Is Jordan safe for travel? Here is the answer!

Is Jordan safe for travel?

Located in the Middle East and sharing borders with Israel, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Jordan has been popular with tourists for a long time. But to many, especially in India and the West, safety remains a concern. I was in Jordan for over a week and spent my days travelling across the length and breadth of the country, and never for even one moment felt unsafe. Here is an account of my own personal experiences in Jordan.

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It was just my first day in Jordan and around midnight I could see my phone beeping with new messages. I was not sleepy so decided to check them out, and not too surprisingly it was another friend from India who thought I was in a war zone and wanted to check on my well-being. This wasn’t the first time people had shown surprise and worry when they learnt about my plans to explore Jordan for a few days - the first and only question they asked me was, ‘Is Jordan safe for travel?’


Is Jordan safe for travel petra
Is Jordan safe for travel? YES!


Well, it is true that Jordan has borders with both Syria and Iraq, two of the countries in Middle-east which are going through turbulent times right now. Also, there is a perception of Jordan as a conservative Muslim country. I also think that we look at middle-east with very apprehensive eyes and just bracket the whole region together as unstable, unsafe and not friendly to the tourists.

The fear is much higher in the west, but I feel even back home in India we are often worried about middle east. Having spent a week with the extremely hospitable Jordanians, I have the first hand experience of how is it being in the country, what is it like walking the streets of its cities late in the night, how are people and their perceptions about the world and more!

However, before we go ahead let’s look at the question again - Is Jordan safe for travel? 

YES! Jordan is extremely safe to travel!

So let’s break a few myths about safety in Jordan.

Jordan is a Muslim country!

In Jordan it is illegal to ask anyone for their religious beliefs, and so no census is ever conducted to find the exact number of followers for a specific faith. It certainly has a Muslim majority, followed by a large Christian population, and then a few more smaller ethnic group.

The country and it’s people are take a lot of pride in this. It’s considered very impolite to discuss religious beliefs with locals because of this and as a traveler following a different faith, you feel quite a home. In fact I felt that everyone around me was extremely secular and hardly anyone cared much about my religion, people were more interested in Bollywood, Indian food and more.

The country is also home to some of the most important sites of Christianity, like the river bank where Christ was baptised, and this makes up for the largest chunk in all the tourists that visit the country.


The Syrian connection

Jordan shares it’s northern border with Syria, and we drove all the way to the Ajolun Castle from where we could see the Syrian side. The proximity in distance also means that the people are also close to each other and share many cultural values. With war in Syria and exodus of it's people, Jordan took one of the largest number of refugees from the country and continues to do that. I highly respect that point as it shows the humanitarian side of the people of Jordan, and I do hope the refugees continue to find a home away from home in Jordan. For many, Jordan is the entry point for the West and those who can afford, move on.

Have no worry about this. Jordan’s borders are secure and the strong armed forces keep any untoward incidents in check. I think Jordan is as safe as any other part in the world. In fact many of us share borders with countries which are unstable, but we continue to remain safe from them - India is also a good enough example for this.

To settle the concerns about safety once and for all, let’s look at the homicide rates per 100,000 inhabitants of the some of the major contours in the world and see who Jordan fares. The data used is from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

United States - 4.7
India - 3.5
Norway - 2.2
Jordan - 2.0

Surprised? So was I :)

These numbers speak for themselves and I don't have to add anything here. However, I must add that like any other country, there are always neighbourhoods which are best avoided for travellers. Do read up about the cities that you travel to, and identify the neighbourhoods that might not be safe.

My experiences 

On the first night itself, Deepti, Ekta and I decided to explore a bit of the night life in Amman and so took a walk back to the hotel from the restaurant after dinner. It was around ten when we started walking along the Rainbow Street, and were completely taken by surprise by the fun people were having on the streets. It was Thursday night (which is equivalent to the Friday nights in India), so the roads were full, there was music around, people broke into impromptu dances and so on. We were also stopped as the locals wanted pictures (and selfies) with us. There were nice and swanky cars with music, and I loved the vibes of the city - it was young, lively and was having a lot of fun! We even stopped back at a Turkish Hammam and I event went inside, interviewed the masseur and took a few pictures, while the girls chatted up with the owner outside.

Is Jordan safe for travel rainbow street amman
A scene from the Rainbow Street

Over the next many days, I interviewed many different people from all walks of life, and each one of those were cherished experiences. The conversations always started with ‘Welcome to Jordan’ with a bug smile. It immediately made me feel welcome and at home, and these interviews went really well (check them out on Instagram). Whether I spoke to a religious Muslim man praying in a cave, or a young sailor in the boat, there were smiles everywhere. An old woman kissed my forehead and wished me, while a guide sang a Hindi line to make me smile.

But pereptions remain and I recently read another beautiful story about a family's plan to visit Jordan, and how they did the same as me - busted the myth about Jordan being unsafe!


Is Jordan safe for travel petra
With Mohamad at Petra
Is Jordan safe for travel amman
With Samira!

Such was the warm hospitality in Jordan, I never wanted to come back home to India :)

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Disclaimer: I was in Jordan on invitation of Jordan Tourism Board. All views and stories shared on the blog are unbiased and based purely on my experiences.

Comments

  1. Sounds wonderful and exciting. Nice post, Sid.

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  2. My dad visited Jordan back in 2009, and I have only heard great stories from him. Of course most people shy away these days, so it's really good to read this.

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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    Replies
    1. Yes that's true...many people stay away now a days. Its quite sad to see that because the country is absolutely safe...

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  3. Jordan, is one place I would love to go to.. Nice pics ..

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Sara! I am sure you will love the country :)

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  4. Such a lovely pic of you with Samira and Mohamad :) Even though you have narrated well about their life in your both the posts. Really cant imagine their life in that very different terrain. It looks so different world. Like even differnt planet.

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    1. It's a very different world indeed, but I think deep down it's not too different from ours. The terrain is different, but people are not as different, even though they very different from us...

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