Recently I’ve been doing some “research” on the way I could travel in Jordan and, surprisingly, it turned out there are some issues I’d have never thought about.
1. Never ever believe in what’s written on the Internet
Why? Well, I was looking for the way to get from Jerusalem to Amman (and the fastest way is obviously the one through Palestine). As I’ll be staying in Jerusalem and Bethlehem for a few days I was really hoping to cross the boarder on King Hussein Bridge, linking West bank with Jordan, but according to MANY forums I wouldn’t be able to do this… Which is not true because the Bridge functions normally. So in general, there are EIGHT boarder crossings you can use to get to Jordan, depending on which direction do you come from. You will find all of them listed (together with opening hours) on the main website of Jordan Tourism. One thing you should note, is that in some cases you may need to obtain your entry visa before reaching the boarder and avoid crossing it by car (more below).
2. Get a free entry visa!
If there are any countries insisting on having an entry visa, usually it’s you who has to pay for it. It looks like Jordanian authorities decided to make a small exception and grant all arrivals at Aqaba with FREE VISA to Jordan. It doesn’t matter if you’re crossing the boarder from the Saudi Arabian or Israeli side – you just get it. The only requirement is that you have to leave the country within one month and from exactly the same boarder.
If you’d like to cross the boarder in any other point, be prepared for the expense of 20 JDs and exit service fee of 8 JDs.
Note: You will NOT obtain the entry visa on the King Hussein Bridge crossing – you should own a pre-issued visa there.
3. Forget about international “road trips”
My first thought when it comes to this trip was “I will rent a car and travel around whoooole Israel, Palestine and Jordan!”. Well, I will definitely not If you’re planning to enter Jordan by car, be prepared for formalities, formalities and…even more formalities. Sometimes they take hours and you may be even asked to change your licence plates. Of course, you can leave your car on the boarder, cross it, rent one and then continue the trip, but it does it sound like a reasonable plan…? Even if you will decide to go through this extremely long procedure, keep in mind, the King Hussein Bridge crossing doesn’t allow ANY private vehicles to cross the boarder.
In Jordan itself it’s much cheaper to find a driver – for example the route Amman-Petra-Wadi Rum-Aqaba-Amman will cost you about the same or even less than a rented car! Consider searching for drivers for example on Couchsurfing (that’s how I’ve found mine). Locals are usually really warm and welcoming people and don’t charge as much as official companies
4. Sleep on the desert
Absolutely accidentally, somewhere on the WikiTravel, I found the information about a possibility of staying over the night in a Bedouin camp pretty close to Wadi Rum. Camp owners are traditional Bedouins, born and raised in the caves, living on the desert since their very early childhood. I saw pictures and immediately promised to myself “this is where I’m gonna stay”.
What you can do in the camp is to experience the real live of locals which is an amazing experience I’ll for sure widely describe when I’m back in Vienna.
The area if free from mosqitos (it’s much too dry) or any poisonous insects/arachnids which are mostly afraid of staying close to people, so you can enjoy your stay
5. ALWAYS talk to locals before you go
So obvious and helps a lot!