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The area of Jordan is about 89,000 square kilometres and there are about 4.9 million people living in the country. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has been a constitutional monarchy since 1952. At present it is reigned by King Abdullah II.

Climate

In the north and west of the country the mediterranean climate is prevailing, while the rest of the country is desert.

Generally the country has warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters with annual average temperatures ranging from 12 to 25°C (54 to 77°F) and summertime highs reaching the 40°C (105 to 115°F) in the desert regions.

Rainfall averages from 50 mm (1.97 inches) annually in the desert to 800 mm (31.5 inches) in the northern hills, some of which falls as snow in some years.

The water temperature of the Red Sea varies from 20°C in winter to 28°C in summer.

Language

The official language is Arabic. English is widely spoken, especially in the cities. French, German, Italian and Spanish are also spoken, but to a lesser extent.

Jordan is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Daylight savings time occurs between April and October.

Religion

The most common religion in Jordan is Islam. About 96 percent of the people are Sunni Muslims.

Public holidays

Holidays in Jordan are either religious (Islamic or Christian) or celebrations of important events in Jordanian or Arab history. Non-Islamic holidays are fixed, while islamic holidays vary according to the lunar Muslim calendar.

National holidays

1 January: New Year's Day
30 January: King Abdullah II's birthday
1 May: Labor Day
25 May: Independence Day
14 November: The Late King Hussein's Birthday
25 December: Christmas Day

Cultural consideration and clothing

Jordan is primarily a Muslim country and Muslim women's clothing often covers their arms, legs and hair.

Western women are not subject to these customs, but very revealing clothing is never appropriate and conservative dress is advisable for men and women in the old part of Amman and outside the cities. Shorts are rarely worn by either sex. Topless sunbathing is prohibited and one-piece swimsuits are preferred, although two-piece swimsuits are acceptable at hotel pools. As in all countries, when entering a church or mosque it is advisable to wear appropriate clothing. Public displays of affection are rare; however, it is not considered unusual for friends to hold hands, regardless of their gender.

From the beginning of April until the end of October temperatures go up to over 30°C. Light summer clothes are advisable as well as headdress and sunglasses. Even in summer evenings it can be cool, so a sweater or a shawl is advisable. Winters can be cold and sometimes wet, especially in Amman and the east; you will need an overcoat or a raincoat. In the south near Aqaba even in winter temperatures are high.

Money

Jordan's currency is the Jordanian Dinar or JD. It is subdivided into 1000 fils, or 100 qirsh or piastres. It appears in paper notes of 50, 20, 10, 5, 1 and 0.5 JD denominations. Coins come in denominations of 1 JD, 0.5 JD, 0.25 JD, and 100, 50, 25, 10 and 5 fils. During the 1990's the average exchange rate was 1 US dollar to 0.71 JD. Up-to-date exchange rates you may find on http://www.xe.com/ucc.

You can change foreign cash or travellers' checks at any bank in Jordan. Only travellers' checks will be charged a commission. Also, there are authorized money-changers in Amman, Aqaba and Irbid, and you will usually get a slightly better rate of exchange at money-changers than at banks. Hotels of three stars and above will also change money but at a less favourable rate.

Credit cards are accepted at most large hotels, restaurants, car rental companies and tourist shops. The most widely accepted cards are American Express, Visa, Diners Club and Master Card. You can also use your cards to draw cash (up to 500 JD) at any bank linked with your credit card network.

Automated teller machines (ATM's) are increasing in Jordan, but at present only some accept foreign cards.

Business hours

Friday is the weekly holiday. Banks and government offices and most businesses are closed on Saturdays as well. Most businesses and banks have a half-day on Thursday, and some businesses and banks take Sunday as a half-day or a complete holiday.

Government departments are open from 08:00 to 15:00. Banks are open from 08:30 to 15:00 and some reopen from 16:00 to 18:00.

Small shops are open long hours, from around 09:00 until 20:00 or 21:00, often closing for a couple of hours in the mid-afternoon. Most Muslim shop owners close early or do not open on Friday, and Christians follow similar rules on Sunday. However, the markets and street stalls downtown remain open all week long, and Friday is their busiest day of the week. Museums are generally open every day except Tuesday, but opening hours sometimes vary.

During Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, most stores, banks and offices open late at 09:00 and close early at 14:00.

Visas

To enter Jordan you will need a visa. You can get the visa at the border or airport when you arrive or from consulates in your country. Visas are valid for two weeks from entry, but can easily be extended up to three months.

To be able to travel into Jordan travellers need to be in possession of a passport that will be valid until at least six months after the tour.

Jordan Experience will take care of all the arrangements for handling the visa, on the basis of a passport list to be filled in by our clients. That way we can guarantee a quick handling of the visa requests upon arrival at the airport.

For groups of 7 people or more we will arrange a group visa, free of charges. For groups up to 6 people we will arrange for individual visa, in which case the Jordanian government will charge.

Customs

Custom regulations exempt from duty most items carried by tourists, including cameras, radios, hair-dryers, video equipment, etc. So far as duty allowances are concerned, you may carry up to 200 cigarettes or 200 grams of tobacco, and either one litre of spirits or two litres of wine. Modest gifts and other effects are exempt from customs duty.

Health requirements and recommendations

Modern medical services are readily available in Jordan's larger cities and towns. Most doctors speak English fluently. Pharmacies can provide medication for minor aliments, but travellers should carry their own prescriptions for medication.

Inoculations are not required unless you are travelling from an infected location. If you come from a country where diseases such as cholera and yellow fever are prevalent, you will have to show a certificate of inoculation at your point of entry into Jordan. Although not required, it is preferable to have preventative shots against hepatitis, diphtheria, polio, tetanus and typhoid.

Jordan is one of the cleanest and safest countries, but it is nonetheless advisable to take some precautions until your digestive system adjusts. Hotels rated three-star and up have their own filtering systems and their water is safe to drink. In other places bottled water, which is cheap and readily available, is recommended. All fruit and vegetables should be washed thoroughly, and salads and cold meats which have been sitting out for a long time should be avoided, especially during summer months. All Jordanian dairy products are pasteurised and safe.

Electrical current

Jordan's electricity supply is 220 volts / 50 cycles AC. Sockets are generally of the two-pronged European variety, while a variety of other sockets and plugs - especially the 13 amp square three-pinned plug - are in use. To be safe, bring a multi-purpose adapter. American equipment requires both an adapter and a transformer.

Tipping

Many of the best hotels and restaurants will add a gratuity of about 10 percent to your bill. However, smaller establishments usually expect you to leave a tip in line with the service you received. Taxi drivers are generally not tipped, but it is customary to pay the nearest round figure to the price on the meter. It may be difficult to get change for a large bill, so carry plenty of small denominations and coins for taxis. If you travel in a car with driver it is customary to tip the driver at the end of your journey.

Weights and measures

Jordan operates on the metric system.

Vaccination and immunization

When travelling to Jordan we recommend a course of immunization against diphteria, tetanus and polio (DTP), as well as hepatitis A. For more information on the subject of vaccination and immunization please contact your local medical practitioner for the latest information and allow time to obtain the appropriate vaccinations.

Insurances

Adequate travel insurance which covers for personal accident, medical and hospital expenses, repatriation and curtailment is compulsory for everyone who travels on a Jordan Experience tour. For our outdoors and adventure tours accident insurance is also compulsory. We strongly advise you to arrange for your cancellation insurance. Please ensure that your guests carry their (copy of the) policy document with them.

Accommodation and meals

All accommodations are selected by Jordan Experience based on their location, atmosphere, hygiene and hospitality. We can offer you a choice from three, four and five star hotels. Most tours are based on twin or double rooms with private facilities, unless listed otherwise. On request single rooms are available at extra charge. Just let us know your preferences and we will arrange it for you.

As for the meals we can offer you the choice of bed & breakfast, half-board and full-board.

On camping tours or tours which include part camping, we provide all the cooking and camping equipment and we will take care of all the meals and drinks.

Our program descriptions which you can find on this website give you an overview of the practical details of our tours as well as the suitability of our programs for different kinds of travellers and the best time to do the trip.

Accessibility for disabled persons

If you are disabled in any way and you would like to come on one of our tours, you are most welcome. Especially on our classical tours and pilgrimage tours.

In most of the sights we visit during these tours we can arrange for your suitable transportation. Whether the classical wheelchair or the more adventurous camel, donkey or jeep.

Please don't hesitate to contact us and let us know your wishes. We will do everything possible to be at your service.

Transportation

Most of the time you will travel by small coach or air-conditioned bus, depending on the size of the group.

On some tours you will travel by jeep, as a result of which you will be able to drive routes otherwise not passable and stop at the most beautiful spots along the way. Jordan Experience also provides the jeep drivers. But we can imagine that if you are an experienced jeep driver you would rather like to drive yourself. In that case please let us know your wishes and we will arrange it for you.

For our group tours the means of transport are listed in the program description.

Professional tour management

Our local representatives in Jordan will take care of all the practical arrangements during your stay in Jordan, such as meet & assist with customs.

We also provide local guides and interpreters, cooks, helpers, porters and pack-animals on treks where applicable.
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