General Information

ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE

Visitors with a valid passport may obtain a visa at any Jordanian embassy, consulate, or legation abroad. You can also obtain a visa upon arrival at Amman's Queen Alia International Airport or at any other border crossing except King Hussein Bridge and the ferryboat from Egypt; payment must be in local currency (you can change money at the bank next to the visa office in the Arrivals Hall). Visas are valid for two weeks, but can be extended at any police station.

No inoculations are required for entry into Jordan, although preventive shots for hepatitis, polio, tetanus and typhoid are recommended. Few formalities need to be observed when departing Jordan. A departure tax of 10 JD is payable at the airport or 5 JD at other border crossings.

BY ROAD

Coming to Jordan by road from Syria, cross from Nasib into Jaber.

There are three border crossings between Jordan and Israel. The Allenby/King Hussein Bridge, located in the southern Jordan Valley, is open Sun.-Thurs. 08:00h-15:00h and Fri. 08:00h-12:30h. NOTE: Prior visas must be arranged and cannot be obtained at the border. Private cars and tour buses cannot cross -travelers must change vehicles upon crossing or use the other two border crossings. Those are the Sheikh Hussein crossing, located in the north close to Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee); and the Wadi Araba crossing, located in the south, connecting the two Red Sea resorts of Eilat and Aqaba. These are open Sun.-Thurs. 08:30h-22:00h and Fri.-Sat. 08:00h-17:00h. At these crossings, visas for most nationalities can be obtained at the border; prior permits are not needed. NOTE: These hours and regulations are subject to change. For up-to-date details and information on which nationalities cannot obtain visas, contact a travel agent in Jordan.

BY SEA

From Egypt, a car ferry service operates from Nuwayba to Aqaba. Visas should be obtained in advance.

BY AIR

After passport control, collect your baggage and proceed to customs. Baggage carts are available from the attendant for a 1 JD fee. Porters are available to assist if necessary. The airport is 32 km south of Amman and the journey should take about half an hour

CURRENCY & MONEY EXCHANGE

The local currency is the Jordanian Dinar, symbol JD, which is often called "jaydee". There are 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 JD notes. The Dinar is divided into 100 piasters (pronounced "pee-aster") or 1000 fils ("fills"). The fils is the unit most commonly used, and you will usually see prices written as 4.750, that is 4 JD and 750 fils. Coins come in the following denominations: 10, 25, 50 and 100 fils, 250 fils, 500 fils and 1 JD. It is useful to carry some coins and low denomination 1 JD and 5 JD notes, since Jordanians rarely carry change with them.

Currency can be exchanged at major banks, exchange booths and at most hotels. Street moneychangers are best avoided. Exchange rates are set daily by the Jordanian Central Bank.

CREDIT CARDS

Credit cards are accepted at hotels, restaurants and larger shops, including American Express, Visa, Diners Club and MasterCard. American Express has an office in Amman, tel. (06) 5607075, and an agent in Aqaba, tel. (03) 2013757. Many small shops still prefer cash payment in Jordanian currency. Automated teller machines (ATMs) are increasing in Jordan, but at present only some accept foreign cards. Credit cards can be used for cash advances at banks that are linked with a credit card network.

COFFEE & TEA

Jordanian Arabic coffee is strong and served in tiny cups; it is often flavoured with cardamom. Shake the cup to indicate that you do not want a refill. Turkish coffee is also common; don't try to drink the last mouthful, as it will be full of coffee grounds! American coffee is also available in the cities. Decaffeinated coffee is offered in the larger hotels. Coffee is an important symbol of hospitality and it is very common to be offered coffee or tea in small shops, or to be invited to have coffee in someone's home. It is good etiquette to accept. Tea is served in small glasses and is usually very sweet. Tea with fresh mint makes a refreshing variation.

ALCOHOL

Alcohol is served in most restaurants and bars in the cities, except during Ramadan (non-Muslims can still get a drink in larger hotels). Locally brewed Amstel beer is available, as are excellent wines from surrounding countries. Alcohol can also be purchased in supermarkets and some shops. Araq is local liquor similar to Greek ouzo, usually mixed with water and ice.

CLIMATE

Jordan is blessed with a Mediterranean climate for pleasurable year-round travel. Amman is sunny and cloudless from May to October, with average temperatures around 23C (73F). Springtime brings optimal weather, lush with greenery, and autumn is equally mild and pleasant. July and August are hot and dry but not oppressive. Because of the capital city's elevation, evenings are cool. Aqaba and the Jordan Valley are ideal winter resorts, with temperatures averaging l6-22C (6l-72F) between November and April. There is very little rain in the Aqaba area and in the desert.

INTERNET

Internet access is widely available at the numerous Internet cafes and in large hotels.

TELEVISION

Jordan television broadcasts in English and French on Channel 2; programmes are listed daily in The Jordan Times. CNN and other satellite channels are available at all hotels.

NEWSPAPERS

The main English-language daily paper is The Jordan Times. A weekly English-language paper, The Star, is published on Thursdays and has a French-language supplement. Foreign newspapers are available at hotels and some shops.

WATER

Hotels rated three-star or better have their own water filtering systems and their water is considered safe to drink. For travelers with delicate stomachs, bottled water is cheap and readily available. Water is a precious resource in Jordan, and visitors are asked not to waste it unnecessarily.

MEDICAL CARE

Medical services are excellent in Jordan's larger cities and towns. Most doctors are bilingual in Arabic and English, since medical science is taught in English. The larger hotels have a doctor on call, and embassies will also suggest a doctor or hospital. Amman has many large, well-equipped hospitals, a few of which are listed here. In other cities, the hotel concierge or a taxi driver will be able to direct you to a doctor or hospital.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS & RAMADAN

Banks, businesses, government offices and many shops are closed all day on public holidays. New Year's Day - 1st January King Abdullah's Birthday - 30th January Labor Day - 1st May Independence Day - 25th May The late King Hussein's Birthday Anniversary - 14th November Christmas Day - 25th December There are also several public holidays whose dates are not fixed. These include Easter (celebrated in the Spring) and the following Islamic holidays, which are based on the lunar calendar: Eid al-Fitr a 4 or 5-day holiday marking the end of Ramadan Eid al-Adha a feast at the end of the Hajj, or month of pilgrimage to Mecca First of Muharam Islamic New Year Eid al-Isra' wal Mi'raj celebrating the visit of the Prophet Mohammed to heaven The Birthday of Prophet Mohammad

ELECTRICITY

The electrical system is based on 220 AC volts, 50 cycles, and requires rounded two-pronged wall plugs. Visitors from the USA will need a transformer; most hotels can provide one.

SAFETY

Jordan is an unusually safe and friendly place to travel. People are always helpful whether in an emergency or otherwise. It is generally safe to walk around at any time of day or night. However, it is sensible to take obvious precautions: look after your belongings and keep valuables in the hotel safe. Lost belongings should be reported to the police. If you lose your passport, contact your embassy. (See the section 'Important Telephone Numbers' in this brochure).

CRAFTS

The traditional crafts of Jordan are enjoying a vigorous revival, thanks to the Noor Al-Hussein Foundation and the Queen Alia Fund for their efforts and work to promote local artisans. The Jordan Design and Trade Centre were established in 1990 to improve the Kingdom's handcrafted products and bring its creations to international markets. Traditional crafts are also making inroads in the world of high fashion. Starting in the 1970s a handful of enterprising women began to match traditional Jordanian and Palestinian needlework with rich Middle Eastern fabrics, creating elegant gowns and jackets with a modern flair. Today you can find well-tailored vests, shirts and handbags trimmed in delicate needlework.

Jewellery

Many silver ornaments are Bedouin in origin and come in a wide variety of shapes and functions bracelets, chokers, rings, amulets, chains and cosmetic bottles. Articles are often hammered or embossed into raised patterns. Arabic calligraphy may be engraved on flat surfaces, or items may be crafted from ancient coins. Amman also has small boutiques where you can buy original designs of sterling silver hand-dipped in 24-carat gold and adorned with semi-precious stones. The pieces blend Bedouin designs with a chic, modest look.

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