Jordan

For many people Jordan begins and ends with the magical ancient Nabataean city of Petra. And while Petra is without a doubt one of Arabia’s most spectacular and unmissable sites, there’s so much more to see in Jordan. Ruined Roman cities, Crusader castles, desert citadels and powerful biblical sites; many people and civilisations have left their mark on Jordan, making it a country of great diversity and one of the jewels of Arabia that has captivated travellers since ancient times.

When to Visit

Spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November) is the best time to visit when the daytime temperatures are milder. April sees warm daytime temperatures whilst the desert wildflowers begin to bloom. Snow is not unheard of in winter.

Highlights

PETRA Although much has been written about Petra, nothing can prepare you for it. Walking through the Siq is an experience in itself, only surpassed by your first glimpse of Al-Khazneh, or the Treasury, Petra’s most recognisable wonder.

WADI RUM Wadi Rum is a timeless landscape. Made famous by T.E. Lawrence, or better known to us as Lawrence of Arabia, there is so much to explore in this desolate area.

DEAD SEA The Dead Sea is surely on most travellers’ bucket lists. Anyone who has luxuriated in the rich black mud and floated effortlessly on their backs knows its legendary restorative powers.

JERASH Jerash boasts an unbroken chain of occupation dating back more than 6,500 years. The city was one of the ten cities of the Decapolis and is one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world.

MADABA Madaba, the “City of Mosaics”, is renowned for its spectacular Byzantine and Umayyed mosaics and as the home of the famous 6th century mosaic Map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

HOLY PILGRIMAGE SITES Jordan is filled with powerful biblical sites: the brook at Bethany where Jesus was baptised, the hilltop fortress at Mukawir where Herod beheaded John the Baptist and Mt Nebo, the mountain from where Moses viewed the Holy Land.

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Useful Information

Getting around

Jordan Transportation facilities have undergone a substantial improvement over the last decade, owing to the increasing influx of foreign visitors. Visitors have the following options for getting around in Jordan: by Taxis, Rental Cars or Buses. The traffic can be chaotic at some times and hence, most tourists prefer to use the taxis. Amman is the commercial nerve-point of Jordan. It consists of several "jabals," or small hills, along which all the popular neighborhoods are based. When traveling in Amman and other surrounding cities, try to locate a destination by asking for landmarks. Most of the streets here don’t have commonly recognizable names. Many of the jabals have popular traffic roundabouts. These traffic junctions are referred to as "circles" and they serve as pointers to many popular destinations.

Language

Arabic (official), English is also widely understood in many areas

Health

The following information is intended as a guide only and in no way should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice relative to a travellers individual needs and vaccination history. No guarantee is made as to its accuracy or thoroughness. For further information, please contact The Travel Doctor on (+64) 9 373 3531. Vaccination against Hepatitis A is recommended for travellers to Jordan. Vaccination against Typhoid should also be considered, particularly if travelling to areas with poor sanitation. Persons staying in Jordan for extended periods or frequent travellers should consider immunisation against Hepatitis B and Rabies (especially if working with animals). Please consult a medical practitioner or contact The Travel Doctor for your specific risk to these preventable diseases and the appropriate avoidance measures. New Zealanders travelling to Jordan should ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay. Medications that are legal in New Zealand may be illegal in other countries. 

Electricity

Electrical Plug: European, British and Indian. Voltage: 220-240 volts Modem Plug: USA View the Korjo adapter guide at www.korjo.com.au for further info.

Communications

Country Code for Jordan: +962 Offical Travel Advice: Visit www.safetravel.govt.nz Emergency Services: 191 Ambulance: 193 or 199  Fire: 199 Police: 191 or 192 911 and 112 may also work in some areas. Although there may be English speaking operators available, to avoid delay it is best to seek the assistance of an Arabic speaker to call the emergency services.

Shopping

Most towns have a souk selling everything from meat and live chickens to clothes and jewellery. Amman’s downtown gold souk is a special attraction – a cluster of tiny shops with glittering window displays crammed together just off the main King Faisal Street. Tourist-oriented towns offer many handicrafts, including carpet-weaving or mosaic pieces: Jordan’s mosaic school in Madaba trains young people to work with the colourful, locally hewn stone. Shopping hours are Generally Sat-Thurs 0930-1330 and 1530-1800; some shops open as early as 0800, others close as late as 2100. Some shops are closed on Friday, either all day or until around 1400.

Tipping

In Jordan, tipping is part of the culture, and it has always been used in restaurants, hotels, taxis, hookah lounges, coffee shops and bars; and it is expected if you are a regular, though bars and restaurants may add 5-35% service charge. It is called a tip or baksheesh (Arabic: ْبقشيش), which used to be given to laborers in advance to get better service, or afterwards as an extra reward for their work. It is both illegal and an insult to tip in public and government offices, the police, and the military.

Visa's

Official travel advice regarding visas is available by calling 04 439 8000 or visiting their website www.safetravel.govt.nz

Customs

Greetings and farewells are lengthy and sincere. Even answering a telephone involves saying "how are you?" in several different ways. Visitors and/or friends frequently are invited into homes for dinner, where they are showered with kindness and food. Women dress modestly and often are offended by exposed flesh. Most Muslims do not drink alcohol. Shoes are always removed before entering a mosque, and this custom extends to homes as well. Shib-shibs (flip-flop sandals) are always put on before entering a bathroom, the feet and are never put on a coffee table, footstool, or desk. It is forbidden and disrespectful to expose the bottoms of the feet. Same-sex friends hold hands, hug, and kiss in public, but there is limited touching between men and women. A man does not shake hands with a woman unless she offers her hand first.

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