"Jordan Jubilee"
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VISITING JORDAN

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PETRA PAGES

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A walk around Petra

Map of Petra

Wadi Rum

A walk around Petra

Map of Petra

Wadi Rum

Tours of Wadi Rum

Amman

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Dead Sea

      Bethany

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Kerak

     Wadi Mujib

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Mt Nebo

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Madaba Plateau

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      Um Al Rasas

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

WEATHER IN JORDAN

HARD FACTS

The Kingdom of Jordan

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Visas and exit tax

ASEZ visas in Aqaba

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Jordanian dinar
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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

JORDAN OUT OF DOORS
N
ATURE RESERVES

     Dana

     Wadi Mujib
     Ajloun

     Azraq and Shaumari

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

Two Bedouin friends and their camels

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
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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
 

 

   

Towns and Tourist Sites in Jordan
Amman
(see town plan)

Amman, the "cultural capital of the Middle East" is also the capital of Jordan. It is a modern city, more cosmopolitan/westernized than the other capital cities of the Middle East and is noticeably cleaner and generally more efficient than the others.

There is a large conference centre and Amman is becoming known as a centre for regional and indeed international conferences, surely at least in part because of its excellent communications with other cities in the Middle East. Air connections are good to most of the large cities in the region, and its bus network in Jordan is excellent. There are also bus connections to many other Middle Eastern countries - although the times taken are such that people who can prefer to go by air. There are a great many four, five and even six star hotels. Telephone connections are usually very good indeed - the Internet is working on introducing ADSL.

Amman is a honeycomb of underpasses, overpasses and bypasses, that locals and taxi drivers zip through with assurance, getting from one side of the sprawling city in a surprisingly short time. For tourists this can turn into something like a nightmare, and if you are brave enough to try, be sure to arm yourself with a good up to date map. Better still - take a taxi! On the whole, and with the inevitable exceptions, a Jordanian driver will be honest. There is also a good network of local and city buses and service taxis if you are confident enough to try them. These are very cheap indeed - but even a taxi ride cannot usually be considered expensive.

"Amman Waves" is a big water park to the east of Amman on the main Ring Road. It opened recently; admission charge for adults is 18JD, children 2-11 years 14JD and under 2 years old admission is free. This is a new departure for Jordan and there was a good deal of consultation to decide just what was compatible with Arab culture. If you have a free day in Amman or even a half day, then why not ? But you do need a taxi to get there. See http://www.ammanwaves.com (this is a complicated site and a hideously slow loader).

If you should be in Amman on a Friday a "flea market" is organised every Friday on Jebel Amman. This should be very interesting to look at. It is described as "A weekly open air flea market showcasing oriental antiques, pottery and handicrafts. It seeks to help individual industries by providing an opportunity for families that manufacture pottery or handicrafts to showcase their products." The market, to be held at the street adjacent to the Jordan River Foundation showroom near the First Circle, and close to "Wild Jordan" will be open from 10:00am till 9:00pm each Friday. The market, called Souk JARA, ("Jebel Amman Residents' Association") includes numerous retail vendors offering a wide range of products.

Jebel Amman is also the home of the Jordan River Foundation, Queen Rania's special charity. Housed in a attractive building on Rainbow Street, with a sweet scented garden outside, it shows the products of the women's handicraft section, with some beautiful embroideries and weaving. The Bani Hamida Showroom is also located here.

Jordan River is interested in much more than handicrafts, but its priority is the welfare of rural women and children. The women are encouraged to develop money making skills than be easily used in their own homes - hence the emphasis on embroidery which needs no expensive equipment and can be done in their spare time - when they have any. The welfare of rural women is very close to Queen Rania's heart, just as it was for Queen Noor.

While you are in Rainbow Street you really should visit the cafe and the restaurant at "Wild Jordan", the offices of the Royal Assocation for the Conservation of Nature - see www.wildjordancafe.com. It is built out above the "downtown" below and those (like me) who are not really happy with heights will need encouragement to sit there. But when you have mustered up the courage, it is very rewarding with a magnificent view over the city - and the huge flag of Jordan that floats there

And a most fascinating museum that should appeal to everybody : The Royal Automobile Museum in the Al-Hussein National Park, on the western side of the city. This is another site that is best reached by taxi, the park is a popular green space, much frequented by Ammanis on Fridays. The museum contains several hundred cars having a connection to the Royal Family, from the 1916 Cadillac of King Abdullah I to the several motorbikes of King Hussein. All of them are displaying the royal standard, which you won't see in so very many places in Jordan.

New in Amman is a huge selection of Malls. Perhaps I should say a selection of huge malls. Besides the Mecca Mall you also have the City Mall, the Abdoun Mall, the Plaza Mall and a couple of others still being built.  There is good and bad here; they are clean, safe and offer a huge variety of merchandise, often stuff that was unfindable a few years ago, but they are undoubtedly replacing the more picturesque local shops. They are scattered all ovr the city, and I don't think any one of them is more to be recommended than another. Not many tourists would be seriously interested, howevr popular they are with the locals. If you are missing Western fast food on the other hand, you will surely appreciate them.  Their food courts are becoming the dining out spot for hundreds of Ammanis, avoid Thursday nights if you can!

Hotels

For backpackers : I have heard good things about the Farah Hotel {tel. +962.6.465.1443 fax 465.1437,  email is farahhotel@hotmail.com) on Al Hussein Cinema St, in the downtown area. The Farah has been described as the best backpackers' hotel in Amman at the moment. Rooms here are from 10JD, there is also dormitory accommodation. I believe there are no bathrooms en suite. The well-known Cliff is in the centre of the town and I make no further comment on it. Reports indicate that the Sydney Hotel is best avoided.

I personally prefer the Caravan (caravan@go.com.jo) which is not far away, near the King Abdulla Mosque. It is a very pleasant two star hotel, with a delightful flowering terrace outside. Its sister, the Canary, is nearby. Obviously it is more expensive than the Farah.

Eating out : I am only giving details of restaurants serving Arab food: those wanting Kentucky Fried Chicken or a "Wimpy" can find them easily enough.

Take outs : Shwarma and filafel are to be found everywhere, but for the very best look for Shwarma Reem at a stall on 3nd circle at Jebel Amman, just opposite the Carlton Hotel, and near to the Intercontinental. This stall is well known all over the area, and does a huge drive past trade.

Restaurants : Starting at the lower price end, you really ought to try "Hashem" off an alley opposite to the Cliff Hotel. This qualifies as a historical site around here, they have been open for as long as Amman has been a city... They only serve fool and hommous, but there are several varieties of each. You can sit at tables, get your tea from waiters circulating with trays. Very definitely down market, but just as definitely full of local colour! They are open 24 hours.  And you can see from the photo on the left that Jordanian Royalty is not too proud to eat here as well! They seem to be appreciating the filafel balls! Thank you to the Jordan Times for the photo!

A step up in both quality and price is the "Al Quds" nearby on King Hussein Street. Still on the cheap side, they serve traditional dishes like mansaff - but the menu is in Arabic and the waiters seldom have time to spend on translating.  Lunchtime is likely to find them less harried than the evening. Decide what you would like and ask if they have it!

Much more respectable is the Rim al-Biwadi at the junction of Medina Street and Gardens Street in western Amman. Call it a three star restaurant, with prices to match. This is where you find the "real" Arabic dining. Don't expect to find alcohol being served, but mainly Arab dishes (mansaff, malfouf and fish with humus, babaganush, mutabal, kefta, kebab etc) and a bill of some 15JD or so.

And if you aren't worried about prices or if you want to treat yourself, you should try (just once!) the Fakhr ed-Din on Taha Hussein Street on Jebel Amman. This is for the "high society" set; royalty is often here, so are most ambassadors and high powered business men. The food, service and wine list are irreproachable... remember to take along your credit card!  A "normal" meal (starter, meat dish and dessert + a bottle of wine) is likely to run to about 25-30JD here. For dessert, you have the terrible choice : whether to take the "osmaliya" (fresh cream covered with shredded wheat and running with honey) or the mulhalibiyeh (rose scented almond cream). Those researching Arab food can always order both of them!

If you are nostalgic for home you should check out the "Irish pub" at the Best Western Dove Hotel. It really is a pub, in the British/Irish tradition. You can even drink Guinness there (my goodness!) and Kilkenny beer or have a game of darts. It's quite a good place to spend a not too expensive evening, there are special activities like "Quiz night." It's between the 4th and 5th circles, phone number 06.569.7601/2 or the mobile phone number of the manager (Samer) is 0795.072.200. Expats and those in Amman for more than a few days will certainly want to check out books@cafe on Rainbow Street (Jebel Amman) and also the Blue Fig at Abdoun. Books@cafe incidentally has the local reputation of being a "gay bar". I wouldn't know about that, sorry!

Buses and service taxis inside the city : I am very sorry, but all I can say is that they exist! They are quite complicated unless one is used to them, and taxis are cheap and so very much simpler to use, that I usually stick to them, sorry again!

Onward transport

Supposing you want to continue your travels, the main bus station, has now been transferred from the Abdali area in Amman to the northern suburb of Tareq where it is known as the Tarbarbour station on Urdun Street.  Buses leave from here for Jerash and north Jordan, also for Madaba.  Service taxis for Lebanon , Syria and etc continue to leave from the Abdali Square , and the long distance buses like JETT leave from their offices which have not changed.

The Raghadan station is close to the downtown area and buses from there go mainly to the Dead Sea, and to the east (Azraq),

Buses for south Jordan, including Petra and Aqaba go from the Wahedat bus station (to get there tell your taxi you want the "mujamma al janoob" - or just say "bus for Petra" which will probably do the trick just as well!). They go to Petra every two hours from 7am to 7pm during the day, except on Fridays when they stop around midday. Remember that Ma'an isn't far from Petra and there are mostly good bus connections between the two; if you just miss a bus, you might consider the alternative of going there. There is no direct bus to Wadi Rum from Amman, you can get a bus to Aqaba and get off at the Rashidiya junction (also known as the "Rum Intersection"). It is usually fairly easy to get a lift to Rum Village but you will probably be asked to pay something. Standard charge is about 6JD for the carload - it is after all, nearly 30kms and this is about the price that taxis charge for this distance. But if you are lucky, you might not be asked to pay at all.

 

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