Things to know before you go to Jordan

Things to know before you go to Jordan

Jordan is a Middle Eastern country that might not be on your travel radar, but it should be! 

From the Ancient City of Petra to the Capital Amman, to the Dead Sea, the Desert, and the Red Sea. Jordan has a lot to experience for a country that is not that big. Jordan will surpass all of your expectations whether you travel for cultural experiences, incredible food, or breathtaking views. If you are planning to go to Jordan then there are some important things that you should know. 

Here is everything you need to know to make the most of your trip. 

Visas

No matter where you come from you are going to need a visa to enter Jordan. The majority of nationalities are able to get their visa on arrival. However, there are several other nationalities that will be required to obtain their visas before arrival. 

Money

Jordanians use Jordanian Dinar (JOD), which is made up of 100 piastres and notes come in 1, 5,10,20, and 50 dinars. You can easily exchange money on arrival, and exchange bureaus and ATMs are widely available in larger towns and cities. If you visit Petra and Wadi Rum we recommend you take enough cash with you since we didn’t find any ATMs there. 

Arabic language 

Like most of the Middle East, Arabic is the official spoken language of Jordan. Most people who work in the tourism industry speak some English and it is possible for tourists to get by with English at most restaurants, hotels, and tourist activities.

Jordan isn’t cheap

In the Middle East, you may think of great cheap prices, but Jordan is not a cheap country. Or at least not as cheap as we expected. Budget accommodation is much more expensive than in other Middle Eastern countries. 

Get a Jordan Pass before you arrive

A Jordan Pass is the best investment for your trip to Jordan. Depending on the number of days you want to spend in Petra, prices range from 70 JOD to 80 JOD. Besides Petra, the costs for your visa and the entrance to almost all museums and places of interest are included in the pass. Make sure you buy the Jordan Pass in advance. If you buy the pass later on during your trip, you will miss a free visa. You can buy the Jordan Pass here

Jordan is safe

Bordering Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Palestine, Jordan does not seem like a logical place for a vacation. But once you arrive, you will be greeted by friendly faces and people who will show you a side of the Middle East that’s not often highlighted in the news; peaceful, friendly, and safe. Violent crime is extremely rare. You should take the usual precautions you would take anywhere; Don’t carry a large amount of cash, keep your valuables locked in a safe, don’t walk alone at night, get travel, and health insurance.

Hospitality is King

People all over the country will invite you in for tea or even a meal. The generosity of Jordanians is enough to bring tears to your eyes, and if you don’t watch yourself, you are probably going to gain weight. The food here is always fresh, local, and cooked with love. 

Dress respectfully

Jordan is a Muslim majority country, but Christians, Jews, and people of various beliefs also coexist peacefully here. There is no law requiring women to wear hijab, but there is an expectation to dress respectfully. Women should keep their shoulders, knees, cleavage, and midriffs covered and it’s never acceptable for men to be walking around without their shirt. Women should stay fully dressed on the beach. 

Alcohol is legal

You can find alcohol at restaurants, bars, and liquor stores in larger cities like Amman, Aqaba, and Madaba.

Smoking 

Many Jordanians enjoy smoking, and it’s a custom that’s allowed almost anywhere and everywhere, including taxis, public transport, streets, and shopping malls. You will find argeeleh (shisha) at almost every café in Jordan. 

You are going to fall in love 

Maybe it will be the moment you fall asleep under the stars or stand in awe of enormous ancient stones. Or perhaps it will hit you when you reach the peak of a mountain and take in the view, far away from the city life. It might be the laughter and stories you share with your new Bedouin friends. Or when you eat mansaf made with love by your hosts and eaten with your hands. There will be a lot of moments when the magic of Jordan takes you by surprise and you will find yourself making plans for your next trip before you even finish your first!

Food en drinks

Food plays a huge part in the Jordanian culture. Mansaf is the local dish There is a large variety of food available in Jordan. You can read our list of typical Jordanian dishes here

In terms of drinks, you can find fresh juices all over Jordan. The tap water in Jordan is not drinkable.

Weather and temperatures

The best time to visit Jordan depends on what you are looking for. In summer the weather in Jordan is dry, the wind is warm and humidity is high, temperatures around 40°C.  For visitors who wish to explore the desert and Aqaba, summer can be often too hot to truly explore these destinations. Amman is a bit cooler with temperatures around 30°C.  

After the high temperatures of summer, things cool down a little in September making it a pleasant time to visit. Between September and October, the water of the Red Sea hit temperatures of 26°C.  This time of the year is perfect for diving and hiking.  

In winter the weather in Jordan can drop dramatically and this time of year also receives the most rainfall. January is the coldest month with an average temperature of around 8°C. For those exploring Amman and Petra, winter is a good time but don’t forget to pack warm clothes. The coastal city of Aqaba benefits from warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine during the winter.

Spring boasts cooler temperatures compared to the approaching summer. The cooler weather of spring is the ideal time for hikes. 

Jordan has much more to offer than Petra

There are people coming to Jordan only to visit Petra and then they leave. Petra is magical and everyone should see it but Jordan has much more to offer like floating in the Death Sea,  exploring Amman and  Jerash, Wadi Rum, Hiking in the Dana Biosphere Reserve … Jordan has got it all! 

Jordan is a hiker’s paradise

We never thought of Jordan as a hiking country, but Jordan surprised us. You can make beautiful hikes in the Dana Nature Biosphere Reserve and Petra. The hiker’s highlight of the country is the 650 km long Jordan Trail across the country. 

Jordan is best explored by car

If you are hoping to get everywhere around Jordan by public transport, forget it! The public transport in Jordan is not that good. There are busses from Amman to Petra, Jerash, and Aqaba but there are places that can only be visited by car. We did everything by public transport and Uber. 

We recommend you to rent a car. That way you will have the complete freedom of moving around and visiting any place that you want. The roads in Jordan are good, almost all roads are asphalted and of good quality. 

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1 Comment

  1. Martine
    October 11, 2020 / 4:19 pm

    Mooi! 👍😮

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