I rarely write in English as my blog is 100% Arabic, but for foreigner friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends .. etc who are thinking about visiting Jordan one day, here’s my local guide to you! As I know how hard it is finding local written guides when travelling 😭
Since you mostly don’t speak Arabic, I’m not gonna ask you follow my blog, but maybe instagram? 🙄
- Take a walk around Downtown: Downtown is the an area most locals love, most touristic areas are around that area so you can get them done with firstly, then get Knafeh from Habibah on the alley next to Abu Ali book kiosk, get Sugar Cane juice from the Sugar Cane juice shop on the left on your way from Habibah down the street towards Al Hussini Mosque, have a tea or hookah in one of the traditional cafes that have balconies you can see while walking around the area (maybe Balat Alrasheed which is the oldest one I think) but forget about the fancy looking expensive ones.
- Take a walk in Rainbow street (10 minutes walk away from downtown): Rainbow Street is like a cool street for locals to hangout in, it has so many restaurants and cafes, most of them are ones we usually go to, and in the middle there’s a view on old Amman you’ll love (to get the best view you gotta be a real local because it’s bit complicated to explain where you can go, but nevertheless, this is a nice one)
- Skip the historical museums: Jordanian people might hate me for this as it’s bad for tourism but honestly, our museums are super boring, you can go to the museum in the Roman Amphitheater just to have an idea, not more. We do have some cool museums like The Royal Cars Museum for old cars fans (not sure if that’s the name in English though), Jordanian Heritage Museums in Ras Al Ein, Children’s Museum if you have kids.
- Walk around Elweibdeh area starting with Paris Square: It’s an international area, you can find bars, cafes and restaurants there with many foreigners but not any kind of foreigners, theses are the local foreigners hehe. There’s a cool clothing shops there called Jo Bedu, pass by, and walk along Sharia street to have a coffee there.
- Attend a Jordanian Wedding: This is not touristic at all of course haha but it’s a remarkable experience. To find one, check with any Jordanian friend you have, one of their relatives might have one.
- I don’t know how to call it in English so I’m gonna translate the name literally; Have food in “The Hungry People Street”:Yup that’s a thing, believe it or not haha it’s a section of a street called “Al Madina Al Munawwara Street” that has all kinds of restaurants, this street is how I imagine heaven to be like. Incase you wanna ask a local about it (since the translation won’t be understandable I guess), it’s pronounced “Shari Al Jo’aneen”
- Hummus, Fool, Falafel: this is a combinations that you can’t just break. We usually eat this kind of food with pita bread for breakfast or dinner. Best places to have it for you are: Hashem Restaurant Downtown, Falafel Sandwiches from Al Quds Restaurant in Rainbow Street.
- Mansaf: Our national food! It consists of rice served with a special kind of cooked yogurt we call “Jameed” and meat. It’s traditionally eaten with our bare hands, but in a restaurantt you don’t need to do that, Get Mansaf from Al Quds Restaurant in Downtown or Jabri which is far.
- Kuftah or Arayes:For meat fans, Kuftah is a plate of meat cooked with Tahineh (ask for the tahineh as it can be made without it), and Arayes are like a meat sandwich. go to Shahrazad downtown and have either of these.
- Knafeh: If you don’t have this while in Jordan, you’ve missed the best part of being here. It’s our national sweet. It consists of a crunchy thing on the top (no idea what it is but basically some kind of dough) and cheese under, Jordanian white cheese. Have it in Habibah or Nafeesah (they have many branches all around the city).
- Burgers: Recently, Amman developed it’s own Burgers culture! We have so many Burgers joints competing to be the best Burgers in Amman. My favorites (and everyone’s) are: Firefly Burgers (the best one), Burger Makers, Wingers, Campfire, Overdose.
- Hotdogs: No one can beat “Wazzup Dog”.
- Italian food: I’ve tried many, the best place is called “Esmat” which is in Rainbow street, it’s a bit expensive but it’s a super fine restaurant.
- Indian Food:Chappati, best Indian food in the world.
- You can easily Couchsurf as actually in Jordan, it’s harder for the host to find a guest rather than the guest finding a host.
- Best areas to stay in for you would be: Jabal Amman, Elweibdeh, Downtown, those are the heart of Amman.
- From the Airport take the shuttle bus to 7th Circle (which is not a circle anymore) then take a taxi from there to your hotel/hostel/whatever.
- If you’re staying around Downtown and Rainbow street area just walk, if you wanna get further take a taxi, they’re really cheap and public transport is hard to use for a tourist.
- You can use Uber, Careem or Easy Taxi, Uber and Careem has their own cars, Easy Taxi is just an app for normal taxis. Keep in mind that using the applications will be more expensive than using normal taxis on the street.
- If you take a taxi, make sure they’re using the meter, ask them before going in, if they don’t use it just don’t go with them.
- Be aware that Taxis in night are slightly more expensive. Nothing illegal, it’s just the system. Now enough with Amman.
Note: For transport between cities, especially if you’re more than one person, I would highly suggest renting a car, might be 20$ or 25$ per a day and gas is super cheap in comparison with Europe for example and we DON’T have toll roads, all is free.
- First two days in Amman for sure, get to know some locals through couchsurfing maybe and go around with them, it’s better that way, or just do it alone if that’s what you like. Just make sure to read my tips up there. You’ll start by touristic areas (Amphitheater and Citadel) but in few hours you’ll be done with those. Btw when I say for example take a walk in Rainbow street, it’s not for you to see around, just chill and walk try to feel like a local, don’t rush into it.
- One day trip to Jerash, see the Roman Forum there. Transport: take a bus from The North Bus Station for 50 cents.
- One day trip to Wadi Al Mujib and Dead Sea: Wadi Al Mujib is a hike you can do which ends with a waterfall, the hike itself is really nice! There’s an entrance fee of 20$ I guess. And for Dead Sea, if you’re not on budget, you gotta go to Kempinski Ishtar Dead Sea for the day after the hike or before Idk, spend a night if you could, they have an awesome beach and pools including an infinity pool. If you’re on a budget, go to Amman Tourist Beach Resort which is much cheaper, but still you gotta pay 10$, not sure about the exact amount. If you’re broke, just go to any beach that has no fences, that’s what locals do, especially with families as it’d be expensive paying for the whole family.
Transport: without a car, I have no idea how you can get to Dead Sea, maybe hitchhike? It’s really easy to hitchhike to Dead Sea, it’s a straight road from 7th Circle in Amman till dead sea. Check hitchwiki.com Amman page.
- One day trip to Madaba: Just google it and see if you’re interested. It has some old churches with historical mosaics and it’s really important for the christian history. And visit Nepo Mountain while you’re there. You could go to the baptism site from there. Transport: Take a bus from 7th Circle to Madaba, it’s 80 cents, ask the police man for where to wait. Idk how to get from center Madaba to Nepo mountain or baptism site through public transport.
- One day trip to Petra, spend the night in Wadi Rum then go next day to Aqaba (You gotta scuba dive! It’s 35 JDs which is cheaper than anywhere in Europe). Most important places to visit in Jordan in my opinion, Petra and Wadi Rum, don’t miss them! Book your night in one of the camps in the desert, I’ve stayed in a budget camp called “Beduin Expedition”. You have to be there before 5 to be able to take the free ride from Rum Village into the desert and camp. Transport: Jet buses have buses everyday going to Petra which are 8$ I believe, from Petra there’s a shuttle bus to Wadi Rum but I don’t know exactly how you can catch it, ask when you’re there. From Wadi Rum, there’s a morning shuttle bus to Aqaba. From Aqaba you can book another Jet Bus to Amman.
- Spend a night in Dana Nature Reserve (the cover picture is in Dana), there are few hostels there you can find on booking.com for 8 JDs including breakfast.