VISIT JORDAN: MUST NOT MISS THESE TRAVEL TIPS AND A 7 DAY ITINERARY!

Jordan Overview

Located in West Asia, Jordan is bordered by Syria to the north, Iraq to the east, Saudi Arabia to the east and south, and Israel and Palestine to the west. Tourists can access the Red Sea through the southern port city of Aqaba. Amman, capital of Jordan is located in the northwest part of the country. While the majority of Jordan is desert, the northwest area is quite fertile and is part of the Levant region of the Fertile Crescent, which has been referred to as the “cradle of civilization”.

Etiquette Tips For Jordan:

Etiquette is very important in Jordanian culture. While Jordanians graciously tolerate behaviors from visitors that may not necessarily conform to their own standards of etiquette, you can show respect for Jordanian customs by following a few basic rules:

  • Stand when someone important, or another guest, enters the room.
  • Shake hands with everyone, but only with a Jordanian woman if she offers her hand first.
  • Don’t engage in any conversation about sensitive or personal topics unless you know the person you’re talking to well.
  • Most women don’t like to be clicked. Ask permission or avoid altogether.
  • Remove your shoes when visiting a mosque or a private house (unless you’re specifically told to keep them on).
  • Never interrupt someone praying.

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What to wear in Jordan:

I found Jordan to be a liberal country. However some religious places may have clothes restrictions. Here are my packing tips based upon my trip in May:

  • Smart Casuals
  • Casual trousers / jeans and T-shirts.
  • A warm but light jacket/and or a shawl for nights.
  • Walking shoes – You will be walking a lot in Jordan. Comfortable shoes are recommended. Flip Flops advised for the nights and the beach.
  • Some places like Wadi Rum are remote. It is advised that the travelers must carry basic medications along. You might waste time finding the brand you need. Worse still, you may not be able to find the same brand in Jordan.
  • Jordan is a heaven for outdoor enthusiasts. Sunscreen and Sun glasses are must!
  • It is a picture perfect location. Do carry a good camera and enough memory cards!

Pics above: Mars Like Wadi Rum was my favourite in Jordan

More Soul Window Tips for Jordan:

  • The water is safe to drink here but if you are still unsure you can buy bottled water
  • Take these things back home– Dead Sea products, Local Souvenirs, Mugs, Mosaics from Madaba, Different kinds of nuts, olives, spices to name few.
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Click to read why I ran out of Dead Sea as soon as I entered it!

Food Tips For Jordan:

Healthy food is available all over Jordan. The cooking standards are good. Most restaurants and take away outlets maintain hygiene and quality. It is a paradise for vegans as most of the mezzes and deserts are 100 % vegetarian and healthy.

Time Zone : Jordan

From the beginning of October to the end of March, Jordan is two hours ahead of Greenwich

Mean Time (GMT) and seven hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time (EST). Jordan switches to Daylight Saving Time in the summer, when it is three hours ahead of GMT between South Africa and its neighboring countries, or between the 9 provinces of South Africa.

Currency of Jordan:

The local currency is the Jordanian Dinar, commonly called JD. 1 JD = $1.41 USD (as on January 2017)

Denominations– 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 JD notes are in circulation. The Dinar is equal to 100 piasters (pronounced “peeaster”) of 1,000 fils. The piaster is the unit most commonly used. If you see prices written as 4,750, it means the price is 4.75JD. Currency can be exchanged at major banks, exchange agencies, and most hotels. Indians can withdraw JD at ATMs with their Indian Debit cards. My advice: Withdraw whatever amount you want to withdraw in Amman. It has more numbers of ATMs.

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Aqaba : The only coastal city of Jordan which borders Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel!

Best Time To Go To Jordan:

Jordan boasts almost year-round sunshine with temperate weather.

  • The Spring and Fall seasons: Mild and temperatures range from 60-70°F/15-21°C, with rain being more common in the Spring.
  • Summers are sunny with temperatures averaging 90°F/32°C in the day with cool evenings.
  • July and August are the sunniest and driest months of the year, especially in Amman and the Jordan Valley. In the desert areas, temperatures can reach 100°F/38°C.
  • The winter months from November to April can be cold, but snow is rare. Aqaba is an especially pleasant wintertime resort with the colder temperatures staying in the north. About 75%of the country can be described as having a moderate climate with very little annual rainfall.

I went in May. It was a pleasant time to be in Jordan. The days were breezy and conducive to walking. The nights were cooler (Just a shawl or light sweater is fine). Below is a lowdown on what weather is like in May in Jordan:

– Amman – 26°C – 32°C

– Petra – 22° – 26°C

– Aqaba – 31° – 35°C

– Dead Sea – 23° – 26°C

– Wadi Rum- 26° – 30°C

Average temperatures in Jordan by season:

Month Lowest Highest

January 40°F/5°C 60°F/15°C

April 54°F/12°C 77°F/25°C

July 66°F/19°C 97°F/36°C

October 55°F/13°C 84°F/28°C

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Amman Citadel : Click the link to read why this place is the cradle of civilizations.

Immunizations advice for Jordan:

 No vaccinations are required to enter Jordan, although preventive shots for hepatitis, polio, tetanus, and typhoid are recommended. Travelers with personal health issues should consult their physicians before traveling. Medications should be carried in hand luggage along with passport, tickets, money, and other important belongings. Carry a small carry-on case with change and other essential for the layover in Sharjah. Don’t check this piece in.

Electric Outlets available in Jordan:

The electrical system in Jordan is based on 220 AC volts/50 cycles and requires two-pronged wall plugs, similar to ones found in parts of Europe.

Religion in Jordan:

The main religion in Jordan is Islam with 92% of the population being Muslim, but all religions are free to practice. 6% of the population is Christian, with the remaining 2% being a mix of other religions including Druze and Baha’i.

Smoking advice for Jordan:

Smoking is much more common in Jordan than in Europe or the United States, and smoke-free accommodation is relatively unusual (with the exception of larger hotels). Smoking the traditional water pipe or nargileh, also known as hubbly bubbly, is an interesting experience that visitors can try in any coffeehouse and many restaurants. The tobacco flavor is mild and mostly fruit-flavored. Most restaurants have smoking and non smoking areas. When smoking on road, pls drop the ash tray attached to the poles (Yes, it is for real!)

Tipping Tips for Jordan:

As a tourism based economy, Tipping is always appreciated. A 10% service charge is often added in hotels and restaurants, and extra tips are discretionary. In restaurants, for example, tipping an extra dinar for breakfast and two extra dinars for lunch and dinner is customary.

In general, you should plan to tip guides, drivers, and anyone else who performs a service for you in the amount you deem appropriate for the service rendered. Having small bills on hand makes tipping more convenient.

How To Reach: Air Arabia runs economic yet comfortable flights from India via U.A.E. Check my review of Air Arabia Flight.

TURKEY VISA REQUIREMENTSimg_3602

The view from the Amman Citadel in Jordan

Below is a 7 day itinerary for Jordan. It is more suitable for luxury but adaptable for budget too:

DAY 1

  • Arrive at Q.A.I. Airport on Air Arabia
  • Check in at hotel in Amman Crowne Plaza Amman Hotel
  • Lunch inside the hotel Al Halabi Restaurant
  • Visit the site of Jerash
  • Visit Citadel
  • Visit Down Town Local Markets
  • Rainbow Street
  • Dinner Sufra Restaurant
  • Overnight Crowne Plaza Amman Hotel

DAY 2

  • Visit Royal Automobile in the morning
  • Carry Shawerma & Falafel as take away lunch
  • Drive down South to Petra
  • 5:30 PM Early dinner with cooking class Petra Kitchen Rest.
  • 8:30 PM Petra by night event
  • Overnight Petra Guest House Hotel

DAY 3

  • Half day visit to the site of Petra
  • Lunch at Al Qantarah Restaurant near Petra
  • Visit Little Petra
  • Afternoon Drive to Wadi Rum
  • Jeep tour in the desert. Visit the sun set point.
  • Overnight Dinner and music program at Al Captain Camp

DAY 4

  • Morning drive to Aqaba
  • Lunch cruise with Yasmina Boat
  • Check in Moevenpick Resort &Residences Aqaba
  • Dinner Royal Yacht Club
  • Shopping in the streets near the hotel
  • Overnight Moevenpick Resort & residences Aqaba

DAY 5

  • Morning drive from Aqaba to Dead Sea
  • Check in Jordan Valley Marriott
  • Lunch in the in house restaurant
  • Time at Leisure
  • Floating in Dead Sea
  • Dinner inside hotel Italian Restaurant
  • Overnight Jordan Valley Marriott Resort & Spa

DAY 6

  • Visit Baptism Site
  • Visit Mount Nebo
  • Lunch at Haret Jdoudna, Madaba
  • Continue the trip to visit Evason Mai’n Hot Springs
  • Time at Leisure
  • Dinner & overnight Evason Mai’n Hot Springs

DAY 7

  • Transfer to Q.A.I. Airport to depart

Jordan Tourism Details:

VISIT JORDAN WEBSITE

E-mail: info@visitjordan.com

P.O.Box 830688 Amman 11183 – Jordan Tel. (962 6) 5678294 Fax (962 6) 5678295

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Petra at Night is magical: Please click the link to read how it feels there at night. And of course for exclusive pictures!

YOU WILL LOVE READING THESE BLOGS ON JORDAN (EXCLUSIVE PICS AND TEXT):

DEAD SEA: WHY I RAN OUT SCREAMING AS SOON AS I ENTERED THE DEAD SEA

PETRA: THE SECRET OF THE CITY OF DEAD REVEALED

PETRA IN NIGHT: IS IT WORTH IT (EXCLUSIVE PICTURES)

AQABA- THE ONLY COASTAL CITY OF JORDAN WHICH BORDERS EGYPT, ISRAEL AND SAUDI ARABIA

WADI RUM- MARS ON EARTH?

AMMAN CITADEL- THE CONTINUALLY HABITATED WALLED CITY

Mövenpick Resort and Residences, Aqaba- The Ultimate Luxury Experience in Aqaba!

AIR ARABIA- HOW TO TRAVEL TO JORDAN ON A BUDGET AND IN STYLE

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Click on the link to know all that you wanted to know about Petra – a UNESCO World heritage site and one of the 7 wonders of the world.

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NOTE: I was invited by Jordan Tourism Board to Jordan on a Press Trip

WARNING: COPYRIGHT TO ALL THE IMAGES AND TEXT HERE REMAINS WITH ME. YOU CAN NOT JUST LIFT THE CONTENT AND USE IT WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. STRICT LEGAL ACTION WILL BE TAKEN IF CONTENT IS STOLEN. YES, I AM SERIOUS.

 

15 Reasons Why Jordan Should Be Your Next Destination!

A childhood friend Mitali recently asked me for suggestions for a foreign destination for her brother’s honeymoon. I got usual suspects when I asked her which destinations have already been zeroed in on. I suggested to her that for the same budget you will get more value and variety in Jordan. She asked me details and here they are, for her and for other discerning honeymooners or any travelers rather:

1 – VIBRANT CITY LIFE

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The vibrant Rainbow Street at Amman

The cities of Jordan are lively. While the ancient ruins of capital Amman co exists with its more modern counterparts, the port city of Aqaba exudes a charm of its own. I enjoyed walking through the streets of city of Amman with my eyes peeled constantly. The streets of Madaba oozes old world, small town charm. The amenities are good, roads clean and people have a great civic sense. A co traveler Kaushal even showed me ash trays attached to street poles.

2 – VARYING LANDSCAPES

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Me at a siq which leads to Treasury, Petra (This pic and featured image by : Arka Das )

Almost every day, I saw a new landscape in Jordan. While Amman was more about buildings, old and new, Petra had other worldly canyons and mountains. Wadi Rum gave me the illusion of being on Mars, Aqaba had crystal clear blue waters. Dead Sea was surrounded with salt deposits and the next stop Madaba and Mount Nebo had dry, arid landscapes. Wait, there is a secluded Hot Spring too! All these destinations are within few hours of driving distance from each other!

3 – BORDER JUNKIE PARADISE

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Spot the Israeli Flag! This is Israel side we could not cross. The water in foreground belongs to Jordan though!

I am a border junkie. I love to be around borders even if I can’t cross it. During a cruise on the very blue ‘red sea’ (in Aqaba), the attendant pointed out Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Palestine to me. This meant I could see 4 countries from my cruise none of which I could cross. Later also I came across many places which gave me a glimpse of other country without entering it. Most memorable moment  was seeing the Israel side up, close and personal at the Baptism Site.

4 – MARS ON EARTH, ANYONE?

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Me at Wadi Rum (Shot by : Arnab Maity)

Wadi Rum was my personal favorite of all the places I visited. I climbed up a high rock only to be rendered speechless. I watched in wonder as the sun cast its orange glow on Mars like landscape dotted with massive rock formations on sand. I am not going to forget what I saw, in a lifetime.

6 – ROAD TRIP FRIENDLY

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We took this path to reach Mount Nebo, the important biblical site

The roads in Jordan are baby bottom smooth. Most of the important places and cities are within a few hours distance. One can reach the Capital city Amman in 4 hours from anywhere in Jordan. Got the drift, eh?

6 – One of the 7 Modern Wonders Of The World!

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The Treasury, Petra and its caretakers!

You sure want to see all the 7 modern wonders of the world. Jordan houses Petra ruins (which includes The Treasury, Monastery, and Little Petra ). For some extra bucks you can also see Petra by night. On every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, the treasury is lit with hundreds of paper lanterns at its base.

7 – JAW DROPPING HISTORY AND ANCIENT ARCHITECHTURE

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The ancient ruins of Citadel. behind is the city of Amman perched on hills!

Everywhere you go in Petra you will see a mix of architecture styles and history so ancient, it will make your jaws drop. From Nabatean to Roman and Greek, you will see many influences on the architecture of Jordan. It’s an intriguing mix of western and eastern sensibilities. The many historical sites still standing tall after being exposed to the elements for thousands of years. They speak volumes about its culturally rich past.

8 – AMAZING PEOPLE

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A local woman making mural art pieces at Madaba

The people are friendly, cheerful and very welcoming. I have been offered help by random people on the road. The help always came with a smile. Perhaps, what helped further was that most were Bollywood fans and they made out that I was an Indian. Be it sitting with a Bedouin (a nomadic tribe) over a cuppa in his tent or interacting with a random person, each experience was friendly. It is also a very safe country to visit.

9 – MUSIC THAT STAYS WITH YOU

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He sung Arabic tunes in the ruins of Petra, adding atmosphere to it!

My mind still keeps racing back to the evening spent in the desert of Wadi Rum. It was made memorable with live music by a visually impaired magician, err, musician who played ‘Oud’ with aplomb. Next was belly dancing in the lap of luxury at Jordan Valley, Marriott near dead sea. And then there were Bedouins (Nomadic tribes) who would break in to a song and dance in the ruins of Petra, Little Petra, Jerash. These music experiences were the highlights of my trips.

10 – LUXURIOUS HOTELS, RESORTS AND SPAS

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View of Red Sea from Movenpick Resort. And oh that’s a jacuzzi above the road!

There is no dearth of luxurious stay options in Jordan. My favourite picks are the stay at the simple Evason mai’n Hot Springs done in earthy tones and Movenpick Resort and residences, Aqaba, thanks to its inimitable staff and the sweeping views of Red Sea from here.

11 – ART GALORE

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Mural wall pieces at Madaba!

Jordan is full of art. Most noticeable is the ubiquitous bottle filled with colorful sand. It is no ordinary bottle, the artist will write your name in sand through a meticulous process. The background will almost always be a camel against a setting sun. Then there is the centuries old tradition of mosaic paintings and wall hangings. These are the highlights, though the list is longer.

12 – FOLLOW THE BIBLE TRAIL

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Al Maghtas, Jesus was baptized here!

Did you know Jordan boasts of one of the most important Biblical sites? I didn’t know until I reached here. Al Maghtas, the site where Jesus was baptized is in Jordan, near the border of Israel. People from across the world come here to get baptized even today. Mount Nebo is another important site where Moses had a view of the Promised Land

13 – RED SEA TO DEAD SEA

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Me aboard a cruise on Red Sea, Aqaba. (Pic : Stuti Shrimali)

The seas of Jordan offer variety. While Red Sea had one of the bluest water I have ever seen, Dead Sea not only is visually stunning but also lets you float on water due to its high salt levels. I had a great time cruising over Red Sea and cheering my co travelers as they plunged in water for a snorkeling session or just a swim. Why did I not jump? Simply because the food cooked on board was too delicious!

14 – VEGETARIAN FOOD HEAVEN

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Mutabel with chilli paste; who needs non vegetarian food?

I am a vegetarian and sometimes dread going to foreign shores because you know why? It’s very easy in Jordan to remain a vegetarian, even a vegan! The mezzes like baba ganoush, mutable, hummus etc are not only vegetarian but are high on nutrition and low on calories. The breads are delicious, especially those topped with zattar powder. The deserts are sinfully delicious. I even tried to replicate some back home.

15  – SHOP TILL YOU DROP!

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Arabic dolls on sale!

The view from my #SoulWIndow exceeded my expectations!

NOTE : I was invited by Jordan Tourism Board to Jordan on a Press Trip

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Dead Sea; notice the salt deposits and blue – green water!

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Me Floating at Dead Sea (Pic by : Stuti Shrimali )

AIR ARABIA : CONNECTING PEOPLE, CONNECTING CULTURES AT LOW COST!

Air Arabia 3 (1)

As a travel blogger, I enjoy experiencing different airlines. I keep my eyes peeled for what is new and unfamiliar. Traveling with Air Arabia was a smooth experience. When I learnt that my flight from Delhi (India) to Amman (Jordan) will be via Sharjah (U.A.E.), I was secretly delighted. It meant that I will get to explore 3 airports in three different countries via 4 flights. I was looking forward to the variety of experiences.

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Not tress but shapes we saw from aircraft as we approached Amman

As the air hostess welcomed us aboard Air Arabia aircraft at a sleepy 4 a.m. in Delhi, my sleep went for a toss when I found I have been allotted the front seat with extra leg space. On top of it, it was a window seat. Just the way I like it (You know how this blog was named?). I peeped out of the window to see Delhi one last time till I finish my brief romance with the beauty called Jordan.

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Bin and Mohamed took good care of us!

Bathed in yellow lights, Delhi looked so close yet so far. Many migrants from India work in the Middle East, either temporarily or permanently. I realized, this must also be their last sight of India before they returned after spending 1-5 years or more in a foreign land. It must have been an emotional and poignant moment for them. Whether they left India or entered! On my return flight from Amman to Sharjah to Delhi, I was amused to find it inundated with Indians, Nepalese, Bangladeshis in the aircraft. It was great for people watching and engaging in small talks with co passengers. Moments like these help you understand humanity better.

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My Co passenger was an emotional Shephali from Bangladesh. She was returning home after 3 years 🙂

Not everyone can afford to travel to far off lands on a luxurious budget. This is when Air Arabia comes as a rescue. It is a low cost flight but with all the modern facilities. I found the leg space to be really good for a budget airline. As someone who is 6 feet, 1 inch tall, I often end up struggling for leg space. However, on later flights (When I did not have the benefit of extra leg space) I still found it easy to make my way through the passengers in middle seat for those loo breaks.

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The scenes from window seat as we approached Sharjah!

I particularly liked the automated screens which displayed safety instructions by kids. The screen would unfold and fold automatically at the start of the flight. It was followed by an Arabic prayer for the well being of the passengers.

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Bin serving fajita packets to Shefali

I found the staff to be courteous, cheerful and attentive. Their prompt responses completed my Air Arabia experience. I was happy to know their staff could converse in English, Hindi, Arabic and even Korean. On one of our flights, the attendant happened to be Enis Bouyahia. Enis is the ‘face of Air Arabia’ and one can see his face on the posters in cities like Dubai. You can follow him on instagram at @enisbouyahia

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Enis the face of Air Arabia ; Nawras, the informative in flight magazine.

Coming to food, I liked the Veg Biryani which was accompanied with a delicious Raita, Gulab Jamun and fruit juice. Vegetable fajita was okayish though filling. However Paneer Masala would have been better with a little less salt in it. The flavoured tea was good. However, Masala Dosa can be scrapped off the menu. It is one dish which should always be served fresh off the griddle. It is a wrong choice for aircraft food.

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Amman airport : Interiors

Good news is that Sharjah, Amman, Alexandria, Casablanca, Ras Al Khaimah are the 5 hubs Air Arabia flies to and they have a total of 44 airbus (A320s). They fly to more than 100 airports and from 13 cities in India. And did I forget to tell you, they are low cost! I feel it’s great for those who want to travel on foreign shores for work or for pleasure. It caters to both sectors.  I was already dreaming of flying to exotic cities like Casablanca and Alexandria with Air Arabia.

YOU WILL LOVE READING THESE BLOGS ON JORDAN:

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Amman airport : Exteriors

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WARNING : COPYRIGHT TO ALL THE IMAGES AND TEXT HERE REMAINS WITH ME. YOU CAN NOT JUST LIFT THE CONTENT AND USE IT WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. STRICT LEGAL ACTION WILL BE TAKEN IF CONTENT IS STOLEN. YES, I AM SERIOUS.

Disclaimer : My flights were sponsored by Air Arabia in association with Jordan Tourism Board. I was invited by both for a Press Trip