This is my first backpackers guide. So feel free to leave feedback and let me know what you think. Also I want to keep things relatively short and share some key insights into my experience in Jordan. This is also my first time in the Middle East and a trip I won’t forget.
The People: I’m going to give you my thoughts on the people in general. For starters you’re going to be safe. Jordan is a safe country so you don’t need to worry about being in danger with terrorist activities. The locals are very welcoming ( Literally at times the only word they say is “welcome”) and genuine. It’s easy to get food and walk around without any hassles. With that said, anyone there who deals with with tourist on a regular bases such as taxi’s, local guides, and even hostels only want one thing from you…money. They will put on a smile on their face to seem genuine if it means they will get more of it. Now you might say “Well this is the case all over the world”. Well of course it is, but I have never seen it like this. Keep in mind Jordan is also a very expensive country. 1 or 2 of their currency is about 4 US dollars. So it can add up very quickly if you are not smart in dealing with the locals.
Getting around: Take the bus as much as you can. Luckily Jordan is a small country. So getting a bus to most places is usually easy. Most long distance buses will cost 5-10 JD. Taxi’s WILL try to screw you over. Know that now before getting into Amman. They will always quote you 10JD for a distance that should be 1 or 2 JD. Always negotiate with them and be stern. Plenty of other taxis that can take you. When you first fly into Amman, you can take a bus for 3JD into town. Don’t take a taxi. They will try and charge 25JD. The bus will drop you off far from downtown (old town). There you can get a taxi to your hotel/ hostel. The taxi there should be no more than 3-5JD not 10JD. Once in Amman, you can take the bus to most of the places worth going to except the Dead Sea. This you will need to figure out, by either renting a car or joining someone who has a car(that’s what I did). You could rent a car. I believe it’s between 20-25JD a day plus gas. In my opinion, I believe it’s not much cheaper to not rent if you’re planning on driving a lot. So if you want the convenience then do that.
Scams: Anytime you deal with tourists, you’re going to have scams. One major one is in Petra itself. You’re going to find guys at the entrance who are going to offer you horse rides for free. DONT DO IT!!!! They will give you some BS about it being free because they are paid by the government. It’s all talk to get you on the horse. Once it’s over, they will “request” a tip of 5-20JD. Then threaten police if you don’t pay. Save yourself the hassle and just don’t get on the horse. A second scam is in Wadi Musa (next to Petra) where if you are going to Wadi Rum ( A very popular tourist attraction), you will be approached by many local people to do it through them. Many times they will try and have you cancel what you already have to go to Wadi Rum and rebook through a “friend” of theirs. Promising a more local feel and going to places that most tourist don’t get to see for a much cheaper price. Technically they are correct. They will take you somewhere that is not Wadi Rum. Stick to your guns and just say you’re not interested.
Food: You can eat cheap with Kabobs and enjoy local tea. Otherwise food can also be expensive. Try and stay away from large tourist restaurants. They will serve for 7-10JD. Some good local Kabab will cost less than half a JD. Most local food places won’t cost more than 5JD. However, be aware! if they don’t have prices already on the menu, then I would suggest just leaving. Since you can probably assume they are going to give you the high tourist price. Overall the food is great! Oh and many good sweets! ( I have a sweet tooth at times).
That’s where I’m going to leave it. Overall, I enjoyed the experience with Jordan being a beautiful country in regards to the deserts. You can find some genuine good local people. Those were the moments I enjoyed the most. Hope this guide helps!