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Visit to Jordan during Ramadan - cultural advice please?

(5 Posts)
RoseC Fri 17-Jun-11 13:52:04

This was in longhaul travel but someone suggested I post over here.

We have been invited to a Christian wedding in Jordan in September and are staying from 25th August to 4th September. The first half will be in Petra, the second in Amman (wedding). We are not married and I've never been (neither has DP) to the Middle East before and I don't want to give offence or put myself in an uncomfortable situation. I don't know the groom well enough to ask advice and he is very very busy at the moment.

What sort of clothes are acceptable please, as I am given to understand that Petra is quite touristy and more relaxed? I really don't do well in the heat and can't afford more clothes - would baggy t-shirts be acceptable, or knee-length skirts? Would it be acceptable for me to wear flip flops?

For the wedding, given that it's a Christian one, would it be acceptable to wear a floor-length dress that covers the very top of my arms and all of my shoulders?

Finally, does anyone know what sort of behaviour DP and I will be expected to adhere to in public please? I don't know if there are different expectations for non-married couples. We tend to always hold hands and, if standing, maintain some kind of physical contact (arm around waist, shoulder etc.).

Also, does anyone have any recommendations for how to keep hydrated during Ramadan please? I have read that it can give offence to eat or drink outside - if we are sightseeing is it acceptable to nip to the loos and drink in private or is there provision for tourists?

Thank you very much to anyone who can help smile

Barmcake Fri 17-Jun-11 18:36:14

Hi Rose,

I live in the ME but haven't been to Jordan but normally the same rules apply to most of the ME.

PDA's are very much frowned upon, no kissing holding hands in public and you don't want to draw attention to yourself if you're not married, but I do know lots of people living together who aren't married!!

As long as your shoulders and knees are covered you should be fine, do you have a pashmina or similiar they come in very handy for the region, you might feel the cold inside buildings as they have the a/c up so high.

As for Ramadan, the hotels in the country I lived in provided screened off areas for non-muslims to have something to eat and drink during the day, hopefully Jordan will do the same.

Hopefully someone will be along who knows Jordan and can offer you more advice.

Enjoy your holiday and the wedding, I've always wanted to visit, esp Petra

IdontknowwhyIcare Sat 18-Jun-11 07:00:18

Ramadan is a theoretically a very spiritual time. Having said that in some ME countires it is more like a free for all with massive spending sprees (some malls are open till 4 am!!!), loans for plastic surgery so you look good when you see the relatives and sleep all day.
To answer your question both Jordan and Amman are beautiful and touristy so there will for sure be some leniency. Your dress sounds ideal, pashminas, shrug etc are brilliant as AC can be artic. No PDA's in conservative areas, other areas not so bad but just be respectful, you will see locals holding hands, NO kissing. Baggy t shirts, longish shorts or knee length skirts fine, flip flops fine. Just dont buy anything you wouldnt wear again, you will always see theose people who are the exception in their bum crack shorts, tight string tops with nipples showing but when you see the looks such people get especially at such a religious time, rest assured you wouldnt want to be on the receiving end.
Have a lovely time it will be a wonderful experience.

RoseC Tue 23-Aug-11 18:17:39

I didn't realise I hadn't thanked you - thank you for your advice, it was very helpful for me when deciding what to pack. I'm taking long trousers (inc. v baggy ones) and a very granny-ish long skirt (£3 from a charity shop) in case of emergencies smile

We're staying in a resort by the Dead Sea for the first few days and the Groom told me (he came back to the UK unexpectedly a few weeks ago) that tourist dress there is fine as long as it's within the hotel compound. We're doing a day trip to Petra and the rest of the time is in Amman for the wedding.

I have two remaining questions - if anyone can answer them - please. The first is about the entry visa. I've found very conflicting information on the Internet. Some sites say you need Dinar beforehand and others say you can change dollars/sterling in Amman airport before you pay. Does anyone know which way around it is please? We've left it too late for currency so would have to change it at Gatwick if we need it before we land.

We have been invited to a pre-wedding party at the Groom's parents' house. I have a knee length dress that should be acceptable but I was wondering whether there were any customs we should be aware of or behaviours we should adhere to please? Is it more relaxed indoors (i.e., if warm could I take my shrug off) or is the same standard of propriety expected?

We leave tomorrow evening - I'm really looking forward to it grin

laptopwieldingharpy Wed 24-Aug-11 02:03:40

I think you are very well prepared. Now just chill and enjoy! Its a wedding! As far as i know these are pretty glitzy events in the middld east. Everyone will be wearing their biggest jewellery and that is usually the occasion to display a bit of flesh too!

We are planning the exact same trip for easter. Its really nice to discover a place with the local crowd, especially with such family reunions. Full experience.

Sorry not sure about visas. Just change a minimum amunt before boarding and carry dollars if you have them.

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