Jordan is a small country, but offers a wide range of landscapes and travel experiences. The Jordanian people are in general welcoming and hospitable. The territory of present-day Jordan was originally inhabited by numerous civilizations like the Nabataeans, Romans, Greeks, Assyrians, Crusaders, Mamluks and Ottoman Turks. Their marks can be seen in ancient ruins and architecture. In May 1946 Transjordan became independent from the British Mandate. 4 years later is was renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In 1953 Hussein Ibn Talal became king until his death in 1999. His son King Abdullah II rules since then the parliamentary monarchy. The country has an estimated population of 10 million; the capital is Amman. Official language is Arabic, English is widely spoken. The time zone is GMT+2 and in summer GMT+3.
Jordan shares borders with Israel, the West Bank, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The Dead Sea is with 420 meters below sea level the lowest point on earth; the highest point in Jordan is Jabal Umm Al Dami in Wadi Rum with 1,854 meters. A narrow access to the Red Sea in the south exists through Aqaba. The three main areas are the Jordan Valley, the Mountain Heights Plateau and the Eastern desert. You find here a wide range of environments, deserts, mountains, fertile valleys and a small coastline.
Best Time to Visit
Most pleasant time to travel is in spring (mid March to May) and autumn (September to November). Summer is dry with a Mediterranean climate. But it can be very warm at the Dead Sea, in Wadi Rum and Aqaba. In turn, Dead Sea and Aqaba offer pleasant stays in winter time. In the rest of the country weather is cool with occasional rain, in areas on high altitudes like Dana and Petra snowfall might occur. Jordan celebrates Ramadan. You need to consider that in this period outside touristic areas not all restaurants and shops are open during daylight.
Jordan is a Muslim country and the dress code is conservative. For men and women it is recommended to cover knees and shoulders, avoid tight fitting clothes and cleavage. Non-Muslims are allowed to visit the King Abdullah Mosque in Amman, women need to cover the hair when doing so. Beachwear is only accepted at hotel pools and beaches. Lightweight clothes are recommended for the period May to September. Still pack a sweater or jacket, the nights are rather cool. Warm clothes are especially recommended for mid of December until February. Please check the weather a week or two before your holiday to pack appropriately.
Health & Safety
Jordan has in general a good health care system, with the best hospitals located in Amman. Most medical professionals have been trained abroad and speak English. The tap water is not safe to drink and heavily chlorinated. Stick to bottled water and avoid ice cubes in drinks. Ensure meat and fish are well cooked, avoid raw vegetables and peel fruits. For safety information please check the advisory of your government.
Currency and Money
The currency is the Jordanian Dinar, abbreviation is JOD or JD. Notes are available in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 JD. Coins are in use for ½ and ¼ JD , 10, 5 and 1 piasters. Major credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants and larger shops. Make sure you carry some cash with you as smaller shops may not accept credit cards. ATMs can be found in most of the larger towns. In rural and remote areas like Wadi Rum have cash on hand. Foreign currencies can be exchanged easily in exchange shops or banks.
Jordan has a tipping culture. Hotels and restaurants add a surcharge that is included in bills, which is usually 10%. Rounding up bills and leaving spare change is a good idea when dining in smaller restaurants and when using taxis. Drivers and guides are expecting tips, the amount is up to the traveler.
Do not take photographs of individuals without their permission. Drones and telescopes are not permitted to bring into Jordan. It is forbidden to take pictures of military facilities and borders.
Internet can usually be accessed from hotels. Expect reduced access in villages and remote areas. For example, camps located deeper in the desert of Wadi Rum have no internet access.
Alcohol can be bought in liquor stores, most of them you find in Amman and Aqaba. Respect the local culture and do not consume alcohol in public places. Many hotels and restaurants serve alcohol, but not all though. Adults are allowed to bring one litre of alcohol into the country.
To support local economies we encourage you to visit local restaurants and wherever possible stay at locally run hotels. Do not enter homes or tents without being invited. Some areas are restricted to women only. Remove all litter when leaving a picnic site.