Jordan is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Meantime (GMT). From the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October Jordan observes Daylight Saving and is 3 hours ahead of GMT.
Standard voltage is 220 volts. Primary sockets require the European, 2 pronged variety. We recommend that you pack a universal travel adaptor. You will need a voltage converter, and plug adaptor in order to use U.S. appliances.
The currency of Jordan is the Jordanian Dinar.
Pound Sterling, US Dollars, Euro and other major currencies can be exchanged in Jordan. Exchange facilities are available at various bureau de changes and banks in major towns have ATMs. It's advisable to request bank notes in smaller denominations, as it can sometimes be hard to get change from large notes and smaller notes are handy for smaller purchases and gratuities.
Traveller's Cheques are not recommended as they're often difficult to exchange and incur high fees.
You should seek medical advice before travelling to Jordan from your local health practitioner and ensure that you receive all of the appropriate vaccinations. As a guide Tetanus, Diphtheria and Hepatitis A are strongly recommended.
As tap water is not safe to drink in Jordan, only drink bottled mineral water which is readily available from hotels, shops and restaurants.
Jordanian food is very good, combining many of the best traditions of Middle Eastern cooking. Try the ubiquitous kebabs, musakhan (a chicken dish that is baked on Arabic bread), farooj (spit-roasted chicken served with salad and bread), mensaf (the national dish - consisting of lamb served on a bed of rice and pine nuts, in a tangy yogurt sauce), fattayer and sambusek (small pastries filled with minced meat, sharp white cheese and spinach or herbs), fabulous unleavened breads, maglouba (a fish/meat stew) and very fine desserts. There’s a lot of open-pit cooking. Fresh figs and apricots are a real treat. Arabic coffee, mint tea and fruit drinks are available everywhere.
Jordan offers a range of quality souvenirs. Look out for high-quality artefacts including rugs, pottery, paintings, jewellery, embroidery and woven items produced by local Jordanian women under the auspices of the Noor-Al Hussein Foundation and the Queen Alia Fund. A popular form of ceramic ware is ‘Jerusalem Pottery’. Platters are highly decorated with biblically-inspired designs including fish, peacocks, grapes and goblets of wine. Known as Hebron glass, colourful handmade glassware in brilliant colours is a nice buy, as is silver jewellery crafted by the Bedouin people. Dead Sea products of all guises, olive oil and soaps, sweetmeats and olive wood objects are also uniquely Jordanian souvenirs.
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 people 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 than 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.
The precise dates of Ramadan varies from year to year. Ramadan lasts for about a month and is dependent on the lunar cycle and the Islamic lunar calendar. Forthcoming Ramadan dates are:The precise dates of Ramadan varies from year to year. Ramadan lasts for about a month and is dependent on the lunar cycle and the Islamic lunar calendar. Forthcoming Ramadan dates are: 18 June - 17 July 2015 & 06 June - 05 July 2016.
Camping in Wadi Rum
On our Jordan group tours we spend a night in the Wadi Rum desert where you can choose to camp under the stars or in tents at our remote Bedouin camp. Our camp is set amongst towering weathered sandstone rocks and rolling red sand dunes. It has permanent tents with twin beds, a toilet block with a cold shower and a communal seating area to gather in at night and enjoy some traditional Bedouin food. Desert camping, although basic, is fun and it's the best way to experience Wadi Rum. Bedding is provided at our Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum, freshly laundered after each stay, though if you do feel the cold and are visiting in winter (Nov - Mar) you may wish to bring your own winterweight sleeping bag as temperatures in the desert at night fall to single digits.