A popular comment on our last few blog posts on Jordan has been about how much our readers would absolutely love to visit the country. Well, why not start planning your trip now? There has never been a better time to visit Jordan and here's why:
1. It's Safe
Yes, conflicts plague the surrounding countries but keeping these problems from leaking into Jordan is a top priority for the country. Security is tight, as evidenced by the metal detectors people walk through as they enter hotels and shopping malls. No one can enter the grounds of a resort without being on a list and having his or her car checked out. These are minor inconveniences to a visitor's travels but definitely make you feel much more secure. And while the Jordanian people are aware of the problems of their neighbours, they don't let it spoil their fun. One local's comment stands out in my mind: "It's like enjoying a delicious meal but having to swat away flies from time to time." Don't let safety concerns keep you away from Jordan. It's one of the few places we've visited this year where we didn't have to worry about pickpockets or general security.
2. They're Ready for You
Facilities in Jordan are top notch. At every tourist attraction we found clean western bathrooms fully equipped with soap and toilet paper - even better than in Europe! Local guides are well-trained, knowledgeable and informed. Signage is ample. Most importantly, visitors will find a wide range of accommodation and activity options at the standards they are used to in the rest of the world. The Jordanian people are among the most friendly and welcoming in the world - the hospitality we felt during our travels in the country was one of our favourite aspects of travelling there.
3. It's Diverse and Beautiful
We found so many things to do in Jordan that the week we spent there wasn't nearly enough time. No matter what type of holiday you're looking for, you'll find it in Jordan. Adventure, luxury, relaxation and learning opportunities abound and it's possible to drive a short distance and find yourself in a completely different landscape. There's no time for boredom in Jordan.
4. Travel in Jordan is Easy
Before we arrived we brushed up on a few Arabic phrases and studied a list of cultural norms and etiquette. While the latter helped a little bit, we were also somewhat surprised to find that the people in Jordan were just like us. The country is very moderate and I didn't feel uncomfortable not having my hair covered. Everyone speaks English and the culture is part-Arabic, part-American. And we were told that this is the way people like it. Television isn't dubbed, English language bookstores are easy to find and you'll probably feel a bit like you're in your own hometown when you explore cities like Amman. It's easy to drive everywhere in the country and the distances aren't huge. That said, visitors will find plenty of cultural differences.
This was the first Middle Eastern country aside from Turkey that John and I had visited. So naturally we learned just as much about the Arab people as we did about the country's history and attractions. The Jordanian people are very open and love to talk about their families, traditions and daily life in the kingdom. Things that were always mysterious to us about Arabic and Muslim customs didn't seem so odd once they were explained. We talked a lot about family and politics and learned that the Jordanians had a lot in common with us when it came to our own backgrounds and beliefs. And cultural exchange and understanding really is the best part of travel, isn't it?
What's stopping you from planning a trip to Jordan?
Our time in Jordan was sponsored by the Jordan Tourism Board and we thank them for a truly amazing experience.