ABOUT Images of the ancient Nabataean city of Petra, carved from the rock over a thousand years ago, have long been most people’s first impression of Jordan. But while Petra is indeed one of the most stunning attractions in the Middle East, Jordan offers so much more for the modern traveller. A well-travelled bridge between sea and desert, east and west, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a land of mesmerizing beauty and contrasts, from the Jordan Valley, fertile, ever changing, to the remote desert canyons, immense and still. Visitors can explore splendid desert castles, gaze in awe at the haunting wilderness of Wadi Rum, or bathe in the restful waters of the Red Sea. For adventure lovers, there’s horse riding, 4x4 safaris, rock climbing and hiking. For taking it easy, nothing on earth compares to the Dead Sea and the Red Sea, with their many spa facilities. Modern Jordan was founded by King Abdullah I after World War I. It was ruled by his grandson, the late King Hussein, for 46 years until his death in 1999, when his son, King Abdullah II, assumed the throne. Jordan has grown into a modern nation that has enjoyed a remarkable measure of peace, stability and economic growth in recent decades. Aqaba is a town on the shore of the Gulf of Aqaba with numerous shopping centers, hotels and access to various water sports and protected coral reefs and marine life. It has the ruins of the mediaeval town of Ayla and other Edomite ruins. Aqaba also has a vibrant nightlife scene especially on holiday weekends when thousands of wealthy Jordanians visit the coastal city. Numerous raves and concerts are held by international DJ's and artists at the major resorts and beach clubs. Aqaba is seeing nearly $20 billion worth of developments centered on tourism and real estate projects transforming the city into a "new Dubai".
The Dead Sea – It is the lowest point on earth, 402 meters below sea level, and becomes 1 meter lower each year. It is the only depository of River Jordan and was part of the biblical kingdoms of Midianites and later the Moabites. The Dead Sea area is home to numerous world-class resorts such as the Kempinski, Mövenpick and Marriott. In addition, there are water parks, a public beach and international restaurants. The ultra-chic destination in the area, however, is the O-Beach which is home to cabanas, bars, international restaurants, and a beach club.
CLIMATE The best time to visit climate-wise is in spring March to May and autumn September to November, when the daytime temperatures aren't too extreme. April is probably the best month, when temperatures are warm. March can be cold and rainy in the north but is balmy by the Gulf of Aqaba and the Dead Sea.
BEWARE There remains a general threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. There have been a number of such attacks in the past few years. Jordan’s land borders are prone to periodic closure. At present this applies in particular to both border crossings with Syria. Although levels of crime are generally low, women, in particular, should be careful to avoid situations where they might become victims of sexual assault. Do not accept lifts from strangers. If you have to use a taxi try to use a regular driver whom you trust and keep his telephone number with you at all times. In the case of short-term visitors to Amman, your hotel should be able to introduce you to a reliable driver.