Five Things First Time Travellers To Jordan Should Know
- Respect the dress codes. Despite Jordan's more modern clothing styles, there are still cultural norms to keep in mind when planning your wardrobe. Women should wear loose-fitting clothing that isn't revealing and men aren't allowed to walk around topless.
- Vegetarians and vegans might struggle to eat the local cuisine. While you will find options, they are few are far between. Almost all of Jordan's dishes contain animal products, and it's rude to show disgust towards food.
- The tap water is not drinkable. Buy bottled water at the local corner shops to stay hydrated and avoid getting sick.
- Taxis are one of the cheapest ways to get around. However, they are infamous for overcharging tourists. To avoid being ripped off, make sure the meter is on and ask to see the numbers before you pay the driver at the end of your ride.
- Get the Jordan Pass. You'll get free entry to over 40 of Jordan's top tourist destinations including Petra, Jerash and Wadi Rum. If you buy the pass before you arrive, your USD 30 visa fee will also be waived. It's one of the best ways to save money and explore Jordan on a budget.
Best Time To Visit Jordan
The best time to visit Jordan is in the spring. From March to May, the temperatures are warm, and the wildflowers are in bloom over the desert landscape. The humidity is also low, and thunderstorms are less frequent. The only downside to this time of year is that it's Jordan's high season. Expect thicker crowds at top sites like Petra and higher hotel rates.
From June to September, temperatures rise to an average of 40°C. In places of low altitude like the Gulf of Aqaba, the heat is at its most fierce combined with a stiff hot wind. If you do decide to visit during these summer months, be sure to pack lightweight wardrobe and drink plenty of water. You'll also score on cheaper flights, and the hotels that choose to stay open will significantly drop their rates.
Jordan's shoulder seasons are its autumn and winter months. Temperatures will start to drop, and you'll need a few warm layers for the chilly nights. Days are also shorter, and the rain or snow can curtail many outdoor activities like camping. On the plus side, it's the best time of year to visit the Red Sea.
Amman is the capital city of Jordan and one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. It's considered one of the most liberal places in the Middle East largely due to the high numbers of Jordanians who study and work abroad.
Nestled amongst Amman's skyscrapers is its ancient citadel. Built in the Neolithic period its home to the Temple of Hercules and a crumbling Roman theatre. Other notable points of interest are the bustling markets and the King Abdullah I Mosque.
Madaba is an ancient city famous around the world for its mosaics. Created during the Byzantine era, these artistic masterpieces are found on the floors throughout the city. The star attraction being the one in St George's Church. The mosaic is believed to be the oldest and most exact map of the Holy Land.
The city is also a great place to base yourself to explore some of Jordan's other attractions. It's a day trip away from the Dead Sea, the Dolmens and Wadi al Mujib.
Located on the shores of the Red Sea, Aqaba is one of Jordan's top coastal destinations. It's the best place to base yourself for diving and snorkelling trips and is full of luxury hotels.
Aqaba also boasts a few interesting historical sites. The Mamluk fort, built in the 14th century; one of the oldest churches in the world and the Aqaba Archaeological Museum that houses Bronze Age artefacts.
Top Attractions in Jordan
Petra is Jordan's leading tourist destination and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Constructed more than 2,000 years ago by the Nabataeans, it was forgotten about for hundreds of years. In the early 1800s, it was rediscovered by a Swiss explorer and Petra has captivated travellers ever since. It boasts more than 3,000 dwellings, stars, tombs and banquet halls that hosted nearly 20,000 inhabitants.
One of Petra's most famous sites is the facade of Al Khazneh. It served as a royal tomb and featured as the final resting place for the Holy Grail in the blockbuster movie "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade".
Located in the south of Jordan, Wadi Rum is famous for its incredible jebel rock formations. One of the best ways to appreciate this arid landscape is to spend a night camping in this remote desert. Accommodation options range from basic all the way to five-star glamping.
Most tours also include a visit to the semi-nomadic Bedouins. The tribe lives off the land and preserve a lifestyle that has been practised in the region for centuries.
Other notable attractions are the petroglyphs that are carved into the cliffs of soft sandstone. It's proof that the area has been continually inhabited for years and helped secure the site its UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is over 15 million years old and the lowest point in the world. It's also the planet's saltiest body of water, making it impossible to sink or swim.
The Dead Sea is an easy day trip from Jordan's capital city. Travellers flock here to soak up the therapeutic qualities of the Dead Sea's mud. Many believe that the high concentration of minerals can cure skin ailments like acne and reduces signs of ageing.
Make sure you visit the natural attraction soon, as it's believed this natural wonder could disappear in the next century.
Mount Nebo is steeped in religious significance. It's believed to be the spot where God led Moses to show him the Promised Land and where he is buried.
Today, the mountain is a popular pilgrimage site. Its mountaintop houses a small museum, a 4th-century church and incredible views of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea below. It's even possible to see the towns of Jericho, Bethlehem and Jerusalem on a clear day.
Whether you're religious or not, the hike to the top is a fantastic way to see Jordan's landscape and appreciate its ancient history.
The city of Karak is an ancient relic that played an important role in Jordan's history. For thousands of years, the fates of kings and nearby nations were decided here, and it was a stronghold during the Crusades. In the bible, its mentioned on more than one occasion, giving it religious importance as well.
While the castle is often overlooked for the more popular Petra, it's well worth a visit if you're a history buff. Within its grounds, you'll find the remains of a chapel and breathtaking views over the Jordanian countryside. Be sure to stop at the Karak Archaeological Museum to learn about this fascinating historical site.
Major International Airports in Jordan
- Queen Alia International Airport
- King Hussein International Airport