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Jordan Guide & Travel Advice

Getting there

There are daily direct services from the UK to Jordan with British Airways and Royal Jordanian. Emirates, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, Oman Air and Air France all offer connecting flights to Amman via their respective hubs.

Flying times from UK

Direct flights from UK to Amman take approximately 7 hours.

Time zone

Jordan is +2 hours ahead of GMT.

Visa requirements

A visa is required to enter Jordan and you can obtain a single entry visa, valid for one month, on arrival. Multiple entry visas need to be obtained prior to travel from the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in London.

Do's and don'ts

Dress in a conservative fashion when in public areas and ensure arms and legs are covered if visiting mosques or other religious sites.

Being kissed on the cheeks is a traditional greeting in Jordan.

Ask permission before taking photographs in public places – especially if women are in the shot. Some people may not mind but others may say no.

Drinking alcohol in public taboo although it is available in hotels and restaurants.

Money

Jordan's currency is the dinar (JD). One dinar is made up of 1,000 fils, or 100 piastres. Coins come in denominations of one, five, 10, 25 and 50 piastres. Notes come in denominations of one, five, 10, 20 and 50 dinars. Although Jordan is primarily a cash society, and money will be needed when shopping in bazaars, reliable ATM machines are found throughout the country and all major credit cards are widely accepted.

Tipping

When dining out, tips of 10% are expected in restaurants, although often, the service charge is already included in the bill. With taxis it is expected that customers will round up their bill to the nearest 250 fils or hand back the loose change. A guideline for tipping your drivers and guides will be advised prior to travel.

Food and drink

Jordanian cuisine has many characteristics of Middle Eastern cooking but with a distinct twist due to the inclusion of freshly-made, local cheese and yoghurt in many dishes. Popular vegetables in many recipes are chickpeas, aubergines, beans and lentils. The staple diet is generally based on rice and flat Arabic bread, known as khoubs. Jordan’s speciality is the Bedouin feast, mansaf, consisting of boiled lamb or mutton on a bed of rice, with pine nuts and a creamy sauce of goat's milk yogurt. Fresh fruit usually rounds off a meal, although Arabic desserts, or halawiyyat, are traditionally made of sugar, butter, syrup and honey.

Holidays, festivals and celebrations

In February the Aqaba Traditional Arts Festival is held, bringing together traditional Bedouin and other local crafts – all of which can be purchased. March sees the massive, nationwide, Mawoulid An-Nabawi celebrations in honour of the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday. In May, Independence Day celebrations are held to commemorate the treaty of 1946 when the country was formed and September is an important month to the Muslim religion, as Ramadan is observed and local people will be fasting. In October, Eid Al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan with a feast day and is a festive celebration.

Shopping

Jordan has a diversity of shops to suit all tastes. In particular, there's a variety of craft outlets selling traditional items, including the Haret Jdoudna Complex in Madaba, with its luxurious range of mosaics, textiles, ceramics and clothing, and the Jordan River Foundation shop in Amman, selling hand-loomed rugs, Palestinian-style embroidery, handbags, cushions, Dead Sea products and baskets. Jordan also has its share of malls in Amman, where visitors can choose from seven shopping centres. In Amman the gold souk is well worth visiting and on the Dead Sea beauty products can be bought.

Suggested reading

Rough Guides, Lonely Planet and Bradt all offer excellent guide books and cover the country comprehensively. Other interesting suggestions include:

‘A History of Jordan’, by Philip Robins

‘Married to a Bedouin’, Marguerite van Geldermalsen

‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom’, T.E. Lawrence

‘A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the Struggle that Shaped the Middle East’, by James Barr

‘A Leap of Faith: Memoir of an Unexpected Life’, by Her Majesty Queen Noor

‘Petra: A Traveler's Guide’, by Ann Jousiffe

‘Live From Jordan: Letters Home from my Journey through the Middle East’, by Benjamin Orbach

‘East of the Jordan: A Record of Travel’, by Selah Merrill

Health

Your doctor is the best person to advise you on staying healthy whilst abroad but current recommended vaccinations are Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Tetanus and Diphtheria. Yellow Fever is compulsory, but only if you have visited an affected Yellow Fever area within 5 days prior to your arrival. In some instances anti-malarial tablets may also be needed. For current information on health advice you may wish to visit the Medical Advisory Services for Travellers Abroad (MASTA) Web Site on www.masta.org. The NHS ‘Fit for Travel’ website (www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk) is also a useful resource.

Travel advice

For current information on Jordan the best resource is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice) which is a comprehensive resource and updated regularly. We would also recommend visiting the Safer Tourism Foundation website (https://safertourism.org.uk/) before you travel and will be happy to address any questions or concerns you may have.

Jordan Holiday Ideas

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