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Is Jordan Safe? Where to Go in Jordan

written by The Travel Captain November 16, 2016

Is Jordan Safe?  This is probably the first question you’re asking yourself before figuring out where to go in the Kingdom.  Who can blame you with all the stomach churning news coming out of the Middle East these days.  But not all countries are the same.  It’s like skipping travel to Canada and using the college campus shootings taking place all over the United States as the reason not to go.

So Is Jordan Safe? I just came back from Jordan last month and found it be both incredible and completely safe.  Got an American passport, I’m not Muslim and I don’t speak Arabic.  Still alive.

is jordan safe?

Jordan does have some chaotic neighbors and it’s always a good idea to stay abreast of information and events.  I understand if you skip Umm Al-Jimal near the Syrian border, I did.   This is something that really should be taken into consideration.  Otherwise you’ll be missing out on one of the most fascinating destinations.  Jordan is filled with history, breathtaking ruins, friendly people and more than a few ancient mysteries so I learned after my visit.

 

travel tips for Jordan

Where to Go in Jordan (A 5 Day Itinerary)

First point to note.  Jordan is not very big.  Driving from the capital, Amman, to the most southern point in Aqaba won’t take more than four hours.  We did it in 3.5 with no stops.  Many visitors head back up North after visiting Wadi Rum.  Total mistake.  I would suggest first reading my post,  Important Travel Tips for Jordan, as there are some money saving tips and general advice about getting around.

 

Day 1 – Amman

Arrive in Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) with your Jordan Pass in hand.  Check in to your hotel and freshen up.  Tomorrow, you’re heading South slightly early in the morning and won’t be back in Amman for a few days.   Throw on a pair of  good shoes (that does not mean high heels) and take a taxi to the Citadel. You’ll find the entrance from a city street and will need to climb some stairs.  Next head to the closeby Roman Amphitheater.  Both sites are included in your Jordan Pass so no need to buy tickets online.  Check closing times as they vary by season.

It’s time for dinner.  You can’t leave Jordan without trying Mansaf, the national dish.   Mansaf is a traditional Levantine meal made of lamb cooked in fermented dried yogurt and served with rice or bulgur.  Close to the Roman Amphitheater is Al Quds Restaurant, one of the best places in town to try it.  After dinner head to Al Balad, the historic downtown and heart of Amman.

Day 2 – Amman – Madaba – Mt. Nebo – Dead Sea – Petra via the King’s Highway

This is a busy day but it’s easily doable.  I know, because I did it 🙂  Start the day with a good breakfast and leave Amman by 8:30am.  Get to Madaba around 9am and visit the low key St. George’s Church where you’ll get to see the oldest map of Palestine in existence.  The map was constructed of mosaic tiles in the 6th century, the maker remains unknown.  Skip the souvenir shops in town, the mosaics come from China.  Your driver will take you to one of the warehouses where hand made mosaics are showcased and, of course, for sale.

Is Jordan Safe

A native artisan working on handmade mosaics in Madaba, Jordan

 

No later than 11am, continue on to Mt. Nebo.  Spend an hour or a little more exploring the museum and snapping pics of the Holy Land.  Next, take the Jordan Valley Highway/Rt 65 to the Dead Sea.  There are places to stop where you can swim for free BUT I don’t recommend it because you’ll want to use facilities like the bathroom and showers to rinse off.  I try not to mention tourist spots but in this case I’m going to.  Head to the Amman Tourist Beach.  There’s an entrance fee of 20 JOD ($28 USD) as well as a small usage fee for a towel, locker and shower.  But you have a dedicated path, no flies, relatively clean facilities and a swimming pool to cool down in.

Is Jordan Safe

Tourist Beach At the Dead Sea. Is Jordan Safe

 

Around 3pm, make your way to Wadi Musa where Petra is.  Stop along the way for photo opps of the Dead Sea from a higher altitude and make sure your driver stops at Little Petra.  The scenery is incredible and I recommend doing all of this before it gets dark.  I stopped at the castle and for a bite to eat in Kerak in-between but if you’re running short on time, skip this step.  Have an extra day in your itinerary?  Then definitely stop at Wadi Mujib Nature Reserve for trekking and canyoning which is on the way to Wadi Musa.  The Dana Biosphere Reserve is also worth visiting.

Check into your hotel in Wadi Musa.  If you have the energy, go to Petra by Night.  You would have had to purchase the 2 entries to Petra option in your Jordan Pass or otherwise pay an entrance fee.  Petra by Night is a whole different experience and completely worth doing.  It’s not open every evening so please check first.  If you’re not up to it, then relax or walk around the main town in Wadi Musa and have some dinner.  Don’t forget to tell the hotel concierge you want a packed lunch for Petra the next day!  There are not great or inexpensive options within Petra for food.

Day 3 – Petra – Wadi Rum – Aqaba

Get to the doors of Petra no later than 8am.  Experiencing the tranquility of the Siq early in the morning is a blessing of its own.  I’ll follow this post up with a Guide to Petra but the main things to see are the Siq, the Treasury, the Place of Sacrifice, the Street of Facades, the Royal Tombs and the Monastery.  It’s tiring, be prepared.

Is Jordan Safe

A view to Petra from the cliffs of the Royal Tombs

 

Head back to your hotel by 2pm for a shower.  We stayed in the Movenpick Petra which allowed us to check out in the morning but still use the spa in the afternoon to freshen up.  Now, this is rushing it but if you only have 5 days like we did, head over to Wadi Rum (a 1.5 hour drive from Petra) for a late afternoon/sunset drive.  The Jordan Pass includes the entrance fee but not the 4×4 and driver rental.  Should you have more time, do the overnight in a bedouin tent/camp at Wadi Rum.  Once its dark, drive an hour down to Aqaba and check into your hotel.  There is not much to see in Aqaba itself except the sea.  It’s totally fine to take the night off and relax 🙂

Day 4 – Aqaba and Diving in the Red Sea

I loved all my days in Jordan but I really enjoyed this one.  Book a day of diving with the PADI divers at Ahlan Aqaba Scuba.  They had the best reviews and thats why I chose them.  At 9am, Rikki from Ahlan picked us up at the Kempinski Hotel and brought us to the dive center a few minutes away.  Shortly after filling out some paperwork, we headed to the marina with about ten other divers varying in skill and got to see some underwater miracles about an hour’s ride off the coast.  They served a great lunch on the boat and had us back at our hotel by around 5pm.  Later, we met up with the team from Ahlan for some beer and billiards in town.

Is Jordan Safe?

Day 5 – Amman – Jerash – Home

There are a couple of options this morning.  You can choose to fly out of Aqaba at 8am and head back to Amman or drive to Amman. We chose to stay with our driver from localtrips.net one more day and do the 3.5 hour drive back to the capitol.  No stops, just straight driving.  And most important, there is no requirement to wake up at 5:30am and deal with airports.

Just when I thought there wasn’t much left to see, we saw Jerash.  I don’t think there are any other Roman ruins in existence that are as well preserved as this outside of Rome.  It was vast and not what I was expecting, completely blown away.  Don’t miss this.  It’s just a half hour’s drive North of Amman.

Later that evening, we gathered up our things and said goodbye to our driver.   Our flight back to Dubai was at midnight.

Here’s a short video on our trip to Jordan

 

Is Jordan Safe?

All opinions in the article are my own and based on my experience.  Is Jordan Safe?  I definitely think so.  We never ever felt unsafe or uncomfortable.  But Travelers should always check travel advisories to a particular country before visiting.

Feel free to leave me and thoughts or comments below on is Jordan safe.

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