This question comes up time and time again whenever there is a problem elsewhere is the Middle East.
Jordanians are passionate and proud people, and the country truly welcomes visitors with open arms.
Despite being squeezed between the hotspots of Iraq, Syria, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Jordan is probably the safest and most stable country in the region.
The media has been pretty heavy handed with the political coverage on the region, and tend to exaggerate on the side of caution when issuing travel advisories, but not so true!
Jordan has been called the “Peaceful Oasis of the Middle East” or the neutral “Switzerland of the Middle East” and it lives up to this reputation, as its Non-confrontational foreign policies mean that Jordan is on great terms with the US, the UK and several nearby countries, and belongs to the United Nations.
Jordan is VERY safe.
There is virtually no unsafe part of Jordan, except at the borders with neighbouring countries facing political problems like Syria and Iraq. Even the rural parts of Jordan, although having limited infrastructure, are safe too and the locals are very friendly and will happily assist you when needed.
Some demonstrations have occurred in the capital Amman and a few other cities, but they primarily occur after Friday noon prayers, and have been peaceful and concluded without incident. None of the tourist attractions in Jordan have been affected by protestors or demonstrations.
Jordanian people remain hospitable beyond belief, and are always willing to go to the assistance of a foreigner needing directions or assistance, even an invitation to a Jordanian home for a meal or for a cup of tea are very likely during your visit.
Jordan is one of the most liberal nations in the region.
Jordanians have embraced much of the culture and habits of the west, creating modern, cosmopolitan cities and conducting international business. Women may wear regular clothing without harassment in any part of Jordan. Western fashions are popular among young Jordanian women. However, modest clothing should be worn in religious and old historical sites. Keep in mind Jordan is a Muslim nation and western norms may not be accepted even by Jordan's western educated elite, such as public displays of affection.
Even solo women travellers shouldn’t be affected by the mostly negative press about the Middle East. Just like a solo woman traveller once said: “If you’re not scared of going to India, Europe, Central America, South America or South Africa, you shouldn’t be scared of visiting Jordan”. As unfamiliar doesn’t necessarily mean unsafe!
The two main things that you should remember about proper behaviour in Jordan:
- Show respect for Islam.
- Show respect for the monarchy.
People will understand if you don't know all the finer points of custom and manners, but a basic level of respect for how other people conduct their lives is essential. Cultural pride is a huge part of what it means to be Arabian and Jordanian.
Reassuring things to know about Jordan.
- Lots of Tourism Board offices and English-speaking tourism police are present from the exit at the Amman airport, to all the major tourist and historical sites.
- Locals speak English quite well – well enough to give directions and if not, at least identify that you’re speaking English to find someone else who can help.
- When in Jordan do not hesitate to complain to the tourist police if you should meet with any special hassle. They all speak very good English and they will listen to you politely, will take pains to make things easy for you and will act immediately on any complaint. You will not be expected to do more than sign a paper.
Despite the region’s political unrest, Jordan has become a hotspot for travel bloggers, writers and photographers. This trend may be driven by the Jordan Tourism Board, which has embraced social media and its importance of attracting traffic for the travel industry, and to show the world the true colours of Jordan as a safe, friendly and hospitable place to visit with a lot to offer.
Okay I’m convinced I should go, can you locate it on a map for me?
Jordan is a country in the Middle East, almost completely land-locked (except for an outlet on the Red Sea in the Gulf of Aqaba and a frontage on the Dead Sea). Jordan is boarded by Syria to the North, by Saudi Arabia to the South, Iraq to the East and by Israel and the West Bank (Palestinian Territories) to the west.
How do I get there?
Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) is Jordan’s main airport. It is 35 Km South of Amman, so when visiting remember to allow 45 minutes to reach the airport from down town Amman and approximately 30 minutes from West Amman.
In addition to Queen Alia airport, Jordan has two other international airports:
- Marka International Airport in East Amman, serving routes to nearby Middle Eastern countries as well as internal flights to Aqaba down South.
- King Hussein International Airport in Aqaba.
Visitor to Jordan from non-Arab countries will need a visa to enter, easily obtained on arrival at most border points. One key exception is when crossing from the West Bank (Jerusalem) at the King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge. This is the closest border to Jordan from Jerusalem but visitors need to issue their visa prior to their arrival.
On the other hand visas are available at all other land crossings into Jordan, including the two crossings from Israel, at Eilat/Aqaba and the Sheikh Hussein Bridge near Irbid up North which is almost two hours away from Jerusalem.