I am just back from a trip around Morocco and some of the countries which used to be part of the Persian Empire at some stage in the past – Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, Georgia, Armenia.
For information I used Lonely Planet: Morocco; Middle East; Georgia, Armenia, & Azerbaijan. These three books. I uploaded the electronic version to Google Play Books and saved the weight of real books. They served their purpose pretty well. I bought them when on special, which LP does quite often. Otherwise I read some blogs and online forums for more up to date information.
For each country I’ll be writing of one good and one bad experience. And then include some hints and a few photos of the country.
I think my guide-book described Jordan as “Middle East Lite”. You get the Biblical and Islamic sites, but without the political problems and implications, or indeed the danger, of a visit to many of the other countries in the region. Alcohol is freely available. So are shishas. English seemed widely understood, people are honest and friendly.
What was bad? Well, it was kind of expensive compared to other countries in the area, but alcohol was very expensive, even though, compared to some countries, it is actually available. 500ml beer cost USD$5 or more.
And the good? Well, it was magic to stand where Moses stood for his first view of the promised land. Mind you, it’s barren, dry and hard to scratch a living from. The many other sites and places I saw, the landscapes just as I imagined from when I was a child, the food… They were good. But seeing the view from Mt. Nebo as Moses had done was magic.
Not many hints to give. I based myself in Madaba rather than Amman as it’s a comfortable small town and a bit closer to many of the sites you’ll probably want to visit, while the town itself also has many things of interest. You can go there directly from the airport without passing through Amman, the airport being between Amman and Madaba.
I organised taxis through the hotel and so had no problems with taxis cheating me. A hotel will often also arrange airport pickup for you. If you do this you won’t need a SIM until in town, where it may be cheaper than the airport.