordanians don't care that much about the environment and they throw garbage everywhere, especially after barbecues.
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. Dead sea clay will be freely available in these places for visitors to use.
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.
Another beach is in the Mujib reserve, it costs 10 JD + 11% governmental tax. The access to the beach is linked to the Mujib Chalets, but you can still access it without the necessity of staying overnight at the chalets.
The hypersalinated water of the Dead Sea itself is its own attraction. There are several nearby attractions that are worth attention:
On the Jordanian side, both Arabic and English are spoken.
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.
Although the dead sea is famous for people easily floating in it, accidents have happened in the past and will happen in the future. Bear in mind the following:
Never attempt to swim stomach-first. Your feet will be higher than usual and your head will be lower than usual. Never let the water touch your lips, eyes, nose, or ears. There will be extreme pain which could cause you to panic and attempt to swim naturally - and dead sea will not allow you to swim normally. Enter the sea within a controlled environment, better with a lifeguard watching within a hotel's restricted area. You only need a few inches of water to drown and swimming while intoxicated is discouraged. Don't drink the water as it can cause major dehydration. Keep your eyes on your possessions while there, petty theft is a possibility.
On Fridays there is a JETT bus back to Amman from Ma'in. It leaves at 17:00. There are minibuses that return to Amman, if you are lucky you may be able to flag one down on the way out of town (last bus leaves arround 16:00). The large resorts will charge up to 50 JD to arrange a taxi back to Amman; walk out to the main road and you should be able to get a ride back into the city for 20 JD.
It is easy to hitchhike back to Amman, some people will still try to charge you though (you can negotiate a good price).
A taxi to Petra should be 75JD. It's worth going to the main road from hotels to get a taxi. Hotels will charge anything upto 150JD. i used localtrips.net , it is a company like Uber for tourism bu you have to book one day ahead, In 2015 It is very hard to do it from the high way , the dead sea area is not not an area where a normal taxi will pass by all the beaches and the hotels are on the main highway , and if you found a Taxi passing by awaiting all day for an unlucky tourist like yourself ,he knows you are so desperate to use his service as no one wants to be on a highway under the hot su with his bags on , and start bargaining the taxi for how much, this is a very bad idea to go and come to the dead sea in a not so organized way, also the same idea if you use a bus to the sea or swimming in the empty not serviced beach area .....Dead Sea area and beaches is not like the ordinary beach areas you find all the world , it is just a cluster of 5 and four star hotels , with two beached private with bathroom and showers are available