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02/08/2006

Amman, Jordan & Around

Middle East » Jordan
Author: Koen De Boeck

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Arriving in Amman airport

Most people arriving in Amman airport coming from Europe arrive in the middle of the night. I don't know why, but this seems to be the case in Syria as well.

There is a bankomat at Amman - airport, where you can get money with Visa  and Mastercard but also with a normal Maestro bankcard! (3/2001).

Anyway, you will be obliged to take a taxi costing 10 to 15 JD. It's very difficult to bargain, since you're in a difficult position, and the drivers know it (5/2004).

If you arrive during the day, there are JETT buses costing 1 JD. To get to the airport by bus, go to Abdali busstation at King Hussein Street, there's a bus every 30 minutes. There's another bus leaving from Saha Hashemi near the amphitheater, but this one is less frequent.

You can change money at the airport, rates are about 5% worse then in the city and they have a commission of 2%. In 5/2004 rates were 79 JD for 100 euro at the airport and 83,5 JD for 100 Euro in Amman.

Airport tax is 10 JD, but this was discounted with 50% (5/2004).

Accommodation

The Canary hotel (see LP) is in a side street of the Abdali busstation. It costs 22 JD, but it's worth the money. It's very quiet, it has a terrace under the trees, it's very clean and staff is very friendly. Food and drinks are however pretty expensive (and they also add 13% tax) (10/2000).

We stayed at the Select hotel which is also near the Abdali busstation. It is OK, they charge 8 JD pp including breakfast. When we were there, rooms 229 and 230 were infested with little insects, a kind of small flies, other rooms were OK. Select Hotel, 5th Circle. Tel 00962 6 463 71 01. Sales@amman-select.com  

Restaurants

All Quds or Jerusalem Restaurant is very well known. You can have a good meal for 3 to 4 JD.

Mc Donalds near the amphitheater.

The best restaurant in town is the Fakhr el-Din Restaurant, 40 Taha Hussein St., Jabal Amman P.O. Box 840524, Amman 11184, Jordan, Tel. +962 6 465 23 99 / 464 17 89, Fax. +962 6 464 17 92, email: info@fakhreldin.com, web: www.fakhreldin.com. A fixed menu with plenty of dishes will set you back just 13 JD plus tax.

Another very good option, but outside of town in Madaba is Haret Jdoudna Madaba Tel. (05) 548650/ 548651 Fax. (05) 548609/ P.o.Box 2288 Amman 11181 Jordan Or contact: Romero Amman Tel.(962-6) 4644228 info@romero-jordan.com, website http://www.romero-jordan.com. They are situated in an old Ottoman building, price is between 12 and 20 JD pp.

Taxis

When taking a taxi, always ask to put on the meter. At night, this might prove difficult, and you will probably have to try several taxis before you find one willing to do this, but you have to stand firm and not believe their stories. A classical trip should not cost more then 1 JD.

When renting one for the day, f.i. to go to the desert castles, you should pay around 30 -40 JD, a minibus 45 JD. (5/2004).

Going to the Airport, especially at night will cost at least 10 JD, and for a minibus of 10 people we paid at night 35 JD.

What to do

Introduction
Amman itself has not much to offer, but it is a good base to explore the sights around in the North (Jerash and Aylun) and the Dead Sea.

As a general rule, it's best to start early on your trip, since public transportation becomes rare after 5 pm.

You can also rent a car for about 40 JD (with or without driver, same price). There are agents around the Firas Wings Hotel.

Amman
The Roman theatre is open from 8 am till 7 pm and has no entrance fee. There are museums on both side of the podium charging 1 JD each. There are many restaurants in the neighbourhood.

There are
more archeological sites at the Citadel Hill as well as a museum. You can have a nice view from this hill. The walk up is quite steep, so you might prefer to take a taxi (0,5 JD 9/99).

Along the road leading to the King Hussein mosque, there are many shops, at the mosque you can have a coffee in the coffeehouse of the Arab League (1st floor).

The King Abdullah Mosque near Abdali busstation  is also worth a look. Entrance is not always possible and costs 1 JD including a guide (usually). Another option is the King Hussein mosque. We got in without problems, it's free, but I was not really impressed, especially not if you've seen the mosques of Aleppo and Damascus. (5/2004).

A nice walk taking in all these things is the one from Abdali busstation to the Roman theatre.

First you could go to the King Abdullah mosque Zalatimo in front of the post office is one of the best sweet pastry shops in Amman. They are used to tourists, have fixed take-away boxes and can give plenty of explanations. Not cheap.

Then you go downward the King Hussein Street. This is nothing special. At a certain point (look at your map), you could go right towards the Darat al-Funun. This is a green oasis with 3 villas dating from the 1920's. It has a tiny cafe around a fountain with an art exhibition, and also a museum with Arab art. It's closed on Fridays, and open from 10 am Tel 7 pm. They have a site at http://www.daratalfunun.org.

If you continue along King Hussein street, you'll end at King Faysal street, the busiest street of Amman with plenty of shops. There's also the Gold Souq. At the end of this street, you'll have Hashimi street. Right you have King Hussein mosque, in front of you the sugar souq and left the Roman theatre.

Desert castles
It's unwise to visit these castles by public transportation.

This was our rating of these castles:
- Qasr Al Hallabat: -
- Hamman As Sarakh: +
- Qasr Al Asraf: +
- Qusayr' Amra: + + +
- Qasr Al Kharanek: + + +
- Try to see the last 2 around 4 pm, the light will be great.

Dead Sea region

Getting there

If you go by bus, you've got to get one in Jerusalem Street going to Shunat Nimrin (0,45 JD) and then change buses to Suweimeh (0,2 JD).

Suweimah
Suweimah is the Dead Sea resort closest to Amman. You pay 2 JD to get in the Dead Sea Resthouse, but this entitles you to use their showers and fitting rooms. They have lockers for 1 JD (unless you have your own lock).

You can have a mud bath for 1 JD, or you can get the mud yourself next to the fence.

You can spend the night in the expensive bungalows  at 42 JD per night.

Go back early enough, because there are only few buses to get back.

The Dead Sea hotel charges 10 JD pp , but it's really great. They have 2 swimming pools, one right by the sea.

Further South
You could go further south over the King's highway. You will pass the impressive Wadi Mujib before arriving in Al Mazra.

Al Mazra is less touristic, but also less convenient to have a swim in the Dead Sea. You will get in the mud before reaching the water.

Madaba

There's the St. Georges Church (1 JD), and an archeological site, museum and Maria Church (3 JD for the 3).

You can take a taxi to Mount Nebo where Moses is supposed to be buried. You can have a marvelous view  over Israel providing the weather is OK (0,5 JD).

Don't miss eating in the nearby Haret Jdoudna restaurant. This is an extremely cozy restaurant with great food. A full meal will cost you about 10 JD (9/99).

Go to "The North"

 
Article Comments:
07/22/2006
Talat Juneja (1)
I will be visisting Amman to surprise a friend who lives in a place called YADUDEH. I will be staying at Regency Palace Hotel. Kindly tell me where Yadudeh is located in relation to the Regency Palace and the airport.
05/30/2006
paphaspim (5)
Amir If you are so well informed why didnt you update the info and keep folks well informed about Jordan?
03/30/2006
Amir (1)
most of the info is outdated. i live in jordan and almost everything there is incorrect! besides, mc donalds is no longer near the amphitheatre, they closed it two years ago!

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