Escorted tours to Jordan
Currency: Jordanian Dinar
Time Zone: EST/GMT+2
Tipping: Isn’t required in Jordan, but is always appreciated, 10% may be added to the bill in restaurant and hotels.
Jordan - an introduction
Less-visited than some of its Middle Eastern neighbours and surrounded by intrigue, Jordan is probably somewhere you'll want to discover in the safety of a group.
Escorted tours to Jordan of course make this possible and will pick out the key areas to visit. The major lure here is the 'Lost City of Petra' and deservedly so. To behold this ancient Nabataean city and New Wonder of the World is a once-in-lifetime experience, up among the likes of Peru's Machu Picchu. The towering Treasury is Petra's most famous building and one that visitors first lay eyes on as they make their way down the narrow gorge towards it, but there is a whole breath-taking city here carved into the rock, believed to date back to 312 BC. Come the night time on selected days (Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays), some 1,800 candles light the Treasury making for another unforgettable experience.
While many would be happy to take the thought-provoking experience of Petra and head home, there are other delights that Jordan has to offer on a touring holiday. Make like Lawrence of Arabia with a 4x4 drive through the sand dunes of Wadi Rum, float weightlessly in the Dead Sea, sip tea in the desert with the Bedouin people and then polish off the trip with a relaxing finale on the Red Sea with its superb beaches and water sports.
Things to do
For many people visiting Jordan, their holidays tend to begin and end with Petra but aside from this spectacular sight, there's plenty more to be found during your sightseeing adventure here:
The Dead Sea
No visit to Jordan would be complete without a trip to the Dead Sea where you can float in the mystical waters of this fascinating place. When in the Sea, only float on your back and wear waterproof sandals as the salty ground can be sharp to the feet. As well as floating in The Dead Sea, why not take a handful of mud and rub it into your body? The mud is rumoured to contain a variety of minerals which can be seen as therapeutic. Other sights to be seen around the local area include: Mount Nebo, the City of Mosaics, the Mujib Reserve and the Baptism Site along the River Jordan.
This is Jordan's Lost City and is one of the reasons why so many people visit Jordan on their holidays to take a glimpse of this spectacular sight made of sandstone. When you first come across Petra, you are faced with the visually stunning façade of the Treasury that's wonderfully carved out of sandstone featuring, Bedouin men, camels and cats. Venture from the main touristy sites and you'll come across a variety of ancient dwellings, sepulchres and tombs that once housed Bedouin families. This definitely a visit you will never forget!
Perfect for a winter escape, if you're looking for balmy temperatures, as the mercury here never falls lower than 20°C. During the summer, temperatures soar to over 35°C which is why everything shuts down at 3pm and reopens in the evening. The main attractions here are the wondrous opportunities for diving and snorkelling as Aqaba is the gateway to The Red Sea. Aside from the shoreline, there isn't much else to see in Aqaba but you may find the Castle, Museum and Roman Church of interest.
Dana Nature Reserve
Escape from all the usual tourist haunts and visit one of Jordan's hidden gems, the Dana Nature Reserve. This is where you'll find the awe-inspiring Rift Valley and amazing views can be obtained from the stone village of Dana dating back to the 15th century. The Valley is home to a diverse ecosystem with over 600 species of plant and nearly over 200 species of birds. A wide variety of mammals can be found here also from the mountain gazelle to the red fox and sand cat. The Nature Reserve is also an archaeologists dream location as over 100 sites have been excavated, such as the Copper Mines and Khirbet Feinan, with more being discovered on a daily basis.
One of the best preserved Roman ruins to be found in the Middle East and the most popular tourist attractions for people visiting Jordan. As you wander around the city walls, you can almost begin to imagine what life here would have been like over 2000 years ago. There is a range of stunning artefacts to admire from the marble facades to the Tuscan styled churches with their tiled roofs. You can watch re-enactments of chariot racing and admire the wonderful theatres and ancient temples. Spend some time in the Visitor Centre where you can see drawings of what the city used to look like during its Roman heyday!
Tips & Advice
The beauty of an escorted tour is that you'll be in great hands in the event of something going wrong. However, to help you have an enjoyable holiday in Jordan, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Before travelling to Jordan it is advisable to contact your GP to check whether you need any specific vaccinations or preventative medical measures.
Medical facilities tend to be very basic outside the city of Amman. You should always try to seek medical help when in Amman or Aqaba as they are better equipped. Before leaving make sure you have adequate travel insurance and that you have access to extra funds should you need to cover the cost of any medical treatment or repatriation. Most tours offer the chance to purchase one-trip travel insurance at the time of booking.
Should you need to contact the emergency services whilst in Jordan dial 911.
In Jordan crime levels are generally in the low side. Most crime committed is that of pick-pocketing or occasional bag theft, so visitors are advised to be vigilant and to keep valuables secure. Women should avoid situations which mean they are left on their own when travelling. Jordan's police force advises that women who find themselves stranded, even during the day, call the police on 191/192.
Never accept lifts from strangers and always get the hotel to recommend you a reliable driver/taxi service.
Should a demonstration be taking place when you are in Jordan, it is advised that you stay well away as these events are often spontaneous and can be dangerous.
Local Laws and Customs
Jordan is an Islamic country so when visiting you must ensure you follow and respect local traditions, especially during the month of Ramadan. When in Jordan you must dress sensibly and behave correctly. Whilst the law here does not explicitly forbid it, public displays of affection between same-sex couples is not usually tolerated and could lead to being arrested.
Possession, use or trafficking of drugs is an extremely serious offence and can result in a heavy fine and a prison sentence.
You will require a visa to enter into Jordan. These last for one month from the date of arrival, however can be extended once you are there. Some tour operators offer a visa service but may charge an administration fee. If unsure, check at the time of booking.
If you are travelling from a country or region at risk from Yellow Fever you must have had the vaccination before entering the country.
Visitors to Jordan looking to stay more than 30 days will be made to have an HIV test which costs 20 Jordanian Dinars.
Any other nationality looking to visit Jordan must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.