Camel trekking in Wadi Rum


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But Jordan is far from a one-trick pony (or should that be camel?). Elsewhere, Roman remains at Jerash and Azraq, Hellenic ruins at Umm Qais and crusader castles at Karak and Shobak draw history buffs.

And Jordan's natural charms are just as alluring: float in the briny Dead Sea, dive the dazzling depths to explore Red Sea reefs at Aqaba, spot wildlife in the valleys and heights of Dana Nature Reserve, and wander the desert expanses of Wadi Rum – by foot, 4WD or camel power.

Sprinkle in Jordan's tempting cuisine, great walking and canyoning, easily traversable distances and smiling people, and you've got the recipe for the perfect Middle East mezze.

Wanderlust recommends

  1. Discover the green Middle East – hike the Al-Ayoun Trail in north Jordan
  2. See Petra – and take time to explore beyond the iconic treasury
  3. Rejuvenate your skin with a Dead Sea mud spa
  4. Dive the vibrant reefs of the Red Sea at Aqaba
  5. See a chariot race at the Roman theatre in Jerash

Wanderlust tips

For a different perspective on Petra, take the six-day trek from Dana to enter the rose-red city through the back door. Try a hammam ('Turkish' bath) – especially good as a way for women to get chatting to local ladies.

I wish I'd known...

Wanderlust web intern Holly Gurr on the one thing she wished she'd known on her arrival:

"Driving in Jordan, particularly in cities, is extremely chaotic. Drivers often change lanes quickly and without signal, speeding is the norm and cars tend to operate very closely together. Travellers, brace yourself before hopping into a taxi and be extra careful as pedestrians."

Further Reading

Travel in Jordan: vital statistics

  • Capital of Jordan: Amman
  • Population of Jordan: 6.3 million
  • Languages in Jordan: Arabic. English is widely spoken
  • Time in Jordan: GMT+2 (Apr-Oct GMT+3)
  • International dialling code for Jordan: +962
  • Voltage in Jordan: 230V 50Hz AC
  • Visas for Jordan: Visas for Jordan
  • Money in Jordan: Jordan dinar (JD)
  • ATMs are widely available at or near the main sites. Tips of 10% are expected in better restaurants; elsewhere, rounding up bills is appreciated.
  • Jordan travel advice: Foreign & Commonwealth Office

When to go to Jordan

Climate and weather in Jordan Temperatures are largely dependent on altitude; Amman and the north tend to be cooler. Spring (March-June) and autumn (mid September-late November) bring pleasant temperatures and greenery. Summer (July-September) can be stiflingly hot, particularly in Wadi Rum and at the Dead Sea. Winter (December-February) can be chilly, though Aqaba remains balmy. Note that many ecotourism projects don't operate in winter.

Ramadan in Jordan During the ninth month of the Muslim calendar adherents must fast and not drink during daylight hours. Though visitors are not expected to follow suit, opening hours can become erratic.

International airports

Queen Alia International Airport (AMM) is 35km south of Amman.

Getting around in Jordan

Jordan's road network is modern and fairly well maintained. Car hire is a good way of getting around, though not all rental vehicles are in the first flush of youth and you'll need an International Driving Permit. Buses and minibuses are cheap and easy ways to get from town to town; serveeces (long-distance taxis) – though pricier – offer an convenient alternative. Domestic flights shuttle between Amman and Aqaba.

Jordan accommodation

Jordan has the full range of accommodation options, from campsites and hostels through simple lodges and family-run hotels to luxury hotels.

Jordan food & drink

Bread (khubez) is the bedrock – flat bread, used for scooping and dipping. Mezze – shared platters of appetisers – form the basis of most meals; simple dishes include the likes of hummus, olives and baba ghanouj (aubergine dip) or more elaborate treats such as kibbeh (wheat and lamb torpedoes) and warag aynab (stuffed vine leaves). Mansaf is a Bedouin feast dish comprising boiled lamb on rice. Coffee (qahwa) is ubiquitous; some decent Jordanian wines are available.


Health & safety in Jordan

Crime is rare in Jordan, even in Amman. Tap water is chlorinated and bottled water is widely available. Use high-factor sunscreen, wear head protection and drink plenty of water. Check with your GP or travel health clinic that you're up to date with your jabs.

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