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Getting to Jordan


Royal Jordanian, the national airline, flies direct between Amman and numerous destinations throughout the Middle East, Europe and the world. It goes to Chicago, Montreal, New York and Toronto to the west and to Calcutta, Delhi, Colombo, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Jakarta to the east.

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Other airlines operating direct flights to Jordan are Air France, British Airways, KLM, Alitalia, Turkish Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Cyprus Airways, Air Romania, Lufthansa, Olympic, Swissair and a host of airlines belonging to Middle Eastern countries.


Travelers can cross between Aqaba and the Egyptian port of Nuweibeh via car ferry. Service runs daily leaving Aqaba for Nuweibeh at 15:00. A one-way trip takes three and a half hours, and costs US$ eleven. You can cut the time, however, by paying US$ 41 for a one-hour speedboat which leaves Aqaba at 12 noon. Egyptian visas can be acquired on board.


The Hijaz Railway train runs once a week between Amman and Damascus on the same track that was built by the Ottomans at the beginning of this century. The train departs Amman at 08:00 every Monday, arriving at Damascus at 17:00 hours, and leaves Damascus every Sunday at 07:30 to arrive in Amman at 17:00. Tickets cost 2.5 JD and can only be bought on the day of travel.


The only border crossing between Jordan and Syria is at Ramtha/Der’a. Ramtha, on the Jordanian side, is about 88 kilometers north of Amman, and Der’a is 100 kilometers south of Damascus. Jordanian JETT buses, and their Syrian counterparts from the Karnak company, connect Amman with Damascus. The trip takes between five to six hours, including the time taken to complete the formalities at the border. Book at least two days in advance, and expect to pay around 5 JD. Servees taxis to Damascus run from the Abdali bus station.

There is a JETT bus service between Amman and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which runs three times a week. The trip lasts around 22 hours. You will need to get a visa for Saudi Arabia. Likewise, JETT operates daily service between Amman and Baghdad, but getting a tourist visa for Iraq is quite difficult.


There is one direct crossing point between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank: the King Hussein Bridge (also known as the Allenby Bridge). Since Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty in October, 1994, two new border crossings have been opened between the two countries. The Sheikh Hussein Bridge is at the north of the Jordan Valley, and the Wadi ‘Araba crossing is in the south near Aqaba and Eilat. Each of these entry points are open from 08:00 until 23:00 from Sunday through Thursday, and till 14:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. They are closed on most Jordanian and Israeli holidays.

Leaving from Amman to al-Quds (Jerusalem) through the King Hussein Bridge, you can either take a JETT bus (tel. 5664-146), which leaves at 06:30 daily, or a servees or minibus from the Abdali bus station. Once at the terminal, you will be checked out and board another JETT bus, which is the only form of public transport allowed to shuttle across the bridge. Once across the bridge there is an Israeli passport check before you arrive at the immigration terminal on the West Bank.

There your luggage and person may be searched, and you will receive an entry stamp. Although this stamp does not present a problem when entering Jordan or Egypt, if you wish to visit Syria, Lebanon or any Arab country which has not signed a peace treaty with Israel, you should explicitly ask to get your Israeli entry and exit stamps on separate pieces of paper, not in your passport. Likewise, you should ask the Jordanian authorities to stamp your exit and entry from any crossing point connecting Jordan with the occupied West Bank or Israel on a separate sheet of paper as well.

After being checked in by the Israeli guards, you can catch a share taxi to Jericho, Jerusalem or other places on the West Bank. Buses are also available for a lower price.

Coming from East Jerusalem to Jordan, you can catch a taxi just opposite the Damascus Gate for the King Hussein Bridge. The trip takes 40 minutes to the bridge checkpoint on the Israeli-occupied side. After paying an exit tax and being checked out, you will board the JETT bus to shuttle you across the bridge to the terminal on the Jordanian side. After you are checked into Jordan, board a servees or the cheaper public minibus that will both drive you straight to the Abdali bus station in Amman.

Jordanians and foreign visitors are allowed to drive their cars into Israel and the West Bank provided that they hold a driver’s license and a car license translated into English, automobile insurance (which can be issued at the borders) and an entry visa to Israel if necessary. Bus transport is also available between Amman and Tel Aviv, between Irbid and Haifa, and between Aqaba and Eilat.


Taxis are available from Queen Alia International Airport to take you into Amman. The trip takes around 30 minutes, depending on traffic, and will cost you around 10 JD. The airport also has a bus service which arrives at Abdali bus station every hour and costs 0.500 JD. Passengers using Queen Alia airport for international flights are requested to check in two hours before departure.


Regular yellow private taxis are a fast and relatively inexpensive way of getting around Amman, Aqaba and other cities. They are found in abundance in most areas, and you will rarely have to wait long to get one. Taxi drivers are obliged to use their meter, which starts at 0.150 JD.

A cheaper option to a private taxi is known as a servees, or a communal taxi. These are usually white Mercedes or Peugeot 504s which take preordained routes around Amman. Servees taxis will stop to let you out anywhere along their route, although there are registered points where they begin and end their circuit. Like buses, servees taxis post their destinations and route numbers in Arabic, so you may find it difficult to familiarize yourself with their routes. If you cannot read Arabic, hail a passing servees, shout your destination, and it may stop to pick you up. Most servees routes pass through either downtown Amman or Abdali bus station. Servees fares run between 80 and 120 fils.


There are several types of bus service operating in Jordan. The enormous blue-and-white buses belonging to the JETT bus company run on limited routes within the country and run charter tours. JETT connects Amman to Aqaba, the King Hussein Bridge, Petra, and Hammamat Ma’een. You should book in advance for JETT buses. The JETT station is located on King Hussein Street about 500 meters from the Abdali bus station.

Large private buses, usually air-conditioned, run north from Amman to Irbid and south to Aqaba. There are two main bus stations in Amman: Abdali and Wahdat. Buses from Abdali go to Ajloun, Beqa’a, Deir Alla, Fuheis, Jerash, Irbid, Sweileh, Wadi Seer and the King Hussein Bridge. Most of these fares cost less than half a dinar. Buses from Wahdat station go south of Amman to Aqaba, Madaba, Petra, Ma’an, Wadi Mousa, Karak and Hammamat Ma’een. Fares for these routes are usually below 2 JD. Destinations are shown on the front of public buses in Arabic, so if you do not read Arabic ask to be shown the bus you need.

All smaller towns are connected by 20-seat minibuses. These leave when full and on some routes operate infrequently. The Dead Sea is one destination that is difficult to get to without private transport, as there are no JETT or public buses operating there.


Car rental in Jordan is fairly expensive in comparison to Europe and the United States, but there are plenty of choices available in Amman, Aqaba and at Queen Alia airport. All the main international car rental companies operate in Amman, and some have offices in other cities. Rental cars have green number plates with yellow writing, whereas Jordanian private cars have white number plates.

When you are calling to compare prices, be sure to check the amount of deposit required, as it can be very high. Obtain good insurance and read the contract thoroughly. Prices should range between 30-40 JDs per day for a medium-sized car. Mileage limits vary from 100-200 kilometers per day, after which you pay extra.

You can also hire a car plus driver from most rental companies. Car rental can also be arranged through travel agents and hotels.


Driving in Jordan presents few problems. While an international driving license is preferred, generally a national driving license is sufficient as long as it has a photograph of the holder. Foreigners who plan to live in Jordan must obtain a Jordanian driving license, but this is not necessary for tourists. Local vehicle insurance is also required.

Jordanians drive on the right-hand side of the road. Road signs are in Arabic and often English as well, so this should pose no problem. Jordan has an excellent road system, and can be crossed by car in approximately four hours. Be careful while driving in cities, as roundabouts are common and potentially dangerous. If you choose to drive in the desert, be sure to take a four-wheel drive with the appropriate tires and an extra container of gasoline. It is wise to bring extra water, as well.

There are numerous gasoline (petrol) stations in Amman and in major towns, but take care if you are driving to southern Jordan, as they are more sparsely spaced there. Gasoline or petrol is called benzene, and super is called khas.