5 Reasons You Should Visit Jordan with Kids

Jordan is a country that’s perceived to be ‘unsafe’ and ‘unstable’. We had people pull the most horrified faces when we told them we were traveling to Jordan with our kids.

I’m guessing travellers avoid Jordan due to its location in the Middle East (it does border Syria, Iraq, Israel and Saudi Arabia after-all.) This historically hasn’t been the most peaceful area of the world.

But if you step out of your comfort zone and take the time to explore this country and it’s culture, you’d discover endless orange deserts, exotic foods, ancient ruins, and fascinating history.

Crossing the Jordanian border with kids
We used the Israel-Jordan border crossing at Allenby / King Hussein Bridge. This is the border located in Jericho, which is also very close to Amman.

Not to mention a warm welcome from the locals. On our quest to visit all the Wonders of the World, we were giddy to visit the Ancient City of Petra, located in the heart of Jordan.

We found the country and the people to be extremely kind and hospitable, and we felt very safe.

Here are five reasons to visit Jordan with kids

crossing into Jordan with kids

1. Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is an amazing desert bordered by rocky mountains in Southern Jordan. The landscape is completely different from other cities in Jordan—or anywhere else in the world, for that matter.

We felt as though we’d landed on a different planet. Although we took a ton of photos, none of them capture the expanse, the magnitude or the sheer size of this place. Wadi Rum is one of those destinations that makes you appreciate the power of the forces that created our planet Earth. 

wadi rum desert in jordan is safe for kids

wadi rum desert jordan with the family

This is the largest ravine in Jordan and is famous for being the location where movies such as ‘The Martian’ and ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ were shot. It does look like Mars. 

It is untouched beauty in a minimalist setting and the rugged rocky mountains are in complete contrast to the fiery sandy landscape.

Jumping high in the wadi rum desert in jordan

The boys in Wadi Rum, Jordan

The beauty is incredible. Seeing the formation of sandstone mountains as we drifted through the sand in the back of an old 4 x 4 is spectacular. We particularly enjoyed the feeling of isolation in a landscape that appeared untouched by humans.  This UNESCO World Heritage-protected desert is extremely peaceful and quiet… you can only hear the wind. (Apart from the occasional fast-moving jeep filled with tourists, of course.) 

Pit stop with the locals in Wadi Rum

Living large in a 4 x 4 in the wadi rum desert

Experiencing the expanse and natural beauty of Wadi Rum first-hand could be the only reason you need to plan your visit to Jordan with kids.

2. The Ancient Lost City of Petra

Petra is the most popular destination in Jordan, and it’s no coincidence that it was chosen as one of the seven Wonders of the New World. Like Wadi Rum, it’s expansive – much larger than it looks on a map.  Here are 10 Tips for Visiting Petra with Kids to ensure a smooth experience.

The los city of Petra in Jordan is safe for kids

Petra sealed its place on every traveler’s bucket-list when the iconic Treasury building had a starring role in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.

We spent two days exploring Petra, and could easily have spent 2 more. Petra is far more than the one image of the Treasury we see in most marketing materials, it’s a vast city that would take days to properly explore.

At the Treasury in Petra jordan with the family
The Treasury
Petra treasury in jordan is safe for kids
Carved right into the rock face

It's a massive rock carving with only a few rooms inside

After the Treasury, I’d highly recommend hiking up to the Monastery. Just like every monetary that comes to mind, this one is in a remote location, too.

The Monastery at Petra

The Monastery at Petra is located about 3 miles from the visitor center at the main entrance. Once you get to the base of the entrance to the Monastery, you need to hike about 900 steep steps that are carved into the side of the rock. This hike is not easy and filled with rough cut steps, sharp turns, and sheer drops, but we were all up for the challenge. A good workout for active kids, but definitely not stroller-friendly.

Hiking to the monastery in Petra Jordan

hiking up to the monastery in Petra

the monastery at petra in jordan

monastery hike at petra with kids
Carved in a similar style to the Treasury, the Monastery is much bigger.

Once we reached the top, we were greeted with the jaw-dropping structure of the Monastery. We soaked in the moment, bought refreshments from the Bedouins at the small cafe at the top, and prepared for the long descent down.

Bedouins at the monastery

We logged about 10 miles each day exploring this ancient city, and still feel as though we only scratched the surface! The scale of Petra and the fact that it is so concealed in the mountains were so surprising. It’s no wonder it’s a Wonder.  Exploring this lost city is another outstanding reason to visit Jordan with kids.

3. The Jordanian People

In general, I’ve found most people we meet traveling to be good and kind. Regardless of the country.

We were pleasantly surprised by the warmth and hospitality we found in Jordan. The Jordanian people we met were heavily invested in making sure our experience in their country was positive and safe.

Guard in petra jordan at Wadi Rum

We saw simple acts of kindness the whole time, and I had many conversations with Jordanians about the perception of Jordan to the rest of the world.  They seemed very much aware of their controversial neighbors, and the stereotypes they are saddled with, and I felt they almost wanted to prove their kindness to tourists with the hopes that we’d spread the word.

Cheers!

Jordanians are generally happy and proud of their country and kingdom and are eager to share this with the rest of the world.

4. Jordan is Safe for Kids

Before we left for the Middle East we were asked by caring friends if our trip was a smart one. Every day we seem to hear of strive and dangers in the Middle East, with little attention to the countries actually involved.

The truth is Jordan is a peaceful and stable country that happens to live in a bad neighborhood. The U.S. and Jordan have had a special friendship for decades, and traveling around the country I never once felt any threat or even mild concern.

View of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom at Wadi Rum

Family travel in Jordan

The US Department of State does have a travel advisory in place for Jordan [at the time of writing], referring to the general threat of terrorism due to its proximity to other countries, and suggests keeping a distance from the borders with Iraq and Syria. Which frankly, were not areas we were planning to visit anyway.

If safety is a reason you’ve excluded Jordan from your travel bucket list, I can honestly say I wouldn’t hesitate to visit again. Jordan shares a peaceful relationship with its neighbors and is not only amazingly beautiful but safe for visitors and travelers, as well.

5. Jordan is So Close to Other Amazing Countries

Jordan borders four countries: Syria, Iraq, Israel and Saudi Arabia and is a stone’s throw away from others (Egypt, Lebanon). The Dead Sea is right in between Jordan and Israel and can be accessed from either country. 

You are basically smack dab in the middle of Middle Eastern culture and are close to a playground of interesting countries to explore.

The dead sea divides Jordan and Israel
You can visit the Dead Sea either at the beach front in a resort, or you can drive yourself to one of the public beaches.

The incredible sights within close proximity are endless.  You can visit Cairo and the Egyptian pyramids, Abu Dhabi, the holy city of Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, fascinating Jerusalem, Mt. Nebo (where Moses first saw the Promised Land) and that’s just to name a few incredible places. Regardless of your specific interests, if you’re a history buff and curious traveler, Jordan is the perfect place for you.

Flying into Jordan

Most international visitors fly into Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, the capital of Jordan, which receives flights from major cities around the world. Another option is to fly into King Hussein International Airport in Aqaba for those coming from nearby regions. Because we visited a number of countries, we chose to fly into Tel-Aviv Israel and then enter Jordan at the land-border checkpoint between Eliat, Israel and Acquaba. 

Travel by truck in Wadi Rum

Jordan with Kids: Hidden Gems and Insider Tips

Navigating a new culture can be one of the most rewarding aspects of travelling with kids, especially in a country as rich in traditions and warmth as Jordan. Here are a few tips to help youcommunicate better with locals.

1. Master the Art of Jordanian Greetings

Jordanians place great importance on greetings, which often involve a series of questions about one’s health, family, and general well-being. Learning a few basic phrases in Arabic, such as Marhaba (Hello) and Keif halak? (How are you?), can go a long way. Just learning simple greetings will show you’re kids are well behaved and will help your family show respect for Jordanian culture.

It’s common to shake hands when meeting someone, and among closer acquaintances or friends. and, just like other Arab countries, people stand much closer together when talking than Westerners might be used to – it’s not aggressive, it’s just different. 

2. Understand the Concept of “Ardh Al-Nas”

“Ardh Al-Nas” translates to “the land of the people” and is a concept that reflects the Jordanian value of sharing public spaces respectfully. Demonstrating awareness and respect for the environment and the local community’s space—such as not littering and being mindful of one’s behavior in public areas.

3. Appreciate the Social Importance of Coffee and Tea

Invitations for coffee or tea are a common and significant part of Jordanian hospitality, symbolizing friendship and respect. Accepting such an invitation can be seen as an acceptance of goodwill. Note that it’s polite to accept at least one cup, but you should shake your cup from side to side to indicate you’ve had enough, as refills are often offered until you signal you’re finished.

4. Practice Discretion and Modesty

Jordanians value modesty and discretion, particularly in dress and public conduct. While Jordan is relatively liberal, adopting a modest dress code, especially in rural areas and religious sites, is very appropriate. Observing and emulating the discretion Jordanians practice in their personal interactions can you fit in more comfortably.

5. Sharing Meals

If you’re lucky enough to be invited to a Jordanian home for a meal, it’s customary to bring a small gift like sweets or pastries from a local bakery. During the meal, wait to be told where to sit, and follow the host’s lead on when to start eating. Sharing food from a communal plate is common in more traditional settings, symbolizing unity and trust.

 providing a more authentic experience of Jordan’s rich cultural landscape.

What are some of your favorite things to see and do in Jordan?

Let me know in the comments below and join me on Instagram and Twitter!

About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

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