There are few bike shops in Jordan outside of Amman, so you should be prepared to handle all mechanical issues you encounter on your own. The bike shops in Amman are good, professional bike shops, but they may have limited supplies depending on your needs.
For more information see:
The currency in Jordan is the Jordanian Dinar (JOD), with a fixed exchange rate of 0.71JOD=1.00USD.
Along the Jordan Bike Trail, you’ll have to make most of your purchases in cash, although most hotels will accept credit card. On our maps and in our daily stage notes, we’ve tried to list where there are ATMs—you should pass one every 2-3 days.
Jordan is a diverse society containing various religions (although Muslims make up roughly 90% of the population) and many different styles of life—from urban city dwellers, to settled farmers, to semi-nomadic Bedouin shepherds.
You’re sure to encountered Middle East’s famed hospitality along the Jordan Bike Trail; and you’re sure to be offered lots and lots of tea (we’ve even heard stories of people popping out of vans to offer hikers steaming hot cups of tea). Don’t be surprised if a shopkeeper refuses payment when you stop to buy a snack. (You should still try to pay!)
Many Jordanians speak foreign languages, particularly English. In urban and touristy areas, you’re very likely to be around people who speak English; in more rural parts of Jordan (much of the trail), you’re less likely to encounter English speakers. Try to learn at least a few Arabic phrases before your trip!
Much of Jordanian society is more conservative than western societies. We advise that you cover yourself from shoulder to knee, and we recommend that women additionally cover their arms/legs when passing through villages and towns. We would not recommend that women travel alone.
Along most of the trail, alcohol will not be readily available—although in Christian areas (Rmeimeen and Fuheis) there are alcohol shops; the Carakale Brewery in Fuheis is worth a visit.
Ramadan—the 9th month of the Muslim calendar and a month of fasting—is not an ideal time to ride the Jordan Bike Trail. Most stores/restaurants will be closed during the day, and it’s impolite to eat/drink in front of people who are fasting. The Islamic Calendar is not the same as the Gregorian Calendar, so Ramadan changes dates (according to the Gregorian Calendar) and seasons slightly every year.
You can purchase affordable SIM cards and cell plans upon arrival in Jordan. We recommend Orange, as it has the best reception in Jordan’s remote southern deserts. (Orange offers affordable plans with unlimited local calling, limited international calling, and various amounts of data usage.)
You can buy a SIM card and short term cell plan upon arrival in the Queen Alia Airport. Alternatively, you can purchase the card and plan in one of the many cell shops that are ubiquitous throughout the country.
Standard voltage in Jordan is 230V, and there are a range of different power sockets. Many outlets are a version of the two-prong European outlets; but they’re sometimes a more narrow gauge than European sockets, so not all European plugs/adapters will fit.
A universal adapter is likely to work in Jordanian sockets, but you’re best option might be to buy an adapter in Jordan (available in many local shops in Amman for 1-2JOD).
Jordanian cuisine is tasty! But, it can be heavy on bread and meat—potentially difficult for celiacs, but there are lots of vegetarian options, particularly Jordanian snacks/mezzes like hummus, falafel, tabouleh, lebaneh, baba ganoush, olives, pickles, etc. Mansaf, the national dish of Jordan, is a must!
You’ll pass small shops and restaurants frequently along the Jordan Bike Trail:
In waypoints and in stage notes, we’ve tried to identify the different types of shops/restaurants along the Jordan Bike Trail.
The route passes several towns with medical centers/hospitals (Ajloun, Amman, Madaba, Kerak, Wadi Musa), and there are various pharmacies on route.
Public transportation is available in Jordan, with two different bus systems:
An informal system of minibuses travels throughout Jordan; but, for the most part, there are no fixed timetables. Buses/shared taxis leave when they fill. As general rule, larger buses/minivans travel from major hub to major hub (Irbid, Amman, Madaba, Kerak, Tafila, Wadi Musa, Aqaba), while smaller vans go from these hubs to outlying villages. Some larger buses can accommodate bikes, but you may have to remove both wheels. Be aware that transportation is much less frequent or even nonexistent on Fridays and holidays. From Amman, northbound buses travel from the city’s north bus station, while southbound buses travel from Amman’s south bus station.
JETT buses operate on fixed timetables, with lines that travel to both Petra and Aqaba from Amman (and vice versa). You can (and should) reserve tickets in advance. JETT buses can accommodate bicycles without removing the wheels.
It’s possible to take taxis between cities, but it’s not particularly cheap.