jordanian dinar dollar (joD)
Jordan is a sovereign Arabic state in western Asia, located on the East Bank of the Jordan River. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Israel, and Palestine all border this magnificent country. Visit Jordan and witness the magic of this country. Jordan’s western borders touch both the Dead Sea as well as a small section of the Red Sea on its most southwestern coast. Nature reserves, as well as ancient and iconic monuments reign supreme in this country.
Jordan is also home to the incredible and quite famous archaeological site of Petra, which is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World!
WHY WE LOVE
There are many reasons to love and visit Jordan. Firstly, it is a country full of welcoming people with a rich culture and fascinating traditions. Secondly, the colors found within Jordan’s earth and megalithic monuments are exotic and mesmerizing. The sounds of the city, the brightness of the stars, the smells of the kitchen are all factors that excite and entice our senses. Jordan brims with history and allure.
Jordan offers surreal experiences at every turn
Everything from Jordanian hospitality to the accessibility to ancient archeological sites is what makes this country standout from the rest. One mustn’t step out into the middle of nowhere in order to see ancient locations; in fact, age-old archaeological sites can be seen in the middle of the country’s capital, Amman.
It is also impossible to avoid bringing up Petra when discussing Jordan. Also known as “The Rose City”, Petra is home to such landmarks as the aforementioned Al-Khazneh and Ed-Deir monuments. These iconic structures are the same ones you’ve probably seen time and time again plastered over Jordan’s tourism posters and postcards. It is easy to find ancient ruins everywhere you go, Jordan is where the old finds its place among the new. Modern times mix with millennia-old traditions and locations.
Jordan’s inspiring combinations of food and culture should be admired. This country has had an impressive history. A number of ancient cultures have left their imprints all over the Jordanian landscape. The country has experienced Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Arab influences over thousands of years. Are you ready to visit Jordan yet?
“The craziest place I've probably ever visited while filming would have to be Jordan. I did a small test shoot for a test movie. We arrived in Jordan, and we stayed in Amman for a night. Then we drove down for three hours into the middle of the Wadi Rum Desert, which is in the absolute middle of nowhere. It was insane." people come to Australia, they join the team.” Isaac Hempstead Wright
Did you know…?
- Jordan is home to many biblical sites including, among others, the Jordan River where Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist, Mount Nebo where Moses died, as well as the ‘sinful’ cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
- Jordan is home to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Petra. This marvellous site, known as “The Rose City”, was carved into the surrounding rocks, and built during the Byzantine Era of the 5th and 6th AD.
- The olive tree is the most common tree found in Jordan.
- The Black Iris is an exotic flower that is only found in Jordan, more specifically it is only found in Wadi Rum during the spring. No wonder it’s the country’s national flower!
- Jordan is the only country in the Middle East without any oil!
- The Earth’s lowest dry land point is located in Jordan. The shore of the Dead Sea lies at 1,378ft (420m) below sea level.
- The capital of Jordan, Amman, was once named Philadelphia. This name was in honour of Ptolemy Philadelphus (283-246 BC) who rebuilt the city during his reign before Amman was taken by Herod around 30 BC and fell victim to the Romans.
- Jordan is not named “Jordan”, its official name is Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
- Jordan is a young country! The median age of Jordan's population is 22 years.
Jordan Travel Guide
When to go
The best weather occurs during the months of March to May as well as September to October, meaning the best time to visit Jordan is during the spring and autumn. Now keep in mind that although these are the best months weather-wise they might not be for your pockets. The transition months are when air fares and package deals tend to be at their most expensive. The downfall of visiting in the summer is that you will have to face heat, although rarely excessive, it might be somewhat uncomfortable. Summer is also the peak season for tourism from the Gulf countries and when the holy month of fasting, Ramadan, occurs. November to February has lower fares but temperatures can drop during the winter months and might be considered too chilly for sightseeing (although this issue can be resolved with a few extra layers).
Note: Check when Islamic holidays are due to fall and if they are close to when you plan on visiting Jordan make sure to book well in advance. Many planes get block-booked for pilgrims on many routes into and throughout the Middle East.
How to get there/around
Luckily Amman has a major international airport, the Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) that provides direct flights to many major cities from around the world. London, Paris and Amsterdam are the three European cities that have direct flights to AMM, although other cities may not have this luxury, layover time is usually short and connecting flights are easy to find.
People traveling from New York, Chicago and Montreal, have access to direct flights while one-stop direct from Detroit, is also an available options. Many North American and European cities offer direct flight to Istanbul where travellers can than take a shuttle to Amman. The same option exists in Cairo.
Once in Jordan, you can enjoy from an array of different types of transportation. Travel by air is possible with Royal Jordanian, the only domestic flight service in the country. This option will get you between Amman and Aqaba quickly but it’ll cost you. You’ll also have the option of hittin’ the road. Jordan has a mixture of public transport and private taxi services, with the option to group share. Buses are used for inner city travel as well as extensive travel, mostly from city to city. Cars can also be rented but unless you are knowledgeable about Jordanian driving habits, which can be somewhat erratic, we suggest you proceed with caution.
What to see & do
Jordan’s manageable size allows you to be able to see most of its top destinations comfortably. It doesn’t matter how you decide to tour the country as long as you make sure to hit its top spectacular sites. Jordan’s unique geography and history allows for people to visit while killing two birds with one stone. One can partake in a multiple of recreational outdoor activities while also enjoying the cultural and historical significance of various places.
Visit Jordan if you want to witness the perfect combination of education and action. Certain must-dos that are unique to Jordan include hiking in Petra, camping in Wadi Rum desert (nicknamed the valley of the moon), scuba diving in the Red Sea (situated by the city of Aqaba), floating in the Dead Sea, and discovering Roman ruins of this old colony. Treat yourself to a wine and dine in Wadi Musa as well as the historical sites in Petra. You will undoubtedly find a few Bedouins along the way and hopefully make friends with them as you share stories and cultural insight.
Petra is an absolute must-see while in Jordan, it’s impossible to miss out on this World Wonder! Also, make sure to spend time among the locals. We recommend you stay away from “tourist areas” and focus on discovering local towns as well as ancient sites.
What to pack
Jordan’s terrain is mostly desert plateau in the east, with highlands in the west. So, chances are you will be riding camels, trekking, and hiking throughout your travels. If you plan on visiting during the warmer season, make sure to bring long sleeved tops that are made with light and breathable materials.
Same rule applies to trousers and or skirts. Make sure to pack a good hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and camera of course. Keep in mind that although most of Jordan is considered a conservative country, Amman (the capital) is more open and has a lot more western influence than other parts. With that being said wearing shorts and ”showing some skin” – while still being respectful – is acceptable. Keep in mind; however, that all parts of your chest, back, midriff and upper thigh should always be covered while in public (especially if you are a woman). Also, long pants and covered shoulders are still required before entering religious buildings such as mosques. Most women in Jordan maintain the Islamic dressing code by covering the head and the full body, although this is not necessary, it is a point of reference.
Temperatures drop in the winter as well as during the night in the desert so please make sure to pack extra layers of clothing made with heavier and or ‘warmer’ materials. We are not kidding on this one, it gets colder than you’d expect. Also, comfortable walking shoes are a must.
Wearing regular swimwear is acceptable in swimming pools and on beaches but string and thong bikinis are not accepted.
Some travel insights from our experts about Jordan
It is typical for Jordanians to thank God and or the King when something positive happens to them. Kingly and Godly praise are regular reactions among the locals. Therefore it is important that you always speak respectfully about the King, Abdullah II, as well as ‘God’, whether you are religious or not and or whether you agree with the existence of a monarchy or not.
Breaking the ice with some small talk is customary in Jordan. This can be done by asking questions about the country in general or the people you are meeting - for example their social status, number of children and place of education, etc. - are good conversation starters. Visitors SHOULD NOT speak or ask about a Jordanian man’s wife.
Do: Accept coffee and tea invitations and/or avoid outright refusal. Jordanians pride themselves on their hospitality, it is quite usual for locals to invite people over to their house or shop for a cup of tea and or coffee even though they’re not necessarily close friends. It is usually best to take this offer for it is considered rude and offensive if you decline. Also keep in mind that etiquette in Jordan allows anyone offered a meal to refuse three times before finally accepting the invitation.
Do: Be attentive of non-verbal communication. Jordanians commonly use gestures to express themselves and not all Jordanians are comfortable with eye contact. Avoiding eye contact may be a sign of respect or shyness.
Do: Stand up when greeting other people and shake your coffee cup from side to side once you are done and do not wish to drink anymore. This gesture will alert your host that you are finished and therefore not serve you anymore.
Do: Dry your hair and or tie it up before going out. This rule applies to women, specifically those who will not be wearing a headscarf. Jordanian women who do not wear a headscarf, rarely let long hair hang below their shoulders (if your hair is long you might like to follow suit and clip or tie it up). To some people, women with wet hair are advertising sexual availability, so you may prefer to dry your hair before going out.
Do: Speak up if you’re a vegetarian and or vegan. Dispelling this information BEFORE you accept a meal invitation is considered socially acceptable, however you should prepare to have others not follow suite. Chances are you’ll be dining with many dishes of sizzling meat in front of you…tuck in, smile, and enjoy your veggies.
Don’t: Admire anything too much. One can easily get swept away by the country’s beauty and stunning objects but avoid marvelling at children, it is considered a bad omen in Jordan. Also be prudent when complimenting a host’s household item. Jordanians are very generous and might give you said object in order to demonstrate their spirit of giving. Unless you’re looking to receive that fine glassware as a gift, we suggest you avoid eyeing it or complimenting it.
Don’t: Lean in to kiss and or shake someone’s hand unless they are the one to have initiated such greeting. Make it a general rule to verbally greet everyone unless the other person initiates a hand shake or cheek kiss. Note: cheek kissing only occurs between members of the same sex and rarely if ever do members of the opposite sex shake hands or touch in any way.
Don’t: Partake in public displays of affection. It is not an accepted way of acting in public.
Don’t: Use left hand when eating and drinking.
Don’t: Dress torn of scruffy clothing. Jordanians dress modestly and take great care of their outward appearance. High necklines and long sleeves and pants (also skirts for women) are used in most cases (unless it’s winter in the capitol). As a general rule, show as little skin as possible and always dress in a clean and ‘presentable’ manner.
Cuisine delights (3 best dishes)
Mansaf is a traditional Bedouin meal that is consumed regularly but also served on special occasions like weddings, births, graduations, or to honour a guest. The dish translates to “large tray” or “large dish” and consists of lamb cooked in a liquefied dried and or fermented yoghurt sauce and served over rice or bulgur. Mansaf is traditionally eaten with one’s right hand (to be exact, only three fingers and the thumb of the right hand).
Another famous dish in Jordan is Makloubeh. This meal is prepared by cooking a type of meat, rice, and vegetables in a pot. The usual meat used is chicken. Makloubeh is served in every typical Jordanian restaurant.
Shawarma is an Arabic dish prepared that refers to the method in which the meat is prepared and then shaved. Popular shawarma meats include lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, or a mixture. The meats are placed on a spit and grilled for as long as a day. Once ready, the meat is then shaved and served on a plate with accompaniments, or as a sandwich or wrap. Shawarma is usually eaten with tabbouleh, fattoush, taboon bread, tomato, and cucumber. Typical toppings include tahini, hummus, pickled turnips, and amba (anba) sauce. Falafels are served similarly and are also very popular in Jordan.
CHATTING CORNER – SURVIVAL GUIDE - ARABIC
‘Ahlan wa sahlan! Welcome!’ – This is the greeting you will hear over and over again as you travel through Jordan. Due to the fact that Arabic has a different alphabet then English we will be spelling out our translations phonetically.
- Hello – merha-ben
- How are you? - kayf halk?
- What is your name?
- shu ismak (when speaking to a male)
- shu ismik (when speaking to a female)
- My name is... - aismi (Insert name)
- Where are you from? - min ayi balad 'anat?
- I am from ... - 'ana min(Insert location)
- How much is it? - Kilu meta sera-uu?
- Where is the bathroom? - wayn il-hamaam?
- Do you speak English? - hal tatahadath alanjlyzia?
- Thank you - shukraan
- Please – reeja-un
- Nice to meet you - Tsharrafna
- Yes – naam or aah
- No – laa
- Excuse me (getting attention or pardoning) – afwan
- I don't understand
- ana mish faahim (if you are male)
- ana mish faahmeh (if you are female)
- mish faahim (Literally means "I don't understand you")