I always rate Jordan highly in travel point of view. I would rather not say I was inspired by Indiana Jones, Lawrence of Arabia and a little cameo of Monastery in Transformers. What made me feel inspired to go to Jordan was merely because of the beauty. Culture and history came later. So last January, I took a big leap and went to Jordan.
Arrived at Queen Alia International Airport as early as 10 in the morning
That immediate and rushing cold breeze you felt as soon as you got out of the airport. you know the adventure mode was switched on!
I’d never been less amazed when I saw photos and documentaries about Jordan especially Amman which is the capital city because of its beauty. Layer after layer after layer of clay colored buildings and it is spread all over the whole city. Literally all buildings there are clay-ish in color. I would think to myself this is the place I wanted to be at.
Despite being nestled in-between the war torn countries of Syria and Iraq, Jordan is the last neutral Arab state and traveling in Jordan can be challenging but it is a fascinating country to explore. It is SAFE to say it is SAFE.
One of the most prominent attractions in Amman is the historical Amman Citadel which also called as Jabbal Amman (Amman Hill). Located in the middle of city center Amman, this historic place is a must visit for any tourist.
Amman Citadel is the remains of Roman empire who once ruled this kingdom. The Temple of Hercules (photo above) from the 2nd century is the most important remaining structure from the Roman period amongst a road and various other smaller structures.
Amman is one of the oldest places on earth. It was an incredible feeling to finally be able to set my foot on this historical land.
People often stay longer in Jabbal Amman to enjoy this breathtaking view of the city center Amman. It is certainly the best place to overlook Amman. All buildings harmonized in one color.
Amman city center is the way I want Kuala Lumpur to be. Where every shop is chained along a busy street and you could find almost everything ranging from fashion clothes, accessories, shoes, books, juice and coffee stalls and of course restaurant. And you could just do window shopping just by walking on the streets until the you found nothing you were looking for.
If you don’t like the sound of car horn or allergic to it, please do not consider Jordan as your future destination because people here honk literally every time.
Another one of the nicest places for quickie stroll in Amman is Rainbow Street. It is popular among backpackers and other tourists for its colorful streets, walls and other stuffs. Cool restaurants and cafes also can easily be found here.
Whenever you are in a place like Amman, do expect grand food! Everybody should set their expectation high when it comes to delicious Arabic meal. Amman has a great selection of restaurants. Finding a great one is not an issue since every restaurant looks the same and serves similar dish to one another.
Never get out off Amman without trying the dish that absolutely symbolizes Jordan, mansaf. I went to a highly recommended place for mansaf in Amman named Al-Quds restaurant. The tenderness of every single chunk of lamb, the fragrant rice and the right amount of spiciness of its sauce were simply 10/10. I will not forget every bite I savored. The best ‘Nasi Arab’ I’ve ever eaten.
As a big fan of shawerma myself, I certainly was at a Shawerma Heaven. Every 10 steps you took would lead to the next shawerma joint. Pictured above was the most crowded shawarma joint from my observation in downtown Amman. Bought one and it tasted brilliant. Nothing compared to the ones I bought in my country. At 1.50 dinar, I considered it as the most bargain thing money could buy in Jordan. But yeah everybody knew the best shawarma in Jordan was Reem, but we would try them later.
Next, signature street food of some of middle east countries called kanafeh ‘kinafah’. Of course we stopped by the best chain in whole city named Habibah Sweets. Kanafeh is a popular cheese based dessert among any dessert and it was not like any other dessert back in Malaysia. You buy a piece and can then sit and eat it around the downtown.
Habibah Sweets is the most known sweet shop in Amman because it has been operating for more than 50 years.
Another highly recommended street food in Amman is Salehuddin Bakery. It’s almost safe to say that the majority of Amman agrees that they make one of the best sesame seed rolls (kaek) in the city.
It’s an awesome place, you walk in, grab a fresh roll of sesame bread, fill it with hard baked eggs, cheese, and a pinch of salt and za’atar, and eat. It was incredible. They also served hot and appetizing mint tea which was really refreshing during winter.
Roman Theater is another landmark to visit in Amman. It is the most imposing monument of Roman Philadelphia. It is large, is steeply raked, has 33 rows with three orders of seating tiers and can seat up to 6,000 spectators.
There is a large square in front of the theater where people would hang out and enjoy people watching as well as the place for food vendor.
The most optimum time to get the best photo of the theater alone is in morning. I arrived late in the evening so most part of the theater did not face sunlight.
Climbing down these stairs can be a challenge for some people because it is really steep
Jordan is a great starting point for those who want to discover middle east. For a small country like this, there are a lot of historical and beautiful landmarks to visit. Petra and Dead Sea, the combination of myth, mystery and legend, all are ready to be explored in this country. For Amman alone, 3 days should be enough to fully enjoy this remarkable city. God bless Jordan and its people.