As the debut of Disney’s Aladdin draws near, we’re growing excited to see the story unfold. Filmed in Jordan, the live-action version of one of Disney’s most beloved animated features takes inspiration from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights and from many different countries and cultures. Our journeys throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia showcase a treasure trove of Aladdin-inspired adventures; hop a carpet and fly with us to explore them all.
The Cave of Wonders
A secret passageway through narrow cliffs leads to a forgotten, abandoned city carved directly into the rocks. It’s not a legend: it’s Petra, the ancient Nabataean city hidden in Jordan. Deserted in the third century BCE, this UNESCO-listed wonder remains one of the most visited sites in the world. Ker & Downey also brings our clients to Little Petra, a nearby sister city that is less frequented, but no less fascinating.
Brightly tiled facades, turquoise cupolas, and geometric patterns are hallmarks of architecture throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. Registan Square in the city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan, is one of the best places to see its styles shine. Developed by Timur in the 14th and 15th centuries, his bold designs eventually inspired the Mughals to replicate the patterns and shapes in India.
Iran’s palaces are known for their lavish gardens, called baghs. Eram Garden, the former home of the royal family, is a particularly pretty place. It feels like you’ll find Princess Jasmine brooding amid the blooming flora and bubbling fountains. Our custom journey through Iran highlights the very best of the culture and history of the country.
The spirit of any new place can best be experienced with a trip to a local market. Shop alongside the locals, let your guide introduce you to new foods, and perhaps pick up a treasure of your own. Oman’s Nizwa Souk is one of its oldest and most elaborate, offering everything from finely crafted khanjar silver daggers to fresh produce and meats. Led through the narrow lanes by a private Ker & Downey guide, you’ll stay one jump ahead of the action just like Aladdin and Abu.
In Marrakesh, the Jemaa El Fna is a riotous plaza of snake charmers, traditional performers, and vendors. A private guide helps here too, showing you from stall to stall before heading up to a private balcony to observe the activity from above.
Jordan’s Wadi Rum is a famous stretch of sand that’s no stranger to creators in Tinseltown. Before playing host to the Aladdin crew in 2018, it was the setting for Star Wars films and epic scenes in Lawrence of Arabia. With Ker & Downey, you can explore the dunes and end the day in your own private tented camp. Wadi Rum is a must-see on any visit to Jordan, and since the country is relatively small, it’s easy to customize a few nights of desert activity into your itinerary.
While it’s not a magic carpet, you can arrive by paraglider at Six Senses Zhigy Bay on Oman’s Musandam Peninsula. This over-the-top entrance flies above the beauty of the mountains and gulf coast. Set the tone for an adventurous stay full of snorkeling, diving, boating, and beach exploration.
Your Own Genie
The designers at Ker & Downey have a lot in common with genies. Our team makes magic happen every day for travelers, and they will grant you way more than just three wishes! Special must-dos, surprising activities, exclusive access… they come standard on every customized Ker & Downey journey. Perhaps the best part is that you don’t have to be royalty (or pretend to be) to enjoy our elevated level of service.
We can’t wait to help you uncover a whole new world. If you’re ready to explore like Aladdin, contact the Ker & Downey experts to start crafting your own custom journey.
Disney’s Aladdin premiered in cinemas May 24, 2019. All Aladdin images appear courtesy of Disney.
For more information about any of Ker & Downey’s getaways, please contact a Ker & Downey designer.
This post was originally published by Ker & Downey, an award-winning USA-based tour operator. Visit them at kerdowney.com.