Is Jordan a safe holiday destination?Friday, 1 February 2013
|A camel in Petra. It poses no threat to your safety.|
When I told people that I was heading to Jordan in the New Year, I got a mix of reactions. A lot were based around Indiana Jones. But from most people, I got a variation of the question - "Is it safe?"
I'll be honest. Before I made plans to go to Jordan, I wasn't entirely sure where it was. (Somewhere, my geography teacher from secondary school shivered involuntarily.) I had a vague idea, of course, but I wouldn't have been able to pin it on a globe, say. When I looked it up, I could understand why people would be a bit wary about its safety.
It's bordered by Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iraq. All of which are pretty cantankerous neighbours. It's the proximity to these danger zones which taint the reputation of Jordan.
But Jordan has nothing to do with these countries, really. It's in the Middle East, of course, but I find that term is generally used for political reasons, rather than geographical. Which is why it's unfortunate that Jordan can be categorised in such a way.
Enough of me talking of things I know little about. What I do know is how I experienced Jordan and its people, and how I felt when I was there.
Whilst I was travelling alone, I did have a guide and a driver with me for the duration of the trip. But whenever I was alone, I had no trouble at all. There was the mild level of hassle from taxi drivers when I was walking by myself, but I've experienced much worse in Europe. Really, they just wanted to show me the city. I mean, I hope that's what they wanted.
I was approached by a guy one night, when I was walking back to my hotel. He walked with me for a while, and wanted to go and get a drink. I chatted to him while we were walking, but I refused his offer, mostly because I'm overly cautious, a big scaredy cat and a party pooper. But he was in no way annoying.
Everyone who I encountered was friendly. What you have to remember is country like Jordan relies heavily on tourism. The people in Jordan want visitors. They need them. It's not like Paris, where they're flooded with tourists every day of the year, and the residents just want them to get the fuck out of their way. You're treated well because they want you to go home, and tell everyone how amazing your trip was.
Which is what I'm doing, in a very roundabout way.
For the short answer to the question, just look at this picture. This should be the poster for safety in Jordan.