Jordan Travel: Petra, Dana and Wadi Rum
Jordan is a small country, but it has a lot to offer. You can travel through the country with your own driver or by rental car. There are magnificent nature areas, such as the Dana Reserve and the famous Wadi Rum desert. You’ll also find Petra here, one of the seven new Wonders of the World, as well as a vast array of Islamic and Christian history. “Jordanians themselves are actually one of the highlights of every trip,” according to Elena, our Jordan travel expert. “The local people are unbelievably friendly and hospitable. Everywhere you go, you are genuinely greeted with the phrase ‘Welcome to Jordan!’. They’ll easily invite you for a cup of thee, share their food and help you however they can. A perfect Jordan travel experience.
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A Jordan travel experience
The wonder of Petra
If you want the full Jordan travel experience, there’s no doubt you’ll want to visit Petra. Make sure you plan enough time to visit this spectacular place. You’ll need at least two or three days. This way you’ll also be able to discover the less visited places and take your time exploring some areas on foot. In Petra, you’ll not only find a wealth of culture but also nature. One of the amazing journeys you can take is from Little Petra to Petra. On this route, you hike four hours with a local Bedouin guide through a path not known to most guides. “When I first made this journey, I was speechless. I felt so small next to the huge rock formations,” tells Elena, our Jordan travel expert. Another favourite of Elena’s is the Wadi Mujib Reserve, which is surrounded by mountains. Here you can hike the Siq Trail. “This path meanders between enormous, colourful rocks and brings you past waterfalls and pools of water. The landscapes here are absolutely stunning!”
Safety in Jordan
Many people worry about safety when deliberating about going on a Jordan travel adventure. While many countries in the Middle East are indeed unsafe at the moment, Jordan does not fall under that category, according to Elena. “Peace is very important in Jordan. People with all kinds of different religions live here, but all together in peace. They really want travellers to have a positive experience to go home with, so they really do their best to make sure that they feel safe in their country.” To fully ensure this feeling of safety, Elena makes sure she is always reachable and is continually in touch with the travellers, both before and during their trip. “I want to give them the reassurance that there is always someone they can go to with their questions or problems, even in remote areas like the desert.” Whether it’s through Whatsapp or the local guides, drivers and hotelmanagers, there’s always a contact point.
Sleeping in an ecolodge
Jordan has various ecolodges where you can stay that will make your Jordan travel journey all the more special. “Feynan Ecolodge, for example, is outstanding,” shares Elena. Situated in the middle of the mountains near Dana, this lodge gives you the perfect starting point for going on scenic walks to various archaeological sites. It’s especially beautiful here at sunrise and sunset. The lodge also offers many different activities, such as bike rides, cooking workshops and stargazing. After dusk, everything is candlelit and absolutely magical.”
Jordan with Children
You can easily travel with children and as a family discover the old city of Petra, sleep under the stars in a Bedouin camp or go on a camel ride through the desert. Have a look at our family travel suggestion for Jordan for inspiration.
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Know Before you Go
General Information and Insider Tips
Residents of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand do need a visa for travel to Jordan. One-month single-entry visas are issued for 40 JOD, and can be obtained upon arrival. If you require multiple entries or a longer stay, three-month and six-month visas are available, but must be applied for in advance through your nearest embassy or consulate. For other countries, check visa requirements here.
Your passport must be valid for at least six months after returning from Jordan and have at least one blank visa page.
If you are travelling from or through the United States, and are not a US national or resident, you will need to obtain an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), ideally at least 72 hours prior to departure. ESTA has replaced the paper form that used to be filled in prior to landing in the US. The authorization costs $ 14 USD and needs to be paid by credit card. Canadian nationals are exempt and do not need an ESTA.
It is your own responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of valid and correct travel documentation.
Insider Tip: If you are planning a side-trip to Israel or other neighboring countries while in Jordan, apply for your Jordanian visa ahead of time to request multiple entries.
There are no particular requirements for Jordan, but make sure all routine vaccinations are up to date (MMR, polio, tetanus, etc.). Hepatitis A and Typhoid are recommended. We recommend all vaccines be completed at least six weeks prior to travel.
If traveling from a country that has yellow fever, you will be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination.
Tap water in Jordan is not safe to drink. If using your refillable Dopper bottle, we recommend combining with a Steripen.
Insider Tip: Ensure you have plenty of water when hiking in the desert as heat-related problems are common.
The safety of our clients is of the utmost importance to us, and our local experts are always well-informed about the current situation in Jordan. For up-to-date information about safety, security and travel warnings, please refer to the US State Department, UK Foreign Travel Advice, or your local government resource.
A variety of sockets are found in Jordan, from the UK-style three-pronged flat (Type G) and Indian-style three-pronged round (Type D), to the European two-pronged (Type C & F) and the less-common Type J. Because all of these outlets are possible, it is highly advised to carry a world plug adapter. A flashlight or torch is also recommended for stays in the desert.
At Better Places Travel, you book your own international flights. Your travel expert will gladly advise you on the best option. Read here for more information and tips.
When to go
In this desert climate, summer is very hot and winter temperatures can dip below freezing. Due to high temperatures, June-August is considered low season. High season runs from March-May with the peak in April when wildflowers are in bloom. Autumn, while short, is also pleasant with fewer tourists. Rain typically starts in October, and temperatures really drop in Amman and the desert during January and February.
Insider Tip: The khamseen is a strong desert wind that blows sand regularly each spring or early summer, although it typically only lasts for a few days.
The national language is Arabic
Goodbye Ma‘a as-salaama
Please Mīn fāḍlīkā
Thank you Shukran
Insider Tip: As-salaam’alaykum (peace be upon you) is a common greeting in Jordan.
Jordan is predominantly Arab and Islamic, but has also been influenced by Western culture, including music, movies and fashion. As a result, it is more liberal than other Arab countries, and the people are honest and hospitable, but its foundation of conservative values are still upheld. While friends warmly greet each other in public, public displays of affection between couples are disrespectful and frowned upon. Always ask before taking a person’s photo, and if invited to someone’s home for tea or a meal, acquaint yourself with the associated customs so you can relax and enjoy your experience.
Insider Tip: While you can talk freely about religion, it is illegal to encourage anyone to convert to any religion other than Islam.
The local currency is Jordanian Dinar (JOD)
Sometimes abbreviated JD, one dinar is divided into 10 dirham, 100 qirsh (a.k.a. piaster) and 1,000 fils. ATMs are widely available in cities, but less so in rural or desert areas. Credit cards are also commonly accepted in higher-end restaurants, hotels and shops, but it is always advisable to carry cash. Foreign currency is easily exchangeable, so bring some with you in case of any issues with your credit card or ATM.
Insider Tip: US dollars, Canadian dollars, Australian dollars and British pounds are all easily converted to dinar through foreign exchange offices. US dollars are sometimes accepted as payment.
- Restaurants- A service charge is often added to the bill (typically 10%), but if your service was exceptional, an additional 5-10% would be much appreciated.
- Cabs- Round up the change
- Hotels- Tip bellmen 1 JOD per bag, and housekeeping 2 JOD per day.
Read more about the Jordanian tipping culture here.
Insider Tip: Some tours include a pre-paid tip, so ask your local expert whether or not it’s included. If so, no need to tip again in person.
Some travelers use Jordan’s relative liberalism as an excuse to dress immodestly, but it is much more respectful to wear neatly kept conservative clothes (nothing ripped, torn or sheer). Both men and women tend to fully cover their arms and legs, with women also obscuring the nape of their neck with high collars or scarves. Shorts are not advisable for women. Shoulders and knees must always be covered when visiting a mosque. If visiting the desert, bring layers as it can be chilly at night, even in summer.
- Comfortable shoes for city walking
- Hiking boots for Petra, Wadi Rum, etc.
- Swimsuit for floating in the Dead Sea (a one-piece is more appropriate for women)
- Light sweater or jacket for cool evenings
- Scarf or wrap for women
- Simple medical kit with over-the-counter drugs and first aid (including anti-diarrheal and stomach meds)
- Hand sanitizer or wet wipes
- All prescriptions
- Flashlight/torch for the desert
- Tissues in case toilet paper is unavailable
Be sure to check out our Sustainability Checklist for more tips on how to respect the environment and local culture while travelling.
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