The Jordan Tourism Board invited me here to share my travel experiences because they are in a bad situation.
Tourism is down in the area due to problems with Egypt and Syria. And because the world is large and some places are so far away we associate everything here as “The Middle East” as if it is one unit.
And we all know the Middle East is scary, right?
Growing up the Middle East was some exotic beast I did not know much about and was slightly afraid of it.
And to be honest up until a few days ago I had no idea what to expect.
But Jordan is not as different as I had expected.
Touring the country with my driver Rami and my guide Mahmoud there is much less mystery. On the surface the decoration is different.
Buildings look different, people dress differently, they speak a different language (although most people also speak English).
But the more I travel the more I see we are more similar than we think. I started to realize that Jordan is so much like Canada.
Like Canada Jordan is a ‘nice’ nation signing peace treaties with all of the surrounding countries.
Just like Canada, Jordan is next to countries not everyone likes.
The people try to do the right thing with free health care and education. They form social programs and believe they should help the less fortunate.
They love their King, and while they may have minor gripes with the government, they are really happy overall, knowing how fortunate they are compared to others.
Overall people are respectful of different beliefs. Although many are Muslim, there are also Christians.
You can see a mother with a headscarf but her daughter chooses not to wear one.
Or a group of women carrying Gucci bags and full make-up choosing to cover their hair with vibrant scarves.
People smile and are very polite. I’m sure if I bumped into someone they would say sorry.
But the biggest affirmation of my theory was when I saw the sign for the ‘washroom.
They call it washroom just like us!
Not bathroom not toilet but washroom!
Our cultures are different but when it comes down to the important stuff we’re the same.
I am really excited to share my experiences in Jordan with you because it is a beautiful country filled with amazing people and there is no reason not to visit.
Can’t wait to read the rest of your posts. I’d love to go there one day.
you would be welcomed 🙂
Tell us more. It sounds like a great place to me !
Good advice, Ayngelina. Jordan is – and has always been – safe.
Thanks for this post. I’ve only ever seen Jordan from across the river, but my time in the West Bank left me feeling surprised by unexpected similarities, too. You’ve inspired me to write about it (and to finally get over to Jordan)!
My daughter visited there a few years ago and mentioned some of the same things. I would love to do more traveling some day.
We’re headed to Jordan at the end of this month. I’m not scared of the Middle East – there’s a very strong possibility that we’re moving there next year. The only thing that scares me about that is the possibility of aggression from Western countries because of all that’s happening at the moment. Definitely not the people of the ME – I can’t wait to learn more about the region and explore!
wish you a happy visit
I’m from Jordan, Petra
I assure you that Jordan is very safe and will receive a lot of welcome
Any help I am ready
Washroom…I love it!
Just like Canada, Jordan is next to countries not everyone likes?
Please explain in more detail! Hahaha 😉
You wouldn’t believe the anti-Greenland sentiment in some parts of the world. Completely undeserved.
That damn Greenland…
ha ha Great post. Someone misses Canada!
Ahh I am so excited to be going there very soon. Once I finally get out of Europe I will be going to Turkey and then JORDAN!!! I can’t wait~ Glad it’s a nice place to visit, I have only heard good things about it. I can’t wait to see it for my self.
What a great post! And that first photo is absolutely amazing, great work!
Thanks for sharing!
When you say that Canada is next to countries many people don’t like, I wonder which one you are referring to 😉
Cool post, love Canada, and if I go to the middle east i’ll definitely check it out, top of my list!
well i’m Jordanian and i’m very happy while reading this, Jordan is a great country i tell you
and we are known for our hospitality 🙂
so please don’t hesitate to visit Jordan ,you’ll be pleased .
I love the comment about Jordan and Canada being next to countries not everybody likes … 🙂 Made me smile. But, in all honesty, Jordan has had a stigma in the past because of its location. I am glad people like you are able to go and visit and share their experiences. Hopefully, people will realize all that is has to offer and begin to visit. Good job. I look forward to reading more about Jordan!
I LOVE posts like this one, Ayngelina. Those of us from “the West” tend to lump all Middle-Eastern countries together as being “dangerous” and “scary.” But the fact of the matter is that this really isn’t true!
And, I’ll bet that even in the real “dangerous” countries, there are still plenty of people just like you or I who only want peace and to live happy, fulfilling lives. At the end of the day, we are not so very different at all…
Can’t wait to hear more about your time in Jordan!
Wonderful post and I agree 100%. After being there multiple times (and in other places in the Middle East also), it is striking how generally happy most Jordanians are. Personally, I couldn’t imaging living in their political structure, but for now, it seems to work fine for them. Helped that everyone really loved the previous King (and his American wife) who was around for decades. Lovely place to go visit.
Ooh, I envy you. I would love to go to Jordan one day, I’ve only heard positive things about it.
Personally I wouldn’t think Jordan as an unsafe country. I just got back from Iran, which really doesn’t have a wonderful reputation in the West and I found it completely safe and an absolutely great country to visit. Now I’m planning some months in the Middle East, I’ve always been captivated by their rich and ancient culture.
Thank you for this brilliant and positive view 🙂
I love the fact that we are more the same than different.
I remember when I first moved to Canada from Jordan people would ask me if I was culture shocked, and I was not at all. I love that you pointed to the fact that Jordan might be a far off land to some, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it should be a scary one to visit and explore. Loved this post 🙂
So excited to hear more!
Great post! I like the unique angle you took. I never thought about Jordan being so similar to Canada!
Sounds wonderful. Jordan is somewhere I would really love to visit. Can’t wait to see more pics and read about more of your experiences there. By the way, I just got back from a trip to Churchill to see the polar bears…I remember you were there swimming with the belugas. What an amazing place! Would love to go back in summer and see the belugas. We should exchange notes!
I should add Jordan to the list…
It’s striking how completely out of touch you are with Jordan. It’s obvious with this line, “They love their King, and while they may have minor gripes with the government, they are really happy overall, knowing how fortunate they are compared to others,” that you’ve not followed the political situation at all here. Almost nobody is happy with the government. Every Friday people demonstrate across the Kingdom, and there’s a reason. There are myriad other issues with your post too, but when the Jordan Tourism Board likely pays for your trip to Jordan and feeds you what they want you to see, it’s no surprise. As a Western woman who has lived in Jordan for some time, I agree that Jordan is safe and has a lot to offer tourists, but you’re traveling with blinders. It’s a shame.
Now, with the 100% positive sentiments to this post so far, please do surprise me and keep my comment posted. Or is JTB fielding those too?
Thanks for commenting. There were a few people on Twitter that shared your views and while I encouraged them to also comment so my readers could see a variety of opinions they declined.
As someone on a guided tour and a tourist, I can never understand the country as you would living day to day. I can only share my experiences but I am glad that you agree Jordan is safe and has a lot to offer s that is my main message for people who have concerns.
Just like in Canada there are people who are not 100% satisfied and no country is perfect. I do respect your opinion; however I am aware that it is not shared by everyone.
If I could offer one piece of advice it would be to be aware that sometimes the tone of your message is as important as what you say. Coming on the offensive and attacking me for being out of touch does not help me, nor my readers, to welcome your perspective.
But in the end I have to thank you, because even if we differ in opinion, you took the time to share yours and I really appreciate that.
This is a clever post 🙂 Now that I’m back in Canada I wouldn’t mind venturing to a ‘warmer’ version is some other corner of the world.
On my list of places to visit one day… but so is the rest of the middle east. 🙂
I’m Jordanian and loved your post and the way you have described this country, glad to hear these positive comments and lovely pictures especially at Fenan …Good luck at your traveling
haha like the washroom bit to finish it off. Great piece. I’m really keen to get to Jordan. Looks so beautiful. Now I want to go even more!
Jordan is a beautiful country. I visited this Spring and would love to go back. Look forward to your upcoming Jordan posts!
sounds like a great experience.. and I enjoyed the comparison to Canada.
Well there’s no better way to explain a place is safe and people are friendly.
Another positive comment: We want to really see Petra. Hope you have a great trip.
Oh wait until you see the photos of Petra, so amazing.
Beautiful images, beautiful sentiment. Can’t wait to read more about your trip!
Yay for calling it a Washroom and being the “nice” country!
I think it’s always difficult to talk about the politics of a country…But if you give an honest and accurate report back on what you saw (which appears to be what you have done) then it is difficult to understand why people are attacking you. As you say yourself, you cannot hope to understand as much about a culture in one week as someone who lives there for many years can. Such a shame that people who take the time to criticise or attack couldn’t have used their words and efforts to discuss and explain instead. Hey ho. Glad you enjoyed Jordan – I loved it too. (Disclosure – also as a guest of JTB but very eager to hear more from people who know the country better.)
I think your experience will be different than mine because you are being sponsored by the Tourism Board of Jordan. I traveled solo as a female to Jordan last year and my experiences varied from very good to making me downright angry. Sponsored trips are a great way to see the country, but I would challenge you to return without a guide or a driver and compare the difference. I am willing to bet it would be quite a bit different. Either way, I am enjoying your posts!
Thanks for your perspective. I really do want to return on my own as ten days wasn’t enough time. I did talk to other travelers who were doing it independently and they said the country is fairly easy to travel. I spoke to two girls in Aqaba who were really positive about safety there. How did you feel safety wise?
I felt safe the entire time I was in Jordan. I never feared for my life or felt I was in danger. I enjoyed the hospitality of the Jordanian people on a few occasions. It is very easy to travel through the country, though I did find it rather expensive (I was in Wadi Musa for most of the trip) and wished I had spent more time near Amman and the Dead Sea. I plan to go back, for sure, only now I will have a better idea of what to expect.
I have heard it’s a bit expensive for independent travel which could make it a bit tricky for me to return on my own but I really want to explore more.
But I really appreciate your perspective on safety which is something I really want people to be aware of, they should not be afraid to go.
Eh, I don’t think it’s anymore expensive than Israel and I find Israel to be quite expensive as far as hostels go. Food is relatively inexpensive and so is transportation, so it all evens out, I think. It’s just not as cheap as SE Asia. Also, if you do come back to Jordan, you need to go to Israel for a week or two and spend some time in the West Bank, like Bethlehem, Nablus, Jericho and a few other places. I can put you in contact with my couchsurfing host who I still remain in contact with. She lives in Israel. Couchsurfing is one of the best ways to get a feel for Israel. The hosts there are super nice, too. I also recommend staying overnight in Masada and climbing the Snake path up to the top and watching the sun rise over the Dead Sea. It was one of my most favorite memories of my travels last year.
Israel is completely safe too. Heck, I went to Ramallah for a day trip from Bethlehem because I could and while there is really not a lot to see there, it was quite interesting to wander around there for the day. I love the Middle East and look forward to returning.
Appreciate that you shared your reflections and noted so many details from the graffiti for peace to the ‘washroom’ label from your 10 day visit.
I love stories and examples of how the farther we travel we find that humans and human nature can be so much alike where-ever we go.
Great blog, but “next to countries not everyone likes”?! What ‘countries’ would that be, for Canada? The US is not without its faults, but you should know from all your travel that the world regards North Americans as largely the same. If you think the maple leaf differentiates you from the hated foe, well, sorry. The US is not the Syria to your Jordan.
I completely agree with you. Just as people often lump North Americans together, they do the same with the Middle East. The comment was no meant to be anti-American at all and I’m not comparing the US to Syria, it’s simply meant to try to explain that Jordan is different from its neighbours.
I have a feeling she meant Israel not Syria by “next to countries not everyone likes”.
It’s alright, I’m not offened.
I’m so used to the trend of bashing Israel.
The fact is that there are more human rights, personal freedom, equality for women etc. (including for Arab Israelis) than in Jordan.
But hery, let’s join the trend of bashing Israel even though in the wonderful Jordan there are women who are being murdered for “the honor of the family), or beeing forced to marry or there are no real polutical rights and social security etc.
Oh yeah, just like Canada! As long as they call the toilets washroom – that’s what really defines a country.
Gosh how ignorant…
I wasn’t comparing it to Israel either. I have no issues with Israel at all, in fact some day I’d really love to visit it. A good friend of mine showed me photos from when he went with the Birthright program and the photos were beautiful.
I don’t really know much about Jordan but I’ve always had it in my head because there are always always always teaching jobs going there. You’ve kind of begun to open my eyes to what kind of country it is and now I’m really fascinated. 🙂
What a great post, once again! Most people would never think to compare the two countries but with a deeper look they are very similar indeed.
I know it may seem simplistic to some to compare them but it’s how I felt when I was there.
Thank you very much for your visit to my beloved country Jordan.i had the honor to work with different Canadian colleagues from police 7 gendarme they were excellent ambassadors to their country & the humble people of Canada.All Canadians are welcomed to Jordan
Lt.Col rtd Ahmad Shlash
Jordan’s nature, deserts and people are wonderful.
Nevertheless, there is a downside and everybody should know this:
Petra, Wadi Musa are full of scammers. The kind that are after female travellers to chat them up and manipulate them into a fake relationship to benefit from them financially. It is called bezness. All female travelers be aware and prepare yourself. Don’t get involved in any way.
If you are invited for tea or to meet the family for sure do that, but keep your guard up and stick to a tea and a visit and leave ! Do not get pulled in!
If you have any kind of experience, write about it. You will help other women.
I am a Canadian-Jordanian, your metaphoric description of Jordan as Canada…It just touched me deeply. I am glad you had a quality time in Amman, Jordan. The first picture was taken at Rainbow Street, Jabal Amman,which is one of the best spots in the capital and heart of Amman. I miss Jordan and for sure I am going to visit it again.Insh’Allah 🙂 Great post!
Please note that Petra is a “Must” visit when coming to Jordan 🙂
Jordan is probably one of the best shithole in the middle-east. Add it its loud, uneducated and arrogant people, so proud of their ruines looking not better than a Palestinian camp and then, yeah, you got it, a true shithole.
You are entitled to your opinion but that was not my experience at all. I really enjoyed my time in Jordan and would love to go back.
Keep Yourself Away From Wadi Rum!
It is a very sad story that took place with me in Wadi Rum. It is unbelievable that such a thing can still happen in the 21st century.
On January 1, 2014 I crossed the Israeli border with the only wish to spend a couple of days in a magnificent desert of Wadi Rum. At 1 pm Mosa Saleah Al-Zalabeih, – the owner of Wadi Rum Galaxy Camp, – to whom I came to work as a volunteer, came to pick me up. He was not just cute on that day. He was incredibly handsome. I fell in love with him from the very first moment. He seemed to feel the same. He was smiling and looked happy.
On the way to Wadi Rum, I was feeling how this beautiful desert was putting magic on me. Everything was so familiar, as though I had been living there before. I was more than sure that it would be the right place to create a family and to stay for life.
After 4 months (on May 13, 2014) I came back to Wadi Rum and we got married.
The first weeks that I spent with his mother were not really happy. The family was very poor and lived in terrible conditions. No kitchen, no shower, no bed linen, – nothing. Children slept on the sand and very often there was no food at all. When the school year got over and all the crowd left to the desert, I was left alone. Mosa locked me in a small dirty room which I shared with mice. He didn’t allow me to speak with anyone and controlled all my steps. I was kept like a slave in a jail. Very often he forgot about me and I had to stay hungry, without food and any means of communication. Through lie, sweet words and sometimes pressure my husband managed to take all my money. He scammed absolutely everything I had. When there was nothing else to take, he decided to throw me away like a trash. He never treated me like a wife. He didn’t spend a JD on me. No house, no food, nothing.
All the family knew that there was something wrong, but did noting. No one came to visit me or to ask whether I need anything. It seemed that Mosa waited for my death from starving. Then he would bury the body and sign with relief.
When Mosa decided to get rid of me, I managed to survive only thanks to the family, who found me. They brought me to their home, gave food and clothing. During 2 weeks the family took care of me. Thanks to them I went to the Tourist Police, wrote a complain on my husband and returned all the money. I had to put him into the jail, but under the pressure of the family I agreed not to do it. I was very sick and tired. The only wish I had was to return the money and to go back to my home.
Wadi Rum is the worst place you can choose to come. People lie here and treat foreigners very badly. The last time scamming is growing so rapidly in this region. In the police I was told that my case unfortunately was not the first one in Wadi Rum.
My husband treated me so badly. He lied to me from the very first day I know him. He made me leave my job and country. He made me take Islam. He organized a fake wedding in the village to make me believe that I will stay for life with him. After he scammed me for 4100 JD, I was needed no more. He threw me away like a trash. Only thanks to my complain that I wrote in the Tourist Police, I managed to return all the money and finally to come back to my country.
Sorry to say, but Wadi Rum, like Petra, has become a platform for scamming. People forgot their real values. Traditions and religion are dying here. Money has taken their place.
We’re going to Jordan in February ,is it still safe ..
Thanks to having read this five years ago, I spent the best three years of my life in Jordan. I left my heart in Amman with so many beautiful souls who will be “family” from now on.
Shukrun, ya habibti xx
If it’s like Canada, I presume that it’s friendly towards the LGBT community as well?
It wasn’t something I encountered during my trip so I can’t compare it but sadly I think few countries are like Canada in that manner.
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