Welcome to Jordan!

welcome to jordan

Ever since you enter the country of Jordan, you’ll be greeted with the words ”Welcome to Jordan!”!

You’ll be hearing the phrase ”Welcome to Jordan!” more often than you expect, trust me – you’ll hear it numerous times a day, every day. Sometimes the local people will ask you ”where are you from” first, other times they will greet you without asking you anything but just when you pass by the street. And that’s something that everyone does – taxi drivers, hotel owners, waiters, kids, shop owners, random people on the streets, tour guides, etc., etc.

welcome to jordan

Jordanians will kill you… with kindness!

Of course, I always wanted to visit Jordan, but when I booked my flight to Israel, I was not planning to go to Jordan, too. I just had other plans, which, fortunately, I’d say, changed, so it was a must to hop on the other side of the border – I mean, I was so close anyway, how to miss this opportunity?

When I decided that I’m going to Jordan, I had no idea what to expect. I knew about Petra, about Wadi Rum, and about some other places that I knew I want to visit.

However, I didn’t know what to expect from the country, from the local people, I didn’t even know anything regarding the costs. I didn’t read any guide about visiting Jordan whatsoever.

I knew that Petra is perhaps the most expensive tourist attraction in the world, I did, but I was thinking that apart from Petra, Jordan should be very affordable and budget-friendly. Well, it is not! Jordan is expensive, but it’s worth every single dinar!

Jordanians are one of the nicest, welcoming, and friendly nations out there, that I had the luck to know so far.

If you have the chance to, and I’m sure you will, open yourself to the local people and trust them. Accept their tea invitation, if they want to share their food with you, or if they just want to show you around or talk with you.

I know that this might be difficult for some travelers, especially for people who’ve been to places like, let’s say Morocco, where most of the time any of these things will mean that someone is trying to scam you.

Jordan it’s not like that. 

welcome to jordan

Is it safe to visit Jordan? 

Just by being located in the Middle East and being a neighbor country with places like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Syria, makes people worrying about traveling to Jordan. Of course, the media doesn’t really help either.

Mainstream reports on conflicts in the region are what makes travelers apprehensive. Jordan, however, is the safest country to visit in the Middle East.

Once you realize that for yourself and start feeling comfortable in Jordan, that’s when you’re going to start feeling and experiencing the Jordanian hospitality as well.

I know that it might be difficult to change your initial preconceptions about Jordan and the Middle East in the first place. If you do, though, you’ll find out that there is much more about Jordan than what you might hear on the news.

welcome to jordan

Solo female traveling to Jordan

Even though I entered and exited Jordan as a solo female traveler, I did find a travel company in the face of one Aussie guy, with whom I traveled together around Jordan. I must say that being in the company of someone who represents the male gender made me feel safer and more comfortable.

The truth is that even though I never listen to what they say in the news and I didn’t go there with anything bad in mind if I was on my own, I would probably not go in the car of these strangers in Amman, or experience Petra in a different way. With this in mind, I still believe that Jordan is a safe destination for solo female travelers – don’t get me wrong! We, the solo female travelers, just always should be extra careful in who we trust.

READ NEXT: Is Jordan Safe Travel to (with kids)

welcome to jordan

Welcome to Jordan!

Welcome to Jordan!” was the first thing that I heard getting down from the bus coming from Nazareth to Amman. That was, not surprisingly, accompanied by questions like ”Taxi?”, and ”Where are you going?”.

Shortly after I took an Uber to get me to the place I had booked and the Uber driver welcomed me to Jordan as well. He was a kind, young man who shared some tips and some of his knowledge for Jordan. Everyone from the hotel owner, restaurant staff, and people on the streets were welcoming me to Jordan until the end of the day.

I remember, in the evening on my first day in Amman, I was thinking ”wow, those people seem so good so far” – it didn’t take me long to find out that they surely are!

On the second day, I meet the Aussie guy while I was checking out the Roman Theater in Amman – his name is Justin btw. In the evening we went out for dinner together and then we stumbled upon Osama and Rak, two local guys.

At first, Justin just said ”hi” and they thought that we want to ask them about something. So, we asked them where they hang out, what they do when they go out, etc. After a short talk, we moved on, and so did they.

A few minutes later, we were walking the famous Rainbow Street in Amman when they stopped next to us in their car. They asked us if we want to join them and of course, we said yes.

Osama and Rak showed us around the city, took us for ice tea and shakes and overall, we’re just too kind and good to us. ”Welcome to Jordan!”, they said.

welcome to jordan

In my next 10 days in Jordan, I meet so many lovely locals like them – we even slept in a cave in Petra, where we meet the local Bedouins and with whom we had an awesome time with.

Welcome to Amman. 

Amman is a huge city! There are not that many things to do in it, but there are definitely some places that are worth checking out. 

From the first look, Amman seems somehow grey and cold. There is some street art that is starting to pop up, which makes the city a little bit more colorful. What makes Amman warm, though, is mainly the people.

Everyone is welcome to The Duke’s Diwan!

If you follow me on Instagram, you might remember from my stories that I promised you that the story about the duke will go on the blog, so here it is: Meeting the duke himself.

What’s the Duke’s Diwan?

The Duke’s Diwan is the oldest building in Amman. The original building was built in 1924 by Abdul Rahman Madi. It has been serving as Amman’s first post office. Later on, it was used as an office by the Ministry of Finance and in 1948, the building was turned into the Haifa Hotel. The hotel ran for many years, until it was bought by Mamdouh Bisharat aka the Duke of Mukheiheh.

Bisharat, the duke, was given this title by the late King Hussein. The Duke works on preserving historical buildings, bringing back life to Downtown Amman that was neglected for too long.

The Duke transformed the building into a diwan in 2001. ”Diwan” is a reference to the Arabic word for the room in the house that it’s always open to guests, is a meeting point for artists, and people from all nationalities, ages, and genders.

Surprisingly or not, The Duke’s Diwan is more popular among travelers than local people. Actually, very few Jordanians have heard about this place. I found about the diwan randomly, reading about it on the Internet. I read that is the oldest building in Amman, so of course, I wanted to check it out. The Duke’s Diwan is without doubts one of the best places to visit in Amman

When Justin and I went there, I was thinking that we will just go to check out the place, take a few photos and that would be it. When we entered, we were welcomed by a smiley Aussie girl, who just arrived there a few minutes before us. Except for her, there was another man in one of the rooms – he was the Austrian ambassador of something. A few moments later, we meet the duke himself.

The duke was just about to have lunch, so he invited all of us to join him and shared his food with us. We were talking about different topics while eating some delicious, traditional meals. After lunch, the duke invited us for tea and the talks continued. Another man, the owner of one of Amman’s top hotels came as well. It was so nice to be surrounded by those people and getting to know the Duke.

Then, another man showed up. He was a calligraphist and a philosopher. He came so he and the duke can give a present to the Austrian ambassador of something man. The gift was his name written in Arabic, very beautifully. What a nice gesture!

The calligrapher then started explaining to us how complex and difficult the Arabic language is and he also wrote all of our names in Arabic, Farsi, and Diwani. The papers were then signed by the duke, so we went back home with presents as well.

Next time when I go to Amman, I’ll visit the Duke again!

welcome to jordan

The Duke is the man on the chair in front of me.

Welcome to Petra!

Petra is the main reason why most people are visiting Jordan. Petra is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and its part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO even described Petra as ”one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage”.

Petra truly is impressive and magnificent! Petra is a must-see and well-worth visiting world’s attraction. There is also a different way to experience Petra that is far better than just walking around the lost city – if you’re up for something more adventurous.

Petra is the number one tourist attraction in Jordan. Sadly, that also makes Petra a tourist trap as you can easily get scammed by the local Bedouins. Some of them are the nicest people on Earth, while the others just pretend to be. That’s how they make their living and feed their kids, so it does not come as a surprise to anybody. The problem is that all Bedouin are being generalized as the same when they’re actually not.

welcome to jordan

Sex scams

Many female travelers are complaining to be victims of the local Romeo’s – Bedouins that seduce girls just to have sex with them.  The thing is that if you don’t have a head on your shoulders to think with, and you’re falling for every guy who just says something nice and pretty about you, well, then it’s your own problem. Just don’t say that they are all the same and make useless Instagram accounts to spread your message. I understand that this is happening and I’m sorry for the girls who have been ”victims” but it’s just unfair to show all of them as same when that’s just not the case. 

I would say, girls, talk with them, have fun, enjoy your time in Petra but don’t be reckless. Especially, if you’re traveling solo, and a Bedouin invites you for a tea in his cave. What do you think that this means?

There was one Bedouin guy who was trying to hit on me, but I make him understand that I’m not interested.

It’s also good to know that for men in the Muslim world if you’re not married it means you’re single, it doesn’t matter if you have a boyfriend. Someone recommended me to get a fake wedding ring just in case, but Justin was doing a better job than a fake wedding ring. 😀

But not all of them are like this!!! Period. There are many good people in Petra! Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with them. 

Me in the company of local Bedouins in Petra 

 

Welcome to Wadi Rum!

I’ve been to the desert once before on my 3 week trip to Morocco. Sahara desert is much different than the Wadi Rum desert. I liked the Wadi Rum desert better than Sahara, simply because there is much more to see there than just the sand. Wadi Rum doesn’t have such high dunes though. Spending a night in the Wadi Rum desert is also a must on every trip to Jordan. Plus, it’s very interesting to learn about Bedouin’s history and their way of life from the local Bedouins themselves.

 

Welcome to the lowest point on Earth – Dead Sea!

The Dead Sea is a salt lake bordered by Jordan, Israel, and Palestine. The lowest point on Earth, the Dead Sea, it’s about 430 meters below the sea level. It’s one of the Earth’s saltiest bodies of water, which is the reason why plants and animals cannot flourish.

People are visiting the Dead Sea mainly because of the weird fact that you can just float on the surface, as well as the health benefits for the body. Rub the mud from the Sea on your skin and after you wash it off, you’ll notice that your skin has never been softer than that. The salt and the minerals from the Dead Sea are being used in many cosmetics.

I visited the Dead Sea on the Israeli side and I didn’t go again to it while in Jordan. But if you’re only visiting Jordan, then don’t miss it!

welcome to jordan

Welcome to Aqaba – where the desert meets the Red Sea

It was a long time ago when I first found out that the Red Sea is great for diving. I don’t dive (yet) and I don’t even remember how I came across this information 7 or 8 years ago, but I didn’t forget about it. So, when I decided that I’m coming to Jordan, I wanted to go to the Red Sea and do some snorkeling. Then, I looked at the prices online and it was expensive to go on a snorkeling trip that I was about to cry. Luckily, Justin had a snorkeling mask, so when we ended up in Aqaba, I took his equipment and went snorkeling for free.

And yes, snorkeling in the Dead Sea was awesome!! All that I have read many years ago was true. The Red Sea underworld is beautiful and captivating! Looking forward to being back when I learn to dive.

Thank you for your hospitality, Jordan! I’m sure we’ll meet again. 

Thanks for reading, 

Bilyana

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