Cultural Exploration in Jordan

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Advisor - Rabia Malik
Curated By

Rabia Malik

  • Jordan

  • Adventure Travel

  • Arts & Culture

  • City Travel

  • International Travel

  • Ancient Ruins

  • History

  • Sightseeing

City view of Amman Jordan
Curator’s statement

Jordan is a country of adventure, history, culture and hospitality. It is situated at an incredible point in the Middle East between the Holy Land of three major religions. It's also incredibly safe and provides a great glimpse into Middle Eastern culture and countries. Here, sometimes, you can feel like you’re on the moon while other times you can feel as if you are time-traveling to the past. It’s truly a timeless city like no other.

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Where to stay in Jordan

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Things to do in Jordan

Jerash, Jordan

When in Jordan, you must visit all of its ancient sites. Start easy with a walk through downtown Jordan to get a feel for the city. Here you will see people selling goods on carts or in little stalls, fresh baked pita and falafel at every corner, and lots of spices for purchase. The Roman Amphitheater is also situated downtown featuring well-preserved ruins that you can climb to the top of for some great views. 

When you are ready, head to the Amman Citadel for even better views of Jordan and to see more Roman ruins. Here you can see the Temple of Hercules, Umayyad Palace Reconstruction, the Mosque and spend some time learning about it all in the small archaeology museum. For more cultural exploration, just outside of Amman, head out to Jerash – a sprawling, Greco-Roman city with well-preserved ruins. You can see Hadrian's Arch, Temple of Zeus, Temple of Artemis and more. Jerash is sometimes called The Pompeii of the Middle East, so don't miss this fascinating site. 

Ajloun is another bustling town near one of Jordan's many hills. Atop the hill sits Ajloun Castle, built to defend against Crusader attacks and the only Islamic castle that was successful in doing so. From the castle, you can see Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Palestine, Jordan Valley, West Bank and more. 

Finally, the Baptism Site of Jesus Christ is surrounded by incredibly tight security checkpoints and not much else. You can see the site of Christ's baptism and even touch the Jordan river separating Jordan and Israel here.

If you’re in the mood for museums, you must stop by the Jordan Museum which holds a fantastic archaeology collection in Amman, sharing the history of the country, including a lot of the sites you will or may go see – like Petra. The Royal Automobile Museum is quite neat too, even if you're not into cars. The collection is enormous and has well-kept old cars and newer brands as well.

Day Trips

Dead Sea: Float in the Dead Sea and slather on some healing mud. The best way to spend a day here is to buy a day pass from one of the resorts allowing you access to the Sea, as well as other pools and spa services.

Petra: This is one of Jordan's most famous sites. The rose gold hued UNESCO World Heritage Site has captivated people for centuries. It's a huge Nabatean city with perfectly preserved structures and incredible geographic formations. Not only can you marvel at the creations and colors, but you can hike the trails to the top of the city, ride camels or horses around and meet friendly Jordanians who will tell you about the place and sell their handmade trinkets. Petra is well-worth a day or two to fully explore.

Wadi Rum: Otherwise known as the Valley of the Moon, Wadi Rum's red dunes look like they come from a sci-fi movie – probably because those movies were filmed here! Besides escaping the city for the quiet of the desert, there are a ton of other things to do here like jeep tours, hikes or even spending the night in a traditional Bedouin tent.

Aqaba: This coastal city on the Red Sea will grant you another beach day or time to explore a new city in Jordan. It can also be a great base for exploring nearby Wadi Rum.

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A note from Rabia

Hire a private driver for your trip or day tours. Traffic in Amman is insane, and there doesn’t seem to be any rules in driving! Do yourself a favor and hire someone who knows the roads, shortcuts and sites, and is happy to wait for you to see what you want to see.

Dress modestly as you're in a Muslim country. It's always handy for women to carry a scarf around in case you want to stop into one of Jordan's beautiful mosques, such as the Al Hussein mosque, where you'll need to cover your head.

Eat & drink in Jordan

Hummus in Jordan

 Hashem Restaurant DownTown:  Here you can have a traditional spread of falafel, hummus, pita, tomatoes and spicy sauce. They even serve French fries for breakfast! Not only is the food incredible and fresh, but you're eating where the Jordanian royals love to eat as well.

Sufra Restaurant: Authentic Jordanian food in a chic setting. Perfect for a nice dinner or if you want to try Mansaf – the traditional Arab dish of lamb, fermented yogurt and rice. You can use your hand to roll the food into a small ball and pop it into your mouth. It's delicious and fun to try!

Abu Jbara: Another place to get your falafel fix – whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner or late night munchies. Prices are reasonable and you'll likely see a lot of locals here!

Reem Al bawadi: Traditional Jordanian restaurant with live musicians and cozy tables. As you enter, you'll watch a woman making homemade, fresh pita on a large floor stove that will likely make its way to your table. This place serves dinner family-style, as everything is put in a huge dish in the center for sharing. 

Locals House(Turtle Green): This casual cafe has quick bites, as well as delicious coffee and drinks for when you need a break in the city.

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A note from Rabia

Alcohol is legal in Jordan in moderation, but excessive displays of intoxication are frowned upon. There are restaurants serving alcohol and a number of bars and clubs, especially in the area around Rainbow Street.

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Travel Advisor

Rabia Malik

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