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Jordan's rich Middle Eastern heritage harmoniously intertwines with Western influences, forming a captivating fusion of the bygone and the contemporary. The enduring essence of Jordanian hospitality goes beyond borders, ensuring a heartfelt and genuinely inquisitive welcome for all. From the spirited Dabke dance that echoes through ancient streets to the tantalizing aromas of traditional Jordanian cuisine, each facet unveils a unique chapter while on a trip to Jordan's cultural narrative. Join us as we delve into the vibrant culture in Jordan, immersing in the warmth of Bedouin traditions, the grandeur of Petra, and the timeless customs that make Jordan a captivating destination.

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1. Discover Jordanian Cuisine

Jordan dishes and assorted breads, meats, rice in the table.
Enjoy Middle Eastern herbs with spices and sesame seeds layered on a dough basis and baked as bread.

Explore the culture of Jordan through a culinary journey that mirrors diverse cultural influences and age-old traditions. Delight in the savory treasures of dishes such as Mansaf, a lamb and yogurt creation inspired by Bedouin traditions; or the crispy goodness of Falafel. Let your taste buds revel in the aromatic embrace of za'atar and sumac, infusing dishes like Maqluba, a delectable rice and vegetable medley. Whether navigating the vibrant markets of Amman or wandering through the serene landscapes of Petra, Jordanian cuisine enchants the senses, offering a delightful medley of flavors.

Must-try food:

  • Mansaf: Jordan's national dish, Mansaf features lamb cooked in fermented yogurt sauce, served with rice and flatbread. This hearty meal reflects Jordanian hospitality and is often served on important occasions.
  • Falafel: Enjoy crispy, deep-fried chickpea patties served on pita bread. Jordanian falafel is renowned for its rich flavors, often accompanied by tahini sauce, vegetables, and pickles, creating a delicious and satisfying street food experience.
  • Knafeh: Indulge in a sweet treat with Knafeh, a popular dessert made with shredded phyllo dough, sweet cheese, and syrup. This delectable pastry is a staple during celebrations, providing a pleasant combination of flavors and textures.

2. Dress Code in Jordan

A girl admiring the beauty of Petra in Jordan.
Skin exposure is not only a cultural standard; it is also greeted with respect and admiration.

Jordan welcomes tourists visiting the country from different parts of the world with other faiths are wholeheartedly welcomed. Foreign visitors can travel throughout the country in clothes of their choice, although wearing loosely fitting, conservative clothes are recommended. Minimizing skin exposure is received with respect and appreciation. If you are planning a trip to Jordan to visit religious sites, it is recommended that you cover your head with a scarf to show respect.

3. Explore Local Coffee Shops

Coffee making in the local coffee shop in Jordan.
Visit a local coffee shop to try Qahwa Sadad, a black Arabic coffee flavored with cardamom.

Coffee is more than a drink in Jordan; it is an integral part of Jordanian culture. Coffee is revered in Jordan because it represents trust, respect, and hospitality. It brings people together. While in Jordan, visit a local coffee shop to sample Qahwa Sadad, a black Arabic coffee sweetened with cardamom. Coffee is also provided to guests as a show of warm welcome in Jordan.

Must-try coffee types:

  • Arabic coffee (Qahwa): A cornerstone of Jordanian hospitality, Arabic coffee, or Qahwa, is a cherished tradition. Made from lightly roasted Arabica beans blended with cardamom, it's brewed to perfection. Served in small cups, it's a symbol of warm welcomes and shared moments.
  • Turkish coffee: Jordan embraces the rich legacy of Turkish coffee. Finely ground and unfiltered, it delivers a strong, robust flavor. Often sweetened to taste, this coffee is more than a drink; it's a social ritual, fostering conversations and connections.
  • Bedouin coffee (Gahwa): Rooted in Bedouin tradition, Gahwa represents Jordan's nomadic heritage. Prepared with lightly roasted beans, it boasts a distinctive flavor. Sipping Bedouin coffee is not just about the taste but also a journey into the heart of Jordanian cultural richness.

4. Camp in the Deserts of Wadi Rum

Tent in the desert of Wadi Rum in Jordan.
While camping in the Wadi Rum deserts, take in the beautiful night skies and explore the majestic dunes.

Experience Jordanian culture and customs along with the warm hospitality of the local Bedouins by camping in the Wadi Rum Desert. Bask in the beauty of the spectacular night skies and explore the majestic dunes through a jeep or camel riding. The desert landscape of Jordan is breathtaking. Plan your desert camping trip to Wadi Rum for the spring or autumn when the daytime temperatures are not too extreme.

5. Hike the National Trails

A hiker enjoying the view of Jordan's desert.
Experience the beauty of Jordan's natural landscape as you hike through the vast desert, enjoying unparalleled vistas along the way.

Hiking through one of Jordan's desert trails will be one of life's most memorable experiences. Enjoy the unparalleled vistas and vast desert and mountain expanses beneath a starry sky. Jordan's national trails will also take you to the sites of ancient ruins. Take a multi-week hike from Umm Qais in the north to the Red Sea in the south. Travel past lovely villages, dunes, narrow wadis, and breathtaking mountains, as well as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Recommended trails:

  • Jordan Trail: Extending 650 kilometers, the Jordan Trail spans diverse terrains, encompassing nine biogeographical zones. Hikers encounter historic landmarks like the Byzantine Church at Umm Qais, providing a rich tapestry of landscapes and cultural heritage.
  • Dana to Petra Trail: A rigorous 80-kilometer trek, the Dana to Petra Trail features a 1,200-meter elevation change. Passing through Dana Biosphere Reserve, hikers witness rare wildlife and traverse ancient trade routes, culminating in Petra.
  • Wadi Mujib Siq Trail: An adrenaline-fueled journey, this trail covers five kilometers through Wadi Mujib's Siq. Hikers navigate water passages, reaching depths of 30 meters, amidst towering sandstone cliffs. It's a thrilling adventure in Jordan's rugged natural beauty.

6. Jordanian Negotiating Culture

A Jordanian girl negotiating in a cafe.
Negotiating is an essential component of Jordanian culture.

Negotiating is an integral part of the culture in Jordan. Dealing is akin to a sport in the country, where almost everything is negotiable. Test your haggling skills when determining the price of camel rides, souvenirs, and more. The first quoted price does not have to be the final price.

Travel Tips

  • Culture in Jordan is deeply rooted in traditions and respect. Pay attention to local traditions, particularly when visiting places of worship. Dress modestly, covering shoulders and knees, and consider carrying a scarf to cover your head when entering holy sites.
  • Even though most people in tourist regions speak English, knowing a few simple Arabic words will improve your travel experience and demonstrate to the locals how much you value their language. Simple greetings and polite expressions go a long way in fostering positive interactions.
  • Jordanian Dinar (JOD) is the official currency. It is wise to have some local money on hand, for modest purchases in marketplaces and smaller businesses. When bargaining in markets, maintain a friendly demeanor and be prepared to negotiate for prices.

So there you have it. Now that you know about some of the most popular culture in Jordan, you can properly explore the country and create lasting memories. Keep the location and these traditions in mind when planning a trip to Jordan, and you will certainly have a truly fruitful experience. For a seasonal overview, check our guide on the best time to visit Jordan. For more ideas on what you can do your trip to Jordan, see our guide on things to do in Jordan. Our guide on how many days to spend in Jordan will also come in handy.

Published by Astha Joshi, updated on December 8, 2023
Plan a trip to JordanWe offer different tour types. You can also chat with a local travel specialist if you want a customized tour to Jordan.
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    Nada AltajiTravel Expert in Jordan
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