Random things to consider when planning a trip to Jordan

By Cubie - January 20, 2020

Approaching Jordan

1. Jordan Pass
This is probably the first thing anyone starts reading when one plans a trip to Jordan. Citizenships from a few countries are exempted from paying visa fees that cost at least JOD 40 (single entry, valid for 1 month). The list includes Malaysia.

Jordan Pass waives tourist entry visa fees if one stays a minimum of 3 nights (4 days). This is a huge savings if you need to pay for visa fees and you are travelling to Petra.

I decided to get the Jordan Pass because after calculating the costs, I still saved some money due to other attractions I visited, even though it is not as significant. I bought Jordan Explorer for 2 consecutive visit days to Petra (JOD 75) but didn't add on option of Bethany Beyond the Jordan (Baptism Site) with extra JOD 8. Ticket cost at site is JOD 12, so if you are planning to visit Bethany Beyond the Jordan, then it is worth to add on when you get your Jordan Pass.

2. Jordan is expensive to visit
Jordan, unfortunately is one of the most expensive country in Middle East region. I live in Australia and as a visitor to Jordan, I find it more expensive than Australia. The single most expensive item would be entrance fee to Petra. 1 JOD = USD 1.41 = AUD 2.05 = MYR 5.72

3. Local buses

Local "buses" mostly are in the shape of minivans, rather than big buses. The catch is that there is no fixed schedule. The buses depart when full. I was on a big bus in Jerash to get back to Amman, the bus did depart before full but it almost felt like the bus driver is in "fear of missing out" mode. The bus moved a couple of inches for maybe 10 times before finally departed.

I noticed that the bus conductor would ask men to vacate their seat if a woman get on the bus and there was no available single seater. As a female travelling solo, I always pick a single seater. When there wasn't any, pick one that is next to another female.

The few times I took buses from Amman, I told the taxi driver where I wanted to go and the taxi driver would bring me to the right bus.

Not only that, be mindful that local transport may stop their service earlier or do not run on Fridays.

Another option of bus is via JETT (Jordan Express Tourist Transportation) bus. This one runs on specific schedule. Please bring along your passport to purchase a ticket and book in advance. 

4. Taxis
I find that taxi drivers who engaged me first usually refused to use the meter. The ones I flagged down on the street used meter. If you arrived at a bus station, follow the locals and walk out to the main street to flag down a taxi. Don't worry about not able to get a taxi in Amman, there were many taxis on the street!

The day I arrived in Amman, I went with the taxi driver who approached me and paid JOD 4.50. I haggled it down to JOD 4 before getting into the taxi but I didn't have small change so I paid JOD 5. He only gave a JOD 0.50 change. Even at JOD 4, it is considered too expensive. On average, metered taxi cost around JOD 2 to 2.50 around Amman.

Alternatively, you can try Uber or Careem.

5. Public toilets

Toilet fee at Karak Castle
All the public toilets I went at tourist attractions were free of charge, except the one at Karak Castle. Yes, even the toilets in Petra were free but foreigners were charge 70 fils to use toilet outside of Karak Castle.

6. ATM fees
I tried at least 3 different banks - Bank of Jordan, Arab Bank and Jordan Ahli Bank (plus another one that I cannot remember). All charged a fee for withdrawal. The lowest fee of the three was Arab Bank, at JOD 3. For me, it was still at a better rate compared to rates in money changers with inclusion of bank fee.

7. Water 
I used tap water for brushing teeth, etc but only drank bottled water. It cost me JOD 1 at Petra, but JOD 0.50 in Aqaba and Amman. The camp I stayed in Wadi Rum provided water for free. The hotels in Aqaba and Dead Sea also provided complimentary bottled water.

8. SIM card
I'm a cheapskate and usually just use free wi-fi when I travel. This trip was the first time I bought a mobile phone SIM card when I travel, because I can't speak Arabic and Middle East's safety reputation so thought it may be a safer option to get one.

I found this brilliant webpage on options of mobile plans. From the site, the best value plan is Zain but I bought the Umniah Tourist 10-Days plan simply because I was only in Jordan for 10 days. 10GB of internet bundle is more than enough for me in that period of time so I chose to spend JOD 10.88 instead of JOD 18.50

The reception was good in cities. The only place where I didn't get reception was in Wadi Rum but there was wi-fi at the camp I stayed.

Side note: Just a week to Lunar New Year!

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  1. Thanks for the tips! What about the best season for visiting Jordan? Is summer way too hot, or is there such a thing as wet season?

  2. Summers can be extreme due to the desert. If you aim to hike, some trails are only open from around March or April to October (hikes like Siq Trail at Wadi Mujib, some trails in Wadi Dana).
    Rain season starts at the end of Nov till March. That said, it only rained one day (on/off and not heavy) and another cloudy night during my visit at end of Dec/early Jan

    So I guess it narrows down to maybe March to May, Sept-Oct? :)

    1. I had the pleasure of visiting UAE and Oman in July and August (work related, not by choice), and certainly don't fancy another midsummer trip to the Middle East! So I guess spring and fall are the best ... but avoid November as you say.

    2. I read your posts on Oman, looks like an interesting place to visit though! I wasn't aware of any attractions in Oman till I read your posts. I will remember to try not to visit the Middle East in midsummer if possible! ^^