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.

Skyscanner offers cheap rates and you can even turn on a price alert for the same. Book using this link

You can download the Skyscanner app. Links below:

IOS app Download

Android App Download

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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.

 

 

NORTH GOA: YOUR QUICK & EASY GUIDE IN TO THE HEART OF INDIA’S PARTY CAPITAL PLUS AN ITINERARY

Pic above – Calangute and Baga stretch 

WHY GO TO GOA NORTH? Goa is the smallest state of India. Yet every few kilometers the character of this beautiful land changes. There are quieter havens in Goa but North Goa has retained the undisputed status of ‘Party capital of India’ where the only time people sleep is in the afternoon, for their mandatory ‘susegad’ (Afternoon nap). North Goa is the most popular Goan retreat especially for the first timers and for those whose idea of a great time is dancing away to loud music at a shack by the beach at 3 a.m.

As a child growing up in nondescript small towns of mofussil India, Goa was the stuff my fantasies were woven of. Adulthood came with financial freedom and opportunities to turn fantasies into reality. After I landed up a job in Mumbai, access to Goa has been a cushy perk. Many of my friends from Pune find it easy to go to Goa too. The flights on this route are cheap. Thanks to good air connectivity, it takes very little time to reach Goa from Pune or Mumbai.  No wonder, I made 8 trips to different parts of Goa in a span of 6 years discovering different aspects of the most unique Indian state. It certainly boosts my ego when Hotel owners, vehicle rental owners and restaurant waiters recognize me and wave at me even if I visit the place after a gap of 1 year!

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Sunrise at Baga Beach

HANGING OUT AT BAGA BEACH:

Baga Beach has the liveliest shacks and offers an amazing variety of international cuisines. Facing the swim friendly beach, the shacks are operational till the wee hours. There’s a lot you can do at Baga beach. Get a tattoo(Permanent/temporary) done, try the many water sports, shop for knick knacks, swim in crystal clear waters, read a book, work on your tan, make new friends, binge on lip smacking food, get drunk (How can you not!), indulge in karaoke night or impress your better half with a late night al fresco candle light dinner often accompanied by live acrobats and breezy air. Baga and Calangute beaches are efficiently patrolled by baywatchers and rescue workers.

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Para sailing at Baga-Calangute stretch

IDEAL FOR A WALK: CALANGUTE BEACH 

Calangute beach is the sister beach of Baga. You will not even realize when Baga ends and Calangute starts. Yet it’s easy to differentiate both beaches at their tail ends. Calangute is as good as Baga beach but a bit more crowded. Rest, it offers everything which Baga does. A leisurely sunset walk by the beach from Baga’s tail end to Calangute’s is rejuvenating.

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Pasta at Anjuna Beach

THE SECRETS OF ANJUNA BEACH:

The scenic Anjuna beach is an easy 6 kms (3.5 miles), 15 minutes ride away from Baga and Calangute beach. Anjunais better known for its parties, picturesque beaches guarded by hills and lastly for its Wednesday flea market. A sunset dinner at the sea facing restaurant at the hill top completes the Anjuna trip.

SOME COOL, ECONOMICAL AND STRATEGICALLY LOCATED STAY OPTIONS

Luxury 

Estrela do mar beach resort : Conveniently located at KhobraVaddo, Calangute, it is just 1 kilometer away from Baga Beach and 500 metres away from Our Lady of Piety Chapel. Most places of attractions are at walking distance from here. It is just 41 km (approx.) away from Goa International Airport and 50 km (approx.) from Margao Railway Station. It boasts of a variety of rooms such as beach cottage, swiss cottages, standard, luxury, executive, family. Rooms are air conditioned and stocked with tea/coffee maker, mini bar, color television, safe, and telephone. What’s more, you can also expect live performances. Think banjo, tabla, guitar, sitar, Rajasthani folk dance, Goan dance, movies, DJ nights, the works! Address – KhobraVaddo, Calangute, Bardez Goa – 403516, Goa.

Budget 

Hacienda Hotel : What attracts me here time and again is the very warm owners, no nonsense accommodation, amazing proximity to all places of attractions and reasonable tariffs. It also has a cozy garden, ideal for breakfasts and lazy book readings. You can return to the room at any time, even at 3 a.m. On the flipside, the restaurant menu is very limited but you don’t mind since most of the pubs, restaurants, discos, bars and beaches are hardly 5-10 minutes walk from the hotel. Its run by Mrs.Lobo, her husband and her son. They make a great host and will even guide you around without you asking for it! That said, be warned it is not a luxury property.

Contact :Bardez, Baga Beach Road, Calangute, Goa, India . Phone : 0832 227 7348

Shelsta Hotel at Calangute is another of North Goa’s affordable hotels. The rooms are cozy, comfortable and you have the option of AC and non AC rooms. The location is its best advantage as its walking distance from all the major attractions. Owner Ms. Sheila is an ever smiling helpful host

Contact : C/o Subway, Cobravaddo, Calangute-Baga Road, Bardez, Goa, Calangute, GA, India.

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GO SLURRP HAPPY IN GOA:

Brittos: Brittos remains the most popular shack on Baga stretch. Often frequented by Indian celebrities, it is known for its sea food and an upbeat vibe. Though a bit pricier than its counterparts, a visit is a must to Baga’s most popular shack. Despite the fact that it’s the largest shack at Baga, it can often become difficult to get a table here. For vegans, salads and some basic pasta, pizzas save the day.

Shree Sagar, Calangute, Goa. : If you are craving for some Indian food or are on a shoestring budget, then Shree Sagar on the main Baga-Calangute road is your ideal find. Not only the food is good and hygienic but it’s one of the cheapest restaurants you will find in the location. A breakfast of South Indian Idli/Dosa/Utthapa is a must. It’s also good for North Indian cuisine. The seating is comfortable but don’t expect much of an ambience.

Infantaria : It’s easy to miss this gem of a restaurant on Baga-Calangute road. But the owner has ensured you take notice with their huge “ALL DAY DINING” banner. It’s great for Italian food but the lesser popular Goan dishes will leave you asking for more. You can round off a sumptuous meal with Goan dessert Bebinca and few glasses of Feni, the local liquor.

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Nice Pasta and Goan food at Infantria

THINGS TO CARRY: Goa is a backpacker’s delight. All you need to carry is few clothes, flip flops, a camera, sun block and an open mind.

HOW TO REACH GOA: Many cheap flights run to Goa from Pune and Mumbai. Thanks to the geographical advantage, one can fly to Goa from Pune and Mumbai on a whim. There have been many instances where I have just showed up in Goa in one day’s notice,sans any planning.

GETTING AROUND WITHIN GOA: Cheapest (but time consuming) way to reach Baga is taking a bus. Taxis are expensive. Best way is hire and self drive a scooter (Honda Activa available for as low as Rs.200/day), Royal Enfields, open jeeps, cars. Not only are they economical, they give you the liberty of enjoying the Goan streets at your own pace and whims. They are easily available at road sides and rentals are always negotiable.

MONEY AND TIPPING: Thanks to the huge foreign footfalls, it’s easy to exchange foreign currency in Goa. ATMs are commonplace too. A 10% Tipping is highly appreciable since the waiting staff at most Goan restaurants are attentive, quick, cheerful and friendly.

PLAY SAFE: Goa is largely safe. I have often loitered around Goan streets and beaches as late as 3 a.m. To 4 a.m. without losing my money or limbs. Still some stray cases of rapes and drug trafficking is reported every few years. Stay away from pimps, dubious drug paddlers. Roaming in group late night shall see you through. Be wary of touts approaching at you promising wild parties and Russian dancers.

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My parents at Anjuna. Lunch is scenic here!

A 3 DAY ITINERARY

DAY 1– Reach Estrela do mar beach resort, relax. Hit Baga and Calangute beaches. Take it easy the first day as most places of attraction can be covered on foot. Walk and explore the nearby area maybe shopping on the way from road side vendors. Indulge in lunch and dinner on one of the sea facing shacks. Take a bare foot walk by the beach from Baga to Calangute. Don’t hire a vehicle yet but check and negotiate vehicle rental rates for next day. Check out party scene in Tito n Mambo, the discos, walking distance away.

DAY 2– Get wet in the beaches. Go food hopping or pub crawling. Indulge in water sports. Get drunk. Have a susegad (afternoon nap). Wake up. Repeat! Stay till late night on Baga/Calangute beach.

DAY 3 – Time to get sober and a bit romantic! Experience sunrise at Baga/Calangute beaches. Have lunch/evening snacks at Anjuna Beach. Return and stay till late night on Calangute beach, indulging in a more sober al fresco candle light dinner. A must!

Tip – You can also visit Alorna Fort, Amthane Dam and Ancestral Goa Museum

The view from my #SoulWindow is upbeat!

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Anjuna Beach

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Got any question/comments, ask in the comment section below so that it can benefit other readers.

Email me for collaboration : abhinav21@yahoo.com

Be a part of my journey on social media. The travel content I create there is different from this blog.

Pls subscribe/follow/like:

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Facebook

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.