Is Jordan dangerous?

Is Jordan dangerous? that’s a good question. After all, we still are in the Middle East and this area of the world is certainly not the most stable on Earth, plus all around the small state of Jordan a lot of things happened in the last years. To be more specific :

  • the usual tensions between Israel and Lebanon (or at least Israel and Hezbollah).
  • the unresolved Palestinian issue
  • Daesh and the Syrian civil war
  • the semi-disintegration of the Iraqi state.
  • the war waged by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

This is the situation at the time of writing (September 2022) and not considering the internal struggle of the Hashemite dynasty, because we talk about that later on.

So, again, Is Jordan dangerous? No is my straight answer but there are some caveats. For example, there is a huge difference if you are a bearded man like me or a blonde woman. There is a huge difference if you travel with public or private transportation, there is a difference if you go to resort type of places, especially in Aqaba and the Dead Sea, or you use Couchsurfing, Airbnb, and similar.

Is Jordan dangerous? the high density of Amman
Is Jordan dangerous? the high population density of Amman hilly suburbs

Is Jordan dangerous?

I would like to talk about two main themes here. One is the political situation and the other is more tourist related.

First of all let me tell you that personally, I think that a journey to Jordan is a must. I visited a few States able to offer such a quantity and quality of breathtaking historical and natural sites, especially if scattered over a really small territory (less than a third of Italy, about 10 million inhabitants of which 4-5 in Amman, the capital).

I’m thinking about the mysterious charm of the Dead Sea outside tourist resorts. I think of the Roman city of Jerash, the ruins in the center of Amman, and then again Aqaba and the Red Sea, the Wadi Rum desert, the Madaba mosaics, the Jordan Valley, all the places of the Bible, and obviously the world-renowned not so lost city of Petra. To be honest, each and every one of these places deserve a blog post but we are here to answer the question is Jodan dangerous? so let’s not get bogged down.

If you travel to Jordan Petra is certainly the place to visit, but Amman is important too if you want to understand the modern Jordan state. Here you can see the roman and ottoman ruins at the center of Amman
The capital of Jordan, Amman, is a must-see. Especially important if you want to understand a little bit about the Middle East. Here you can see the Roman and Ottoman ruins at the center of Amman

Jordan, the geopolitical situation: the monarchy and a thousand problems, internal and external

The first theme is political /geopolitical and is only loosely related to the everyday life of a tourist.

As I already said, Jordan is a relatively stable and secure state, especially considering its neighbors. To be honest the Middle Eastern world surrounding the small Jordanian state has literally collapsed in recent years. Well, maybe the idea of ​​collapse could be misleading.

More than only a collapse, that of the neighboring States is a mix of different conditions: collapse, instability, and/or slow-burning, whose first spark can be traced back as much as you want (for the sake of convenience let’s stop at the Arab Spring of 2011 or, at most, at the second American invasion of Iraq in 2003 ).

What is clear is that each of Jordan’s neighboring states has some serious political/social issues (when not a civil war in progress) and the fact that Jordan has survived all of this seems to me to be almost unbelievable.

To this mix add the pressure exerted by the Syrain and Iraqi refugees on the already meager resources, and some possible fundamentalist tendencies, especially in the area of ​​Ma’an (by the way, remember the terrorist attack of Al-Karak? And then read this article. It explains a couple of things) and you have an almost complete picture.

A view of Amman from the citadel with the Roman and Ottoman ruins.
Is Jordan dangerous? A view of the Jordan capital Amman from the citadel with the Roman and Ottoman ruins.

All of this is important for the diplomatics and geopolitics experts or wannabe geopolitics experts. From the point of view of a tourist, all of these things are maybe in the background but not really affecting a trip. It’s true that political instability can become a huge problem for a tourist but Jordan is not unstable, is complicated.

Hashemite dynasty, Abd-Allah II

The political picture is not complete if we don’t talk about the Hashemite dynasty. Jordan is, at least on paper, a constitutional monarchy but there are some big differences from a classical constitutional monarchy (in Jordan’s case the King has much more power than usual, for example, he appoints the member of the Senate and in general has more influence over the political affairs of the country)

King Abdullah II of Jordan

The King, his wife, and all the royal family, certainly enjoy great prestige but also great power, in a system that does not have a very clear line of demarcation between state powers. As long as the king is a good person, things can go well, the problem will come when the current King Abdallah II will have to abdicate or be replaced.

Is Jordan dangerous? Prince Hamzah Bin Hussein, half brother of the king

For example quite recently, between 2020 and 2021, Crown Prince Hamza, who was the first in a line of succession in case of the death of Abdallah II, was placed under house arrest after having foiled what was considered a coup d’etat by the Crown Prince and part of the military. Crown successions are always delicate you know…

Is Jordan dangerous? The protest of 2018

As recently as 2018 there were protests in the capital after a new tax bill and a proposed raise of electricity and oil prices, partly due to the IMF policies’ suggestion for keeping the growing Jordanian debt under control and partly due to the growth of oil prices on stock markets. After the protests the Prime minister resigned, the rise in electricity and oil prices were frozen, and the new tax bill was abandoned.

Is Jordan dangerous? a Muslim and middle eastern country

So political-wise and stability wise you know what is happening. For tourists, is everyday life in Jordan dangerous? not really. Most of the tourists travel with organized travel, and private transportation and are ferried from one resort to another on private vans. If you are one of these tourists the only problem could be that you are going to be overcharged by locals that are smart and know very well how to deal with more or less rich tourists.

If you travel by yourself and organize everything on your own, I would say that it could be difficult but you would definitely save some money. Public transportation is active in main cities but will not be easy to find public transportation to some tourist hot spots where the private sector is king and drivers of white vans can decide the prices.

But in the end, the big issue, probably the only issue here, is women travelers. Outside of the capital and Aqaba, Jordan is still a pretty strict Muslim country where the position of a young woman is much more challenging than in Europe. Being stared at, general harassment, catcalling, and even touching could be common experiences for a woman traveler in this country, especially if she travels alone or without a male companion.

Amman tempio di Ercole
Is Jordan dangerous? Amman, the temple of Hercules

Jordan is accustomed to having tourists but that does not change the fact that is a Muslim country in the Middle East. Honor killings are still a thing, only in 2017 the “marriage-rape law” was changed (that law stated that a rapist could avoid jail if he marries the rape victim) and, more broadly, women are still considered housekeepers, wives and mothers.

Is Jordan dangerous? conclusion

Jordan is a stable country in a very complicated area and is definitely a place every traveler should visit. In my opinion, only women travelers, especially if alone, must be very careful because the amount of unwanted attention can go from uncomfortable to annoying or even dangerous in a very short amount of time, obviously excluding the most touristic areas of the capital and the touristic seaside destination of Aqaba (where it’s easy to find alcohol and even strip clubs)

The article that tries to answer the question is Jordan dangerous? is finished. If you still have the will to continue read down here you can find some suggestions:

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