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going to Jordan, any advice?

Discussion in 'Hangout' started by 737lizakg, Mar 23, 2019.

  1. 737lizakg
    Shiny_Rock

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    by 737lizakg » Mar 23, 2019
    Last year I posted about going to Ireland and got some great pointers so thought I would as about Jordan too. Every year I take a girls trip with two of my friends. We live on 3 different continents so it's sometimes the only time we see each other. This year we are going to Jordan. I also started a bling tradition where we get 'wifey' rings. Any tips for the destination, or what kind of bling we should get this time around? We have rented a car and have cancel-able hotel reservations so are still flexible. were hitting all the usual spots, Jerash, Dead sea, Petra, Wadi rum, and I am diving in Aqaba. Thanks!
     
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  2. OoohShiny
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    by OoohShiny » Mar 23, 2019
    My understanding is that there are many laws we don't have in the west, and punishments that are much harsher, so seeking guidance from official sources WRT local customs and laws would be wise!
     
  3. Austina
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    by Austina » Mar 24, 2019
    Petra is an absolutely amazing sight. Sorry, can’t offer any tips as we were part of a group. The children there selling touristy things were extremely polite and not pushy at all.
     
  4. OoohShiny
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  5. 737lizakg
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    by 737lizakg » Mar 24, 2019
    Thanks @OoohShiny we will be cautious, and sensitive to differences in culture. We decided against an organized tour as between the 3 of us we have half a dozen friends stationed in Amman who recommended we rent a car for more flexibility. The attacks from a few years ago make me a bit nervous but counting on the odds to keep our visit event-free.
    @Austina I have wanted to visit Petra since geography class in 5th grade, and since the region can be 'unpredictable' best to visit it sooner rather than later. I am hoping the trip lives up to my expectations!
     
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  6. OoohShiny
    Ideal_Rock

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    by OoohShiny » Mar 24, 2019
    Driving!! Be very careful! lol

    If you can, find/download a copy of the Top Gear Middle East Special - some footage of driving in that part of the world! :lol:

    WRT potential terrorist activity, there's nothing we can do about that but hope we are lucky, so I don't think we should let it bother us too much :) If it is our time, it is our time - we must live each day as best we can so we have no regrets when it comes!
     
  7. luv2sparkle
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    by luv2sparkle » Mar 24, 2019
    I would so love to go to Petra....
     
  8. GliderPoss
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    by GliderPoss » Mar 24, 2019
    I never made it to Jordon but can give a few general tips from living in the Middle East....:wavey:

    1. Be careful driving - indicators appear to be optional in the ME :rolleyes:
    2. Wear modest clothing, best to be completely covered in light-weight fabrics. I believe headscarf is optional but carry one if you visit any mosques or religious sites.
    3. No public affection - don't hold hands, kiss etc. No swearing. Don't shake hands with men.
    4. If you are offered coffee by your guide or locals - accept it. Extremely rude to decline, even if you don't drink all of it.
    5. Be very skeptical/cautious about any salesmen/hawkers etc. Lots of scams, rip offs. Keep your wallet & Passport on you securely at all times.
     
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  9. secretagentlaura
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    by secretagentlaura » Mar 25, 2019
    We were there two weeks ago for a spring break holiday! I didn't shop for or wear much bling, though - I knew that we'd be trekking more than anything else!

    Driving in Jordan is manageable, compared to other places I've lived (I'm currently in Saudi Arabia) and visited. Know how to correctly use traffic circles for Amman. There are lots of hills and some roads are narrow. Different routes through or out of the city are better during different parts of the day, same as nearly everywhere! Highways were in good shape and there are rest stops and such. We took the King's Way out to Petra which took a very long time, but allowed us to stop at Mt. Nebo, a castle, a mosaic, etc. We took the Desert Way back to Amman which was more efficient, time-wise, though it's in the process of being converted to divided highway so there was some construction.

    I based my wardrobe on what I take to other less-conservative parts of the Middle East, like Bahrain or UAE. Keep your shoulders, cleavage, and knees covered unless you're at a resort. I wore linen trousers around Amman, looser yoga pants for Jerash (so much walking but it was my favourite!), and technical capris that covered my knees and had lots of pockets to Petra. Bring a hat! A small daypack was also useful for Petra - I carried extra water with us, thought we liked stopping at the cafes on site that had cute cats lounging around.

    We didn't feel unsafe in Jordan for a minute. There was a non-violent anti-gov't demonstration going on one day in Amman while we were there, but it didn't impact our visit at all. Some of the locals that we talked to during our visit stressed that they live in the the best part of the Middle East because tolerance for differences has always been a part of their history. I'd also give Jordan points for having the best falafel :)

    We did feel that shopping/souvenirs were expensive, compared to other parts of the region. Dead Sea mud is very pricey! We didn't do much shopping at all because that felt more like a tourist trap than any other part of our trip.

    Oh, and buy the Jordan Pass ahead of your trip! There was only one castle that it didn't waive our admission fees for!
     
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  10. 737lizakg
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    by 737lizakg » Mar 25, 2019
    @OoohShiny I watched that Top gear when it came out! Their destination specials were always insane!
    @luv2sparkle have you been to Turkey? Lycia reminded me of the pictures I saw of Petra, on a smaller scale, and different, but the tombs cut directly into the rock were fascinating.
    @GliderPoss This will be my first time in the ME! Unless you count layovers!
    @secretagentlaura Wow I'm gonna ask you some very specific questions! I will assume you did these locations, if not,sorry.

    Was navigating the rainbow circle difficult? Our designated driver will have just taken a very long circuitous route from Yangon and is bound to be tired. I booked right in the heart of town but am worried she'll hate me for throwing her into it!

    Was Dana reserve worth it? we'd take away a day from Petra to drive over to Dana and do a day hike. (currently have 3 nights booked in Petra). We then head to Wadi Rum for 2 nights.

    Was canyoning the Siq trail difficult? Some videos show it being very fast moving in springtime. I am, uh, round of shape but adventurous :whistle:.

    I learnt NOTHING in my year studying Arabic at university. I can barely understand standard greetings and reading it past the alphabet is impossible. Are ALL road signs in English? Or do I need to write down our destinations in Arabic? And did google maps lead you astray or is it fairly reliable?

    Any places that you went to that you feel were redundant or just not worth the time?

    If you are a diver, how does Aqaba compare to southern Egypt, or the sharm area? I can't find much info on it.

    I can count on my innate stinginess not to buy much. I was just hoping there was a Jordanian jewelry designer who we could find in Amman. so far I only found one who is too minimalist and young for us.
    Thank you! and don't feel obliged to respond to my incessant questions.
     
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  11. secretagentlaura
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    by secretagentlaura » Mar 27, 2019
    @737lizakg - I have no idea if your designated driver friend will be thrilled with the rainbow circle (is that the first circle, by Rainbow Road?) after her flight from Yangoon! Hopefully she's experienced with traffic circles, though. We've noticed that there is much less signalling/indicating with drivers in my current part of the Middle East than there is back home in Canada, so defensive driving is more heightened. We didn't pick up our rental car until we were heading out of Amman and just used taxis to explore the city. The plus was there was no problem hiring them by the hour, but the minus was they we twice got a taxi driver who really wanted to be a tour guide and show us a bunch of other stuff, so we had to be insistent that we really only wanted to stop at the Citadel (I don't get the feeling it was scam-ish, it was more like "hey, you need to see our beautiful blue mosque on the next block" which would have probably been fine if not for the tired children).

    We rented a car that came with GPS navigation, so we didn't use Google Maps for everything. We did run into a situation of having to take a confusing detour on the desert highway due to construction. The road closure wasn't marked much in advance! It was only once we were out of the city on the King's highway that we noticed that some road signs were only written in Arabic. It wasn't really a problem because of the GPS navigation. One of our tour guides mentioned that there's a village (with services) every fifty miles or so on the King's way because it's been a trade route forever, and camels and donkeys could only cover so much ground in a day. I believe that the speed limit signs had standard numbers as well as Arabic numbers!

    Our trip was only five days in total due to school schedules, so we stopped to admire the Dana Reserve on our way to Petra, but didn't really check it out. It's quite amazing how geographically diverse Jordan is - I had no idea! We spent about a day and a half at Petra (only two overnights), so if you're booked for three, you probably have the time to visit the Dana Reserve and still cover Petra right up to the Monastery climb.

    No Siq trail canyoning for us because my husband and I because 1) he's afraid of heights, 2) I'm not comfortable in the water, and 3) our kids are too young, but it sure looks cool!

    We combined our day trip to Jarash with a trip to Ajlun Castle, which we enjoyed, but decided that we could have skipped the castle in Karak. We tried to stop at the Church of St. George in Madaba to see the mosaic map but it was a Sunday, and they had a service going on. It's probably worth seeing if you're passing through Madaba on the way to Petra and it's not a Sunday! The map is really interesting!

    The Arabic that I used the most in Jordan was, of course, "shukran", and "Lah, shukran," because, no, I didn't really want to buy postcards, hire a donkey, etc.

    Your jewelry memento tradition is really cool. My first thought was that a fancy hotel concierge might be helpful to ask, but I also wonder if there's an instagram tag or something? My quick google query came up with Nadia Dajani as a local designer. I see a lot of similarly styled pieces where I live. In Amman, at least, there is probably at least a "gold souk" or a street with a lot of jewelry vendors. It's a pretty common thing in the Middle East.
     
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  12. lambskin
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    by lambskin » Mar 27, 2019
    What a great trip you are planning.
     

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