People often asked me, “Is Jordan safe?” before I left for Jordan. After visiting Jordan for a week, I must say it’s time to put aside your fear and apprehension about traveling to Jordan. Jordan is safe. And the people are friendly.
A journey through Jordan offers visitors a step back in time – to the impressive ancient Petra, and Wadi Rum, the world’s most accessible desert with rock arches and sandstone mesas. And the 2,000-year-old Roman ruins in Jerash. In Amman, the capital, there’s a blend of new spaces and old world charm.
Your travels to Jordan can begin in Aqaba if you’re cruising. Most travelers fly to Amman like first-time visitors Harrison and Tony. Harrison and Tony are Trippy users and they took advantage of our Q&A platform for suggestions and to clarify a few doubts.
What is the best way to spend four days in Jordan, beginning in Amman? Will be there with my girlfriend and have a mid-range budget, not looking to stay in hotels.
My wife and I are doing an around-the-world trip for one year and were told to visit Jordan by a trusted friend… But we don’t know much about it! Aside from Petra and Wadi Rum, what places should we visit? We love active pursuits (hiking, boating), REALLY love local food, love the outdoors, and love ancient sites. We’re not huge fans of museums, galleries, or white-tablecloth fanciness… We’re happy to rough it. We’d love any feedback on towns to visit, restaurants to eat at, great neighborhoods to explore, etc.
Both Harrison and Tony received tons of suggestions and expert tips from other Trippy users. Here are the answers that are also suitable for first timers to Jordan:
What to do
You can’t leave Jordan without visiting Petra. Located deep in the desert, hidden for centuries, Petra is an architectural treasure built by the Nabateans over 2,000 years ago. Many tourists take a day trip to Petra. I suggest taking at least two days to explore – in the evening before sundown and early morning at 6 am.
Alex from London wrote:
Arguably the best-known site in Jordan, Wadi Musa is an easy drive from Amman, on the comfortable Kings Highway. You may have two choices, to visit from Amman (VERY early departure) or to stay at one of the local hotels or homestays for a dawn entrance.
The earlier you arrive, the fewer tourists you will encounter. Spend a day walking the site you will see fewer visitors the deeper in you go (the Petra Treasury is at the entrance) and you will be rewarded with many other stunning views. Note as well that the better view of the Treasury is from ‘above,’ a small trail leads to the place of sacrifice on the quiet cliffs above it, it is worth the 2hr hike!
Another option for Petra is to arrive from Amman in the early morning and then stay overnight — check with the tourism board or Petra website if the site is opened on the evening of your visit, you may be rewarded with an incredible nighttime stroll and candlelight concert.
Spending the extra money on a tour guide is unnecessary. The travel brochure available at the ticket office and a travel guidebook are more than enough to learn about Petra’s narrow Siq, the Treasury (Al-Khazneh with six pillars guarding the entrance), royal tombs, colonnaded street, theater, and monastery.
I made the mistake of hiring a tour guide from the tourist office in Petra for the evening and morning tours. The tour guide spoiled my visit to the world’s greatest architectural wonder. My family and I spent a total of $450 hiring a private tour guide who was unwilling to climb to the royal tombs and kept discouraging us from going to the monastery, probably because he was too lazy to take the 800 steps.
Explore Wadi Rum
Trippy user Alex recommended Wadi Rum:
The excellent desert landscape of the south, Wadi Rum offers much more than just dunes, it is an inspiring canyon and rocky plain with breathtaking formations. I think a perfect option is to pair it with Petra (which is on the way) and then stay overnight in one of the government organized bedouin camps.
If you are keen on modern amenities, this is the perfect alternative, the remoteness of camping plus modern bathrooms for convenience. The official camps are community projects, created to support the local Bedouin culture sustainably and safely.
Wadi Rum is otherworldly. You’ve got to see it for yourself to understand the mesmerizing beauty of the jebels (mountains), sandstone mesas, rock arches, gorges, and cliffs. See the changing colors of the rock formations from day to night.
You can sleep under the stars (organized by a tour company or the Bedouin camps), in tents or at luxurious and air-conditioned domed camps. I would suggest staying in one of the local camps for an authentic Bedouin experience. A must-do is to join a full-day tour of the desert on a 4X4 with a Bedouin guide.
Tour Mount Nebo
From Mount Nebo, you can see the Jordan River Valley, Jericho, Jerusalem, and the Dead Sea. It’s a holy place for Christians, and it is believed to be the place where Moses was buried. There are beautiful mosaics displayed at The Moses Memorial Church.
Stay awhile in Amman
Taima from Amman suggested the following places to visit in Amman:
You can visit the museums we have around here, visit the Amman Citadel and downtown, where we have an ancient Roman Theater, or take a walk down Rainbow Street next to the first circle which is full of cool shops and restaurants.
Also rainbow street tends to have some pretty lovely bars right off it if you feel like a drink.
My favorite spot in the city is the incredibly well preserved Roman Theatre, more so because it is located smack in the middle of the old town, surrounded by houses and shopping streets, the hustle and bustle so typical of middle eastern medinas. The citadel and souks are also worth exploring.
Half day trip to Jerash
The ancient Corinthian columns and Forum’s oval colonnade have dominated the skyline of Jerash since the Roman era. Arguably the most well-preserved Roman city outside of Rome with theaters, temples, colonnaded avenues, Hippodrome, arches, and forums.
Other things to do
Most Trippy users like Chris recommended these places to visit in Jordan:
In that short time, you would be able to do Amman, Jerash, Petra, and the Dead Sea. If you’re looking to maximize your touring and are okay with moving around a lot, you may be able to get a night in the desert of Wadi Rum. All would require some strategic planning but is doable depending on how ‘on the go’ you want to be.
Where to stay
There’s a range of accommodation in Amman – from luxury serviced apartments and Airbnb apartments to affordable and luxury hotels.
Grand Hyatt Amman
Located in the diplomatic and business district, the Grand Hyatt Amman is a five-star hotel offering 311 rooms and suites, some with amazing views of the city. It has a swimming pool, fitness center, on-site restaurant, and a spa center.
I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Amman for two nights.
The super luxurious Fairmont Amman is close to Abdoun, the affluent residential district in Amman. It has 317 rooms and suites; most offer spectacular views of the city. I suggest paying a little more for the Fairmont Gold guest rooms. You’ll get concierge service, complimentary breakfast, and private lounge with drinks and canapés.
I stayed three nights at Fairmont Amman.
Petra Moon Hotel
After much consideration between Movenpick, Marriott Petra, and Petra Moon Hotel, I chose Petra Moon Hotel for its location, price and rave reviews. The hotel is only 100 yards from Petra’s main entrance. Located next to Movenpick, Petra Moon Hotel offers quiet and clean rooms, an on-site restaurant, a rooftop dining terrace, and friendly service.
The staff will help in organizing tours and transportation to Wadi Rum, Aqaba, Amman or anywhere you want to go. I stayed at Petra Moon Hotel for a night.
Movenpick is located next to Petra Moon Hotel. It’s a luxurious hotel with an on-site restaurant, swimming pool and also an ATM which I used while I was in Petra.
Petra Guest House
I went to Petra Guest House to see the Cave Bar, a restored Nabatean house from the first century. It’s located just steps from the entrance to Petra. You can’t find another hotel closer than Petra Guest House.
In Wadi Rum, you have a choice of luxury camps or traditional Bedouin camps. I made a decision not to indulge in luxury and instead stayed in two Bedouin camps – one was super basic and without warm water. The other I would highly recommend.
Located in Wadi Rum Protected Area, Arabian Nights has five traditional woolen tents, a shared bathroom (men and women using the same facilities) and a Bedouin-style big tent that served as a communal room and dining room. It is budget-friendly and not for those looking for a luxurious place to hang out.
I stayed at the Arabian Nights for one night, joined the full day 4WD tour and had all my meals there as well.
Bedouin Wadi Rum
I’m glad I had a chance to stay at Bedouin Wadi Rum. It had separate men and women’s hot showers, clean toilets and was more comfortable than Arabian Nights. I highly recommend Bedouin Wadi Rum for those who are seeking a budget-friendly, comfortable, clean and traditional Bedouin camp.
When to go
You can visit Jordan year-round but the most comfortable time is between March to May and Mid-September to early December. It’s sizzling hot in summer at around 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Trippy user Ohna said:
Since these are warm countries, you do not want to come in July and August, and even June could be warm. Best would be April, May, Sept, Oct, but there is a good chance that even Nov. would be excellent and prices can go down.
What to eat
Here’s a list of food and drinks to try:
- Mansaf – Jordanian national dish of lamb, rice, flatbread, nuts, and yogurt sauce
- Shawarma – sliced meat on pita bread
- Falafel – ground chickpeas
- Mezza – side dishes
- Magloubeh- stewed meat, vegetables and rice
- Knafeh – Jordanian desert with nuts and soaked in sugar syrup
- Sweet tea with sage or mint
- Jordanian coffee with cardamom
Buy a Jordan Pass if you are staying for more than four days
Visitor’s visas are issued upon entry at the airport at 40 JD ($56). The visa fee is waived if you buy a Jordan Pass before your arrival and stay for a minimum of four days in Jordan. Read more about Jordan Pass.