Jordan is an Arab State smaller than the island of Luzon and is located East of Jordan River and Israel. It got its name from Jordan River and not the river getting its name from the country. It has a population of a little over 9 million – much lesser than the population of Metro Manila which is 12 million.
12 Things to Know and Understand When Traveling to Jordan
- Tourist police joins the tour bus from arrival to departure and joins in all tours, hotels and restaurants! That’s a police escort all the way.
- English is widely spoken. English, not Arabic, is the medium of instruction in most universities.
- USD is accepted as a day to day currency. You pay in USD, they change you with USD or you may ask for Jordanian Dinar should you need a souvenir. This holds true even in small shops and stores.
- Exchange rate is normally 1 JOD = 1.5 USD. Yes, JOD is higher in value compared to USD.
- The country is predominantly Muslim with almost 94% of its population practicing the faith. There is no restriction on religion but the country does not have Jew citizens (Jew being the religion of neighboring Israel). Christians (mostly Greek Orthodox) form about 3-4% of the population.
- Beer and liquor are only available in hotels and bars. You can’t get them in supermarkets and groceries.
- Jordanian cuisine. This is critical and I don’t want to be bias. Let’s just say, choices of food are vegetable, chicken or lamb. Definitely no pork here. There is McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and most US fast-food chains just incase one craves for food back home.
- Jordan is a conservative country hence, wear appropriate dress at all times so as not to offend the locals. Amman however is a bit liberal having night clubs and red light districts.
- The country is generally arid. Agricultural crops are grown in Jordan Valley where water and rain is abundant. Olive oil, phosphate, potassium and textile are Jordan’s top export products.
- Tipping is part of Jordanian culture. It’s expected. Except for bad service of course.
- In most national parks and monuments, entrance fee is cheaper if stay in Jordan is with overnight accommodation.
- Jordan is a peaceful and safe country to visit.
Border Crossing Between Jordan and Israel
For group tours, it’s pretty well arranged by the local operators except that NO PORTERS ARE AVAILABLE TO CARRY YOUR LUGGAGES. You have to carry your own hence, pack light or you will suffer the consequences of carrying heavy luggage. Believe me, NO ONE, as in NO ONE will help you, even when you no longer can. I think it’s the norm here – carry your own cross!
This is the general overview of crossing the border between Jordan and Israel. By the way, there are 3 borders between Jordan and Israel and my personal experience is crossing through Sheikh Hussein / North Border which is close to Sea of Galilee.
- At the first barrier (customs inspection), get off the bus and carry all your belongings for inspection and X-ray scanning. Fall in line. Building is small and non-air-conditioned. And if it’s sunny, enjoy carrying your luggage under the heat of the sun.
- After, carry all your luggages again and bring them inside the bus compartment. The bus will proceed to the Immigration Building which is about 5 minutes away. Others say that sometimes, no bus is allowed here hence, you need to walk while carrying all your luggage. Good luck is all I can say if you have heavy luggage.
- At the immigration, bring down all your luggages again as a new bus will be provided by the immigration. Just bring your luggage outside the compartment.
- After, bring your passport and que to the immigration counter for exit stamp and pay Exit Permit Fee. Your local operator will help you on this.
- Once done, bring you luggage to the new bus before getting inside.
- An immigration security officer will go inside the bus to individually check your passport and Exit Permit Fee. This is to double check that everything is okay as the next stop will be Israel already.
- The bus will then proceed to the Israel Boarder. Others say they have experienced walking from Jordan Immigration Building to Israel Immigration Building which is roughly 15-30 minutes by walk – carrying their luggages of course.
- And lastly, don’t forget to have a selfie with your driver, tour guide and tourist police escort!
- Waiting time inside the bus for security purposes is almost 2 hours. Note that security in Israel is extremely rigorous. Taking photos and videos in immigration terminals are strictly prohibited. They use X-ray cameras and anyone caught will be given appropriate penalty. Don’t dare to take photos or videos of the soldiers. Better yet, put off your cameras and phones.
- On the cue of the guide, get off the bus and carry all your luggages and proceed to the immigration building. You will pass through several security inspections – about 5 security stops inside the building. Just submit yourself to all these procedures and you will be fine.
- At the Israel Immigration counter, present your passport. The immigration officer will ask whether you like a stamp in your passport or not. If not, stamp will be on a piece of paper – your passport number on it.
- Once done, proceed to exit and you’re officially in the Land of God!
- Wait, don’t take photos and videos until the tour bus has left the immigration compound!