Amman, Jordan

29 10 2009

I have just returned from a trip to Jordan, a country which is well worth a visit. We flew to Jordan using Royal Jordanian airlines. I would not say that we had a great experience with Royal Jordanian. Their booking system is hard to navigate and their in-flight meal is meagre to say the least (a muffin and a tiny cup of orange juice). However, there were no delays and the staff were pleasant.  Having investigated a number of different airlines, they seemed to offer the best priced flight from Cyprus at approximately 200 euros each, return.

On arrival in Amman we got the airport bus into the centre of Amman and then a taxi to our hotel. As with most countries in the Middle East, you need to have an idea of how much things should cost and be very prepared to haggle. Any taxi trip within the centre of Amman should never cost more than 5 JD (approx 5 euros) and will usually cost a lot less if you make sure the driver is on the meter. The airport bus cost 6JD each and if you do decide to splurge on a taxi instead of the bus then don’t pay more than 35JD.Alternatively you can rent car hire Amman at


We stayed at the Gardenia Hotel in Amman for one night. It was reasonably priced and provided us with a much needed good night’s sleep before the big adventure began – Petra. Amman is very much a working city and therefore has little to offer tourists. There is an 8th century palace and a Roman amphitheatre but that is pretty much it. However, it’s a great place to get a real feel of Jordanian life and enjoy a bit of Middle Eastern food. On our first evening in Amman, we visited Rainbow street which was recommended on Wikipedia. First stop was Books@cafe which was mentioned on many websites. The cafe had a terrace which looked out over the Amman skyline and I have to say the view was spectacular. Amman is a hilly city and when sitting on the terrace, the hills rise above you lit up.  However, Books@cafe is not somewhere to go if you want to experience any of the local culture. Most of the clientele are expats and wealthy Jordanians. Apart from the splendid view, it is not dissimilar to any fashionable cafe in any city. We then went on to a cafe opposite called Old View which also had a beautiful terrace which was lit with candles. Listening to Middle Eastern music whilst eating humus and looking at the view, we felt like we had finally arrived in Amman. There are plenty of intriguing drinks on the menu if you want to taste something authentic – I tried a cold drink called tamerhind (contains tamarind) and a hot, tangy drink called karkadeh.amman-jordan

The next day we set off on our trip to Petra which I shall write about in another post.

After our trip to Petra, we stayed in Amman for one more night before flying home. We were lucky enough to have booked into The Palace Hotel on King Faisal street. The lady who ran the place was very helpful as were all the members of staff. It is clean, attractive, well located and cheap. A great combination!

Feeling peckish, we stopped off at a nearby cafe called Hashem. Hashem’s serves a set meal of falafel, flat bread, humus and a salad of mint, tomato and onion. The meal was tasty and clearly the place is popular with locals – even the Royal family occasionally visits.

We spent the afternoon browsing the nearby shops. Personally I love a good haggle so the shopping was great for me and I got quite a few bargains – in Morocco I was told that I am just like a Bedouin woman. However, if you are not comfortable with haggling the stick to stores with price labels – there are many malls in Jordan. Overall though the Jordanians are not overly greedy so you will still pay less than you probably do back home even without haggling.

We also briefly checked out the Roman amphitheatre which is right in the centre of the city. It is still in good condition but after the marvels of Petra it was not that amazing to look at.

In the evening we went to a place called Abdoun Circle which is where the fashionable Jordanians gather. Dining at a restaurant called Noodasia which serves a range of Asian food, we were grateful for a break from the usually tepid food of Cyprus. Grabbing a taxi, we then headed for one last visit to Rainbow street (recently visited by Brangelina). This time I tried a drink called mint lemonade which is made of fresh lime juice mixed with mint leaves and ice. It’s definitely worth trying!

The next day we were homeward bound and sad to leave a country filled with such welcoming people and so much history.




2 responses

29 10 2009

Nice write-up. I stumbled on it because my lady friend just went to Jordan as well. She had a work conference but enjoyed her time too. I look forward to reading about Petra, this is also where she went for her one day off.

I try to write up travel destinations for my blog too, but more as a resource for folks. Would love to see what you think:

30 10 2009

What a lovely and informative blog post. I would love to visit Jordan and one day I shall. I would definitely prefer the Old View cafe as I have no wish to socialise etc with ex-pats and the like when visiting far flung places – after all, isn’t one trying to escape the ridiculous social etiquette and mundanity of one’s own people when one escapes – is that not the point? It is for me anyway. I am glad to hear that Tamaraind Tree sampled a drink made with tamarind as an ingredient – seems only fitting, albeit a tad ‘plant self consumption’! Anyhow, thanks once more for a racy read about far flung adventure!

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