18 tips for those who are planning to go on holiday to Jordan
What do you know about Jordan? Not a country, but a mystery to the traveler – the crowds of tourists have not yet reached this eastern Kingdom. Maybe it’s time to change the painfully familiar Turkish and Egyptian routes for something new and more exclusive?
Jordan has two seas – the Red and the Dead, the “Martian” desert Wadi Rum, the ancient rock city of Petra, the pilgrimage sites of the three major religions, Roman cities, hot springs and mud baths. This is just a glimpse of what the lucky few will discover if they take a direct flight from Minsk to Aqaba, the top Jordanian resort.
The flight program to Jordan from Minsk is scheduled until November 15, 2021. In the meantime, we’ll tell you what you should know if you plan a vacation in the safest country in the Middle East. So, 18 tips from Traveling.by.
Jordan – a country where you need to go not for the beach vacation, but to combine it with excursions. In this case a good choice – a combined tour when you can rest in Aqaba, the Red Sea, and then go to the Dead Sea. Seas are separated from each other by 300 km. And along the way you will find an unforgettable night in the desert Wadi Rum, in a hotel with a panoramic view of the dunes, changing colors with the movement of the sunset and the night sky with huge stars.
2. Get ready to dive
The Red Sea is famous for its underwater views – in addition to the beautiful sea world, the cargo ship Cedar Pride, the crane barge Taiyong C486B, the ship Al Shorouk are all here for divers. Not ready to dive that deep? Then go and enjoy 25 water rides at Saraya Aqaba Waterpark, the largest water park on the Red Sea. Or at least take a boat trip with underwater portholes.
3. Experience the difference
The Red Sea – to swim, the Dead Sea – to be cured. In Jordan, there are more than 100 clinics of different specialties and most of them are located on the coast of the Dead Sea. Due to the high concentration of salt, its water is similar to an oily substance and has medicinal properties. Staying in it for a long time is not allowed, and it is worth taking care of your eyes, and after the beach thoroughly rinse under the shower. There are showers on every beach. As well as tubs with the healing mud.
4. Choose a hotel with its own beach
City beaches in Jordan can not boast of cleanliness, in addition, they are paid and should not appear in the open swimsuit. Ideal is to stay at a hotel with its own beach: clean, free, a minimum of stares from the locals.
5. Give preference to the food system HB or All inclusive/light.
Most restaurants in Jordan have separate men’s and women’s rooms, so your romantic dinners are likely to take place in the hotel. So it’s worth opting for either an all-inclusive/all-inclusive/light dining system. It is a little different from the Turkish system, where drinks are delivered in portions at a certain time.
6. Choose your Dead Sea hotel carefully
The Dead Sea is a lake with hotels on its shores. There is practically nothing else there. All the infrastructure is concentrated in the hotels themselves – medical centers, restaurants, spas, stores, entertainment. So decide in advance what you expect from recreation and treatment at the Dead Sea and, based on your expectations, choose a hotel.
7. Buy souvenirs in Aqaba.
Aqaba is a free economic zone, exempt from most taxes. So here everything is noticeably cheaper than in other regions. Including alcohol, which is on sale in Jordan.
8. Haggle, but intelligently.
Oriental bargaining in Jordan is, but not as fierce as in Egypt, for example. And in general, the local service is not as aggressive as its neighbors on the opposite shore of the Red Sea. Jordanians do not shout and do not wave their hands, haggle calmly. Behave the same way and get a discount. In addition to the market, you can bargain in stores with expensive items. For example, in jewelry stores. For the food you will not get a discount unless you buy a whole lamb or camel.
9. Exchange more money
The national currency of Jordan is the dinar. In most cases you have to pay with them, dollars are not accepted very often and very reluctantly. You can exchange currency at exchange offices, in most hotels and at the airport. Banks in Jordan work either before lunch, or with a break for lunch in three hours – closed from 12.30 to 15.30. Cards can be used at major shopping malls, hotels and train stations.
10. Plan your shopping
90% of Jordanians practice Islam, which forbids working on Friday – most stores, establishments and institutions will be closed on that day. The remaining 10% are Christian, so the rest of the facilities will be closed on Sunday.
11. be prepared for searches
At the hotel entrance, a security guard may ask you to open your purse, and in town, patrol officers will ask for identification. Don’t take it personally, these are standard security measures – Jordan is considered one of the safest countries in the Middle East and all these procedures are done for your own good.
12. Take Cover!
Jordan has no morality police, no one will force women to throw a headscarf over their heads. However, this is a rather conservative Muslim country. In the capital, Amman, your bare feet will not cause a stir, but in smaller cities they will be the center of attention and in some places they may be booed. Outside hotels, wear clothes that cover your knees, shoulders, and cleavage.
13. Take warm clothes
On vacation you will need not only long sundresses and summer pants, but also a pair of warm cardigans. The sun in the bay goes down very quickly, the temperature drops rapidly, the evening can be fresh. Especially useful warm clothes during a tour with overnight stays in the desert or night Petra – at night the temperature drops to +10.
14. Ask before you take photos.
In Jordan, it is forbidden to photograph police officers and strategic sites, and locals only with their consent.
15. Choose yellow cabs
Yellow cabs have official status and can be ordered by phone, from the hotel. Drivers do not take additional passengers along the route. White cabs are private, and their drivers will hook you up with passengers. Private cab drivers often do not speak English and can greatly exaggerate the cost of the trip if you have not negotiated the price in advance.
16. Sit in the back seat of the car
If you are a woman. The front passenger seat in a cab is for men only. It is not customary for women to sit there.
17. Watch yourself
In public places in Jordan you should not gesticulate unnecessarily – many of the gestures that we are accustomed to are considered insulting. You might cause offense by putting your foot in his direction. You’re lucky that the Jordanians are calm and well-bred people, and will politely explain all the nuances.
18. Watch out for the donkeys!
Petra is one of the Seven New Wonders of the World, an ancient rose-colored city carved into the rocks. It is Jordan’s most popular attraction and is home to some of the bravest donkey herders in the country. Even if your guide tells you about a free ride on a pack animal, its owner will still demand money for the entertainment at the end of the trip. We have warned you!
Flights to Jordan from Minsk:
- September 3, 12, 21, 30
- October 9, 18, 27
- November 6, 15
Text: Olga Stolyarova
We share the top news and special offers of tour operators. We sort out resorts, beaches, new excursions.
Inspiring a trip to Jordan and all the subtleties
We have gathered all the most important information about Jordan for independent travelers! How to get there, how much a visa costs, what to see and how to plan a route.
Russians receive a visa upon arrival at Amman airport for up to 30 days.
The passport must not be expired earlier than 6 months. This is the only condition for obtaining a visa. But it is also recommended to have a hotel reservation and a return ticket.
The cost of a single entry visa is 40 JOD (about 3.6 thousand rubles, 1 JOD = 90 rubles).
How not to pay for the visa?
- If you bought a Jordan Pass tourist card in advance and stay in the country for at least 3 nights you don’t need to pay for the visa. That said, the card pays for itself immediately if you plan to visit Petra (and you certainly do!). Price Jordan Pass with a one-day visit to Petra – 70 JOD (6.3 thousand rubles). A separate visa and Petra costs 90 JOD (8.1 thousand rubles).
- If you arrive in Aqaba, which is a free economic zone ASEZA, then you do not need a visa at all. There are some reservations: you must also leave Aqaba, spend in Jordan more than 2 nights and visit Petra.
How to get there?
There are two cities in the country to fly to – Amman (the capital) and Aqaba (a resort on the Red Sea).
Direct scheduled flights are available only between the two capitals Moscow – Amman by Royal Jordanian Airlines on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
- Connected flights
Very convenient connecting flights are offered by Turkish Airlines in Istanbul – fly from Moscow / St. Petersburg to Amman or straight to the sea to Aqaba.
The cheapest option is to fly to Jordan with low-cost airlines. The minus is that you have to choose and connect the tickets yourself. The advantage is that you can fly to Amman and leave from Aqaba, or vice versa. The basis of such a trip is Pobeda tickets from Moscow to Milan, Cologne, Memmingen, and Larnaca. And then another lowcost carrier, Ryanair, which flies to both Amman and Aqaba, will help you get there.
The route is .
The minimum program is Amman, Petra, the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum and Aqaba.
Amman surprises you with its diversity. It is the modern and at the same time the ancient capital of Jordan, a beautiful city full of contrasts.
Amman’s history goes back nine thousand years. The ancient Rabbat Ammon Citadel, which stands on Jebel Al Qalaa hill overlooking the city, is the only remnant of the city. There you will find the Temple of Hercules, the Umayyad Palace, a Byzantine church and a Roman amphitheater for 6,000 spectators.
How to get there?
From Amman’s Queen Alia Airport to the city (North Bus Station) you can easily take the Airport Express bus 45-60 minutes away. They run from 6:30 to 00:00 every half hour or hour.
Petra is a city carved into the rock over 2,000 years ago. Enter it only through the Sik – a narrow gorge that is more than a kilometer long, sandwiched between steep cliffs height of 80 m. Walking through the Siq leaves an unforgettable impression. At the end of the gorge you can see the famous Treasury, the Al Khazna Palace. And this is just the beginning! In fact, all in Petra you will find hundreds of structures carved into the pink and red rocks, as well as an amphitheater, a monastery and many other wonders.
One of the largest buildings in Petra, the Monastery, is almost 5 km from the entrance, but you have to climb stairs half way up. So think about devoting a few days to Petra. Moreover, the price of tickets is not much different. The cost for 1 day – 50 JOD (4.5 thousand rubles), 2 days – 55 JOD (5 thousand rubles), 3 days – 60 JOD (5.5 thousand rubles).
In winter Petra is open from 06:00 to 16:00, and in summer – until 18:00.
If you decide to explore Petra thoroughly, then stay in one of the hotels of Wadi Musa .
How to get there?
By car from Amman to Petra – 238 km, from Aqaba to Petra – 130 km.
By bus, Jett – journey about 3,5 hrs with departure from Amman at 06:30 and return from Petra at 16:00 in winter and 17:00 in summer.
By shuttle from Mujamaaa Janobi station from Amman. The shuttles leave as they fill up from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. That said, they only leave back from Petra until 1:00 p.m., so this is only suitable for those who intend to stay overnight in Wadi Musa.
If you stay in a hotel, there is no problem with the beach, they all have their own access to the sea. You can choose from 5-star hotels – Hilton Dead Sea Resort, Holiday Inn Resort Dead Sea, Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa, Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea, Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea, Crowne Plaza Jordan Dead Sea Resort & Spa. Or stay at a 4-star hotel – Dead Sea Spa Hotel, Grand East Hotel, Ramada Resort Dead Sea. You can get to the beaches of these hotels without being a guest, but the entrance is paid.
In addition, there is an equipped public beach Amman Beach, about 5 km from the hotel area, with swimming pools, changing rooms and showers. Entrance fee – 20 JOD (1.8 thousand rubles).
Holidays at the Dead Sea can be easily combined with a visit to the Wadi Mujib Gorge and the Hammamat Main Hot Springs.
How to get there?
From Amman it’s a short drive of about 65 km to the Dead Sea coast, which means that you’ll be there in about an hour. The drive from Aqaba to the Dead Sea of Jordan varies from 250 to 350 KM, depending upon the route taken. It is more convenient to get from Amman by public transportation.
Aqaba is Jordan’s main resort on the Red Sea. The main attractions are snorkeling and diving. The moderate climate and mild sea currents have created an ideal environment for the formation of coral reefs and a rich underwater world.
The most popular diving spots are the Cedar Pride shipwreck, Cable Reef and Japanese Gardens.
Of course, you can also just relax on the resort’s sandy beaches. Enjoy free public beaches like City Beach and South Beach. Or take advantage of one of Aqaba’s beach clubs.
5-star hotels have their own beaches. Opt for one of them: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Aqaba, Al Manara Aqaba, , Hyatt Regency Aqaba Ayla Resort, InterContinental Aqaba, Kempinski Hotel Aqaba, Oryx Aqaba, Mövenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba, Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay, Tala Bay Residences. The last two are located in Tala Bay, Jordan’s second most popular resort on the Red Sea, 14 km south of Aqaba. There you will find luxury beaches, villas, yachts, stores and everything you need for a great vacation.
How to get there?
The distance between Amman and Aqaba is just over 300 km by road. But you can take the King’s way, the road written about in the Old Testament. The road is beautiful, runs along the Dead Sea, mountain gorges and canyons, but the travel time will be much longer because of the serpentines.
There are buses a few times an hour between the cities (from tabarbour and 7th circle stations in Amman).
If you’re flying into Aqaba you can take a cab or a shuttle from the airport. The city is about 10kms away.
The desert can be mountainous! You can see that by visiting Wadi Rum, where all the famous movies “The Martian”, “Star Wars” and others were filmed. Thus, the highest point of Wadi Rum, Um Al-Dami Mountain, reaches 1830 meters.
Wadi Rum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the second most popular place in Jordan after Petra.
The entrance fee is 5 JOD (450 rubles).
The best way to travel through the desert is by jeep. You can arrange a tour in advance or find a Bedouin guide on the spot. Jeep tours have different duration – from 2 hours to several days with overnight stay. If you are traveling alone, you can join other tourists. There are many landmarks in Wadi Rum (cliffs, arches, canyons, dunes, etc.), so if you have the time, it is better to take a half-day tour.
What else can I do in Wadi Rum?
- Have lunch in the middle of the desert like a Bedouin.
- Ride a camel through the desert
- Take a hot air balloon ride
- Hike through a canyon
- Sleep under the stars
How to get there?
The desert is about 60 km from Aqaba, so it will take you less than an hour by car. But keep in mind that you will not be able to drive through the desert itself.
There are buses from Aqaba and Petra to Wadi Rum and cabs are also available.
You can also visit the historic towns of Jerash and Ajlun in the north and the holy sites of Mount Nebo, Bethany beyond Jordan, and Madaba.
If you want to travel around Jordan by public transportation, we advise you to stop in Amman and from there do one or two day trips to Petra, the Dead Sea, Madaba and Mount Nebo, Jerash and Ajlun. End your trip with a beach holiday in Aqaba and a day trip to Wadi Rum.
If you plan to rent a car then plan according to your preference and stop overnight along your route. Jordan has both global rental companies and local . You can rent a car with a Russian license that is more than 1 year old.
Season. Jordan is a year-round destination. The most comfortable time to relax by the sea and for walks is from September to December and from March to June.
Money. The Jordanian national currency is a Jordanian dinar, JOD, which is roughly equal to 90 rubles. You can pay with bank cards, but cash is also useful in small shops, markets and other places.
Rules. Do not forget that Jordan is a Muslim country, so do not dress too provocatively outside the tourist areas. Girls are better to cover the legs to the knees, shoulders and cleavage area. Alcoholic beverages can be found in bars and hotels, as well as in specialty stores.
Mentality. You have no idea how hospitable and helpful Jordanians are. You can always ask any passerby for directions or advice and they will be happy to help you!
Language. The official language is Arabic but English is widely spoken. In addition, Jordanians speak French and German quite well and in popular areas you may even hear Russian.
Safety. Jordan is one of the safest countries in the Middle East, so there is nothing to be afraid of.