x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Jordan: Fascinating country with much to offer

The Life: Jordan evolves constantly - both in terms of population and the economy despite many inbuilt obstacles such as a lack of natural resources and a large gap between rich and poor.

The Monastery at Petra is a highlight of visiting Jordan. Menahem Kahan / AFP
The Monastery at Petra is a highlight of visiting Jordan. Menahem Kahan / AFP

Jordan evolves constantly - both in terms of population and the economy despite many inbuilt obstacles such as a lack of natural resources and a large gap between rich and poor.

A good example of its progress is Amman's new French-run terminal that is a vast improvement on the old airport, allowing you to breeze through passport control and baggage claim.

The time it takes to develop major projects and infrastructure on the other hand can frustrate - Jordan cannot match the breakneck pace of the Arabian Gulf. Still, the capital will soon have its own Ikea on the airport road.

Think of travel to Jordan and what comes to mind perhaps are Petra and its ancient wonders, the glorious mud at the Dead Sea and serious snorkelling in the Red Sea around Aqaba. However, those are really only some of the highlights of what is ultimately a fascinating country filled with history, culture and welcoming people.

There are aspects of Jordan that can make it a very comfortable visit even if you are on a business trip.

If you are not going further than Amman, the capital is small enough to get to meetings on different sides of town but big enough to offer a wide variety of places to stay, eat and visit. If you get some downtime, it's worth seeing the late King Hussein's classic car and motorbike collection at the Royal Automobile Museum.

Amman, originally built on seven hills, offers panoramic views from most parts of the city and a fantastic climate just about all year round. The Dead Sea resorts are self-contained, useful for conferences, and around 40 minutes from the airport.

Eating out: Business lunch at Fakhr El-Din for a light, airy atmosphere and some of the best Arabic food in the region. In the evening, dinner at Cantaloupe near First Circle and the old district for beautiful views.

Hotels: A whole range of hotels to choose from including the big names like Four Seasons and Hyatt as well as smaller family run hotels. Prices are competitive. Try the Movenpick if you end up at the Dead Sea.

Airport hotel: Queen Alia International Airport is a 30-minute drive from the south of Amman. The Sheraton is conveniently located on that side of town.

Getting there: Direct on Etihad Airways and Royal Jordanian from Abu Dhabi, and flydubai and Emirates Airline from Dubai.

 

malrawi@thenational.ae