Jordan is a wonderful destination in which you can choose to see as much or as little as you like.
It is possible to spend no more than a long weekend focussing on Petra or a longer journey of up to two weeks taking in the major archaeological sites, spending time walking and hiking in the RSCN reserves and leaving a few days to unwind on the shores of the Dead Sea or on the Red Sea at Aqaba.
Drivers and guides
We use private drivers and guides, and normally you will be accompanied by the same driver and vehicle throughout your trip and will have the appropriate local guides for each of the sites you visit.
Combining Jordan and Egypt
There are good transport links between Jordan and Egypt, and some of our clients choose to combine the two, enabling them to see both the pyramids and Petra in one trip.
Arabic, the official language of Jordan. Jordanian Arabic is quite close to Egyptian Arabic, which is the most widely understood. Most other Jordanians will be able to communicate effectively in English — the exception being some of the Bedouins in places like Wadi Rum.
Food & Drink
Jordanian food is strongly Arab, with Lebanese influence dominating as well as one or two traditional local dishes. The most common form of meal starts with mezze (mixed starters, predominantly non-meat dishes) followed by hot, meat-based dishes, all accompanied by lots of delicious, fresh-baked flat bread. For a quick snack, you should try shawarma. This is thinly sliced compacted meat (normally lamb, sometimes chicken) — what we would call a donner kebab — shaved into a flatbread pocket and garnished with a garlic sauce before being wrapped into a tight cylinder for easy eating.
As well as traditional Arabic coffee, tea and fruit juice, Jordan also produces its own wines, the best of which are pretty decent, and brews a couple of beers under licence, the most common being Amstel. The local spirit is araq, a triple-distilled vine alcohol flavoured with aniseed.
Tipping is an accepted part of life in Jordan and will be expected by drivers, guides and other people who look after you or offer you some service during your trip. That having been said there is not the same request for tips at every turn that you encounter in some of the other countries of the region. In upmarket restaurants a tip of 10% is normally expected, whilst in smaller and cheaper establishments anything from 500 fils — JD 1 is about right. Ultimately the above suggestions are nothing more than guidelines. Tipping is discretionary, but it is also an accepted part of culture.
Money & Expense
Jordan's currency is the Jordanian Dinar (JD). There are 1,000 fils in a dinar, and there is an informal denomination of a piastre which is 10 fils. Credit cards are widely accepted, although in remote rural areas and the desert you might struggle with them. There are ATMs in all towns and cities of any size.
Whilst Jordan is a Muslim country, it is one of the more secular ones in the region. It is still important to respect Muslim social customs. Dress does not have to be as conservative as in some countries in the region, but care should still be taken. As a general rule you should dress more conservatively in the towns and cities than on days when you are sightseeing away from urban centres. For these days, both sexes can wear shorts and t-shirts (weather-permitting!), although keeping the shoulders covered is sensible, for reasons of sunburn as much as respect for local customs.
Do not photograph anything to do with the military or government buildings — also avoid photographing bridges and canals, or anything that could be construed as having strategic significance. Ask people if they mind before photographing them.
During Ramadan (see Festivals below), do not eat, drink or smoke in public.
Our country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website.
When to go to Jordan
You'll find temperature and rainfall information, together with a month-by-month guide on visiting, on our guide for when to go to Jordan.