Regular readers here on A Little Adrift may recall my ever-so-brief plan to visit the Middle East last fall—it was a goal, an ambition really, because I’ve always wanted to travel to the Middle East but didn’t make it there on my RTW trip, nor my travels since. I had a friend in the region last year and thought about heading that way—it didn’t work out though and I decided to expat myself in Thailand instead.
Six months later, as I wrap up my time living in Chiang Mai, Thailand and traveling through the region, the Middle East still beckons. And as fortune would have it, the Jordan Tourism Board invited me to spend nearly two weeks in the country as their guest.
How could I say no to that offer?!
I couldn’t, as it just so happens, and I head to Jordan this week. Worried for me? Thrilled? Either way, let’s play Twenty Questions!
Wait, You’re Going to the Middle East NOW?!
The first thoughts going through my head (and yours) when I heard concerned the tensions and conflicts in the region circa 2010 and 2011. The media has been heavy handed with the political coverage on Egypt and Syria and the U.S. Department of State has warnings issued for a lot of countries in the region.
Is Jordan Safe to Visit?
Jordan is safe for travelers, and there are no travel advisories from the U.S. Department of State for the bulk of the country. Although there are a great many advisories for surrounding countries, Jordan is a very different place in the region. So, you will find a travel advisory for the Jordan-Syria border, and you would need to exercise great caution and steer far clear of it. But considering the USDS errs very heavily on the side of caution when issuing travel advisories (ie they’re quite heavy handed), the fact that it still OKs Jordan gave me an initial thumbs up for some more research. Then once I visited, I did feel that the country overall is safe for travelers, but women and solo travelers should dress appropriately and exercise a caution when out after dark and things of that nature.
In addition to checking U.S. travel advisories for Jordan, the Canadian government’s site is also thorough and lists the areas of the country where there have been recent demonstrations and where you should have deeper vigilance.
Don’t forget to book travel insurance for your trip to Jordan—a great policy provides coverage in case of medical emergencies, lost luggage, adventure sports rides, and more. I used World Nomads for this trip (and since 2008!) and highly recommend it!
Am I Afraid to Visit Jordan?
So often on the road I discover contrary experiences to my media-filled expectations; the reality of some countries is simply different than you’d expect, and just because there is conflict nearby doesn’t mean the entire region is dangerous (case in point the Thai-Cambodian border clashes right now—you’d never know there were problems up here in the north of Thailand).
Safety is a deep topic—it involves solo female travel safety, but also things like risky activities, and how you approach your travels. The world is not as dangerous as you assume, but then again having the right knowledge about a place is essential when you’re visiting conflict-adjacent places. Am I scared to travel to Jordan? I am cautious, I will take precautions, but I am more curious than anything.
What Do Your Parents Think About Your Jordan Trip?
Okay yes, I still consult with my parents (do you really ever outgrow that?). I discussed the trip with my dad—he’s pretty savvy about international news—and as concerned as he is with my safety, even he had to admit that Jordan is exempted from the worse conflicts right now. I also sent him stories and from some other wonderful travel bloggers and photographers recently traveling through the region (which means on the ground reports that yes, Jordan is safe!).
Are You Traveling Solo to Jordan?
Nope! My flat-mate and friend here in Chiang Mai, Jodi of Legal Nomads, is on the same trip next week. We are jointly traveling through Jordan for first-hand food and cultural experiences. We’re both traditionally solo-travelers, so it will be intriguing to have a travel companion again after so long to share the experiences—I like the idea of having someone else to turn to when I feel compelled issue forth a “Holy schnikes, look at that incredible view!”
What Does “Guest of the Jordan Tourism Board” Mean?
The Jordan Tourism Board is sponsoring all of the travel to and around Jordan. The great part of this being it’s a place I have always had on my “travel list,” and now I get to visit sooner than anticipated! This trip falls into the category of a press trip—the first here on A Little Adrift—and Jordan is a great way to start. You can expect all of the same stories and honest perspectives from me though, that doesn’t ever change. :)
What Things Will I Do in Jordan?
The Jordan Tourism Board has tailored the trip and cooked up some wonderful experiences with both A Little Adrift and Legal Nomads in mind – that means market tours, food, sight-seeing some of Jordan’s iconic landmarks (Petra anyone?), hiking, desert vistas, more food, sustainable local projects, and plenty of cultural immersion.
But Wait, Where’s Jordan Located?
Jordan is located in the geographic region known as the Middle East and shares borders with Israel, Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.
What are Three Fun Facts About Jordan?
- Arabic is the country’s official language, but English is widely spoken and taught at many public schools in the country.
- Non-confrontational foreign policies mean that Jordan is on great terms with the U.S., the UK, and several nearby countries, and belongs to the United Nations.
- The shores of the Dead Sea, in the northwest of Jordan, are the lowest spots on Earth’s surface.
What’s Jordanian Food Like?
As a vegetarian, I will be completely set for delicious foodie delights in Jordan. Although Jordan is not a vegetarian country by nature (the national dish is Mansaf, a seasoned lamb dish) the Middle East brings to the vegetarian world palate: hummus, falafel, baba ganoush, pita bread—and that’s just a start! I loved the cuisine in Jordan so much after I visited that I shared an entire vegetarian food guide to the Middle East!
How Do You Get to Jordan
Given the conflict in the region, it’s best to fly into Amman. I used Royal Jordanian Airlines from Bangkok, which offered a direct flight to Amman, Jordan’s capital (and the country’s largest city for the trivia inclined).
Okay, I may have fibbed a bit about the twenty questions, there are fewer than that! But that should cover the most pressing questions about Jordan for now!
I worked with the Jordan Tourism Board to travel to Jordan—the experiences, photos, and stories are my own. :)