I just got back from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Usually, people refer to it as Jordan (do not confuse it with the famous basketball player, as Google does).
I spent eight days and seven 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.
What can you visit in Jordan?
- Petra, the ancient city
- The Dead Sea
- Wadi Rum desert, or “the Mars landscape.”
- You can make a road trip around Jordan to see explore these wonderful places, and many more others.
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 Middle Eastern 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.
While men have no unusual restrictions, as a woman, it’s better to wear long pants or a skirt (to cover your knees at least) and a normal T-shirt that covers your shoulders and without 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 to yourself. At Petra and other tourist attractions, people are more relaxed. If you want to visit a mosque, you’ll need a scarf to cover your head. Most mosques have scarves to borrow from 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 their country to tourists, but that 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 tourist places are very easy to reach since most road signs are written in English as well, and the people working with tourists speak English. That’s why it’s so easy to drive around and organize your own road trip. Check out my 7-day Jordan itinerary.
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 hadn’t been there on my own, with good and bad, I would not have 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 they accept card payments.
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 tourist places, the more expensive it gets.
4. Beware of scams.
Like most tourist places, Jordan is no exception. Most locals are very nice and some might even think that they are over-friendly. That’s their culture, and I appreciate them for it. They made me feel welcome, and I had a fantastic time because of them.
But, for example, at Petra, many people will try to ask you for donations, 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 judgment, and sometimes ignore them if you must. The internet is full of scams, so I would recommend not getting too close to them.
5. Jordan Pass.
Jordan Pass includes most of the tourist 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 for a visa and get many others 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, there are special queues for Jordan Pass holders. As I said before, Jordan is not a cheap country.