Travel Guide

What you need to know

Visa Requirements

Most countries can apply for a visa on arrival at the airports or land borders. Cost is 40 JD and they accept credit cards at the airport.

Jordan Pass

If you are intending to visit the sites in Jordan then the Jordan Pass is well worth getting online as it includes the visa and entry to the majority of the main tourist sites. Cost starts at 70 JD for the basic option for a minimum 3 night stay in the country.

Airports

There are only two airports in Jordan:

  • Queen Alia International Airport AMM – Amman
  • King Hussein International Airport AQJ – Aqaba

Land Borders

There are 3 land borders with Israel/Palestine:

  • Sheikh Hussein/ Jordan River Crossing
  • King Hussein/ Allenby Bridge – no visa on arrival available
  • Wadi Araba / Yitzhak Rabin Crossing

There are two land borders with Syria, Jaber is the one used by visitors and it is 80 km from Amman.

Iraq: Visitors use the Al-Karamah Border Crossing, which is 331km away from Amman.

There are three border crossings with Saudi Arabia

  • Umari Border Crossing: 155km away from Amman and open 24/7 throughout the year.
  • Mudawara Border Crossing: 322km away from Amman and open 24/7 throughout the year.
  • Durra Border Crossing: located in southern Jordan close to Aqaba.

Currency

Jordanian Dinar – notes are 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 JD. Always check what you are handing over as the colours are similar.

Coins are officially Qirsh but usually called Piastre. 1 JD equals 100 Qirsh.

Most small shops require cash and some will accept USD, Pounds Sterling or Euros. Credit cards are accepted in all major shops. Currency exchanges can be found in all major cities and towns.

You can use the ATM’s to get out cash but there is a minimum 4 JD charge.

Mobile Phones

You can buy a prepaid sim card at the airport, there are tourist packages from Zain and Orange which are the main providers. You will need an unlocked phone and your passport. If you cannot buy at the airport both Zain and Orange have shops throughout the country.

Electricity

220/240 volts but bring an adaptor as sockets vary!

Tipping

Hotels and main restaurants usually include a 10% service charge but whether this goes to the staff is another matter and wages are exceptionally low even in big brand hotels so if you have received good service please do tip the person! 10% of your bill is the standard elsewhere if you are pleased with the service.

If you are on tour and have a driver and guide:

Driver – 10 to 20 USD per day
Guide – 10 to 20 USD per day

Larger groups can work on 5 USD per person per day for the guide and 3 USD per person per day for the driver.

Best time to visit Jordan

Although a year round destination, certain activities are better to do at certain times of the year so for example spring is the best time to visit the north to see the countryside at its best especially if you are intending to hike.

Also check when it is the holy month of Ramadan as many businesses change their opening hours and as a courtesy you should not eat, drink or smoke in public during the day.

Spring – March to May

Perfect temperatures for visiting sites and hiking trips hence higher prices especially from April.  The main tourist locations can be very busy so booking well in advance is advised.

Summer – June to September

Temperatures start to rise but prices start to fall and you get more daylight hours to see the sites.

Autumn – October to November

Again a perfect time to visit, days can be hot but the evenings cool.  Again book well in advance if you have specific hotels or camps you wish to stay in.

Winter – December to February

Blue skies with a chance of rain and snow although Aqaba and the Dead Sea are still warm and the tourist sites are not so crowded.

Health and Safety

Yes, Jordan is surrounded by countries known for wars and unrest but strict security measures mean the country is safe, as safe as anywhere else in the world. All hotels have security measures in place and police are visible.

At no point have I ever felt unsafe whilst travelling or living in the country, Jordanians are some of the most friendly people I have come across, if they see you are unsure or struggling with anything they help.

Safety, Insurance and valuables

Like anywhere in the world now, people are struggling so be careful carrying your passport, money and valuables. Use the hotel safes and take copies of your passports and important documents. Backup your phone before you travel and take out adequate travel insurance.

All major towns have a hospital or private clinic, Amman has the best selection. Pharmacies carry most medications although it is advised to bring prescribed medicines with you. Travel Insurance is a necessity.

These are the recommended vaccinations for Jordan:

  • Tetanus
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella
  • Polio
  • Diphtheria
  • Typhoid
  • Yellow Fever (mandatory if travellers have been in infected areas)
  • Check with your doctor before travelling.

Water

Always drink bottled water although a lot of brands in Jordan have a high salt content. There are a couple of local brands that are salt-free.

Emergency Numbers

911 Police

199 – Civil Defense – Dial 199 to call Paramedics if you need urgent medical care or to call Firefighters in case of a fire.
191 – Rescue Police Operation – Dial 191 if you are getting pick-pocketed, robbed or harrassed in any way.
196 extension 4661 – Tourist Police Department – Call them if you have any complaints about the personnel of touristic sites and hotels.

They also have a direct numbers – these are not free to call:

06 569 0384 (landline)
077 672 8446 (Orange mobile)
079 712 3080 (Zain mobile)

You can also send an email: tourist.dept@psd.gov.jo

190 – Traffic Department – Dial 190 in case of road accident or any problems related to traffic.
194 – Highway Patrols Operations – Dial 194 in case of any problems that happen to you while on the highways.

Embassy Contacts: Diplomatic mission in Jordan

Culture & Language

Hospitality is an important part of Jordanian culture, you will be offered many cups of tea or coffee throughout your stay but be careful as sometimes this comes with a charge, you can refuse without giving offence. You will hear ‘welcome’ and ‘how are you’ continually!

When greeting locals wait to see if a handshake is offered, foreign women are usually just greeted, no handshake. If this is offered and you do not wish to shake hands then just put your hand over your heart. Local women will rarely shake hands due to religious and cultural reasons. If visiting a local family do not be surprised for the men and women to be separated or be seated separately.

Language

The official language of Jordan is Arabic but English is spoken in the tourist areas. There are registered guides who speak other languages. Road signs are in both languages in most places although sometimes the translation is interesting.

Religion

Jordan welcomes all religions and believes in a peaceful and tolerant coexistence. Approximately 92% are Sunni Muslim with 6% are of Christian denominations.

Dress Code

Although you will see tourists wearing all types of clothing, women will probably feel more comfortable covering arms and legs to below the knee especially in non tourist areas. You will get stared at by both men and women even in the tourist areas, whether this is due to your clothing or the fact that you are foreign is difficult to say. This does not apply to men.

Smoking

Nearly everyone smokes even inside local shops and restaurants. Most hotels have smoking rooms and provide designated areas for smoking. Shisha is also a big part of Jordanian culture.

Transport

Transport options are:

Hiring a car and driving yourself but be aware they drive fast in Jordan! Unpredictability is the other problem so be aware at all times. Traffic in Amman is horrendous with constant lane changing and very little courtesy. GPS/Google Maps is a must have!

The issue on the main highways and roads elsewhere are dogs, cats, goats, sheep and camels beside the odd car/truck travelling the wrong way. Except for the majority of the highways the roads are not in good condition. There are also speed cameras, plain police cars and numerous police/army stops so have your passport and driving licence available. Wearing seatbelts is mandatory but many locals do not use them.

The easiest and safest option is to hire a car/minivan with a driver. This means you get to relax and not have to worry about directions and traffic. One condition of anyone driving for us is that they do not speed and do not use their phone when driving (handsfree only).

Public transport is almost non-existent but there are small buses that travel between most places. The larger JETT buses travel longer distances at a fixed price.

Licenced taxis are available, yellow (cheap) and silver (newer and more expensive), green in Aqaba. Either agree the price beforehand which can be risky or make sure the meter is on. Uber and Careem are also available and usually cheaper.

Accommodation

Worldwide brands can be found in Amman, Aqaba, the Dead Sea and Petra. There are numerous independent hotels ranging from very basic to mainly three stars at best with few exceptions.

There are self-catering options through Airbnb and other sites. Amman has a better selection and there are also many in Wadi Musa (Petra) although standards are not high, en suite bedrooms are mostly non-existent.

All the desert camps are privately owned ranging again from budget to a few luxury options.

We will advise the best options for your budget.