Think of Jordan and the first thing that comes to mind is Petra- but of course you also think about the unrest in the Middle East and wonder if it’s the right time to visit. Here’s 5 reasons why I think now is a great time to visit Jordan.
Reason No 1: Jordan is absolutely safe
You might not think it when you see the media coverage about the unrest in the Middle East but Jordan is completely safe. Even though Jordan lies smack in the middle of a zone of turmoil, it is perfectly peaceful and safe. Jordan is a stable country (monarchy) that has very well policed borders and also very low rates of crime within the country so you are as safe as you will be anywhere else in the world. That is stick to the normal precautions you would take when visiting any normal country in the world and you’re all set to go!
Jordanians are quite friendly. Although not speaking Arabic is definitely a barrier most people can manage a basic level of English and are quite helpful. Understand that people on the other side can be shy and sometimes that can come across as being rude.
Reason No 2: Jordan packs a punch
Jordan is not a very big country. It’s quite small and has a population of about 8 million people. However Jordan is full of interesting destinations to visit. Whether you love history, culture, adventure, nature or just plain relaxation Jordan has a place for you. I’m a history buff and I was stunned by the extensive Roman ruins in places like Jerash (I can’t believe it’s not yet a world heritage site designated by UNESCO), desert castles and of course the remains of the Nabatean city of Petra- which is one of the New Wonders of the World (for a great reason- it is awe inspiring!)
Reason No 3: Ease of Access
And I don’t just mean that Amman- the capital city of Jordan- is well connected to the rest of the world by international flight connections. If you like me hold a passport which requires a visa to enter any country you will be delighted to hear that Jordan gives Visa on Arrival for a lot of nationalities (for more detailed information visit http://www.visitjordan.com/default.aspx). This saves you a lot of planning and documentation. For Indians you can get visa on arrival (costs 40 JOD but can be waived- read on) at Jordan provided you are there as a tourist, you don’t intend to stay longer than 2 weeks (confirmed return tickets) and you have confirmed accomodation/ itinerary and/ or about USD 2000 in cash (check regularly for any changes- this is from my experience). If you want to travel but groan about the hassle of getting a visa- Jordan’s a great place to go.
Reason No 4: JORDAN PASS
Every country/ city that places a certain importance to tourism has some kind of pass mechanisms that offers benefits on tourists. Jordan Pass is the mother of all passes. There are three different passes you can choose from (depending on the amount of time you want to spend at Petra). The base pass costs 70 JOD (seems like a lot of money but wait!) and offers free access (yes free not discounted) to most of the important monuments all across Jordan for 2 weeks starting from the date of first use. For example it costs 50 JOD for one day to get into Petra. Buy a Jordan pass and you get in for FREE. Which means you’ve already made up the 50 JOD you spent for the pass. Most other archaeological sites charge anywhere between 1 JOD and 10 JOD for entry and you get all of that waived with your Jordan Pass.
But the best part? If you spend at least three nights in Jordan and you buy your pass online before you enter the country, the Visa on Arrival fee of 40 JOD is waived (please check exact conditions before you travel). Which means that even if you just visit Petra and you get a visa on arrival you’ve already saved money!
Reason No 5: You get the place for yourself
It’s every tourist’s dream- to have the site for yourself. Obviously this is not a great thing for Jordan- that tourists have stopped coming to the country in large numbers. But it’s great news for you and me. In most sites there were just a few other people and you get to enjoy everything in peace and quiet. Think about any crowded tourist site you’ve been to and think about how much more you would have enjoyed the experience if there hadn’t been so many people- that is Jordan right now!
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and jet set go!
It may make it easier to have a local tour operator arrange your entire itinerary for you. We used Travel Jordan agency and they were great!
(All opinions are my own- and my visit was not sponsored by anybody so it’s all honesty here ).