Asia,  Jordan,  Travels

New Year’s Eve in Jordan

I have never thought that I visit Jordan, especially during New Year’s Eve. I was really surprised by the fact that Jordan is a very safe country. Before our journey, I was thinking that Jordan is at war and nobody recommends to travel there, but someday my husband came back home and started to talk about his workmate’s trip to Jordan. I was really excited, therefore I had started to plan our journey.

Our trip had the place from the 31st of December 2018 to 5th of January 2019. We arrived in Amman and then we had the flight back from Eilat in Israel. We traveled with our friends. We spent a great time there. In terms of the weather I think it wasn’t a good time to travel there, but all things which offer Jordan made that we forgot about it. As I waited and see, this country is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Western Asia. It is famous for its outstanding natural wonders, ancient ruins and beautiful beaches.

As you probably know, Jordan, officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is an Arab country in Western Asia. It bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south, Syria to the north, Iraq to the north-east, and Israel and Palestine to the west. Along its western border is located the Dead Sea. Also, Jordan has a small coastline to the Red Sea.

New Year’s Eve in Amman

New Year’s Eve in Amman
New Year’s Eve in Amman

I can’t describe this feeling when I hurried to get the highest point in whole Amman to see fireworks on the sky above the city, when I waited to listen to the final countdown leading me to New Year. This feeling when you know that your watch shows that is after midnight, but nothing had happened.

Although it was unexpected for us, this moment was magic. In the same time in Poland all our friends and families was celebrating riotously New Year’s Eve, but in Jordan it was a normal day.

I was very surprised that in Jordan is not celebrated New Year’s Eve. From time to time you can hear that some foreigners wish themselves ‘Happy New Year’, but for local people, this day was like a normal one. Later I have found out that Islamic New Year’s Eve falls other times, but nevertheless, they don’t celebrate it because of religious aspects.  

The best time to visit Jordan

Which date you will choose depends on what you want to do in Jordan. As I mentioned Jordan offers a lot of incredible natural wonders, ancient ruins and pristine beaches. We were there at the beginning of January and for me, it was really cold, especially at nights. Unfortunately, many hostels don’t have heating, so we were frozen. I remember our night in one of Amman hostels, where we were covered with 2 blankets, we had hats and we couldn’t warm ourselves. On the other hand, during the day it was sunny, about 14 degrees. When we were on Wadi Rum desert, we could take off our jackets.

You should know that Jordan’s climate is different in every its side. For instance, when you are in Amman during winter months, the temperature can drop below 0. At the same time in Aqaba is much warmer, about 20 degrees.

I think the best time to visit Jordan it is between March and May – but it means that you won’t be alone and unfortunately, the prices will be higher, and between October and November, when starts lower season and temperature is a little lower than in summer months. 

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Visa to Jordan

Unfortunately, it is a little complicated topic, because the cost of visa depends on how you will get to Jordan and which place you will arrive.

If you are going to arrive at the Queen Allia International Airport in Amman you can purchase a visa for 40 JOD (single entry visa) or 60 JOD (double entry visa) or 120 JOD (multiple entry visa). When you have Jordan Pass, it is not necessary to buy it, because a visa is included in a final price of it.

Moreover, you can get to Jordan by a land crossing border named Eilat-Aqaba. You can receive a visa for free, provide that your stay in Jordan is longer than 3 days (2 nights). If you are going to come back the same way, stay 1 day more and save 10 JOD of exit service fee. The only cost you will pay is an Israeli exit service fee (101 ILS plus service fee 5 ILS).

Another option to not to pay for the visa when you arrive in Amman, it is within 48 h of your arrival get to Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (remember to declare this fact to official) to obtain the visa.

Jordan Pass

If are you going to explore Jordan at least 4 days (3 nights) and visit Petra I recommend you to purchase a Jordan Pass – the ultimate sightseeing package.

Jordan Pass is available in three options: Jordan Wanderer (70 JOD), Jordan Explorer (75 JOD) and Jordan Expert (80 JOD). All of them contain a tourist entry visa fee, an entry to over 40 attractions in Jordan, free downloadable brochures and an entry to Petra. The only difference is how many days you visit Petra.

Below I attached a list of Jordan Pass attractions: https://www.jordanpass.jo/Contents/Jordan_Attractions.aspx

Thanks to Jordan Pass you can save 25 JOD (40 JOD – a visa fee, 50 JOD – one-day ticket in Petra, 5 JOD – an entrance fee to Wadi Rum).

You can purchase Jordan Pass via the official website: https://www.jordanpass.jo/ – it is not necessary to print it before. You can show the QR code on your mobile phone.

Accommodation in Jordan

You shouldn’t have a problem with finding some accommodation, because Jordan became a famous tourist destination.

We were in Jordan during the winter season, so the prices were relatively lower. The interesting fact is that while we traveled from Amman to Aqaba we noticed that prices were higher, especially close to Petra – a place, which attracts a lot of tourists. For example in Amman for 2 rooms for 4 people, we paid 27 JOD, whereas in Wadi Musa rental cost was 65 JOD.

As I mentioned the only problem was a lack of heating in some places because at night temperature drops significantly.

Certainly, if you are in Jordan you are going to visit Wadi Rum desert. If not, wholeheartedly I recommend it to you. We spent a great time with Beduins, drinking a tea, dancing and talking with them in a big characteristic tent with fireplace located in the center. I will never forget the night there, this outstanding view of stars, then rain and a dust storm during the whole night. It was amazing and in the same moment terrifying feeling. In a tent, you have only a bed and light.

Acommodation in Wadi Rum desert
Acommodation in Wadi Rum desert
Morning view from the tent
Morning view from the tent
The fireplace
The fireplace

I share with you a place in Wadi Rum which I really recommend: Magic Bedouin Star – amazing and helpful people with a great sense of humor. They also organize tours around the desert.

Public transport in Jordan

I hope I had prepared for you all the necessary and updated information about public transport in Jordan, because we didn’t use it. We decided to rent a car.

Public transport in Wadi Rum desert
Public transport in Wadi Rum desert
From Amman Airport to the city center

The Queen Allia International Airport is situated about 30 km from the city of Amman. There are three options on how to get from the Airport to the city center.

According to the official airport’s website you can take the Airport Express Bus, which departs every 30 minutes from 6 am. to 6 pm, and every 1 hour from 6 pm. to 12 am. The single ticket costs 3.5 JOD. The bus terminal is located outside the Terminal building. Approximately time of journey is 45 minutes from the Airport to the Tabarbour Bus Station.

Bus route: North Bus Station – Housing Bank Complex – Fourth Circle – Fifth Circle – Six Circle – Seventh Circle – QAIA.

More information about the Airport Express Buses you can find here: http://sariyahexpress.com/en/content/airport-express

Another option is taking a taxi. You should pay no more than 20 JOD. I recommend you to establish the final price of your journey earlier to avoid stressful situations.

The last option is to hire a car. If you travel in a big group and you want to be independent I recommend this option. More about renting a car you can find below.

How to get to other places in Jordan
Petra

Certainly, if you are in Jordan, you have in your plan to visit Petra – one of the most famous ancient archaeological sites in the world. The best time to visit Petra is in the early morning, so I recommend you to arrive the evening day before. If you don’t want to rent a car, you can travel by public buses or you can take a taxi, but this option is more expensive, about 85 JOD for a one-way journey. The approximately time of journey is 4 hours.

From Amman to Petra run Jett buses, which leave from Abdali station at 6.30 am. and arrive at Petra around 10.30 am. Return bus goes at 5 pm. during the summer season and at 4 pm. in winter. The ticket costs 11 JOD.

More information about Jett buses’ schedule and ticket prices you can find on the official website: https://www.jett.com.jo/en/schedule#

Additionally, from Amman to Petra run minibusses. They leave from Mujamaaa Janobi southern station from 9.00 am. till 4 pm. The ticket costs 5 JOD. You should be aware that drivers do not depart until the entire bus is full.

If you are going to get to Petra from Aqaba there are public buses, which leave from the market in the town center or you can take a taxi. The bus departs from Aqaba at 8.30 am. and returns from the Petra Visitors Center at 4 pm. You will pay about 12 JOD for your trip. Taking a taxi costs around 60 JOD.

Wadi Rum

The Wadi Rum desert is the second popular place in Jordan, which attracts a lot of tourists. From Amman, you can get there by bus going to Aqaba and Petra or you can take a taxi. Unfortunately, there is no direct bus to Wadi Rum.

If you are going to take a taxi, the approximate cost will be 100 JOD and the journey will take about 4 hours.

From Amman to Aqaba and Petra run Jett buses. The one-way ticket costs 11 JOD to Petra and about 9 JOD to Aqaba.

From Aqaba, you can take the bus to Wadi Rum Village or you can get there by taxi. The bus leaves the local bus station between 1 PM to 3 PM. Remember to be there earlier to book a seat, because the bus is usually full upon departure. The one-way ticket costs around 3 JOD. From Aqaba city to Wadi Rum the taxi costs 25 JOD. If you want to return to Aqaba you should take a bus to Petra (between 9 am. and 9.30 am.) and get out on the highway junction and then take another bus to Aqaba. The total cost will be about 5 JOD.

The bus from Petra to Wadi Rum departs between 6 am. to 6.30 am and the ticket’s price is about 7-10 JOD. From Wadi Rum to Petra you can get at between 9 and 9.30 in the morning. An additional option is taking a taxi. The cost is about 40 JOD.

Madaba

The best-known city as the location of the mosaic map of Jerusalem and many parts of the Holy Land is located less than 40 km away from Amman towards Petra.

You can get there by bus, which departs from Amman’s Tabarbour Station. The ticket costs about 2 JOD.  An additional option is minibusses, which run from the Muhajireen bus station in Amman. If you take a taxi, the cost of the journey should be less than 15 JOD.

Jerash

One hour away from Amman is situated Jerash, the most well preserved Roman City. You can get there by bus from the North Terminal Bus Station in Amman. The ticket costs less than 2 JOD.

Another option is taking a taxi. Some drivers are willing to travel to Jerash, wait for 2-3 hours and then return with tourists to Amman. The journey price you should expect to pay is a minimum of 40 JOD.

How to rent a car in Jordan and enjoy your journey

First reason why we decided to rent a car was cost sharing. The second reason was saving time while traveling. The third reason was our independence. And the last reason was the fact that we hadn’t to carry our backpacks.

If you travel in a group I think car rental is the best option to explore Jordan. You don’t waste time while traveling from one place to another, especially when the bus is once a day. Moreover, to some attractions, there is no direct bus and you have to take a taxi. You don’t have to hurry, because hiring a car makes that you are independent and you can modify your travel plans.

If you arrive at the Queen Allia International Airport in Amman there are different companies that provide service of car rental, e.g. Hertz, Budget or Europcar. They are located at level 1.

We decided to rent a car from Europcar. For 5 days we paid about 150 USD and 50 USD for a car return in another place. Additionally, it was very important for us to have extra insurance that can cover car damage not included in a rental price.

Must see attractions

As I mentioned Jordan offers a lot to see, from stunning natural wonders through ancient ruins to beautiful beaches.

Temple of Hercules - Amman, Jordan
Temple of Hercules – Amman, Jordan

During our journey we visited Amman, the capital of Jordan, where we were celebrating New Year’s Eve. Also we were in Madaba, where we admired a mosaic map of Jerusalem and many parts of the Holy Land. Additionally, we were watching the Dead Sea sunset. Another whole day we spent wandering through Petra, a historical and archaeological city. Next day we were drinking a tea, talking and dancing with Bedouins and exploring Wadi Rum desert’s attractions. At the end of our journey we were resting in Aqaba.

More information about the best places in Jordan you can find here.

Have you ever been to Jordan? What did you like the most? Share with us your opinion!

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