Jordan Travel Guide

Jordan travel guide FlagThe area of Jordan has been inhabited since prehistoric time, given that it is in the region known as the “cradle of civilization”. Known history began with the area controlled by the Canaanite groups Ammon, Edom and Moab. These tribal groups were in constant conflict with the Israelites, who controlled the region west of the Jordan River, and are mentioned several times in the Old Testament. During this time these groups were under the influence of various empires including the Akkadian, Egypt, Hittite, Assyrian, Babylonian, Achaemenid, and Greek. Once the Greek Empire broke into four parts it gave the small Nabataean Empire an opportunity to prosper from their capital of Petra in southern Jordan. Unfortunately, by the time the Romans ruled the land each of these tribes had lost their cultural identity.

Helpful Info
Population – 10,171,000
Money – Dinar (US$1 = 1.41JD) (Fixed)
Language – Arabic
Religion – 95% Muslim
When to go – Spring and fall are best, summer is very hot
World Heritage Sites – 5 – Baptism site, Petra, Quseir Amra, Um er-Rasas, Wadi Rum
Country formed – established on 22 March 1946
Jordan Travel Guide - Citadel - Hercules Temple

Hercules Temple at the Amman Citadel

The Roman Empire (and the Byzantine Empire once it split) ruled the area from the 1st century BC until the Arabs conquered it in the 7th century AD. For the next 800 years the area changed hands between the Arabs, Crusaders, and Mamluk until the Ottoman Empire arrived in 1516. They ruled over the land for 400 years until the Arab Revolt during World War 1 (think Lawrence of Arabia). Of course, the British and French had different plans than the Arabs, who were thinking of independence, and it would be another 30 years before that would become a reality.

Since Independence in 1946, Jordan has had a bit of a rocky relationship with Israel and some of the other Arab countries. A peace treaty with Israel in 1994 and a more secular and tolerant government has made Jordan one of the safest countries in the Middle East.

The Treasury at Petra

My Visit

In 2016 I spent a week in Jordan after crossing from Israel at the northern land border. I started in the capital of Amman and worked my way south to Aqaba, where I crossed back into Israel. The highlights of the trip were the Amman Citadel, the eastern desert “castles”, Petra, and Wadi Rum.

I enjoyed my self so much, and missed a few sites, that I chose to return for 9 day in 2019 with my parents in tow. I was able to show them everything I saw the first time, visit a few new places, and connect with old and new friends.

Likes, Dislikes, and Recommendations

Jordan Travel Guide - Desert Castle - Quseir Amra

Quseir Amra was my favorite desert castle

Most people go into Jordan from Israel only for a day trip to Petra. Let me tell you this is a huge mistake and they are missing so much! There is so much more to Jordan than just Petra. Nine days is a perfect amount of time to really see Jordan.

A recommendation I have for you is to get the Jordan Pass before you arrive. As long as you stay more than three nights it covers the visa fee you have to pay, a 1-3 day ticket for Petra, and entrance to over 40 other sites and museums.

Jordan Travel Guide - Wadi Rum

The desert of Wadi Rum

The itinerary I recommend would start in the north part of Jordan and see Jerash (a top 10 Roman ruin in the world), the castle at Ajlun, and the Pella archeological site. From there head to the capital of Amman, where you will find enough to fill a day with the citadel being the highlight. From Amman a day out into the Eastern Desert to see at least three of the “Five Desert Castles” (Qasr Al Kharaneh, Quseir Amra, and Qasr Al Azrad are the best and must dos). You can also take a day trip to the Dead Sea from Amman. Now you will want to head towards Petra and can stop at the castle at Karak and Dana National Park on the way. Another high recommendation is to do Petra At Night for your first time at this amazing site and then explore it the next day as well. Next is to spend a night in the Wadi Rum desert with a local Bedouin, where they will give you a day tour through this amazing World Heritage Site. The final stop is beach time in Aqaba.

Of course you can do this route in reverse order as I did my second time in Jordan when I was showing my parents around. In fact i had so much fun showing them around this amazing country that I would be interested in leading another group around, so if you are interested contact me and we can work out the details.

You can get even more helpful hints by watching the travel video I made for Jordan. Also, you can use my blog posts below the video to help make up the Jordan Travel Guide.

All Blogs From Jordan

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