Recently I spent 2 weeks traveling from the South to the Northern reaches of Jordan. I must say it’s not an easy country to visit – especially for a solo, independent, female traveler. Luckily I met a fellow solo, independent, male traveler from Germany with a rental car so we had an impromptu road trip together for a few days.
The public transportation in Jordan only connects Aqaba and Petra in the South with Amman and Madaba in the North. Access to the other beautiful historical sites can only be gained with a private car, taxi or a tour bus.
As I heard from multiple sources in Jordan, their tourism industry have suffered severely in the past few years because of the ongoing unrest in the surrounding countries. The war in Syria. The recent war between Israel and Palestine. The Iraqi war. Many tourists and travelers have kept their distance.
Though I do wish they (the Jordanien government and tourism board) maintained a better public transportation system to help the independent travelers who are adventurous and have the desire to visit their country. We tend to be budget-minded and may be at the mercy of the money-hungry taxi drivers, if we do not meet like-minded travelers to share the costs and time.
Thousands of years of history can be discovered and felt here. I’ve met many religious pilgrims from far and wide. Then of course the Indiana Jones film buffs showed up in Petra.
Something to keep in mind though if you’re a solo female traveling by yourself – please do keep your wits about you. The usual friendliness you’re used to maintaining back home may be misinterpreted here in Jordan or other Arabic countries. At times I felt uncomfortable and vulnerable. Smiling at Arabic men can be mistaken as an invite. Their verbal and sexual taunts can be quite rude and direct. There’s no need to respond to each and every greeting you receive. I learned that quickly.
When my male friend was with me, some of the Arabs did not acknowledge my presence. I felt like I became his shadow despite my usual offering of Arabic greetings – Salam Alaikum ( Peace be unto you – Hello), Shukran (Thank you) and Ma salama (Goodbye). It was quite an experience.
But of course if you are seeking sex and/or some form of companionship while traveling, Jordan could be the land of discoveries for you.