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This travel guide to Jordan will help you plan all the beautiful places, attractions, budget, best time to visit, stays everything you need to know about Jordan based on our experience.
A 2000-year-old lost city (one of the seven wonders of the world), open air theatres, ancient roman ruins, vast stretch of dessert, wadis and waterfalls, lowest point on earth, spectacular azure blue sea; the Biblical kingdom of Jordan is History, adventure and culture all served on the same plate.
How often you find a place so ancient that you literally travel back in time? Seldom right!
Jordan is one such country that has traces of mankind’s earliest known civilizations. Inhabited by humans since the Palaeolithic age, witness to the ancient settlements of the Nabatean Kingdom, the roman empire, the ottoman empire, Jordan is Antique. Each stone here has a story to tell. A mecca for any History Buff
Not a history freak? Not a problem! If the 2000-year-old ancient city of Petra doesn’t sound exciting to you, a hot air balloon over a vast desert, hiking through beautiful wadis, floating on the lowest point on the earth, scuba diving in the red sea, one of these for sure will.
Jordan has something for every traveller. If not for any of the above, come here to experience traditional Bedouin culture and tease your taste bud with some authentic Arabic cuisine served by one of the most hospitable people in the world.
How to reach
Jordan is well accessible via well connected roadways and airports. However, touch down at Queen Alia International Airport by flying to middle east is the most feasible option for travellers coming from far of places.
We flew to Amman from Bangalore by Gulf Air.
Bangalore – Bahrain – 4 hr 40 min flight
Layover at Bahrain for 2.5 hour
Bahrain – Amman – 2.5hour flight
Things to know Know before visiting Jordan
# Best Time To Visit
- Jordan is a small country with most of its landscape covered in vast stretches of desert. However, it has four distinct seasons of Summer, Autumn, Winter and spring which makes Jordan a year-round destination to travel. We will be covering expectations from each seasons below in this travel guide to Jordan
- Summers in Jordan are hot and arid. Temperatures go very high and hence consider it the off season. The heat is discomforting and since most of the Jordan experience involve hiking, trekking and deserting, travelers usually stay away. However, less people means you get entire Jordan to yourself to explore!
- Winters in Jordan are cold, Spring is the time when you would see the most colourful Jordan and Autumn gives you the best weather conditions to explore around the country.
- The choice of season to travel depends on the reason to travel – Summers clearly being the off season is relatively quiet while Spring, Autumn and winter attracts huge tourists. Take a risk visiting during summers if you want Jordan to yourself with almost no herd of tourists, visit during winters if you want to see it snow in desert, Spring to have the best time hiking and Autumn for scuba diving
- We visited Jordan during Spring in the month of April and found the weather to be quite comforting. The nights at Amman were however quite cold.
# Capital & Currency
- Amman – The economic, political and cultural capital of Jordan. Explore Downtown Amman for some authentic Arabic cuisine.
- Currency – Jordanian Dinars (JOD)
1 USD is around 0.71 JOD
Currency Exchange is easy in Jordan. Major International currencies are accepted in Cash for exchange. Although USD, Pounds and Euro are comparatively easier to convert.
# People, Culture & Language guide
- Jordan is one country where Islam and Christianity traces its roots to. Even though present-day Jordan constitute 95% of its population following Islam,
Christians are very much part of the Jordanian society and enjoy exceptional freedom. Both the religions coexist peacefully here.
- While downtown Amman is urbanized and city like, the Jordanian culture in true sense is felt when you come across Bedouin hospitality.
- The desert dwelling nomads are the original settlers of Jordan. The Bedouins have lived in the deserts since before the boundaries of the Kingdom of Jordan were marked.
- The tribe is famous for their Hospitality and welcoming of the guests. Don’t be surprised if you are invited to stay at Bedouin tents, offered food, interacted with no questions asked. The best way to explore Bedouin hospitality is to stay with the tribe in their tents.
- Arabic is the official language of Jordan
- However, people of Jordan can speak and understand English
- Try learning a few Arabic words in order to break the ice while interacting with locals
# How safe is Jordan?
- Absolutely Safe!
- Amidst the political imbalances surrounding its neighbouring countries, Jordan is one country which is stable and safe and hence one of the most popular destinations in the middle east.
- Courtesy its various world heritage sites, Jordan welcomes a huge number of travellers annually. If there is one thing we can recommend you to remember in this travel guide to Jordan is to respect the Jordanian Culture.
Jordanians are very welcoming people
# Cash and Connectivity
- ATMs and exchanges are widely available at airports, major shopping malls and in the city. Arab Bank has its branch in almost every place. Although places like Wadi Rum do not have ATMs, hence plan accordingly.
- Exchange rates are fairly consistent across the country
- WIFI connectivity is good. Most of the hotels offer Internet connectivity.
- One can also take a local sim card for calls if required. (Zen and Umniah are the two best options for you. We took Umniah for better rates)
Visa/Jordan Pass guide
- Jordan has visa on arrival for a lot of countries
- However, if you are visiting Jordan for days and plan to explore the major tourist attractions the best bet would be taking the Jordan Pass
- Ensure you have the Jordan Pass before you arrive Amman. You can buy it online from the link below and get it in your mail
- Jordan Pass is an initiative of Jordan Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities that combines a tourist visa and admission fee of majority of attractions in Jordan
- There are three tiers to Jordan Pass and the difference in price of the three tiers is by the number of days you want to stay in Petra
- One-day Petra Jordan Pass costs 70 JD, Two-day Petra pass costs 75 JD and three-day Petra costs 80 JD. So even if you stay a day at Petra, considering the entry fee to Petra is 50JD and the Visa fee is 40JD, do the math and you know you are already saving 20JD.
Must try food when in Jordan
- Jordan is a cultural crossroads, the traces of which can also be found in the Jordanian cuisines. A pinch of Bedouin flavours, a mix of Arabic tastes, Cuisine is an essential part of exploring Jordan. Hence we hav covered must try cuisines in this travel guide to Jordan.
- We tried a lot of local delicacies throughout our trip and absolutely loved it.
Bedouin tea and Turkish coffee :
Our daily dose of freshness. One of our absolute favourites, this traditional Tea is a heavenly blend of dried sage, cardamom, cinnamon, black tea leaves and sugar brewed on a kettle over fire. Offering Tea is a remarkable part of Bedouin hospitality. Don’t be surprised if you are invited for a cup of tea by anyone.
Turkish Coffee is one of the most authentic coffee we have tasted in Jordan, but remember it is really strong and if you want your coffee to be sweet, this one is not for you.
Delicious juicy meet, topped with raw onions, green vegetables, zaatar, sesame seed sprinkles and tangy sauce rolled up in pita bread. Sounds heaven, Tastes heaven.
One of the most popular middle eastern cuisine, Hummus is mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, lemon, salt, garlic and olive oil. Same ingredients almost everywhere but loved how every version tasted a little different but equally good
Along with Shawarma, falafel is one of the most staple food which you can find in every street food joints in Jordan. It is a deep fried balls, made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. And it is absolutely yumm.
The national dish of the Kingdom of Jordan – A meal that is said to bring people together cause it is traditionally served in a large platter meant for communal eating. It is tender lamb over aromatic rice served with Jameed – a goat milk yoghurt.
Apart from these there are other authentic Jordanian dishes like Moutabel, Galayet Bandora, Tahini, Arabic Salad, Mujadara, Maqluba, kanafeh, baklava which are must haves.
Places to visit in Jordan
# Amman travel guide - More than just a capital
The economic, political and cultural capital of Jordan, Amman is a mix of east and west. It is urbanized yet holds a rich heritage of Jordanian culture. More than just a capital, it is the city which serves as the crossroads for various culture and heritage.
Walk through Downtown Amman to get a taste of the local city flavour, hang out in the city to experience its night life. Amman caters to every mood.
The major attraction in Amman is The Citadel and the Roman Theater.
The Citadel, Amman
Perched on top of Jebel Al Qala’a, a hilltop situated at the centre of downtown Amman, the Citadel overlooks the old city. Earliest settlements dating back to the Bronze age makes this place a historical marvel. The main sites of the citadel are the Temple of Hercules & the Ummayad Palace.
20 mins downhill walk from Citadel will take you to the Roman Theater which is in downtown Amman. Built during 2ndcentury AD, this beautiful roman ruin is one of the highlights of Amman city tour. With a seating capacity of around 6000 the theatre has three sections built – Rulers sat closest to the main ground, followed by the military and then the general public.
# The lost city of Petra travel guide
A 2000-year-old city that has hosted Mankind’s earliest known civilizations. One of the seven wonders of the world,the lost city of Petra is in literal sense antique. Centuries of history carved in the sandstone structures of various tombs and temples and not to forget the famous Treasury.
We dedicated two full days to Petra hiking through different trails exploring the ruins and treating our eyes with different views of the Treasury. Get your best walking shoes, hats and sunscreen because you’ll be walking and hiking all day long
# Wadi Rum travel guide
Huge sandstone cliffs, natural rock bridges, sand dunes, beautiful landscape, Wadi Rum is everything classic. This desert valley is the largest wadi in Jordan. Famous for the hospitality of the Bedouins of the wadi, Wadi Rum offers a unique experience. We stayed at a Bedouin camp, hiked through the sand dunes and enjoyed the sunrise and the sunset. It is advisable to take a three or four-hour jeep safari to explore the different architectures of this desert
# Aqaba travel guide
If you thought Jordan was all about history and hiking, Aqaba is your answer. Diving in the red sea was one of the highlights of our trip to Jordan. Healthy corals, diverse sea life and ship wrecks were absolute visual treats
# Wadi Mujib travel guide
If hiking did not impress you much, upstream hiking through a canyon full of water till the base of a gushing waterfall will for sure do. One of our favourites, Wadi Mujib is a river canyon in Jordan. The Siq trail, flowing water, huge sandstone rocks and a waterfall in the middle of nowhere. This was one epic adventure and has to be must entry in any travel guide to Jordan
# Dead Sea travel guide
Floating in the Dead sea, the lowest point on earth – One of the highlights of Jordan trip for any traveller. The amazing experience of being able to float and the mud mask form its shore is worth every penny. Try to get access to any of the private shores to have your own sweet time floating.
# Jerash travel guide
Located around 50kms from Amman, Jerash is one of the most well-preserved sites for exploring ancient roman ruins. Hire a guide to understand better the Roman culture and the way of life centuries ago.
Most common Itinerary guide for Jordan
An ideal 8 night 9 day itinerary to see the most of Jordan should be like the one below
Day 1 – Reach Amman, visit Citadel, Roman Theatre and downtown Amman
Day 2 – Amman to Petra (3hrs drive) and explore Petra
Day 3 – Petra day 2, explore rest of Petra
Day 4 – Petra to Wadi Rum, desert safari and overnight camping in Wadi Rum
Day 5 – Wadi Rum to Aqaba, diving in Red Sea
Day 6 – Aqaba to Madaba via Wadi Mujib (hike in Wadi Mujib)
Day 7 – Mount Nebo & Dead Sea, back to Amman
Day 8 – Jerash day trip & back to Amman
Day 9 – Leave Amman
Where to stay
So, our entire stay in Jordan costed us around 56 JOD per person for 9days. Following are the places we stayed during our Trip. We were 3 people in total and all the places we choose apart from Amman has breakfast included
- Amman – Airbnb Jordan University– 51 JD for 3 person 3 nights
We highly recommend this place. Ziad is a great host and this place is super cozy and gives you a very homely feeling
- Petra– Peace Way Hotel, Wadi Musa– 90 JD for 3 person 2 nights
The hotel is in Wadi Musa and a15 mins walk from Petra entry gate. A lot of food and local shops are around this place. These guys serve an awesome spread of complimentary buffet breakfast.
- Wadi Rum– Umm Sabatah Camp– 15 JD for 3 persons for 1 night including dinner and breakfast
Living in Bedouin camp, tasting the Bedouin hospitality and catching the quintessential Sunrise and sunset.
- Aqaba– Aqaba Adventure Divers– 36 JD for 3 persons for 1 night
One stop destination for all your diving needs at Aqaba.
- Madaba–Madaba Hotel– 30 JD for 3 persons 1 night
Owned by a family. Great hospitality and best bet for the price. Ask the owner for a deal for Dead Sea Private Beach access
What to pack
The three most important packing essentials we can recommend in this travel guide to Jordan are,
- Hiking Shoes
Remember you are going to walk a lot. Petra, Wadi Rum, Wadi Mujib are insane trails that need proper hiking shoes. Petra alone has long and rocky trails which can only be covered on foot. Also, if possible carry a water-resistant shoe for Wadi Mujib cause its river canyon hiking (else you can rent one for 5 JD directly at Wadi Mujib entrance). This one from Quechua will be perfect
- Cover up
Jordan is usually hot (although that also depend on the time of visit) and modest in terms of attire. Jordan is one of the most liberal middle eastern country however it is important to respect the Jordanian culture especially in areas that are a little conservative and at various religious sites. Women are expected to cover up properly while in Jordan. Wear clothes that cover your legs and chest. Basically, dress modestly!
- Warm clothes
Yes, you heard it right! Usually warm around the year, there are certain places that can be quite cold during the night. Specially the deserts. If you are camping at Wadi Rum, make sure to carry a jacket. Amman also gets quite cool during the night. One pair of warm clothes is advisable for your Jordan Trip. We visited Jordan during the month of April and thank god, we carried a jacket!
Apart from the above, few other essentials based upon your need are,
- A hat, Sunglasses – Your face will thank you for it. This sunhats should serve the purpose
- Sunscreen – your body will thank you for it. We have used this one from Neutrogena and loved it
- Carry light weighted and light coloured clothes – Jordan is hot after all
- Carry swimwear – Because you want to float in Dead sea. It doesn’t let you sink but it does get you wet.
- Carry water resistant clothes for the Wadi Mujib hike
- You should also carry this universal travel adopter to charge your camera and phone
- This toiletry kit is one of our most handy item
Self driving in Jordan
- The best way to explore Jordan we feel is by self-driving. We self-drove across Jordan for 9 days and trust us the experience was ecstatic. The roads are straight forward and in good condition, the travel signs and directions are in Arabic and English both so no issues there, and even if you get lost, ask help for understanding the directions, Jordanians are known for their out of the box hospitality.
- We rented a car from Auto Nation– A car rental service in Amman. They came to the airport to pick us up and took us to their service station. We booked a Kia picanto which got upgraded to Kia Cerato. Driving license of your home country will work fine.
- The important thing to note here is that Cars in Jordan are left handed and Jordanians drive on the right-hand side of the road.
Travel guide to Jordan: Budget ideas
We did our entire Jordan Trip for 350 JOD per person excluding flight and the Jordan Pass. The following is a rough sketch of our expenses per person in JOD. Feel free to do the math for your currency.
Since we travelled from Bangalore, India we would be using INR for conversion.
Car Rental with Insurance
Red Sea Diving @ Aqaba
Wadi Mujib entrance including Shoe and Dry bag
Apart from the above expenses in Jordan, we had flights and Jordan Pass
All flights form Bangalore – Amman – Bangalore costed us around INR 36,000
And the Jordan Pass costed us INR 7,500
Therefore, our total Jordan Trip costed us INR 78,500 per person. Not Bad right!
The Hashemite kingdom of Jordan is in one-word Antique – One of its kind! A country which caters to every traveller’s needs. Pack your bags for an epic adventure in Jordan because you’ll go back in time, visit the romans, the Nabataeans, cause you’ll be walking through centuries of history, camping in the desert, having tea with the earliest settlers of Jordan – the Bedouins, diving in the red sea to floating in the Dead sea. Jordan in every sense will leave you content.
Hope this travel guide to Jordan will help you plan the trip of your dream !!