Jordan

The climate in Jordan is characterized by long, hot, dry summers and short, cool winters. This is influenced by the country’s location between the subtropical aridity of the Arabian desert areas and the subtropical humidity of the eastern Mediterranean area.

Cold Weather

 

During the colder months (approx. November – March) there is rain, and in January and February potentially even snow. Despite comfortable temperatures on sunny days (15-20°C), it gets freezing cold outside, as well as inside houses once the weather is bad. So make sure to pack warm clothes for day and night!

 

If you plan to visit one of Jordan’s beautiful canyons (wadis), also beware of flash floods. They most commonly happen in the beginning of winter with the first rains and can be life-threatening.

Warm Weather

 

In midsummer, temperatures can raise above 40°C during the day. From approximately April to October, it is therefore recommended to pack light and airy clothes, and sufficient sun protection. But don’t forget to take a warm jacket or jumper as well, it can get quite cool and windy at night (easily below 20°C).

STAY HYDRATED … AND HELP US TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT!
Make sure to take in enough liquids, especially in summer, and especially when going for an outdoor adventure.
Tab water in Jordan is not recommended for drinking, and, at the moment, most hotels and tourist sights are not yet offering refill options for reusable water bottles. The only option you’re often left with, is to eventually buy bottled water. Our company is working with our suppliers and partners to seriously reduce the use of plastic on our tours. Support us by bringing your own reusable water bottle! You might not always be able to use it (yet). But it will demonstrate that there really is demand for refilling options.
Another great option are reusable water bottles with built-in filters (e.g. Lifestraw).

Interactions & Hospitality

 

Interactions with local people can be the perfect way to learn more about Jordanian culture, and make memorable experiences. Since hospitality is a very important tradition in the country, it might often happen that you are invited for a cup of tea or coffee (be careful however, in more touristic places the invitation can be followed by a hefty bill). If you don’t feel like it, it is also perfectly acceptable to decline an proposition. Place your right hand over your heart and politely make your excuses.

 

Especially in rural areas, families live in a traditional way. When greeting locals, it is recommended to wait for them to make the first step and determine the form of greeting. Out of religious or cultural reasons, women for example might not want to shake hand with men.
If you are welcomed into a local house, you may also notice a division between the sitting areas for men and those for women. That being said, foreign women are often treated as “honorary” men. But travelers making an effort to accommodate themselves to local customs will undoubtedly be appreciated.

Religion

 

92% of Jordan’s population are Sunni Muslims, while 6% belong to different Christian denominations. The country’s approach is one of tolerance and peaceful coexistence, welcoming all religions. On your trip you will notice that the local culture is deeply influenced by Islam – a great opportunity to (respectfully) ask questions, and gain insights into a fascinating religion and value system.

Holidays

 

Holidays in Jordan are often announced spontaneously. The reason for that is, that most holidays are Islamic holidays whose date is determined according to the moon (which might or might not be sighted at a certain point in time).
For non-religious holidays, it is also common for the government to change the day on which a holiday is supposed to be celebrated to another  day —  usually to prolong a weekend. It is highly recommended to check online for upcoming holidays prior to planning your trip.

RAMADAN is the Islamic fasting month. During the 29-30 days (depending on sightings of the crescent moon) Muslims worldwide fast during daylight hours, and commemorate the first revelation of the Qur’an to Prophet Mohammad. Ramadan is a time of prayer, reflection and community.
In Ramadan in Jordan it is generally forbidden to eat, drink or smoke publicly during the daylight hours (this is not the case for very touristy sites such as Petra though). Also, opening hours of shops, restaurants, touristic sites, and border crossings can change, and no Alcohol is sold or served (but some bars and hotels make an exception for non-Muslims foreigners). During the time of Iftar (once the sun has set and the fast is broken – i.e. everyone is eating) life everywhere comes to a halt.
These complications aside, Ramadan can be a great time to visit the region – you especially shouldn’t miss the hustle and bustle in Amman’s downtown, that often doesn’t calm down until the early morning hours. Just make sure to research opening hours prior, and stay flexible in your itinerary!

 

Approximate Dates: May 5th – June 4th, 2019 | April 4th – May 23rd, 2020 | April 12th – May 11th, 2021

Dress Code

Jordan is a predominantly Islamic nation, and still tends to be quite conservative in many regions. You should therefore dress accordingly. As a general guideline, shoulders and knees should be covered – for women and men. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot summers. Long shorts can be worn during hiking, though we generally recommend lightweight hiking trousers to keep the sun off. A light water and windproof jacket is always useful and a sun hat essential.

Smoking

 

People in Jordan generally smoke a lot of cigarettes and shisha (arguilah, hubbly-bubbly, water-pipe). While also many people smoke in restaurants and cars, it is recommended to ask for permission first before lighting a cigarette indoors.

Photography

 

We recommend that you bring all the photographic equipment you will need from home, including additional camera batteries. If you’re camera equipment is very valuable, you might want to consider getting it insured before you depart.

 

When  photographing people, always ask for permission first. The only exception to this is when you are taking a picture of a public scene with a lot of people in it, aiming at no one in particular. Always be considerate of anyone’s desire not to be photographed.

 

There are some places where photography is prohibited. Do not take photographs of military installations or airports. However, these areas are usually clearly marked. If you are  uncertain about whether or not photography is permitted, ask. Taking photographs when permission is  not  granted is inconsiderate at best and  may result in the confiscation of your camera.

Airports

 

Amman | Queen Alia International Airport (AMM)

 

Queen Alia Airport is located 35 km (20 miles) south of Amman, the capital city of Jordan. It is the home hub of Royal Jordanian Airlines.

 

The airport has one terminal divided into three levels. Upon arrival, you will go through immigration at the mid level, and then descend to baggage claim at ground level. After baggage claim you can visit a Duty Free area. Continue from there into the Arrival Hall, where you will find ATMs, booths for different phone companies or car rentals, and a Starbucks coffee shop.

 

Departures are at the top level. Take one of the escalators or elevators. Once you enter the building, the security control is straight ahead, and several small stores, a restaurant and a coffee shop are at your right and left. After security check, take a sharp left or right to the Check In counters. Once checked in, you can move on through passport control. Thereafter, you will pass a large duty free area, and several restaurants and lounges. More restaurants and small convenience stores can be found at the gates.
There is free WIFI throughout!

 

Aqaba | King Hussein International Airport (AQJ)

 

King Hussein International Airport (also called Aqaba Airport) is located in the northern suburbs of Aqaba, approx. 10 km (5 miles) from the city center. It is much smaller than Queen Alia International Airport and less luxurious. It’s location close to Petra, Wadi Rum and a costline featuring stunning diving and snorkeling grounds is in some regards much more attractive. In any case, it serves the purpose to enter the country or catch a flight out (or to Amman) perfectly. Several airlines such as Ryanair, EasyJet, Turkish Airlines or Ural Air recently started operating in the South, and, as Jordan’s Tourism Industry grows, it can be expected that Aqaba Airport will grow as well in the coming years.

Land Borders

MapJIP_BorderCrossings3

There are 3 Land Border Crossings between Jordan and Palestine/Israel that tourists can pass. Each of them has two names – one on the Jordanian, and one on the Israeli side. From North to South they are…

 

1. Sheikh Hussein/ Jordan River Crossing

 

2. King Hussein/ Allenby Bridge

 

3. Wadi Araba / Yitzhak Rabin Crossing

 

Find all information about the border crossings here!

Jordan is a safe country. (It really is, read more here).

However, like everywhere in the world, there are some things you might want to consider:

Valuables, Safety, & Travel Insurance:

 

Generally, the security situation is very good in Jordan (according to the Global Peace Index it’s even safer than in the US). Exercise the same safety precautions throughout your travels as you would at home. Be especially careful with your >b>passport! It is a great idea to carry a photocopy of the informational pages of your passport (the pages containing your photograph and passport details, as well as any amendment pages and visas), and to leave another copy at home.
If you are using Traveler’s cheques, follow the security measures included, and also leave an additional record of their numbers at home.

 

We also recommend to purchase adequate trip cancellation/ interruption, medical, and baggage insurance and to carry the details of their coverage with on tour.

Water

 

While a few locals drink the tap water, it is generally recommended to drink bottled water (or bring a refillable bottle with a built-in filter system – e.g. Lifestraw). But it is totally alright to use tab water to take a shower and brush your teeth!

Medical care

 

Travelers with physical disabilities, and those requiring frequent or ongoing medical attention should advise us of their health situation at the time of booking. If you are an independent traveler, make sure to do good research before your trip regarding the availability of facilities or medication you might need!

 

Carry along an adequate supply of any prescribed medications you may require while traveling. Pharmacies in Jordan are generally well equipped with standard medication, but better not risk it, right?! Prescription medicines should always be carried in your hand luggage (not in checked baggage) in their original, labeled containers.

 

Especially in the capital, you don’t need to worry about the quality of medical services. Most doctors are even bilingual in Arabic and English. Larger hotels have a doctor on call, and embassies can also suggest doctors and hospitals.
If you need to go to a hospital, you can find a list with contact details here.

 

Make sure to have sufficient insurance cover during your trip!

Vaccinations


The following vaccinations are recommended for most travelers to Jordan:

 

  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Measles
  • Mumps & Rubella
  • Polio
  • Typhoid
  • Yellow Fever (mandatory for all travelers if they have recently been in infected areas (e.g. Sub-Saharan Africa, parts of South America))

 

If you travel to the region for the first time, it generally doesn’t hurt to consult a health care professional about updates and individual requirements several months prior to your trip!

Emergency Contacts

 

In case of emergency, dial 911.
If you need to contact your embassy, you can find a list with contact details here.

Arabic is the official language of Jordan, but in most touristic places people understand and speak some English. However, it is usually very appreciated if you try using some Arabic, and you will for sure draw some smiles and friendly reactions. You can practice the phrases below, and ask your guide or driver to help you use these and other words and sentences appropriately.

Street signs are usually written in both Arabic and English.

Shukran. [shoe-kran]: Thank you.
Afuan. [af-wan]: You are welcome. (Used as an answer to Shukran.)
Ahlan Wasahlan! [ah-lan wa sah-lan]: Welcome!
Inshallah! [in-sha-llah]: God willing!
Keef halak? [keef haa-lak]: How are you?
Alhamdulillah. [al-hum-du-li-lah]: Praise God. (Used as an answer to Keef halak?, or generally to comment on anything good.)
Yislamoo [yiis-la-moo]: Bless your hands. (Used when being served food, handed a ticket, etc.)

VISA requirements

 

Many nationalities can get a visa for Jordan upon arrival at the airports or border crossings (exception: Allenby/ King Hussein Bridge (!)). A single entry visa is normally 40 JD (approx. 56 USD).

 

For detailed information regarding visa and passport issues see Visas & Passports.

Jordan Pass

 

The Jordan Pass is  a fantastic sightseeing package, tailor-made for guests visiting Jordan. It gives you the pleasure of visiting top sights and attractions whilst saving time, money, and stress. A onetime purchase  before entering the country gives you free access to many of the most  famous historical sites in the country. Learn more!.

Electricity

 

In Jordan electricity runs on 220/240 volts. Sockets can appear in various shapes. Make sure to bring a converter or plug adapter if needed.

Time Zone

 

Jordan is 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time – usually referred to as GMT+3. Please always check the time difference before arrival to Jordan. We wouldn’t want you to miss any of your adventures!

Shopping

 

Shops offer wide variety of merchandise, including jewelry, oriental carpets, fashionable clothing, leather goods, paintings and sculptures, ceramics, silverware, copper ware, embroidered goods, and religious items. Jewelry and diamonds should be purchased at proper establishments only.
There are several shops and stalls selling hand-made arts and crafts at each tourist site, as well as the Down Town area of Amman. Bargaining is expected in virtually all markets. While you should not let anyone intimidate you into buying something you don’t really want, you also should not encourage a merchant unless you really do plan to make a purchase. Trading is enjoyable to merchants in bazaars, but they do expect (eventually) to arrive at a purchase price..

Laundry

 

Laundry service is usually available at larger hotels. However, remember to check the hotel’s individual laundry return policy (make sure your stay is long enough that your laundry can be returned before your departure…), and pricing schedule before choosing to have laundry done at a hotel.

Currency & Money

 

The currency in Jordan is the Jordanian Dinar (JOD), mostly referred to as Jay-Dee (JD), and sometimes also Lira. Each JD is made up of 100 Qirsh (sometimes also called Piastre).

 

Commonly used coins are 1/2 JD (50 Qirsh), 1/4 JD (25 Qirsh), 10 and 5 Quirsh.

 

Notes come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 JD.

 

Changing money is very easy in Jordan, and most major currencies are accepted in cash and traveler’s cheques. US Dollars are the most accepted, followed by UK Pounds and Euros.

 

It is useful to have cash for small shops, and outside the bigger cities and tourism sites. Try to break larger notes as often as possible when paying in hotels, restaurants or bigger supermarkets and shops! In all other places in Jordan it is possible to survive almost entirely on credit cards and ATMs. Visa is the most widely accepted card for cash advances and using ATMs, followed by MasterCard. Other cards, such as Cirrus and Plus, are also often accepted (e.g. by ATMs of the Jordan National Bank and HSBC).

Tipping

 

Many Travelers view tipping as a difficult subject, though this need not be the case. The first thing to remember is that tipping is never compulsory, nor are there any fixed amounts. The bottom line in determining whether and how much to tip is to ask yourself how much the individual did to make your travels more enjoyable. It is with this in mind that we offer the following information:

 

Tips of 10% are generally expected in better restaurants. Elsewhere, rounding up the bill is very much appreciated by underpaid staff, including taxi drivers. Hotels and restaurants in mid-range and, especially, top-end categories generally add on an automatic 10% service charge, although whether this actually returns to the staff who served you is another question.

 

We don’t include gratuities for guides and drivers in our tour prices. For this purpose we recommend the following tipping guidelines:

 

For groups:
Guide: $5 per person per day
Driver: $3 per person per day
Hotels: $2 per person per day
Restaurants: $1 per person per restaurant.

 

For small groups or individual travelers:
Guide: $10-$20 per person per day
Driver: $10-$20 per person per day

Crossing Streets

 

Traffic in Jordan isn’t completely crazy, but still crazy and chaotic enough (especially during rush hours). If you want to cross a big street (meaning more than 1 or 2 lanes), look out for overhead pedestrian bridges that are usually present every 400 to 800m. If there is no other possibility, you can also cross directly. The more traffic, the easier that should be, since cars are going relatively slowly. If you make eye contact with the drivers they will usually stop or slow down for you (but give them enough time to react before jumping in front of their car).

Riding in a car

 

Wear a seat belt (if there is one). Besides the fact that it is legally mandatory to wear a seat belt in Jordan, it is also in your own interest in case of an accident.

Driving a car

 

Since the public transport system isn’t the greatest, renting a car can be very useful for getting around in Jordan. Most international car hire companies have branches in Amman, Aqaba and at the aiports. Make sure that you and the car have sufficient insurance cover.
Also make sure to stay within the speed limits while driving – mobile speed traps are very common. Besides that, the roads aren’t always of the best quality, and sometimes you can even come across potholes in the middle a highway.
If you are new to driving a car in places where traffic rules aren’t taken too seriously, try to avoid rush hour in the bigger cities for a couple of days.

Public Transport

 

If you flag down one of the yellow taxis in the street (green taxis in Aqaba), make sure the driver turns on the taximeter. If the driver says, the meter is broken, or doesn’t want to turn it on for some other reason, it’s always better to get out of the car and take another taxi.
As a woman, it is recommended to sit in the back seat (especially if you’re traveling alone); men usually sit in the front.
There are also silver taxis. The difference to the yellow ones is the quality of the car (the silver ones are usually newer and fancier), and the price (the silver ones are more expensive).
Both Careem and Uber have become popular in Jordan during the last years. While Careem became more or less legal recently, Uber still isn’t (there generally is no trouble using it, but the driver might ask you to sit in the front, to make it look like a private car).

Services

 

Service are basically shared cars. They are usually white, and run along a fixed route, which is written on the side of the car. Along this route, you can get in and out when/wherever you want to. While services are very cheap, it takes some local knowledge to know (from) where they are going.

Buses

 

There are different sizes of buses (large ones, and smaller mini buses). They don’t have fixed schedules, and usually wait at their starting point (mostly one of Amman’s larger bus stations) until they are relatively full. You can then hop on and off at pretty much every point along their route.
For longer distances, the JETT company is running relatively comfortable and inexpensive coaches at a fixed.

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