Getting there & around in Jordan | Easy Rental

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Getting there & around in Jordan



Getting there & away


Most visitors come to Jordan as part of a jaunt around the Middle East. Amman is well connected with most cities in the Middle East and Europe, but no airline has direct flights between Amman and Canada, Australia or New Zealand, and there are very few direct services between Amman and the USA. The overland borders between Jordan and Israel & the Palestinian Territories, and Jordan and Syria are popular and generally trouble-free, though you'll have to consider the implications of a trip to Israel & the Palestinian Territories if headed on to some other states in the Middle East. The ferry trip to Egypt is another popular option.

Travel documents


Your passport should be valid for at least six months after you arrive in Jordan. Always carry your passport with you when travelling around sensitive areas such as near the border of Israel & the Palestinian Territories - which means most of the Jordan Valley and anywhere along the Dead Sea Highway. Checkpoints and passport checks are common in these areas.


Cheap tickets to Jordan are rare and you may find cheaper deals to Cairo, İstanbul or Tel Aviv. Foreigners with a Jordanian residence card get cheaper fares inside the country.

Online ticket sales work well if you are doing a simple one-way or return trip on specified dates, but you'll have to invest some time to find the best fares.

Always remember to reconfirm your onward or return flight at least 72 hours before departure on international flights.




There are two boat services to Nuweiba in Egypt which leave from the passenger terminal just south of Aqaba. With both services, departure times can be subject to change so call the passenger terminal (03 2013240; before travelling to check the departure time.

The fast boat, which leaves Aqaba daily (except Saturday) at noon (get there by 10.30am), takes about an hour and costs JD26 or US$36; children aged two to 12 pay JD14 or US$20. It's more expensive (US$45) to come the other way due to the difference in government taxes. You need your passport to buy a ticket. The return ferry leaves Nuweiba around 3pm.

There is also a slower ferry service (which doubles as a car ferry) that officially leaves at noon but often doesn't leave until 5pm or later, depending on the number of trucks trying to get on board. When it does leave, it should take three hours but it usually takes longer. There is sometimes talk of another service, at 6pm, but this is only during exceptionally busy times (like the haj). The cost for the slow ferry is US$25. A car in either direction costs an extra US$110.

Tickets for either service can be paid for in Jordanian dinars or US dollars. It's not possible to buy return tickets. Beware of buying ferry tickets in Amman because you may be charged for nonexistent first-class seats - buy the tickets in Aqaba. The worst time for travelling is just after the haj, when Aqaba fills up with hajis (pilgrims) returning home from Mecca to Egypt.

Most nationalities can obtain Egyptian tourist visas on arrival at Nuweiba. If you only need a visa valid for the Sinai region you can get this on the boat. If you wish to travel further than Sharm el-Sheikh you need a full visa for Egypt. You can get this at the consulate at Aqaba or on arrival at Nuweiba.

Whichever direction you travel in, you will have to hand in your passport to immigration authorities on the boat and pick it up at the immigration offices in Aqaba or Nuweiba.

Travellers from Eastern Europe may want to get their Egyptian visa before boarding the boat as some have been refused entry onto the ferry at Aqaba because they had no Egyptian visa.

There are money exchange facilities at the terminals at Nuweiba and Aqaba. The Jordanian side offers a decent exchange rate (at the time of research JD1 equalled €1.2) but avoid travellers cheques, which attract a huge commission.

There is a sporadic twice-weekly catamaran trip between Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh (officially US$45, three hours) but this wasn't operating at the time of research.

If you are travelling from Egypt you will arrive in Aqaba too late for public transport to Petra or Wadi Rum so you'll have to overnight in Aqaba or arrange a taxi.

One thing to consider, if you don't mind an Israeli border stamp, is that it's quicker and cheaper to travel overland via Israel & the Palestinian Territories. Take a taxi from Taba to the border then another taxi on to the Arava border crossing with Jordan (or go by bus changing at Eilat bus station); the whole thing takes about an hour. Going to Egypt bear in mind that you can't get a full Egyptian visa at the border with Israel & the Palestinian Territories at Taba, only a Sinai peninsula visa, so get one in Aqaba or Amman before you go.



Crossing the border overland into Jordan from Saudi Arabia is nigh on impossible for non-residents and travel to Iraq is curently on hold, so most travellers generally come overland from Syria or Israel & the Palestinian Territories, or by ferry from Egypt. However, there are three important things to note:

Any indication of travel to/from Israel & the Palestinian Territories will mean that you cannot enter Syria, Lebanon and most other Middle Eastern countries, although Jordan is OK.

All travellers who intend to travel to Syria should ensure they obtain a visa for Syria before coming to Jordan.

Jordanian visas are not available at the Israel/Jordan border at King Hussein Bridge (though they are available at other crossings)

Most travellers arrive in Jordan by bus or service taxi if travelling overland, although it's no problem bringing your own car or motorcycle.


Travel to Iraq is not recommended at the present. Land transport crosses at the al-Karama/Tarbil border post, which is located 330km from Amman. Jordan Regular Transport (4622652) at Abdali bus station in Amman currently operates service taxis and minibuses to Baghdad, mostly for Iraqi citizens and using Iraqi drivers. Services leave Amman at midnight in order to get to the border at dawn. Vehicles then travel in convoys for safety into the notorious 'Sunni triangle', passing Fallujah before (in sha'Allah) arriving in Baghdad. A seat in a service taxi costs JD25 and JD15 in a minibus. A private car should cost around JD140.

Israel & the palestinian territories

Since the historic peace treaty between Jordan and Israel & the Palestinian Territories was signed in 1994, three border crossings have opened to foreigners - King Hussein Bridge, Sheikh Hussein Bridge and Wadi Araba.

Border crossings

Before crossing into Jordan from Israel & the Palestinian Territories, there are a few things you need to remember:

Only change as much money as you need because the commission charged by moneychangers is often ridiculously high

Israeli visas of one month's duration are issued at the Wadi Araba (Rabin) and Sheikh Hussein Bridge crossings, but those issued at the King Hussein Bridge are usually for three months

Jordanian visas cannot be obtained on arrival at the King Hussein Bridge

If you want to visit Israel & the Palestinian Territories, use the King Hussein Bridge crossing and then return to Jordan within 14 days (or three months if you extend your visa in Jordan before leaving), you do not need a second or multiple-entry Jordanian visa

Private vehicles cannot drive across the King Hussein Bridge, but they can be taken across the other borders

On both sides of all three borders there are moneychanging facilities, places to eat and drink, and duty-free shops. On the Jordanian side of all three borders there is a post office and a tourist information counter (8am-2pm, closed Fri).

You can expect borders to be closed on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur and the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr

King hussein (jisr al-malek hussein)/allenby bridge

Only 40km from Amman and 30km from Jerusalem, this border crossing (8am-6pm Sun-Thu, 8am-12pm Fri & Sat) offers travellers the most direct route between the two cities. It is a common way to exit, but not enter, Jordan, because Jordanian visas are not issued at this border - so get a Jordanian visa at an embassy/consulate beforehand, or use another border crossing.

Public transport in Israel & the Palestinian Territories doesn't run during the Jewish Shabbat between sunset Friday and sunset Saturday. On Friday and Saturday it's better to arrive before 11am.

Due to the ongoing intifada (uprising) in the Palestinian Territories, no Jordanian buses were crossing King Hussein Bridge at the time of research. Instead, service taxis run throughout the day from Amman's Abdali bus station to (but not across) King Hussein Bridge (JD2.500, 45 minutes) or there's a single daily JETT bus (JD6.500) at 6.30am. These services may move to the Wahadat station in the future, so check with your hotel.

The ride to the Israeli & Palestinian Territories side, although extremely short, can seem to last an eternity with repeated stops for passport and bag checks. At the time of research, it was not possible to walk, hitch or take a private car across. Buses (JD2) shuttle between the two borders. There are moneychanging facilities on your way to the exit.

The historic oddity of this crossing has remained enshrined in the fact that, on leaving Jordan, you're not really considered to be leaving Jordan. Prior to 1988, Jordan laid claim to the West Bank as its own territory, and somehow this idea has remained in the approach to visas. If you wish to return to Jordan from the Palestinian Territories on your current Jordanian visa, you need only keep the stamped exit slip and present it on returning by the same crossing (it won't work at the other crossings). You must return within the validity of your Jordanian visa or its extension.

At the Israeli border post, plead with the officials to stamp your Jordanian exit stamp rather than your passport.

Travelling into Jordan, the Israeli exit tax is a hefty 127 NIS (around US$29; compared to around 70 NIS elsewhere), supposedly because you're paying to leave Israel & the Palestinian Territories. Note that, if you intend to return to Israel, you must keep the entrance form given to you by the Jordanians - they may well insist on you prolonging your stay in Jordan if you cannot present it.

To get to Jerusalem from the border, take a sherut (Israeli shared taxi; around US$40 for the car) to Jerusalem's Damascus Gate. Alternatively take a cheaper bus to Jerusalem or, if that's not running, a bus to Jericho and then a sherut to Damascus Gate. Much of the public transport in the West Bank was not running when we were there.

In all, crossing the border can take up to three hours, depending on Israeli security measures; avoid 11am to 3pm when delays are more common.

Sheikh hussein bridge (jisr sheikh hussein)

The northernmost crossing (Jordan Bridge to the Israelis; 6.30am-10pm Sun-Thu, 8am-8pm Fri & Sat) links northern Jordan with Beit She'an in Galilee (Israel & the Palestinian Territories), 6km away. It's handy if you wish to visit northern Jordan, and it's the closest crossing to Jerusalem and Amman that will issue Jordanian visas on arrival.

From Irbid, regular service taxis leave the West bus station for the border (750 fils, 45 minutes). From the bridge it's a 2km walk (or hitch) to the Israeli side, from where you have to take a taxi to the Beit She'an bus station for onward connections inside Israel & the Palestinian Territories.

If you're coming from Israel & the Palestinian Territories, take a bus to Tiberias, and change at Beit She'an (6km from the border). From there, take another bus to the Israeli border (allow enough time because there is only a handful of buses per day). After passport formalities and paying Israeli exit tax (70 NIS), a compulsory bus takes you to the Jordanian side.

From the Jordanian side, either wait for a minibus or shared taxi to Irbid (from where there are regular connections to Amman), go to Shuneh ash-Shamaliyyeh (North Shuna) by private or service taxi, or walk (3km) to the main road and flag down a minibus or service taxi.

Wadi araba

This handy crossing (formerly Arava, now the Yitzhak Rabin crossing to the Israelis; 6.30am-10pm Sun-Thu, 8am-8pm Fri & Sat) in the south of the country links Aqaba to Eilat. To get there from Aqaba you'll have to take a taxi (JD5). Once at the border you can just walk across. From the border, buses run to central Eilat, only 2km away. All in, Aqaba to Eilat takes about an hour.

If you're travelling from Jerusalem and you want to skip Eilat, ask the driver to let you out at the turn-off for the border, a short walk away. Israel & the Palestinian Territories exit tax is 68 NIS here. On the Jordanian border take a taxi into Aqaba (JD5, 15 minutes) or you could negotiate a taxi fare direct to Petra (around JD25, two hours) or Wadi Rum.


Several cities in Jordan are now regularly linked to cities in Israel & the Palestinian Territories. Travelling by bus directly between Amman and Tel Aviv will save you the hassle of getting to/from the borders, but it's more expensive than crossing independently, and you'll have to wait for all passengers to clear customs and immigration.

From Amman, Trust International Transport (06 5813427) has buses from its office at 7th Circle to Tel Aviv (JD21, six hours), Haifa (JD18, seven hours) and Nazareth (JD18, seven hours), departing daily except Saturday at 8.30am. Services cross the border at the Sheikh Hussein Bridge. Buses leave from the Trust office in Irbid (02 7251878) at around 10am. Book tickets the day before.

Car & motorcycle

If you're driving from Israel & the Palestinian Territories, use the border crossings at Sheikh Hussein Bridge or Wadi Araba/Rabin (it is not possible to drive over the King Hussein Bridge).

Saudi Arabia

Getting a visa, even a transit visa, to Saudi Arabia is a very difficult feat. for details.

The main land route for public transport into Saudi Arabia is at Al-Umari, which is located along the highway south of Azraq. The other two crossing points are Ad-Durra, located south of Aqaba, and further east at Al- Mudawwara. Several companies run services to Jeddah and Riyadh from Amman's Abdali bus station.


If you want to travel directly between Damascus and Amman, it's worth taking a direct bus or service taxi. Otherwise you may end up spending more time and money once you catch a service taxi to Der'a, organise your own transport across the border, get another lift to Ramtha, perhaps another to Irbid, and then a connection to Amman. The only reason to travel this way is if you want to stop off en route at places such as Ezra'a andBosra ash-Sham (Syria), or Jerash and Umm Qais.

If you are headed to Syria from Jordan, make sure you get a Syrian visa before arriving in Jordan, either in your home country or in İstanbul, Ankara or Cairo.

Border crossings

The two border crossings between Syria and Jordan are efficient and relatively painless on both sides. If you intend to drive between Jordan and Syria, the better border to cross is at Der'a/Ramtha.

Der'a/Ramtha and Nasib/Jabir are both open for 24 hours every day. The Jordanian sides both have a post office and tourist office (8am-5pm Sat-Thu, 8am-2pm Fri), moneychangers (open most of the time) where Jordanian dinars and Syrian pounds are changed, and places to eat and drink.


Ramtha is the border most commonly used by foreigners who are using nondirect public transport and/or detouring to sights in northern Jordan. You can get direct transport between Damascus and Irbid or Amman, without stopping in Ramtha, though there are also buses to Ramtha from Amman's Abdali station (500 fils, two hours) and Irbid (250 fils). From Ramtha, service taxis and minibuses run regularly to the border. If hitching, ask the immigration office on the Jordanian side to flag down a vehicle for a lift to the Syrian border.


Most service taxis between Amman and Damascus now use this crossing. It's also useful if you plan a detour to eastern Jordan (eg Azraq), as the border at Jabir is useful for connections to Zarqa or Mafraq.


The air-conditioned Jordan Express Travel & Tourism(JETT; 5664146; Al-Malek al-Hussein St, Shmeisani) buses travel between Amman and Damascus (JD5, five hours) twice a day, at 7am and 3pm; book a day in advance. JETT also has a daily bus to Aleppo (JD7.500, eight hours) at 2.30pm. JETT's international terminal is just up from the Abdali bus station in Amman. Afana(4614611), next door, also has an evening bus toDamascus (JD5, five hours), leaving at 9pm, but it arrives very early in the morning and services aren't quite as reliable. Buses drop passengers off at the Baramke garage in Damascus.

The Palace Hotel in Amman has started a useful minibus service which runs between Amman and Damascus, with stops en route at Jerash, Bosra and Shaba (JD25 per person). They require a minimum of four passengers.

Service taxi

The service taxis to Damascus (three hours) are faster than the buses and run at all hours, although you'll have to wait longer in the evening for one to fill up. Service taxis take less time to cross the border than trains or buses because there are fewer passengers to process, and the drivers are experienced in helping passengers with immigration and customs formalities. These taxis are huge, yellow (or white) and American-made.

From Amman, service taxis for Damascus ('ash-Sham' in Arabic) leave from the eastern or lower end of the Abdali bus station; from Damascus, they leave from the Baramke garage. The trip costs JD7 from Amman, and S£500 from Damascus. Service taxis also travel between Damascus and Irbid (South bus station, 2½ hours) in northern Jordan for slightly less.


Services on the Hejaz Railway between Amman and Damascus leave Amman and Damascus on Monday and Thursday at 8am, but very few travellers take this service because it is so much slower than a service taxi (you have to change trains at the border, so figure on at least nine hours to Damascus). Tickets cost JD3 (half-priced for kids under nine). The charming old station is located on King Abdullah I St, approximately 2.5km east of the Raghadan station in Amman.

The ticket office (06 4895413) is officially only open from 7am on the morning of departure, although you may well find someone around at other times. To get to the station, take a service taxi from Raghadan station, or a private taxi (around 800 fils).



Entering the destination

Entering the country

 Entering Jordan is painless, whether by land, air or sea, and visas and money exchange are available at all borders.

Arriving in Amman by air you'll find an airport foreign exchange booth before immigration and two after, with an ATM after immigration. Obtaining a visa on arrival takes less than a minute - queue up in the normal immigration aisle.


Organised tours from abroad are generally divided into cultural/historical tours, overland adventures that combine several Middle Eastern countries, or activity-based holidays that involve some hiking and camel riding.


Airports & airlines

The national airline, Royal Jordanian (,, is well run and has direct flights to most major cities in Europe and all over the Middle East. Royal Wings (, a subsidiary of Royal Jordanian, has smaller planes for short flights from Amman to Tel Aviv (daily), Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh (four weekly).

The modern Queen Alia International Airport (06 4452000), about 35km south of Amman, is the country's main gateway. There are two terminals, only 100m apart and opposite each other. Terminal 1 is used for most Royal Jordanian flights and Terminal 2 is used by other airlines. Both terminals have ATMs, foreign exchange counters, a post office and a left luggage counter. The departure lounge has a decent café if you need to use up your remaining dinar.

The only airport hotel here is the Alia Hotel (4451000;  CLOAKING " style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; color: rgb(0, 119, 204);"> CLOAKING ; s/d JD70/85), a couple of kilometres from the airport terminal. You should be put up here if your flight is delayed or has an enforced overnight stopover. Otherwise, you can get a 50% discount on the room rate if you have an international ticket on Royal Jordanian. If you are just transiting Amman for a few hours you can use the pool for JD5.

The former military airfield in Marka, northeast of central Amman, is used by Royal Wings for a few flights to Aqaba and Tel Aviv in Israel & the Palestinian Territories. The only other international (and domestic) airport is at Aqaba, and some international carriers stop in Aqaba en route to Amman. There are occasional charter flights between Europe and Aqaba.

The following airlines fly to Jordan and have offices in Amman (06) :

Air France (airline code AF; 5666055;; hub Charles de Gaulle, Paris)

Austrian Airlines (airline code OS; 5694604;; hub Vienna)

British Airways (airline code BA; 5828801;; hub Heathrow, London)

Emirates (airline code EK; 4615222;; hub Dubai)

Gulf Air (airline code GF; 4653613;; hub Bahrain)

KLM (airline code KL; 4655267;; hub Amsterdam)

Kuwait Airways (airline code KU; 5685246;; hub Kuwait City)

Lufthansa Airlines (airline code LH; 5601744;; hub Frankfurt)

Middle East Airlines (airline code ME; 4603500;; hub Beirut)

Qatar Airways (airline code QR; 5656682;; hub Doha)

Turkish Airlines (airline code TK; 4659102;; hub İstanbul)

Getting around

Jordan is so small that you can drive from the Syrian border in the north to the Saudi border in the south in just over five hours. There is only one domestic flight (Amman to Aqaba) and no internal public train service, so public transport here comprises of buses/minibuses, service taxis and private taxis.

Where public transport is limited or nonexistent, hitching is a common way of getting around. Hiring a car is a popular, if more expensive, alternative. Chartering a service taxi (white) or private taxi (yellow) is another alternative, and having a driver will take the hassle out of driving, although the cost will vary depending on your bargaining skills.


Getting a ride

Hitching is never entirely safe in any country in the world. Travellers who choose to hitch should understand that they are taking a small, but potentially serious, risk. People who choose to hitch will be safer if they travel in pairs and let someone know where they are planning to go.

Despite this general advice, hitching is definitely feasible in Jordan. The traffic varies a lot from place to place, but you generally don't have to wait long for a lift on main routes. Hitching is only really worth it to avoid chartering expensive taxis or where public transport is limited or nonexistent, eg parts of the King's Highway and to the desert castles east of Amman.

Always start hitching early, and avoid 1pm to 4pm when it's often too hot and traffic is reduced while many locals enjoy a siesta. Also, don't start hitching after about 4pm unless it's a short trip on a road with frequent traffic, because hitching after dark increases the risk. The best places to look for lifts are junctions, tourist attractions (eg lookouts) or shops where cars often stop. Police stationed at major junctions and checkpoints are often happy to wave down drivers and cajole them into giving you a lift.

To indicate that you're looking for a lift, simply raise your index finger in the direction you're heading. On a large truck, you may be asked for a fare; in a private vehicle, you probably won't need to pay anything. However, to avoid a possibly unpleasant situation, ask beforehand if payment is expected and, if so, how much the driver wants. Otherwise, just offer a small amount when you get out - it will often be refused.

Finally, a few general tips. Don't look too scruffy; don't hitch in groups of more than two; women should be very careful, and look for lifts with families, or in a car with another local or foreign female; trucks on some steep and windy roads (eg between the Wadi Rum turn-off and Aqaba) can be painfully slow; and make sure you carry a hat and lots of water.

Picking up hitchhikers

If you have chartered a service taxi or private taxi you are under no obligation to pick up any hitchhikers, but if you're driving a private or hired car, the pressure to pick up people along the way can be intense. It's hard not to feel a twinge of guilt as you fly past locals alongside the road waving their arms frantically. On remote stretches where public transport is limited or nonexistent, eg across the Wadi Mujib valley, you should try to pick up a few passengers.

One advantage about picking up a hitchhiker is the chance to meet a local, and readers have often been invited to a home in return for a lift. Although you may be charged, you should never charge a local for a lift. They will assume that any foreign hitchhiker can afford to pay for transport, and that any foreigner driving a private or hired car doesn't need the extra money.

Car & motorcycle

Bringing your own vehicle

Drivers of cars and riders of motorbikes will need the vehicle's registration papers and liability insurance. Strictly speaking you don't need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Jordan (your national licence is generally sufficient, unless you have your own car and plan on crossing any borders), but bring one with you to avoid any hassles. You also need a Carnet de passage en douane, which is effectively a passport for the vehicle and acts as a temporary waiver of import duty. The carnet will also need to specify any expensive spare parts that you're planning to carry with you, such as a gearbox. This is designed to prevent car-import rackets. Contact your local automobile association for details about all documentation.

At the borders to Jordan (and the ferry terminal in Nuweiba, Egypt) you'll be obliged to take out local insurance of JD35 (valid for one month), plus a nominal 'customs fee' of JD5 for 'foreign car registration'.

Finally, bring a good set of spare parts and some mechanical knowledge, as you will not always be able to get the help you may need. This is especially the case for motorcycles: there are only a few motorcycle mechanics in Jordan who are able to deal with anything modern.


You may pass through checkpoints in Jordan, particularly when driving along the Dead Sea Highway near the sensitive border with Israel & the Palestinian Territories. Always stop at checkpoints. Foreigners are generally waved through without any fuss, though you may have to show your passport.

Bus & tram


Public minibuses and, to a lesser extent, public buses are the normal form of transport for locals and visitors.

Tickets for public buses and minibuses are normally bought on the bus. For private buses, tickets are usually bought from an office at the departure point. Tickets for private buses should be bought a day in advance; on public buses and minibuses it's every frail old man, woman, and goat for themselves. Bigger private bus companies like JETT (5664146; Al-Malek al-Hussein St, Shmeisani) (Amman to Aqaba), Trust International Transport (06 5813427) (Amman to Aqaba) and Hijazi (4638110) (Amman to Irbid) are generally the most reliable, comfortable and fastest because they generally don't stop en route to pick up passengers.

Unaccompanied men and women can sit next to each other, but some seat-shuffling often takes place to ensure that unaccompanied foreign men or women do not sit next to members of the opposite sex that they do not know. On smaller minibuses locals signify that they want to get off by rapping a coin on a side window.

Public buses and minibuses normally only leave when full, so you can sometimes wait around for an hour or more before you finally depart. Standing is not normally allowed.

There's little overcharging on minibuses, except for services to/from Wadi Musa (for Petra). Sometimes you will have to pay the full fare even if you're not going the full distance.


The two largest cities, Amman and Irbid, have efficient and cheap public bus networks, but few have destination signs in English (although some have 'English' numbers), there are no schedules or timetables available and local bus stations are often chaotic. Service taxis are much more useful and still cheap.


An alternative to a pricey group tour organised from abroad is to arrange your own private mini-tour with a Jordanian travel agency. Many of these can arrange hiking or archaeological itineraries and provide a car and driver.

For hiking and activities in Jordan's nature reserves you are best off contacting the tourism department of the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN;, who can arrange short activity breaks or entire itineraries. For an extended trip to Wadi Rum it's best to contact a local Bedouin agency such as Wadi Rum Mountain Guides (

If you're travelling independently, and on a tight budget, jumping on a budget-priced organised tour from Amman to a remote place like the desert castles of eastern Jordan is far easier, and often cheaper, than doing it yourself.


Since only 430km separates Ramtha in the north from Aqaba in the south, Jordan has only one internal flight, between Amman and Aqaba (JD39, 40 minutes).


Cycling is a popular option, but not necessarily always a fun one. March to May and September to November are the best times to get on your bike.

The disadvantages are: the stifling heat in summer; the few places to stop along the highways; the unpredictable traffic, with drivers not being used to cyclists; the steep streets in some cities, such as Amman and Karak; the paucity of spare parts because so few locals ride bikes; and the tendency of Jordanian children to throw stones at unwary cyclists.

There is no way to cycle along the King's Highway without getting stoned. We read it in your guidebook before leaving, but thought that kids would not stone three male adults with beards and long trousers who are looking angry. We were wrong. And there are not only some groups of kids who try to stone you, but basically it's becoming a major hobby for all male children between three and 20… Cycle in the morning when children are at school and plan to spend plenty of time discussing and waiting; you probably won't do more than 40km a day.

Bernhard Gerber, Switzerland

The good news, however, is that the road system is satisfactory, the roads are generally smooth and the main cities and tourist attractions are well signposted in English.

With some preparation, and an occasional lift in a bus, cyclists can have a great time. Most major sights are conveniently placed less than a day's ride apart, heading south from the Syrian border - ie Irbid-Amman-Madaba-Karak-Dana-Petra-Ma'an-Wadi Rum-Aqaba. All these places have accommodation of some kind and restaurants, so there's no need to carry tents, sleeping bags and cooking equipment. Most other attractions can be easily visited on day trips, by bike or public transport.

The King's Highway is the most scenic route, but also the most physically demanding. The Desert Highway is boring and the traffic is heavy, while the Dead Sea Highway has extremely few stops, and is always hot. Two stretches along the King's Highway where you may want to take public transport are across the extremely wide and steep Wadi Mujib valley between Madaba and Karak, and between the turn-off to Wadi Rum andAqaba, which is very steep, has appalling traffic and plenty of treacherous turns. The steepest climbs are those from the Jordan Valley up onto the eastern plateau in the north.

Spare parts are not common in Jordan, so carry a spare tyre, extra chain links, spokes, two inner tubes, repair kit and tool kit with spanner set. Also bring a low gear set for the hills and a couple of water containers; confine your panniers to a maximum of 15kg.