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Picked up as planned from Amman and…

Picked up as planned from Amman and driven four hours to Wadi Rum on day one. Jeep safari was had and ‘Martian Tent’ overnight stay with meals included. Picked up promptly on day two and driven the two hours to Petra where we were met by our specialist guide. Absolutely stunning experience. Following the visit to the Petra site we were supplied with an afternoon meal at a local restaurant before being driven back to Amman and dropped at our hotel. It all went like clockwork and the overall experience was breathtaking.

Date of experience : December 27, 2023

Reply from Touristjordan

Dear Colin, thank you very much for taking the time to share your amazing experience with us. Our team is fully dedicated to make each trip a unique and wholesome experience.

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Exceptional tour.

Our tour worked out perfect! We booked online with Christina being our contact ! She was extremely helpful in helping us plan our itinerary. The drivers were timely and super nice. Would definitely recommend booking tours thru this site !

Date of experience : September 17, 2023

Cautious driver and very precise

Cautious driver, that picked us at precise time. Very good mini van with all conditions

Date of experience : October 13, 2023

Tourist Jordan

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TOURIST JORDAN (Petra - Wadi Musa) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Female explorer in scarf and sunglasses relaxing at the camel bedouin camp at the beautiful landscape in the desert of Jordan

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"the nymphaeum in the roman ancient city of jerash, jordan"

From the ancient city of Petra to the breathtaking Dead Sea and sublime desert landscapes of Wadi Rum in between, Jordan has delighted visitors for centuries.

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tourist jordan reviews

The spectacular sandstone city of Petra was built in the 3rd century BC by the Nabataeans, who carved palaces, temples, tombs, storerooms and stables from…

Temple of Hercules, Citadel, Amman, Jordan

The area known as the Citadel sits on the highest hill in Amman, Jebel Al Qala’a (about 850m above sea level), and is the site of ancient Rabbath-Ammon…

tourist jordan reviews

The Ancient City

The 1.2km Siq, or canyon, with its narrow, vertical walls, is undeniably one of the highlights of Petra. The walk through this magical corridor, as it…

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High Place of Sacrifice

The most accessible of Petra’s High Places, this well-preserved site was built atop Jebel Madbah with drains to channel the blood of sacrificial animals…

There is a person by the doorway to get a scale of the size. A classic view of El Deir, The Monastery in Petra. Shown in the context of the mountain that the facade was carved out of by the Nabataeans in the 1st century. The facade measures 50 metres wide by approximately 45 meters high.

Hidden high in the hills, the Monastery is one of the legendary monuments of Petra. Similar in design to the Treasury but far bigger (50m wide and 45m…

Azraq, 'Amman, Jordan, Middle East

Shaumari Wildlife Reserve

Established in 1975 by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), this 22 sq km reserve was created with the aim of reintroducing wildlife…

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Originally built by the Nabataeans (not the Romans) more than 2000 years ago, the Theatre was chiselled out of rock, slicing through many caves and tombs…

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Dana Biosphere Reserve

The Dana Biosphere Reserve is the largest in Jordan and includes a variety of terrain, from sandstone cliffs more than 1700m high near Dana to a low point…

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Jordan River Foundation

Jordan River Foundation

Supporting top-notch worthy causes by selling equally top-notch crafted items, this shop is an Amman institution. The showroom supports handloomed rugs…

Karak Castle in Al Karak, Jordan.

Karak Castle

This fantastic Crusader stronghold, and later Mamluk fortress, is the reason to visit Karak. Throughout the castle, boards give detailed descriptions of…

Wild Jordan Center

Wild Jordan Center

The nature store at the Wild Jordan Center sells products made in Jordan’s nature reserves, including silver jewellery, organic herbs, teas and jams from…

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Lovely girls floating in salty water of Dead Sea and with Arms outstretched . Unusual buoyancy caused by high salinity.

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From surprisingly cold winters to the dizzying heat of summer, our seasonal guide will help you decide when is the best time for your trip to Jordan.

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A woman tourist sitting on a car and admiring the sun light in an opening between two hills in the desert, during day time, in Wadi Rum, Jordan.

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Female tourist at Petra famous archaeological site in Jordan's southwestern desert. Dating to around 300 B.C., it was the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom

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Ancient ruins, Jerash.

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Tania George relaxes by the pool in Kempinski, Jordan © Jack Pearce/Lonely Planet

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Bedouins on camels in Petra

12 Useful Things to Know Before Traveling to Jordan

Last Modified: July 3, 2023 //  by  Anda //   17 Comments

To many people, Jordan seems like a far-away place, imbued with legend and mystery, but difficult to visit. Truth is that planning a trip to Jordan requires a lot of preparation which involves not only making your itinerary , but also informing yourself about the culture and local customs. In this post I’ll give you some useful information travel tips for traveling to Jordan.

Table of Contents

1. Jordan is a liberal country, but…

2. jordan is safe and tourist-friendly, 3. jordan is a refugee haven, 4. entering jordan requires a visa, 5. taxi cabs do long distance rides beyond the city limits, 6. money and costs in jordan, 7. there is so much more to jordan than petra, 8. there is a dress code in jordan, 9. jordanians dislike public displays of affection, 10. english is widely spoken, 11. bedouins measure wealth in camels, 12. the jordan pass may save you a lot of money, travel tips for jordan.

Jordan is a relatively young state (1946) in the desert of the northern Arabian Peninsula. The country occupies an ancient land whose rich history that goes back to biblical times and bears the traces of many civilizations.

Jordan surprised me in every way, although I’ve read many tips about traveling there. For one thing, I didn’t expect to find an ‘eco’ hotel in Jordan (Feynan Ecolodge ). But what I found most amazing was the varied climate and landscape that I encountered in this small country.

But my surprises didn’t stop there, so here are some useful things that you should know before traveling to Jordan.

Aqaba, Jordan

If you plan to visit Israel as well while you are in Jordan, you may be interested in reading my travel tips for traveling to Israel .

The first thing that you may notice is that Jordan is actually a very open minded country. It is perhaps the most politically liberal of all the countries in the Arab world.

Their constitution provides freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Nonetheless, you’ll end up spending 3 years in prison if you speak against the king, offend the government officials, or other people’s religious beliefs!

Travel to Jordan map

Not surprisingly, whenever you’ll get into a conversation with a Jordanian, you’ll hear only praises and good things about their government and especially about their king.

Most people believe that traveling to Jordan is a not such a great idea and there is a reason for that. We constantly hear of the dangers in the Middle East. But although tensions and conflicts in this area are very real, not all countries in the Middle East present a risk for travelers. Such is the case of Jordan, which suffers guilt by association. But when you actually travel to Jordan you realize it’s a pretty safe and hospitable country.

Friendly Jordanian people

Everywhere we traveled in Jordan, we encountered friendly people, knowledgeable guides, and well-trained hotel employees. After spending 5 days among Jordanians, we left touched by the generosity and kindness of these people. 

There is a large population of refugees in Jordan. In addition to Palestinians, the country also hosts forced migrants from Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, the majority of which are unemployed.

The Jordanian government takes good care of its citizens (including refugees), offering free and high quality education and healthcare. There are practically no beggars or homeless people in Jordan.

No matter where you come from, you will need a visa to enter Jordan. You can obtain a visa at the border, or you can get one ahead of time at the Jordanian embassy in your country of residence. However, getting The Jordanian visa from an embassy is more expensive.

Entering Jordan from Israel

One important thing to know is that Jordanians are willing to wave your visa fee if you spend at least 2 nights in Jordan. But that’s going to happen only at the border, so it’s better to arrive without a visa and prove you’ll spend at least two nights in Jordan.

Jordanian visa

Want to get to Petra from Aqaba, or from Amman to Wadi Rum but have no car? No problem! In Jordan you can grab a cab to just about anywhere. Most taxis will be glad to take you on 2, 3 or even 4 hours trips. You just need to worry about bargaining for a good price.

Legally, all cabs should have meters, but it’s not uncommon for a cab driver to pretend their meter doesn’t work in order to overcharge you. Especially if you travel to a tourist site.

Travel to Jordan

Most cab fares within the city are around US$4-5. A trip to Petra from Aqaba is roughly $45. So if you decide to travel to any tourist site by cab, try to negotiate the price ahead of time. Most drivers are very open to negotiation.

While it’s possible to travel in Jordan relying almost entirely on credit cards, it’s wise to carry some cash with you. ATMs are available in most places, but not the smaller towns. And if you don’t want to exchange money, remember that all major currencies are accepted in cash.

Jordan is an expensive country to visit, so expect to pay more for the same commodity than in other parts of the world. That’s partly because the Jordanian Dinar is stronger than most other currencies (currently 1 JD is US$1.42). But mainly Jordan is expensive for what you receive in exchange for your money.

Lodging is particularly expensive, especially in places of interest for tourists. A hotel room in Jordan can run anywhere from $76 to over $990/night.

Unfortunately, a lower cost hotel room will definitely not be what you want. Below is an $85/night hotel room in Petra that has otherwise great reviews on TripAdvisor .

Hotel room in Petra

Food seemed expensive also. We didn’t eat anywhere for less than $40/person, and this price was for lunch at some very average restaurants.

Alcohol is particularly expensive, except for in the liquor shops in Aqaba, where the price is much lower than everywhere else due to no taxes.

Booking a shared guided tour doesn’t come cheap either, considering that on top of the high price you pay for the tour you are expected to tip your guide an extra $15-20/person per day. So far Jordan and Israel have been the two most expensive countries we have ever visited (visited over 30+ countries).

A visit to Petra is the main reason most people travel to Jordan these days. But although Petra is the crown jewel of Jordan, there are so many other amazing sites to visit there.

traveling to Jordan in Petra

One of the sites that you shouldn’t miss in Jordan is Jerash. This incredible archeological site was once entirely buried in sand. Jerash is the best preserved Greco-Roman city in its original layout.

Ancient Greek inscriptions found in the city support that idea that Jerash was founded by Alexander the Great  and his general, Perdiccas.

 Images from Jerash

Also, while you are in Jordan, don’t miss traveling to Wadi Rum, a vast and spectacular mountain desert in the southern part of the country.

Wadi Rum desert

Jordan may be the most acceptant country in the Middle East, but you don’t have to forget that it’s still a Muslim country. Before planning what to pack for Jordan , it’s important to know what locals consider an “appropriate attire” and respect the cultural norms. Tank tops, shorts and very fitted clothes are an absolute NO for women.

tips for traveling to Jordan

As for men, not wearing a top is equally unacceptable. Wearing a scarf as a woman is mandatory only if you visit a mosque. At the tourist sites you are not required to wear one, but carrying a scarf with you is always a good idea. You can use it to protect yourself from the sun, or the wind.

One of the things that will surprise you is how often Jordanians hug and kiss each other. But don’t be confused about that. While hugs and kisses are acceptable as a form of greeting, they are totally unacceptable as a sign of affection towards your partner.

This is a very important tip to remember if you are traveling to Jordan. I tried to hug my husband as we were taking selfie and I we have been admonished by a bypasser. You’ll encounter the same disapproval towards public displays of affection in Morocco as well.

One thing you don’t have to worry about when you travel to Jordan is not speaking Arabic. Although Arabic is the country’s official language, English is widely spoken too, especially in the cities. Most people in the travel industry speak English fluently, so we didn’t have any problems there.

Camels have always been a source of income and of survival for nomad tribes. Their strength and endurance have served in trade, while their wool, milk and meat are used in everyday life.

Camels are very resilient animals and live long lives (about 30 years.)

Bedouin with his camels in the Wadi Rum desert

The Bedouins also believe that camel milk has miraculous powers: it heals cancer, sterility and it’s also an aphrodisiac. In Jordan the price of a camel is 3,500 JD (roughly $5,000). It’s easy to see why having more camels will make you a rich man.

Getting the Jordan Pass may or may not be a good deal for you, depending how you visit Jordan. If you travel independently, getting the Jordan Pass before you arrive will save you a lot of money. The pass also includes the visa for Jordan.

The Jordan Pass will give you free admission to over 40 sites, including Petra, Jerash and Wadi Rum. However, if you book a tour, admission to the sites you visit will be included in the price of the tour.

Did you find this information useful? Please pin it for later.

Travel to Jordan pin

Interested to read about other exotic destinations? You may like these: Israel Itinerary – Best Places to Visit on a Trip to Israel What to do in Jerusalem – Best Historical Places to Visit The Mystery of the Tree-Climbing Goats in Morocco Tips for Visiting Morocco – All You Should Know Before You Go Morocco 10 Days Itinerary

Anda is an award winning travel writer, avid globetrotter and passionate photographer. She is the voice behind "Travel Notes & Beyond," a collection of stories and travel impressions from her wanderings around the world. When she is not busy writing, traveling, or editing photographs, you can find her hiking in the foothills behind her house together with her husband and their dog.

Jordan Itinerary

Reader Interactions

May 15, 2021 at 8:37 pm

I have been to Jordan several times over the past 30 years. I love going there but hate all the room they use in my passport for the visas and stamps. does anyone know if they have gone to the digital visa along the Jordan Pass?

May 15, 2021 at 11:50 pm

Not that I am aware of.

December 12, 2019 at 4:49 pm

Jordan has been on my list to get to for so long now (since high school, and you know that was a while ago!), but there were a lot of useful surprises in your tips. For example, I had no idea it was so expensive. I guess I always thought it would be a lot like Egypt cost-wise. Nor did I know it was one of those places were you better not say anything negative about the king, etc. Not that this is unusual in that part of the world, but it’s so different from the USA or Europe. I’m looking forward to getting there someday, but now I know I might want top set a little higher budget for that trip!

Anda Galffy

December 12, 2019 at 5:55 pm

Good to hear from you, Cindy. Petra was my dream too, but I finally managed to see it. I hope you will too.

November 19, 2019 at 3:23 am

I have never been to Jordan and know very few things about this country. I think that it is just reasonable that they have laws about speaking against the king, government officials and religious beliefs. There needs to be a stop/ balance between our rights/ freedom of speech. In the Philippines, where I am from, I believe that there is just too much freedom of speech that people become disrespectful already

Krzysztof Lab

November 17, 2019 at 8:04 pm

Traveling to Jordan doesn’t look easy. It’s good to know all those things you need to be aware of before going to Jordan, like political correctness and travel safety. Now I know that I need a visa to travel there, just have to make sure if we have Jordan embassy in Poland, so maybe a better idea is to get it at the border. The taxi story is similar in all those countries, so I am not surprised. When I plan my travel, I will put Wadi Rum on the list for sure. And I must remember about the dress code!

Arnav Mathur

November 16, 2019 at 11:08 pm

Quite an interesting piece about Jordan TBH. This does give a better picture about travelling to Jordan, specially about the exorbitant costs of the food and accommodation. Your tip about making use of the Jordan Pass is quite practical and useful.

November 16, 2019 at 10:46 am

Awesome tips in there. We spent about 3 weeks in Jordan and agree with all your points in there…except the expensive part. I mean, it wasn’t SE Asia cheap, but we were able to get around on public transportation and have some super tasty street food. Great overview of a great country!!!!

November 16, 2019 at 6:42 pm

Jordan seems expensive to many people. Especially for what you get for your money.

November 15, 2019 at 9:26 pm

Very useful tips. Particularly the one about arriving by road for a 2 days visit can waive of visa fee. The monuments are stunning, so old yet looks grand. Thanks for the tip on dressing there; very important.

Jane Dempster-Smith

November 15, 2019 at 8:04 pm

Jordan is an amazing destination. We visited back in 2013 and wish we had read your article, you have provided us with so many great tips, thanks! We found Jordan expensive as well back then. We shared a taxi with another couple we met in our hotel in Amman to travel to Petra, halving the cost still cost us around USD20 which we thought was a good deal back then.

It really was a good deal. The prices went up big time since 2013, Jane.

Chloé Arnold

November 15, 2019 at 6:59 pm

Ahhh I’m so sad we didn’t visit Jordan when we were in Israel. So close yet so far. Your trip looks AMAZING!! Guess I need to go back! I’ll have to remember to get the Jordan Pass before we go!

November 16, 2019 at 6:43 pm

By all means, Chloé. The Jordan Pass will save you a lot of money.

Linda (LD Holland)

November 15, 2019 at 10:36 am

We only had one day in Jordon on a tour. But we know we want to go back. So your tips were helpful for planning. We felt it was pretty safe. But good to know there are some topics not to comment on. Very interesting to know that the visa fee can be waived if you stay 2 nights. And good to know you can negotiate a taxi for a long day trip. We missed Jerash and would definitely want to visit on a return trip.

November 16, 2019 at 6:44 pm

Hope you’ll return to visit Jordan in more depth, Linda.

November 15, 2019 at 8:27 am

What a wonderful post! Ive always wanted to visit Jordan, yes mostly for Petra 🙂 Its good to know that taxis are willing to take a such a long journey and I am actually surprised how expensive its over there! I didn’t think about it to be honest but I better start saving money if I gonna plan a trip there 🙂 Love all those tips!

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Jordan Pass Review: Is It Worth Purchasing?

Desert safari jeeps in Wadi Rum Jordan with text overlay

The Jordan Pass is one of the best resources for visitors to the Hashemite Kingdom – read on for what it is, how to use it and our experience using it!

The Jordan Tourism Board truly deserves a commendation for how easy they’ve made it for tourists to get in and around the country. From the straightforward visa-on-arrival counters to the Jordan Pass and warm hospitality, Jordan is one of the most tourist-friendly countries I have visited.

Sitting in a tour jeep in Wadi Rum, Jordan

The Jordan Pass is one of the best resources for visitors to the Hashemite Kingdom: if you’re planning a trip to Jordan, here’s everything you need to know about this tourist pass!

Planning a trip to Jordan? Click here for even more Jordan travel tips and advice!

What is the Jordan Pass?

Jerash Oval Plaza and Temple of Zeus in Jordan

The Jordan Pass is basically a city pass that gives you pre-paid entry to about 40 popular museums/attractions throughout the country including Petra, Jerash, Wadi Rum, Amman Citadel and more. Though many similar country or city passes don’t always give you bang for your buck, this one is costly but worth every penny as long as you a) stay for more than 3 nights in Jordan and b) purchase the pass before you arrive in Jordan . If you stay for over 3 nights, the Jordan Pass waives the entry visa fee of 40 Jordanian Dinars (40 JOD = approximately US$56 or 50 Euros) if you are eligible for visa-on-arrival .

How to purchase the Jordan Pass

View of the Treasury from the Siq in Petra Jordan

There are 3 different tiers of the Jordan Pass, and the package you choose depends on how many days you want to spend exploring the archaeological city of Petra . If you only have 1 week in Jordan , I recommend purchasing either the “Jordan Wanderer” or “Jordan Explorer”.

JORDAN WANDERER Price: 70 JOD (US$99 or approximately 80 Euros) 1 day visit to Petra

JORDAN EXPLORER Price: 75 JOD (US$106 or approximately 87 Euros) 2 consecutive days in Petra

JORDAN EXPERT Price: 80 JOD (US$113 or approximately 93 Euros) 3 consecutive days in Petra

All passes offer the following:

  • Free entry to over 40 attractions in Jordan
  • Waiving of tourist entry visa fees if you are eligible for visa-on-arrival in Jordan, purchase the Jordan Pass before arrival and stay at least 3 nights
  • Valid for use within 12 months following date of purchase , but it automatically expires after 2 weeks of the first time it is scanned

Wondering how to buy the Jordan Pass? Here are the steps to buy a Jordan Pass:

  • Head to the official Jordan Pass website
  • Click the “Buy Now” button in the upper right hand corner
  • Enter your name, e-mail, phone number, ticket type and number of tickets
  • Fill in the ticket holder information: first name, last name, nationality, residence, passport number and birthday (the spelling of your name and your nationality must be exactly the same as your passport)
  • Review your purchase
  • Proceed to payment – the system accepts Visa or Mastercard only and you will be charged a small processing fee (approximately 2 JOD or US$3)
  • Check your e-mail inbox! The pass should be e-mailed to you within minutes. You’ll find several attachments: a PDF version of the pass that you can print at home, a mobile friendly version that you can use directly from your device and a map of Jordan. Here’s what the mobile friendly version of the Jordan Pass looks like:

Jordan Pass Mobile Ticket

You can buy the pass regardless of the number of nights you’re planning on staying in Jordan, but one of the pass’s key benefits is that it waives the visa fees (40 JOD) only if you are staying 3 consecutive nights and buy it before arrival in Jordan.

Related article: 11 Things You Should Know Before You Travel to Jordan

How does the Jordan Pass work?

Jordan Pass line at Queen Alia Airport in Amman Jordan

Once you’ve bought your Jordan Pass all you have to do is show your ticket (printed or mobile version) at the airport upon arrival, as well as at the entrance of any attraction covered by the pass. The officers will take a look at the pass and/or scan it with a QR code reader. Though the FAQ section of the Jordan Pass website says that you will be asked to show your ID at the attractions (otherwise you could be asked to pay for the site’s entrance ticket), we were only asked for our passports at 1 site: Petra.

What can you see with the Jordan Pass?

Amman Ampitheatre seen from the Citadel Jordan

Here is a full list of all the attractions covered by the Jordan Pass. The Jordan Pass attractions list includes Petra, Jerash , Amman Citadel, Aljoun Castle, Umm Qays, As-Salt Museum and more. The pass includes 1-time entry to all of the sites (with the exception of Petra if you purchase the Jordan Explorer or Jordan Expert pass).

Is the Jordan Pass worth it?

The Monastery with bougainvillea in foreground Petra Jordan

Not all city passes are made equal, but the Jordan Pass was 100% worth it in our case. The Jordan visa-on-arrival costs 40 JOD, and a 1-day pass for Petra costs 50 JOD. The basic Jordan Pass (Jordan Wanderer) costs 70 JOD. Even if we had only visited Petra and no other attraction in Jordan we already saved 20 JOD per person. Here’s how much we saved on entrance tickets for attractions in Jordan:

Amman Citadel: 3 JOD

Roman Theatre: 2 JOD

Jerash: 10 JOD

Umm Ar-Rasas: 3 JOD

Shobak Castle: 1 JOD

Petra: 50 JOD for 1 day

Wadi Rum: 5 JOD

Total: 74 JOD

So, the Jordan entry visa and attraction tickets would have cost us 114 JOD or US$160. Instead, we purchased the Jordan Pass and paid 70 JOD, therefore saving 44 JOD or US$62 per person. We also never had to queue up to buy tickets so saved a little bit of time, though lines aren’t substantial in Jordan.

Byzantine Church in Amman Citadel Jordan

Is the Jordan Pass right for me?

Entrance into Amman Citadel in Jordan

Purchasing the Jordan Pass made perfect sense for us (we traveled independently without a guide through Jordan in 1 week ) but it might not make sense for everybody. It might not be worth getting the Jordan Pass if you:

  • hold an Arabic nationality. People who hold Arabic nationalities pay discounted local entrance fees
  • hold one of these nationalities: South Africa, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan and Vatican City. These nationalities are exempted from paying visa fees in Jordan
  • hold one of these “restricted” nationalities: click here for the full list . The Jordan Pass is not available for these nationalities for the time being
  • are traveling with a tour group. Most tour companies will organize visas and entrance fees for you – double check with the company if you are unsure
  • are spending less than 4 days/3 nights in Jordan as your visa fee will not be waived, and you will be asked to pay the visa fee upon departure

You also do not need to purchase the Jordan Pass for any children under the age of 12 as they can enter tourist sites for free when accompanied by their parents.

The fine print

As with anything, read up on the terms and conditions so you’re clued in on exclusions and limitations. Here are some key things you might want to know about the Jordan Pass before you make the purchase. Read the FAQ section for more.

  • You can not upgrade or downgrade the pass, so you’ll need to decide in advance how many days you want to spend exploring the Petra archaeological site
  • Petra By Night is not included in the Jordan Pass and costs 17 JOD per person
  • The single entry visa is valid for 1 month, but the Jordan Pass automatically expires after 2 weeks of the first time it is scanned
  • You do not need to “prove” that you stayed more than 3 nights in Jordan. When you leave the country the immigration officer will check that you stayed the requisite number of nights. If not, you will need to pay the 40 JOD visa fee
  • You can get a visa on arrival if you are entering Jordan by land or air. Queen Alia Airport and Sheikh Hussein Bridge (Jordan River Border) provide visa upon arrival, Wadi Araba border (Eilat-Aqaba border) provides visa upon arrival only for Jordan Pass holders who are eligible for a visa on arrival provided they stay a minimum of 3 nights in Jordan
  • Some people have reported issues with payment and getting charged several times but we didn’t experience this issue. You should e-mail [email protected] if you run into any problems with the website

I hope this Jordan Pass review answers any questions you might have! It’s a practical resource for anyone planning a trip to Jordan, and worth purchasing in my opinion.

Wadi Rum Desert in Jordan

Read more about visiting Jordan:

  • What you need to know before visiting Jordan. Spoiler: there’s more to Jordan than Petra!
  • Head on over here for an easy 1 week Jordan itinerary for first time visitors
  • Here are 5 of the best things to do in Amman , Jordan’s capital city
  • Learn more about visiting Jerash , one of the best preserved Roman archaeological ruins in the world
  • Find out what you can’t miss in Petra (beyond seeing The Treasury)
  • Last but not least, read about glamping in Wadi Rum

Pin this for later!

Byzantine Church in Amman Citadel Jordan with text overlay

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I am little confused here. If children under 12 years dont need jordan pass… Then is only visa sufficient for them??? Can visa be obtained on arrival or should we get before arrival for kids below 12 years ???

It depends on your point of arrival and what passport you hold, but yes children under 12 years will need a visa (which can be secured on arrival): https://eservices.moi.gov.jo/MOI_EVISA/faces/Pages/Runnables/login.jsf# and https://moi.gov.jo/En/Pages/Restricted_and_Non_Restricted_Countries_Nationalities

The majority of nationalities are eligible for visas on arrival: https://international.visitjordan.com/page/21/Border-Crossing

Amazing info! Really puts everything into context for my upcoming trip.

I’ll be traveling through Northern Africa and ending in the Middle East. This would be done between Sep and Nov/Dec. My question is, does the Jordan Pass begins from the day of purchase or once I get it scanned?

Cheers, Henry

Happy to hear that you found this helpful. The Jordan Pass is valid for use within 12 months following date of purchase. Once activated it will expire within 2 weeks – it is “activated” when you scan it at the first tourist site.

Hi Flo, Thanks a lot for such a detailed information about the Jordan Pass 🙂 ! I just have one last question concerning the passport, does it get stamped if you get the Jordan Pass? Best regards,

Yes – it does get stamped. We bought the Jordan Pass before arrival and our passports were stamped. Hope that helps!

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Picked up as planned from Amman and…

Picked up as planned from Amman and driven four hours to Wadi Rum on day one. Jeep safari was had and ‘Martian Tent’ overnight stay with meals included. Picked up promptly on day two and driven the two hours to Petra where we were met by our specialist guide. Absolutely stunning experience. Following the visit to the Petra site we were supplied with an afternoon meal at a local restaurant before being driven back to Amman and dropped at our hotel. It all went like clockwork and the overall experience was breathtaking.

Date of experience : 27 December 2023

Reply from Touristjordan

Dear Colin, thank you very much for taking the time to share your amazing experience with us. Our team is fully dedicated to make each trip a unique and wholesome experience.

Exceptional tour

Our tour worked out perfect! We booked online with Christina being our contact ! She was extremely helpful in helping us plan our itinerary. The drivers were timely and super nice. Would definitely recommend booking tours thru this site !

Date of experience : 17 September 2023

Cautious driver and very precise

Cautious driver, that picked us at precise time. Very good mini van with all conditions

Date of experience : 13 October 2023

She Wanders Abroad

  • The Ultimate Jordan Travel Guide for First Time Visitors

The Treasury in Petra, Jordan

Jordan was my first trip to the Middle East and it quickly became one of my all-time favorite destinations!

This country really has it all: if you are looking for dramatic landscapes, amazing red sand dunes, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the lowest point on Earth, amazing local food, and friendly people then you have come to the right place!

In this Jordan travel guide, you can find all the information you need to know before visiting Jordan. Let’s get into it!

* Disclosure: This post contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link. *

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The Ultimate Jordan Travel Guide for First Time Visitors

Table of Contents

How Much Time Do You Need to Spend in Jordan?

Well, this totally depends on you. Many people just want to visit Petra so they are border crossing from Israel for only one day. But Jordan deserves so much more than that! I would suggest planning at least 3-4 full days to have enough time to cover the most famous spots.

Originally I wanted to do the same and while it’s totally doable, I realized I don’t want to rush over the whole country in just a few days. I’ve decided to spend one week in Jordan instead and after having done that I would say this is definitely the best option!

You will have a decent amount of time for the must-see places plus you can include some fun activities and some relaxing time as well.

If you want to spend more than one day in Petra or the Wadi Rum desert, or you want to see some more off-the-beaten places, spending 10 days in Jordan is ideal.

To be honest, even if you would spend 2 weeks there you wouldn’t get bored so it really depends on your own preferences!

tourist jordan reviews

Best Time to Visit Jordan

Jordan is a year-round destination, the best time highly depends on what type of activities you’re looking for. It’s important to know that the country may be small, but due to its topography, you can expect different weather conditions across the land.

That means you can experience some rainy and chilly days in Amman but you can work on your tan at the same time in the sunny Aqaba.

Spring (March-May) is one of the best options to visit Jordan. The weather is already pleasant in the mid-20 degrees with lots of sunshine, which is perfect for hiking and sightseeing. Springtime is really magical as the whole country is carpeted with wildflowers, even the desert!

Spring in the Wadi Rum, Jordan

The summer months (June-August) in Jordan are insanely hot and dry, the temperature can easily rise up to 40 degrees. Unless you are planning to chill all day long by the pool, I wouldn’t recommend this time for traveling.

Autumn (September-November) can be another great time for visiting as the temperature begins to drop in mid-September. This time is especially great if you are interested in diving in Aqaba.

The winter in Jordan (December-February) is generally short and cold. The temperature usually drops below freezing in the North and snow is not uncommon either.

All the popular sites will be quite empty so if you want to explore without the crowds and you can bear the cold, winter can still be a good choice for you, especially if you would like to experience Christmas in Jordan .

Visa in Jordan

Every visitor should obtain a visa. It can be purchased at the international airports and most the land borders for 40 JD ($56 US).

However, if you decide to buy the Jordan Pass it already covers the visa and it gives you free access to many sites, including the famous Petra.

The visa fee is waived on the condition that you stay at least 3 nights in Jordan (bad news for border hoppers).

If you are planning to visit Petra I recommend choosing the Jordan Pass. If you would choose to buy the one-day Petra ticket separately, it would cost you 50 JD ($70 US).

You would pay another 40 JD ($56 US) for the visa, so your total cost would be 90 JD ($126 US). The cheapest option of the Jordan Pass is 70 JD ($100 US) and it already includes the visa and a one-day pass to Petra.

You can choose a multiple-day Pass as well if you plan to stay longer in Petra.

Girl in a white dress and a white-red keffiyeh standing in front of the Ad Deir Monastery in Petra, Jordan

Money in Jordan

When I first heard about Jordan I thought it would be a budget destination. I couldn’t have been more wrong about that! Jordan is quite an expensive country, even comparing it to European or American standards.

The official currency is the Jordanian dinar (JD). You can change money at banks, exchange offices or even at some hotels. Most of the major currencies are accepted but it’s easier to change US dollars, Euros, or UK pounds.

The US dollar rates are fixed ( $1 US = 0.7 JD) while the other currencies are subject to the current economical conditions.

I would recommend bringing US dollars to Jordan and then changing it to dinars once you’re there. It’s possible to change dinars back to any foreign currency if you don’t need them anymore.

ATMs are available throughout the country and credit cards are widely accepted. However, there are no ATMs in places like the Wadi Rum desert or Petra and you can only pay with cash in these areas.

We brought $350 US in cash with us and it was enough for the whole week (on top of the credit card payments, of course). We used it mostly in markets, smaller restaurants, and in the desert area.

If you’re interested to know more about the travel costs in Jordan, read my post about how much does it cost to spend one week in Jordan !

Girl in a white dress looking at the view in the Wadi Rum, Jordan

How to Get Around in Jordan

Public transportation only exists in bigger cities like Amman. Be aware that the public buses don’t follow a timetable, the bus will only depart once it’s fully loaded with passengers.

They have specific routes but there are no official bus stops. They will stop anywhere once you press the button and you can wave them down anywhere along the road if you want to get on. You can buy your tickets on the bus.

The other option is taking a tourist bus. The Jordan Express Tourist Transportation Company (JETT) operates many tourist buses across the country. They have a fixed schedule and they don’t stop en route.

If you want to travel with them, you have to purchase your ticket in advance. In case you prefer to travel privately, you can also opt for an organized tour or hire a private driver to take care of the transportation issue.

After checking many options we decided to rent a car. To be honest we were a bit afraid of driving in Jordan but as long as you can avoid the bigger cities you’ll be fine.

Most of the time you will be driving through empty highways and mountain roads. There are lots of tricky road bumps and some of the roads could be in better condition.

Oh and don’t be surprised if you find a horde of sheep (or goats) in the middle of the road! It’s just the normal traffic in the Jordan countryside.

Girl in a white T-shirt and jeans looking at the winding roads of the King's Highway in Jordan

Best Places to Visit in Jordan

The rose-colored city of Petra is one of the New Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Since Petra is the most interesting site in Jordan you absolutely need to put it on your itinerary!

You can see the vast majority of the ruins in only one day but if you have more time you can easily spend 2-3 days in Petra as well.

The most famous spot is the Treasury, but there are many more interesting sites like the Street of Facades, the Roman Theatre, or the Monastery.

If you’re looking for the best viewpoints in Petra, read my article about how to find the best view of the Treasury !

Girl in a white dress standing in front of the Ad Deir Monastery in Petra, Jordan

Where to stay in Petra

Mövenpick Resort Petra

LUXURY – Mövenpick Resort Petra

Featuring free Wi-Fi, the 5-star Mövenpick Resort Petra is located directly at the entrance to the ancient city of Petra. The hotel’s rooftop garden terrace offers views of the hills. The spacious rooms feature white linen and bright windows.

Infinity Lodge

MID-RANGE – Infinity Lodge

Set in Wadi Musa, Infinity Lodge offers 3-star accommodation with private balconies. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, room service, and a shared lounge, along with free WiFi. The property offers car hire and features a garden and terrace.

Bedroom at the La Maison Hotel in Petra, Jordan

BUDGET – La Maison Hotel

La Maison Hotel is uniquely located in Wadi Musa, a 5-minute walk from the Jordanian world wonder, the Red Rose City of Petra. The hotel offers air-conditioned guest rooms with satellite TVs.

2. Wadi Rum

The Wadi Rum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the southern part of Jordan. This is a huge desert area with the most amazing landscapes you’ll ever see!

If you’re into photography you will absolutely love it. Oh, and it’s definitely one of the most Instagrammable places in Jordan as well!

Try to plan at least a half-day for visiting the desert but if you have more time I would rather recommend spending one full day and a night in the Wadi Rum.

If you want to go all-in, you can even stay at one of the best luxury camps in Wadi Rum .

Girl in a white dress looking at the view in the Wadi Rum, Jordan

Where to stay in the Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum Bubble Luxotel

LUXURY – Wadi Rum Bubble Luxotel

With mountain views, Wadi Rum Bubble Luxotel is located in Wadi Rum and has a restaurant and a 24-hour front desk. Complimentary WiFi is provided. There is a private bathroom with a bidet in all units, along with a hairdryer and free toiletries.

Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp

MID-RANGE – Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp

Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp is situated in the heart of the Wadi Rum Protected Area. Guests at the campsite can enjoy a continental breakfast. Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp also offers a children’s playground, Jeep tours, camel rides, and hiking.

Bedouin Night Camp

BUDGET – Bedouin Nights Camp

Featuring a terrace, Bedouin Nights Camp features accommodations in Wadi Rum. Guests at the camping can enjoy a buffet breakfast. Barbecue facilities are provided and guests can also relax in the garden or in the shared lounge area.

3. Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth and the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. It’s almost 10 times saltier than the ocean, therefore you will rather float than swim in the water.

Trust me, floating in the Dead Sea is a true bucket list experience! Although it’s really fun, there are some things you need to pay attention to. Read my best tips for visiting the Dead Sea for more information!

tourist jordan reviews

Where to stay at the Dead Sea

tourist jordan reviews

LUXURY – Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa

Located in Sowayma, this 5-star hotel features a fitness center and a private beach area. All guest rooms are equipped with air-conditioning units, WiFi, satellite TV, a safe, and a minibar. If you want to read more about this hotel, check out my  complete review of the Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa .

Dead Sea Spa Hotel

MID-RANGE – Dead Sea Spa Hotel

This 4-star resort in Jordan is situated at the lowest spot on earth. The family-oriented resort has outdoor pools with water slides and a terrace overlooking the Dead Sea. The hotel offers free WiFi.

Amman is the capital city of Jordan. It’s a very modern city with many ancient ruins so it’s definitely an interesting place to visit. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked by tourists but it’s worth spending at least a day there!

Visiting the Citadel and the Temple of Hercules is definitely one of the best things to do in Amman , such as shopping in the bazaars and tasting the local food.

If you’re looking for something off-the-beaten-path and you love cars, you can also pay a visit to the Royal Automobile Museum.

Roman ruins in Amman, Jordan

Where to stay in Amman

Amman Rotana

LUXURY – Amman Rotana

Located in the central business, social and residential destination, Amman’s new downtown, Al Abdali, Amman Rotana is the first tower hotel in Jordan offering 412 lavish rooms and suites, housed across 50 floors at 189 m high.

Amman International Hotel

MID-RANGE – Amman International Hotel

Situated next to the University of Jordan, this 4-star hotel offers air-conditioned rooms with a flat-screen TV. All rooms at the Amman International Hotel are spacious and come equipped with free Wi-Fi and a private bathroom with a bathtub.

The Cabin

BUDGET – The Cabin

Located in Amman, The Cabin provides air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. Providing a shared lounge, the property is located within 7 km of the US Embassy.

If you’re looking for the largest and most interesting Roman site in Jordan, you need to put Jerash on your itinerary.

This ancient city is packed with many temples, amphitheaters, columns, and ruined buildings. You can easily visit Jerash from Amman on a day trip so there is no need to stay there.

Girl in a purple floral dress standing in front of the ruins of Jerash in Jordan

Aqaba is the only coastal city in Jordan, packed with beautiful beach resorts. The water is always warm and crystal clear which makes it the perfect place for snorkeling or scuba diving.

Unfortunately, if you’re only planning to spend a few days in Jordan you will not have time to enjoy the warm weather in Aqaba.

However, if you’re spending one week in Jordan as I suggested, you can easily plan a full-day snorkeling trip in Aqaba!

Girl in a white bikini sitting on a snorkeling boat in Aqaba, Jordan

Where to stay in Aqaba

Mövenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba

LUXURY – Mövenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba

This 5-star resort in the center of Aqaba is 500 m from the Red Sea. It features a private beach, several outdoor pools, and 5 food outlets. The rooms at the Mövenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba are bright and furnished with modern décor.

Marina Plaza Tala Bay

MID-RANGE – Marina Plaza Tala Bay

Situated along the Red Sea shore, this 4-star hotel offers modern rooms with air conditioning and satellite TV. Facilities include Tala Bay Beach Club and outdoor pools and each room is equipped with a private balcony.

Hotel Prestige

BUDGET – Hotel Prestige

550 m from Al-Ghandour Beach, Hotel Prestige is set in Aqaba and features free WiFi, express check-in and check-out, and a ticket service. Boasting family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace.

Planning a trip to Jordan?

Then you might want to take a look at all our other travel guides about Jordan. I promise, they are just as awesome as this article was!

  • The Perfect Itinerary for Spending One Week in Jordan
  • Top 8 Most Instagrammable Places in Jordan
  • How to Find the Best Viewpoint in Petra – Treasury From Above
  • 10 Tips for Visiting the Dead Sea
  • 9 Stunning Dead Sea Hotels in Jordan
  • Wadi Rum Glamping: 9 Amazing Luxury Camps to Book
  • How Much Does it Cost to Spend One Week in Jordan?
  • Hotel Review: Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa

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The Ultimate Jordan Travel Guide for First Time Visitors

25 thoughts on “The Ultimate Jordan Travel Guide for First Time Visitors”

Jordan is so high on my bucket list! Your blog post is such an interesting read ?

Thank you so much Lina! Jordan is such an amazing country, I can only recommend visiting!

So much good info here Kristi! I am bookmarking it for when I get to visit Jordan in the future- it looks so beautiful.

Jordan is still one of my favourite travel destinations ever! I’m sure you will love it Charu! 🙂

Jordan is on my list, and I’m so happy to see more than just about Petra. I have obviously always wanted to visit Petra, I mean look at it. But there seems to be so much more to Jordan that if I were to visit I would not want to just border hop, but spend some actual time there. Good to know about some of the costs though, that’s definitely helpful information

Totally agree with you, Jordan is so much more than Petra! I’ve never understood why many people only do a day trip there from Israel when the whole country is so beautiful. I have a full blog post about our Jordan expenses if you’re interested 🙂

The desert has such beauty, with the earth tones and sand dunes. I smiled at your comment that the buses don’t follow a timetable. It’s a different culture than my city life in the US, and that’s one reason it would be so interesting to visit Jordan!

Haha yeah it’s so interesting! It’s really different from Hungary as well and it was such an amazing travel experience!

My parents went here last year but I still haven’t had a chance to visit Jordan yet! I’d love to go someday! Your photos are gorgeous! :]

Thank you Farrah! Jordan is such an amazing country, I can only recommend visiting!

Wonderful post and photos! I had such an amazing time in Jordan!!!

Thank you Charlotte! I really loved it as well 🙂

I would love to visit Jordan! It looks like an amazing country and there are so many beautiful spots! I will definitely use your tips for when I go! Your photos are stunning btw!

Thank you so much Bettina!

I have traveled to the Middle East many times, but never made it to Jordan. This is a very informative and useful guide so I’m going to save it for when we can travel again. Thanks so much for the inspiration and for the STUNNING images!

Thank you so much Michelle, I’m so happy you liked it! Jordan is really great country, it’s still one of my favourite travel destinations ever 🙂

I would love to go back to Jordan! I only got to see the Dead Sea, so it looks like there are so many other places I should explore there!!

I have had Jordan on my top places to visit for a while now and this post just adds to the desire to go. I think I need to spend the full week here. Snorkelling, history and amazing views all in one place – YES PLEASE!!!!

I think one week is the perfect amount of time! We also did a one week trip (I shared our itinerary in another blog post as well) and it was so incredible! 🙂

I never thought about Jerash and Aqaba. Jordan is high on my list. It’s a very useful guide. It will definitely come handy for when I visit.

You’re making me miss this beautiful country!! So many good tips here. I definitely want to go back!

I was supposed to visit Jordan back in 2017 and my friend got really sick and we had to cancel the trip literally the day we were supposed to leave. Ever since, I’ve been absolutely DYING to visit Jordan! I pinned this for when I can finally make that trip 🙂

Omg I’m so sorry to hear about it! Jordan is really amazing, one of my favourite trips ever! I hope you will be able to visit Jordan when we can finally travel again 🙂

Jordan is perhaps my all-time favorite country! I spent almost three weeks there years ago, taking shared taxis everywhere, hitchhiking through the desert, and camping on the beach. I found all the locals to be so friendly and helpful! The one thing I need to go back for is Wadi Rum — didn’t make it there the first time around.

Oh gosh 3 weeks in Jordan – that sounds like a dream! I absolutely loved this country as well and it’s also one of my favourite travel destinations ever 🙂

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Jordan Reviews & Ratings

Hidden treasures of jordan.

An extremely comprehensive but whirlwind tour of Jordan. A lot of time spent on the coach between destinations and physical activity ranged from almost none on mos...

A safe country with a lot of history and a great guide

Well organised by Exodus and our local guide "Eddie". Full and active days with no wasted time; be prepared for early starts to get to sites before other groups. ...

A terrific trip!

This trip is great! The varied itinerary explores all the major attractions of Jordan, its fascinating history and culture as well as the lovely landscape and, if ...

This adventure exceeded my expectations. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan offers a huge variety of different landscapes and activities for the traveller. Its histor...

A fantastic trip

A great tour. It covers so many places and sites; we felt we’d seen as much of the country as we possibly could in the time. 1. The desert trip to Wadi Rum was simp...

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About Tourist Jordan

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EXPERTS IN JORDAN TRAVEL

Tourist Jordan is one of Jordan’s leading travel service providers. We provide an extensive and diverse range of tours, experiences, and multi-day packages that focus on showcasing the best and most unique experiences this country has to offer. Harnessing a passionate team, cutting-edge technology, and an incredible network of suppliers and collaborators, Tourist Jordan has helped many happy travelers plan trips and provided experiences, tours, and packages to see the wonders of Jordan.

Reinventing Travel In Jordan

Our mission is to change the face of Jordan’s tourism. In recent history, Jordan had been seen as a niche destination with a limited number of attractions that mostly appealed to religious tourists. But Tourist Jordan recognized the tremendous untapped potential of Jordan’s multifaceted culture, cuisine, street life, and history; that it had so much more to offer beyond the conventional tourist attractions. From Amman’s historic landmarks, both ancient and modern, to the wonder of the lost city of Petra, to off-the-beaten-path experiences deep in the desert, we saw that the best things Jordan had to offer had yet to be made accessible to the new generation of travelers. Equipped with our endless curiosity and passion for content, quality, and authenticity, we teamed up with talented guides and local experts to craft unique tours and experiences that would speak to the global traveler. Featured widely in the press including the New York Times, Bloomberg, and the Independent, Tourist Jordan has reinvented what it means to travel in Jordan.

Wadi Rum

So What Sets Us Apart?

Our belief in making beautiful travel experiences accessible for all is at the heart of everything we do, and the way we do it. We fuse powerful technology, a wide network of local experts and guides, intricate operational capacity, and a multicultural team to provide travelers from around the globe with high-quality experiences of exceptional value. Our goal is to give travelers an experience that is above and beyond the average Jordan tour, taking care of all the logistics so that travelers can sit, back, relax, and enjoy an unforgettable experience in Jordan. All our tours feature modern, comfortable, air-conditioned vehicles with reliable drivers and experienced, knowledgeable local guides who go above and beyond to give our clients immersive experiences that they’ll never forget!

Amman At Dusk

Our Core Values

Travel with Passion Our team of friendly, professional, multilingual experts are here for you throughout every step of your journey. We experience Jordan not just as a place of history and religion, but a land full of intense flavors, vibrant communities, cultural medleys, fascinating personalities, and incredible nature. Our guides are passionate about their homes and lend an added dimension to understanding the land and the people who live in it.

Innovation + Service The Tourist Jordan website offers an extensive library of free information and convenient updates about traveling in Jordan. Our website offers instant online booking with full transparency and no hassles. And our customer support team is available 7 days a week to keep things running smoothly, ensuring maximum customer satisfaction. We also continue to expand our services and offerings having recently launched tours and packages in Italy .

Compassion + Community Whether it’s the people who work for us, the clients we serve, or the communities we explore, Tourist Jordan cares about our people. Compassion, diversity, and inclusion are important to us. We believe that partnering with regional and minority communities throughout the region not only enriches the travel experience, but strengthens and enriches the fabric of Jordanian society. For us, travel isn’t just a recreational activity; it’s a chance to expand boundaries, gain exposure to different walks of life, open minds and interact with the larger human family. At Tourist Jordan making the world a kinder, more connected, and more tolerant place is what travel is all about. 

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Why Tourist Jordan?

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Our booking and customer service team is available 7 days a week to advise, help or just chat

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Our website is secure and we look after all personal details as if they are our own

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All vehicles are safe, modern and air conditioned (except for camels, where ridden)

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We care (about you)! Really!

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We have 24/7 support for emergencies

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The Tourist season two review: Jamie Dornan is back in one of the best British thrillers of recent years

T he man with no name, no family, no history, is an action movie staple. It evokes memories of Clint Eastwood staring down his enemies in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly , or Viggo Mortensen growling through the apocalyptic wasteland of The Road . It is a sure-fire route to a sense of mystery – who is he? What’s he doing here? – but it’s also a creative dead end. You cannot tantalise your viewers forever, and that’s the challenge for the second series of BBC One’s The Tourist , which picks up after the pieces begin to fall into place for our enigmatic hero.

After the ambiguous final moments of The Tourist ’s first season , viewers will be relieved to discover that Elliot ( Jamie Dornan ) is very much alive. In fact, he’s swanning around south Asia with his girlfriend Helen (Danielle Macdonald), who has sacked off her career as a police constable. After a difficult time in Australia (which involved a car crash, loss of memory, and about a dozen attempts on his life), Elliot thinks he’s safe. “Are you really, really – like 100 per cent – sure about that?” Helen asks. Well, of course not. And it takes about five minutes back in his Irish homeland before Elliot is kidnapped by masked goons.

If the first series was a fish-out-of-water thriller, calling to mind Robert A Heinlein’s 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land , this second outing inverts the formula. If there is a tourist now, it’s Helen. For Elliot, this is a return to a native land where people know who he is – or, at least, who he was. “You sound like you’re a long way from home,” a local barkeep tells Helen. “Yeah,” she replies, “I am.” But where the show previously had to rely on the, rather tired, amnesiac trope in order to make Elliot’s discombobulation satisfying, Helen is a more natural tourist. She gallivants around the Irish countryside while Elliot tries to break free of his captors (who needle him with Saw -inspired challenges, such as cutting off his own legs, but played for laughs).

The Tourist has afforded an opportunity for Dornan to show exactly how woefully miscast he was as the icy, dominant Christian in the Fifty Shades franchise. Behind the good looks that saw him model for Calvin Klein in his early years, Dornan is better at projecting vulnerability than confidence. It’s what made his serial killer, Paul Spector, so chilling in The Fall : a cold-blooded killer gripped by a disarming unease with his place in the world. In The Tourist he is neither action hero nor lothario, just a man caught up in events like driftwood floating down the Lagan. “I tried once to end it all,” he tells one of his kidnappers. “But I’m ready to answer for the things that I’ve done.”

Mild-mannered men who are surprisingly au fait with violence and criminality – a genre spawned by Breaking Bad , with the baton passed first to Ozark , and now over to The Tourist – has become television’s most reliable archetype. The Tourist ’s newly expanded canvas gives more narrative control to Helen, which allows the fresh air of a more comic tone into proceedings. Searching for her kidnapped lover, she teams up with Conor MacNeill’s detective, who isn’t quite as normal a police officer as Helen was (to say the least). “I had to go and stick my big nose in it!” she exclaims, as things unravel beyond her control.

Where the original concept of The Tourist was neat and tidy – an unknown Northern Irishman wakes from a car accident in Australia, pursued by assassins whose motive eludes him – this second series is less clean. Ireland is a more familiar place than Australia (more like the Heinlein formula, where a Martian visits Earth), but the interpersonal dealings are more complex than ever. There’s an element of Hatfields and McCoys to the feud between two warring Irish crime dynasties (to one of which, Elliot may be the unwitting heir), which pushes the show away from the mystery genre (though the twists keep coming, with the regularity of a Tuscan highway) and towards the less interesting world of gangsters. In refocusing, something of the tension that typified the Antipodean season is lost.

All the same, The Tourist – which broadcasts on Stan in Australia and HBO in the US, as well as the BBC – is undoubtedly one of the best British thrillers of recent years. The combination of a very sexy protagonist, a slow-burning but believable romance (the chemistry between Dornan and Macdonald is, again, excellent), and stakes that get cranked higher and higher, make this a worthwhile second run. Now it’s no longer a blank slate – an unknown on the schedule – the show is less surprising, but The Tourist ’s return home still has the capacity to thrill.

‘The Tourist’ season two is on BBC One and BBC iPlayer at 9pm on 1 January 2024

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