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HARD FACTS

The Kingdom of Jordan

Statistics

Visas and exit tax

ASEZ visas in Aqaba

Transit visas

Health care

Vaccinations/innoculations

Weather in Jordan
Jordanian dinar
Budgeting

Bargaining and commissions

Rip offs

Public holidays

Weekends

Telephone cards

Internet

ATMs

Credit cards

Electric Sytem

Drinking water

Distance chart

Buses and service taxis

Driving in Jordan

Car rental agencies

Desert Highway

Hitch hiking

Trains

GENERAL INFORMATION
The flag of Jordan
Map of the region
Quick map of Jordan
Tourist map of Jordan

Souvenirs in Jordan
The Ottoman room

Made in Jordan
Bedouin weaving

HANDCRAFTS

PHOTO GALLERY

VISITING JORDAN

Some FAQs

Suggested itinerary

PETRA PAGES

WADI RUM PAGES

A walk around Petra

Map of Petra

Wadi Rum

Tours of Wadi Rum

Amman

Aqaba

Dead Sea

      Bethany

 Jerash

Kerak

     Wadi Mujib

     Dana

Mt Nebo

Madaba

Madaba Plateau

      Kings' Highway

      Mukawir

      Um Al Rasas

GENERAL INFORMATION
JORDAN OUT OF DOORS
MEETING THE PEOPLE
THE MIDDLE EAST
LIST OF ALL MAPS
CURRENCY CONVERTER

WEATHER IN JORDAN

JORDAN OUT OF DOORS
Dana and Wadi Mujib
Trekking in Jordan
Canyoning in Jordan
Hiking in the Petra area
Riding around Wadi Rum

Camels & Camel trekking
Wadi Rum climbing info
Climbing El Habla

Road to Mudawarra
Diving and snorkelling

HISTORY OF JORDAN
The Mesha stele
Mosaics of the Madaba Plateau
Early views of Petra
Lawrence of Arabia
The Kingdom : the beginning

MEETING THE PEOPLE
Etiquette and behaviour
Marriage customs
Bedouin of Wadi Rum

Some Bedouin customs
Villagers of Wadi Mousa

THE MIDDLE EAST
Women travelling alone
Out of Egypt
Jerusalem the golden
The road to Damascus
Time and money

LIST OF ALL MAPS

CURRENCY CONVERTER

AROUND THE WEBSITE
Links
About me
Tourist conditions in Jordan today
Website news

FUN STUFF
Weather In Amman
Weather in Aqaba
Is this a good time to travel?

Does anybody want to be a God?

The Gates of Damascus
(
Why do we travel?)

More Jordan links
 

 

   

Hard facts about Jordan
Weather, budgeting,
bargaining and scams

Weather

Many people very sensibly ask about the weather in Jordan. The easiest site I have found for a very quick check of what the weather is doing right now is the Jordan Meteorological Department one at http://met.jometeo.gov.jo/. It gives current conditions for a number of towns, and a concise four day forecast (very concise - just the temperatures!) A more interesting site for this is www.jordanweather.jo which covers far more ground. NB : note the suffix "jo" which is a shade unusual. This link also gives the times of sunset and sunrise which can be useful. There is a site giving official temperature statistics for several towns in Jordan : http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/city.php3?c=JO&refer=. You would think that it would help, but since it takes average temperatures, it doesn't seem to all that much. When you are making plans, you should first of all remember that most of Jordan is high up, Amman is at 400m and Petra over 1000m. Given that the Dead Sea is below sea level and that Aqaba is very warm, you will understand that there is a great difference in the temperature between one place and another. Here I am talking basically about the medium conditions, and you should remember that ALWAYS the Dead Sea and Aqaba are hotter and drier. Also, please take into account that one year is not always like another year, just as happens elsewhere. All I can do is to give you the probabilities.

Summer is easy - it is hot everywhere. You can often find temperatures of 35-40°C in Petra; in that case, Wadi Rum and Aqaba will be higher! You cannot sightsee in Wadi Rum in these conditions, everybody finds somewhere in the shade to sleep. You can start to move about again from about 5pm. Much the same in Aqaba, the beach is most unpleasant in the afternoon, and you would be risking sunstroke to try to stay in the sea for long, unless you are diving. If snorkelling, you might get away with it, but be sure to wear a tee shirt against a sunburnt back.

End March to middle of May : mostly pleasant weather. Take a good pullover for the evenings, especially at the beginning of April. Rain is possible, but unlikely after the beginning of May. September and October are broadly similar, but of course, substitute "end October" for "beginning of April".

Winter : this generally begins about the end of November - and it is cold! You can't expect much better than 10-15°C during the daytime, and this when the sun is shining. Rain is ardently hoped for - it always amuses me to see the broad smiles of the locals in (what seems to me) most unpleasant weather! Snow is entirely possible in January and February, I have known it in November. Wadi Rum is also cold, not much less so than Petra. It invariably freezes at night, but the daytime isn't really too bad. But don't have any illusions, you will need a warm jacket, preferably waterproof, just about everywhere. Actually, the massifs of Wadi Rum in the snow are quite spectacular! Petra is as well, but usually in rain or snow, access to Petra is not allowed. There have been a number of flash floods lately, so far there have been no more tourist deaths, but the authorities still remember 1963 [when a group of French tourists was swept away by a flash flood in the Siq, and 23 of them were drowned], and prefer to play safe (you might like to look at the page on "Wadi Mousa and its people" for more details about flash floods).

Aqaba in the winter is the warmest place, but even here, high temperatures are unlikely to go over 20°C. The sea tends to be coldish. Aqaba is at the south end of Wadi Araba, there is invariably a good breeze to be felt, this turns into a lot of wind in the winter. Snorkelling conditions are not really good at this time.

Wind in Jordan, and especially in the desert areas, and around Petra, is very unpleasant indeed. It always brings a lot of dust and sand, sometimes one can experience a full blown sandstorm. On a number of occasions the Desert Highway has been closed because of bad visibility from the sand and dust. Driving in these conditions is not to be recommended. This sort of thing usually happens in the winter, but is by no means unknown in the spring and the autumn.

There is a link to current weather in Amman and in Aqaba on the main Index page. Obviously this only gives today's weather and usually a forecast for three or four days to come, but it might help if you are travelling in the near future. You also have the times of sunrise and sunset there.


Value of the dinar

The Jordanian dinar is now officially pegged to the USDollar at 1USD to 0.70JD, and for rough calculations you can take it that 2JD is approximately 3USD. One JD is also very close to one British pound, so you can base yourself on these currencies for calculating prices. Information in February 2009 has the euro at about 90% of the dinar.

A dinar is officially divided into 1000 "fils", but in fact just about everybody in Jordan speaks and thinks in "piasters" which is the equivalent of 10 fils. In other words, the dinar is also divided into 100 piasters.

Here is a link to a currency converter that you can keep open if you like for immediate reference. It's rather good, it gives a conversion from any currency to any other currency.

Since there are no currency restrictions in Jordan, unlike some neighbouring countries there is no currency black market and you have nothing at all to gain in changing money outside normal banking/money changing circles. On the contrary you will invariably lost by doing this, since your "changer" can only put the money back into the bank and will usually allow himself some margin against unexpected fluctuations in the exchange rate.

Budget

Warning !! The prices are going sky high in Jordan, following the huge increase in the price of petrol which more than doubled in eighteen months. The salary increases have been only token ones and do not begin to compensate the price rises. This is bringing a great deal of hardship to those on small incomes. More immediately for you, it means that hotel and restaurant prices are likely to be much much higher than those quoted in guide books. If you are looking for picnic food this is also likely to be far more expensive that two years ago. Such articles as milk, fresh or dried, and pots of yoghurt have more than doubled. Eggs cost nearly the same as they do in Paris.

Taxis, buses and all transport now are priced far more than a couple of years ago. So please do not asume that you are being ripped off if you have been to Jordan before and now are being asked far more money for the same article or service.

I usually advise people to BUDGET between 30 and 40JD per day in Jordan (2JD approx 3USD). This involves staying in budget hotels in rooms with connected bathrooms and picnicking a fair bit. The upper limit allows you a beer from time to time.

You will not spend this amount every day, but the entrance to Petra is  50JD for one day, 57 for two and 60JD for 3 or 4 days. I know this is very expensive, but most people admit that it is worth it, even if it upsets a lot of budgets. Wadi Rum, the high point of so many people's holidays, is also not cheap. These prices, like the entrance fees to other sites, have been reduced for the last three years and have just been returned to what they were before the tourism crisis in the Middle East. Rather a pity!

If you are shocked by this sum, don't panic too soon. It is better, on the whole, to be pessimistic when budgeting. If two of you are travelling together, you will save noticeably, there are many ways in which 2+2=3 as far as budgets are concerned. You can also reduce this sum sharply by sleeping on roofs, except during the winter (see FAQs). If you are planning on the cheapest hotels, which again would bring down the budget, you might consider bringing a sleeping bag liner with you. They are light, easily washed, can be used alone without blankets during the summer or in Sinai, and will protect you from dubious bedding.

Syria and Egypt are considerably cheaper, Israel is more expensive.

Bargaining and commissions

Jordan is not like Egypt for this. You can seldom get more than 20 or 25 percent lower than the asking price, and not even that if you are with a guide who expects a commission. The best way to bargain is to buy (for instance) two of something, and ask for a special price in consequence. If you are unsure of what a price should be, then ask around before you embark on serious negotiations. But if you offer a price for any article, then you should be prepared to pay it!

People coming from Egypt or Syria, often offer a "ridiculous" price, perhaps half of the price named by the vendor or even less. If you do this in Jordan, the chances are that the vendor will refuse to talk to you at all. You are considered to be "making fun of him" or to be treating him as somebody dishonest. In that case, then it's no use offering him his original price - he just won't sell to you. He might also pass the word around to his colleagues....

Obviously if you are with a group, then you can NEVER get a price lower than that already paid by another member of the same group. You can, however, negotiate a group rate!

I mentioned guides and commissions. The tendency among tourists is obviously to dislike this practice! However, it isn't all bad. If a guide takes you to a particular shop, then it is because he knows that here you will get honest merchandise at a reasonable price. After all, the shopkeeper says "Goodbye" and forgets about you, but the guide is with you for the rest of your visit. The last thing he wants is to hear you complaining about the bad bargain you made - right up until you go home, and possibly taking it out of his tip! I have heard a guide reaming out a shopkeeper about a sale he made the previous week: "Another one like that and I don't bring people here any more" is a potent threat.

Since we are talking about commissions, I should just like to mention ME. I have been "accused" of taking commissions from certain hotels. It is very easy to refute this if anybody is wondering: since several of the hotels in question offer discounts to the people giving my name, obviously they don't also offer me commission! If you like, YOU are getting the benefit of any commissions that I might have claimed. For the record : No, I don't get any money at all from the advice I make available to travellers!

There is an interesting ripoff that I might mention here. Suppose that you are in a taxi and are looking for a particular hotel, perhaps one mentioned in this website. The driver might pick up his mobile phone and say "I'll check that they have rooms available " Instead he asks the hotel "How much commission will you give me for these people?" If the answer is unsatisfactory ("none') he says to you "Sorry but they are full, I'll take you to another good place". Taxis in fact often "grade" hotels by the commission they are given.

This might happen also if you want a particular guide or driver etc, and it might be a receptionist at a hotel telling you "Sorry, but he's not free that day". It is easy to avoid : you just insist on speaking to the hotel/guide yourself.  Don't be put off, all these people speak good English and nobody honest would refuse to let you talk. If they do then consider it suspicious!

Somewhere between commissions and ripoffs comes the huge "Handicrafts Centre" near to Madaba on the road to Mount Nebo. They pay commissions to drivers and guides in the range of 40-50 percent of the purchase, which personally I find outrageous. I heard recently of a tourist who bought a painted ostrich egg there for the price of 350JD. The driver was given 150JD for bringing her there. An identical egg is on sale in a Madaba souvenir shop for the price of 180JD. Obviously guides will push you to buy at the Handicrafts Centre - by all means do so if you wish, but remember that the commission given to the guides comes directly from your pocket. There have also been complaints from several people who have asked to have goods sent to them. On arrival, the goods turned out not to be the same as those on display at the time they were ordered. On one occasion, even an article packed in the shop and carried away by the purchaser had been exchanged during the wrapping. Now this might well be carelessness, forgetfulness or plain lack of organization. However it is very annoying if it happens to you, whatever the reason!

There is also another scam around that concerns Wadi Rum. Hotels and sometimes taxi drivers are always delighted to organise "a tour of Wadi Rum" for you, even if this is officially no longer allowed - only official tourist agencies are permitted to do this. What the hotels do is to charge you (say) 25JD and send you to a Bedouin there passing on to him (perhaps) 15JD. The Bedouin then gives the tourist a 15JD tour and all too often the tourist is disappointed. I have never known anybody who has received a decent tour of Wadi Rum claim that it wasn't worth every penny. If somebody in Petra or Dana does offer to "organise" a tour for you and requests payment in advance, you can be 100% sure that a ripoff is involved. Only if you are given the card of somebody in Wadi Rum and advised to contact him yourself can you be reasonably sure of a good tour there.

Taxi drivers have a worse method in a way: they might take you themselves - but to the area of Dissieh, rather than to Wadi Rum. Dissieh is outside the Nature Reserve and the rules are less strict, especially in what concerns the environment. It is in fact turning from a beautiful area into something of an extended rubbish dump. If you see one of your "guides" uncaringly scattering rubbish around the landscape you can be pretty sure that he is NOT a local Bedouin!

For any additional information you should check out this website

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