For years I had wanted to go to Jordan but couldn’t decide whether I’d travel there entirely solo (that is, independently) or join a group tour. My inclination is usually the former, but Jordan is in the Middle East, and is a predominantly Muslim country. How would a solo woman in Jordan fare?

After my bad experience in Egypt (and to a lesser degree Morocco), I was wary. Firstly, how safe was Jordan in general? Surrounded by Syria, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq, this seemed like a valid question. And secondly, how much discrimination and harassment could I expect as a woman travelling solo?

Visiting the Amman Citadel (solo woman in Jordan)

Visiting the Amman Citadel

In the end, I did spend most of my time in Jordan with a group but still managed to be on my own some of the time before and after the tour. Below are my impressions of what it’s like to be a solo woman in Jordan and why ultimately I chose to go with a tour.

How safe and hassle-free is solo travel in Jordan?

I spent some time walking around cities on my own, both during the day and in the early evening. I also had some solo time in Petra. I went sightseeing, had a meal alone, and entered some shops. Here’s what I experienced.

Walking around/sightseeing alone

I walked extensively on the streets of Amman and Madaba without the slightest hassle. Nobody bugged me or followed me. I could have been in a North American or European city! This was a huge contrast to my solo experience in Egypt back in 1997.

Not only were people not annoying me, they were welcoming me! One evening after sunset, I was walking in downtown Amman, where sidewalk patios bustled with locals who had just broken the fast of Ramadan. A little boy sitting at a table with his family yelled “Welcome to Jordan!” while I waited at a traffic light.

Amman at night

Walking in downtown Amman after dark felt safe

At midday, I walked down from the Amman Citadel to the Roman Theatre on my own under the hot sun. The streets were pretty empty, but a little girl waved at me from a balcony. 🙂

I spent an entire day walking around Madaba and visiting archeological sites and churches. Once again, nobody harassed me. The worst occurrence was an old man who started guiding me around a site without me asking, and then expected a tip.

Cars often stopped to let me cross the road (a courtesy that is ignored in most of the world). Even in busy Amman, I once tried crossing a multi-lane boulevard with non-stop traffic (the traffic lights were really far away). A driver finally stopped to let me cross, and also stuck out his arm to stop the other lane of traffic!

So not only people were not hassling me, they were courteous as well.

Eating solo

Lunch in Amman (solo woman in Jordan)

I only had one meal by myself, a lunch in Madaba. However I didn’t feel awkward sitting on my own and I was served like a normal patron. It was mid-afternoon and the room was mostly empty. The food came promptly and I didn’t get any condescending chit-chat from the waiter as I did in Egypt (“You’re alone? Where is your family?” kind of crap).

I had a few other meals with one woman friend from the group, and there again the service staff was friendly and helpful with no attitude whatsoever.

Another good thing about Jordan is that wait staff and people who work in tourism all have a decent level of English, so you don’t have to worry too much about communication problems.


If anything, store clerks were very aloof, unlike in Moroccan shops. Once, I walked into a souvenir shop with a friend. The employee was talking on his phone and ignored us the whole time we were there (until we approached him to purchase something).

Walking into convenient stores to buy water and snacks generated the standard interaction. On one occasion I did wonder if I was being overcharged for a bottle of water by the dour clerk, but that wasn’t a big deal.

On another occasion I walked into a laundry/dry-cleaning shop to enquire about prices. The elderly gentleman at the counter asked me where I was from and even tried speaking French to me. When I returned with some clothes the following day, he didn’t give me a receipt of any kind. “I know you!” he said. “Come back at six.”


My experience with hotel staff was great too. They were helpful and never creepy, even on the one night I spent completely alone in a Madaba hotel. I would suggest choosing good quality hotels or hostels though. Read the reviews on sites like or HostelBooker.

For example, the Art Hotel in Amman is a good mid-range choice and is perfectly located to reach the main attractions in Amman on foot. The staff at the front desk is friendly and speaks good English.

Art Hotel in Amman

Art Hotel in Amman


I didn’t use transportation alone but read about other solo females in Jordan using a private driver and not experiencing any problems. It’s easier to book drivers directly from your hotel where the prices are fixed (and where you could complain if anything ever did go wrong).

Trying to get a fair price from a regular cab you find on the street is a lot harder, especially if you’re by yourself. While at Petra, my entire tour group of eight people was quoted twice the going rate for two taxis. We just wanted to go to the town centre for dinner. Finally, we were able to bargain them down somewhat for a return ride. I doubt I could have done this on my own.

Why I chose to go with a tour instead of solo

As I hope I’ve demonstrated above, Jordan is safe for a woman travelling alone, and I could see myself travelling around the country without hassles. However, even in retrospect, I would still choose to go with a tour. Why? Four main reasons.

1. Transportation logistics

Public transportation in Jordan is geared towards locals. There are buses that travel between Amman and Petra, as well as Amman and Madaba, but reaching popular destinations like Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea is more problematic.

Dead Sea, Jordan

Getting to the Dead Sea requires a private vehicle

To bridge that gap, most tourist hotels organize private transport and even tours to places where travellers want to go. Prices are not cheap though, especially if you have nobody to share the cost with. For example, a straight one-way trip to Petra from Madaba (214 kms) could be 55 JOD or even more!

[Note: 1 JOD (Jordanian dinar) is worth approximately US$1.41 or CA$1.84 at the time of writing. These figures are from The rate you get from banks or currency exchange desks won’t be this good though.]

2. Cost

Jordan is not a cheap country. At least when it comes to prices, it’s nothing like Latin America or Southeast Asia (two of my favourite regions for budget travel). A room in a mid-range hotel will cost between 25 and 60 JOD for one person. A meal will be around 10 JOD in a restaurant. And a one-day ticket to Petra is 50 JOD! As mentioned above, private transport for solo travellers is also quite expensive.

Often, I find group tours grossly overpriced compared to what it would cost me to travel independently. But in Jordan’s case, CA$1500 (US$1150) for an 8-day tour including good mid-range hotels, transportation, admission to sights (including a two-day Petra pass), a tour guide, breakfasts, and a few other meals seems pretty good value. And that’s exactly what I got with Intrepid’s Explore Jordan tour.

Royal Tombs at Petra

Royal Tombs at Petra. There is a lot more to Petra than the Treasury!

Another factor that had me hesitating for years was that most tours only spend one day in Petra. All independent travellers I talked too told me (rightly) that Petra was huge and required more time. This Intrepid tour was the only one I found that allotted two days to Petra. Sold!

3. Guide

I’ll admit that I often skimp on guides in order to save money. But after reading about the country, it became obvious that Jordan had a very complex history. Combine this with a very different culture, and the fact that I know little about the Middle East, its customs, and its food, the idea of a guide who could explain things and answer my questions was appealing.

Khaled, our Intrepid guide, proved to be a mine of information and also very accommodating. He went out of his way to make the group happy, including organizing an unplanned afternoon trip to Aqaba, and giving up his room so a sick traveller didn’t have to share with a roommate on the last night of the tour.

Tour group walking in Wadi Rum

Khaled (in white) guiding us on a walk through the desert in Wadi Rum

4. Companionship

Most of the tourists I saw during my 10 days in Jordan seemed to be on tours. I really lucked out with my group. All eight of us got along very well and we ate most of our meals together, even when we didn’t have to.

In hindsight, a solo woman in Jordan (or any solo traveller for that matter) would probably need to stay in hostels in order to meet others with whom to share activities and transportation costs. I didn’t notice any solo travellers in the mid-range hotels we stayed at.

Dinner with tour group in Wadi Musa

Having dinner with the group in Wadi Musa (Petra)

Incidentally, a great way to spend half a day with other travellers and eat a fantastic meal is by taking the cooking class at Beit Sitti in Amman.

What to wear in Jordan

Whether you decide to travel solo or with a group, you should give some thought to what you’ll wear.

I didn’t generate a lot of attention (a good thing) during my stay in Jordan, but I’m a 56-year old woman, and I dressed modestly. Your results may vary.

As you probably suspect, Jordan is a conservative country and local women tend to not show a lot of skin. If you want to blend in and not attract unwelcome attention, you should follow suit. I’d recommend covering your knees and shoulders, unless you’re at the beach (Dead Sea or Red Sea). I wore T-shirts or long sleeve shirts (on cooler days/nights) along with long pants or capris.

Most local women also cover their heads with a scarf (especially is small towns) and although you don’t need to do that, you should carry a scarf with you in case you want to visit a mosque. A scarf also comes in handy to protect your neck (and possibly head) from the fierce sun. I wore mine around my neck most of the time, especially when I felt a bit self-conscious about a T-shirt low neck line.

The kind of clothes I wore in Jordan (solo woman in Jordan)

The kind of clothes I wore in Jordan

You’ll also need comfortable shoes with a thick sole, or hiking boots for Wadi Rum, Petra, and the other archeological sites. Canvas shoes or walking sandals are fine for the towns which are fairly modern and have no cobblestones to contend with.

I was really glad to have my Tilley hat to protect my head from the hot sun, so make sure you bring some type of cap or sun hat, although a scarf may work too. And of course don’t forget the sunglasses!

(Note: I was a guest of Intrepid Travel on this tour, and this post contains affiliate links. As always, all opinions are my own.)

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Solo woman in Jordan - Is it safe?

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