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Jordan

Respect the Jordanian customs

You will be blown away by the welcome that you'll receive during your trip to Jordan. The Jordanians know how to make visitors welcome, that's for certain. They are sticklers for this lifestyle and on your part, you have to show yourself worthy by respecting certain rules of politeness.

How To Behave

It will not take you long during your trip to Jordan to realise that the hospitality here has been elevated to a lifestyle. You will often be invited to share a mint tea.

If you hitchhike you will not be waiting for longer than 5 minutes on the side of the road and if you take a bus you will see that it is not uncommon for a passenger to pay your fare with a friendly "It's normal, you are welcome in Jordan".

Faced with such a welcome you must especiallyabide by certain rules of politeness. It all begins with a few words of Arabic. The Jordanians are always happy to see a foreigner making the effort to say a few words in their language. After the first hello, in Arabic if possible, do not hesitate to increase the courtesies and pay special attention to the person who is talking to you. If you continue the discussion, as connections are made and you are invited to a meal, a small gift of drinks or cakes will always be appreciated.

If you share a couscous or tagine, do not put your feet in the dish (figuratively speaking) or your left hand (literally speaking) as it is considered unclean. Only use the right hand.

An important point for women, do not go without wearing a veil, it is strongly advised to wear clothing that covers your legs, back and shoulders. At the beach you can definitely forget about wearing a bikini and opt for a much more modest swimming costume.

If you want to join in the conversations in cafes or on the streets, never criticise religion or the royal family. However, feel free to intervene in discussions about football, a favourite subject for the Jordanians.

In a street in Amman

Ignore begging

Unlike other countries, you will not be too bothered with begging problems in Jordan. On arriving in Amman, Aqaba or a tourist site like Petra, children will ask you for a pen or a dollar. They are sent by their parents and it is best not to encourage them. Instead, make a donation to one of the associations already on site. They also have great need of your generosity. 

David Debrincat
459 contributions
Updated 24 November 2015
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