Travel Advice and General Information

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is rich in tradition and culture. The country is renowned worldwide for historic sites, geological marvels, and natural scenic landscapes. This gem of the Middle East offers travels of all means, whether you want a luxury travel experience or a backpacking adventure, Jordan is sure to be an experience of a life time. Let us help guide you through some general information that will help you on your future travels.

Jordan’s Government

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy lead by His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein. The monarch is the head of state, the chief executive, and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein assumed his constitutional powers as King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on February 7th, 1999, the day his father, the late King Hussein, passed away.

Brief History

Jordan is a land rooted in history that dates back to the beginning of civilization, but the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was only granted its independence in 1949, on May 25th. Jordan sits in the crossroads of the Middle East and provides an important role as a conduit for trade and communications; connecting Asia, Africa, and Europe, and it continues to be critical hub of geopolitical affairs.

Attire

Jordan is a primarily Muslim country in which its people dress with modesty. The attire for women usually includes covering their arms, legs, and hair; however Western women and expats alike are not subject to these customs. But it is advised to ress in a conservative manor as revealing outfits will be considered inappropriate and out of places in most public areas.

Alcohol

Alcohol in contrast to popular belief is widely available in Jordan and served at many bars and hotels across the country.  Alcohol can also be bought from specific retail liquor stores. Feel free to consume and enjoy alcohol responsibly keeping in mind consumption of alcohol is not a common practice in among most locals, in a primarily Muslim country.

Language

The official language of Jordan is Arabic, but English is widely spoken especially in the larger cities.

Religion

Jordan is a primary Islamic state but values its ethnically and religiously diverse population. The Jordanian constitution provides the freedom to practice the rights of one’s religion and faith. This spirit of tolerance is one of the central elements contributing to the stability and peace in Jordan. More than 92% of Jordanians are Sunni Muslims and approximately 6% are Christians.

Shopping

Take time to visit the Souks, large open markets, in Jordan’s larger towns and cities. These are treasure troves for those seeking a unique shopping experience. Bargaining is something common place in the Middle East as prices are not always fixed in local markets.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are wildly accepted and used throughout Jordan, including MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Diners Club. However please keep in mind that many smaller shops may only accept cash payment in the Jordanian currency, and it is essential for shopping in the local markets.

Currency

The local currency is the Jordanian Dinar, symbol JD. There are 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 JD notes. It is recommended that you exchanged your currency at major banks, exchange booths, and hotels. Please note street money-changers are best avoided. Exchange rates are set daily by the Jordanian Central Bank.

Local Time

October – March: Greenwich Mean Time plus 2 hours (G.M.T. + 2).
April – September: Greenwich Mean Time plus 3 hours (G.M.T. + 3).
Jordan is seven hours ahead of US Eastern Time.

Water

Water is a limited resource in Jordan, and visitors are encouraged not to use it frivolously. Tap water is not considered safe to drink, and bottled water is readily available and inexpensive. However hotels rated 3 stars and up have their own water filtering systems.

Public Holidays

Banks, businesses, government offices, and many shops close all day for public holidays. Fixed public holidays include;

New Year’s Day January 1st

Labor Day May 1st
– Independence Day May 25th
– Christmas Day December 25th

A number of public holidays are not fixed. These include Easter and the following Islamic Holidays, which are based on the Lunar calendar:
– Eid al-Fitr – A 3 or 4-day feast marking the end of Ramadan.
– Eid al-Adha – A 4 day feast at the end of the Hajj, or month of pilgrimage to Mecca.
– First of Muharam – Islamic New Year.
– 12 Rabee Al Awal – The Birthday of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

Ramadan

Ramadan is a special holy month reserved for fasting, generosity, and compassion. The dates change each year according to the Islamic Lunar Calendar. Eating, smoking, and drinking in public are prohibited from dawn till dusk. During Ramadan, alcohol is not sold, except in larger hotels. As a sign of respect, visitors are requested to refrain from these activities in public during fasting hours, but if you mistakenly drink or eat in public do not fret Jordanians will understand.