General Information About Jordan

jordan-mapJordan shares borders with Palestine, Israel, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. It occupies a geographically significant location between three continents (Asia, Europe, and Africa).

Although Jordan is a small country it has played a historically significant role in the struggle for power in the Middle East, partly because of its strategic location on the crossroads of what Christians, Jews, and Muslims call the Holy Land.

Western travelers have been exploring the Middle East for well over a century, but Jordan remains still quite new to travelers.
Welcoming only a fraction of the numbers who visit Egypt and Israel. Jordan's popular image abroad encompasses much more than camels, deserts, and Bedouin culture.

There is so many sites and activities in Jordan ranging from mountains, beaches, castles, ancient churches, its people, and rich culture.

In Jordan many come to visit the remains of cities, before Christ was born; hike along ancient trails and roads mentioned in the Old Testament and through a landscape that has changed little in the last 2,000 years.

Currency

9888Jordan's currency is the Jordanian Dinar, or JD. It is subdivided into 1000 fills .
Paper notes: 50, 20, 10, 5, and 1 JD.
Coins: 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 250 fils, and 1/2 dinar..
US $1 = JOD 0.708 (fixed rate).

The daily exchange rate is published in local newspapers.

You can change foreign cash or travelers checks at any bank in Jordan. Be warned, though travelers checks will be charged a commission-usually a very hefty one. There are also authorized money-changers in most cities and you will usually get a rate of exchange reasonably close to the bank rates.

Hotels of three stars or above will also change money but at much less favorable rates
Foreigners are permitted to open accounts at Jordanian banks in either Jordanian Dinar or in foreign currencies.
Currency exchanges operate under the guidelines and regulations of the Central Bank of Jordan.

The Central Bank also sets the minimum and maximum interest rates for financial institutions to follow.

You'll find ATMs throughout the country, outside most banks and also at popular shopping areas. Banks are open Sundays through Thursdays, 08.00-15.00 hrs. (They close earlier during Ramadan.) Some currency exchanges are open on Fridays, usually in the afternoons only. During the major "Eid" holidays, which last for four days, ATMs will usually run out of cash before the holiday is over!

You can spend US dollars, Euros and UK pounds at many places around the country, although shops may give you a less-than-official exchange rate. All official fees such as visa and exit taxes and sightseeing entry fees must be paid in Jordanian dinars.

Weather

The following information is always normal, but that does not mean it's accurate, but are based on analyzes of past years and are the expectations for the current year
Jordan has a long and pleasant spring and fall, from mid-March through May and from mid- September
through mid-November. Rain falls from November to March
sometimes. In the Jordan Valley, around the Dead Sea and in Aqaba on
the Red Sea the winters are warm and pleasant.
Here's a chart with the average high/low temperatures (Celsius) for several popular cities around the country:

Location

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

July

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Amman

 

LOW

5

5

7

11

15

18

21

20

18

15

10

6

HIGH

13

14

17

23

28

31

33

33

31

27

21

15

 

Aqaba

 

LOW

10

10

13

17

22

22

27

27

24

21

16

11

HIGH

21

22

26

32

36

38

41

40

37

33

27

22

 

Dead Sea

 

LOW

11

12

15

18

22

25

28

29

26

23

17

12

HIGH

22

23

27

31

36

39

42

40

38

33

28

23

 

Jerash

 

LOW

5

5

7

11

15

17

20

20

18

16

11

7

HIGH

11

11

15

21

25

28

30

30

28

25

19

13

 

Petra

 

LOW

3

3

5

9

13

16

19

19

16

13

9

5

HIGH

12

13

15

22

27

30

32

32

30

25

19

14

 

Wadi Rum

 

LOW

1

2

6

10

14

17

19

19

17

13

7

3

HIGH

14

16

20

27

31

34

36

36

34

29

22

17

Language

9889Arabic is the official language
English is widely spoken throughout the kingdom.
Road signs and many business signs are in English
If you need to communicate in a language other than English or Arabic , you may just get lucky to run into a student in one of the country's excellent language programs .
Or you can wave your arms to sign. That usually works very well.

Getting to Jordan

Jordan has land borders with Israel, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and a seaport with daily connections by ferry to the Sinai in Egypt. Royal Jordanian Airlines is the official carrier for the kingdom, but the international airports in Amman and Aqaba also serve carriers including KLM, British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, Delta, Alitalia, Middle East Airlines, Egypt Air, Pakistan Airlines and all major carriers from the Persian Gulf states, among others.

Visa

9810Any non-Arab visitor to Jordan, whether for business or tourism, needs an entry visa. Single-entry visas can be obtained on arrival at any airport, port or land border except at the King Hussein/ Allenby Bridge, where you must have your Jordanian visa in advance.

The visa costs JD 20 or $30 US. Some nationalities require visas in advance.

Please check with us for the latest information. At present, all guests arriving through the Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZA) receive a gratis visa on arrival.

This would include entries through the Aqaba port, Aqaba land borders and the King Hussein International Airport in Aqaba.
Departure Tax (*airport departures tax is normally included in the flight ticket)

For Non-Jordanians

For Jordanians

By Land

8 JD

8 JD

By Air*

20 JD

20 JD

By Sea

8 JD

8 JD

Holiday

Holiday

Year

2011

2012

2013

* Muslim New Year (Hijri New Year)

27 November

15 November

5 November

New Year's Day

1 January

1 January

1 January

* Prophet Muhammad's birthday (Al Mawlid Al Nabawi)

16 February

5 February

24 January

* Easter (Western)

24 April

8 April

31 March

* Easter (Orthodox)

24 April

15 April

5 May

 Labor Day

1 May

1 May

1 May

 Independence Day

25 May

25 May

25 May

** King's Accession to the Throne

9 June

9 June

9 June

* Al Isra' wal Miraj (Ascension of Muhammad to Heaven)

28 June

16 June

5 June

* Beginning of Ramadan (note that it is NOT a public holiday but is a useful date to know)

1 August

20 July

9 July

* Eid Al Fitr

31 August

19 August

8 August

* Eid al Adha

7 November

26 October

15 October

 Christmas Day (Western)

25 December

25 December

25 December

The Islamic feast days, marked with a * are not fixed dates and will only be definitively determined a day or so beforehand, according to the sighting of the moon.

The two Eids mark the beginning of a four-day official holiday for banks, government offices and many private businesses.

The ATMs are very much used on holidays, so draw out money early before it's all gone! They will "go dry" before the banks reopen.

Weekends

The official Jordanian weekend is now Friday and Saturday. On these days, banks and most offices are closed. Post offices are open on Saturdays and also on Fridays until 12 noon. These days, many ordinary shops are open 7 days a week. They may close Friday mornings, and only open after mid-day Friday Prayers.

On Fridays, with the exception of the long distance services, buses usually run in the mornings only, and many buses not at all. You should check this if you are planning on traveling on a Friday.

Ramadan

One of the pillars of Islam requires Muslims to fast during the Holy Month of Ramadan, the month which commemorates the divine gift of the Koran to the Prophet Mohammed. From sunrise to sunset, those who fast must refrain from eating, drinking and smoking.

There are good and bad aspects of visiting the country during Ramadan. On the bright side, people hit the streets after the sunset "breakfast" ready to sing, play cards, enjoy some of the special musical and theatrical entertainments and just generally have fun. Shops re-open until the wee hours, and many hotels create special Ramadan Tents where they offer traditional holiday snacks and drinks, live entertainment, water pipes, backgammon boards, card games and the like. It's fun, and a great festival atmosphere.

The other side of the coin is that many aspects of "business as usual" don't apply during the month. Banks and offices all have shorter working hours, some restaurants close for the entire month, and About an hour before sunset the roads and streets will be full of crazed demons racing to buy last-minute supplies and get home in time for Al Iftar. If you plan to visit during Ramadan, you should understand that the touring day will be shortened. There will still be plenty of restaurants open and serving lunch, especially in the tourist areas, but it would be very bad manners to eat, drink or smoke in the sight of passers-by.

Do remember, if you visit during Ramadan, that your dress should be a bit more circumspect that usual. Some women who do not normally cover their heads do so during Ramadan, and often feel that make-up, perfume and other "vanities of the flesh" should be given up during this month.