Amman is the capital and largest city of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (population c. 2.1 million). Amman forms a great base for exploring the country and does, despite popular belief, hold a few items of interest to the traveler. The city is generally well-appointed for the traveler, reasonably well-organized, and the people are very friendly.
Although not seen as much when in the air over Amman, the city holds many surprises for the visitor. Anything can be found in Amman if one asks. Visit Amman's Roman Amphitheatre or study in the University of Jordan or stay in a luxurious hotel. Shopping malls are abundant in Jordan. With new construction in Abdali, in a few years the high-end traveler could eat in the most high-end restaurant, study in the American University of Jordan, stay in a five star hotel or shop in massive malls, all a few metres from one another. Much less is being done to cater to the budget traveler, although urban beautification is going on (as of early 2011) in the city centre (old town), which is being cleaned up and made more pedestrian-friendly.
Amman is experiencing a massive (some would say: reckless) change from a quiet sleepy village to a bustling metropolis, some of whose neighbourhoods seem hell-bent on wanting to imitate Dubai. Amman's roads have a reputation of being very steep and narrow in some of the underdeveloped parts of the city but now the city has state of the art highways and paved avenues. The steep terrain and heavy traffic remains challenging for pedestrians and for the rare cyclist. New resorts and hotels dot the city and there are many things for the traveler to see and do. Use Amman as a staging point for travels to nearby cities and settlements in Jordan.
A city built of white stone, Amman's growth has skyrocketed since it was made the capital of Trans-Jordan in the early 1920s, but especially after the 1948 and 1967 wars with Israel when hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees settled there. Another wave arrived after the second Iraq war, with Iraqi refugees forming the majority of newcomers.
Its history, however, goes back many millennia. The settlement mentioned in the Bible as Rabbath Ammon was the capital of the Ammonites, which later fell to the Assyrians. It was dominated briefly by the Nabataeans before it became a great Roman trade center and was renamed Philadelphia. After the Islamic conquests, Amman became part of the Islamic Empire, until the Ottomans were forced out by the Allies, with the help of the Hashemites, who formed a monarchy that continues to rule until the present.
Today, West Amman is a lively, modern city. The eastern part of the city, where the majority of Amman's residents live, is predominantly the residential area of the working class and is much older than the west. While possessing few sites itself, Amman makes a comfortable base from which to explore the northwestern parts of the country.
Amman is a very diverse city. Palestinian, Iraqi, Circassian, Armenian,and many other ethnic groups reside in Amman. Amman never stops growing.
Despite the common assertion that most Jordanians understand English, that knowledge is quite limited. Charmingly, the most commonly known English phrase seems to be "Welcome to Jordan". The only non-Arabic language used in signposting is English, and you will find "Tourist Police" near the major monuments. It never hurts to know a few useful phrases and come prepared with a translation book, or to have the names and addresses of places you are going written in Arabic for use with a taxi driver.
Remember if you're traveling during the holy month of Ramadan, it is almost impossible to buy food from sunrise to sundown even for tourists. Big shopping malls like City Mall don't let food stores like McDonald's, Sunset and Starbucks sell food during these hours.
Most travelers to Amman (and to Jordan) will arrive via 1 Queen Alia International Airport (AMM IATA). Very occasionally, regional or charter flights use Marka Airport, centrally located in east Amman a few km beyond the railway station.
For most western visitors, entry visas to Jordan can be purchased at the airport, if not already obtained from a Jordanian consulate overseas. The price of visa is JOD40 (for the 1 month single entry visa), payable in Jordanian dinars. At the immigration line you will pay for the visa at the first counter, and then pass through to the second counter to receive the stamp. There is a sign informing you that payment is accepted by credit card, but some travelers report that this sign is inaccurate and you will be sent away to obtain hard currency. Money exchange is available before passport control along with a single ATM (doesn't take MasterCard); more ATMs are available after customs. This ATM might charge you an additional fee to your regular bank fees (up to JOD7), so it is advisable to already have the JOD40 exchanged back home.
If you have the Jordan Pass (JOD70-80) bought already online before arrival, the JOD40 are waived. For the Jordan Pass, you need to stay at least 3 consecutive nights in the country.
Also see the Jordan article for comprehensive and complete visa details.
If you have an early arrival flight and don't really want to pay a full day hotel for just 4 or 5 h staying there, you can wait in the baggage claim hall at the airport. There are some 50 seats or so available - not too comfortable but acceptable.
Taxi transportation from the airport to Amman should cost around JOD20. Airport taxi fares are fixed. Note that the fare is only fixed from airport to city, taxi driver might try to secure a ride from you from the city back to the airport, often with a massive inflated price. It is not hard to get a ride from city to airport for JOD20. If the driver is trying to charge more, make your stand and say no.
Uber and Careem both operate in the city, and while the fare is usually around JOD15, rides have to be caught upstairs at the departures level.
The Airport Express bus runs around the clock every 30/60 minutes between 6:30 and 0:00, and costs JOD2.5. It leaves from a marked bus stop outside Terminal 2 only. The trip from the airport to Tabarbour bus station in Amman, with a stop at the 7th Circle (after 20-30 min), usually takes from 45 minutes to an hour. The route is: QAIA - 7th Circle - Six Circle - Fifth Circle - Fourth Circle - Housing Bank Complex - North Bus Station.
Note that from the 7th circle the bus will turn east and go another several of 100 m towards the center (probably until the 4th circle) - get off when it turns north again. It is then possible to catch a taxi (JOD1-1.5) from the bus stop to your hotel but beware of taxis drivers trying to rip off the newly arrived traveler. Or just walk the last 1-2 km.
For additional information: http://sariyahexpress.com/en/content/airport-express
Please note than there is only one post office and no postbox in the airport, located in arrivals hall of Terminal 1 near the Lost and Found office. If closed, you can put your letters/postcards under the curtain.
Note that the Abdali bus station is now closed. The new bus station is called 1 Tabarbour Bus Station and is in the North fringes of Amman. Most of the buses to the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge and the various cities ('Ajloun, Jerash, Irbid) in Northern Jordan arrive here.
From the bus station/stop, you can take a taxi to the city center. As a guide, it NEVER costs more than JOD2 on the meter from the bus station to most places in town, so either go by the meter, or pay a maximum of JOD2. From Trababour to downtown, take Serviis (A sedan car that works like a bus) #6 to the 3 Raghadan Tourist Service Station (Raghadan Al Seyaha), which is located right next to the Colosseum. NOTE: There are 2 Raghadan stations in Amman, the one near the Roman Theater (which is relevant to most tourists) is Raghadan Al Seyaha, make sure you tell the taxi driver this otherwise you will wind up at the wrong Raghadan station and will have to catch another serviis back!
In the late afternoon, when everyone is trying to get into the city, it can be difficult to get a taxi to the city, especially along the busy highway downtown.
Tourist buses will stop at the South Bus Station. Also, there are numerous buses pulling into the city of Amman operated by JETT (Jordan Express Tourist Transport) which operates from Abdali terminal, west of town. The JETT bus to/from the Palestinian border bridge costs JOD7.5 and takes about 1 hour.
There are two operators (on of them called Challenge) each providing two daily services from Damascus (Sumariya-Terminal) into Amman for SYP500 (SYP50 student discount). Times tend to change a bit, but they leave around 7:30, 8:30, 14:30 and 15:30. The tour takes typically about 4 to 5 h, but can be longer depending on border formalities. The Challenge buses still arrive in Abdali.
Train operator in Jordan: HJR (Hedjaz Jordan Railway). Since about 2005, scheduled services within Jordan and to Damascus have, sadly, been suspended. They are unlikely to resume. Train excursions run occasionally, as do local services to Zarqa. Neither operate more often than once per week, if at all. Amman's tiny, charming railway station (Mahatta) with its museum is worth a look even if you do not (or cannot) take a train.
A taxi to/from the Palestinian border crossing bridge can cost JOD25 and takes one hour, depending on which of the three border crossing points you use.
Yellow and grey taxis are readily available and can be easily found anywhere in Amman. Just hail them in the street as Jordanians do. Taxis for Amman will have a green logo on the driver and passenger doors. The grey ones have an advertisement on top of the car. Resist hailing cabs with another color logo; these cabs are based in other cities and it is illegal for them to pick up fares in Amman. White taxis are shared, and the driver can pick up other fares along the way, which can lead to confusion.
Taxis in Amman are required by law to use meters and most drivers will reset the meter as soon as a fare is picked up. Most trips within Amman should be under JOD2, and even a ride from one end of town to the other should not cost more than JOD5. Taxis are not required to use meters after midnight and drivers often expect double the normal fare for late night trips.
Beware of drivers offering to give you a short ride "for free" as a "Welcome to Jordan", especially if you're walking between the Citadel and the Roman Theater; they will then offer to wait for you to take you to your next stop, and will use the "free" ride as an excuse not to start the meter. They will then charge you exorbitantly when you arrive at your next stop. Also, be wary of the private cars posing as taxis around the bus stands/stations. They will offer their services asking you to pay as much as you want but later on insist on pocketing more money from you. In case you get one, insist paying the standard price which should not be more than JOD2, anything more is a rip-off.
The base rate for the taxi meter was changed in 2007 from 150 fils (JOD0.150) to 250 fils (JOD0.250) due to the rising oil prices, however, not all taxis have replaced their old meters with new ones, and when a taxi is using an old meter, it is legitimate for the driver to ask you for 10 extra piasters (100 fils) on top of the quoted meter fare. Make sure though that you note the initial fare as soon as the driver turns the meter on in order not to have the driver ask you for "the 10 piasters" when he has a new meter. Drivers are not normally tipped, instead the fare is simply rounded up to the nearest 5 or 10 piasters. It should be noted that many drivers do not carry much change, so exact change should be given when possible.
If a driver is pretending he has no change, it is likely that he just wants to keep it, so that you'll have to pay more. If you mind this, ask the driver to find a nearby shop and get change or get the change yourself from a shop or (if you don't mind being rude) look into their money box to find the change yourself.
The going, negotiated rate for a taxi from Amman to the airport is JOD20 or more, although some drivers can be talked down to JOD15 or even JOD10 (which would be close to the metered rate). All taxis are allowed to take passengers to the airport; only special Airport Taxis may take passengers from the airport into town.
If you are visiting the Citadel, call it al'Aqal. The driver may try to convince you that the Roman theater is nicer so that he can drop you off there at the bottom of the hill. It's best to be dropped off at the Citadel and walk down the hill to the Roman theater.
By car rental
There are several car rental companies located in Jordan some will even give you a driver for free if you book a car rental with them. Some of these are Hertz, Sixt Rental Cars, National, and many more.
Big, municipal buses serve many parts of Amman. They are used by low-income workers, working-class youth and foreign workers, but are perfectly safe. As of January 2011, the fare was 380 fils. Pay the exact fare (or overpay); bus drivers have no change! You can also load a bus fare cash card with a few JOD and swipe the card past a reader as you enter the bus, but places to buy and recharge the card are rare. Most buses are numbered; some display their destination in Arabic only. Bus no. 26 conveniently travels between the old town (Balad) and the 7th Circle along Zahran Street. No. 27 goes from the old town towards the posh Abdoun neighbourhood. No. 43 passes near Shmeisani (as does no. 46) and continues along Mecca Street towards Mecca Mall. Many bus stops are marked by bus shelters, but buses also drop passengers at unmarked spots wherever it is safe to stop. Private minibuses shadow the municipal buses. They do not display route numbers, but a conductor usually shouts out their destination.
Bike tours are a good way to see the local scenery and meet local cyclists. There are a couple of bicycling tour firms in Amman.
- 1 Tareef Cycling Club, ☎ (Montaser), (Baraa), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. It was founded in 1982 and developed into an active group in August 2007 by a former Jordanian National Team cyclist. They provide fun active weekend cycling and hiking trips, supporting all levels of fitness all around Jordan.
- 2 Cycling Jordan, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Offers tours and weekly trips to the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea. FB.
Although the capital of a diverse kingdom, Amman is not what one would call "packed" with things to see, making it a great gateway to explorations further afield. Even so, the city does hold a few items of historical and cultural interest (allow maximum 2 days to see them).
In the city
- 1 Amman Citadel (جبل القلعة, Jabal al-Qal'a) (If you don't want to go the whole way back to the entrance when geting out, try the southern end of the fence at the very west of the citadel complex). A national historic site at the center of downtown Amman. Its history represents significant civilizations that stretched across continents and prospered for centuries, as one empire gave rise to the next. Settlement at the Citadel extends over 7,000 years. JOD3.
- 2 Jordan Archaeological Museum (Located at the citadel). The museum hosts a small but interesting collection of antiquities from all over Jordan. Fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls which used to be housed here are now being transferred to the new National Museum of Jordan (see below).
- 3 Temple of Herakles (Located at the citadel). Roman period remains
- 4 Umayyad Palace (Located at the citadel). Situated in the northern portion of the Citadel. Offers a great view of Amman.
- Byzantine Church (Located at the citadel). Dating to the 5th-6th centuries
- 5 Roman Theater. Built during the reign of Antonius Pius, 138-161AD, this impressive theater could seat up to 6,000 people. Next to it are a folklore museum and a popular culture museum which the entrance fee also covers. Next to it is the Odeon theater, a smaller theater built at the same time. JOD2.
- 6 Roman Nymphaeum. A partly-preserved Roman fountain.
- 7 Ammonite Watchtower (Rujm Al-Malfouf). A circular watchtower built by the Ammonite kingdom some time between 500-1000 BC.
- 8 Rainbow Street. Located near the 1st Circle in Jabal Amman, this is an interesting area to walk around and explore, it is named after the old Rainbow Cinema which is now out of use, but the area has been recently experiencing a revival with many of the old houses being restored and put into use, in the area there are some cafes and bars including Books@cafe and Wild Jordan both with great views, a Hammam, the Royal Film Commission which sometimes holds outdoor screenings on its patio and some interesting small shops. Across the street from the British Council on Rainbow St., there is the refreshing Turtle Green Tea Bar where everything is in English and you can borrow a laptop to access the internet while enjoying your snack.
- 9 Darat al Funun (The Khalid Shoman Foundation). The 'small house of the arts' in Jabal el Weibdeh, overlooking the heart of Amman, is housed in three adjacent villas from the 1920s (and the remains of a sixth-century Byzantine church built over a Roman Temple), it has a permanent collection and also holds changing exhibitions. In the same area there are other small art galleries and the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts.
- 10 Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Hosni Fareez St. (near King Abdullah I Mosque), ☎ . 9:00-17/19:00 (winter/summer), closed Fri&Tue. Situated in two separate buildings and in between a (open to the) public park of sculptures, it is showing international, contemporary art with a focus though on regional work. JOD5.
- 11 The Jordan Museum (Jordan National Museum), Ali Ben Abi Taleb St. 10 (right next to Palm Square), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 10:00-14:00, closed Fri&Tue. As mentioned before, many of the artefacts from the citadel have been moved here. A great summary of Jordans history. JOD5 (locals JOD1).
- 12 Abu Darwish Mosque, Abu Darwish St., Jabal. Built in the 20s by a private donor called Hasan Mustafa Sharkas and situated on a hill, this mosque impresses through its black and white striped walls.
- 13 King Abdullah I Mosque. Impressive new mosque, with a church opposite. Both together give an interesting view. JOD5.
- 14 Al Bishara Greek Orthodox Church.
Around the city
- 15 Wadi al-Seer (To reach Wadi al-Seer, head to the minibus station on al-Quds Street, just south of al-Husseini Mosque.). A region to the west of Amman, it is a small valley leading down towards the Dead Sea. Nearby is the al-Bassa Springs, the source of the valley's river. Above the spring is the al-Deir monastery. It's a 20 minute climb up to the monastery.
- Iraq Al-Amir. 15 km from Wadi al-Seer, the 16 Caves of The Prince, close to 17 Al Qasr, are located southwest of Amman and are great for a day tour. JOD1.
- It is highly advisable to see the sunset from the view point near the Citadel. But pay also your attention to the time of the muezzin call. If you listen to it from the view point, where the whole city lies before you, you get the unforgettable acoustic impression.
- Due to accelerated growth the past several decades, the styles of living differs considerably as one travels from east to west throughout Amman. Visitors desiring a more exotic and traditional experience should explore "Old Amman", the central downtown, or 3 Balad, which features numerous souqs, shops, and street vendors. Also known as the Souq with traditional sights and smells of the spice market, and shop for authentic souvenirs. Take a walk through the narrow alleyways and corners and negotiate (haggle) the price with friendly vendors. A maze of streets with everything from a fruit market to spices, souvenirs, clothes, hardware. Drink a cool glass of Sugar Cane juice, watch the talented young men make artistic sand designs inside the glass bottles, go and smoke a shisha (hubbly bubbly) in any of the numerous street cafes. Enjoy some tasty falafel in the famous Hashem cafe, enjoy a mansaf dish at Jerusalem restaurant or a nice slice of tasty Kanafe from Habibeh sweets. Busy crowded streets with the real taste of Jordan.
- Abdali, a section of downtown Amman, is being transformed into a modern center for tourists and natives alike. The plan includes a broad pedestrian boulevard where visitors can shop, eat, or do numerous other activities. New office buildings and residential hi-rises are being constructed. "New Abdali" should have been completed by 2010, but was still a large construction site as of early 2011.
- The cultural scene in Amman has seen some increased activities, notably cultural centers and clubs such as Makan House, Al Balad Theater, the Amman Filmmakers Cooperative, Remall, and Zara gallery. Around the 1st of September the Jordan Short Film Festival takes place.
- 4 Amman Waves Aqua Park and Resort, 15, Amman 00962 (12 km from the 7th circle along the airport road), ☎ . 10:0-18:00. The biggest water park in Jorden (80,000 m²), opened in 2004.
There are numerous universities one can study in. Irbid, Madaba, and Aqaba also hold many educational institutes for foreigners. Jordan's universities are world-renowned and respected for their hospitality and methods of instruction.
- 1 Modern Montessori School (MMS). Privately owned school which offers the International Baccalaureate (IB). The school is known for its headmistress Ms. Randa Hasan who has been with the school for generations. It is also known for its theatre arts department which has put on many great musicals such as Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Alice in Wonderland, Rent, and The Wizard of Oz.
- 2 New English School (NES). Privately owned school which offers the British Examination System known as International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) which consists of O-Levels and A-Levels. The school is best known for its headmaster Mr. Nabil who has been with the school for generations. It is also known for its outdoor football pitch the best for seven-a-side games.
- 3 International Leaders Academy (ILA). Privately owned school which offers the British Examination System. The school is best known for its headmaster Mr. Almanasrah who been refurbishing the whole school. It is also known for its Technology, GYM, Theatre and swimming pools.
If it's shopping you're after, then the pedestrian 1 "Sharia'a Al Wakalat" (Brands Street) offers a wide selection of international brand names to choose from. Furthermore, there are the 2 City Mall, currently Jordan's biggest shopping mall, the older and huge 3 Mecca Mall aimed at women (walking distance from City Mall), the 4 Abdoun Mall (also aimed at women), the 5 Park Plaza, and 6 Baraka Mall, for those seeking indulgence and the odd $500 to spare - all designer names. – all large shopping centers scattered across Amman.
Amman has numerous antique dealers littered throughout the city. Those located in the western parts of the city will most likely be serviced by those with a competent grasp of the English language, but you run the risk of the items being a bit overpriced.
Some interesting, original souvenir items that one may consider taking home are:
- a keffiyeh, the traditional checkered headpiece of Jordanian men
- an antique brass tea/coffee pot, distinctly Middle Eastern with its artistic etching and curved spout
- olive wood carvings of various objects or figures can be purchase nearly everywhere
- hand-crafted Jordanian daggers
- hand-made Bedouin-style embroidered clothing
Also Rainbow Street is populated with small antique stores, clothing, restaurants, sheesha tea shops and the well-known Falafel al-Quds, reputedly the "best" Falafel in the Middle East (some Saudi's even financed the opening of one in Saudi Arabia). Further down the street you will find a small park that overlooks the city. Further still on a side street, during the warmer months, is a side-walk flea market. At the end of this street and down some stairs you will find Wild Jordan.
Amman features many different styles of restaurants, from traditional Middle Eastern fare to more familiar Western fast food and franchises. Prices range from ultra-cheap to moderate, depending on one's taste buds. For those on a budget, Arabic food is very affordable and can be obtained everywhere.
Arabic food generally consists of several general basic groups. Meat dishes will generally consist of lamb or chicken; beef is more rare and pork is never offered. Shwarma, which is cooked lamb meat with a special sauce rolled in piece of flat bread, is a local favorite. Rice and flat bread are typical sides to any meal. Jordan's specialty, mansaf, is a delicious lamb and rice meal, typically eaten with one's hands. Arabs serve plenty of cucumbers and tomatoes, many times accompanied by a plain white yoghurt condiment. Another favorite is chick pea-based foods such as falafel, hummus, and fuul. One of Amman's most famous local foods restaurant is Hashem, located in down-town Amman and you can have a lunch or dinner there for no more than JOD 2 which is very low compared to other restaurants in Amman. This restaurant is one of the favourites of the Royal family and you will see a lot of photographs of the Royal family of Jordan dining in this literal hole-in-the-wall. Nearby on King Fayçal St. is Habeebah, which serves traditional east Mediterranean sweets such as baklava, but is most famous for serving a traditional dessert known as knafeh nabelseyyeh in reference to its origin from the Palestinian city of Nablus. The original store is easy to spot with the long queue spilling onto the street: if you're just there for the food rather than the vibe, try the new extension that opened 100m further up on King Hussein St.
And even if you can afford the above-mentioned, do not forget the good surprises coming from the countless shawarma outlets and other very cheap places.
- Shawermat Reem (at the 2nd Circle). The allegedly best shawerma in Amman is found in this street-side kiosk. It is very famous and there are even lines at 2AM It is a must to eat from this place and is very cheap.
- Lebnani snack. This is a great place to eat Middle Eastern sandwiches, delicious ice cream and cocktails.
- La Maison Verte. An impressive French restaurant, with excellent food and excellent ambience. A must go to place. Moderate to pricey, but it's worth it; the atmosphere alone is worth it, it's quite fancy yet very cozy. Their house specialities include "Entrecote", various steaks and a variety of sea food.
- Levant (Jabal Amman, 3rd Circle Behind Le Royal Hotel), ☎ . A very comfortable restaurant with excellent service, excellent English and excellent food. They serve "gourmet" Arabic food, which means fresh local ingredients in surprising and delicious combinations. For more information you can view their website.
- Cantaloupe, 10 Rainbow Street, 1 Juqa Street, ☎ . A fairly trendy restaurant and cocktail bar with terrace impressively overlooking the city. Salads and fish are good, steaks are excellent. Regional and local wines are remarkably good. Service is excellent and unobtrusive. A little loud as the evening progresses.
- Fakhr al Din, 40 Taha Hussein, St Jabal (when going from 1st to 2nd circle, turn right after the Iraqi embassy. Following that, turn right at the end of this street, go past the lot on your left and then turn left again. "Fakhr al Din" is written in Arabic on the wall of last building on the block (فخر الدين)), ☎ . A real classical of Amman's Lebanese-oriented restaurant. Quite pricey but worth it, especially if you're in the terrace on a warm evening. For local wine, try their "Gerasa" red wine. Reservation highly advised. Great place, but beware of waiters who deliver unordered food to your table. Don't accept anything you don't order. JOD15-30 for a complete meal.
- Kan Zaman (It's a bit difficult to get there as it is around 10 km south of Amman. On the highway to the airport, you'll see a sign. Leave the highway, go under the bridge and follow the small road.). Impressive medieval castle on a hilltop turned into a beautiful restaurant. The place is worth the visit. The food is pretty basic but ok. Ask for their local "Kan Zaman" red wine. Hopefully, the prices are not proportional to the size of the hall.
- Noodasia (It's located on Abdoun Circle, in front of the Big Fellow pub.). Nothing to do with Arabic food though, as the menu handles the whole map of Asia, from Thailand to China, through Japan (good sushis) and Indonesia. Nice place, excellent service and good food for the money, but no alcohol served.
- Popeyes. The best fast food restaurant in Amman. It serves the best fried chicken "cajun our way". But what makes it different than other fried chicken restaurants is its lovely mashed potatoes served with hot gravy sauce, makes you want to swim in it. Also they serve a creamy cushiony baked biscuits.
- Books@Cafe - a beautiful old house turned into the then-first bookstore/internet/cafe. Opened in the year 2000 and a hot spot ever since. This cafe is on Rainbow street overlooking all of the old city (Balad) and has two wonderful terraces with the best views in Amman. Boasting a very funky interior in contrast with the classical exterior, this café offers lite fare, water pipes (argheeleh), wine, beer and the best pizza in Amman. Free wireless network and three Internet terminals. A must see.
- Grappa (around the corner from Fakhr Al Din, close to 2nd circle), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Restaurant and lounge bar with great steaks and good wine. JOD10 for mains.
- Hashem (Near the post office at King Faisal Street, where most of the budget hotels are located. You can ask most of the locals for directions to this cheap and famous local eatery.). During meal times, the place is swarming with locals, who are there to eat a cheap and good meal of falafel, hummus and bread. JOD1.5 per person (for falafel, hummus, bread and tea).
- Ameer (Located right across from the Hussien Mosque in the old city (Balad).). Best place in Amman for falafel sandwiches. The sandwiches are cheap and delicious, 30 piasters. Ask for "shuta" (pronounced, shut-a, with the "a" as in "about", shuta means hot sauce) if you like it spicy. The falafel sandwiches come with French fries in them, tomatoes, parsley, onion, and some hummus. You can also ask for a "batata" sandwich (French fry sandwich), it is AMAZING! I always get one falafel sandwich and one bataba sandwich. It's the best!
- Jafra Restaurant & Cafe (Opposite the main post office), ☎ . A quaint Lebanese restaurant that also offers Pizza and shisha.
For the coffee lover, Amman's Starbucks locations (Swefieh, Abdoun, Taj Mall, City Mall, Mecca Mall) offer various mugs, tumblers, and to-go cups with distinctive Jordanian and Middle Eastern flair.
Those who crave gourmet coffee have a number of choices along Rainbow St. off of First Circle in Jabal Amman with other shops sprinkled throughout the city.
Alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, liquor, etc.), can be purchased in liquor stores across the city. Most are distinguishable by an advertisement for Amstel or some like beverage outside. There are also bars up and down Rainbow St. in Jabal Amman and throughout Abdoun. Drinking age is 18 but some bars/cafes might card you and admit 21+ customers only.
Jordan's national beer is aptly called Petra beer, and there are many liquor shops and kiosks around Amman where you can find it. There are two types: 'black' and 'red', which have 8% and 10% alcohol percentage respectively. The red is usually slightly more expensive than the black, but you should expect to pay JOD2-2.5 for a 500 ml (18 imp fl oz; 17 US fl oz) can at a shop. You will often find that bars prefer Amstel and other international brands and do not have Petra beer available.
For night clubs and bars visit the cosmopolitan West Amman where many Western and American franchises operate here. The nightlife in Amman is not as vibrant as other Middle Eastern cities like Beirut or Tel Aviv, however, there are a few clubs and bars in Amman.
- 1 Picadelli Pub (Piccadilly Pop) (At Abdali Bus Station). Friendly place that serves alcohol, food, and complimentary snacks JOD3 for beer and wine.
- 2 La Calle (Located on Rainbow street). This multi-level bar is known for its half-price happy hour specials.
- 3 Jafra Café (Right across from the post office on King Faisal Street (near Hashems). It is upstairs from the DVD store of the same name.). A great spot right in the heart of the downtown area. It has an old, rustic feel to it with more young locals than tourists. They have a great selection of nargileh (water pipe) and the entire menu is reasonably priced. Expect to pay about JOD10 for dinner, including an appetizer, kebab, fresh juice and nargileh. Live music starts at 9PM most night. There is another one near Paris circle in Jebel Al Webdeh
- 4 Maestro Bar. Jazz and Pub. But there have been complaints about their entry policy.
Living in Amman, the main places people spend time during the evenings are hookah shops.
- 5 Al-Mawardi (Al-Mawardi Coffee and Hooka Cafe), 15, Siqilya St. (South of Al-Rabia circle), ☎ . Coffee shop with traditional hookah, a wide selection of coffee and beverages. Offers Backgammon boards but no card games. JOD5 for a coffee and hookah.
Amman has the full range of accommodation options from very basic 1 star accommodation to luxurious 5 star facilities.
- 1 Cliff Hostel (In one of the alleys in the souq nearby the central post office. There's a small and old sign.). An option for low budget travelers. In the winter it can get very chilly, make sure that you ask for more blankets. Sometimes they heat your room if you ask for that. JOD2 for mattresses on the terrace, JOD4 dorm, JOD0.5 for shower.
- 2 Farah Hotel, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: From JOD4 for a dorm. Good backpacker option, has common area with satellite TV & movies, organises tours & very friendly English speaking staff.
- 3 Jordan Tower Hotel (next to Roman Amphitheatre), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Shared trips at reasonable rates to all tourist sites. Dorm rooms male & female - 2, 3 & 4 bedded rooms some with ensuite bathroom and air conditioning and satellite tv. Friendly English-speaking staff. Cheap light snacks and airport pick ups. From JOD9 incl breakfast and free WiFi.
- 4 Sun Rise Hotel (Abdali station, King Hussein Street), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. One star hotel with good location near Abdali station. Safe area, near Capitol Police Center. TV, free internet, free WiFi and air cond or fan in the room; rooms are very basic, those in the back are colder. Dorm from JOD3.50, different rooms available from JOD8 to JOD20 (depending on the mood of the manager, so take care).
- 5 Sydney Hotel (Prince Mohammad St, Downtown), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Nice people, clean and safe. JOD10 for a single, JOD14 for a double. Breakfast is JOD2.
- 6 Normas Hotel (King Faisal St. - in front of Hashem Restaurant, Downtown), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Super friendly and helpful, clean and safe. JOD10 for a single, JOD12 for a double.
- 7 Zidian Hotel. WiFi, hot shower, great view from the rooms on the back side. Single from JOD15.
- 8 Palace Hotel, King Faisal St, Downtown, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. JOD30 (with shower & satellite TV), JOD18 (shared facilities) for a double with breakfast included.
- 9 Canary Hotel (on Jebel Amman near the Jett Bus Station). JOD30 for a double.
- Abbasi Palace Hotel, Saqf Al Sail / Quraysh st (Downtown), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: 12.00. Clean and well-run. Good staff, knowledgeable and helpful. Price includes breakfast. Free WiFi and internet. Free tea. JOD6 for a dorm, incl. breakfast (June 2011).
- Al-Harmin Hotel. JOD7 for double.
- Amman Castle Hotel. Seems to be more catered to males and locals JOD4.5 for a double.
- 10 Al Fanar Palace Hotel, Queen Rania Al Abdullah Street (North of city centre and West of Sports City), ☎ . Standard hotel with reasonable facilities. WiFi in reception (JOD3/hour). Indoor swimming pool, restaurant (but no bar). You can easily take a taxi down the road to the Regency Palace if you want a bar. Taxi cost is less than JOD1. Hot water can be a problem. JOD60.
- 11 Beirut International, King Hussein Street (Near the Abdil bus station). Check-out: noon. Good location, nice big rooms, including middle eastern breakfast. JOD70, but you can get a discount.
- 12 Beity Rose Suites Hotel, Ibn Hayyan Street (Near the Specialty Hospital), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: noon. Located in the progressive district of Shmeisani, next to the Royal Cultural Centre and the Amman Stock Market. Friendly hotel in an attractive setting. from JOD85.
- 13 Crystal Suites Hotel, Al Kindi Street (Fifth Circle), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: noon. Nice suites hotel in a prestigious area opposite to the Four Seasons and Sheraton, comfortable for short and long stays, mainly one and two bedroom suites, some studios JOD50 with breakfast.
- 14 Gardenia Hotel, Abdulhameed Sharaf Street (near Safeway), ☎ , e-mail: gardeniahotel.index.com.jo. Check-out: noon. Friendly hotel in nice and very quiet neighbourhood JOD45 with breakfast.
- 15 New Park Hotel, King Hussein Str (opposite the old court), e-mail: email@example.com. Two-star hotel offering rooms with en-suite bathrooms, satellite TV, air-con, and central heating.
- 16 Bristol Hotel (near to 5th Circle). Very good hotel if you can put up with the ever present smell of cigarette smoke (even in the non smoking rooms). Wireless internet works well.
- 18 Grand Hyatt Amman, Hussein Bin Ali Street, Jabal Amman (in the business district), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 12PM, check-out: 15PM. A favourite of the expat set for its laid back ambiance, terrace views and quality restaurants. Located at 3rd Circle.
- 19 Intercontinental Amman (located between the 2nd and 3rd Circles). Another hotel popular with foreign professionals.
- 20 Kempinski Amman, Abdul Hameed Shouman Street, ☎ . A recent addition to the city: all the luxury of a 5 star with a number of interesting modern art features in the designer building.
- 23 Regency Palace Hotel, Queen Alia Street, ☎ . Popular 4 star hotel. Some areas need updating, but rooms are comfortable. There is a very good breakfast buffet. Internet access is available in the rooms.
- 25 Sheraton Amman (located on the 5th Circle). Another five-star
Compared with other capital cities, Amman is a very safe place to visit. Jordanian police and the military maintain a tight grip on law and order. Personal safety is high in Amman - it is safe to walk anywhere in the city at any time of day or night. Serious crime is extremely rare. In 2005, some major hotels were targeted by bombers (connected with the conflict in Iraq). Security measures at all major hotels were increased as a result.
Many details can also be found here: https://www.embassypages.com/jordan
- Australia, Embassy of the Commonwealth of Australia. Visitors address: 3 Yousef Abu Shahhout, Deir Ghbar, Amman. Postal address: P.O. Box 35201, Amman 11180, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com.
- 4 Delegation of the European Union to Jordan, Al-Ameerah Basma Street, North Abdoun, ☎ , e-mail: Delegationfirstname.lastname@example.org.
- 6 Germany, Botschaft der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Visitors address: Benghasi 25, Jabal Amman, Amman. Postal address: P.O. Box 183, Amman 11118, ☎ , , , (emergency mobile), fax: , e-mail: email@example.com. Also:
- Greece, 7, Suleiman Youssef Sukkar Str. (PO Box 35069, 11180 Amman), ☎ , , (Emergencies), fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hungary, A Magyar Köztársaság ammani nagykövetsége. Visitors address: Abdoun, Jaqoub Ammari Str. 13., Amman. Postal address: P.O. Box. 3441, Amman 11181, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com.
- Indonesia, 13 Ali Seedo Al-Kurdi Street, Sweifieh Amman, ☎ , , , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Italy, Ambasciata della Repubblica Italiana. Visitors address: Jabal Al-Weibdeh, Hafiz Ibrahim 5. Postal address: P.O. Box 9800, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: info email@example.com info.
- Netherlands, Abu Bakr Siraj Al-Din Street 3, Amman, ☎ .
- Russia, (22) Zahran St. 3rd Circle, Jabal Amman, ☎ , , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 08:00 - 14:00 (Friday & Saturday closed). Embassy of the Russian Federation in Jordan
- Turkey, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com.
- United Kingdom, Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Visitors address: Abdoun, Amman. Postal address: P.O. Box 87, Amman 11118, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- USA, Embassy of the United States of America, Abdoun, Al-Umawyeen St. Postal address: P.O. Box 354, Amman 11118, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: ResponseAmman@state.gov ResponseAmman@state.gov ResponseAmman@state.gov.
The bus stop at the 7th circle is less than 100m south of the circle. This stop serves the airport, Madaba (JOD0.75), Kerak and others. The small yellow "airport express" labeled bus is easily recognized and the driver will also stop on other places if you wave at him. To reach the 7th circle from downtown take bus 41 or any headed to Wadi As-Seir and ask to be dropped of at Dawaar As-Saabe'a (7th circle). Many buses going by the 7th circle also take a turn at the 4th circle coming from Trababour Bus Station.
The Trababour Bus Station serves all destinations to the north and to the western border. To get there from downtown, take Serviis (A sedan car that works like a bus) #6 from Raghadan Tourist Service Station (Raghadan Al Seyaha) which is located right next to the Colosseum. The Trababour Bus Station is the last stop on the Serviis' route.
Many budget hotels like Palace or Farah organize day tours for about JOD16-18 which seems a sensible price, but they do not include entrance fees which could be important. These tours are open to people who don't sleep at the hotel. Classical tours are Jerash/Ajlun/Um Qais, Madaba/Mount Nebo/Baptism site/Dead sea, and Castles.
- Madaba — Just 45 min away and known as the 'City of Mosaics' for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, especially a large Byzantine-era mosaic map of Palestine and the Nile delta at St. George Church. JOD0.75 by bus from the 7th circle.
- Jerash (and Ajlun (Ajloun) Castle) — An ancient Roman City. Besides Petra and Wadi Rum, the most famous site in Jordan. 1 h, JOD0.75 from Trababour Bus Station. Get off right before the Hippodrome, 1 km before the bus station, and enter down the side road through the museum. A private taxi from Amman can be hired for JOD8-10 JD one-way. Expect to pay as much as JOD40 for a return trip and taxi driver staying on site while you look around. Ajlun Castle is only a short side trip from Jerash, either by bus from the junction south of the Hippodrome or by Taxi.
- Umm Qais — A town north, close to the ruins of the ancient Gadara. Best reached by (rental) car or taxi.
- Dead Sea — Mt. Nebo (JOD1) and Jesus' Baptism Site (Al-Maghtas) on the Jordan River are essentially on the way, so consider them as well if you have your own car or taxi. The Dead Sea Amman City Resort is about JOD20 with free showers and swimming pools, but no lockers, towels or mud. Taxi services for travel to the Dead Sea can be purchased for the day JOD20 if you hail a cab from down town, down town hotels charge JOD35 for the same service. There are a handful of bus lines that also run from Amman on a daily basis. Bus from Mujaharin bus station to Rame costs JOD1. A taxi from Rame to Amman Tourist Beach JOD4 or less. JETT offers a daily shuttle from Amman (7th circle) to the Dead Sea and back for JOD7 oneway.
- Petra — The most famous site in Jordan. JETT buses, both ordinary and all-inclusive guided tour, connect via the fast (but boring) Desert Highway. It leaves at 6:30 from the JETT bus office close to Abdali station and in 3.5 h you'll get to the bus station not even 5 minutes from the entrance of Petra. At 17:00 the JETT bus takes off again to go back to Amman. The price is JOD8-10 one way. Time tables of the JETT Bus: http://www.jett.com.jo/SubPage.aspx?PageId=230 Also, from the South Bus Station Petra can be reached by tourist buses: they tend to leave when they are full, from 8:30 am onwards (3 1/2 hrs, JOD4-5). Another option, go via Ma'an (JOD7) into Wadi Musa (JOD0.5) (town of Petra). Furthermore, for JOD75 or less (depending on how much you haggle) you may be able to get a private taxi from Amman to Petra and back, including the driver waiting around for 6 h.
- Allenby Bridge / Israel — The JETT bus to the Palestinian border bridge costs JOD7.5 and takes about 1 h. A taxi to the Palestinian border crossing bridge can cost JOD25 and takes one hour, depending on which of the three border crossing points you use. Keep in mind that though the Allenby Bridge crosses from Jordan to the West Bank, the checkpoint on the western side is operated by Israel, and plan your travel documents accordingly. Once at the border crossing, you must switch to another bus to cross over the bridge, pass through the checkpoint, then hire a shared taxi from the border. Expect travel from Amman to the old city of Jerusalem to take at least 3 h.
- Syria — There were two operators (on of them called Challenge) each providing two daily services to Damascus (Sumariya-Terminal) from Amman for SYP500 (SYP50 student discount). The tour took at least 4 to 5 h, depending on border formalities. However, considering the current situation in Syria, it is not recommended you head into this direction.