There are hundreds of things to see and do in Jordan but the major features (the ancient city of Petra and visiting the Dead Sea) were the focus for a whirlwind traveller like me.
I want to take you through our visit step by step so that you can be a smarter traveller than me particularly in regards to saving money and being better prepared for weather.
Jordan has a stronger dollar than Australia. At the time of writing this the exchange rate saw the Jordian dollar (1.00 JOD) valued as 2.00 AUD. As a result, Jordan can be an expensive country for a tourist.
A visa needs to be purchased for $40JD per person.
Surprise! It snows in the Middle East. Take warm clothes for winter. Or you will need to buy them.
The tourist highlight for visitors to Jordan is the site of Petra. You can fly into Aqaba or Amman airport, but more airlines use the latter.
From the Airport to your Accommodation
When you arrive at Amman airport, pass through customs, and reach the arrivals gate – ignore the men crowding around the gate to ask you if you want a taxi. They are not taxi drivers and will try to carry your bags/walk you the 80m to the taxi area and then request a tip for ‘helping you’. Instead, confirm at the tourist desk the price of the taxi to the city. At the time of our visit $20JD was standard fare. The tourist desk will point you to the taxi area, which is well signed anyway (this is why you don’t need help from strangers).
You could probably get by generously on a budget of $30JD per person, per day for food. When looking for accommodation, choose venues that provide breakfast.
You can have a traditional Jordanian feast for dinner which includes dessert and budget $10-15JD per person. Highly recommended dishes include kanufa, lamb mansaf and any thing with aubergine (eggplant).
This is just a (delicious) entree. The food was so fantastic, I kept gobbling it down and forgetting to take photos.
Transport to Petra
A bus can take you to Petra bright and early (6.30am) via JETT buses. Book your ticket a few days in advance online to secure your spot. The taxi ride to the bus from Jamal Amman was $5JD and the bus $10JD per person. The bus is a three hour journey. You can expect the same costs for the return journey.
Arriving in Petra, the cost of entrance is $50JD for foreigners and $1JD for residents. If you are having lunch/dinner in Petra, don’t eat on site itself. You can walk 500m up the road to a line of restaurants. We ate at Three Steps Restaurant and Cafe, the number 1 recommendation on Trip Advisor, and it was delicious (plus the service staff were beautiful – please go eat here).
We stayed at the Rocky Mountain Hotel in Wadi Musa (the city next to Petra). It only cost $27 JD for the night which was a great price for a hotel rated 94% on Trip Advisor. Not only was it affordable, but the room gave us an incredible view of Wadi Musa and the staff were incredibly catering. The night we stayed, it snowed. An Egyptian man who had never seen snow was staying at the hotel so at 10pm at night, the staff drove him further up the mountain where he could collect some snow and have a snowball fight. That’s service you’re unlikely to find elsewhere.
More In-Country Transport
From Amman you can catch a taxi to the Dead Sea. It should be about $5-10JD each way but it can depend on your bartering skills. If you have a hotel booked you can ask them to help you with that. There are hotels/resorts littered along the Dead Sea that tourists visit. They can cost between $15-50JD for entry to the Sea for the day. I paid $20. The good thing about the resorts is that they provide pools and showers so that you can wash off the very salty water of the Dead Sea.
You can stay the night at the Dead Sea or in Amman from $40-$200, dependent on your budget. If you do stay overnight at the Dead Sea, you won’t have to pay the previously mentioned resort fee.
Return to the Airport
To return to the airport from Amman, it’s the standard $20JD fare. But if it’s early in the morning they’ll ask for $25, and if there is the potential of snow, they’ll say $30.
People in Jordan are so friendly. We travelled cheaply but with the quality of service it felt like we were travelling luxuriously. In the end for two people I think we spent about $450JD. Which is quite a lot for a three night stay – but well worth it to visit the incredible sites of Petra and the Dead Sea. For those once in a lifetime experiences, I am very happy to spend my money in Jordan!