The numerous Roman ruin sites (pleasantly) surprised me, didn’t know there would be so many. I didn’t expect women to be seen in public areas. I thought Arab women don’t work in Jordan. And on my first day here, I was afraid to step out of the hostel to explore the downtown streets alone.
Alhamdulillah, I met an American lady in my hostel room and she showed me around downtown Amman the whole day!
Me: Is it safe for women to walk alone here?
American doctor: Yes! of course. I’ve been travelling around Middle East for quite some time and I never experienced anything dangerous. Nothing at all!
I took a plane from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel to Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan. A mere 45mins that costs me a few hundred dollars. I knew I had the option to go by bus, which is definitely cheaper but I felt it was too risky.
I was stupidly imagining the Israeli soldiers rejecting my customs clearance and I was detained in the middle of a dusty, barren road. Not a good situation to be in and I had ZERO margin for failure. So to avoid that, I took a flight instead.
Upon reaching Queen Alia International Airport, I had to pay for a tourist visa which was a total rip off. I then took the airport shuttle towards downtown Amman.
It’s easy to spot the bus because the arrival hall is not big and there’s not many people around. Pay at the counter outside the airport and board the bus. The driver helped me with my luggage.
The bus started to move when there’s more passengers, I was the first one so I had to wait quite a while. But I had time. Bus ride itself was about an hour.
There were a few stops before I reached a bus station. Had no idea which bus station it was. I alighted when the bus driver told me to (he knew where I was headed because an English-speaking Arab woman told him to help me).
As soon as I got off the bus, I had to look for a taxi to get to the hostel. Here is my first fare rip off. The taxi driver (it was his personal car, not even the official taxi) agreed a different amount before I got in his car and then simply refused to return my change when I paid him after we arrived.
Cool and sunny weather, not too cold. Loved it!
Temperatures was around 7 to 16 degree Celsius while I was there.
Generally, people were polite and friendly but I hated the taxi drivers – I got cheated everywhere! And it’s not a city where you can easily walk.
As long as you’re a tourist, you’ll be paying so much more than the original price. Not just the taxi drivers, some shopkeepers as well.
Just as amazing as Tel Aviv! Pita bread, yogurt, hummus, olives, falafels – all so awesome!
Again, it’s big breakfast culture.
I met a Filipina staff here and she was so nice! She was so happy to meet me because we are Asians (feeling of familiarity) and she said she’d love to work in Singapore one day.
Who serves cake for breakfast?
This is a very famous restaurant, even the Jordanian royal family love eating here. It serves only vegetarian food though.
I’ve had so much healthy vegetarian food at this point that I started craving for chicken.
I looked for chicken kebab on one of the days and there was this shop somewhere near Hashem. I was expecting (too healthy = nothing delicious) kebabs like those in Europe but I was very wrong! No pictures though as it was a takeaway shop and I ate it at the hostel.
As for the price, I had no idea because the currency was too confusing for me. I just showed the cashier whatever change and he took whatever was right. I didn’t even bother to notice if I was being ripped off anymore.
Soooo many shops! They sell clothes, jewellery, food, everything!
We tried what I call the “Arabian Churros” and some weird looking vegetables.
King Hussein Mosque
I didn’t go into this mosque because my American companion wasn’t allowed in – I don’t remember the reason why though. Only muslims were allowed in, maybe it was during prayer times, not too sure.
Managed to catch the muezzin calling for prayer though. Beautiful.
This is a very small place and just a walking distance from my hostel.
There is a small entry fee but i don’t think there’s a need to go inside because it’s visible from the outside and it’s really too small for any exploration. So don’t waste your money.
Although small, the theatre can sit 6000 people!
The Citadel has had a long history of occupation by many great civilizations, notably the Romans, Byzantines, and Umayyads.
It was inhabited by different peoples and cultures until the time of the Umayyads, after which came a period of decline.
Year 1878, the former city became an abandoned pile of ruins only sporadically used by Bedouin and seasonal farmers. However, the Citadel of Amman is considered as one of world’s oldest, continuously inhabited places.
Roman Temple of Hercules
Built in the same period as the Roman amphitheater between (162-166) AD when Geminius Marcianus was governor of the Province of Arabia.
Probably used as an administrative building or the residence of an Umayyad official, the palace has distinctive Byzantine style – the entrance hall is shaped in a Greek cross plan and it may have been built on top of an existing Byzantine structure in this shape.
Generally, I don’t like museum visits. I find it really boring.
There’s this small museum here and as usual, nothing much interests me except this baby skeleton.
Remove the cheaters, everything would be pleasant.
I love the clear existence of the ancient Roman empire in Jordan’s history – the ruins were beautiful, although I have not read much on the Roman history yet (I will!).
Food was great but being a tourist in Jordan can be very expensive. Their currency is a bit more than twice of SGD.
- There’s this tourist pass that includes the tourist visa and entrance fees of some tourist attractions at a fixed price and this is much cheaper than paying for each individually. I didn’t know until my German friends told me about it.
- Prepare smaller denominations of Jordanian currency. If the taxi drivers want to overcharge you, feel free to give them the original price and then run off. My American companion did this while buying some food items in the market. We didn’t run off, just be firm. It helps to know the local prices.
- If you, like me, can’t help yourself out of being cheated, bring a Maestro card to withdraw money because it WILL run out.
- Flight: $450.89; TLV-QAIA
- Tourist Visa: $80
- Shuttle bus: $6
- Taxi: at least $10/trip
- Hotel: $2.98/night x 4 nights = $11.92 (on member’s discount)
- Breakfast: Free, complimentary of hostel
- Lunch: I didn’t eat lunch, too full
- Dinner: $7/meal
- Other food items: less than $10 (water, kebab, snacks)
- Citadel entrance fee: $6 (including museum)
*All prices are in SGD (estimate).