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Holidays in Jordan

Understanding Jordan

For most of its history since independence from British administration in 1946, Jordan was ruled by King Hussein 1953-99 A pragmatic ruler, he successfully navigated competing pressures from the major powers US, USSR, and UK, various Arab states, Israel, and a large internal Palestinian population, through several wars and coup attempts In 1989 he resumed parliamentary elections and gradually permitted political liberalization; in 1994 a formal peace treaty was signed with Israel King Abdullah II - the eldest son of King Hussein and Princess Muna - assumed the throne following his father's death in February 1999 Since then, he has consolidated his power and established his domestic priorities, including an aggressive economic reform program Jordan acceded to the World Trade Organization in January 2000, and signed free trade agreements with the United States in 2000, and with the European Free Trade Association in 2001 There is no hostility between Muslims and Christians, and Jordan is one of the most modern and liberal nations in the region

Talking in Jordan

The national language of Jordan is Arabic Most Jordanians speak English, especially in urban area such as Amman French and German are the second and third most popular languages after English You might encounter some Cauacasian and Armenian languages because of the vast number of Caucasian immigrants that arrived during the early 1900s

Buying stuff in Jordan

The currency is the Jordanian dinar JD, divided into 1000 fils and 100 piastres or qirsh Coins come in denominations of ½ no longer used, 1, 2½ no longer used, 5, and 10 piastres and ¼, ½ Banknotes are found in 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 dinar denominations The currency rate is effectively fixed at 071 JD per US dollar or 141 dollars per dinar, an unnaturally high rate that makes Jordan poorer value than it would otherwise be Most upper scale restaurants and shops at shopping malls also accept US dollars

Costs

A subsistence budget would be around JD 10 per day, but this means you'll be eating falafel every day JD 20 will allow slightly better accommodations, restaurant meals and even the occasional beer JD 15 gets you average accommodation

However, if you prefer to eat what the locals eat, it should only cost $1 USD 71 qirsh for which you can buy two falafel sandwich 25 qirsh with a any can soda popmost common is Coke, Sprite and Fanta for 25 If you want to buy a chicken sandwich it will cost 50 qirsh w/coke 75 qirsh

To try real Jordanian food don't stay at 5/4/3/2/1 star hotels all the time; eating there is expensive for an average Jordanian Unless the meal came with the hotel accommodation, don't eat from there It may look like the people inside can afford the meal and make it look and sound like this is an average way to eat

So this is what you do You are already paying a lot for a couple of days in the hotel which is an average $50 USD Anyone from Amman will tell you it's a lot and it is not worth the money, except those in the expensive area ie hotel, airport, Amman hotel But you will not be able to communicate with them as well as when you came out of the airport to meet the taxi man Go to the city and find what the people are buying and you will save a lot in your trip If not and you want to save the trip of seeing the country's true people then stay where you are and enjoy whatever the travel leader wants you to see, feel, and do

Non-Jordanians can refund the VAT in the airport when they are returning home The VAT amount must be more than JD50 and you can't refund VAT on the following items: Food, Hotel expenses, Gold, Mobile phones

Food and eating in Jordan

Jordanian cuisine is quite similar to fare served elsewhere in the region The daily staple being khobez, a large, flat bread sold in bakeries across the country for a few hundred fils Delicious when freshly baked

For breakfast, the traditional breakfast is usually fried eggs, labaneh, cheese, zaatar and olive oil along with bread and a cup of tea Falafel and hummus are eaten on the weekends by some and more often by others There's no convention for when you should or should not eat any type of food It's up to you This is the most popular breakfast Manousheh and pastries come in as the second most popular breakfast item All of the hotels offer American breakfast

The national dish of Jordan is the mansaf, prepared with jameed, a sun-dried yogurt Grumpygourmetcom describes the mansaf as "an enormous platter layered with crêpe-like traditional "shraak" bread, mounds of glistening rice and chunks of lamb that have been cooked in a unique sauce made from reconstituted jameed and spices, sprinkled with golden pine nuts" In actuality more people use fried almonds instead of pine nuts because of the cheaper price tag While mansaf is the national dish, most people in urban areas eat it on special occasions and not every day Other popular dishes include Maklouba, stuffed vegetables, freekeh

The most popular place to eat cheap Mansaf is the Jerusalem restaurant in downtown Amman

Levantine-style mezza are served in "Lebanese-style" -which is typical to Jordaian style- restaurants around the country, and you can easily find international fast food chains including McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Burger King In addition to chains well-known in Europe and North America, there are some local businesses such as:

  • Abu Jbarah: one of the famous falafel's restaurant in Jordan
  • Al kalha: famous falafel and homous restaurant in Jordan
  • Al-Daya'a and Reem: Famous places to get Shawerma sandwiches and dishes

As for foreign style restaurants, there is no shortage of them The best ones are usually found in 5 star hotels, but the price tag is high Italian restaurants and pizza places are somewhat abundant in Amman, Madaba, and Aqaba, but are very hard to find in other cities

More and more cafes now serve food There is an abundance of Middle Eastern-style cafes serving Argeelleh in addition to the full complement of Western and Middle Eastern coffee drinks There is also a good number of Western-style cafes which usually serve Western-style desserts, salads and sandwiches

Drinking in Jordan

The minimum age for drinking alcohol is 18 years For such a small place there are a lot of bars and quite a few different clubs Despite duty on alcohol being lower than the UK most popular bars set their prices close to what you'd expect in London Normal pub closing time is 11PM and most clubs have to be closed by 2AM there is no "drinking-up-time" There are a few bars with alfresco areas including one with a view over the bay toward Elizabeth castle Most of the working-men's pubs became trendy wine bars in the early nineties so there's not much chance of finding a pool table in town There are two bars which sell Absinthe

There is quite a good music scene, in part due to licensing regulations which allow some bars to stay open till 1AM if they have live entertainment The bars with a late licence never have a cover charge but all the clubs do

The main town of St Helier is compact enough that you can wander from pub to pub and club to club quite easily

Accommodation in Jordan

Amman has an abundance of 5 and 4 star hotels In addition there is good number of 3 star hotels and there are plenty of 2 star and 1 star hotels in downtown Amman which are very cheap, and there are plenty of tourists, especially those that are passing by stay in these hotels Be advised that there are two scales of rating the hotels in Jordan There are the standard, Western-style 5-star hotels such as the Sheraton, Crowne Plaza, etc, and then there are the local 5-star establishments The local establishments that are considered '5-star' in Jordan would be more like 3-star hotels in the West That being said, a traveller will pay top dollar for a Western brand-name 5-star hotel in Amman or Petra and less for the local 5-star hotel

Furthermore, for longer stays it is possible to get furnished apartments from around 200-600JDs a month

Working in Jordan

Work opportunities for the casual foreign visitor are somewhat limited in Jordan The majority of foreigners working in Jordan are on contract work with foreign multinationals and development organisations Amman is the 'gateway to Iraq' and a key base for the continuing efforts to rebuild its neighbour

There is the possibility of picking up casual English teaching work if you hunt around hard for opportunities

Fluent Arabic speakers might have more success, though the process of obtaining a work permit is not particularly straightforward Engage a knowledgeable local to assist you

Cities in Jordan

aydun  balila  bayir  bayt idis  bayt yafa  burma  busayra  dayr yusuf  hawwarah  irbid  jawa  judayta  kafr abil  kafr asad  kafr rakib  kafr sawm  kafr yuba  kitim  kuraymah  madaba  malka  qafqafa  qumaym  raymun  sabha  safut  sakib  sal  samma  sirfa  suf  tibnah  umm nuwarah  umm qays  wadi musa  waqqas  yarqa  

What do you think about Jordan?

How expensive is Jordan?
(1 JOD = 1.41 USD)
Meal in inexpensive restaurant3.68 JOD
3-course meal in restaurant (for 2)29.4 JOD
McDonalds meal4.5 JOD
Local beer (0.5 draft)3.33 JOD
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 5 JOD
Cappuccino2.96 JOD
Pepsi/Coke (0.33 bottle)0.34 JOD
Water (0.33 bottle)0.25 JOD
Milk (1l)1.11 JOD
Fresh bread (500g)0.33 JOD
White Rice (1kg)1.13 JOD
Eggs (12) 1.59 JOD
Local Cheese (1kg) 4.21 JOD
Chicken Breast (1kg) 3.54 JOD
Apples (1kg) 1.46 JOD
Oranges (1kg) 1.2 JOD
Tomato (1kg) 0.53 JOD
Potato (1kg) 0.82 JOD
Lettuce (1 head) 0.52 JOD
Water (1.5l)0.36 JOD
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 16.55 JOD
Domestic Beer (0.5 bottle)3.8 JOD
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 4.24 JOD
Cigarettes1.64 JOD
One way local bus ticket0.55 JOD
Monthly pass for bus33.21 JOD
Taxi start0.28 JOD
Taxi 1km0.55 JOD
Taxi 1hour waiting4.85 JOD
Gasoline (1 liter) 0.99 JOD
Utilities for a "normal" apartment50.08 JOD
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 15.6 JOD
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre 265.42 JOD
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 225.42 JOD
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre 571.95 JOD
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 428.3 JOD
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