Solo female travel in Jordan can be a very rewarding travel experience. That said, this is a country which requires a little more preparation and assertiveness than a lot of other destinations.
This guide aims to help you prepare for a trip to Jordan, based on my own experiences as a woman travelling alone in the country. It aims to cover all of the key questions that surround visiting the Hashemite Kingdom, including:
- What is the easiest (and cheapest) way to get around Jordan?
- Should I be worried about my safety?
- Am I going to attract a lot of male attention?
- What should women travelling alone in Jordan wear?
- What are the best sources of information for Jordan travel advice?
- Where should I visit during my first trip?
This post is quite extensive, so feel free to use the table of contents in order to navigate to the most relevant sections.
- 1 Assumptions About Jordan
- 2 Stereotypes of the Middle East
- 3 Highlights of Solo Female Travel in Jordan
- 4 Where to Travel as a Woman Travelling Alone in Jordan
- 5 Is Jordan Safe?
- 6 What Are the People Like in Jordan?
- 7 Gender Segregation and View on Women
- 8 Dress Conservatively in Jordan
- 9 Getting Around Jordan
- 10 Considerations for Women Travelling Alone in Jordan
- 10.1 Don’t Wander Too Far Off The Beaten Track At Tourist Sites
- 10.2 Learn To Ignore Male Attention
- 10.3 Know When To Seek Help
- 10.4 “My Husband is at the Hotel with a Migraine”
- 10.5 Make Note of Useful Addresses and Contacts
- 10.6 Don’t Go Out With Wet Hair
- 10.7 Take Feminine Products With You
- 10.8 Crossing Borders into Neighbouring Countries
- 10.9 Consider Buying the Jordan Pass
- 10.10 Accommodation in Jordan
- 11 Meeting Other Travellers in Jordan
- 12 Pin It For Later!
Assumptions About Jordan
The one question at the forefront of every solo female traveller’s mind when choosing her next destination is often the same for many: Is this place safe for a woman traveling alone?
Jordan is definitely a region that many solo female travellers are unsure about and which triggers them to query their safety. Many people dismiss the entire Middle East as ‘out of bounds’ and that is not restricted to us solo female travellers.
Stereotypes of the Middle East
The mention of Jordan and the Middle East in general, stirs certain stereotypes. It really is a shame because, as I have reiterated in many of my posts about this region, the situation on the ground is not necessarily reflective of what you see in the media.
Unfortunately, since the main channel through which you are receiving information about the Middle East is the media, then that is the information that you will use to form your opinion on the matter.
Highlights of Solo Female Travel in Jordan
- Conquering the challenging monastery hike at Petra
- Bobbing along like a cork in the dead sea
- Camping beneath the stars at Wadi Rum with Bedouins
- Falling in love with the quirky nature of Amman, its souks and tea rooms
- Doing all of the above as a solo female traveller in Jordan and never once feeling afraid or intimidated.
Where to Travel as a Woman Travelling Alone in Jordan
For as long as I can remember, I had daydreamed about travelling to Jordan. I was in love with the idea of pitching up a tent beneath the stars at a Bedouin camp-site, of wandering around the lost city of Petra like the female Indiana Jones and of feasting on delicious Arabic food.
Sometimes, we live in so much anticipation of our travels that when they actually come around, they don’t live up to our expectation. Solo female travel in Jordan was not like that at all. Jordan exceeded my every expectation and then some.
Places that you may wish to consider incorporating into your Jordan trip are detailed below.
The ancient Nabatean city of Petra is the reason that many people decide to travel to Jordan in the first place (myself included). The city was carved into sandstone cliffs in the 3rd century BC.
Petra was an important city for camel caravan traders on the trade route from Damascus to Arabia. That is, until Petra was invaded by the Romans.
Petra was not re-discovered until a Swiss Explorer stumbled across it in 1812. There are so many notable buildings and hiking trails here that I would strongly recommend spending at least two days in Petra. If your trip coincides with a Monday, Wednesday or Thursday, consider experiencing Petra by night, when the ancient city is illuminated by thousands of candles.
Amman is the capital of Jordan and arguably, one of the Middle East’s best kept secrets. You would not expect to hear words like “artsy”, “quirky”, or “cultural melting pot” used to describe Amman but they sum it up perfectly. Base yourself in Jabal Al Weibdeh, or Jabal Amman – colourful areas known for their eclectic markets, and charming tea rooms.
If your itinerary can afford it, spend at least a couple of days here. Visit the Amman Citadel, with its Temple of Hercules, and the Umayyad Palace. Don’t miss the Roman Amphitheatre that once seated more than 6,000 spectators during the Roman rule.
Jerash sits one hour north of Amman. The city is home to one of the largest and best-preserved Roman sites outside of Italy.
You can spend a good few hours strolling along colonnaded streets, past well-preserved temples and colosseums. There is even a huge hippodrome where Romans once raced their chariots to an audience of 15,000 spectators.Modern Jerash encompasses the ruins and it’s believed that what is excavated here is only a small percentage of the total site.
Karak and the Crusader Castles
There are several Crusader castles set out in the deserts of Jordan. The largest of these is the 1142 Karak castle.
Karak has a fascinating history and has been the site of many battles over the centuries. The site is seldom crowded, and wandering its empty stone walkways can have an almost spooky sensation. Qasr Kharana, Qasr Amra and Qasr Azraq are also worth adding to your itinerary.
The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is a body of heavily salted, intense blue water that sits between Jordan and Israel. At 431 metres below sea level, this is the lowest point on earth. The sea here is so salty that when you get into it, you will float!
Dead sea mud and minerals are world-famous for their apparent beautifying and healing properties. There are a lot of spas and luxurious resort hotels set here, making it the perfect spot for a little R&R.
Is Jordan Safe?
Jordan is generally a very safe country. It is ranked time and again in the World Safety Index as being one of the safest countries in the region.
It is just unfortunate that Jordan’s neighbours (Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc.) have reputations that make people look at the map, gasp in horror, and conclude that it isn’t safe. The people of Jordan are typically friendly, welcoming, and pleased to show International tourists the beauty of their country.
Research Before You Go
As with travelling anywhere, you should check your country’s government travel advice, as well as the local media for any developments prior to your trip. I generally feel that the British Government Travel Advice is very good. It covers various aspects that you need to consider before venturing to Jordan, along with a timeline of recent events.
You can also check the US Government Travel Advice. That said, I often find the US information to be a little more harshly worded.
Get a Jordanian Sim Card
Get yourself a Sim Card in Jordan to ensure that you are always connected during your trip. The main cell phone company in Jordan is Zain. They sell Sim cards along with data/text/call bundles starting from just $10. You will find Zain kiosks at Jordanian airports (including AMM Queen Alia Amman), as well as in dedicated stores.
Always Travel With Insurance
It is prudent to ensure that you always have comprehensive travel insurance, wherever you decide to travel. That is no different for Jordan. Should you have an accident overseas, emergency medical aid can be very expensive.
As a rule of thumb, try and opt for a travel insurance package that offers at least $1 million in medical cover. Some insurance policies come with additional extras that are nice to have – such as coverage for loss/theft/accidental damage of electrical items, or repatriation and recovery.
What Are the People Like in Jordan?
One thing that struck me most during my solo female travel in Jordan was just how friendly and welcoming the Jordanian people were/are. “You’re welcome!” is kind of like a tag-line that people say during your every encounter.
Sometimes this is said out of context which is actually pretty funny (but cute because the people are so well intentioned!) Entering some guy’s shop? You’re welcome! Inspect an item? He’ll pop up behind you and tell you “you’re welcome!” Leave the shop? Yep, you’re welcome!
“You’re welcome” aside, most of my experiences with people in Jordan were positive. I explored Amman and Petra by myself, but since Jordan is fairly difficult to get around since there is no public transport, I had a Guide and a Driver with me for a lot of my journey also. These guys both had such a great sense of humour and were one contributing factor for the adventure turning out some wonderfully.
Gender Segregation and View on Women
Jordan is still something of a patriarchal society that holds traditional gender roles true. Though the sight of women travelling alone in Jordan is becoming more common, it’s still quite a startling sight from a local’s perspective.It is not usual in Jordanian culture for a woman to be wandering around alone so be prepared for plenty of stares and people approaching you to make small talk.
Unfortunately, as with many countries around the globe, a lot of Jordanians assume that western women are promiscuous based on what they have seen depicted in western cinema so you are likely to experience some leeriness as a result.
In many areas of Jordanian society, men and women are separated. That means that when you travel away from the main tourist trail, you may be met with restaurants with separate dining areas for women, and segregated public transportation.
Going out to a bar or a coffee shop in Jordan is considered a “male thing to do” so I would not recommend that you visit these places alone (with the exception of in Upper Jabal Amman where there are tons of super cute hipster-esque coffee places).
Dress Conservatively in Jordan
Let’s just address this quickly: Just because you are travelling in the Middle East amid a conservative culture, that does not mean that you have to dress frumpy and make yourself look like a walking, talking sack of potatoes. I mean yes, it is imperative that you dress respectfully when travelling in Jordan. However potato-chic is optional.
Jordan is still a relatively conservative Arab state and Jordanian women dress modestly to reflect that. Dressing appropriately is not only respectful, but it also works in your favor by helping you to reduce the amount of unwanted attention that you will attract during your Jordanian adventure.
The general rule in Jordan is covering up to your wrist, and down to your ankles. In tourist sites like Petra, and Jerash, you have more leniency since there are so many tourists around and the locals are more used to seeing people in shorts and shirts but as a solo woman in Jordan, I’d still err on the side of conservative. I always just stuck to a short sleeved tee paired with long trousers but you can glam it up with jumpsuits and maxi skirts.
Do You Have to Cover Your Hair?
You do not have to cover your hair or wear a hijab in Jordan. The only time you will be required to cover your hair will be when visiting a mosque.
I would advise that you always carry a scarf or pashmina in your bag while in Amman. This comes in handy for sun protection too! There are a lot of women selling beautiful scarves in Amman, Petra, and Jerash. You can also support local women by purchasing a scarf in Jordan, rather than taking one from your home country.
Getting Around Jordan
Unfortunately, Jordan is not an easy country to navigate as a solo female traveller. There are no trains, and buses run to an extremely limited schedule.
Due to public transport limitations, the best options for navigating your way around Jordan are to either hire drivers and private cars to get you from A to B, or to rent your own car and self drive. The added headache is the fact that Jordan is quite expensive. I have broken down the different options below.
Hire Your Own Car
Hiring a car is one of the best ways to explore Jordan independently. Roads in Jordan are modern and well-built. It is not difficult to navigate your way around the country as Jordan is small and there are essentially two main roads that extend along the length of the country – The Desert Highway and King’s Highway. Road signs in Jordan are in English as well as Arabic.
I didn’t rent a car in Jordan, I hired my own Driver. This is because at the time of my trip (in Summer 2017), I was a little unsure about driving on the “other” side of the road (I’m British and had never driven on the right!), and I was nervous about being alone. I have since rented a car and driven independently across Oman. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t hesitate to self-drive in Jordan.
Renting a car in Jordan costs approximately 25-30JD per day. It is possible to collect your rental car upon arrival at Queen Alia International Airport. Numerous reputable rental companies offer services from here – including Sixt, Budget, and Europcar.
Explore by Private Guide & Driver
Hiring a private car and driver is one of the most popular ways to get around Jordan. If you don’t feel comfortable driving alone, or you cannot drive, this is the option I would recommend.
The average price of hiring a Guide/Driver in Jordan is approximately 60-70 JOD per day. Note that that price is per car NOT per person. Therefore if you happen to meet other travellers in Amman, you can split the costs.
You can make contact with a Jordanian Guide before travelling to Jordan. Ensure that your Tour Guide is someone reputable (see if they have a profile on the Jordan Tour Guide Association website). Check past reviews to see feedback that other travellers have left for your guide, particularly other women. There are both male and female guides in Jordan, so if you only feel comfortable travelling with another woman, rest assured you will not have difficulty finding one.
My Guide was a hilarious Ammani guy named Nader Saleh. I usually prefer to travel with a female guide, however Nader was incredibly nice and hilariously funny. He has travelled a lot and lived in the USA for a period of time. I think that my trip to Jordan would not have been the same without him. I have no hesitation in recommending him to other women travelling to Jordan alone.
Arrange Transport Via Hotels
If you book a hotel in Petra/Wadi Rum, it is possible to organise a transfer between Amman and Petra via your hotel. Rates are typically similar to those of private drivers (i.e. circa 70 JD per day), and you have the additional assurance of knowing that this is the hotel’s trusted driver.
Not all hotels offer this service. Check in advance before making your recommendation. This is something that you will find especially at the more luxurious properties such as the Petra Movenpick hotel.
If you are on a budget, you can attempt to explore Jordan by bus. You should note that public buses in Jordan run on very limited schedules.
Jett buses are the main local provider. You will be able to get between Amman, Petra, and Jerash by bus. From Petra to Aqaba you can also take a shared taxi. Reaching the crusader castles and the Dana nature reserve by bus is tricky.
Notable bus routes to consider are:
- Amman – Petra: The JETT bus from Amman to Petra leaves at 6.30am daily. The return bus is at 17.00pm, or you can opt to stay overnight in a hotel (recommended). The route between Amman and Petra takes four hours.
- Amman – Jerash: There is no JETT bus from Amman to Jerash, however local buses make the journey at frequent intervals throughout the day. Jerash is only 30 miles away from Amman. Take a shared bus (sherut) from Amman North Bus Station for 1 JD.
- Petra – Aqaba: There is no JETT bus that departs between Petra and Aqaba, however there is a sherut/shared cab. These are little mini vans that leave when full. Try to arrive early so as to secure your seat. Shared buses leave from Wadi Mousa at 6.30am and 8.00am daily.
Book a Place on an Organised Tour
I am a big advocate of travelling independently. Generally speaking, opting to plan and organise everything yourself turns out much cheaper than booking a place on a tour. That said, since Jordan is both expensive and tricky to get around, you may want to consider reserving a place on a guided tour.
Guided tours can be a good way to meet other travellers. If you are on a budget and don’t want to book an expensive tour for the duration of your trip, you can also organise shorter 2&3 day tours locally.
Additional Pointers for Using Transport in Jordan
Some handy additional tips for taking public transport in Jordan are detailed below.
- If you are travelling by bus, try to sit next to another woman.
- If you travel by taxi or personal car, it is respectful for women to sit in the back, rather than next to the driver.
- In Amman, Uber is available which may make getting a cab easier than trying to haggle with a driver on the streets.
- Upon arrival in Jordan, you can either take a bus or a cab from Queen Alia Airport into Amman. A cab ride should cost you no more than 25JD but be prepared to haggle, as the driver will likely assume that you don’t know the going rate.
Considerations for Women Travelling Alone in Jordan
There are several things that you should consider when travelling in Jordan, so I would just like to summarise a few of these below. This isn’t to scare you, but to inform you of precisely what you should be prepared for.
Don’t Wander Too Far Off The Beaten Track At Tourist Sites
A lot of ruins and archaeological sites in Jordan are extremely vast and if you leave the main trails, there is virtually no-one around which is not a situation you want to find yourself in. I climbed to a lookout point in Jerash and promptly scrambled back down when I realised that I was alone and a guy had followed me up there.
Learn To Ignore Male Attention
In Jordan, I felt like I always had a little group of men loitering around me and I received a constant stream of male attention. Don’t engage them at all. Continue walking with a determined stride and act as though you haven’t even noticed that they are there.
Know When To Seek Help
If someone continues to harass you, look to seek help or make people aware. Yelling “Imshi” (“go away” in Arabic) should deter them and attract the attention of others. Failing that, enter a local store or business and try to make the owner’s aware of what is happening (most Jordanians are super friendly and helpful).
Tourist police kiosks are scattered around most major sites like Petra and Wadi Rum and helped me when a group of men were following me around Petra. Male attention in Jordan can be intimidating. To put things in perspective though, you should note that reports of rape and assault are very rare.
“My Husband is at the Hotel with a Migraine”
It’s perfectly fine to invent a backstory if you feel it necessary to do so and sometimes it’s better to have people think that you are not completely alone in the country. Never let the people that latch onto you know that you are on Jordan completely alone.
Make Note of Useful Addresses and Contacts
Always carry the details of where you are staying with you. Try and take a business card from your hotel so that it shows the hotel’s name and contact details in both English and Arabic. This is helpful if you get lost and need to take a cab.
You should also make a note of where your country’s embassy is in Amman. Write their address and contact number down just in case. The number for Emergency Services in Jordan is 911.
Don’t Go Out With Wet Hair
If you wash your hair at your hotel, always make sure that you dry it thoroughly before heading outside. If you go outside with wet hair in Jordan, it is said to be advertising sexual availability, or as being a sign that you just had sex! This may attract additional unwanted stares and attention.
Take Feminine Products With You
Tampons and contraception are difficult to find in Jordan. Most of the supermarkets and pharmacies here will only sell sanitary towels. Ensure that you have packed enough feminine care products to last you for the duration of your time in the country.
Crossing Borders into Neighbouring Countries
Jordan shares borders with Lebanon, Syria, and Israel. The bus from Amman to Beirut (Lebanon) runs via Syria. At this time, it is only possible to cross the border between Jordan and Israel.
Israel and Jordan make a nice travel pairing. Although the two countries don’t have the best relationship, they are amicable with each other at least. Although it sounds intimidating, crossing the border between Jordan and Israel is fairly straightforward. You will not encounter any additional problems or suspicion as a solo woman.
Consider Buying the Jordan Pass
If you are staying in Jordan for more than 3 nights/4days, then I would recommend getting the Jordan Pass before departing on your journey. The pass includes your Jordanian visa fee and entrance to the majority of notable sites in the country (including Petra).
You should take the same precautions when travelling alone in Jordan as you would anywhere else in the world. Use common sense – don’t walk alone at night in Amman, don’t have expensive camera equipment on display, and be cautious of being overly friendly to strangers. For more generalised advice on solo female travel, I have written this dedicated guide.
Accommodation in Jordan
There are a range of accommodation options available in Jordan. It’s advisable to err towards booking mid-range or luxury hotel rooms. Budget hotels here have a reputation for being somewhat “shady”. Since you cannot put a price on safety, I would advise you to not hesitate to pay a little extra. Check reviews on websites such as Booking so you can see what experiences other female travellers have had with the hotels recently.
My personal recommendations would be the Movenpick in Petra and at the Dead Sea (luxury without breaking the bank. Staying in a nice hotel also gives an added sense of security).
In Amman, consider Le Royal Amman, and in Wadi Rum, a luxury Bedouin campsite beneath the stars. I personally did not experience any safety concerns as a result of staying in a campsite (obviously I opted for a yurt with a locking door) and I don’t believe you should be worried about it.
As with many places, Airbnb is available in Jordan and can offer great apartments and home stays at affordable prices.
Meeting Other Travellers in Jordan
Couchsurfing and Meetup are great platforms for meeting fellow travellers all over the world. Both apps are completely free to use. Amman is home to a lot of expats, as well as friendly Jordanian locals so it is not difficult to find people to explore the city or grab dinner with.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to stay at a stranger’s house to use Couchsurfing. You can go along to meetings and events in Amman where you are sure to make new friends, or you can use the hangouts feature to find travellers that are around you.
There is a group of locals and travellers that meet every Thursday at the Kaffeine Cafe in Amman. Always check the reviews of the people that you are meeting, and always meet in a public place!
If you still have any outstanding questions or concerns about solo female travel in Jordan, feel free to reach out to me via the comments box below. I will do my best to get back to you ASAP. Safe travels! Melissa xo
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Note: This article was originally published in July 2017. It was last updated on the 19th November 2019.