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The entrance fee to Wadi Rum (July 2010) is now 5JD, which is something of a bargain, believe me!
First and foremost of course, the general atmosphere of the place. What follows are only some of the sights that you could expect to visit in a standard 4x4 tour - there are many other beautiful places which are really only accessible on foot. There are many more that I have no room to mention here.
You should look at the page on "Tours offered from the Visitors' Centre" if you are interested in the tours organised from there, or at the section on "Reliable Guides" if you wish to reserve a guide in advance.
The usual tours take you past "Lawrence's Spring", the great red sand dunes in Wadi Um Ishrin, to the Thamudic inscriptions at Annafishiya, to Jebel Khazali to see the Canyon. Note that the "Lawrence's Spring" that is offered in the normal tour is at Abu Aina; this is where the water from the spring actually comes out into the desert. It is a watering place for the camels that wander around the desert, and you can often see them there. If you want to see the spring exactly as described in "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" you need to take the path behind the Resthouse which climbs to Wadi Shelaala. On the credit side, you don't need a guide for this, just a couple of hours of your time, and Shelaala is very attractive and cool, even in the heat of summer. Take along a plastic goblet to taste the water that comes down from above (not the water below in which people often follow Lawrence's example of bathing).
Khazali Canyon always seems to me to be a bit overrated. OK so there are some special Nabatean inscriptions there, but the canyon is less than 100 meters long (depending on what exactly you are measuring.) It is true that there is nothing similar anywhere else in Wadi Rum. Jebel Khazali is a very dignified mountain, it always reminds me of a king wearing a crown! This is the mountain that is very often shown as "typical of Wadi Rum". See the photo higher up.
Um Fruth is a rock bridge which is very easily climbed. It is quite different from the bridge at Burdah which is over 300 meters up from the desert floor. As you see here, Um Fruth must be about 12 or 15 meters up, and there is a gully giving easy access to the top. On the other hand the bridge is pretty narrow, so people who don't like heights are advised to be careful and/or have a sympathetic companion who is willing to lend a hand.
The Barragh Canyon is very much worth visiting but is far enough away from Rum Village that it is much more expensive to go there. For this reason, you are unlikely to meet many tourists there. The Canyon is very popular with climbers. It would be extraordinary if at least one team wasn't climbing when you are there, but you don't always notice them easily, ask your driver to indicate the most popular climbs - "Merlin's Wand" is the classic one. If you have the time and your guide is cooperative, you might like to ask him to drop you at the top of the canyon and pick you up at the bottom. The canyon is about two or three kilometers long, and makes a very pleasant walk, call it about an hour. You are likely to be in shade most of the time, and a break from driving can be welcome.
Incidentally, it was in the Barragh Canyon that the meeting between "Lawrence" and "Prince Faisal" took place in the film "Lawrence of Arabia" - NOT in reality, let me point out, although a very respectable (official) website asserts that it did!
The best known site is probaby the spectacular rock bridge on Jebel Burdah, nearly 20kms from Rum Village and some 300m up from the desert floor. There are several routes up this mountain, some require roping up, and should only be tackled with a qualified guide. Others are no more than a scramble. If you have the time and the energy necessary, this is one of the not-to-be-missed places in Wadi Rum, if only for the view when you get to the top. (See photo in the Climbing section). Several of the Bedouin Roads/Rum Guides tours will take you up to the bridge. You usually need about 4 hours to climb and to come down again.
Most climbers stop there, but if you can summon the energy to continue to the top of the mountain, the views are even more spectacular. If you are with a guide, obviously the price will be higher for this.
For walkers there are very many more possibilities, for those willing to tackle rougher ground, more still. See the page on "Trekking" in the section "Out of doors in Jordan" and the "Tours of Wadi Rum" page.
See the page on "Tours offered at the Visitors' Centre" for prices for these tours.
It is easy to sneer at the 4x4s available for visiting Wadi Rum. When one first sees them, one's inevitable reaction tends to be "they date from the time of Lawrence of Arabia". In fact, however primitive or ancient they might look, most of them are kept in prime condition (in the driver's own interest!) and work very well indeed. A good number of them are of fairly recent date, and many of the guides who could afford a "landcruiser" type of transport actually prefer the pickups as being more versatile. I admit that the comfort tends to vary a bit, but a breakdown is all but unknown, and while punctures are an everyday risk, the drivers seem able to change a wheel in the time it takes one to smoke a cigarette.
"Lawrence's way to Aqaba through the mountains". This can be done by 4x4 (the usual price is 35JD/person in a jeep with a minimum of 2 people, but this price will come down if there are more of you), by camel 100JD per person (minimum of two people), (the camel has to come back afterwards) or by hiking it with a guide - the usual hiking prices apply. Horses find this route more difficult, two days is a minimum. [Incidentally, this wasn't the route that TE Lawrence took to attack Aqaba, but who cares?] The desert track will take you to Wadi Itms and here you are usually met by a taxi to take you the rest of the way; you can expect the price of the taxi to be included in the price quoted.
One point : the rules of the Nature Reserve do not allow this trek to be done in the other direction ie Aqaba to Wadi Rum. It's a pity, but the authorities are quite inflexible about this. I'm not quite sure of the reasons, there are a number of possibilities, running from the non-payment of entrance fees for visiting 4x4s, to the lack of control on entries, and to the Bedouin smuggling duty free goods from Aqaba. In any case no authorization is given and there is a police post there now to stop anybody trying it.
The highest point in Jordan is Jebel Um Adaami (1830m), far to the south of the village of Rum. The views from the top are magnificent, especially to the south over Saudi Arabia, and the drive of some 50kms (one way!) is quite beautiful. The ascent isn't difficult for people in reasonable physical condition, but not every guide will take you there. It is really a long way and a good car and a very good driver are needed. You should apply to one of the "mountaineering specialists", even if ropes are not necessary here. One can get there in a 4x4, climb and come back again in one long day. The price for the day trip for the car is 120JD for a maximum of six people, including the climb. If you want also to have supper and bivouac in the desert, then I am afraid that the price is higher according to how many people you are.
It is also possible to ask for a drive "to the south" where you will be going far from Rum Village, perhaps 30 or 40 kilometers out. This area is almost entirely unfrequented by tourists, you may see an occasional Bedouin tent, but nothing much more. This drive might come expensive, a fair charge would probably be 50-60JD for the car. It depends also on how many you are and if you want your guide to provide lunch or if you are bringing your own picnic.
The cheaper guides do not usually offer the option of any of these longer trips - some of their colleagues claim that they don't know the way!