Practical Information Jordan

GENERAL INFORMATION OF JORDAN

Landscape
Jordan, officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is an Arab kingdom in Asia encompassing around 90km2/36sq mi and a population of almost 7 million people, of which 2,5 million life in the capital Amman. The coast line of Aqaba is only 35 km long.
Nature is characterized by beautiful desert and mountain landscapes. In the spring, especially the North is green and you will find lots of flowers. Jordan's national flower, the black iris, can be mainly found around Madaba.

Religion
In Jordan the state religion is Islam, but there is a freedom of religion. Around 90% of the population is Muslims (Sunni). And there is a Christian minority.

Politics and Government
Jordan has a constitutional monarchy with an appointed government. King Abdullah II rules over Jordan since 1999.

Language
The official language is Arabic although many people speak English, especially in bigger cities and touristic places.

Climate
Jordan has a long and pleasant spring and fall, from March through May and from September through November. Rain occasionally falls from December to April (mainly in the north). In the Jordan Valley, around the Dead Sea and in Aqaba the winters are pleasant. Jordan’s mountains can be quite cool and snowy in the winters.  The summer months are hot but with little humidity.
The climate in Jordan is semi-dry in summer with average temperature in the mid 30 °C (86 °F) . With hot, dry summers and cool winters during which practically all of the precipitation occurs, the country has a Mediterranean-style climate. Petra, Dana, Amman and Madaba are cooler than Aqaba.

Time zone
UTC +3

Electric
The standard throughout Jordan is 220 volts/ AC 50 cycles. Plugs are either the European 2 round pin variety or the UK 3 square pin type (in Aqaba),

Safety
The first thing you will notice when you arrive to Jordan is that the people are very warm and welcoming to tourists. You will be pleasantly surprised by the sense of security you will find in Jordan- it is one of the safest places to travel in the world. Jordan maintains good relations with ALL of its neighbours and is truly an oasis of peace in this region.
Since the ‘Arab Spring’ the Middle East has been a lot in the media. Unfortunately, we all know the stories and images of Syria and Egypt. Fortunate, Jordan remained stable and safe. However, all development did have a huge effect on Jordan and one is that many tourists decide not come to visit. 


Vaccinations
In general you are advised to project against: DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, polio) and Hepatitis A. Jordan proposes no vaccinations are required. There is no malaria in Jordan.

Food & Beverage.
Drinking water: 
The water from the tap is fine, but it is better to drink filtered water. Bottled water you can buy everywhere. You also do not have to take extra care for ice cubes or with brushing teeth.

Meals 
The Jordanian dishes are often influenced by other countries around with mediteranian sea and from traditional Arab dishes., like shoarma, falafel, hummus, foel, kebab, shis bebab, laban and bread. The Jordan kitchen knows many hot and cold starters, called ‘mezza’

Alcoholic drinks: 
Despite the ban by Islam, liquor is widely available. Especially in Aqaba, where alcohol has less tax.. You can find local wines and Amstel beer. A local drink is Arak, an anise distillate, similar to the Greek Ouzo and Turkish Raki.

Soft drinks & Juices.
Soft drinks are available almost everywhere. Fresh juices you can find on various places. Lemon & Mint is a very known delicious drink.

Tea and coffee: 
Black, hot, sweet tea is the national drink of choice. This Shai is served everywhere in small glasses. If you do not want sugar, you say: b'dun shakar. Also coffee here is very popular, especially Turkish coffee. Which is boiled with sugar and served in small cups. You can also take Arabic coffee: being repeatedly boiled and thus more concentrated. This coffee is quite seasoned with cardamom and that gives the coffee a distinct and delicious flavor.

Tipping
At most touristic and expansive restaurants, the service charge is already included in the total amount. If this is not the case, then a tip of about 10% is a guideline. Sometimes the government tax of 6% is not included in the prices on the menu.
When traveling, it is customary to give a driver or guide a tip. Tips are often a necessary income supplement.

Currency
In Jordan they use the Jordan Dinar (JD).  Paper money you find in 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 JD.
Coins of 5,10, 25 en 50 piasters. With prizes, you see other 3 numbers behind the decimal point. This addition stems from the old currency ‘fills’. 250 fills is 25 piaster or a quarter of a dinar.

American dollars are widely accepted. Euros are best to change in advance at a Money Change office (not at a bank). ATM’s are be find on various places in Aqaba. In many shops and (touristic) restaurants, you can pay with credit card.

Negotiating
It is normal to negotiate when you buy stuff at the market or at a souvenir shop. Often people make quite a game of it and often you get offered (very sweet) tea during the negotiation. Some souvenir shops have fixed prices. You can go along with the play of negotiation, but do not go to the bottom.

Gestures
Jordanians use many gestures during their conversations, and some of them are very different then known in Europe. People say "no" by raising the eyebrows and throw their head back slightly. Sometimes a kind of tsk-tsk' sound is added as well. (A Dutch person makes that noise when he/she is irritated).
You can impose a polite way of saying "no thank you" to indicate the right palm on your heart. If you want any tea or coffee, put your hand on your cup and say "sjoekran '(thank you). Men who ask for directions, should not be surprised if they are taken by the hand or arm, and thus be brought to the requested destination. It's very common for men to walk hand in hand. If you, as a woman, are taken by the hand like this, you may have your reservations.
The left hand is considered unclean, as (especially in the old days) is used for toileting. Always use your right hand if you like to give or receive something.

Woman 
In Jordan it is not a problem to travel alone for a women.. Still, it remains advisable to wear "discreet" clothing. (see below). In villages it is inappropriate go to tea houses (without male company) or other places where only men come. Direct eye contact is sometimes perceived as an 'invitation'. In general, you'll have fewer problems if you radiate a certain self-confidence.

Photography
You can take pictures of anything unless it involves military objects (bridges, airports and administrative buildings) or police. Many people often like to be on the photo, but always ask in advance for permission. Be careful with photographing women, praying people and places that, according to Jordanians, give not a positive image of their country.

Clothing. 
For women, it is bests to wear dresses or trousers to the knee. Also make sure you’re your shoulders are covered. Tops with spaghetti straps or very tights tops are certainly not appreciated. In Amman and Aqaba it is more flexible, but for your own mood it is better to adjust your clothing.
If you like to go the beach, a private beach is the best choice where are no problem when you wear swimsuits. At the public beach (South Beach) it can be a hassle.
The local female population are walking around in as well eastern as western clothing. A woman in jeans or dress is perfectly normal. In addition, there are many women around who are shrouded from head to toe in a long black chador, and sometimes even with a fully veiled face. Bedouin women are usually wrapped in colourful dresses and headscarves.

 

Men will usually have no problems with walking around in (not to short) shorts. Long trousers are definitely more appreciated. Local men you see walking around in both Western clothes as traditional, like a jalabiyyeh (long oriental dress). Many men still wear a red/white (Jordan) or black/white (Palestinian) headdress, the keffiyeh