I just got back from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Usually, people refer to it as Jordan (do not confuse it to the famous basketball player, as Google does). I spent 8 days and 7 nights in this beautiful country and I want to share with you my insights, while I have everything fresh in my memory. Here is some essential information about Jordan that you need to know before visiting this beautiful country.
The internet is full of nice pictures from the Middle East and from Jordan. So far I’ve visited Lebanon and Jordan and I can say I love the Middle East culture and food. Their food is vegans’ food heaven. But more on that later.
Before heading to Jordan, you have to keep in mind some essential information about Jordan.
1. Jordan is a Muslim country.
Dress accordingly. While men have no unusual restriction, as a woman it’s better to wear long pants, or skirt (to cover your knees at least) and a normal t-shirt that covers your shoulders and without a cleavage. Loose clothes are preferred. Western women might find this unusual, but it’s not complicated to dress like this.
Most summer clothes are good if you follow what I’ve mentioned above. That is if you don’t want to attract unwanted attention upon yourself. At Petra and other very touristic attractions, people are more relaxed. If you want to visit a mosque, you’ll need a scarf to cover your head. Most mosques have scarfs to borrow to their visitors.
Read more about the Muslim communities in Living and Working Within the Muslim Community (Turkey).
Please take into consideration their culture and don’t disrespect them. They have opened for tourists but doesn’t mean we should behave like we don’t care. Respect is one thing that can bring people together, no matter where you are!
2. People speak Arabic and English.
Most touristic places are very easy to reach, since most road signs are written in English as well, and the people working with tourists know English. That’s why it’s so easy to drive around and organize your own road trip.
And I can understand there are a ton of agencies that provide you with a card and driver and arrange everything for you, but do you really want to be treated like a baby?! If I wouldn’t have been there on my own, with good and bads, I would have not so much to share and to advise you with and most importantly, I wouldn’t have the funny stories about this trip!
Jordan has its own currency: Jordanian Dinar (JD). 1 Jordanian dinar = 1.41 U.S. dollars (Nov 2018). Although most exchange offices accept all major currencies, they seem to prefer USD. Some expensive hotels, restaurants and other international companies accept credit and debit cards, but it’s very common to pay cash, so make sure you have enough or you ask before it they accept card payment.
Also, Jordan is pricey and you should be aware of some basic prices so you don’t get scammed. For instance, one can of Coke was 1.5 JD at the cafe by the Citadel, in Amman. Down the street, you will find it in small family shops for 0.25-0.5 JD. The closer you are to touristic places, the more expensive it gets.
4. Beware of scams.
As most touristic places, Jordan is no exception. Most locals are very nice and some might think even that they are over friendly. That’s their culture and I appreciate them for it. They made me feel welcomed and had a fantastic time because of them.
But, for example, at Petra, many people will try to ask you for donations, to buy souvenirs and offer to be your guide. The thing is that they are very insistent and some even ask for more than it’s worth.
Of course, everything is more expensive at Petra, but some things are ridiculous. Use your better judgement, and sometimes ignore them, if you must. The internet is full of scams that are going on, so I would recommend not to get to close to them.
Jordan Pass includes most of the touristic sites in the country and it’s worth buying it, as you don’t have to worry about tickets later. Buy your Jordan Pass before you get to Jordan.
If you visit the country as a tourist, it’s a very good investment and you will not have to pay for the visa (which is 56 USD – Nov 2018). Considering the entrance to Petra is 50 JD, and that you don’t have to pay a visa and get many other for free, paying 73 JD for the Jordan Pass is a good deal. Make sure to print it before you get there. You will need to show it. At passport control are special queues for Jordan Pass holders. As I said before, Jordan is not a cheap country.