At Experience Jordan we have been in conversation about what it means to “experience Jordan”. What are the essential experiences that we would like our honored guests to have regardless of the length of their tour (3 day tour, 5 day tour, or 10 day tour)?
Here are the top five experiences that we want people to have no matter how long they are in Jordan. I’ll be honest and say we cheated a bit by making the categories very broad. In the future, we will have more lists that are a little more specific for those of you who are wanting to go deeper into experiencing the culture.
The Jordanian people are famous for their warm and caring hospitality. But often times tourists to Jordan ask, “How do I experience this?” It’s not too difficult actually. It begins with your Jordanian tour guide. Pay attention to how they interact with you and very quickly you will start to think that they are the nicest person you have ever met. This “niceness” is hospitality.
If you choose not to use a guide, pay attention while you are interacting with people in shops and tourist locations like Petra and Um Qais. Both employees and local people will often say to you, “Welcome to Jordan!” It is perfectly fine to reply back, “Thank you!”
Important phrase: Ahlan wa sahlan!
This translates as, “Welcome!” but the meaning is much deeper than that. The meaning is more like, “When you are here you are family.” Family is not a simple word here; it holds deep significance.
If you haven’t heard, Arab food is amazing! While you are in Jordan experience the full variety of Arab food. Being in the center of the Middle East allows hungry travelers to try food from the Gulf, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Northern Africa, and of course Jordan. Eat and enjoy!
When we start talking about specifics about which foods are essential, arguments can erupt (more about this later when we talk specifically about food experiences). For now, we recommend getting in as much Arab food as you can.
Breakfast: Falafel, humus, mtabbel, foul
Lunch: Manageesh and tea with mint
These are actually easy to find if you know what you are looking for. We can recommend several places near our office, but most people don’t find themselves near us. However Jaffra downtown is really yummy and easy to find as it is popular amongst locals, expats, and tourists. Zeit and Za’atar is also popular and has several locations.
Dinner: Mansaf followed by Turkish coffee
Mansaf is the national dish and really should not be missed. Rice, lamb, and jameed (yogurt) are the main components of this amazing food. There are several places that sell this delicious food, but everyone will tell you mansaf in a home is best. If you don’t find yourself invited to a home you can find good mansaf at Reem Al Bawadi or Tawaheen al Hawa. Both of these places will also have most everything on this short food list.
Late night snack: Kanafeh
The desert that when describes sounds horrible, but when tasted will never be forgotten. It comes in different forms, but at the end eat it however you find it. Cheese, something like shredded wheat and lots of sugar syrup. Trust us, it’s worth tasting. You may be surprised by how much you can eat of it and how long it will sustain you for all of your tourist adventures. Habibah is the local favorite, but if you find yourself in Taj Mall you can also visit Kanafanji.
Important phrase: Sa7tane! (sa-hh-tane)
This means to your health. Check out this video for more details about this excellent phrase.
Jordan has more historical sites than can be seen in a month. Most people aren’t able to take a month in Jordan, but even if you have less time than this, you can still see many of the most famous sites. Our sightseeing tours cover most of them. You can view them here.
Petra is by far the most famous historical site, but others include Jerash, the Citadel, Um Qais, Madaba, Um Rasas, or the many desert castles.
Important phrase: Ma’shallah (ma – sha- allah)
There are many of these phrases that have similar meanings. In the way we are suggesting to use it the meaning is more like, “Wow! What I am looking at is amazing and I praise God that it exists.”
Not everything in Jordan is old. There are many modern things to do while you are here. Most of these are in the city of Amman. Arguilah (hookah) cafes, microbrewery, bars, art, shopping, and concerts are just some of the many things to see and do.
Each month there seems to be new festivals in the city including: the Image Festival, the Jazz Festival, the Modern Dance Festival, the Sheffield Film Festival, the Arab Film Festival, and the Jerash Music Festival to name a few.
Important phrase: Shukran (shoe-kran)
This phrase means, “thank you!” and can be used almost everywhere for everything.
Jordan boasts a diverse landscape of forests in the north and deserts in the south and the east. While you are here, enjoy a day hike or a trek. If you are not able to get out and hike enjoy the Dead Sea or head to Azraq nature reserve to do some bird watching. If you are lucky you might even see a water buffalo.
Important phrase: Sabhan allah (sab-han-allah)
The meaning of this word is a praise to God for whatever it is you are looking at.
We will be sharing more information with you that will be helpful as you come for your visit to Jordan, so stay tuned to the blog or connect with us on your favorite social media platform.