We all know that we don’t pat the back of a colleague in Korea to thank them for a “job well done”. Or eat with your left hand in India, or sip vodka in Russia. In many countries, these actions are harmless. But in others, they can give a wrong impression or cause offense.

In fact, whatever culture you’re from, it’s likely that you routinely do something that could cause offense somewhere else in the world. So here is:

A primer on how to avoid mistakes in Jordan

Jordan is a very hospitable country to tourists and foreigners will be happy to help you if asked. Jordanians in turn will respect you and your culture if you respect theirs. Respect Islam, the dominant religion, and the King of Jordan. Wear modest clothing to important religious sites. Respect the Jordanian monarchy which has strong backing by the people.

Jordan culture photo

Photo by billygclarke

The Jordanian monarchy is very pro-Western and very open to reform, as are the Jordanian people. Eating in public during Ramadan is not prohibited, but you should not eat in order to support the majority of (Muslim) community. During Ramadan, there are almost empty streets around the sunset, for all people get home in order to eat.

Shops, malls, restaurants etc open later (in the summer, generally after 21:00). This does not affect major restaurants near tourist destinations, however. Also, during Eid al-Fitr it is impossible to get a servees (minibus) in the late afternoon or evening in many parts of the country. Plan in advance if you are taking a servees to an outlying area; you may need to get a taxi back. However, JETT and Trust International Transport usually add more buses to their schedules during this time period, especially those going from Amman to Aqaba.

Jordanians have a notable issue with standing in line-ups for service, however this does not affect major tourist destinations like Petra (where most people standing for a ticket are foreigners). All hotels have active screening devices, however the process is much more relaxed than in neighbouring countries like Egypt. Although Jordan is a very hospitable country to foreigners, the fact that there’s a lot of tourism and that the nation is very much westernized has rendered natives somewhat indifferent to tourists. Although this is an Arabic country, in practice you will feel (especially in Amman) like it is Europe. Natives are friendly, however do not expect the overwhelming welcome you might see in Egypt, Yemen or Oman

With this, you had the primer on key facts about Jordan, and key facts on culture and customs. Another important part of the culture is the local food and the local drinks. Make sure you read our posts on Jordan food and drinks:

Local food you should try in Jordan and No miss drinks in Jordan.

Other tips that you’d like to share on mistakes to avoid in Jordan? Please comment below.