When I tell people about Jordan, often they ask me, why would you want to go there? But once they learn all the beautiful places and of the hospitable people in the country they seem all the more inspired to visit there soon itself. For such a tumultuous region as well, Jordan appears to be a oasis almost completely unaffected by it’s neighbors troubles. Spending them there myself, it was easy to fall into the spell and feel I was in a bubble not realizing that there could even be trouble nearby given the calm surrounding me. But besides simply safety Jordan provides travelers with ample opportunity to explore both cultural and natural wonders. You can spend evenings with the Bedouins under the stars in Wadi Rum or find yourself completely isolated in a ageless desert castle or chatting the night away in cafes on Amman’s Rainbow Street or floating away in the Dead Sea, the lowest spot on earth. Jordan is a fascinating country with so much history that it punches well above its weight as a travel destination for such a small country.
Official Name: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Head of State: King Abdullah II
Population: 6.5 Million (~70% Palestinian)
Capital: Amman (Population ~ 2.2 million)
Official Language: Arabic
Currency: Jordanian Dinar (1JD = ~1.40USD)
Weekend: Friday – Saturday
Visas are required for entry into Jordan and there are several options for visas (on arrival, single entry, multi entry). For more information be sure to check out the section on Visas to Jordan
Very hot in the summer and cold in the winter, Jordan does have several seasons. The winter does get really cold and Jordan does see snow on average of one or two times a year (generally January or February). Rain also comes in the winter time as well (fun fact: Jordanians use the Arabic word for winter (shita) to mean rain as well). Be sure to dress and pack appropriately. Best time of year to be in Jordan tends to be the Spring and Fall although that seems to coincide with the high seasons of travel as well.
For such a small country Jordan has so many beautiful locations. Whether you are visiting the Nabatean city of Petra, the changing sands of Wadi Rum, the buoyant Dead Sea, or it’s bustling capital Amman you will find so much diversity in such a easy to traverse country. Feel free to check out further information in our guide to Jordan Locations.
There are two international airports that serve Amman (the smaller Amman civil airport in Amman and the larger airport Queen Alia airport outside of Amman) as well as a smaller international airport in Aqaba as well. The majority of flights into and out of Jordan do leave from the Queen Alia airport although occasionally you can find cheaper flights to one of the other airports (generally from other mid-east countries and a few European ones). There are also ferry travel options to Aqaba from Egypt. Additionally car and bus options exist for land borders between Saudi Arabia, Israel/Palestine (Bus only at King Hussein/Allenby Bridge), and Iraq. There is a border with Syria but it is often closed or at least unadvised to travel there at this current time.
Public transportation consists of buses in Amman cities. Bus travel is generally cheap (about .50 JD) and Amman in particular has a fairly extensive bus network. Additionally mini buses ply the popular spots constantly jockeying for customers and service taxis take full loads along pre-determined paths. Additionally taxis are numerous in most sizable towns and prices are considered reasonable by international standards.
For intercity travel
These mostly consist of buses and taxis. Train travel via the Hejaz Railway was shutdown several years ago for repair and the conflict in Syria. Bus stations exist in most sizable cities, and most are mini buses between large destinations as they fill up with passengers. Jett buses provided tourist buses between many main tourist destinations a few times daily. Taxis do often travel large distances if chartered but the prices tend to be expensive. Car rentals are a great option for long distances, trips with large numbers of people, or out of the way destinations.
Hitchhiking is an option as well for travelers as I noticed many Jordanian and other Arabs hitchhiking in the south of the country on the road to Aqaba. However many had told me it is frowned upon for foreigners to hitchhike as bus prices are very cheap.
For certain out of the way destinations such as the Eastern Desert I would recommend a car rental over other modes of transportation. For more info on getting to specific destinations check the transportation section for that specific location.
Info: Carpe Diem Your Way reflects on travel to Jordan with kids.
Jordan is not cheap. It was one of the biggest surprises I had when I visited Jordan, the price of things was far higher than I had anticipated. Jordan has an unenviable position of having high prices and low salaries and even the locals struggle to make ends meet many times. However having lived there over multiple trips, I had the ability to find ways to save money and reduce my spending costs to be more in life with local lives. Be sure to check out my guide to saving money in Jordan.
Jordan is full of great local Arabic food including falafel, hummus, moutabal, baba ghanoush, schwarma and more. Be sure to try the mansaf, national dish as well. It can be found in many restaurants but it is best tried in a local home or wedding. Arabic sweets here tend to fall within many of the Palestinian dishes which makes sense as so many in Jordan hail originally for there. Definitely try out the Kunafa particularly in Habiba in Amman which is one of the best and most famous in the city. Check out more in the Food section for more details and options.
Jordan is a generally safe place for travel. However, crime and violence does occur in the country. In recent years there has been a rise in concerns and issues due to the conflicts in nearby countries (such as Syria and Iraq) and concerns about safety, terrorism, have definitely increased. In general however, foreign tourists mostly have to be concerned with harassment and petty crimes. You can read more about it in my post on Is Jordan Safe?
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If you have other questions or desires for more sections, contact me, and I will be happy to try to add things. Sometimes having spent a long time in a location I don’t always recall the difficulties new travelers face.