6 Things to Know Before Visiting Jordan

The time has come for us to talk a little bit about the glorious Kingdom of Jordan. Harbouring world-famous landmarks such as Petra and Rainbow Street (Amman), it truly is a paradise that tourists tend to enjoy. The Arabic world is exotic to most western travellers and few of them leave the Kingdom disappointed. Yet before you jump the first plane, keep these six things in mind and enjoy your stay!

1. Budget:
This may not seem like the best way to kick off a list like this but tight-budgeted travellers should really consider mapping out their trip before hitting the road. Why? Well, simply because Jordan is quite an expensive country. Eating out can prove to be a nuke to the pocket and housing is even worse. Living in Jordan is not any less difficult for people with “fewer coins” and one should do thorough research before entering the country with only 200 USD. If you are a college-backpacker, you might want to scout ahead a little bit (online, of course) to make sure that you do not hit rock bottom monetarily. Oh, and an extra tip: terraced/open restaurants with a LOT of people in them tend to be a bit cheaper than the rest – go for them!

2. Visas:
Alright, so here is the thing with Jordan: you are most probably going to need a visa. While these are called “visas on arrival”, they are still required and they cost money (another downside for broke backpackers). Here is the exact list with your options: stay for a maximum of two months and enter only once (40 JOD – about 55 USD); stay for a maximum of three months with two entries (60 JOD – 85 USD); or stay for a maximum of six months and enter multiple times (120 JOD – 170 USD). Note also that this does not apply to the citizens of the following countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and, last but not least, the United Arab Emirates. We do recommend that you read up on the specifics, though, for regulations often change around the world and it is always good to be ready.

3. The code of modesty:
Yes, you guessed it, this is directly related to the dressing code. Unfortunately women comprise the bulk of the target audience here for they more frowned upon if they do not respect the unwritten clothing creed (guys, do not lay back just yet, though). Women are expected to wear loose clothes and they are also expected to be less revealing than what they would normally wear under such conditions (yes, temperatures can get high, especially if you are visiting the Wadi Rum Desert). Scarfs are also recommended if you ladies are visiting sacred sites such as the King Hussein Bin Talal Mosque or the King Abdullah I Mosque. Men, on the other hand should keep in mind that walking topless is under no circumstances culturally accepted in Jordan. Keep those shirts on and veil those six-packs (wink)!

4. Meat:
This is quite a blow to vegans and vegetarians but eating meat in Jordan is as casual and traditional as it can get. Most of the traditional dishes contain some form of animal product and getting around it is quite difficult. Not to mention the fact that rejecting someone’s food is considered extremely disrespectful. This is also the case with asking what it contains. On the other hand, vegetarianism is wide-spread and catered to. While you are most likely to be locked out of the more traditional meals, you are in no peril of starvation (wink). Oh, and on a side-note, Jordan’s water is only used to wash things – it is by no means potable.

5. Affection and homosexuality:
It is time to get the elephant out of the room: though homosexuality is technically legal in Jordan since 1951, it is a subject that most locals consider unmentionable. This taboo stems from the fact that, although modern and scintillating, Jordan is still a Muslim country. Public displays of affection are also not advised beyond the traditional greeting manifestations (hugging and kissing). Holding hands or kissing passionately is heavily frowned upon. Homosexual public displays of affection are even worse, as practitioners may end up being prosecuted for “disrupting public morality”. Always stay on the safe side and respect the customs of the countries that you are visiting for it will keep you on the safe and enjoyable side of the “trailblazer” coin.

6. Haggling:
As you may well be aware, haggling in Arabic countries is quite a wide-spread practice. No matter what you are trying to buy at a local stall, you are bound to run into those vibrant stallkeepers who just won’t let you go. If you are not interested in a specific ware, just turn your back on them and tell them “no thank you”. Contrarily, if you are interested in a specific ware but the keeper just won’t give you a fair price, just turn your back on them (like previously) and slowly pretend to be walking away. Chances are that you are going to be stopped and offered a more feasible price. Oh, and never accept private tours for they frequently prove to be scams.

Did you enjoy our list? What experiences have you had in Jordan and how have they shaped your trip? Hit the comment section below and tell us all about it. If you are interested in other subjects/countries, be sure to check our other articles as well! Safe travels and happy haggling!

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