OFFICIALLY THE HASHEMITE KINGDOM OF JORDAN
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is located in the heart of the Middle East, Northwest of Saudi Arabia, South of Syria, Southwest of Iraq, and East of Israel and the Palestinian National Authority. Jordan has access to the Red Sea via the port city of Aqaba, located at the northern end of the Gulf of Aqaba. It shares control of the Dead Sea with Israel. Much of Jordan is covered by the Arabian Desert. However, the north-western part of Jordan is part of the Ancient Fertile Crescent. Their official language is Arabic.
During its history, Jordan has seen numerous civilizations, including such ancient eastern ones as the Canaanite and later other Semitic peoples such as the Edomites, and the Moabites. Other civilizations possessing political sovereignty and influence in Jordan were: Akkadian, Assyrian, Judean, Babylonian, and Persian empires. Jordan was for a time part of Pharaonic Egypt, the Hasmonean Dynasty of the Maccabees, and also spawned the native Nabatean civilization who left the rich archaeological remains at Petra.
Cultures from the west also left their mark, such as the Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Turkish empires. Since the seventh century the area has been under Muslim and Arab cultures, with the exception of a brief period when the west of the area formed part of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and a short time under British rule.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with representative government. The reigning monarch is His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein.
Jordan is a modern Arab nation, its population of 6,316,000 (estimate in 2009) is 92% Sunni Muslim with a small Christian minority. 98% of Jordanians are Arab, including Bedouins, about two thirds are Palestinians (primarily refugees from the wars of 1948 and 1967). The capital city is Amman with a population of 2.2 million (2009). Jordanian society is predominantly urbanized. Jordan is classified as an emerging market with a free market economy. Jordan has more Free Trade Agreements than any other country in the Arab World. Jordan is a pro-Western regime with very close relations with the United States and the United Kingdom.
Entry and Visa Requirements
A valid passport is required. The passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your departure from the country. Whatever the purpose of your stay, you should be in possession of a visa, which can be obtained on arrival at any border crossing or airport or from any Jordanian diplomatic mission. For detailed information on requirements related to each type of visa, seek advice from Jordanian authorities.
The cost of one entry visa for all nationalities is JD 10 (around $14) for all nationalities and for multiple entries it is JD 20 (around $28).
Groups of five persons or more arriving through a designated Jordanian tour operator are exempted from all visa charges.
Any non-Arab visitor to Jordan, whether for business or tourism, needs an entry visa. The required fee for a visa in addition to the granted stay duration depends on the visitor’s nationality. Certain nationalities require an entry visa to be obtained prior to travel.
There seems to be a variety of visa information on this subject so, it is recommended that you check with the Jordanian diplomatic mission in your country prior to travel to ensure that you have all the necessary knowledge and paperwork.
Arrivals at Aqaba, either through the port, the airport or at the crossing from Israel or Saudi Arabia, are granted a free visa to Jordan. There is no obligation associated with this visa, provided that you leave the country within 1 month of arrival, and that you do not need to 'renew' the visa.
Voltage - 220 Volts. Sockets are of the European, 2 pronged variety, be sure to pack a power adaptor.
Health - It is recommended that you be vaccinated for Tetanus and Polio, if you haven't had a booster in the last ten years. Food and waterborne diseases are more common, so we recommend vaccinations for typhoid (valid 3 years) and Hepatitis A (validity varies). Additionally, it is recommend you be vaccinated for Meningitis due to recent reports that have indicated its presence. However this information can change regularly and is intended only as a guide. For the most up to date and accurate information please consult your local healthcare provider.
Climate - Average daily maximum temperatures in Amman range from 12°C in January to 32°C in August. The weather in the Jordan Valley (Petra) and south of the country is very hot during the summer months of April through to September. Daytime temperatures can exceed 38°C and increase to as high as 49°C. In winter (Dec to Feb) temperatures can range from 0°C to just 12°C. If visiting during winter, you will need to pack warm clothes for sightseeing and also for your stay in the desert at Wadi Rum.
Average max temp °C
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Amman 18 23 27 32 36 37 37 38 32 30 28 21
Time - Jordan is 2 hours ahead of GMT. From March to October, Jordan is 3 hours ahead of GMT.
Money - Jordan's currency is the Jordanian Dinar, or JD. It is subdivided into 1000 fils, or 100 qirsh or piastres. It appears in paper notes of 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 JD denominations. Coins come in denominations of 0.5 JD, 0.25 JD, and 100, 50, 25, 10 and 5 fils. The daily exchange rate is published in local newspapers. Pound Sterling, US Dollars, Euro and other major currencies can be exchanged into Jordanian Dinars before or on arrival. Exchange facilities are available at various bureau de changes and banks in major towns have ATMs.
Food, glorious food - Jordanian food is very good, combining many of the best traditions of Middle Eastern cooking. Try the ubiquitous kebabs, musakhan (a chicken dish that is baked on Arabic bread), farooj (spit-roasted chicken served with salad and bread), mensaf (the national dish - consisting of lamb served on a bed of rice and pine nuts, in a tangy yogurt sauce), fattayer and sambusek (small pastries filled with minced meat, sharp white cheese and spinach or herbs), fabulous unleavened breads, maglouba (a fish/meat stew) and very fine desserts. There’s a lot of open-pit cooking. Fresh figs and apricots are a real treat. Arabic coffee, mint tea and fruit drinks are available everywhere. Try the wide variety of fresh nuts, roasted and salted in Aqaba
Shopping - Jordan offers a range of quality souvenirs. Look out for high-quality artifacts including rugs, pottery, paintings, jewellery, embroidery and woven items produced by local Jordanian women under the auspices of the Noor-Al Hussein Foundation and the Queen Alia Fund. A popular form of ceramic ware is ‘Jerusalem Pottery’. Platters are highly decorated with biblically-inspired designs including fish, peacocks, grapes and goblets of wine. Known as Hebron glass, colourful handmade glassware in brilliant colours is a nice buy, as is silver jewellery crafted by the Bedouin people. Dead Sea products of all guises, olive oil and soaps, sweetmeats and olive wood objects are also uniquely Jordanian souvenirs.
GETTING AROUND JORDAN
BUSSES – JETT Company (Jordan Express Tourist Transportation) offers busses throughout Jordan and to neighbouring countries. http://www.jett.com.jo/company.htm
Large private buses, usually air-conditioned, run north from Amman to Irbid and south to Aqaba. There are two main bus stations in Amman: Abdali and Wahdat. Buses from Abdali go to Ajloun, Beqa’a, Deir Alla, Fuheis, Jerash, Irbid, Sweileh, Wadi Seer and the King Hussein Bridge. Most of these fares cost less than half a dinar. Buses from Wahdat station go south of Amman to Aqaba, Madaba, Petra, Ma’an, Wadi Mousa, Karak and Hammamat Ma’een. Fares for these routes are usually below 2 JD. Destinations are shown on the front of public buses in Arabic, so if you do not read Arabic ask to be shown the bus you need.
All smaller towns are connected by 20-seat minibuses. These leave when full and on some routes operate infrequently. The Dead Sea is one destination that is difficult to get to without private transport, as there are no JETT or public buses operating there.
RENT A CAR - Car rental in Jordan is fairly expensive in comparison to Europe and the United States, but there are plenty of choices available in Amman, Aqaba and at Queen Alia airport. All the main international car rental companies operate in Amman, and some have offices in other cities. Rental cars have green number plates with yellow writing, whereas Jordanian private cars have white number plates.
When you are calling to compare prices, be sure to check the amount of deposit required, as it can be very high. Obtain good insurance and read the contract thoroughly. Prices should range between 30-40 JDs per day for a medium-sized car. Mileage limits vary from 100-200 kilometers per day, after which you pay extra.
You can also hire a car plus driver from most rental companies. Car rental can also be arranged through travel agents and hotels.
DRIVING in Jordan presents few problems. While an international driving license is preferred, generally a national driving license is sufficient as long as it has a photograph of the holder. Foreigners who plan to live in Jordan must obtain a Jordanian driving license, but this is not necessary for tourists. Local vehicle insurance is also required.
Jordanians drive on the right-hand side of the road. Road signs are in Arabic and often English as well, so this should pose no problem. Jordan has an excellent road system, and can be crossed by car in approximately four hours. Be careful while driving in cities, as roundabouts are common and potentially dangerous. If you choose to drive in the desert, be sure to take a four-wheel drive with the appropriate tires and an extra container of gasoline. It is wise to bring extra water, as well.
There are numerous gasoline (petrol) stations in Amman and in major towns, but take care if you are driving to southern Jordan, as they are more sparsely spaced there. Gasoline or petrol is called benzene, and super is called khas.
TAXIS - are available from Queen Alia International Airport to take you into Amman. The trip takes around 30 minutes, depending on traffic, and will cost you around 10 JD. The airport also has a bus service which arrives at Abdali bus station every hour and costs 0.500 JD. Passengers using Queen Alia airport for international flights are requested to check in two hours before departure.
Regular yellow private taxis are a fast and relatively inexpensive way of getting around Amman, Aqaba and other cities. They are found in abundance in most areas, and you will rarely have to wait long to get one. Taxi drivers are obliged to use their meter, which starts at 0.150 JD.
A cheaper option to a private taxi is known as a servees, or a communal taxi. These are usually white Mercedes or Peugeot 504s which take preordained routes around Amman. Servees taxis will stop to let you out anywhere along their route, although there are registered points where they begin and end their circuit. Like buses, servees taxis post their destinations and route numbers in Arabic, so you may find it difficult to familiarize yourself with their routes. If you cannot read Arabic, hail a passing servees, shout your destination, and it may stop to pick you up. Most servees routes pass through either downtown Amman or Abdali bus station. Servees fares run between 80 and 120 fils
WHERE TO GO AND WHAT TO SEE
I will list and describe the major attractions. You are left to research details on your own. The following web site offers great details and information on lesser attractions and historical sites. http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/tourism.html
Jerash, located 50 km north of Amman and nestled in a quiet valley among the mountains of Gilead. It is open daily, Summer hours are 7:30 a.m. to 7:00p.m. and winter hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission costs 8 Jordanian Dinar (JD) for all foreign visitors, which includes the Jerash Archaeological Museum. Admission for residents costs 1/2 JD.
The Visitor's Centre is located at the entrance to the archaeological park. The site is poorly signposted, so be sure to pick up a map to orient yourself and understand what you are seeing. The ruins are fairly extensive, but it's not hard to see everything in a matter of hours.
Jerash is the grandeur of Imperial Rome being one of the largest and most well preserved sites of Roman architecture in the World outside Italy. To this day, its paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theaters, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates remain in exceptional condition.
This fascinating city makes a great day-trip from Amman, particularly in spring, when the wildflowers are in bloom. The drive will take you less than an hour, but will transport you 2000 years back in time.
Within the remaining city walls, archeologists have found the ruins of settlements dating back to the Neolithic Age, indicating human occupation of this location for more than 6500 years. This is $not surprising, as the area is ideally suited for human habitation. Jerash has a year-round supply of water, while its altitude of 500 meters gives it a temperate climate and excellent visibility over the surrounding low-lying areas.
It is unlikely that visitors will miss anything important, but some of the notable sites are:
Forum (Oval Plaza) - an unusual wide, asymmetrical plaza at the beginning of the Cardo (or Colonnaded Street), built in the 1st century AD. The Oval Plaza is 80 m by 90 m (262 ft by 295 ft) and is enclosed by 160 Ionic columns.
The Cardo - a 600 m (660 yards) colonnaded street that runs the length of the city. It was once lined with the city's major buildings, shops and residences. A complex drainage system lies below the stone paving. Look for chariot tracks in the stone.
Agora - the city's main food market, which has a central fountain. Nymphaeum - an ornate public fountain that was decorated with lions heads and dedicated to the nymphs.
Temple of Artemis - impressive temple ruins dedicated to the patron goddess of the city.
South Theater - an amphitheatre that seats up to 3000. It is occasionally used today for concerts and musical productions. Daily features include bag pipers in traditional Jordanian military dress. Jerash Archaeological Museum - features a collection of artifacts found during excavation, including coins, statuary and sarcophagi.
Some initial ruins are outside the core city and are viewable free of charge:
Hadrian's Arch - built in 129 AD to mark Emperor Hadrian's visit, this was intended to become the new southern gate of the city.
Hippodrome - a partially restored Roman-era stadium. At only 245m long and 52m wide, it was the smallest hippodrome in the Roman Empire.
DON’T MISS - Roman Army and Chariot Experience Two daily shows at the hippodrome (circus) include Roman Legion tactics, mock gladiator fights, and chariot exhibitions. Just ask and you will be allowed to go on a chariot ride after the show. Admission 10JD. Jerash is home to an annual Music and Arts Festival each summer.
BUY - Just outside of the archaeological park is a small souq—an outdoor bazaar, of sorts—that provides a well-rounded offering of Jordanian souvenirs and handicrafts. Many of the shop keepers are amiable and are willing to bargain over prices. Local children and teens will try to sell you Roman coins and other small artifacts found on the site. Please refrain from buying from them, as this practice is not legal.
EAT - The Resthouse, at the entrance to the archaeological park, offers overpriced Jordanian fare in reasonably pleasant surroundings.
Across the street from the Resthouse is a restaurant with a nice back garden. It features lower prices and better food. Along the road into Jerash there are several other restaurants from which to choose.
The Lebanese House, (Walk past the police kiosk on the main street and turn down the dirt road), ☎ 0096226351301, . Cooks up some good Lebanese food, particularly when it comes to Mezza
ACCOMMODATIONS - in Jerash are sparse, there are only two options.
Hadrian's Gate Hotel, Jerash Main Road, opposite Hadrian's Arch, ☎ +962 77 779 3907. Inexpensive and very conveniently located across the road from the entrance to the archaeological park.
The Olive Branch, Ajloun Road (7 km outside town), ☎ +962 2 634 0555 (email@example.com, fax: +962 2 634 0557), . In the hills above town. Quiet and relaxed with a nice swimming pool, but only accessible by car or taxi.
There are also two camping options.
Olive Branch resort (see above) - own tent is required. The campground has lots of resort type luxuries. 5JD
Dibbin National Park - a bit outside the main town, recommended to visit in the week, the weekends are pretty busy. 3JD
GETTING TO JERASH AND AWAY
By car - From 8th Circle in Amman, take the north-west road out towards Salt. Eventually one must turn northward, but brown tourism signs clearly mark the road towards Jerash.
By bus - At the Trababour bus station in Amman, frequent buses leave for Jerash. You should pay no more than 1JD. If you start your day early enough, you can take the bus from Amman to 'Ajloun and see the castle. Then take a bus from 'Ajloun to Jerash, while still having plenty of time to spend at Jerash.
By taxi - A private taxi from Amman can be hired for 8 to 10 JD one-way. Expect to pay as much as 40JD for a return trip and taxi driver staying on site while you look around.
MADABA, MOUNT NEBO AND DEAD SEA
Madaba is a medium-sized city in Jordan, located 25km southwest of Amman. Madaba has become known as the "City of the Mosaics" for the many Byzantine mosaics that have been uncovered throughout the city. The most famous of these is the Madaba Map, a 6th-century mosaic map of the Holy Land.
The first mosaics were discovered, purely by chance, during the building of the new permanent dwellings using squared-up stones from the old monuments. The new inhabitants of Madaba, made conscious of the importance of the mosaics by their priests, made sure that they took care of and preserved all the mosaics that came to light.
The mosaic map of Madaba was discovered in 1896; the findings were published a year later. This discovery attracted the attention of scholars worldwide. It also positively influenced the inhabitants who shared the contagious passion of F. Giuseppe Manfredi, to whose efforts we owe the discovery of most of the mosaics in the city. Madaba became the "City of Mosaics" in Jordan.
What to See - The Madaba Mosaic Map is a map of Holy Land dating from the 6th century AD, preserved in the floor of the Greek Orthodox Basilica of Saint George.
Hundreds of other mosaics from the 5th through the 7th centuries are scattered throughout Madaba. Other mosaic masterpieces - such as in the Church of the Virgin, the Church of the Apostles and the Archaeological Park - depict flowers and plants, birds and fish, animals and exotic beasts, as well as scenes from mythology and everyday pursuits of hunting, fishing and farming. Nice small town, we walked from the Basilica through the streets to the other places.
Less than 10 kilometers west of Madaba is Mount Nebo, known as Pisgah in the Bible. It is where the Bible says Moses lived out his remaining days and viewed the Promised Land which he would never enter (Deuteronomy 34: 1-8). Mt. Nebo offers a fantastic view westward, with a vista that includes the Dead Sea, the West Bank, the Jordan River, and, on a clear day, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
Mount Nebo, get out at the gate, pay admission, go up the hill, see the dedication to Moses, wheel stone, museum and church with mosaics. Church was closed when we were there, mosaics were in a tent. Walk out back and see the view and read the plaque on the towns you might see in which direction if it is clear. Make note of the Brazen Serpent sculpture by Italian artist Giovannie Fantoni.
ACCOMMODATIONS MADABA – Lots of hotels to suit everyone’s budget! They are the Madaba Hotel, Mariam Hotel, Salome Hotel, Black Iris Hotel, Lulu’s Pension, and the Moab Land Hotel.
GETTING TO MADABA AND MOUNT NEBO AND AWAY
By Bus – From Amman there are frequent minibuses each way (about 500 fils each way). If you are coming into Madaba from Amman, make sure you get off the bus on the "Kings Highway" before getting to the bus terminal as it is now located east of the town and you'll need a taxi to get to the centre. We caught a taxi from Mount Nebo into Madaba and were dropped off by St. George’s Church. We haggled with a taxi into Amman bus station then a local taxi to our hotel.
By Taxi - a good option, especially if you're in a group. The cost depends on your bargain abilities but it can go from JD 8 - 12. The city is also only 25 Km from Queen Alia International airport, making it the ideal place to start and end your trip to Jordan.
DEAD SEA – Visit the Dead Sea and the desert of Moab, which is 28 miles (45 kilometers) from Amman and is the lowest point on earth at 1300 feet (400 meters) below sea level. The Dead Sea is one of the most incredible places in the world, known for the Biblical story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra, which was turned into salt.
The Dead Sea speaks for itself; there is no living fish in it! It is by far one of Jordan's most impressive and spectacular places to visit and spend the night for relaxation. The calm shining water glowing from the scorching sun above is known for the concentration of salt and minerals, which makes a therapeutic and unique swimming experience not to be missed! This is an incredible experience!
The cost to enter Amman Beach is 15 JD (January 2010), with swimming pools. Only 15 m to the left is the Locals/Jordanian beach is 7JD, not recommended for women on Fridays. Many hotels also sell day passes that include full use of hotel facilities as well as their Dead Sea beachfronts; at the Mövenpick Resort a day pass is 20 JD per person.
Also visit Bethany-Beyond The Jordan where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, Tell Elias, Spring of John the Baptist, House of Mary the Egyptian, hermit cave and the Byzantine Rhotorius Monastery coming or returning to Amman.
LOCALS/JORDANIAN BEACH (public beach) – We went to the public beach, located 2 kms south of the strip of high-end hotels; go past the entrance to Amman beach. We were the only ones there in the a.m. We came from Karak by bus and taxi with our backpacks. We sat on one of the cement pads, took turns going to the washroom to change and then went in the water; it is a very cool experience. We showered off on the beach, ate our snacks we brought with us, changed and left. We hitched a ride from here to Mount Nebo. It took 25-30 minutes before we got a ride and he wanted to take us into Amman, but after chatting and chatting he took us all the way to Mount Nebo. They were 3 mature Jordanian Palestinians in full dress in a pickup truck who had been out for a picnic. Very kind to us.
GETTING TO THE DEAD SEA AND AWAY –
BY CAR - The Dead Sea is possible as a day trip from both Amman and Aqaba. Tourist areas are accessible from the main road that runs along the eastern side of the body of water and connects to Jordan's Desert Highway running to Amman. Highways leading to the Dead Sea are clearly marked by brown tourist signs. It is an ambitious 3-hour drive from Aqaba in southern Jordan.
BY TAXI - in Amman services can be purchased for the day 20JD if you hail a cab from down town, down town hotels charge 35JD for the same service. Many of the local hotels and resorts have shuttles that travel from Amman to the Dead Sea for a fee. From Aqaba a taxi can be hired for a full day. If booked through the reception of a nice hotel expect to pay about 100 JD. If you find a driver on your own you can haggle and get the price down quite a bit (80 JD in January 2010 - possibly better deals can be agreed on). Make sure to arrange with the driver before you leave if you also want to stop by any other sites as part of your trip as the diver may not want to drive any farther than initially agreed.
BY BUS - There are a handful of bus lines that run from Amman on a daily basis. Bus from Mujaharin bus station to Rame [Rama] costs approx 750 fills, then a taxi from Rame to Amman Beach 4JD or less.
A minibus from the Western bus station in Amman (2JD). Even though the driver may say Amman Beach, he will drop you about 4 miles away. Either hitch (easily done), or get a taxi 3JD. Getting back, hitch to the drop off point or any local village, then bus back to Amman.
BUY - Visitors can purchase packets of the famous mud, as well as other cultural artifacts and handicrafts, from local gift shops.
EAT – The Jordanian public beach contains an over-priced buffet-style restaurant and a small beach-side snack bar. It is recommended that visitors planning to visit the public beaches bring their own food and drinks. There are many resorts that can be found in Jordan to cater to tourists
ACCOMMODATIONS DEAD SEA – There are several 4 stars hotels.
• The Jordan Valley Marriott Resort & Spa is a 5-star luxury hotel (phone: 962 5 3560400).
• The Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea is a 5-star luxury hotel (phone: 962 5 3561111.
• The Kempinski Hotel Ishtar is a 5 star luxury hotel and spa (phone: +962 5 356 8888).
• Holiday Inn Dead Sea A new 5* resort, just about open in 2009. Also the first hotel on the road from Amman. The Dead Sea Resthouse is a 2-star hotel (phone: 962 5 3560110).
• The Dead Sea Spa is a 4-star hotel with many amenities (phone: 962 5 3561000). The hotel is in the hotel zone. Minibus rental with a driver to get here from Amman (including visits to Baptism Site and Mt. Nebo on the way) costs 50 JD. There are a few swimming pools, including 2 children's pools and direct access to the Dead Sea, on the hotels own beach. Wireless internet is available free of charge.
Petra , in the town of Wadi Musa, is in the Edom Mountains of south-western Jordan, 160 miles (257km) south-southwest from the capital of Amman, and about 50 miles (80km) north-northeast of Aqaba. Open daily, October to April 6:00 a.m.-4.30 p.m. and May-September 6:00 a.m.-5.30 p.m.
Petra, the fabled "rose red city, half as old as time", is a well known ancient Nabataean city in the south of Jordan. Due to its breathtaking grandeur and fabulous ruins, Petra was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. Petra is a stunning city carved from a cliff face, it is one of those wonders that makes you think about how little we seem to have progressed since ancient times.
The Nabataeans were a powerful Arab dynasty around the 3rd century BC. The meeting point of several major Nabataean caravan routes, Petra grew as a centre of commerce. It flourished for centuries until it was occupied by the Romans in 106 AD. Then, shipping routes replaced camel routes and Petra fell into decline. It was only in 1812 that the city got some attention again, when it was "rediscovered" by Swiss adventurer, John Burckhardt.
The "city" is carved from sandstone in a deep canyon and is only accessible through a narrow winding cleft in the rock. The most famous ruin is the Khazneh, or Treasury, which greets you when you walk through the cleft. Other highlights include the monastery (with its amazing views), an 8000-seat amphitheatre and the Temple of the Winged Lions, which is still in the process of excavation.
The first real excavations of the site were in 1929 after the forming of Trans-Jordan. Since that time, Petra has become by far Jordan's largest tourist attraction, partially due to the exposure by the Steven Spielberg movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in 1989. Due to the fantastic engineering accomplishments and well-preserved dimension of Petra, the archaeological site was chosen in July 2007 as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World
You're not going to be alone when you visit, but it's easy to forget other tourists when faced with such an awesome monument to civilizations past. Spend some time here and watch the colours change with the light.
We did 2 long days in Petra. One day will be great and you will see enough, day 2 is a bonus. Arrive early and get there before the tourists buses arrive at 8 a.m. At the entrance, before you buy a ticket, go into the information building, pick up a map, use the washroom, then purchase your tickets. Walk in through the Siq, past the Treasury and to the end to see the Monastery; this will take about 2 hours. Work your way back stopping in to see all the sights along the way, street of Facades, theatre, church with mosaics, then spend time looking at the Treasury. We walked out, you can take a horse ride part way in, carriage ride through the Siq, camel, donkey ride, to the Monastery, it depends on how you want to experience Petra. I was 62 and managed the 2 days of walking. Our second day we went down the river overflow trail just before entering the Siq. It was well worth the challenge, the sights were incredible.
Our hotel drove us to the entrance and picked us up at a pre-arranged time. Petra is a must see, skip something else, but make sure you see Petra.
it has pictures of the entrance and what to do when you first get there.
The following are comments in 2008 about getting from Amman to Petra:http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thre...474236#14474236
ACCOMMADATIONS PETRA – There is a wide variety of choices for your budget. From the notable Mövenpick Resort Petra right across from the Petra entrance; Golden Tulip Kings Way, Kings’ Way Hotel out by Moses springs; to the Petra Inn, Sella Hotel, Sarah Mountain Hostel and many more through-out the town. Lots of restaurants to eat at and shops to purchase bread, snack, fruits, etc. and souveniers.
GETTING THERE AND AWAY
By bus - JETT buses, both ordinary and all-inclusive guided tour, connect to Amman and Aqaba. Other tourists come with organized groups, including daily trips from Eilat. Tours to Petra from Taba, Sinai and Sharm el Sheikh are also gaining popularity with charter tourism.
It would cost 24 JD for two persons to travel by JETT bus, and allow you to see almost the entire site in an (exhausting) day trip.
By minibus - The minibus from Wadi Rum costs 3 Jordanian Dinars (JD) each. It takes 1.5 hours to get to Petra. Have the Rum Guesthouse or your tour operator call the bus owner the day before to arrange an exact time for pick up. The bus usually leaves from Wadi Rum at 8:30 in the morning, but may be delayed due to weather or tour groups coming the other way.
There are also minibuses from Amman departing from the Wadabat bus station - these leave when full, and tourists are almost always charged 3 JD to get on. DO NOT allow the drivers to charge you for your luggage, as they might sometimes try to do, considering you're already paying more than the locals (who pay 2-2.5JD).
We took a minibus from Aqaba, up on the hill just beside the Police offices/station. It left early in the morning when just about full. It was a pleasing trip, lots to see along the way, several stops so take along some snacks with you. We got dropped off in downtown Wadi Musa by the traffic circle and walked up the hill to the right, to the Vallentine Hotel.
By taxi - Taxi is also a viable option. For 75 JD or less (depending on how much you haggle) you may be able to get a private taxi from Amman to Petra and back, including the driver waiting around for 6 hours.
A taxi from Aqaba to Petra should cost about JD 30 one-way. If coming from Eilat (Israel), opportunistic drivers at the border may ask for much higher fares; it's better to take one cab to central Aqaba and continue from there at the normal price. Most hotels in Petra can also arrange to have someone pick you up.
If you get there renting a minibus with a driver in the hotel at the Dead Sea, the one-way price would be 140 JD.
TRUST and a similar express bus AFANA leave from Abdali station.
JETT bus station is about 5-10 minutes from Abdali. There are no stops or drop offs with express buses, so you CANNOT use it to get to Wadi Rum Junction.
PETRA, KARAK, MA'AN, WADI RUM - Mini buses South (Ma'an, Karak, Petra) are available at Wahadat Station downtown, a short taxi ride from the Amphitheatre in the opposite direction of Grand Husseini Mosque. Buses to Ma'an run late into the evening, if you missed your bus to Petra, catch one and from Amman to Ma'an, then take a taxi for 5JD from Ma'an to Petra.
To get from Amman to anywhere else, you must go by bus.
The area is now also one of Jordan's important tourist destinations, and attracts an increasing number of foreign tourists, particularly trekkers and climbers, but also for camel and horse safari or simply 'day-trippers' from Aqaba or Petra. In contrast, there are almost no local or Arab tourists though nearby Disi (not actually part of Rum) attracts young people from Amman at weekends. Popular activities in the desert environment include camping under the stars, riding Arab horses, hiking and rock-climbing amongst the massive rock formations. Jabal Rum (1734 metres above sea level) is the second highest peak in Jordan and the highest peak in the central Rum, covered with snow and rising directly above Rum valley opposite Jebel um Ishrin, which is possibly one metre lower. The highest peak in Jordan is south of Rum close to the Saudi border. Named Jebel um Adaami it is 1840m high and was first located by Defallah Atieq, a Zalabia Bedouin from Rum. On a clear day, it is possible to see the Red Sea and the Saudi border from the top. It is now a very popular trek from Rum village.
The influx of tourists to this once isolated area has substantially increased the financial fortunes of the Bedouin people, and it is not uncommon to see locals using mobile phones and driving expensive four-wheel drive vehicles; many also have wi-fi and computers to run their adventure tourism businesses.
The village of Wadi Rum consists of several hundred Bedouin inhabitants with their goat-hair tents and concrete houses, a school, a few shops, and the headquarters of the Desert Patrol
We didn’t visit here. We have been to the Grand Canyon, hiked the trail and did white water rafting there, it was suggested Wadi Rum is similar. We did pass the corner where you get off the bus to hitch a ride, meet a tour company or taxi into the Wadi Rum Visitor Centre. It seems everyone, tourist and tour companies must go through the visitor centre. You can arrange 4 WD trips on arrival and overnight Bedouin camp stays, or a day hike at the visitor centre.
ACCOMMODATIONS – A variety of tourist camps offer over night tenting and sleeping under the stars adventures.
This is the www for sunset Camp - http://www.wadirumsunset.com/useful
And Wadi Rum - http://www.wadirum.jo/Index.htm
I think from Petra you catch a mini buss to Aqaba and get off at the Highway Junction to Wadi Rum.
To get to Wadi Rum take a mini bus to Aqaba or Ma'an (then another from Ma'an to Aqaba), get off at the Wadi Rum Junction, then take a taxi for a flat rate of 5JD to Rum Village or make arrangements to have your guide meet you.
AQABA is where we began our journey, it is a small and friendly town. We arrived by boat from Egypt and it was very chaotic leaving the terminal and getting a taxi. There are lots of taxi drivers vying for your business. A great variety of hotels to choose from, lots of restaurants to eat, street vendors and lots of stores to buy fresh nuts, something we hadn’t expected. Wi-fi is available at McDonalds down by the Royal Jordanian Yacht Club. Nice place to take a walk through. There are charter boats available for snorkel or diving trips and beaches to go in swimming or lazing and gazing. Aqaba is a duty free port and in the shops by the bay you will find great deals on perfume, cosmetics, and other luxury goodies.
AMMAN is the capital city of Jordan. Our first time through we found crummy accommodations so we left the next day. Our second visit to Amman was very enjoyable. Nicer accommodations will do that. Our taxi from the bus depot to our hotel wasn’t the best. Our taxi driver took us to several hotels before we found an interpreter and one of the nicer hotels to tell him we knew what he was doing, running up the meter, and that he was to take us to our requested hotel (we even provided a written address), and we were not going to pay him a JD more and he should be ashamed of himself for doing this to tourists. He took us to our hotel, where the taxi driver was greeted as a regular friend by the staff!
We were in the area of the Roman amphitheatre, lots of restaurants, shops and a great fruit and vegetable market to stroll through. Lots of shops for fast food, fresh fruit drinks, sweets, etc. We wound our way up the streets and many stairs to the Citadel Hill. Lots to see up here and a great view of the city down below.
There are many hotels for every price range, pick your comfort. Amman is growing by leaps and bounds, lots of modern shopping malls and more on the way. It is becoming a very popular city for night life entertainment.
Amman is conveniently located for many Jordanian attractions favoured by tourists. It is a mere 45 minute trip by car to several interesting locations:
• The Baptism Site (Al-Maghtas in Arabic) on the Jordan River where Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist
• Mount Nebo where, according to the Bible, Moses died
• The unique ultra saline waters of the Dead Sea, home to many first-rate resorts
• Jerash, a city of the Decapolis and considered one of the most important and best preserved Roman cities in the Near East
• The Hellenistic ruin of Qasr al Abd, in the near-by valley of Wadi Al Seer
• Petra, two hours from Aqaba, is one of the most breathtaking places in the world (one of the 7 wonders of the world)
• The beaches at Aqaba, a shipping port and Jordan's only access to the Red Sea. Just about three of four hours from Amman by car or 350 km (220 mi) away. You can also take a plane on Royal Jordanian from Queen Alia Airport to King Hussein International Airport (Aqaba Airport). The primarily industrial character of the town is mitigated by the fact that it is set between sprawling mountain ranges and boasts some of the finest coral reefs in the region.
• The unique geological rock formations of Wadi Rum. The colorful rocks are best viewed at sunset and located a half hour away from Petra. Wadi Rum has connections with T. E. Lawrence; consequently the movie Lawrence of Arabia filmed there for a number of scenes
• Iraq Al Amir :Iraq Al Amir is situated in a lush, secluded wadi 24 km to the southwest of Amman. The area is generally known for Qasr Al-Abd (palace of the Slave), an impressive and unique building which dates from the first quarter of the 2nd century BC. Originally two stories high and constructed of megalithic stones weighing from 15-25 tons each, it is the most striking Hellenistic monument that has survived on either side of the Jordan River
If you have a lot of time there are many out of the way historical and religious places to visit, the crusader castles of Karak and Shobak, Umm Qays, Pella, museums throughout the country, the adventure sports of diving, windsurfing, waterskiing, jetskiing, snorkeling, sailing and lots of dessert 4x4 ing, but don’t get lost find a guide first.
Jordan is a great destination for bird-lovers, its remarkable variety of habitats, from rugged mountains and evergreen woodlands to scrubby steppe and hot dry deserts provide perfect environments for many species of indigenous birds. Jordan, being the crossroad of Europe, Asia and Africa, means that migrating birds from these three continents can sometimes be seen together in the same general area within Jordan.
Jordan has a rapidly developing fine arts scene, including an increasing number of female artists. Today, artists from various Arab countries find freedom and inspiration in Jordan. The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts boasts a fine collection of paintings, sculptures and ceramics by contemporary Jordanian and Arab artists. The Jordan Association of Artists can help in organizing studio and gallery tours of Amman.
Have fun and travel safe!