Welcome to the Around the World Interview Series on Ordinary Traveler. Each week we feature a guest who has lived in or traveled extensively to a country. Every guest will share valuable tips and insights about a different country around the globe.
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What was your longest time in Jordan?
Three times I’ve been to Jordan. In 2009, on my RTW tour. As a guest of Jordan Tourism Board, I returned in April 2011. Next, I went to Amman in January 2011 for some work.
- Jordan: Budget travel tips
Although there aren’t any hostels in Jordan you can still find rooms at very affordable rates on discount websites such as HostelBookers or HostelWorld. These hotels also offer day tours to popular locations such as the Dead Sea, Jerash and desert castles.
Petra is more costly because the hotels and park entrance fees are higher. However, I recommend that you spend two days to visit it.
- Jordan: What are your favorite places and experiences?
Petra is the obvious choice. It is a top ten location in the world. However, I loved the Roman ruins of Jerash, as well as the town of Madaba with one of the oldest mosaic maps in the Holy Land.
What’s the Jordanian food like?
Middle Eastern cuisine is my favorite. Jordan is a great place to eat in this area of cuisine. The largest and most meaty olives that I have ever seen anywhere in the globe. Amazing. Mansaf is also a Jordanian national dish. It’s a dish made with rice and tender goat. The mezze (appetizers) are plentiful and can easily fill you up.
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Last but not least, I would like to recommend the Zumot Winery’s fine wines. They are wines that you would not be able to find back home. Second, Omar Zumot is one the most pleasant people on the planet. Tell him that you sent me and drop by his Amman store. You will be entertained with the most amazing stories that you will hear throughout your trip.
What are the rules regarding customs in Jordan?
Apart from the usual advice that you must cover yourself properly, there aren’t many customs-related tips for Jordan that I can think of. It is important to remember that Jordanians are friendly and open-minded. You should be prepared to be invited to people’s homes for dinner or even the entire night. Don’t miss out on such great opportunities.
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- Jordan: Where is your favorite place to stay?
Because I was a guest at the Jordan Tourism Board I was able stay in amazing hotels that I wouldn’t normally be able to afford. Evason Ma’in Hot Springs near the Dead Sea is one that stands out to me as the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in. If I had the chance, I would go back tomorrow to spend a week there.
What are the must-see and must-do sites in Jordan?
Petra is a must-see site. It is the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. Wadi Rum is another must-see place for me. It was a great place to sit down and reflect as I’m a huge Laurence Of Arabia fan. It is so peaceful and beautiful.
- Jordan safety tips, warnings and other important information
It’s safe. It’s safe. I love Syria. The border has not been affected by any of the turmoil in Egypt. For me, the country with the majority Muslim population is the safest.
Vendors won’t harass you like they do in Egypt. They are the most honest taxi drivers I’ve ever met anywhere in the world. I wish they would export more of their kindness and mannerisms to the rest of world.
- Jordan: When is the best and cheapest time to visit?
I’m not sure which times are the most expensive. Both the winter and summer were extremes for me. It can get quite cold in winter. A few days after my January departure, it snowed. Petra is much larger than you would expect. It can be difficult to walk around in the summertime.
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What are your packing tips for Jordan?
Comfortable walking shoes are essential. Comfortable walking shoes, clothing that breathes well, a good hat and, ladies, a pashmina for covering your head while visiting a mosque. A camera is a must. You will need to have a healthy appetite and be open to meeting new people. Those are essential.