Electrical current is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. European
two-pin plugs are the most common.
Arabic is the official language, but English is
understood by most people involved in the tourist industry and by
middle to upper class Jordanians.
Most of the better hotels and restaurants will add a 10-12%
service charge to the bill, but smaller establishments usually
expect a tip. It is customary to round up the price of a taxi trip
instead of tipping.
The vast majority of tourist visits to Jordan are safe and
trouble free. However there remains a moderate risk of terrorist
attacks throughout the Middle East including Jordan and foreigners
should maintain a degree of vigilance particularly in public places
frequented by tourists and at tourist sites. The situation in Iraq
has had an impact on local opinion, as well as the violence between
the neighbouring Israelis and Palestinians, and foreigners should
avoid all public demonstrations and political gatherings. There is
a fair degree of anti-American and anti-Western sentiment in the
country, and no distinction is made between US government personnel
and ordinary citizens. Care should be taken at the borders with
Israel and Iraq. Crime is not a serious risk for travellers
although on buses and in crowded places visitors could be the
target of pickpockets or petty thieves.
The consumption of alcohol is strictly forbidden in the streets.
It is advisable to respect local Muslim conservatism regarding
dress and women in particular will be better respected if their
legs and shoulders are covered in public places. It is advisable to
ask permission before photographing people. Bargaining is expected
with merchants especially in the markets. Religious customs should
be respected, particularly during the month of Ramadan when eating,
drinking and smoking during daylight hours should be discreet as it
is forbidden by the Muslim culture. Homosexuality is illegal.
Bedouin hospitality is genuine, but custom requires that visitors
should leave some small gift in return for a meal or a glass of
Business in Jordan is conducted with an emphasis on modest,
formal attire. Women, in particular, should be sure to dress
conservatively. As with most Arab countries, business is very
male-dominated and therefore women should clarify their role early
in meetings. Meetings often start very late, but it is always
advised to be punctual nonetheless. Most business is conducted in
English, although using a few words of Arabic (particularly for
titles) will be appreciated. Business cards are often exchanged. It
is common to be invited for meals by one's host, who will usually
pay the bill, although it is appreciated if the guest pays for the
final meal or gives a small gift. Business hours are usually 9.30am
to 1.30pm and 3.30pm to 6pm Sunday to Thursday.
The international dialling code for Jordan is +962. The outgoing
code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for
South Africa). Jordan has international direct dialling with most
countries. City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)3 for both Aqaba and
Petra, and (0)6 for Amman. Mobile phone companies have roaming
agreements with most international mobile phone operators. There
are Internet cafes in Amman and most major towns.
Travellers to Jordan over 18 years do not have to pay duty on
200 cigarettes or 25 cigars, or 200 grams of pipe tobacco; 1 litre
of alcohol, 1 or 2 bottles of perfume and eau-de-Cologne or lotion
for personal use; and gifts to the value of JD50 or US$150.
Restricted items include firearms, sporting guns and other weapons
without prior approval from authorities of country of origin and
destination country. Prohibited items include all narcotics and
birds or bird products.