Note: This is meant to be the first in a series of Jordan travel advisory blogs designed to help those interested in possibly traveling to Jordan.
If you are interested in Jordan travel, stay up to date with the series. Zaman Tours is full of Jordan travel advisors who can help you plan the perfect vacation getaway so that you don’t have to worry about the difficult parts of vacation.
Planning a Middle East trip and not sure where you want to go? Been dying to experience the wonders of the Orient but always wondered how to do it in the safest, best manner?
The “Sharq Al Awsat”, the Arabic word for the Middle East, is an increasingly popular destination for tourists. So much so that 50 million tourists are expected to visit the region this year alone. Tourists travel to the Middle East because it offers an experience completely unlike any other region. It’s people are famously hospitable, its natural and man-made landmarks are a gateway to a world lost millennia in the past, and its food is some of the freshest and most mouth-watering on Planet Earth. It’s the perfect mix of history, culture, landscape, and wonder.
In this region, there’s no country that perfectly encapsulates the Middle East like Jordan – a country deeply rich in history and vastly complex in culture. It’s a country that combines everything you would dream about, from the roaring waters of Wadi Mujib to the camels roaming the still desert mountains of Wadi Rum to the amazing Roman and Nabatean ruins to the skyscrapers of Amman. It’s a country that tourists consistently return to and one that expats love to live in.
It’s the perfect tourist country and here in this article we are going to tell you exactly why. Consider this your own personal Jordan travel advisory.
1. Jordan is the perfect place to experience the things that make the Middle East so timeless
The warm hospitality of the Jordanian natives.
The gentleness and yet subtle fierceness of the Bedouin people.
The timeless and majestic wonders of the Wadi Rum desert.
The rich and magical architectural wonders of the ancient civilizations of Petra.
Jordan combines all of these, and offers a majestic and serene experience to the intrepid and adventurous traveler. Whether you’re a young explorer or a family looking for a family vacation, Jordan offers the perfect packages tailored to your individual interests.
Interested in hikes and adventures?
There’s no better place than Jordan. There are hundreds of great trails across Jordan where you can hike across valleys, mountains, deserts, and rivers. Travel to Wadi Mujib and you can follow several hikes and trails that track a flowing river situated between two canyon. Looking for a more challenging hike that will take half a day or more? The sandstone mountains of Wadi Rum offer the perfect strenuous exercise that nevertheless offers amazing scenic rewards. Love the waters? Go snorkeling and coral reef diving in the Red Sea waters of Aqaba.
Interested in relaxing and carefree nights?
Enjoy a romantic getaway in the Wadi Rum desert and spend the night under the stars. Feel the desert winds as you sleep under your blankets in your goat-hair strewn tents. Enjoy your time drinking tea with the local Bedouins. Travel to the capital city of Amman and enjoy the plentiful cafes and restaurants that offer foods of all varieties. Plenty of bars also exist across Amman, meaning it can be the perfect way to wind down an otherwise amazing day. Looking for nightlife? Plenty of live music can be found across restaurants and bars and clubs, meaning you can eat and drink to your heart’s delight while hearing a mix of English and Arabic music.
Spend your day in the Dead Sea. Enjoy floating with your friends in the salty and mineral-rich waters (it feels like you’re levitating) and then end it with pouring the Dead Sea mud all over your body, mud that’s famous for its medicinal and cleansing powers. At the end, travel back to your hotel and swim or rest besides the pool.
Interested in history and culture?
Visit the ancient ruins of Petra, the ancient capital of the Nabatean empire and a famous historic trading city between Morocco and India. It’s been inhabited for thousands of years and is scattered with old temples, stone carvings, and tombs. Once you finish with Petra, visit the 12th-century Crusader castle in Karak and another one built by Saladin’s generals in Ajloun.
Interact and learn the rugged lifestyle of the nomadic Beduin people of Wadi Rum. Here you can find a people who have lived in the desert sands for thousands of years, who appreciate the importance of maintaining natural balance and harmony and know every nook and cranny of the mountain paths. Remarkably hospitable and extremely eager to learn about foreign countries, they will treat you like one of their own.
Later on, laugh and drink and talk with the friendly Jordanians roaming around the cafes and bars of downtown Amman. Try out the water pipe “Argilla” which is a raging cultural trend in Jordan. As happens so regularly, cherish the (likely) chance to be invited into a Jordanian’s house, where they are likely to share with you famous Jordanian tea and the national dish Mansaf. Jordan’s culture is remarkable, and you will love learning not only about how your societies differ but also how much you have in common.
Jordan is a perfect microcosm of the Middle East, in no small part thanks due to its diversity. Travel to the villages and it will feel completely different than the cities. Each city, from Salt to Amman to Ajloun to Irbid also has its own unique feel and character. A day spent in Jerash will feel completely different than a weekend in Amman.
In Jordan, different identities are celebrated. Jordan’s culture and customs change as you shift from area to area. Travel to Wadi Rum and the Bedouins you meet will be living completely different lives than the urbanized residents of Jordan’s capital city of Amman. Meanwhile, villages scattered across Jordan keep strong to local traditions and customs that have been present throughout generations. This diversity distinguishes Jordan and keeps it fresh no matter where you go.
Who are Jordanians? Are you wondering are Jordanians Arabs, or are Jordanians Christians, or are they all Muslims? Well the honest truth is that you will meet people from countless religions and ethnicities. While most Jordanians are Jordan Arabs, you will find plenty of other ethnic minorities such as Kurds, Turkomans, Armenians, Circassians, and Chechens. And while most Jordanians are Muslims, there is a celebrated and active Christian community present throughout the major towns and cities. Come to Amman during Christmas time and you will find that it is oftentimes way more lively and festive than even in Europe and America!
2. Jordan is remarkably safe. It’s the safest country in the Middle East and much safer than even Western countries.
I have been living in Jordan for over a year. In all this time, I have always felt much safer here than in America. If I were to walk in Baltimore or Washington D.C or Philadelphia at night, I would always be keeping one eye behind my back. In Amman, meanwhile, I never even think twice about leaving and walking outside the house during the midnight hours. In many more “touristy” countries, it is highly recommended to always keep a hand on your wallet and an eye on your backpack (and who is behind it). While it certainly won’t hurt in Jordan, things like thefts and robbery just do not happen often.
Imagine you accidentally drop a coin or something in Jordan. In Western countries you might not stop to pick it up even if you realized you had dropped it. In Jordan, I have had people literally running up to me more times than I can count in order to inform me that I accidentally dropped a small coin or other insignificant valuable. It’s a general consensus by the expat community that Jordan (and particularly Amman) is much safer than most Western countries. Jordan safety is actually a big reason why expats choose to live here above other Arab countries. Let me share what my roommate shared with me:
Of course there are issues. Woman will still face some cat-calls, and there is the occasional albeit rare theft and burglary. But these issues are not unique to Jordan’s travel safety and instead can be found in any country. And for those worried about violence in the Middle East, Jordan is entirely bereft of terrorism and extremism. You cannot find this same level of stability in any other country in the Middle East. Bar none.
3. Jordan is not overcrowded with tourists, meaning you will be able to experience the landscape in its true authentic form.
Almost everyone loves traveling. And no one loves traveling to a place so “touristy” that it loses any sense of authentic charm. If you choose to travel to certain countries like Morocco or Egypt, you will often visit areas that are entirely built around tourism and are artificially created to sustain the tourist industry. Some cities in Morocco, like Chefchauon, are incredibly unique but have the experience diminished by the constant and often-demanding vendors trying to sell you street-ware. It’s also harder to get immersed when you see another American or European every few seconds.
Outside of Petra, you will never find that anywhere in Jordan. It is very common that the vast majority of people you interact and see are the native Jordanians instead of other tourists like you. And while you will often find vendors in the cities welcoming you into their shops, they will almost never be demanding, insisting, and distracting like in many other Arab countries.
When you experience Jordan, you will be experiencing it as the natives experience it. You will be eating real Jordanian food, interacting with real people who probably rarely have the chance to talk with foreigners, and getting the full Jordanian experience. Of course, there are plenty of other foreigners that you will meet and bond with, but this does not detract from the ability to genuinely feel as if you’re experiencing the same world that these Jordanians live in.
Despite this, don’t worry about the language barrier. Curious about what languages do Jordanians speak? If you were wondering do Jordanians speak english, rest assured that most Jordanians speak a basic enough Engilsh to be able to communicate with you about the most important things. They know important keywords that you will use as you are traveling.
There are also healthy expat communities, mainly all concentrated around Amman. If you travel to the downtown, Jabal Amman, or Jabal Al-Weibdeh, you will be able to hang and meet plenty of other foreigners and expats who are traveling and living in Jordan. These areas tend to be populated with many modern cafes and open areas.
When reading this, keep in mind that there is no “one Jordan”. Rather, it is a unique melting pot of different ethnicities, religions, languages, and histories – mixing all of these together across the countless villages, cities, and towns of the country. Each area of Jordan has its own unique character and feel, and it’s very often that tourists have completely different experiences depending on the specific adventures that they choose to take.
If you are traveling to the Middle East, Jordan is the best country you could pick. It is the peak of what the Middle East has to offer. It combines ageless wonders, serene landscapes, exhilarating adventures, a caring and compassionate people, and countless memories that you will remember for decades to come. Perhaps the greatest part about Jordan is that your adventures don’t have to end there: Egypt, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, and even Saudi Arabia are all nearby and easy to travel into. Many tourists I talk to all wish they had more time in Jordan traveling. There’s something that the country that deeply resonates with people, that calms and excites the soul, and that captures the imagination. Find out for yourself today.
What are you curious about in Jordan? Let us know!