This guide covers all aspects of visiting Jordan, whether you are looking for an itinerary to self drive the country, adventurous activities, cultural experiences, foods to try and practical things like visas, tipping and wifi.
Keep reading through this guide and if you have any questions I am happy to answer them. There are links throughout that will take you to more detailed information. I hope that by the time you get to the bottom of my Jordan travel blog you will know everything you need to know about Jordan.
Jordan Travel Blog and Guide
Jordan is more than Petra.
Jordan is more than visually stunning.
Jordan is more than a mecca of religious sites, important to Christians, Muslims and Jews.
Jordan is a place where hospitality comes naturally.
Where visitors are treated as guests (and not just in the hospitality industry).
Where strangers share a cup of sweet tea with foreigners.
Where giving without remembering is a way of life.
- Jordan Travel Blog and Guide
- Why you should read my Jordan Travel Blog!
- Essential Jordan Information and Quick Facts from the Jordan Travel Blog
- Highlights in Jordan from the Jordan Travel Blog
- How to get to Jordan
- Best Time to Visit Jordan
- Jordan Culture
- Tours in Jordan
- Safety in Jordan
- Driving In Jordan
- Visas For Jordan
- Budgeting for a trip to Jordan
- Food In Jordan
- Vaccinations and Health
- Wifi and SIM Cards
- Cash, ATMs and Credit Cards
- Jordan with Kids
- Hotels / Hostels / AirBNB
Why you should read my Jordan Travel Blog!
This Jordan travel guide will help you plan every aspect of your vacation, from visiting the red-rose city of Petra or you want to watch the sunset on the back of a camel in the desert of Wadi Rum, or float at the Dead Sea, or wander the ruins of Jerash, or dive into the blue waters of Aqaba, or smoke sheesha at a coffee shop in Amman, or enjoy the sweet bedouin tea next to a fire after hiking along the Jordan trail. I have spent months in Jordan and my Jordan travel blog has plenty of valuable pages that can help you plan your epic vacation to Jordan.
Jordan has something for everyone. Whether you are an adventure traveller who wants to trek, or bike, or scramble up rocks. Whether you want to follow the footsteps of T. E. Lawrence of Arabia across the desert. Whether you want to explore everything that this country has to offer for your family. Whether you want to see for yourself the Holy Land that was shown to Moses. Maybe you want to know what shopping is like in the Middle East when you can visit the souq and a 6 story mall in the same day. Maybe spending a day with a bedouin will help you see how small we are in a world with 6 billion others.
Want to skip all of the planning and access my detailed Jordan Itinerary and Guide? I have been to Jordan several times and after being asked again and again for suggestions, not only did I build this website but I created an interactive PDF guide to help you plan the best trip to Jordan! It includes an interactive map, multiple itineraries for up to 10 days and as little as three days and plenty of practical information about renting a car and driving in Jordan. Get the guide by clicking the button below.
Essential Jordan Information and Quick Facts from the Jordan Travel Blog
As one of the top Jordan travel blogs online, I am getting emails almost daily from travellers who are either considering, planning or preparing for their own trip to Jordan. I have put together a few things to know before visiting Jordan to help you prepare for your upcoming trip.
- Jordan Power voltage is 230 V and they use a mixture of the UK style plug and European 2 pin plug. Bring a Universal adapter for ease of use.
- Jordan is safe for a solo-female and for families. You can read more on our post Is Jordan safe? (there is more on this below in the Safety section)
- Expect late openings for restaurants during Ramadan as muslims will be fasting. More on Ramadan down below!
Fill out this form to get our Ultimate Arrivals Guide and lots of information on planning a trip to Jordan!
Highlights in Jordan from the Jordan Travel Blog
Jordan for Adventurers
Petra, the rock-cut capital of the Nabataens, is what seduces almost a million visitors to the kingdom each year. Lost for hundreds of years, this World Wonder is well worth its title. From its secret entrance down a narrow Siq, to the stunning Treasury views, every visitor leaves awe inspired.
While some visitors only have half a day, it is well worth having two or three days to explore the hiking trails, take pictures from all angles and absorb the enormity of what was build by the Nabataens, almost 2000 years ago!
Beyond Petra is Petra by Night (click the link for more details) where 15 000 candles illuminate the Siq all the way to the Treasury. Sweet Bedouin tea, a starry night and a traditional Jordanian flute set the stage for a short performance. It occurs three times a week from 8:30-10:30pm
The lowest point on Earth lies at the border of Jordan and Israel. A bucketlist moment, let your feet leave the ground as you float in the salty waters of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is about 30 minutes from Amman. There are several ways to get there. Before your visit you should read these Dead Sea tips.
If you are planning a daytrip, you can find hotels that offer day passes to access the Dead Sea and also use their showers and pools. If you plan on spending the night, the Dead Sea Spa offers great value and for a Luxurious stay the Movenpick and Marriott will not disappoint.
Canyoning in Wadi Mujib
For the adventure seeker, Wadi Mujib offers a unique experience to explore the siq cliffs. Open seasonally from April to October, adventure seekers (over 18 years old) can experience canyoning in Jordan. Check with Wild Jordan if you are visiting in the spring as heavy rains and high waters may mean that Wadi Mujib is closed.
Scuba Dive the Red Sea
Some of the best diving around the world can be found just off the coast of Aqaba on the Red Sea. There are boats that go off shore daily and there are over 30 dive sites in Jordanian waters. You can see Whale Sharks in June / July and Mantas in February and you can dive off the coast of Aqaba all year round.
Jordan’s desert, Wadi Rum offers 360 degree views of out-of-this-world landscape and a peek into bedouin cultures. From massive sandstone to miles of soft desert sand it is an outdoor paradise for adventure seekers! Start your visit to Wadi Rum with a Jeep tour from the visitors center.
While it is called a Jeep tour, expect a ride on the back of a pick up truck by a local bedouin. These expert guides will show you the time of your life! From natural rock bridges and ancient carvings to sunsets from the back of a camel, Wadi Rum exceeds almost everyone’s expectations!
After exploring the landscape, visit a Wadi Rum bedouin camp and enjoy traditional Jordanian foods before camping under the stars. Some camps offer evening entertainment, others have luxury bubble tents. Whether you visiting on a budget or want a full 5* experience, there is a camp for everyone.
Wadi Rum is my personal favorite part of visiting Jordan and I suggest everyone spend a night at a camp.
Jordan’s most under rated site, Jerash is the best preserved Roman site outside of Rome. From colonnaded streets to temples and theatres it is an impressive site and worth visiting. It is about an hour north of Amman and best accessed by vehicle or on a day tour.
Ecotourism in Jordan
There are plenty of ecotourism projects in Jordan and Feynan Ecolodge is my favorite one. I have a whole post dedicated to Jordan’s Ecotourism from exploring Dana Reserve to local projects in Feynan and even hiking the Jordan Trail.
Mount Nebo is a place of importance for Christians visiting Jordan. Here, according to the Hebrew Bible, Moses was shown the Promised Land after wandering the desert for 40 years. Today, Mount Nebo is managed by Franciscan Monks and a new church sits atop the mountain. It houses mosaics from ancient churches on the site.
Baptism Site of Jesus
Another Christian religious site is the place where Jesus was baptized on the Jordan River. Today small churches sit on the site and Christian’s can be baptized or visit this holy place.
How to get to Jordan
Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) has flights arriving from all over the world. Major carriers such as British Airlines and Lufthansa fly into Amman with daily flights.
Aqaba Airport (AQJ) has ULCC carriers from Europe that fly in seasonally catering to the European holidaymaker looking for a sunny vacation on the coast of the Red Sea.
Ferry service from Egypt arrives into Aqaba port daily by AB Maritime. If you are planning on arriving to Jordan by ferry, I have a post on Egypt to Jordan by Ferry.
There are three crossing points between Jordan and Israel. They are in the North, the South and a central crossing. Visa’s are granted in the North and South only so only travellers already possessing a visa can cross from Israel into Jordan at the Allenby Bridge/King Hussein crossing.
JETT bus offers service from Cairo to Amman. JETT is the main bus transportation company in Jordan servicing most major cities from Amman. If you plan on using publis transport while in Jordan, check out How to Get Around In Jordan.
Best Time to Visit Jordan
The best time to visit Jordan depends on what you plan to do while in the country and what your schedule allows. March to May and September to November are considered High Season for visitors and is a popular time of year for hikers and those who want to make the most of the outdoors.
Some outdoor activities (like Canyoning in Wadi Mujib or Camping in Dana Biosphere reserve at Rummana Camp ) are only open seasonally.
July and August can be bitterly hot and December to February can be cold and temperatures do drop below freezing in certain areas of the country. While Wadi Rum may have sunny skies by day, the nights in a camp can very very cold. Ensure you pack for the season so you can enjoy the outdoor wonders (and get some great photos!)
Jordan is a Muslim majority country but freedom of religion is tolerated. There is a minority Christian population or Arabs who reside in the Kingdom. Muslims dress modestly, many pray 5 times a day, and fast from morning until sunset during the Holy month of Ramadan.
Jordanian people are welcoming and friendly. Many are genuinely happy to see visitors in their country and are proud to show off their traditions.
Jordanians are generous and give without expecting anything in return. My children are constantly given treats from people we meet. Being invited for coffee or tea, or to share a meal is quite common.
The Jordanian population is quite young, with the majority of the population being under 30. Most live in major cities, with Amman being the most populous city with over 4 million of the country’s 9 million inhabitants.
If you plan on spending some time in Amman, or even ave just one day, check out my list of things to do in Amman
Ramadan is a Holy month for Muslims. They will fast from sunrise to sunset. Working hours for businesses are often limited during Ramadan and many places will close 1-2 hours before sunset to prepare an evening meal.
Ramadan comes with a lively evening culture as many families get together and celebrate each night.
Some Tourist sites may have different hours, and some restaurants will be closed during the day.
Bus schedules are also more limited.
It is rude to eat or drink or smoke in public during Ramadan. A tourist will not get flack for having a sip of water, but best to be discreet to be respectful to those who are fasting.
Ramadan is usually a low season but after Ramadan is a holiday week for Muslims and hotels will be hard to come by in some places!
In 2020 Ramadan will begin around April 23 and last for one month.
Things to Pack and What to Wear from the Jordan Travel Blog
To respect the culture of Jordanians, Westerners should dress more modestly than they might normally do in their home countries. This list is a bit of what you should pack. You can click the link at the bottom of the section to read more about what to pack and what to wear while in Jordan. While you might see Instagram shots of Westerners without modest dress, all over this Jordan travel blog you will find my suggestions.
- Comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots if you plan on long treks, sandals. I always pack natives for my kids as they are great for climbing on rocks etc but also great for the rocky beaches. Women should pack tampons or a Diva cup as choices are limited (well you get one tampon choice in a grocery store in Amman and likely no choices in smaller pharmacys)
- I recently came across [easyazon_link identifier=”B01C6HAVVM” locale=”US” tag=”cadiouwa-20″]GRAYL water bottles [/easyazon_link] and use them when I am in Jordan. While I do brush my teeth with hotel and house tap water, I try not to let my kids do it. Having a grail filtered water bottle is handy to get water from the taps if you do not know if they are filtered. Buying bottled water in Jordan is also cheap, but I prefer to try and stay away from single use bottles and buy it just for drinking for my kids if we have run out of our filtered water.
- Backpack – nothing says tourist more than a backpack, but if you are doing a multi day trek, pack something that can comfortably carry your lunch and water for the day, as well as extra clothing. But if you want to fit in with the locals, carry you stuff in a plastic bag. It might sound funny, but after spending half a day in the country, you will be able to spot the local ex-pats and the tourists almost instantly.
You can read my complete what to pack for Jordan post for more information on packing for Jordan for any season, for men and women and a few items you are probably not thinking of!
Note for Travelling Couples
If you are traveling with your boyfriend or girlfriend, public displays of affection are non existant in Jordan. You may see the odd couple holding hands, but that is not often. If you are a kissing couple, keep your hands to yourself while out with locals.
When it comes to checking into hotels, Arabs are required to be married in order to check into a hotel together. If you are not married, but traveling in Jordan, best to say you are if you are asked by hotel staff. 5* hotels will generally not ask, but a small, local establishment might. It is very common for married travelers to not have the same last name on their passport so do not worry that you names do not match.
Same Sex Marriage is not permitted in Jordan and the population still has outdated views on same sex couples compared to many other countries. Keep any displays of affection to your hotel room and outward expressions of homosexuality can land you in trouble with the police.
When in Jordan with your sam-sex partner, best to keep the information private. You can find a LGTBQ+ friendly cafe and bar at Books @ Cafe in Amman.
This is a big one. Jordan is a country that relies on tips. Whether it is your driver, your guide, breakfast staff, housekeeping or the bellboy getting your luggage out of the car or off the bus, they rely on tips to supplement the low wages in the country. Some large group tours will include tips for restaurants and the driver and guide, but if they do not, make sure you budget accordingly.
TIPPING GUIDE for JORDAN
Guide USD3-5 per person per day for larger group tours over 6 people
Private Guided Tour USD50 per day (1-4 people)
Driver USD2-3 per person per day for larger group tours over 10 people
Private Driver USD20 per day
Housekeeping USD1-2 per room per night
Buffet Breakfast USD1-2 per table
Bellboy USD1 per piece of luggage
Horses at Petra USD3-4 per person per horse (This is not for donkeys in the site. Pay the negotiated price for the donkey).
Camels In Wadi Rum USD3-5 per camel or ask your tour guide for advice, the price you pay for the camel may include a tip
Jeep Tour drivers USD 3-5 per vehicle
Taxi Drivers Round up to the nearest Dinar.
Washroom attendants 1 USD
Tours in Jordan
I have been helping a friend plan a trip to Jordan and there are SOOOOOO many questions to ask, sooooo many tours out there and when it is a country that you have not been to before, SOOOOO much confusion. I am hoping that after you read to the end of my Jordan travel blog I will have answered every question you have about visiting Jordan, but there is also the option of taking a fully guided tour!
Here are a few things you should keep in mind when you are planning on booking a tour in Jordan
1. What is included in the Tour?
Are you ticking off all of your bucket list items on your visit? After reading this Jordan travel guide you will have heard about many of the highlights and you want to ensure that the type of tour you choose fits with what you want to see and do in Jordan!
2. Is your Visa included in the Tour package
Most tours that meet you at the airport will include the visa in the price of the tour. But if you do not have a transfer and have to make your own way to the start point, you will probably have to buy your own visa (which for me and many others, is 40 JD). You also will need to get transportation to an Amman Hotel, where your tour will start, which is about 45 minutes away.
3. Are Site entrance fees included, what options excursions are available
Your tour itinerary should list everything that is included in your tour. Things like Petra entrance fees, the Citadel and Jerash, are all common things that will be included in your tour. But have a read of the optional excursions. Things like Snorkelling in Aqaba and Camel Rides in Wadi Rum are usually optional and in addition to your tour.
4. Are Tips included?
As I mentioned above, tipping is an important part of the culture in Jordan. Some tours include tips but most do not.
5. How is the Itinerary?
Some Itineraries are terrible (in my opinion) as I have been there several times and know what I liked best. But my opinion may be different than yours and time and budget often comes into play. Make sure the hi lights that you want to see are included and you have sufficient time to see the places you want to.
For example, you CAN see Petra and Wadi Rum in ONE day. I have done it, on my first tour in Jordan. BUT it was a rush in Petra and we did not get to do things like hike to the Monastery or to the Lookout above the Treasury. BUT, if you are doing a fast tour, you still SAW Petra. Many tours only come for 3 days and try to jam pack everything into a visit. But for me, the perfect tour of Jordan for a first time visitor would be about 10 days.
Example upcoming Tours
G adventures Classic Jordan 8 Days
Safety in Jordan
Overall Jordan is a safe country for solo – female travellers as well as families. Despite its precarious position in the Middle East the violence from its neighbours does not spill into the country. You can read more about safety in Jordan.
Driving In Jordan
Driving in Jordan is a popular way to see the country. Price wise, you can plan to spend USD30-40 per day on a rental vehicle. Gasoline is 0.79JD per litre which works out to about USD1.10 per litre or .88 GBP per litre. Despite Jordan’s position next to oil-rich neighbours, it does not mean that gasoline is inexpensive in Jordan.
I have put together 10 tips for Driving in Jordan to answer any questions you might have about traveling the country yourself. It is totally doable for any confident driver and it is a great way to see the country at your own pace.
If you are planning on visiting Jordan but do not have much time and want to make the most of your stay, I highly suggest following my 5 Days in Jordan itinerary. This will cover the best sights and see as much as you can in a short amount of time.
Visas For Jordan
A single entry Jordan visa for most nationalities is JD40 (USD 56) and can be obtained on arrival at Queen Alia International Airport outside of Amman. If arriving into Aqaba by land, ferry or on a low cost carrier, the special economic zone of Aqaba has waived visa fees.
You cannot get a visa from Allenby Crossing / King Hussein Bridge if you are entering from Israel. You must cross at the Northern or Southern border crossings and obtain a visa on arrival at that time.
If you are leaving by land or sea there is a 10 JD exit tax payable by all travellers.
Check the most up to date information on whether your nationality qualifies for a visa on arrival. Otherwise you will have to obtain it prior to arrival from the closest Embassy.
If you are planning on staying for longer than one month on a visitor visa, you will need to report to the police station in the neighbourhood you are staying and have your visa extended. Otherwise you will pay a fine for each day over the 30 days upon departure.
You can read all about my experience renewing a Jordan tourist visa.
Budgeting for a trip to Jordan
Jordan is not a cheap country to travel, its neighbours such as Turkey and Egypt are much cheaper. If you are visiting Jordan on a shoestring budget you will want to take advantage of affordable taxis in Amman and local transport busses.
If you are a solo traveller, you can travel by JETT to major cities as well as from Amman to Petra.
A local meal is going to set you back just a few Dinars. Look for local shwarma shops, falafel sandwiches or somewhere like Hashem Restaurant or Abu Jbara in Amman that serve typically Middle Eastern food at a price that locals can afford.
I have more Amman Restaurant tips if you are looking for other places to eat in Amman.
Heading to a grocery store might be a good idea as bread (pita) is very cheap.
Hostels can be found for JD15-20 and Hotels are going to be about JD20-30 for a 3* hotel. It varies by city and time of year. a 4-5* hotel can be between JD60 to upwards of JD200 depending on where you want to stay.
Food In Jordan
Food is very much one of the highlights of Jordan and there is so much more to try than falafel and hummus! These are typical Jordan foods that you should look for while you visit.
Mansaf is a traditional Jordanian meal. It is served on a large platter with a thin flatbread, then rice is added and topped with lamb, nuts and a fermented yoghurt sauce called jameed.
It is often served for special occasions or to show appreciation to guests. You can find it in many restaurants in Jordan, if you are looking for somewhere in Amman, check out Al Quds Restaurant.
In English, makloubeh is often called “upsidedown” as the method of serving the dish is by turning a massive pot upsidedown and the layered contents of seasoned potatoes, eggplant, onions and rice spilling onto a massive plate on the table.
You cannot visit the Middle East without trying falafel and it is a cheap eat for a snack. Whether you have it at Hashem Restaurant with a spread of mezze (appetizers) or in a falafel sandwich, it is a popular snack food in Jordan.
Falafel is made of chick peas and deep fried.
Almost a daily staple, hummus is served with every meal in Jordan. You will find it in breakfast buffets and at almost every lunch and dinner restaurant. After fresh hummus with deep green olive oil, you will have a hard time going back to store bought hummus at home.
A cheese based dessert, kunafa’s sweet flavor is balanced with a warm melted cheese to make the perfect after dinner snack! You can find kunafa in many bakeries in Jordan. Habibah Sweets is the most famous place in Amman for kunafa.
Zaarb is a mix of meat and vegetables cooked in an underground oven. It is commonly served at bedouin camps in Wadi Rum.
Mulukhiyah is a popular local dish made of greens and chicken atop a bed of rice. Squeeze some lemon on top for the perfect about of tartness!
The easiest way to describe Arias is like spaghetti sauce inside a pita. It is then toasted on the BBQ and served like a sandwich.
Musakhan is a chicken based dish with sumac seasoned onions and olive oil. It is served with thin bread to scoop the meat and onions.
Vaccinations and Health
There are no required vaccinations to visit Jordan. However there is a list of recommended immunizations to have before visiting. The list from WHO includes hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis). Check with your national health office for current information.
Amman and other cities in Jordan have modern hospitals and good health care. I had to take my son to a doctor in Jordan as he picked up a parasite and it cost me USD12 to see a doctor and a few dollars for a prescription.
Most hospital visits are due to vehicle accidents so ensure you wear your seat belt in any vehicle you are in.
Practice good hygiene such as hand washing before eating and drink filtered water.
Wifi and SIM Cards
Almost all hotels have wifi at least in the looby. Most have wifi in the rooms as well. More and more cafe’s and restaurants have wifi available as well.
If you are looking for a SIM card while you are in Jordan, you can get one before you leave the airport. Zain and Orange are the major carriers in Jordan and a decent talk / text / data plan is only JD8 about USD11 (after buying a SIM card JD10 about USD14).
Ensure you have an unlocked cell phone if you want to use a local SIM card in Jordan. I found it useful to have google maps and the option to stay connected with home (my kids also liked playing PokemonGO in Petra!)
Cash, ATMs and Credit Cards
Jordan is very much a cash based society with only major hotels and gift shops taking VISA and MasterCard. However ATMs are widely available and there are plenty of money exchange places in Amman and beyond. Major hotels will also exchange major currencies (USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD) but check in advance as some do not always have enough cash on hand.
You do not need to obtain cash before arrival. There are ATMs in the airport if you are arriving into Queen Alia International Airport right before you get to Immigration! I always get some cash there.
Check with your bank about using your card overseas as some banks charge per ATM withdrawal.
A note about using credit cards. It is becoming more and more common for credit card machines to offer you the option to pay in your home currency. Although it will show you exactly how much you will be charged, I highly suggest that you do not select this option. On the bottom of the receipt it will declare that the merchant machine is taking a commission amount for allowing you to pay in your home currency. It is often over 5%. Most credit cards will only take 1% and some even have no foreign currency transaction fees.
Every time that I have checked my statement after paying in the local currency it has been less than the amount that the credit card terminal had wanted me to pay if I chose my home currency option.
Jordan with Kids
Jordan is very welcoming to children and most restaurants will go out of their way to find something your kids will like! Because so much food in Jordan is real food, I find it easy to find things they will eat. Whether it is chicken out of a shwarma sandwich or French fries on the side, I have easily been able to find things for the kids to eat.
Jordanians love children and will likely talk directly to them. If you have shy children, they are usually not pushy compared to other cultures. Just prep your kids for adults talking to them or even offering them treats.
The landscape of Jordan is the perfect playground for children. Whether it is running down sand dunes in Wadi Rum, tracing the steps of the Nabateans in Petra, camel riding, seeing bedouin life with a herd of goats or snorkeling at the Red Sea there is so much for children of all ages to explore.
There are a lot of play areas in Jordan to break up the adventure and culture. There are also many hotels with pools. It does not always have to be about the big things. We love spending an hour on a playground or riding go karts! I have a list of the best things to do in Amman with kids for when you are looking for a break for your little ones!
Hotels / Hostels / AirBNB
Jordan has hotels for all budgets. There are plenty of luxurious places to stay as well as unique accommodation ideas. One of my favorites is Feynan Ecolodge.
Movenpick Petra offers guests visiting Petra accommodation RIGHT outside the entrance to the site. Its location is ideal. If Movenpick is not in your budget, try Edom or Candles. Both are close to the entrance.
Popular Wadi Rum camps include Captains Camp and Sun City but I personally love the food and the entertainment at Rum Magic Camp.
Fill out this form to get our Ultimate Arrivals Guide and lots of information on planning a trip to Jordan!