Friday, January 21, 2022

How To Travel To Jordan

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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.

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.

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.

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.

With the 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.

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Festivals & Events in Jordan

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