At first driving in Jordan may seem like a daunting task but actually it’s not that bad, I would have to say it’s safer than driving in China. Heading back to Amman city from Jerash is mainly highway and if you just following navigation on Google Map then you should have no problem (download an offline map if you need).
Not so bad to drive along right?
There are a few sights you could see in Amman but the one I recommend is the Amman Citadel. It sits on the top of a mountain and gives you a magnificent view of Amman city. The Citadel itself is worth a tour as it is a national historic site with occupation by many civilisation. But as I said the crown jewel is going there before sunset and watch the sun come down onto Amman city.
Looking over Amman City
Part of the Amman Citadel
For accomodation in Amman, there are five star hotels like Sheraton, but for single travellers like me I went the hostel option. The hostel I picked after some research was called Sydney Hotel (http://www.sydneyhotelamman.com/). The location was great and easy parking outside too. It’s literally 10min walk from the town centre and where all the food and shops are. In terms of cleanliness and quality I would give it a 3/5 rating, it wasn’t bad and especially in Jordan, but I have seen hostel in better shapes.
So my first destination from the airport was to a town called Jerash. It’s about 50km north of Amman and the drive from the airport was just a bit over an hour (made a stop to grab some supplies). Jerash is one of the better preserved roman ruins from about 300AD. Entrance fee to Jerash is 8JD, remember to buy some water before you go in. The sight is quite big so you can spend a good 2-3 hours exploring. There are guides which you can hire once you instead, and depending on your negotiation skills it can be 30-50JD. A few mentionable sites to visit would be The Forum, Zeus Temple, South Theater & Propylaeum. If you are hungry, I recommend to head back to Amman but if you want to grab a bite there is a shop outside where you can grab like a kebab.
So I arrived in Jordan and this the entrance of Jerash City!!!
Last one! Don’t want to spoil it all for you.
My journey to Jordan started with flight from Hong Kong to Dubai via Bangkok. First time flying with Emirates and the experience was quite pleasant. The checkin lady was kind enough to put me onto the emergency exit seat, so I can stretch my legs out. Total travel time to Amman was 14 hours including 3hrs transit in Dubai. Arriving in Amman at 9am, first surprise to me was the airport. It was actually a pretty nice airport.
The immigration process was quite smooth. For most countries you can get a Visa on arrival for 40JD, some countries passport are free (e.g. HKSAR). Check with the staff before immigration which queue you need to go to. For the visa fee its only accepted in Jordanian Dinar and there is an exchange office before immigration. I found that the rates were probably the best I have seen around Jordan, as hotels offer less, so good idea to change all your cash needs at the airport. After immigration and picking up my bags I headed thru customs and out.
Waiting for me at the arrival hall is a guy from the car rental company with a sign with my name on it. The car rental company I went with is called Monte Carlo, they are not a major brand and their office is not at the airport but their rate is much better. I paid 25JD/day for my car which is a Mitsubishi Lancer. The car was clean and had a few dents on it but otherwise was running fine the whole time. The guy will take you around the car and get you to sign and pay for the rental. You can pay cash or credit card. After he will drive you out of the airport onto the rental office about 5km away where the car needs to be returned. Not too hard to find.
So with all that sorted I set off on my adventure and drove to my first destination in Jordan. Now, driving in Jordan I would say is not too bad. The roads are quite wide but most roads don’t have lanes marked or if it does its pretty faint. So you have to use some common sense and pick the right lane. Secondly, through out the country you will come to some checkpoints where the police or army will ask for a license but not your drivers license. It’s the cars registration license card, the guy from the rental company should tell you where that is. Last point, petrol stations are readily available except on the highway next to the Dead Sea.
Lastly if you are like me and want to stayed connected you can buy a prepaid SIM with 1GB data for 12JD. Just take a left once you at the arrival. The company I got it from was Zain and the coverage and reception was good, except of course when I was out in the desert.
So off I went for my 6 days in Jordan!!!