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.
Saudi Arabia is situated in the southwestern part of Asia, covering a significant portion of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast, Yemen to the south, and the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba to the west.
Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East and the 13th largest in the world, with an area of approximately 2,150,000 square kilometers (830,000 square miles). It boasts a population of over 34 million people, making it one of the largest countries in the Middle East. The official language is Arabic, but English is widely spoken, particularly in major tourist areas.
Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. Other major cities include Jeddah, Mecca (Makkah), Medina (Al Madinah), Dammam, Khobar, and many more. Saudi Arabia is home to numerous cultural and historical sites, including the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, which are central to Islam. The Nabatean archaeological site of Al-Hijr (Madain Salih) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as is the historic Diriyah area in Riyadh.
Best Time to Visit
Saudi Arabia’s best time to visit is summer and winter season. Both seasons have their own perks and can decide to visit according to preference. The official tourist season runs from October to March, however the best months to visit are between November and February when the weather is coldest. When it comes to summer, better discounts, no long queues but dry weather. There are multiple places that can explore and many activities to enjoy including boating, camping and hiking.
Regardless of the month or season to visit Saudi Arabia, the country offers lovely beaches, engaging cities, shopping complexes and multiple mouth-watering cuisines to savior. From sandboarding to camel safaris, there is no dearth of variety in activities to do in Saudi Arabia around the year.
Saudi Arabia is an extremely conservative country with a strict dress code.
For tourists, it is no longer compulsory to wear an abaya (except when visiting religious site) or a headscarf but it is recommended to always bring a pashmina everywhere. In any circumstances, tourist can’t be shirtless in Saudi Arabia.
For women, it is advisable to ensure legs, arms and shoulders are covered. Women are recommended to wear modest clothing and avoid wearing tight clothes that shows the shape of the body and legs. Another critical consideration while dressing for Saudi Arabia is to wear only opaque fabrics. People should not be able to see the underpants through clothes.
Men is not required to wear the customary Arabic thobe. However, one must always wear clothing that covers their shoulders and legs. Male tourists should avoid wearing narrow jeans, sleeveless shirts, or shorts in public. Men’s pants and t-shirts are casual apparels and are appropriate to wear daily in any non-formal setting. The t-shirt must not be provocative or affect public sentiment in the country and appropriate for the general public.
Health and safety
Saudi Arabia is generally a safe country, it requires careful consideration of health and safety.
Saudi Arabia has a public healthcare system, but it is advisable to have private health insurance for access to better medical facilities. Ensure to have a comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and repatriation. Check travel advisories and the latest security information from your government's travel website before your trip.
The currency of Saudi Arabia is Saudi Riyal or SAR. The Saudi Riyal is divided into 100 halala. The banknotes come in denominations of 1,5,10,20,50,100,200 and 500 riyals. The coins in denominations of 1 or 2 riyals and 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 halala.
ATMs are widely available and credit cards (Visa, Mastercard and American Express) are accepted at many retailers, restaurants, hotels, transportation providers and other businesses throughout the country.
Note that smaller shops may include a surcharge for card payments. It is best to have a cash on hand to avoid additional fees. Some businesses accept digital payment methods such as Apple Pay.
Tipping in Saudi Arabia is common. Based on the quality of service, tipping is still subject to own discretion.
For Tour Guides: In a small group, expect to tip $10 per person per day, or $5-$7 in a larger group. You should also tip the driver about $5 per day, and $2-$3 for any other person who helps out (washing the bus, errands, and others)
For Restaurants: It is expected to be between 10 – 15% for good service if there will be no service charge added to the bill. No need to tip if there is a service charge unless the service is exceptional.
For Hotels: Despite the service charge included in the bill, it is common to tip individual services. For the porter, around $1 - $2 while for the housekeeper, around $2 and can leave the tip beside the table or bed.
For Taxis: A customary tip of 10% on top of the fare.
For Spa: Tipping is much expected in high end establishments. About 10% or 2-3 Saudi Riyal is fine.
It is best to be cautious when taking photograph is Saudi Arabia. Filming or photographing government buildings, military installations, and palaces is not allowed. It is always a good idea to ask permission before taking photographs of people or sensitive locations, and to be respectful of local customs and laws.
Communications and Internet Access
The international dialing code for Saudi Arabia is +966. WiFi is widely available in cities and mobile broadband is increasing. Travelers can easily access prepaid SIM cards or buy eSIMS online to stay connected throughout their journey. Generally, tourists purchase Saudi Arabia internet packages and the common package is the Umrah Package that offers various mobile providers.
Alcohol and Smoking
Consuming alcoholic beverages and smoking is strictly prohibited in Saudi Arabia. Using or possessing alcoholic beverages is a criminal offense for non-Muslims and is penalized by law. This also applies to people who are just visiting the country. It is also not permitted to bring cigarette into the country.
Saudi Arabia has a subtropical climate characterized by dry and warm conditions. The country experience four distinct seasons.
Spring (Mid-March to Mid-June): Sprin in Saudi Arabia can be brisk, particularly in the north, where the temperature at night can drop below 15°C. The central and southern regions are warmer, averaging around 20°C after nightfall. Rainfall is at its highest during spring, particularly in the central region and in the southwest over the Aseer Mountains.
Summer (Mid-June to Mid-September): Summer signals the start of rising temperatures across most of the country. The early mornings and long evenings are more temperate, so take advantage of the warm seats to explore Saudi’s world-class scuba diving sites, or try sailing and snorkeling.
Autumn (Mid-September to Mid-December): Autumn brings gentler weather and cool breezes in both Saudi Arabia’s northern regions and the southwestern highlands. Daytime temperatures remain warm in early fall, evenings are milder and fit for outdoor strolling, especially along Jeddah’s waterfront, indulging in al-fresco dining or visiting Al Ahsa’s cool desert springs.
Winter (Mid-December to Mid-March): Take advantage of the beautiful winter weather to explore Saudi Arabia. The balmy days and cool nights are ideal for camping, rock climbing or exploring Saudi Arabia’s verdant highland and bustling cities from Riyadh to Jeddah. Visitors might be lucky enough to see snowfall in the mountains of the northern regions.
In Saudi Arabia, the standard voltage is 230V and the frequency is 60 Hz. The associated plug is type G, which is the plug that has three rectangular pins in a triangular pattern.
Hotels’ Check in / Check out time and Room Types
The general check-in time in Iran is 14:00-15:00 and check out time is 12:00. Request for early check-in and/or late check-out, depends on the availability of the hotel and it is not guaranteed. Additional charges will be made according to hotel’s rules and policies. Double room, twin bedded and single room are available to most hotels. For triple sharing, it is either double or twin room with 1 extra roll away bed or a sofa bed.
King Khalid International Airport (IATA: RUH, ICAO: OERK), also known as Riyadh Airport. It serves the city of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. It is the second largest airport in the country after Jeddah Airport.
Riyadh Airport is located 35 kilometers (22 mi) north of Riyadh. KKIA Airport was built to handle the increasing local and international air transport requirements for Riyadh. It is a hub for Saudia and Flynas. It takes 30-45 minutes from airport to the city centre.
Holidays in Saudi Arabia
Eid Al-Fitr is one of the Saudi Arabia’s biggest celebrations that takes place at the end of Ramadan. The occasion starts with a modest morning meal and prayer at the mosque and continues with larger feasts and livelier celebrations among family and friends. The significance of Eid Al-Fitr resides in the unity and appreciation that is created when people gather under one roof to celebrate this day.
Janadriyah National Festival
Janadriyah National Festival is considered to be one of the largest festivals that celebrates the country’s heritage and culture. The folk festival’s activities range from folklore art shows, poetry reciting to camel races and other cultural events and takes place for about two weeks.
The Buraidah Date Festival
The Buraidah Date Festival is an annual festival that focuses on date manufacturing, processing and byproducts such as molasses, dough, sugar, jam, and chocolate. It offers more than 30 varieties of dates. The festival takes place over a course of three months that starts in August.
Riyadh Spring Festival
The Riyadh Spring Festival is a huge event that celebrates nature and the Spring season. Thousands of people attend this festival to experience mesmerizing flower breeds. The festival focuses on showcasing colorful and fragrant ornamental plants and flowers. The celebration takes place during March for 10 days.
Sharqiah Season Festival
Sharqiah Season Festival is massive cultural festival that hosts a variety of international artists, traditional events, film screenings and sporting events. The 10-day event every March is a great way to explore and celebrate Saudi Arabia’s heritage and culture.
-Sight-seeing tours are operated and led by a local guide and/or local drivers.
-Be sensitive in discussing politics and religion. It is better to do research or some readings prior you travel in Iran.
-Always follow security warning from the authorities. Always best to carry with you your passport as ID.
-Respect local customs and traditions, such as dressing modestly, particularly for women.
-Show respect for the local culture and customs, as cultural awareness can contribute to a safer and more enjoyable trip.
-Familiarize yourself with the local laws and customs, as Saudi Arabia has strict rules, particularly concerning dress code, public behavior, and the consumption of alcohol and drugs.
-Always keep in mind that the situation in any country can change, so it's crucial to stay updated on the latest travel advisories and follow the guidance of local authorities and your embassy or consulate while in Saudi Arabia.