If you are contemplating on whether or not you should go to Jordan, let me give you a recommendation: go!
Although the country basically consists of desert, it has surprisingly much to offer: Jordan has access to the dead as well as the red sea, incredible world wonder sites, stunning desert landscapes, very hospitable people, and very tasty middle-eastern cuisine. If you’re concerned about your safety, be assured that you won’t have to be. Jordan is also known as «Switzerland of the Middle-East», which is due to the fact that they are an island of peace in the middle of war-ridden countries.
We combined our trip to Jordan with Israel and stayed in Jordan for 8 days and felt like it was enough for what we wanted to see. I do recommend to combine this trip with one to Israel to save time and money.
Now, getting to Jordan is actually quite easy – if you chose to arrive by plane. Land crossings from Israel are a different matter. At the time of writing this, there are three border crossings between Jordan and Israel: Yitzhak Rabin Terminal/Wadi Araba Crossing, King Hussein Bridge (Allenby) Terminal, and Jordan River/Sheikh Hussein Crossing. They all have different hours of operation, exit and entry fees, as well as longer or shorter waiting times. Please be sure to check the information on the web for the most up to date information. I suggest doing this i.e. at the official Jerusalem travel site. Since we were traveling a week after the 70th anniversary from the State of Israel, which lead to violent turmoils between Palestinians and Israelis, we opted for the safest way and took the plane for the border-crossing and didn’t go through Palestinian land. We did hear that the border-crossing over land was quite convenient in Eilat/Aqaba, though.
Make sure you check out my posts on each of the destinations mentioned above for more information. But first things first: Before you come to Jordan, please do yourself a favor and look into buying the Jordan Pass. The Jordan Pass gives you a hassle-free prepaid entry to over 40 attractions in Jordan (including Petra), free downloadable digital brochures covering all of Jordan’s tourist attractions, and it waives the tourist entry visa fees if you purchase the Jordan Pass before arrival to Jordan and stay a minimum of three nights (4 days). We opted for the «Jordan Explorer», which included a 2 day entry to Petra, which fitted our needs perfectly.
We arrived in Amman and immediatly collected our rental car to drive towards the Dead Sea. I was a bit concerned about driving in a foreign country by night and tried to get on the road as fast as possible, while it was still light out. Since we arrived in the early evening, the sun was already setting – and it was setting fast. Soon enough, I found myself on a pitch-dark road. I also realized that I completely forgot to check the topography of the route. So here I was, driving an unfamiliar car in the middle of the night on a mountain road. And I survived. Driving in Jordan is generally very easy. The main roads and highways are well maintained . The smaller ones are sometimes a bit of an adventure and you might find yourself in the middle of a camel herd at any time (they’re on the highway, too). What I found most challenging was that there were speed-bumps. Speed-bumps on the country road, speed-bumps on the highway, speed-bumps in the driveway – speed-bumps everywhere!! So if you don’t wish to fly over those bumps and damage your car, drive very carefully.
We got stopped by police/military while on the road, twice. I was a bit anxious at first and had all the papers ready to hand over, but my anxiety proofed to be unnecessary. When we stopped and rolled down the window, the conversation went like this:
Police: «Hello Sir! Where are you from?»
Oliver: «From Switzerland»
Police (with a big smile): «Oh! Welcome to Jordan!»
And with that, along with well wishes, we were sent on our way.
I have honestly always felt very welcome, even though the men would direct their word to Oliver, the man and not me, the woman (even when I was the one behind the wheel or next to a person we were speaking to). It didn’t bother me, as it was never really explicit nor disturbing.
We decided to stay 2 nights at the Dead Sea, 2 nights in Petra (Wadi Musa), 1 nigth at the Wadi Rum Desert and 3 nights at the Red Sea (Aqaba). Make sure to check in on those posts to read more about each place. Any lingering questions? Feel free to leave it in the comments below!