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Jordan travel guide - Travel S helper

Jordan

travel guide

Jordan, formally The Hashemite Monarchy of Jordan, is a Western Asian Arab kingdom located on the Jordan River’s East Bank. Jordan is bounded on the east and south by Saudi Arabia, on the north by Iraq, on the north by Syria, on the west by Israel, Palestine, and the Dead Sea, and on the south by the Red Sea. Jordan is ideally situated at the intersection of three continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe. Amman, Jordan’s capital, is the country’s most populated metropolis and economic, political, and cultural hub.

What is occurring today Humans have inhabited Jordan since the Paleolithic era. At the conclusion of the Bronze Age, three stable kingdoms arose there: Ammon, Moab, and Edom. The Nabataean Kingdom, the Roman Empire, and the Ottoman Empire were later rulers. Following the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottomans in 1916 during World War I, Britain and France partitioned the Ottoman Empire. In 1921, the then-Emir Abdullah I created the Emirate of Transjordan, which became a British protectorate. Jordan gained independence as a sovereign state in 1946, formally known as The Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. Jordan annexed the West Bank following the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and the state’s name was changed in 1949 to The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Jordan is a founding member of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and is one of only two Arab nations to have signed an agreement with Israel. Although the nation is a constitutional monarchy, the king has extensive administrative and legislative authority.

Jordan is a very tiny semi-arid nation that is nearly completely landlocked, with a population of 9.5 million. Sunni Islam, which is followed by about 92 percent of the population, is Jordan’s main religion. It coexists with a Christian indigenous minority. Jordan is regarded as one of the Middle East’s safest Arab nations, having escaped long-term terrorism and turmoil. It has been very accommodating in the face of surrounding instability, admitting refugees from virtually all surrounding wars as early as 1948, most notably the estimated 2.1 million Palestinians and 1.4 million Syrian refugees. Additionally, the monarchy provides sanctuary for hundreds of Iraqi Christians escaping the Islamic State. While Jordan continues to welcome migrants, the current huge inflow from Syria has put a significant strain on the country’s resources and infrastructure.

Jordan is categorized as a nation with “high human development” and an economy defined as “upper middle income.” Jordan’s economy, although being one of the smallest in the region, is appealing to international investors due to its talented workforce. The country is a popular tourist destination, and its strong health sector also draws medical tourism. Nonetheless, economic development has been stifled by a scarcity of natural resources, a huge influx of migrants, and regional instability.

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Jordan - Info Card

Population

11,042,719

Currency

Jordanian dinar (JOD)

Time zone

UTC+2 (EET)

Area

89,342 km2 (34,495 sq mi)

Calling code

+962

Official language

Arabic

Jordan | Introduction

Tourism in Jordan

The tourism sector is considered the cornerstone of the economy and is an excellent source of jobs, hard currency and economic growth. During 2010, Jordan has been visited more than 8 million tourists. The outcome was revenues from tourism of $3.4 billion, out of which $4.4 billion comprised medical tourists. Most of the tourists who come to Jordan come from European and Arab countries. The tourism sector in Jordan is severely affected by the regional turbulence. The recent impact on the tourism sector was caused by the Arab Spring, which deterred tourists from all over the region. Jordan recorded a 70% decline in the number of tourists between 2010 and 2015.

Jordan is home to approximately 100,000 archaeological and tourist attractions, figures provided by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. Among the well-preserved historic landmarks are Petra and Jerash, which is Jordan’s most popular tourist attraction and an icon of the kingdom. Jordan is part of the Holy Land and has several biblical attractions that attract the activities of pilgrims. These include biblical sites: Al-Maghtas, in which Jesus has been baptized by John the Baptist, Mount Nebo, Umm ar-Rasas, Madaba and Machaerus. The Islamic heritage sites include the shrines of the Prophet Muhammad’s companions including Abd Allah ibn Rawahah, Zayd ibn Harithah and Muadh ibn Jabal. Ajlun Chateau, which was built by the Ayyubid Islamic king Saladin in the 12th century A.D. during his war with the Crusaders, is also a popular tourist attraction.

Modern entertainment and recreation in urban areas, mainly in Amman, also attracts tourists. In recent years, the nightlife in Amman, Aqaba and Irbid has developed with an increasing number of bars, discos and nightclubs. However, most nightclubs have a limit of unaccompanied men. Alcohol is common in tourist restaurants, liquor stores, and even some supermarkets. Valleys such as Wadi Mujib and hiking trails in different parts of the country attract adventurers. In addition, seaside recreation is available at several international resorts on the shores of Aqaba and the Dead Sea.

Since the 1970s, Jordan became a leading medical tourist destination in the Middle East. A study conducted by the Jordanian Association of Private Hospitals revealed that 250,000 patients from 102 countries were treated in Jordan in 2010, compared to 190,000 in 2007, representing a turnover of more than one billion dollars. According to the World Bank, Jordan is the leading medical tourism destination in the region and the fifth largest in the world. The majority of patients come from Yemen, Libya and Syria due to the ongoing civil war in these countries. Jordanian doctors and medical staff have gained experience in treating war patients after years of receiving such cases from various conflict zones in the region. Jordan is also a hub for natural treatments in the Ma’in Hot Springs and the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is often referred to as a “natural spa”. It contains 10 times more salt than the average ocean, making it impossible to submerge. The high concentration of salt in the Dead Sea has proven to be therapeutic for many skin diseases. The uniqueness of this lake attracts many Jordanian and foreign vacationers, which has stimulated investment in the region’s hotel sector.

Weather & Climate in Jordan

The climate in Jordan varies considerably. As a general rule, the further the land is from the Mediterranean, the more temperature contrasts occur and the less rainfall there is. The average elevation of the country is 812 m (2664 ft) (SL). The uplands over the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea and Wadi Araba Mountains and as further south as Ras Al-Naqab are dominated by a Mediterranean climate, while areas in the east and northeast of the country can be described as arid dry deserts. While the desert regions of the kingdom reach high temperatures, the heat is typically moderately warm with low humidity and a daytime breeze, while the nights are refreshingly chilly.

Summers, which last from May to September, are hot and dry, with average temperatures of about 32°C (90°F) and sometimes exceeding 40°C (104°F) between July and August. Winter, which lasts from November to March, is relatively cold, with average temperatures around 13°C (55°F). Winter also sees frequent showers and occasional snowfall in some of the higher elevations in the west.

Geography of Jordan

Wadi Rum’s similarity to the surface of Mars has made it a popular tourist and movie attraction, including scenes from The Martian (2015).

Jordan has a strategic position at the crossroads of several continents: Asia, Africa and Europe in the Levant region of the Fertile Crescent, the cradle of civilization. It covers an area of 89,341 square kilometers and stretches 400 kilometers between its northernmost and southernmost points; Umm Qais and Aqaba. The Kingdom is located between 29 ° and 34 ° in the north and between 34 ° and 40 ° in the east. The east is a dry plateau, irrigated by oases and seasonal rivers. Large cities are located mainly in the northwest of the kingdom because of their fertile soils and relatively frequent rainfall. They included Irbid, Jerash and Zarqa to the northwest, as well as the capital Amman and Al-Salt in the midwest and Madaba, Al-Karak and Aqaba to the southwest. The capital cities in the east of the country are the oasis cities Azraq and Ruwaished.

In the west, a mountainous area of farmland and evergreen Mediterranean forestry suddenly falls into the Jordan Rift Valley. The Rift Valley includes the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, which separates Jordan from Israel as well as the Palestinian Territories. Jordan has a 26 kilometer coastline on the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea, but is otherwise a landlocked country. The Yarmouk River, an eastern tributary of the Jordan River, forms part of the Jordanian-Syrian border to the north (including the occupied Golan Heights). The other borders are formed by several international and local treaties and do not follow well-defined natural characteristics. The highest point is Jabal Umm al Dami, 1,854 m (6,083 ft) above sea level, while the lowest is the Dead Sea – 420 m (-1378 ft), the lowest point on earth.

Jordan has a wide variety of habitats, ecosystems and biota due to its diverse landscapes and environments. The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature was founded in 1966 to protect and manage Jordan’s natural resources. Nature reserves in Jordan include the Dana Biosphere Reserve, the Azraq Wetlands Reserve, the Shaumari Wildlife Reserve and the Mujib Nature Reserve.

More than two thousand plant species have been recorded in Jordan. Many flowering plants bloom in the spring after the winter rains, and the type of vegetation depends largely on the amount of rainfall. The mountainous regions of the northwest are covered with forests, while further south and east the vegetation becomes busier and turns into steppe vegetation. The forests cover 1.5 million dunums (1,500 km2) or less than 2% of Jordan. This makes Jordan one of the least forested countries in the world, the international average is 15%.

Demographics of Jordan

The last census conducted in 2015 showed a population of approximately 9.5 million. 2.9 million (30%) of the population was non-citizens, which includes both refugees and illegal immigrants. Jordan had 1,977,534 households in 2015 of an average of 4.8 people per household . The vast majority of Jordanians are Arabs, representing 98% of the population. The rest are considered Circassians, Chechens and Armenians. With population growth, it has become more sedentary and urban. In 1922, almost half of the population (about 103,000) was nomadic, while nomads made up only 6 % of the population in 2015. Amman’s population, which was 65,754 in 1946, has grown to over 4 million in 2015.

Immigrants and refugees

Jordan was home to 2,117,361 Palestinians in 2015, most of whom were Jordanian citizens. The first wave of Palestinian refugees arrived during the 1948 Israeli Arab War and culminated in the 1967 Six Day War and the 1990 Gulf War. In the past, Jordan had given citizenship to many Palestinian refugees, but recently Jordanian citizenship has been granted only in rare cases. Approximately 370,000 of those Palestinians live in UNRWA refugee-camps. After Israel’s takeover of the West Bank in 1967, Jordan revoked the citizenship of thousands of Palestinians to thwart any attempt to resettle them permanently from the West Bank to Jordan. West Bank Palestinians with family in Jordan or Jordanian citizenship received yellow cards guaranteeing them full Jordanian citizenship rights upon request.

While 700,000 to 1,000,000 Iraqis arrived in Jordan after the 2003 war in Iraq, most of them returned. However, many Iraqi Christians (Assyrians / Chaldeans) settled temporarily or permanently in Jordan. Immigrants also include 15,000 Lebanese who arrived after the Lebanon war in 2006. Since 2010, more than 1.4 million Syrian refugees have fled to Jordan to escape the violence in Syria. The kingdom has continued to show hospitality, despite the considerable influx of Syrian refugees putting pressure on the country. The effects largely affect Jordanian communities, as the vast majority of Syrian refugees do not live in camps. The effects of the refugee crisis include competition for employment opportunities, water resources and other state-provided services, as well as pressure on the national infrastructure.

As of 2007, Assyrian Christians represented as many as 150,000 people, most of whom were East Aramaic-speaking Iraqi refugees. The Kurds have a population of some 30,000 and, like the Assyrians, many are refugees from Iraq, Iran and Turkey. Descendants of Armenians who sought refuge in the Levant during the Armenian genocide of 1915 are approximately 5,000 and reside mainly in Amman. There are also a small number of ethnic Mandeans living in Jordan, also mainly refugees from Iraq. About 12,000 Iraqi Christians sought refuge in Jordan after the Islamic state took over the city of Mosul in 2014. Several thousand Libyans, Yemenis and Sudanese have also sought asylum in Jordan to escape the instability and violence in their homeland. According to the 2015 Jordanian census, 1,265,000 Syrians, 636,270 Egyptians, 634,182 Palestinians, 130,911 Iraqis, 31,163 Yemenis, 22,700 Libyans and 197,385 other nationalities reside in the country.

There are about 1.2 million illegal migrant workers and about 500,000 legal migrants in the Kingdom. Several thousand female foreigners, predominantly from the Greater Middle East and Eastern Europe, are employed in nightclubs, hotels, and bars throughout the Kingdom. The American and European expatriate communities are concentrated in the capital, as the city is home to many international organizations and diplomatic offices.

Religion and languages in Jordan

Sunni Islam is the dominant religion in Jordan. Muslims represent about 92% of the country’s population; 93% of them, in turn, identify themselves as Sunni – the highest percentage in the world. There are also a small number of Ahmadiyya Muslims and a few Shiites. Many Shiites are Iraqi and Lebanese refugees. Muslims who convert to another religion as well as missionaries of other religions face social and legal discrimination.

Jordan has some of the oldest Christian communities in the world, with a history dating back to the first century after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Christians now make up about 4% of the population, compared to 20% in 1930. This is due to the high immigration rates of Muslims to Jordan, as well as higher emigration rates of Christians to the west and higher birth rates of Muslims. There are approximately 250,000 Jordanian Christians, which according to a 2014 estimate by the Orthodox Church are all Arabic-speaking. This survey excluded smaller Christian groups and also excluded the thousands of Western, Iraqi and Syrian Christians residing in Jordan. Jordanian Christians are remarkably well integrated into Jordanian society and enjoy a high level of freedom, though they are not free to evangelize Muslims. Christians traditionally held two ministerial positions and were reserved 9 of 130 seats in parliament. The highest political position attained by a Christian is deputy prime minister, held by Marwan al-Muasher in 2005. Christians were also influential in the media. Smaller religious minorities include the Druze and Baha’is. The majority of Jordanian Druze reside in the eastern oasis town of Azraq, in some villages along the Syrian border, and in the town of Zarqa, while most Jordanian Bahá’ís live in a village called Adassiyeh on the shores of the Jordan Valley.

The official language is Standard Modern Arabic, a literary language taught in schools. Most Jordanians are native speakers of one of the non-standard Arabic dialects known as Jordanian Arabic. The Jordanian Sign Language is the language of the deaf community. English, although without official status, is widely spoken throughout the country and is the de facto language of commerce and banking, as well as having co-official status in the education sector; almost all university-level courses are taught in English and almost all public schools teach English along with Standard Arabic. Other languages such as Chechen, Circassian, Armenian, Tagalog and Russian remain popular in their communities. French is optional in many schools, mainly in the private sector. German is an increasingly popular language among the elite and well-educated; it was probably introduced on a larger scale after the start of the German-Jordanian University in 2005.

Economy of Jordan

Jordan is classified by the World Bank as a country with “higher middle income”. However, approximately 14.4 % (as of 2010) of the population live below the national poverty line. With a GDP of USD 38.210 billion (2015), the economy grew by an average of 4.3% per year between 2005 and 2010 and by about 2.5% from 2010 onwards. Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita grew by 351% in the 1970s, decreased by 30% in the 1980s and then increased by 36% in the 1990s. The Jordanian economy is one of the smallest in the region and the country’s population suffers from relatively high unemployment and poverty rates.

The Jordanian economy is relatively well diversified. Trade and finance together account for almost one-third of GDP; transportation and communications, public utilities and construction account for one-fifth; and mining and manufacturing account for almost another fifth. Regardless of plans to increase the private sector, the state continues to be the dominant force in the Jordanian economy. Net development assistance to Jordan in 2009 amounted to USD 761 million; according to the government, about two-thirds of this was provided as grants, half of which was direct budget support.

The official currency is the Jordanian dinar, which is tied to the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR), corresponding to an exchange rate of US$1 ≡ 0.709 dinar, or approximately 1 dinar ≡ 1.41044 dollars. In 2000, Jordan joined the World Trade Organization and signed the Free Trade Agreement between Jordan and the United States. This made Jordan the first Arab country to sign a free trade agreement with the United States. Jordan also has FTAs with Turkey and Canada. Jordan enjoys an advanced status with the EU, which has allowed better access to export to European markets. Due to slow domestic growth, high energy and food subsidies and a bloated public sector workforce, Jordan normally has annual budget deficits. These are partially offset by international aid.

The major recession and the turbulence caused by the Arab Spring have depressed Jordan’s GDP growth and affected trade, industry, construction and tourism. Tourist arrivals have declined sharply since 2011. Jordan’s finances have also been severely affected by 32 attacks on the Sinai natural gas pipeline, which supplied Jordan from Egypt by Islamic nationals, which led to the use of more expensive heavy fuel oils for power generation. In November 2012, the government cut subsidies for fuel and increased the price. The decision, which was later overturned, led to large-scale protests throughout the country.

Jordan’s total foreign debt in 2012 amounted to USD 22 billion, equivalent to 72% of GDP. In 2016 the debt reached USD 35.1 billion, equivalent to 90.6 % of GDP. This significant increase is due to the effects of regional instability. Decline in tourism activity, lower foreign investment, higher military spending, debts of electricity companies due to attacks on the Egyptian pipeline, accumulated interest on loans, collapse of trade with Iraq and Syria, and expenditures for the reception of Syrian refugees. According to the World Bank, Syrian refugees have cost Jordan more than $2.5 billion annually, equivalent to 6 % of GDP and 25 % of the government’s annual revenues. Foreign aid covers only a small portion of these costs, 63 % of the total costs are borne by Jordan.

Because of a relatively modern education system, the proportion of skilled workers in Jordan is among the highest in the region in sectors such as ICT and industry. This has drawn significant foreign investment to Jordan and has enabled the country to export its workforce to Persian Gulf countries. Remittance flows to Jordan increased rapidly, especially in the late 1970s and 1980s, and remain an important source of external finance. Remittances from Jordanian expatriates amounted to US$3.8 billion in 2015. This is a significant increase in remittances compared to 2014, when remittances reached more than $3.66 billion and Jordan was ranked as the fourth largest recipient in the region.

Entry Requirements For Jordan

Visa & Passport

  • Jordan is one of only three countries in the Middle East that tolerate Israeli citizens in their country. Therefore, entry into Jordan is not a problem for holders of an Israeli passport.
  • Visitors from most countries require a visa to enter Jordan, which is readily available on arrival at almost all border crossings. Some nationalities may require a visa prior to arrival; check with your local Jordanian embassy or consulate before you arrive. An important exception is the crossing from the West Bank at the King Hussein Bridge (“Allenby”), where you will need a visa in advance. Visas are available at all other land crossings into Jordan and at all sea and air crossings.
  • Visa prices are standardised for non-Arabs and are JOD 40 (as of March 2015) for single entry, JOD 60 for multiple entry. Regular visa fees are waived if you have purchased a Jordan Passport from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and are staying in Jordan for at least three consecutive nights. The pass costs between 70 and 80 JOD and includes a 1-3 day pass to Petra and free entry to many historical sites within a two-week period. Another new initiative by the Jordanian government is the reduction of visa fees from JOD40 to JOD10 for tourists who want to enter Jordan by land and stay at least three consecutive nights.
  • Alternatively, you can get a free one-month ASEZA (Aqaba Economic Zone) visa if you arrive in Aqaba by land (from Saudi Arabia), by sea (ferry from Egypt in Nuweiba) or by air (landing at Aqaba International Airport). As of 2016, Jordan issues visas at the border crossing between Eilat and Aqaba only to organised tour groups or Jordan passport holders.
  • If you obtain an ASEZA visa, you must leave the country through the same entry point. With the ASEZA visa, you can travel freely throughout Jordan. There is no fee for leaving the Aqaba Economic Zone and entering the rest of the country. There are road checks when leaving ASEZA, but these are not a problem for foreigners. Usually the check is waived or minimal for tourists (just show your passport; if you are driving, also show your driving licence and vehicle registration and open the boot). If you want to enter via Aqaba and do not want to get the ASEZA visa, you have to ask the customs officer to put the normal vsa in your passport and pay the normal visa fee.
  • The free ASEZA visa can also be obtained at almost all other border crossings (except the King Hussein “Allenby” Bridge) if you indicate that you are travelling to Aqaba. There is no fee of 40 JOD for the entry visa, but you are required to enter Aqaba within a maximum of 48 hours and obtain a stamp from a police station in Aqaba or from ASEZA Headquarters. If the stamp for late arrival in Aqaba is not in your passport, you will have to pay the JOD40 fee for the entry visa plus a fine of JOD1.50/day for each unregistered day when you leave (the day you entered Jordan is counted as day 1, even if you entered at 23:59).
  • The visa can be extended for three months at any police station. This extension can be granted twice. The ASEZA visa cannot be extended.
  • There is an exit tax of 10 JOD (as of March 2015), which is charged at all land and sea crossings. The exit tax of 30 JOD (as of March 2015) for leaving Jordan by air is usually included in the air ticket.
  • If you leave via the King Hussein ‘Allenby’ Bridge, you can return to Jordan via the same crossing point with the same visa you received on entry, provided it has not expired. The ASEZA visa cannot be used in this way, as you must leave Jordan via the same exit point in Aqaba through which you entered.
  • The King Hussein “Allenby” Bridge is the only border crossing where entry into Jordan with an Israeli passport is not allowed.

How To Travel To Jordan

Get In - By plane

Jordan’s national carrier is Royal Jordanian Airlines. In addition, Jordan is served by a number of foreign airlines, including BMI, Air France, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Egypt Air, Emirates, Alitalia and Delta Airlines. The low-cost airline Air Arabia flies between Jordan and destinations throughout the Middle East. The British airline easyJet has announced that it will fly three times a week from London Gatwick to Amman from March 2011, significantly reducing the cost of travelling to the Middle East from the UK.

Queen Alia International Airport is the country’s main airport. It is located 35 km south of Amman (on the main route to Aqaba). You should allow 45 minutes to reach the airport from Amman city centre, about 30 minutes from western Amman. Transport to Amman is by Royal Jordanian Bus Service to the city terminal near the 7th circle or by taxi (approx. JOD20, to be understood as a fixed price).

In addition to Queen Alia, Jordan has two other international airports:

  • Marka International Airport in eastern Amman (serves routes to nearby Middle Eastern countries and internal flights to Aqaba).
  • King Hussein International Airport in Aqaba.

Get In - By train

As the last functioning part of the famous Hejaz railway, trains from Damascus (Syria) used to arrive twice a week at the Mahatta Junction in Amman, which is located northeast of the city centre near Marka Airport. However, since mid-2016, the trains have been suspended due to damage to the tracks and it is unclear when they will run again. Even when the trains did run, they took only 9 hours (much slower than a car journey) and offered very little comfort. There are no other passenger trains in Jordan.

Get In - By car

From Israel

You can enter Jordan by car from Israel. Border formalities are time-consuming and expensive, as Jordanian insurance is required and you even have to change your number plates. The only available crossings are in Aqaba (if you are coming from Eilat) and at the Sheikh Hussein Bridge for those coming from northern Israel. Note that the Allenby/King Hussein crossing does not allow private vehicles of any kind.

From Syria

Long-distance taxis serve the route from Damascus to Amman.

Driving between Amman and Syria is not what you might be used to in the US or Europe, and the standard of driving and vehicle maintenance is poor in both countries (but generally worse in Syria). Don’t be afraid to ask your driver to slow down and be extra careful when overtaking. It is worth hiring a taxi just for you or your group and paying a little more money to make sure the driver is not tempted to speed up the journey to make more money. If smoking bothers you, make sure before hiring a driver that he or she does not or would not smoke.

This trip should take about 3.5 hours.

From Iraq

It is theoretically possible to enter Jordan from Iraq, depending on your nationality. However, especially given the current situation in Iraq, it is probably not advisable and you will be subject to much stricter controls than if you enter from outside.

From Saudi Arabia

Entry from Saudi Arabia is by bus. Buses to Jordan can be taken from almost any point in Saudi Arabia or the Gulf. Most of them are used by Arabs. The border crossing, called Al-Haditha on the Saudi side and Al-Omari on the Jordanian side, has recently been rebuilt. The waiting time at customs and passport control is not too long by Middle Eastern standards, but expect up to 5 hours on the Saudi side. As the border crossing is in the middle of the desert, be sure to check that all papers are in order before you start your journey, otherwise you could get lost in a maze of Arab bureaucracy. The drive from the border to Amman takes 3 hours and up to 20 hours to Dammam, Riyadh or Jeddah on the Saudi side. The drive can be uncomfortable, but it is cheap.

Get In - By bus

Long-haul services operate from a number of destinations in the Middle East, including Tel Aviv and Damascus.

From Israel

When leaving Israel, you must pay an exit tax of NIS105 (2016).

To get to southern Eilat/Aqaba, take a bus to Eilat. Several buses run here, including the 444, which follows a route along the Dead Sea.

From Eliat bus station it is about 3km to the border, accessible by taxi for about NIS45-50. Alternatively, you can leave the bus at the penultimate stop “Hevel Eilot – Junction Eilot 90” and walk the last 1km to the border.

There are money exchange offices on both sides of the border. Otherwise ask your taxi driver for

Once in Jordan, you will need to take a taxi to your next destination. Taxi prices are standardised and displayed at the border:

  • King Hussein Airport JOD8
  • City Centre JOD11
  • City beach (and hotels) JOD22
  • Wadi Rum (one way) JOD39
  • Wadi Rum (return journey including waiting time) JOD55
  • Petra (one way) JOD55
  • Petra (return journey including waiting time) JOD88
  • Amman (and suburbs) JOD109
  • Dead Sea JOD99

People who already have a visa for Jordan can also cross the border at the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge (between Jerusalem and Amman). This border can be reached from Jerusalem, Damascus Gate, for 42NIS/pers + 5NIS/luggage (2014-05-01).

After paying the Israeli exit tax (see above), you have to take a Jettcompany bus to cross No Man’s Land. The fare for this bus is 7JD/pers + 1JD/luggage (2014-05-01).

Once you are in Jordan at the King Hussein border, you can take shared taxis (white taxis) to Amman (9JD/pers?). Some buses also go there and to other places (but not Petra) at cheaper prices: These buses may be a little more difficult to find, as their departure point is not immediately visible when coming out of the border office, and as many taxi drivers pretend that there are no buses. Regular taxis can be hired for any location in Jordan, at a negotiated price.

Get In - By Boat

Jordan can be entered at the port of Aqaba via the Egyptian port of Nuweiba. There are two services, ferry and speedboat. Expect to pay about 60 USD for the ferry or about 70 USD for the speedboat (both one-way + 10 USD or 50 EGP exit tax from Egypt) if you are a non-Egyptian citizen (Egyptians do not have to pay the inflated prices charged by the authorities).

The slow ferry can take up to 8 hours and can be a nightmare in bad weather. The speedboat consistently makes the crossing in about an hour, but delays getting on and off the boat can add many hours, especially as there are no fixed departure times. You can’t buy the ticket in advance and the ticket office doesn’t know the departure time. You can lose a whole afternoon or even a day waiting for the ship to depart.

How To Travel Around Jordan

Get Around - By plane

The only domestic flight connection is between Amman and Aqaba.

Get Around - By bus

The bus company JETT offers connections from Amman to Aqaba, to the King Hussein Bridge (to get to Israel), and to Hammamat Ma’in. Private buses (mainly from the Hijazi company) run from Amman to Irbid and Aqaba. Minibusses connect smaller towns on a much more irregular service basis – usually running as soon as they are full.

Abdali Transport Station near the center of Amman served as a bus/taxi hub to places all over Jordan, but many of its services (especially microbuses and service taxis) have been moved to the new Northern Bus Station (also called Tarbarboor or Tareq). Here there are buses to Israel and a JOD1.5 bus to Queen Alia Airport.

Get Around - With the service taxi

Service taxis (servees) cover much the same routes as buses. Service taxis are definitely more expensive than minibusses, but much faster and more comfortable.

Service taxis only drive when they are full, so there is no fixed schedule. You may also be approached by private cars that operate as service taxis. If you use one of these, it is important to agree the price in advance

Service taxis are usually white or cream colored. They can sometimes be persuaded to deviate from their standard route if they are not already carrying passengers. However, it is very likely that you will be asked to wait for a yellow taxi.

Get Around - With the normal taxi

Regular taxis are plentiful in most cities. They are bright yellow (similar to New York’s Yellow Cabs) and usually in good condition. A 10 km ride should cost about 2 JOD.

All yellow taxis should have a meter, but most drivers outside Amman do not use it, so you should agree on a price before you leave. If you are picked up by a taxi without a meter, you should agree on the price before you leave. If you do not agree on a price, you will most likely pay double the price. Using the meter is almost always cheaper than negotiating a price, so it is best to insist that the driver uses it before you leave. Keep your luggage with you – it is not uncommon for taxis to charge a ridiculous price without a meter (JOD30 for a 10-minute ride) and then refuse to open the boot to give you your bags back until you pay.

Daily rates for taxis can be negotiated. These are usually arranged through specific taxi drivers who have previously offered the service to friends or colleagues. If you are staying in a hotel, the reception should be able to arrange a reliable driver for you. In quiet times, it is also quite common to be approached (politely) on the street by taxi drivers looking for business. There are many who speak good English, so it is worth waiting until you find one you like.

A taxi for the whole day should cost about 20-25 JOD. An afternoon taxi costs about 15 JOD. For this price, the taxi driver will drop you off at local shopping places and wait for you to return. You can then drive to the next shopping location. You can leave your recently purchased items in the vehicle as the driver will stay in the taxi the whole time, but it is not recommended to do so.

If you are planning a trip outside Amman, daily fares will increase to compensate for fuel costs. For day trips within 1-3 hours of Amman, a taxi is by far the easiest method of transport. A trip to Petra by taxi would cost about 75 JOD for 3 people. This would get you there and back with about 6 hours to look around and see the sights.

When negotiating taxi fares, ask whether the agreed fare is the total price or the cost per person. Often taxi drivers offer a low fare and then tell you when it comes time to pay that the fare is “per person”.

If you are travelling a long distance, try to use buses or coaches instead of taxis. Some taxi drivers are not averse to driving people into the middle of the desert and threatening to leave you there if you don’t give them all your money. However, this is very unlikely if you stick to recommended drivers. Jordan is generally very protective of its tourists and while overcharging is common (unless agreed in advance), threats and scams are rare.

Get Around - By car

Jordanian highways are generally in very good condition, but the same cannot be said about the drivers and the vehicles. Many trucks and buses drive with worn or defective tires and brakes, and in the southern and more rural parts of the country, there is a tendency for some people to drive at night without headlights (believing that they can see better and that this is therefore safer!). Avoid driving outside the capital Amman after dark.

Renting a car should be cheap and not too time-consuming. Fuel prices are all set by the government, so don’t bother looking for cheaper petrol stations. Expect to pay around 0.80 JOD per litre (unleaded 90 octane) to 0.97 JOD per litre (unleaded 95 octane). They are reviewed monthly to bring international gas prices into line with local prices.

The main route is the Desert Highway, which connects Aqaba, Ma’an, and Amman and then goes all the way to Damascus in neighboring Syria. Speed traps are plentiful and well-positioned to catch drivers who do not obey the frequently changing speed limits. Traffic police are regularly stationed at bends and junctions, well hidden, with speed measuring devices. If you are even 10 % over the speed limit, you will be stopped and have to pay a heavy fine. It is better to drive within the limits.

One particular section, where the road descends rapidly from the Amman highlands through a series of steep hairpin bends into the valley leading to Aqaba, is notorious for the number of poorly maintained oil trucks that lose their brakes and veer off the road into the gorge, destroying everything in their path. This section of the road has been made into a two-lane road and is now a little safer – but you should still take care on this section of the road.

The other route of interest to travelers is the King’s Highway, a winding route west of the Desert Highway that starts south of Amman and connects Kerak, Madaba, Wadi Mujib and Petra before meeting the Desert Highway south of Ma’an.

Get Around - Organized tours

Many of Jordan’s more dramatic landscapes require 4×4 vehicles with drivers or guides familiar with the area. Most visitors to Jordan opt for organized tours, although it is possible to use local guides at the various visitor centers in Jordan’s eco-nature reserves. These include Wadi Rum, the Dana Reserve, and Iben Hamam. Most tourists entering Jordan from Israel participate in one-day Petra tours or in organized tour groups. They make up a significant percentage of daily visitors to Petra and Jordan’s natural attractions.

Destinations in Jordan

Cities in Jordan

  • Amman – Capital of the Kingdom
  • Ajlun – a mountain town in northern Jordan, known for the impressive ruins of the 12th-century castle now known as Ajlun Castle.
  • Aqaba – located on the Gulf of Aqaba / Eilat, with connections to the Sinai and the Red Sea.
  • Irbid – the second-largest conurbation in the north of the Kingdom
  • Jerash – one of the largest Roman ruins in the Middle East
  • Kerak – site of a once-mighty Crusader castle
  • Madaba – famous for its mosaic map of Jerusalem
  • Salt – ancient city that was once the capital of Jordan
  • Zarqa – the third-largest conurbation in the Kingdom

Other destinations in Jordan

  • Azraq – Oasis in the desert, an example of how water brings life even in places like a desert
  • Dana Nature Reserve – Stay in a village that has hardly changed since the 15th century and enjoy unforgettable walks in a foothill of the Great Rift.
  • Dead Sea – The lowest point on earth and the saltiest sea
  • Desert Castles – 5 castles in the eastern desert. These castles were once refuges for caliphs from the Umayyad period
  • Petra – Jordan’s top attraction, an ancient city carved out of sandstone and one of the new 7 Wonders of the World.
  • Um er-Rasas – A largely unexcavated archaeological site with ruins from the Roman, Byzantine, and early Muslim civilizations.
  • Wadi Rum – barren, lonely, and beautiful, granite rocks contrasting with desert sand

Accommodation & Hotels in Jordan

Amman has an abundance of 5 and 4 star hotels. In addition, there are a good number of 3-star hotels and there are many 2-star and 1-star hotels in downtown Amman that are very cheap and there are many tourists, especially those who are passing through staying in these hotels. Note that there are two rating scales for hotels in Jordan.

There are the standard Western-style 5-star hotels, such as the Sheraton, Crowne Plaza, etc., and then there are the local 5-star establishments. The local establishments that are considered “5-star hotels” in Jordan would be considered more like 3-star hotels in the West. That being said, a traveller will pay a lot of money for a western 5-star hotel in Amman or Petra and less for a local 5-star hotel.

For longer stays, furnished flats are also available from around 200-600 JOD per month.

Things To See in Jordan

Tourism is one of the most important sectors in the Jordanian economy. In 2010, over 8 million tourists from various countries visited Jordan, with tourism revenues amounting to about $3.5 billion. Another $1 billion was earned from medical tourism to the Kingdom. In 2011, Jordanian tourism lost $1 billion due to political instability throughout the region.

The main tourist attractions include visiting historical sites such as the world-famous Petra (a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985 and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World), the Jordan River, Mount Nebo, Madaba, numerous medieval mosques and churches, as well as unspoilt natural sites (such as Wadi Rum and the northern mountainous region of Jordan in general), but also viewing cultural and religious sites and traditions.

Jordan also offers health tourism focused on the Dead Sea area, educational tourism, hiking, diving in the coral reefs of Aqaba, pop culture tourism and shopping tourism in Jordan’s cities. More than half of the approximately 4.8 million Arab tourists in 2009, mainly from the GCC, indicated that they planned to spend their holidays in Jordan.

Ancient sites in Jordan

  • Petra in the Wadi Musa, the home of the Nabataeans, is a complete city carved out of a mountain. The huge rocks are colourful, mostly pink, and the entrance to the ancient city leads through a 1.25 km long narrow gorge in the mountain – the Siq. The city is home to several structures, all (except two) carved into the rock, including al Khazneh – known as the Treasury – which has been declared one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World” by the for-profit New Open World Corporation. Other important sites in Petra include the monastery, the Roman theatre, the royal tombs and the High Place of Sacrifice. Petra was rediscovered for the Western world in 1812 by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985.
  • Umm Qais, a city on the site of the destroyed Hellenistic-Roman city
  • Jerash is famous for its ancient Roman architecture, with colonnaded streets, Corinthian arches, outdoor Roman theatres and the Oval Square.
  • Shoubak with its crusader castle “Crac de Montreal”, which marks both the eastern and southern limits of the crusaders’ expansion.
  • Ajloun has a medieval crusader castle
  • Al Karak is home to an important castle from the time of Salah al-Din, known as Al-Karak Castle.
  • Umm el-Jimal, the so-called “Black Pearl of the Desert”, was once a town on the edge of the Decapolis. Rural and prosperous, it was a fitting contrast to the surrounding bustling towns. The black basalt villas and towers, some of which are still three storeys high, have long inspired poets.
  • Montreal Crusader castle, less than an hour north of Petra. The ruins, called Shoubak or Shawbak in Arabic, are located in the modern city of Shoubak. It dates from the same turbulent period as Karak. The fortress fell to Saladin only 75 years after it was built. There are inscriptions of his successors on the castle wall.
  • Qasr Amra, one of the best-preserved monuments of the Islamic Umayyad period. Its interior walls and ceilings are covered with unique frescoes, and two of the rooms are paved with colourful mosaics. It, too, is a World Heritage Site.
  • Umm ar-Rasas, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005, these ruins display a mix of Roman, Byzantine and early Muslim architecture. Treasures include the largest church mosaic floor in the country; more recent discoveries are possible as the site has not yet been fully excavated.

Religious tourist sites in Jordan

  • Muwakir (Arabic for Machaerus) was the hilltop fortress of Herod the Great. After Herod’s death, his son Herod Antipas inhabited the fortress and ordered John the Baptist to be beheaded there. The legendary Salomé, daughter of Herodias, is said to have danced the famous Dance of the Seven Veils there, demanding the head of John the Baptist.
  • The Jordan River is the river in which, according to Christian tradition, Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist.
  • Madaba is known for its mosaics as well as important religious sites such as the Madaba Map, the oldest surviving original cartographic representation of the Holy Land and Jerusalem in particular. It dates back to the 6th century AD.
  • Mount Nebo, where the Bible says Moses went to catch a glimpse of the Promised Land before he died.

Locations by the sea in Jordan

  • Aqaba is a city on the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba with numerous shopping centres, hotels and access to various water sports and protected coral reefs and marine life. It has the ruins of the medieval city of Ayla and other Edomite ruins. Aqaba also has a vibrant nightlife, especially on holiday weekends when thousands of wealthy Jordanians visit the coastal city. The large resorts and beach clubs host numerous raves and concerts by international DJs and artists. Nearly $20 billion worth of developments are currently underway in Aqaba, focusing on tourism and real estate projects to transform the city into a “new Dubai”.
  • The Dead Sea – It is the lowest point on earth, 402 metres below sea level, and gets 1 metre deeper every year. It is the only deposit of the Jordan River and was part of the biblical kingdoms of the Midianites and later the Moabites. The Dead Sea area is home to many world-class resorts such as the Kempinski, Mövenpick and Marriott. There are also water parks, a public beach and international restaurants. However, the ultra-chic destination in the area is the O-Beach, which houses cabanas, bars, international restaurants and a beach club.

Sightseeing in Jordan

  • Amman is a modern and cosmopolitan city known for its shopping malls, hotels and ruins. Amman contains numerous ancient ruins, with one dating back to 7250 BC in the ruins of ‘Ain Ghazal Neolithic village. Other ruins include the Citadel of Amman, located on a hill to the east of Amman, which combines many ruins from different ancient civilisations, such as the Umayyad Palace, Byzantine churches and the Roman Temple of Hercules. At the bottom of the hill is the famous Great Ammani Ancient Roman Amphitheatre along with Hashemite Plaza, Nymphaeum and the smaller Odeon Amphitheatre.
  • Mahis with its religious sites.
  • Wadi Rum is a desert full of mountains and hills located south of Jordan. It is popular for its sightseeing in addition to a variety of sports practised there, such as rock climbing. It is also known for its connection to D.H. Lawrence; some scenes in Lawrence of Arabia were filmed here. In the late 2000s, it was included as a World Heritage Site for its natural and cultural heritage.
  • Irbid, the second largest city in Jordan, is also home to several museums and shopping centres. However, the main reason for foreigners to visit the city is the abundance of universities it hosts, with Jordan University of Science and Technology and Yarmouk University being the two most famous. The city hosts a large number of students from all over Jordan, the Middle East and beyond. University Street in Irbid hosts the most internet cafes per mile in the world. [5]
  • Fuheis, a town about 20 minutes northwest of Amman, is known for its traditional 18th and 19th century churches and turn-of-the-century provincial Jordanian architecture.

Nightlife in Jordan

Jordan, particularly Amman and to a lesser extent Aqaba, has become one of the region’s nightlife hotspots. Along with Dubai, Beirut, Sharm el Sheikh and Manama, Amman is one of the leading clubbing destinations in the Arab world and the Middle East. The country has seen an explosion of nightlife development, from high-end nightclubs and bars in the capital to world-class raves at the Dead Sea and Wadi Rum. Aqaba has also seen a huge increase in nightclubs and beach clubs due to massive foreign investment and the influx of foreign workers and tourists due to the establishment of the ASEZA special economic zone. The annual Distant Heat in Wadi Rum is considered one of the best raves in the world.

Natural reserves in Jordan

Jordan has a number of nature reserves.

  • Azraq Wetland Reserve – Azraq is a unique wetland oasis in the heart of Jordan’s semi-arid eastern desert, managed by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN). Attractions include several natural and ancient constructed ponds, a seasonally flooded marsh and a large mudflat known as Qa’a Al-Azraq. A variety of birds stop at the reserve each year during their arduous migration routes between Asia and Africa to rest. Some stay for the winter or breed within the protected areas of the wetland.
  • Dana Biosphere Reserve – covers 308 square kilometres and consists of a chain of valleys and mountains stretching from the top of the Jordan Rift Valley down to the desert lowlands of Wadi Araba. Dana is home to some 600 plant species, 37 mammal species and 190 bird species.
  • Mujib Nature Reserve – the lowest nature reserve in the world, with spectacular scenery near the east coast of the Dead Sea. The reserve is located within the deep Wadi Mujib Gorge, which empties into the Dead Sea at 410 metres below sea level. The reserve extends to the mountains of Kerak and Madaba to the north and south, reaching 899 metres above sea level in some places. Wadi Mujib has a magnificent biodiversity, which is still being researched and documented today. Over 300 species of plants, 10 species of predators and numerous species of permanent and migratory birds have been recorded.
  • Shaumari Wildlife Reserve – Shaumari Reserve was created by the RSCN in 1975 as a breeding centre for endangered or locally extinct wildlife. Today, following breeding programmes with some of the world’s leading wildlife parks and zoos, this small 22 square kilometre reserve is a thriving protected environment for some of the rarest species in the Middle East, such as Arabian oryx, ostriches, gazelles and onagers, which are depicted on many 6th century Byzantine mosaics.

Food & Drinks in Jordan

Jordanian cuisine is very similar to that in other parts of the region. The daily staple is khobez, a large, flat bread sold in bakeries throughout the country for a few hundred fils. Delicious when freshly baked.

Breakfast is traditionally fried eggs, labaneh, cheese, zaatar and olive oil along with bread and a cup of tea. Falafel and hummus are eaten at the weekend by some and more often by others. There is no convention for when you should or should not eat what kind of food. It is up to you. This is the most popular breakfast. Manousheh and pastries are the second most popular breakfast choices. All hotels offer an American breakfast.

The national dish of Jordan is mansaf, prepared with jameed, a sun-dried yoghurt. Grumpygourmet.com describes mansaf as “a huge platter of crêpe-like traditional “shraak” bread, mountains of glistening rice and chunks of lamb cooked in a unique sauce of reconstituted jameed and spices and sprinkled with golden pine nuts.” In reality, more people use roasted almonds instead of pine nuts because they are cheaper. Although mansaf is the national dish, most people in urban areas eat it only on special occasions and not every day. Other popular dishes are maklouba, stuffed vegetables and freekeh.

The most popular place to eat cheap mansaf is the Jerusalem restaurant in downtown Amman.

Levantine-style mezza is served in “Lebanese-style” restaurants – which is typical of Jordanian style – throughout the country, and you can easily find international fast food chains such as McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Burger King. In addition to the well-known chains in Europe and North America, there are also some local establishments such as:

  • Abu Jbarah: one of the famous falafel restaurants in Jordan.
  • Al kalha: famous falafel and homous restaurant in Jordan.
  • Al-Daya’a and Reem: Famous places to get Shawerma sandwiches and dishes.

There is no shortage of foreign-style restaurants. The best are usually found in 5-star hotels, but the price tag is high. Italian restaurants and pizzerias are somewhat plentiful in Amman, Madaba and Aqaba, but are very hard to find in other cities.

More and more cafés are now serving food. There are plenty of Middle Eastern-style cafés that serve argeelleh as well as the full range of Western and Middle Eastern coffee drinks. There are also a good number of Western-style cafés that usually serve Western-style desserts, salads and sandwiches.

Money & Shopping in Jordan

The currency is the Jordanian dinar (currency code: JOD), sometimes shown locally as “JD” before or after the amount, or in Arabic as دينار or sometimes as £, and is divided into 1000 fils and 100 piasters (or qirsh). Coins come in denominations of 1, 5 and 10 piasters and JOD¼, JOD½. Banknotes come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 JOD. The currency rate is effectively fixed at 0.71 JOD per US dollar (or $1.41 per dinar), an unnaturally high rate that makes Jordan worse off in value terms than it would otherwise be. Most upscale restaurants and shops in shopping malls also accept US dollars.

In many places there is little change, so it is important to keep a lot of JOD1 and JOD5 notes. As ATMs dispense JOD20 and JOD50 notes for large transactions, this can be difficult.

Cards are accepted on a limited (and seemingly arbitrary) basis. Most hotels and hostels take cards, entrance fees to Petra (JOD50and more) MUST be paid in cash, even though it is a major tourist centre.

Prices in Jordan

A living budget would be about JOD15 per day, but that means you will eat falafel every day. JOD25 allows for slightly better accommodation, simple restaurant meals and even the occasional beer.

Prices have increased rapidly (as of 2011), so it is best to check accommodation prices online (most Jordanian hostels and hotels have internet sales)

If you prefer to eat what the locals eat, it should only cost 1-2 JOD, for which you can buy a falafel sandwich with any can of soda (most common is Coke, Sprite and Fanta). If you want to buy a chicken sandwich, it will cost (50-80 Qirsh).

To try real Jordanian food, don’t stay in 5/4/3/2/1 star hotels all the time; the food there is expensive for an average Jordanian. If the food didn’t come with the hotel accommodation, don’t eat from there. It may seem like people can afford to eat there and make it look and sound like this is an average way to eat.

So that is what you are doing. You are already paying a lot for a few days in the hotel, which is an average USD50. Everyone from Amman will tell you it’s a lot and it’s not worth the money except those in the expensive area (i.e. hotel, airport, Amman hotel). But you won’t be able to communicate with them as well as when you came out of the airport to meet the taxi man. Go into town and find out what people are buying and you will save a lot on your trip. If not and you want to save yourself the trip to see the real people of the country, then stay where you are and enjoy what the tour guide wants you to see.

Non-Jordanians can reclaim VAT at the airport when they return home. The VAT amount must be more than 50 JOD and you cannot refund VAT on the following items: food, hotel costs, gold, mobile phones.

Festivals & Holidays In Jordan

Holidays in Jordan

Date English name Local name Comments Official business
1 January New Year’s Day Ras Assanah al-Miladi Closed
1 May Labour Day Eid el-Ommal Closed
Date varies Easter Sunday Eid Al Fiseh Al Atheem Celebrated by Christians. Easter is celebrated in Jordan by all denominations according to the Eastern Church calendar. Open
25 May Independence Day Eid al-Istiklaal Closed
9 June The accession of King Abdullah to the throne Eid al-Jolous Open
25 December Christmas Day Eid Al Milad Al Majeed, Al Eid Il Sagheer Christmas is celebrated in Jordan by all denominations according to the Catholic date (Orthodox date on 7 January). Closed
10 Dhul Hijja Feast of Sacrifice or the Great Feast Eid al-Adha, Eid al-Kbeer Recalls Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son. Closed
1 Shavwal The little feast Eid al-Fitr Commemorate the end of Ramadan Closed
1 Muharram Hijri New Year Ras Assanah Al Hijri Islamic New Year Closed
27 Rajab Isra and Mi’raj Isra wal Mi’raj Ascension of Mohammed Open
12 Rabi’ al-awwal Birthday of the Prophet Muhammad Mawlid al-Nabi Closed

Traditions & Customs in Jordan

Jordan is a very hospitable country for tourists and foreigners will be happy to help you if you ask. In turn, Jordanians will respect you and your culture if you respect theirs. Respect Islam, the dominant religion, and the King of Jordan.

Wear modest clothing at important religious sites. Respect the Jordanian monarchy, which has strong popular support. The Jordanian monarchy is very pro-Western and very open to reform, as are the Jordanian people.

Standing in Lines

Jordanians have a notable problem with standing in line-ups for service. Often, the back of the queue members try to push their way to the front and overtake those in front of them. Instead of resisting this tactic, the overtaken queue members often start using the same trick on the queue members in front of them. The end result is often a noisy scramble for service at the kiosk in question.

No one, including the person manning the kiosk, is happy when this situation develops, and often tensions in the jostling crowd seem so high that violent confrontations seem only moments away. However, violence does not occur and there is a sense that Jordanians collectively recognise clear boundaries as to what is appropriate when jostling in line.

Nevertheless, several strategies are proposed due to this widespread phenomenon in Jordan.

  • Arrive early, allow time and be patient. As a degenerating queue is rarely an efficient queue, plan into your travel plans the fact that it will inevitably take longer than expected to take care of all service booth arrangements, be it customs, ticket purchase, waiting for the bus, etc.
  • Don’t get upset yourself about the line-up or get carried away by the emotions of the crowd. You will keep moving forward even if a few people sneak in front of you. No one in the “queue” is completely unreasonable and you will not be pushed back indefinitely. Often you will end up being served at the kiosk no more than three or four laps later than expected. Just try to relax and take it easy.
  • Avoid queuing altogether if possible. Often at kiosks, groups are processed in batches, for example at a customs kiosk that processes a busload at a time. In these cases, if you are not already at the front of the queue, find a comfortable spot away from the crowd and just wait until the rest of the group has made their way through before you. Then make your way to the kiosk as soon as it is free. The advantage of being last is that the kiosk worker will appreciate your patience and be happy to take care of you, as he is not faced with a noisy crowd vying for his attention.

Also note that opening hours change during Ramadan and especially on the Eid al-Fitr holiday. Many restaurants, especially outside Amman, are closed during Ramadan during the day and only open at sunset. However, this does not affect the big restaurants near tourist destinations. Also, during Eid al-Fitr, it is impossible to get a servees (minibus) in the late afternoon or evening in many parts of the country. Plan ahead if you are taking a servee to a remote area; you may need to take a taxi back. However, JETT and Trust International Transport usually add more buses to their schedules during this time, especially those going from Amman to Aqaba.

Culture Of Jordan

Art, cinema, museums and music in Jordan

Many institutions in Jordan aim to raise cultural awareness of Jordanian art and represent Jordan’s artistic movements in fields such as painting, sculpture, graffiti and photography. The art scene has developed in recent years and Jordan has become a haven for artists from surrounding countries. In January 2016, a Jordanian film called Theeb was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards for the first time.

The largest museum in Jordan is the Jordan Museum. It contains much of the country’s valuable archaeological finds, including some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Neolithic limestone statues of ‘Ain Ghazal and a copy of the Mesha Stele. Most museums in Jordan are located in Amman, including The Children’s Museum Jordan, The Martyr’s Memorial and Museum and the Royal Automobile Museum. Museums outside Amman include the Aqaba Archaeological Museum. The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts is a major contemporary art museum in Amman.

Music in Jordan is now developing with many new bands and artists now popular in the Middle East. Artists such as Omar Al-Abdallat, Toni Qattan and Hani Metwasi have increased the popularity of Jordanian music. The Jerash Festival is an annual music event that features popular Arab singers. The pianist and composer Zade Dirani has gained great international popularity. There is also an increasing growth of alternative Arab music bands that dominate the scene in the Arab world, including El Morabba3, Autostrad, JadaL, Akher Zapheer and Ayloul.

Sport in Jordan

Football is the most popular sport in Jordan. The national football team has improved in recent years, although they have not yet qualified for the World Cup. In 2013, Jordan lost the chance to play in the 2014 World Cup when they lost to Uruguay in the inter-association playoffs. This was Jordan’s highest advancement in World Cup qualifying rounds since 1986.The women’s football team is also gaining prestige and was ranked 58th in the world in March 2016. Jordan hosted the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2016, the first sports tournament for women in the Middle East.

Lesser-known sports are gaining popularity. Rugby is becoming more popular, with a rugby union recognised by the Jordanian Olympic Committee, which oversees three national teams. Although cycling is not widespread in Jordan, the sport is developing rapidly as a lifestyle and new way of getting around, especially among the youth. In 2014, the NGO Make Life Skate Life completed the construction of the 7Hills Skatepark, the first skatepark in the country, located in downtown Amman. The Jordanian national basketball team participates in various international and Middle Eastern tournaments. Local basketball teams include: Al-Orthodoxi Club, Al-Riyadi, Zain, Al-Hussein and Al-Jazeera.

Cuisine in Jordan

As the eighth largest producer of olives in the world, olive oil is the most important cooking oil in Jordan. A common appetiser is hummus, a puree of chickpeas mixed with tahini, lemon and garlic. Ful medames is another well-known starter. It is a typical workers’ meal and has now also found its way onto the tables of the upper classes. A typical Jordanian meze often includes koubba maqliya, labaneh, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, olives and pickles. Meze is generally accompanied by the Levantine alcoholic drink arak, which is made from grapes and aniseed and resembles ouzo, rakı and pastis. Sometimes Jordanian wine and beer are also used. The same dishes served without alcoholic beverages can also be called “muqabbilat” (appetisers) in Arabic.

The most distinctive Jordanian dish is mansaf, the national dish of Jordan. The dish is a symbol of Jordanian hospitality and is influenced by Bedouin culture. Mansaf is eaten on various occasions such as funerals, weddings and religious holidays. It consists of a plate of rice with meat cooked in thick yoghurt and sprinkled with nuts and sometimes herbs. According to an old tradition, the dish is eaten with the hands, but this tradition is not always used. Simple fresh fruit is often served towards the end of a Jordanian meal, but there are also desserts such as baklava, hareeseh, knafeh, halva and qatayef, a dish made especially for Ramadan. In Jordanian cuisine, drinking coffee and tea flavoured with na’na or meramiyyeh is almost a ritual.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Jordan

Stay safe in Jordan

Jordan is very safe. There is virtually no unsafe part of Jordan except on the Iraqi border. Although the rural parts of Jordan have limited infrastructure, the fellahin (or villagers) are happy to help you.

Jordan is one of the most liberal nations in the region. Women can wear normal clothes in any part of Jordan without harassment. Western fashion is popular among young Jordanian women. However, modest clothing should be worn in religious and ancient historical sites.

Bear in mind that Jordan is a Muslim country and Western norms, such as the public display of affection, are not accepted even by Jordan’s Western-educated elite. In Jordan, homosexuality is not taken as lightly as in the West, although it is not illegal as it is in most other Arab countries. However, adultery, including consensual sex between unmarried couples, is illegal and can be punished with a maximum of three years in prison.

Stay healthy in Jordan

As with all urban areas in the world, there are some health issues in Jordanian cities, but also remember that Jordan is a centre for medical treatment in the Middle East and its world-class hospitals are respected in all parts of the world. Remember to exercise caution when buying food from vendors; the vendors don’t want to harm you, but the food may be unclean. Hospitals in Jordan, especially in Amman, are plentiful and Jordan is a hub for medical tourism.

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