Last Updated on August 7, 2020 by Nina Ahmedow
If you haven’t considered a trip to Jordan yet you absolutely should. In this post, I tell you why you should travel to Jordan, and if you’re not sure what to do in Jordan I’ll share my recommendations for things to do in Jordan. But let me start with one of the main questions people usually ask: Is Jordan safe?
Is Jordan Safe?
Many people have one specific question when thinking about traveling to this country in the Levant: Is Jordan safe? Jordan isn’t a top-secret destination, but fewer people have traveled there in recent years due to security concerns. However, the answer to the question “is Jordan safe?” can only be a resounding yes. Jordan is a very safe and stable country even if the Middle East seems like a dangerous region. Not once during my time in Jordan did I feel unsafe, and I absolutely recommend you travel to Jordan. And if you ask me “is Jordan safe” I will also refer you to the Global Peace Index where Jordan is listed as much safer than the US.
Another thing you may be concerned about is diseases? Is Jordan safe in terms of health? Absolutely! There are no extra vaccines needed to go to Jordan!
How I Decided to Go to Jordan
Since I currently live in Greece, Jordan is not that far, and when Ryanair introduced direct flights between Athens and Aqaba, I knew I had to jump on this opportunity. I definitely prefer direct flights if I’m going somewhere that’s not too far. Plus going with a low-budget airline makes travel so much more affordable. That’s not to say, of course, I don’t use regular airlines. For example, I traveled to Albania and regularly go back to Hamburg with Aegean Airlines.
But when they announced these flights I knew I had to get on one of them. So I decided to travel to Jordan for a week in March together with my partner. Even he was a bit concerned and asked the question “is Jordan safe?” but we had the best time.
Trust me, it was an amazing experience, and I’m sure if you travel to Jordan you will love it, too.
I’ve told you why I decided to travel to Jordan and answered the question “is Jordan safe?”. So to start this Jordan travel guide, let me present you with some facts about Jordan.
Facts & Figures
- Jordan’s official name is the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
- Jordan is the country with the second-highest share of refugees compared to its population in the world. (This is one reason people keep asking the question: Is Jordan safe?)
- The Red Sea separates Jordan from Egypt, and Jordan borders Saudi Arabia to the south and east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north, and Israel and Palestine to the west.
- Jordan has a significant Bedouin population living a nomadic lifestyle in the desert.
- Jordan is most famous for Petra, the Rose City – one of five UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country.
If that piques your interest let’s continue with this Jordan travel guide, things to do in Jordan, and some words on why our trip left us speechless.
Top Things to Do in Jordan
Are you wondering what to do in Jordan? Well, with only one week in the country, we couldn’t do everything we wanted to but here are a few of the things to do in Jordan that we enjoyed the most.
Stay in Aqaba – the Only Coastal City in Jordan
Aqaba is Jordan’s southernmost city, and humans have been inhabiting the area since 4000BC. Historically, Aqaba and Eilat in Israel were one city, and at night you can easily see the lights from Eilat in the distance. People who ask the question “is Jordan safe” may be worried because of Jordan’s proximity to Israel, but actually it’s even possible to cross the border from Aqaba into Eilat.
As Aqaba’s museums and castle didn’t appear to be open, we only got to see the ancient ruins of Ayla (an old name for Aqaba). We saw the site for free, and while it may not be the most impressive ancient city I’ve ever seen I got a bit emotional seeing the remnants of such an old Islamic city.
However, Aqaba is also of interest to Christians, as you can find the ruins of the world’s first purpose-built church here. Aqaba may not be included on every Jordan travel itinerary, but with Ryanair flying there, chances are high you might fly in and out of the city.
See Four Different Countries From the Same Spot
Jordan would almost be a landlocked country, if it weren’t for about 26km of coastline on the Red Sea, the Aqaba Gulf.
The weather was quite warm even in mid-March, and without a lot of things to do in Jordan’s only coastal city, we decided to head to the beach for one day. Our hotel had an arrangement with another hotel and got a driver to take us there. It was a bit further than we expected, and we ended up less than 10km from the border with Saudi Arabia. From there you can see Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, and Egypt all at the same time.
The beach wasn’t the highlight of our Jordan travel experience, but seeing four different countries from the same spot was truly something special. If you have the time make sure to include this in your Jordan travel itinerary.
Visit Petra, One of the New Seven Wonders of the World
No trip to Jordan and no Jordan travel guide would be complete without mentioning Petra. I’m sure you’ve all seen pictures of Petra, Jordan’s most famous city and tourist site. But did you know that this ancient Nabataean city was only rediscovered in 1812? The Nabataeans likely established it as the capital of their kingdom in the 4th or 5th century BC.
I suggest you do extensive research before your trip as there is so much history here. Even simply going through the Wikipedia page for Petra will help you learn about the city’s past. And it will explain why a visit to Petra is one of the top things to do in Jordan.
To be honest, Petra alone is undoubtedly reason enough to travel to Jordan. It’s such an impressive site and truly one of its kind. If you travel to Jordan know that Petra tops the list of things to do in Jordan. You simply can’t not go there!
I have to say that the first time I saw the Treasury, which is the most famous building in Petra, was an unparalleled experience. After having seen it hundreds of times on pictures, I finally looked at it with my own eyes. Wow! I don’t care what else you do but a visit to Petra is one of the most important things to do in Jordan.
We got a 2-day pass for Petra so we even got to go back the next day. The Monastery was equally impressive, but more rewarding because we only reached it after a bit of a hike. Because it’s slightly more difficult to get there it’s also not as packed with visitors.
I definitely recommend at least a full day in Petra, but I found two days much less stressful. You could even make it three days and take is really slowly. But no matter the time you spend at Petra, this is one of the most memorable things to do in Jordan or maybe the world!
Include Wadi Rum in Your Jordan Travel Itinerary
As amazing as Petra was, our time in the desert was even more breathtaking, and I suspect others feel the same. I recently asked a friend who had the chance to travel to Jordan earlier this year, and she agrees that the visit to Wadi Rum was one of the most amazing things to do in Jordan.
The best way to experience the wadi is to go on a tour organized by one of the Bedouin families. We opted for the four-hour jeep tour with an overnight stay with Bedouin Life Style. This is an absolute must on your Jordan travel itinerary.
It was an epic experience that gave us the opportunity to see the desert and some amazing rock formations. The most wonderful part, however, was being away from all the noise of modern human life. While there were a few other jeeps around, it still felt so much more peaceful without all the sounds we usually surround ourselves with.
At the camp itself, there was no running water which wasn’t my favorite part of the trip, but if I can do it for one night, so can you. It really gives you a glimpse into the nomadic lifestyle.
Sleeping in a traditional tent in the desert was quite an experience. You wouldn’t believe how quiet the world naturally is. I will say, though, that it got quite cold at night even though it was already mid-March. It’s best to prepare yourself according to the temperature. When you decide what to do in Jordan and where check the average temperatures to know what to pack.
Sadly, we didn’t get to see a lot of stars at night because of the full moon. If you want to see millions of stars do take the moon cycle into consideration when planning your trip. But no matter what, don’t skip a night in the desert when you prepare your Jordan travel itinerary. There’s no way I’d ever write a post on what to do in Jordan without mentioning this incredible place.
If you’re looking for the right camp I can fully recommend Bedouin Life Style. The tour with our guide Ali was absolutely amazing. He explained so much and really bonded with Alfonso. I also believe that four hours was a decent amount of time to spend in the desert. Anything less than that would not have done the wadi justice. But if you’re looking specifically for what to do in Jordan in nature you could spend even more time there.
Back at the camp, we were happy to find that most of the food was actually vegan. After dinner, we got to listen to live Bedouin music in a big tent with the other tour groups. The next day, the people from Bedouin Life Style even arranged a driver for us and a couple from Argentina to take us to Petra where we continued our Jordan travel tour. I think they would even be able to provide some additional tips on what to do in Jordan.
The one thing that I didn’t like about the camp (and, from what I’ve read online all camps work like this) was that there were no women at the camp. While I get that on the surface this is just a cultural thing, there is a problem here.
It enhances the travel experience so much to learn more about the local population’s lifestyle, but as a woman, I am interested in how the local women live. As a Muslim woman, in particular, it felt awkward to be in a room that seemed taboo for Bedouin women. I wouldn’t even have minded if they had split the group and the women and men had spent the evening separately, but, instead, I only saw how the Bedouin men live, not what the women do. Because when I looked into what to do in Jordan I wanted to include experiences that help me connect with the local population as well.
Enjoy the Arabic Language
When I thought about what to do in Jordan I thought I should actually practice my Arabic. I studied Arabic at university but forgot most of it. But in Jordan, I enjoyed the advantage of being able to read all the signs. And even without decent Arabic skills I quite enjoyed some of the Arab soap operas on the hotel room tv.
For those who don’t know any Arabic, it would be a nice idea to learn some basics like greetings and saying yes and no. Alfonso decided to do that as well. It’s not something you have to do when you travel to Jordan or anywhere else, but when I think about what to do in Jordan I feel like this is such a lovely free thing you can include in your Jordan travel experience. You’ll get home knowing a few extra words in one of the most spoken languages in the world!
Travel to Jordan Now
So you may have been been pondering the question “is Jordan safe?” as well as what to do in Jordan. But I hope I have answered that and shown you that there are some amazing things to do in Jordan. If you want to visit a secure Arab country with lots of things to see Jordan is just that! However, make sure you go in late winter or early spring. Any other time will be too hot during the day and still too cold at night in the desert.
Would you ever travel to Jordan? Has this post given you some ideas for what to do in Jordan? What else do you know about the country?