15 Essential Tips for travelling to Jordan.

Tiny country-huge surprises: Jordan doesn’t even make it to the top 100 largest countries. But has arrays of climates and landscapes. The layers of rich history started in the Paleolithic period and span through the Hellenistic (Greek empire) period, Ottoman rule, and at last, the establishment of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. After travelling in Jordan for more than a week, we understood that Jordan is beyond Petra.

So here is the list of Tips for travelling to Jordan.

Index

  1. Currency.
  2. Using International bank cards
  3. Cost of living for Tourists.
  4. Cell Phone Network and Wifi.
  5. Type of Power sockets in Jordan.
  6. Public Hygiene and Toilets
  7. Roads and Transport
  8. APPS to be downloaded
  9. Food and Beverages
  10. Alcohol and Smoking
  11. Safety & Scams
  12. People and Language
  13. What to see in Jordan and when
  14. Tipping Culture.
  15. Bonus tip – The sensitive topic of Israel & Egypt

What is the main currency of Jordan?

white wall and blue glass building of Bank El Etihad building in Amman

What is the best currency to take to Jordan?

The official currency is the Jordanian Dinar. In 2019, 1JD=100 INR=1.4 USD. You can exchange Euros also for JDs, but USD is more preferred for currency exchange.

Where is it best to change money for Jordan?

There are many currency exchanges in Amman. But not in Petra, and hardly any in Wadi Rum. Plus, exchange rates are better in Amman than anywhere else. Airport exchange rates are not great for buyers. But they professionally calculate and suggest to you the amount of exchange if you tell them your travel style and the number of days in the country.

Keep the receipt of the exchange. If you return the JDs to the same bank or agency, they would give you back USD for a better rate while you exit Jordan.

Can I use my credit card in Jordan?

All international bank debit & credit card works at hotels in tourist areas. Carry cash when you go hiking in Petra and Wadi Rum.

Is Jordan a cheap country to visit?

Monastery in petra

Every tourist dreams of these bubble hotel stays at Wadi Rum – They cost around 13JD (13000inr)/ Night.

It cost us 975USD / person for 8 nights and 7 days, including an AC Sedan car & driver+ 4* Hotel accommodation hotels & desert camp + Entry fees to all monuments /deserts / archaeological sites. The cost reduces if you go for smaller guesthouses and hostels. But the problem is, that Jordan is facing a high risk of water shortage (Jordan is the fifth most water-scarce country in the world). So many backpackers and flashpackers state that the least water supply is the biggest problem in cheaper accommodation.

How much is a meal in Jordan?

A large cup of Jordan coffee on the Rainbow streets of Amman cost us 1 JD, which is more than 100INR. The local food is super expensive. So stick to sidewalk cafes, food carts or carry food to save as much as possible.

Is there cell service in Jordan?

We bought two sims of Orange which had more internet data package than international calling. The network coverage was pretty bad everywhere other than Amman. So go for any other network providers, but not Orange.

How is the internet in Jordan?

Hotel Wifi was good enough to use Whatsapp audio calls but not video calls. There is hardly any public wifi – Either in airports or on buses waiting for areas.

Type of Power sockets in Jordan.

TYPE C sockets are used in Jordan, So Indians need a travel adapter.

Is Jordan a clean country?

Enroute Petra – the countryside was cleaner than the capital

Jordan isn’t the cleanest, but clean. The rural population lacks water supply and sanitation (as mentioned by our driver), but cities are managing to stay clean. The use of plastic is evident in downtown streets.

Does Jordan have water problems?

Jordan is the second most water-scarce country in the world. The reasons given are the arrival of Syrian refugees which is leading to a rising population. Along with that, low rainfall, and poor management of groundwater is the reason. There are some initiatives to protect the dying Dead sea by Dana Bioreserve and Wadirum by Government. Though the Jordan government says tap water is suitable for drinking, it is better to stick to bottled water as a tourist.

Do they use toilet paper in Jordan?

Hotel toilets have EWC with Jet spray & Tissue paper. Sometimes public toilets are squat toilets with jet spray. The public toilet at Petra was clean, but the toilet at Wadi Rum near the star war canyon was the dirtiest I have ever used in my life.

What are the roads like in Jordan?

What side of the road do they drive on in Jordan?

Jordan follows right lane driving. The road condition was pretty decent throughout. The charm is, that Jordan’s road trip surprises you with the landscape changing drastically from coniferous trees to the brown desert within a few minutes.

Is driving in Jordan easy?

Drivers follow lane and traffic signals way better than their neighbours Egypt & my country. In fact, Amman is the only city flooded with cars and most other parts of the country are either a village or small towns. During Peak season, the King’s highway ( Amman- Petra highway) will be full of vehicles carrying tourists In the countryside, it is common to wait for cute little or tall & handsome fellas at crossroads – Goat crossing & Camel crossing is more common on Jordan’s countryside roads than among humans.

Do they have camels in Jordan?

The essential part of Bedouin culture in the desert are camels and donkeys & mules. So you find these a lot in Petra and Wadi Rum. Read this sentence twice “The modern Jordanians do not use Camel or Mules to commute in their daily life in cities. 75% of Jordan is desert. But you don’t see people on camels and mules on the streets everywhere. In the desert, it is used by Bedouins sometimes to cross deserts, and tourists ride on camels for experience sake.”

Do women drive cars in Jordan?

Jordanian women can drive cars. Women taxi driver numbers increasing year by year.

Is there public transportation in Jordan?

 JETT buses are famous among tourists to connect main tourist interest locations. The local buses we saw in Wadi Musa are of lower price but not trustworthy when it comes to time. They don’t leave unless the bus is full – So you can’t rely on these unless you are backpacking and are in Jordan for at least 15 days.

Are there railways in Jordan?

Railway service is NIL (as of 2020) The 1900s Hejaz railways built by Ottomans connected Damascus to Amman then. But now, it is Jordan’s heritage, and the railway stations serve as a good background for your Instagram photos.

How easy is it to travel around Jordan?

So almost non-existent mass public transport makes travelling on a budget near impossible. But you can always rent a car or hire a car with a driver as we did.

The long journey between Amman to Petra could get tiring. So intermediate stops at Madaba, Mount Nebo, and Wadi Mujib make it more interesting.

Should I drive in Jordan?

Selfdrivern cars are an excellent option for those ready to drive on the windy roads of king’s highway amidst trucks and cars. But mind that, Jordan is an expensive country. If you damage the car while driving even a little, you end up paying a high amount of penalty. Plus, the cellular network isn’t that great. So when you go searching for remote ancient mosaic houses in Madaba, it is easy to get lost and struggle.

So the best way is to hire a car with a driver. We opted for Jordan Select tours and it was the best decision we ever made. The driver himself took us to some remote villages near Mount Nebo, where we saw no tourist crowd. We stopped at multiple points for the break and we spent a lot of time in some “Not on the Map” villages. They could buy us Petra entrance and Petra by night in advance. With which we didn’t have to wait in a 0.5km long line at the entrance.

Our beloved Yusuf Jaber from Jordan Select tours

Fill in the form in the link of Jordan select tours and add the code “Vcywrk” in the last “Additional comments” row to book your car and an itinerary tailored as you would like at a discounted price.
Or
Email your requirement directly to suha@select.jo and add the code “Vcywrk” at the end of the email as a discount code to avail of discounts on its service.

APPS to be downloaded for Jordan

The regular ones -are Uber (for Amman only), WhatsApp, Telegram and other social media apps. You don’t need VPN to access social media apps.

What is the main dish of Jordan?

Like any other Islamic country, you don’t get pork. One meal portion was good enough for the two of us. Their food style is similar to Egyptians ( Jordanians may not like when I compare their food to Egypt, but it is a fact). Their breakfast includes Pita bread, hummus, olives, dates, cheese, falafels and some fresh Orange Juice. Apples grown near Wadi Musa are of the finest quality.

I have nothing much to say about Jordanian food as the cafes were extremely expensive for a mid-range flashpacker like us. So mostly, we were stuck to falafels on the street, orange juice, fruits and dry fruits.

What is Jordanian coffee?

Surprisingly, Jordanians love coffee over tea, unlike its neighbouring countries. Their coffee is very different, with lots of thick milk, a strong roasted coffee, and lots of Cardamom and saffron. The taste is so unique that you either love it and get addicted to it or hate it so much that you switch to black tea. Make sure you ask for less sugar unless you got a sweet tooth. 

Is alcohol illegal in Jordan?

Ending a day with Shisha is a typical way of ending a good day in Jordan

If you are particular about alcohol availability, check before booking if the hotel is a Dry hotel. Our hotel in Wadi Musa was a dry one. It’s illegal to drink alcohol on the street but permissible in bars, clubs, hotels and private homes

Smoking is not prohibited in public areas. Women smoking Shisha in the streetside cafe is normal. Alcohol is not banned, but you do not find beer cafes on the streets.

Is it safe to visit Jordan as a tourist?

Jordan is one of the safest Middle-Eastern countries when it comes to terrorism. Not to forget that Jordan shares a border with Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia ( near Wadi Rum) and Israel. However, Jorden’s border is with Saudi Arabia and the Border area of Israel safer for tourists but not the other two – Syria and Iraq. We walked in the streets of Amman at the night and hired a taxi. We felt no threat.

Being out inside the Petra site and Wadi Rum isn’t a good idea for two reasons. Firstly, the Jordan government has banned being inside the area at night. Plus, the places are so vast and secluded that you can’t be sure of your safety.

Tourist Scams in Jordan

The never-ending nagging by horse carriage owners at Petra

Selling fake antiques & overpriced horse carriage rides are common tourist traps in Petra. Bedouins of Petra always try to panic you, telling you the hiking trails are too difficult to walk so that they can sell their rides for a high price. Just say La- Shukran and move on. Our driver Yusuf told us about a strange scam. Apparently, Bedouins look for solo female travellers who are travelling through Jordan for a longer duration. Bedouin men approach female travellers with an offer of being the companion plus guide throughout the trip to Petra for free.

The Bedouin Romance Scammers.

Initially, they say their goal is to spread love and extend their friendship with the world. A friendly conversation asking if you want to stay in the caves with them might slowly turn into a sex scam or money-looting, especially when the traveller decides to go back to their country! We saw men Bedouins running behind female travellers, asking if they needed any help. So to an extent, what Yusuf said might be true.

Staying in caves might sound fantastic, but remember that you are doing something banned by the local authority. On the contrary, there will be genuine Bedouin men too. You never know if you meet your soul partner there in Petra, like how Marguerite from New Zealand found Mohammad in the caves of Petra. Or falling into a scam.

Fake dead sea products in Amman, small kids begging you to buy some fake items, and fake Jordan passes are something you must be aware of.

What are Jordanian people like?

We felt, they aren’t reserved but not friendly too. The shopkeepers, uber drivers just answer your point and leave. The street coffee sellers wanted to us charge double what they charge for locals. But once we questioned, they charged the same. When we wandered in Amman or Madaba, we neither felt invited by their smiles nor a strange look saying “Go back to your country” – Mind that, 8 days is too less to analyze this complicated scenario.

What language is mostly spoken in Jordan?

The official language is Arabic. Communicating with an Uber driver was a little tricky in Amman. Learn some basic phrases of Arabic. In Tourist places like Wadi Rum, Petra, dead sea, Jordanians speak a bit of English to charge you a high price and convince you to buy their stuff. The maps, tickets, and signboards near tourist areas are in English, Arabic and sometimes French too.

What to see in Jordan and when

Though you can never have enough trails in Petra and small-town charms at Madaba, 8 – 11 days in Jordan is good for this compact country.

Best time to visit Jordan

We enjoyed every bit of our January trip in the cold weather. It does snow in Amman, Petra, and Wadi Rum during February. September to December is the best pleasant weather, thus making these months “tourist season”. Avoid summers of Jordan – April to June. If I could get a mild sunstroke in the noons of winter, I can’t imagine the noons of the summer.

How much do you tip hotel staff in Jordan?

It is not expected in hotels, but taxi drivers expect it. The prices were so high already that tipping was beyond our budget. It may have annoyed some local Jordanians, but surviving the pricey nation was the goal for us.

Bonus tip –  The sensitive topic of Israel & Egypt

Dying Dead Sea

It is better not to talk about Egypt & Israel when in Jordan. Our driver Yusuf didn’t like the fact when I compared their food with Egypt. Jordanians support their Palestinian brothers. They have preserved the Jewish and Christian sites well, but they are conservative Muslims at heart. Though you can cross the border to Israel on the Jordan river, the relationship between the two is just ok There was a protest in Amman when the USA officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as a new US Embassy opened there.

So it is better not to talk about political things with locals, especially about Israel, for your own sanity and safety as a tourist. Plus, Jordan is a constitutional monarchy. So people respect their King a lot- You must keep in mind not to speak disrespectfully towards the kingdom.

Are you going to start saving money for your Jordan trip after reading our post? Let me know in the comment section below.

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