Travel Guide Middle East Jordan Amman

edit

Introduction

Amman City Centre

Amman City Centre

© All Rights Reserved moonboots

Amman (عمان), the capital of Jordan, is a fascinating city of contrasts – a unique blend of old and new, ideally situated on a hilly area between the desert and the fertile Jordan Valley. In the commercial heart of the city, ultra-modern buildings, hotels, smart restaurants, art galleries and boutiques rub shoulders comfortably with traditional coffee shops and tiny artisans' workshops. Everywhere there is evidence of the city’s much older past. Due to the city’s modern-day prosperity and temperate climate, almost half of Jordan’s population is concentrated in the Amman area. The residential suburbs consist of mainly tree-lined streets and avenues flanked by elegant, almost uniformly white houses in accordance with a municipal law, which states that all buildings must be faced with local stone. The downtown area is much older and more traditional with smaller businesses producing and selling everything from fabulous jewelry to everyday household items. The people of Amman are multi-cultural, multi-denominational, well-educated and extremely hospitable. They welcome visitors and take pride in showing them around their fascinating and vibrant city.

A city built of white stone, Amman's growth has skyrocketed since it was made the capital of Trans-Jordan in the early 1920s, but especially after the 1948 and 1967 wars with Israel when hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees settled there. Another wave arrived after the second Iraq war, with Iraqi refugees forming the majority of newcomers. Its history, however, goes back many millennia. The settlement mentioned in the Bible as Rabbath Ammon was the capital of the Ammonites, which later fell to the Assyrians. It was dominated briefly by the Nabataeans before it became a great Roman trade center and was renamed Philadelphia. After the Islamic conquests, Amman became part of the Islamic Empire, until the Ottomans were forced out by the Allies, with the help of the Hashemites, who formed a monarchy that continues to rule until the present. Today, West Amman is a lively, modern city. The eastern part of the city, where the majority of Amman's residents live, is predominantly the residential area of the working class and is much older than the west. While possessing few sites, Amman makes a comfortable base from which to explore the northwestern parts of the country. Amman is a very diverse city. Palestinian, Iraqi, Circassian, Armenian,and many other ethnic groups reside in Amman. Amman never stops growing. Despite the common assertion that most Jordanians understand English, that knowledge is quite limited. Charmingly, the most commonly known English phrase seems to be "Welcome to Jordan". The only non-Arabic language used in signposting is English, and you will find "Tourist Police" near the major monuments. It never hurts to know a few useful phrases and come prepared with a translation book, or to have the names and addresses of places you are going written in Arabic for use with a taxi driver.

Top

edit

Neighbourhoods

West Amman is a lively, modern city. The eastern part of the city, where the majority of Amman's residents live, is predominantly the residential area of the working class and is much older than the west. While possessing few sites itself, Amman makes a comfortable base from which to explore the northwestern parts of the country.

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

* There are a number of renovations and excavations taking place that have revealed remains from the Neolithic period, as well as from the Hellenistic and late Roman to Arab Islamic Ages. The site which is known as the Citadel includes many structures such as the Temple of Hercules, the Umayyad Palace and the Byzantine Church. At the foot of the Citadel lies the 6,000 seat Roman Theater, which is a deep-sided bowl carved into the hill and is still being used for cultural events. Another newly restored theater is the 500-seat Odeon that is used for concerts. The three museums found in the area offer a glimpse of history and culture; they are the Jordan Archaeological Museum, The Folklore Museum and the Museum of Popular Traditions.

  • Souq and medina
  • Roman theatre - Built during the reign of Antonius Pius, 138-161AD, this impressive theater could seat up to 6,000 people. Next to it are a folklore museum and a popular culture museum which the entrance fee also covers. Next to it is the Odeon theater, a smaller theater built at the same time. There are two small museums (Folklore and Popular Traditions) to the right and left as you enter. 2 JD (free with Jordan Pass).
  • King Abdullah I Mosque
  • Rainbow Street. Near the 1st Circle in Jabal Amman, this is an interesting area to walk around and explore, it is named after the old Rainbow Cinema which is now out of use, but the area has experienced a revival with many of the old houses being restored and put into use, in the area there are some cafes and bars including Books@cafe and Wild Jordan, both with great views, a Caribbean restaurant, an Indian restaurant, a sushi joint, and an ice cream shop. There is a hammam, and the Royal Film Commission which sometimes holds outdoor screenings on its patio and some interesting small shops. Across the street from the British Council on Rainbow St., there is the refreshing Turtle Green Tea Bar where everything is in English and you can borrow a laptop to access the internet while enjoying your snack.

Top

edit

Events and Festivals

Amman International Theatre Festival

Hosted by an independent theatre company in March every year, the Amman International Theatre Festival brings together some of the rawest and freshest talent from around Jordan. Taking on somewhat of a competitive format, each performer has the chance to showcase their skills in English or Arabic.

Top

edit

Weather

Amman is less hot than places more south in the country, mainly because of its elevation. In winter, frost and snow are not uncommon and in summer the dry heat is bearable. Best times to visit are probably spring and autumn, when temperatures are pleasantly warm and you avoid the wetter wintermonths as well. Summer is dry and usually warm to hot. Extremes have been recorded of 40 °C or more. Average highs are around 30 °C, while in winter most days are well above 10 °C.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max12.3 °C13.7 °C17.2 °C22.6 °C27.8 °C30.8 °C32 °C32.4 °C30.7 °C27.1 °C20.4 °C14.4 °C
Avg Min3.6 °C4.2 °C6.1 °C9.5 °C13.5 °C16.6 °C18.5 °C18.6 °C16.6 °C13.8 °C9.3 °C5.2 °C
Rainfall63.4 mm61.7 mm43.1 mm13.7 mm3.3 mm0 mm0 mm0 mm0.3 mm6.6 mm28 mm49.2 mm
Rain Days1110.9841.60.1000.12.35.38.4

Top

edit

Getting There

By Plane

Royal Jordanian Airlines is the national airline with many destinations served from Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), 32 kilometres south of Amman. Destinations are as far away as New York, but most flights are to major cities in the Middle East and Europe. Asian destinations include Bangkok and Hong Kong. Dozens of other airlines (mostly regional) fly to the airport as well. Buses and taxis serve the airport all day, with buses operating every half hour to Amman. A new rail line is being constructed that will link Queen Alia International Airport with central and downtown Amman. Domestic flights are an option you don't really need with travelling times overland just a matter of several hours, but travelling between Amman and Aqaba could be done with Royal Jordanian Airlines.

Amman Civil Airport (ADJ) in the east of the city has flights to Dalaman (Turkey), Cairo, Baghdad, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Baku, Sharjah and even Stockholm, though some are seasonal.

Getting to/from the airport
Taxi transportation from the airport to Amman should cost around 20 JD. Airport taxi fares are fixed. The fare is only fixed from airport to city: the taxi driver might try to secure a ride from you from the city back to the airport, often with a massive inflated price. It is not hard to get a ride from city to airport for 20 JD. If the driver is trying to charge more, make your stand and say no. Uber and Careem operate in the city, and while the fare is usually around 15 JD, rides have to be caught upstairs at the departures level.

The Airport Express bus runs around the clock every 30-60 minutes between 06:30 and 00:00, and costs 3.30 JD. As of February 2019 there are also buses leaving at 01:00, 03:00, and 05:00 (as well as 02:00 and 04:00 if there is enough demand for them). This is contrary to info posted online. It leaves from a marked bus stop outside Terminal 2 only. The trip from the airport to Tabarbour bus station in Amman, with a stop at the 7th Circle (after 20-30 min), usually takes from 45 minutes to an hour. The route is: QAIA - 7th Circle - Six Circle - Fifth Circle - Fourth Circle - Housing Bank Complex - North Bus Station.

From the 7th Circle the bus will turn east and go another several of 100 m towards the center (probably until the 4th Circle) - get off when it turns north again. It is then possible to catch a taxi (1-1.5 JD) from the bus stop to your hotel but beware of taxis drivers trying to rip off the newly arrived traveler. Or just walk the last 1-2 km.

By Train

A twice weekly train travel between the capital of Syria, Damascus, and Amman. The train leaves both places on Mondays and Thursdays at 8:00am and take 9 hours to complete the schedule. Although slower than buses and shared taxis, this train ride comes as a welcome alternative for train fanatics.

By Car

There are several car rental companies located in Jordan some will even give you a driver for free if you book a car rental with them. Some of these are Hertz, Sixt Rental Cars, National, and many more.

A taxi to/from the Palestinian border crossing bridge can cost 25 JD and takes one hour, depending on which of the three border crossing points you use.

By Bus

Buses, minibuses and shared taxis ply the national routes and destinations include Madaba and Aqaba. International destinations include Damascus and even further away crossing Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates.

Note that the Abdali bus station is now closed. The new bus station is called Tabarbour Bus Station and is in the North fringes of Amman. Most of the buses to the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge and the various cities ('Ajloun, Jerash, Irbid) in Northern Jordan leave from here. To get there from downtown, take Serviis (A sedan car that works like a bus) #6 from Raghadan Tourist Service Station (Raghadan Al Seyaha) which is located right next to the Colosseum. The Trababour Bus Station is the last stop on the Serviis' route. There are numerous buses pulling into the city of Amman, most of which are operated by JETT (Jordan Express Tourist Transport). The JETT bus to/from the Palestinian border bridge costs 7.5 JOD and takes about 1 hour. (Keep in mind that though the Allenby Bridge crosses from Jordan to the West Bank, the checkpoint on the western side is operated by Israel, and plan your travel documents accordingly.) Once at the border crossing, you must switch to another bus to cross over the bridge, pass through the checkpoint, then hire a shared taxi from the border. Expect travel from Amman to the old city of Jerusalem to take at least 3 hours.

Top

edit

Getting Around

By Car

Yellow and grey taxis are readily available and can be easily found anywhere in Amman. Hail them in the street as Jordanians do. Taxis for Amman will have a green logo on the driver and passenger doors. The grey ones have an advertisement on top of the car. Resist hailing cabs with another color logo; these cabs are based in other cities and it is illegal for them to pick up fares in Amman. White taxis are shared, and the driver can pick up other fares along the way, which can lead to confusion.

Taxis in Amman are required by law to use meters and most drivers will reset the meter as soon as a fare is picked up. Most trips within Amman should be under 2 JD, and even a ride from one end of town to the other should not cost more than 5 JD. Taxis are not required to use meters after midnight and drivers often expect double the normal fare for late night trips.

Beware of drivers offering to give you a short ride "for free" as a "Welcome to Jordan", especially if you're walking between the Citadel and the Roman Theater; they will then offer to wait for you to take you to your next stop, and will use the "free" ride as an excuse not to start the meter. They will then charge you exorbitantly when you arrive at your next stop. Also, be wary of the private cars posing as taxis around the bus stands and stations. They will offer their services asking you to pay as much as you want but later on insist on pocketing more money from you. In case you get one, insist paying the standard price which should not be more than 2 JD, anything more is a rip-off.

The base rate for the taxi meter is 250 fils, however, some taxis may use old meters which charge 150 fils, it is legitimate for the driver to ask you for 10 extra piasters (100 fils) on top of the quoted meter fare. Make sure though that you note the initial fare as soon as the driver turns the meter on in order not to have the driver ask you for "the 10 piasters" when he has a new meter. Drivers are not normally tipped, instead the fare is simply rounded up to the nearest 5 or 10 piasters. Many drivers do not carry much change, so exact change should be given when possible.

If a driver is pretending he has no change, it is likely that he just wants to keep it, so that you'll have to pay more. If you mind this, ask the driver to find a nearby shop and get change or get the change yourself from a shop or (if you don't mind being rude) look into their money box to find the change yourself.

The going, negotiated rate for a taxi from Amman to the airport is 20 JD or more, although some drivers can be talked down to 15 JD or even 10 JD (which would be close to the metered rate). All taxis are allowed to take passengers to the airport; only special Airport Taxis may take passengers from the airport into town.

If you are visiting the Citadel, call it al'Aqal. The driver may try to convince you that the Roman theater is nicer so that he can drop you off there at the bottom of the hill. It's best to be dropped off at the Citadel and walk down the hill to the Roman theater.

Uber and Careem operate in Amman. Until May 2018, they were illegal, but ride-hailing companies are now being licensed. In any case, it is still good etiquette to sit in the front seat, to make it less obvious that the driver is transporting a fare rather than just, say, a friend.

By Public Transport

Big, municipal buses serve many parts of Amman. They are used by low-income workers, working-class youth and foreign workers, but are perfectly safe. As of January 2011, the fare was 380 fils. Pay the exact fare (or overpay); bus drivers have no change! You can also load a bus fare cash card with a few JD and swipe the card past a reader as you enter the bus, but places to buy and recharge the card are rare. Most buses are numbered; some display their destination in Arabic only. Bus no. 26 conveniently travels between the old town (Balad) and the 7th Circle along Zahran Street. No. 27 goes from the old town towards the posh Abdoun neighbourhood. No. 43 passes near Shmeisani (as does no. 46) and continues along Mecca Street towards Mecca Mall. Many bus stops are marked by bus shelters, but buses also drop passengers at unmarked spots wherever it is safe to stop. Private minibuses shadow the municipal buses. They do not display route numbers, but a conductor usually shouts out their destination.

By Foot

You can visit the fascinating Roman Theater and Nymphaeum, that reflect the historic legacy of the city, and the enchanting Citadel which has stood since the ancient times of the Ammonites. Or enjoy a leisurely stroll through the King Hussein Park and visit the Automobile Museum, which contains the late King Hussein's car collection, or the Children's Museum.

Jabal Amman 1st Circle Walking Trail is also interesting, with its coffeeshops and grand traditional villas. A leaflet with a route description is available from the Wild Jordan Cafe.

Top

edit

Eat

Amman features many different styles of restaurants, from traditional Middle Eastern fare to more familiar Western fast food and franchises. Prices range from ultra-cheap to moderate, depending on one's taste buds. For those on a budget, Arabic food is very affordable and can be obtained everywhere.

Arabic food generally consists of several general basic groups. Meat dishes will generally consist of lamb or chicken; beef is more rare and pork is never offered. Shwarma, which is cooked lamb meat with a special sauce rolled in piece of flat bread, is a local favorite. Rice and flat bread are typical sides to any meal. Jordan's speciality, mansaf, is a delicious lamb and rice meal, typically eaten with one's hands. Arabs serve plenty of cucumbers and tomatoes, many times accompanied by a plain white yoghurt condiment. Another favorite is chick pea-based foods such as falafel, hummus, and fuul. One of Amman's most famous local foods restaurant is Hashem, located in down-town Amman and you can have a lunch or dinner there for no more than 1.500 JD which is very low compared to other restaurants in Amman. This restaurant is one of the favourites of the Royal family and you will see a lot of photographs of the Royal family of Jordan dining at this restaurant. Nearby, there is Habeebah, which serves traditional east Mediterranean sweets such as baklava, but is most famous for serving a traditional dessert known as knafeh nabelseyyeh in reference to its origin from the Palestinian city of Nables.

The allegedly best shawerma in Amman is found in the street-side kiosk called Shawermat Reem, at the 2nd Circle. It is very famous and there are even lines at 2:00am It is a must to eat from this place and is very cheap.

Lebnani snack is a great place to eat Middle Eastern sandwiches, delicious ice cream and cocktails.

Top

edit

Drink

Jordan's national beer is aptly called Petra beer, and there are many liquor shops and kiosks around Amman where you can find it. There are two types: 'black' and 'red', which have 8% and 10% alcohol percentage respectively. The red is usually slightly more expensive than the black, but you should expect to pay 2-2.5JD for a 500 ml (18 imp fl oz; 17 US fl oz) can at a shop. You will often find that bars prefer Amstel and other international brands and do not have Petra beer available.

The majority of Amman's pubs and night clubs can be found in West Amman.

Top

edit

Sleep

Amman has the full range of accommodation options from very basic 1 star accommodation to luxurious 5 star facilities.

  • Cliff Hostel (in one of the alleys in the souq nearby the central post office -- there's a small and old sign). An option for low budget travellers. In the winter it can get very chilly, make sure that you ask for more blankets. Sometimes they heat your room if you ask for that. 5 JD dorm.
  • Farah Hotel, 6 King Ghazi Street, ☏ +962 64651 443, ✉ info@farahhotel.com.jo. Check-out: From 4 JD for a dorm. Good backpacker option, has common area with satellite TV & movies, organises tours & very friendly English speaking staff.
  • Jordan Tower Hotel (next to Roman Amphitheatre), ☏ +962-6-4614161, ✉ jordantowerhotel@yahoo.com. Shared trips at reasonable rates to all tourist sites. Dorm rooms male & female - 2-, 3- & 4-bed rooms some with ensuite bathroom and air conditioning and satellite TV. Friendly English-speaking staff. Cheap light snacks and airport pick ups. From 9 JD incl breakfast and free WiFi.
  • Sun Rise Hotel (Abdali station, King Hussein Street), ✉ sun-rise-hotel@hotmail.com. One-star hotel with good location near Abdali station. Safe area, near Capitol Police Center. TV, free internet, free WiFi and air cond or fan in the room; rooms are very basic, those in the back are colder. Dorm from 3.50 JD, different rooms available from 8-20 JD (depending on the mood of the manager, so take care).
  • Al Fanar Palace Hotel, Queen Rania Al Abdullah Street (North of city centre and West of Sports City), ☏ +962 6 5100 400. Standard hotel with reasonable facilities. Wi-Fi in reception (3 JD/hour). Indoor swimming pool, restaurant (but no bar). You can easily take a taxi down the road to the Regency Palace if you want a bar. Taxi cost is less than 1 JD. Hot water can be a problem. 60 JD.
  • Beirut International, King Hussein Street (Near the Abdil bus station). Check-out: noon. Good location, nice big rooms, including middle eastern breakfast. 70 JD, but you can get a discount.
  • Beity Rose Suites Hotel, Ibn Hayyan Street (Near the Specialty Hospital), ☏ +962 6 5663706, fax: +962 6 5663703, ✉ info@hotelbeity.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: noon. In the progressive district of Shmeisani, next to the Royal Cultural Centre and the Amman Stock Market. Friendly hotel in an attractive setting. from 85 JD.
  • Crystal Suites Hotel, Al Kindi Street (Fifth Circle), ☏ +962 6 5692672, ✉ crystal@go.com.jo. Check-out: noon. Nice suites hotel in a prestigious area opposite to the Four Seasons and Sheraton, comfortable for short and long stays, mainly one and two bedroom suites, some studios 50 JD with breakfast. edit
  • Gardenia Hotel, Abdulhameed Sharaf Street (near Safeway), ☏ +962 6 5667790, ✉ gardeniahotel.index.com.jo. Check-out: noon. Friendly hotel in nice and very quiet neighbourhood 45 JD with breakfast.
  • New Park Hotel, King Hussein Str (opposite the old court), ✉ newparkhotel@hotmail.com. Two-star hotel offering rooms with en-suite bathrooms, satellite TV, air-con, and central heating.
  • Regency Palace Hotel is located on Queen Alya Street and close to the Jordanian Olympic Committee office and Sports City. The rooms look weathered but liveable and the restaurant is alright. Room service menu is quite good and the service fast. Some basic amenities such as tea/coffee making service in the room that one expects in a bigger hotel was missing and the request for a water heater was fulfilled by the hotel staff by providing a heating coil which had a loose wire at the end, instead of a plug, and the wire had to be inserted into the strange plugpoint to connect and sparks flew each time it was inserted. There is a business center in the lobby of the hotel and a semblance of a gym on the top floor. Hotel staff are quite friendly and helpful.
  • Amman Marriott Hotel which is located across the Regency Palace hotel looked much better maintained on the inside and quite grandiose.
  • The Four Seasons Hotel is supposedly the best hotel in Amman

View our map of accommodation in Amman or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

Top

edit

Learn

There are numerous universities one can study in. Irbid, Madaba, and Aqaba also hold many educational institutes for foreigners. Jordan's universities are world-renowned and respected for their hospitality and methods of instruction.

Top

edit

Keep Connected

Internet

Jordan is relatively well connected to the internet compared to many other countries in the Middle East. Internet cafes are all around Jordan and range from 1- 2 JD for half an hour. Wifi is getting more and more popular in Jordan, but is not very common everywhere. In larger places, you find free wifi and some coffee places and restaurants. Hotels tend to charge for wifi, but not always, so check beforehand.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Jordan's international country code is 962. The emergency numbers include 112 and 911, you can use them both.

Most of Jordan has mobile coverage. There are three mobile operators: Zain - the first and largest mobile provider, Orange and Umniah. You can buy SIM cards at any of these providers and if you are planning to make international calls, use Umniah as they are the cheapeast. Otherwise Zain is the better choice of mostly domestic calls. Using your own SIM in Jordan can be expensive, especially for internet.

Card-based temporary numbers can be purchased at the airport or any mobile shop for JOD5. These numbers can be subsequently recharged with a prepaid card starting at only JOD1. Temporary "throw away" phones can be bought at many mobile phone shops across the country for around JOD20-30, but a Jordanian must buy the phone before possession can be transferred to you.

Post

Jordan Post runs the postal services in the country. It has fairly reliable and cheap services and international post usually takes several days up to a week or more for countries further away. Opening hours of post offices are mostly between 7:00am and 5:00pm Saturday to Thursday and 7:00am to 1:00pm on Friday, although this depends whether it's a main city or smaller villages. In summer, there might be slighty longer opening hours. For larger packages, it might work out cheaper and certainly faster to use international courier services, including DHL, FedEx, TNT or UPS for example.

Top

Quick Facts

[edit]

Coordinates
  • Latitude: 31.9394
  • Longitude: 35.9349

Accommodation in Amman

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Amman searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Amman and areas nearby.

Contributors

as well as shiraz1983 (4%), Hien (1%)

Amman Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Amman

This is version 41. Last edited at 11:21 on Jul 9, 19 by Utrecht. 47 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License