Modern cities filled with worldly citizens, mountainous regions dotted with small villages, and deserts inhabited by the nomadic Bedouin - Jordan has all this diversity and more. With the cosmopolitan cafes of Amman, the peace of hilltop Dana and the historic treasures of Madaba, you may come to Jordan to see the ruins of Petra, but you’ll leave having encountered so much more.
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Focus on Jordan
Posted on Thu, 09 Jan 2014 by Steve Davey
What is it about Jordan that has world-renowned photographer Steve Davey eager to return, again and again? Seems like the answer is simple, it’s a complex country with a bewildering [...]Read more
Photography tips: bringing it back home
Posted on Tue, 19 Nov 2013 by Steve Davey
Steve Davey has travelled to almost 90 countries around the world, so this renowned travel photographer and author has a lot of experience in keeping his gear and pictures safe. [...]Read more
Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.
Depending on which trip you're on while in Jordan, you may find yourself travelling by:
Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.
When travelling with us in Jordan you may find yourself staying in a:
At a glance
- Trips Available:
- Capital city:
- Amman (population 960,000)
- 6.5 million
- Time zone:
- (GMT+02:00) Amman
- Type B (American 3-pin) Type C (European 2-pin) Type D (Old British 3-pin) Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth) Type G (Irish/British 3-pin) Type J (Swiss 3-pin)
- Dialing code:
Best time to visit Jordan
The weather in Jordan can get quite extreme. Overall, it tends to be hot during the day and cold at night (in desert areas, expect it to be extremely hot during the day and freezing at night). Yet during winter it can get bitterly cold, with snowfall occurring in some parts of the country.
Travelling during the summer months (June, July and August) can be challenging for those not accustomed to the heat, so visiting Jordan during spring and autumn is recommended for those who wish to escape the hotter temperatures.
As a Muslim country, Jordan observes Ramadan. If you are planning to travel during Ramadan, it's important to consider that many restaurants and shops will either be closed or operating on reduced hours during this time.
Culture and customs
Despite the outside influences, Islamic traditions are strong in Jordan with spectacular mosques signalling the call to prayer five times a day, Ramadan being observed each year and some segregation of the sexes occurring.
The desert-dwelling Bedouin have a distinct culture of their own, drawing on traditions that have been passed down for centuries. Living a largely nomadic lifestyle, the Bedouin rely on the herding of animals and the creation of handicrafts in the absence of a fertile environment to farm. With a strong musical heritage, traditional instruments are played and time-honored traditions are continued.
Hospitality is a crucial element of Jordanian culture. Most visitors will be humbled by the kindness, sincerity and genuine care showed by Jordanians. Being welcomed into peoples’ homes is common, and can probably be attributed to the custom of welcoming strangers and sharing food when travelling in the unforgiving desert.
Eating and drinking
Intrepid believes that one of the best ways to experience a country is by eating! Whether you're sampling street food, savouring a cheap eat or indulging in a banquet, there are endless options to choose from wherever you are in the world.
Featuring typical Middle Eastern ingredients like lamb, chickpeas, garlic and a range of aromatic herbs and spices, Jordanian cuisine is delicious.
Things to try in Jordan
Like many other Middle Eastern countries, a plate of shared breads and dips is a great way to begin a feast.
This traditional Bedouin dish of lamb and yoghurt is usually served with rice and bread. This is the national dish of Jordan, so definitely try it before you leave.
These small, sweet pastries made with honey and nuts will have you going back for more.
The coffee in Jordan is strong. Often spiced with a hint of cardamom, coffee is strongly linked to the famed Jordanian hospitality, so drink up – it would be rude not to!
Geography and environment
Sharing borders with Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Jordan mixes modern architecture with heritage-filled buildings, well-manicured streets with historic alleyways and impressive mansions with simple homes.
Modern, developed cities like Amman and Aqaba feature unique architecture, spectacular mosques, five-star hotels and resorts. Small villages with rustic housing populate the less-built-up rural areas and Bedouin tents made of goat hair can be found in desert areas.
History and government
The country now known as Jordan was originally inhabited by the Nabataeans thousands of years ago. Over the centuries, Jordan has been a place conquered and inhabited by many different people including the Romans, Greeks, Assyrians, Ottoman Turks, Egyptians and Mamluks (people of Kurdish origins). All these influences can still be seen today in Jordan's ancient ruins, architecture, crafts and arts. Many battles were fought in Ancient Jordan, including the Christian crusaders who clashed with Islamic Forces in Jordan during the 11th and 12th centuries. The first Muslim Dynasty began with the Umayyad Empire in 661.
In 1950, Jordan was renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and in 1951, King Abdullah I was assassinated while visiting a mosque. His eldest son became king but was removed from his duties in 1952 due to mental illness. In 1953, his teenage son Hussein Ibn Talal became king, and continued to rule for over 40 years. In the 1960s, Jordan saw many immigrants arrive and settle – mainly Palestinians escaping the conflict in their homeland.
In 1999, King Abdullah II succeeded his father King Hussein and continues to rule Jordan now. His reign has been characterised by liberal policies, economic reforms and technological advances. His wife, Queen Rania of Jordan, has a visible public profile, is active in many social causes and is regarded internationally as a highly influential woman.
Top 10 Ways To Experience Jordan
1. Locate a Lost City
Spend a day exploring the astonishing lost city of Petra. Discover temples, tombs, a monastery and an amphitheatre in this fascinating, world-renowned archaeological site.
2. Take a Dip
Dive into the Dead Sea and relax in the famous waters thought to have therapeutical properties. The high salinity makes floating effortless so it’s easy to lie back and enjoy the view. This experience is a must-do for any visitor to Jordan.
3. Kick Back in a Cafe
The cafes of Amman are the perfect place to get acquainted with modern Jordan. From elegant, urban cafes serving international fare to earthy, family-run cafes offering traditional food and coffee, see both sides of modern Jordan when you eat.
4. Delve Into the Desert
Travel across hot, desert sands and spend the night camping under the stars with Bedouin hosts. Stargazing, eating traditional food and learning about the Bedouin way of life is an authentic experience to remember.
5. Admire Ancient Art
The city of Madaba is known for its amazing collection of ancient mosaics. Take a stroll around the city to scout out these handcrafted pieces of the past that are scattered throughout Madaba’s churches, museums and homes.
6. View an Icon
Behold the sight of legendary Mt Nebo. A revered holy site, Mt Nebo is home to the ruins of a church and monastery, and is an interesting place for believers and non-believers alike.
7. Meet Mother Nature
A hike through the changing landscapes of the Dana Nature Reserve offers wildlife encounters, quaint villages and majestic mountain views. Get back to nature and see Jordan’s natural treasures here.
8. Relax in a Resort
See a different side of Jordan in the laidback resort town of Aqaba. Chill out on the beach, feast on fresh seafood, soak up the sunshine and enjoy the change of pace in this piece of coastal bliss.
9. Uncover a Bit of History
Explore the fortified town and castle of Karak to gain insight into the fascinating history of this region. Walk through a network of tunnels and walkways and imagine what life was like centuries ago.
10. Discover Roman Ruins
Travel to Jerash to see some of the biggest and most preserved Roman ruins outside of Italy. Baths, theatres, temples and forums feature within the colonnaded streets and still-standing city walls.
From atmospheric souqs to modern malls and designer boutiques, Jordan has a shopping experience to suit everyone. While not particularly cheap, the quality is generally excellent and the service friendly.
It's a good idea to check with your local customs officials to ensure that you are able to bring certain items back into your home country. Australia and New Zealand generally have strict quarantine laws.
Things to buy in Jordan
1. Traditional Handicrafts
Mosaics, ceramics, rugs and carpets can be found everywhere in Jordan, but the variety and quality found in Madaba is a standout.
2. Bedouin Crafts
Silver jewellery and embroidered scarves make great souvenirs and can be purchased from souqs and independent vendors around Jordan.
3. Gold Jewellery
Traditional souvenirs and stunning gold jewellery can be found in the souqs of downtown Amman.
Festivals and Events in Jordan
Ramadan and Eid
During the ninth and holiest month in the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is observed by most in Jordan and is thought to be a time of spiritual rejuvenation. For this month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset - refraining from eating and drinking during daylight hours. Eid marks the end of fasting with three days of feasting and celebration.
Jerash Festival of Culture & Arts
See the best of local and international performing arts with theatre, music, poetry and dance taking over the ancient Roman city of Jerash, much to the delight of locals and visitors alike.
FAQs on Jordan
Can of soft drink = 1 JOD
Dinner at a restaurant = 10 JOD
Embroidered shawl = 20-30 JOD
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 24 Mawlid al-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet)
Mar 29 Good Friday
Apr 1 Easter Monday
May 1 Labour Day
May 25 Independence Day
Jun 5 Lailat al Miraj (Night of Ascension)
Jun 10 Army Day
Jul 9 Start of Ramadan
Aug 8 Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan)
Oct 15 Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
Nov 4 Islamic New Year
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays in Jordan go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/jordan/public-holidays
We arrive into Jordan via a ferry into Aqaba, which currently requires no payment for visas. You are not required to obtain your visa in advance. Visas are required by all visitors entering Jordan.
Single entry visas valid for 14 days and can be obtained, by most nationalities, on arrival at the airport in Amman or at the Jordanian border for approx. 40JOD.
It can be significantly more expensive to acquire your visa from the embassy in your home country. If you require a stay longer than 14 day, a visa obtained from the embassy in your home country will be valid for 2 months.
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER your entry date into the country or you may be denied entry at the border. Visas are required by all visitors entering Jordan. Single entry visas valid for 14 days and can be obtained, by most nationalities, on arrival at the airport in Amman for approx. 10JOD. It can be significantly more expensive to acquire your visa from the embassy in your home country. If you require a stay longer than 14 day, a visa obtained from the embassy in your home country will be valid for 2 months.
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER your entry date into the country or you may be denied entry at the border.
Please note that although there are ATM machines in the Amman airport, there are currently no ATM machines in the immigration halls of the Amman airport (but there are currency exchanges), so ensure you have some foreign currency on hand if you do not have your visa in advance. JORDAN:
Australia: Yes - on arrival
Belgium: Yes - on arrival
Canada: Yes - on arrival
Germany: Yes - on arrival
Ireland: Yes - on arrival
Netherlands: Yes - on arrival
New Zealand: Yes - on arrival
South Africa: Yes - on arrival
Switzerland: Yes - on arrival
United Kingdom: Yes - on arrival
USA: Yes - on arrival
Visas are required by all visitors entering Jordan. Single entry visas valid for 14 days and can be obtained, by most nationalities, on arrival at the airport in Amman or at the Jordanian border for approx. JOD40. It can be significantly more expensive to acquire your visa from the embassy in your home country. If you require a stay longer than 14 day, a visa obtained from the embassy in your home country will be valid for 2 months.
Please note that although there are ATMs in Amman airport, there are currently no ATMs in the immigration halls of Amman airport (but there are currency exchanges), so ensure you have some foreign currency on hand if you do not have your visa in advance. We arrive into Jordan via a ferry to Aqaba, which currently requires no payment for visas. Jordanian visas can be issued at the border and cost 10JOD Please note that although there are ATM machines in the Amman airport, there are currently no ATM machines in the immigration halls of the Amman airport (but there are currency exchanges), so ensure you have some foreign currency on hand if you do not have your visa in advance. Departure point from Jordan is Aqaba.
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Jordan Travel Tips
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Jordan
1. Be considerate of Jordan’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
3. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead.
4. Ramadan is the fasting month for all Muslims. During this month no food, drink or smoking is permitted during daylight hours. While non-Muslims aren't expected to fast, it's recommended to try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public during daylight hours.
5. Refrain from touching or interfering with ancient monuments, relics or historic sites.
6. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it. Simple greetings will help break the ice.
7. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
8. Ask permission and remove your shoes before entering a place of worship.
9. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, especially when entering places of worship.
10. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
|Live from Jordan: Letters Home from My Journey through the Middle East||Benjamin Orbach|
|Married to a Bedouin||Marguerite van Geldermalsen|
|The Making of Jordan||Yoav Alon|