Hubbly bubbly, Sisha, hookah or in Arabic: “Argilah”, the water-pipe is a common tool to smoke different flavors of tobacco in Jordan. What is it and where can you smoke the best Sisha in Jordan? 

Preparing the Sisha

How do you prepare the best sisha? Learn from the locals in Jordan and use the following tips and tricks:

  • Fire up! Get some coals from your BBQ or put some on the fire. In the meanwhile you can continue with prepping your pipe.
  • Fill the bottle with cool water. You can also add ice-cubes, slices of lemon or some mint to the water for an extra fresh taste.
  • Fill the head of the Sisha with the tobacco of your taste. Put a piece of foil on top and prick small holes in there so the air can go through.
  • Make sure all pieces are well connected. Put some small coals on top of the foil and suck the air through the tube. You’ll see smoke coming into the bottle above the water.
  • While smoking, sometimes it becomes ‘very heavy’. Instead of leaving it, you can go another round by taking the head off and blow in it from the other side.
  • If you’re sitting outside, you can protect the coals from blowing off by either wrapping some foil around the head of the water-pipe or use the little wind-shield that came with the sisha.
  • Drink a small cup of Turkish coffee along with your sisha like a real pro.

For this blog we went out and captured the process with a how-to photoguide:

 

Buying a sisha in Jordan

There are many shops to buy your sisha in Jordan. If you are looking to take this souvenir home, consider buying a full set so you can enjoy it at home. A complete set contains:

  • The sisha itself
  • A good tube and some plastic mouth pieces if you are planning to share it with others
  • Spare parts such as rubbers and ceramic top-pieces
  • Tobacco – keep in mind the regulations of your home country (or next destination) to prevent hassle at the airport!
  • The big tweezers to handle hot coals.
  • A rag to clean it after use
  • A small metal basket so you can burn your coals on the fire.
  • A bag that fits the sisha and all parts exactly, perfect when you want to take it to the beach or on a picnic!

Another tip to clean the tube: put a bit of water inside and sling it while holding both ends. Blow out the water and there you go, ready for the next round!

Shop for tabacco and sisha in Jordan – Picture by Marre

Types of tobacco

The most common enjoyed flavor is double apple. You’ll find it available everywhere. But there’s also the Zaglool – a cigar like taste where the coals are put directly on top of the tobacco (without foil.) But there’s a range of other flavors as well. The tobacco shop can even mix your favorite flavors. Some popular combinations are lemon and mint or watermelon that tastes like sweet sweet bubblegum. But you can also go for something more tropical, for example with a combination of coconut, mango and peach flavor.

"tombac" sisha in Jordan - Photo by Carmen Scholten
“tombac” sisha in Jordan – Photo by Carmen Scholten

Where to smoke a sisha in Jordan:

Almost everyone has a sisha at home in Jordan. In most restaurants in Jordan the water-pipe is part of the menu. But also Bedouins in the most remote places can prepare it for you. In Papaya Restaurant in Aqaba (Pizza street) you will find a beautifully crafted sisha with different and unique flavors.  Sisha Way in Amman – the name already says it, serves different kind of sisha’s. Or visit [email protected], LEMON Jordan or just hop in where-ever you see other people smoking their sisha’s!

Looking for a customized program with visits to beautiful places, good restaurants and the highlights of Jordan? Contact our Jordan destination experts for a custom-made trip! 

Disclaimer: don’t smoke tobacco if you are too young to do so, or if you have an addictive personality. It can become a first step to smoking real cigarettes! 

 

Do you have a sisha yourself? Did we miss any tips and tricks? Comment below! 

 

We notice that nowadays more often people choose to ‘’travel local’’. But what does it mean to travel local in Jordan and why would it be something for you? 

Did you ever wonder where your money would end up during your all-inclusive holiday?

Perfect, your holiday is arranged from A – Z, you don’t have to worry about anything. Your room is getting cleaned, three times a day a hot buffet meal is waiting for you and if you are bored of the beach and the swimming pools, then the inhouse ‘travel agency’’ can arrange a ‘jeep safari’, ‘local diner with authentic dance performance’ or a ‘camel tour’ in just a wink. Why not? It is often cheap, easy and arranged without any hassle and you will even have the idea that you have learned something about a new country. But, did you ever wonder about what kind of impact your dream holiday has on the local community and economy?

Wadi Araba

Often, your money will disappear and goes to all those who are working behind the scenes. For the locals, there’s nothing left. The wages are poor, working conditions bad and often Europeans are flown in to take over the reception and hostess work. Even worse, local tour guides can’t find business anymore when the tour operators take their own guides from abroad. The same counts for cab drivers and restaurant owners. They get an offer from the big companies. But in the end, they lose their profit on ridiculous high amounts of commission. It’s not worth to participate in the end. I am sure you cannot agree with this. But can you change this positively? You can, and it is even easier than you think!

Travel local!

This way, the local people and the country’s economy benefit from your stay. Make sure to choose how and where to book your next holiday wisely. There are numerous companies who do care about the country and their people. Like this, drivers and guides will be booked and paid directly instead of the money rolling from here to there before arriving in the country.

Something else you can do while traveling, participate in a community based project such as a local family dinner or come along for the day with a local farmer and see how he’s harvesting olives to make soap or oil out of it. Projects like these can be found in almost every country in the world. Have a sincere look at the holiday destination of your choice and sign up for one of those projects to support the locals.

Zikra initiative, local family dinner

Traveling local is not boring or old fashioned. Local destination experts know the ins and outs, like hidden gems and hotspots, that you definitely must visit during your holiday. Traveling local will certainly has a positive effect on your holiday experience.

Enough reasons to think twice about where to book your next holiday, so that you can ensure that local people get the profit they deserve and that your money is not disappearing behind other people’s back.

Traveling with In2Jordan automatically means that you are supporting Jordan’s locals. We choose our drivers and guides carefully. We know them and their family’s personally. In this way, we know that the profit goes to our drivers and guides and their families as well.

This list shows you 5 of the many community based activities that In2Jordan is offering in order to support local communities:

1) Local family dinner: Enjoy a fresh home-made dinner at a local family. Experience how Jordanians live. Enjoy a cup of sweet mint tea while listening to their stories.
2) Bedouin weaving workshop: Experience centuries of old weaving techniques together with the Woman from Udruh (Petra area). You will go home with a unique handmade souvenir.
3) Visit the woman’s initiative of Iraq al Amir: Let the ladies show you their handicraft skills: from making soap to pottery and handmade paper.

Local woman in Udruh, weaving course

4) Visit local initiatives in Ajloun: At the soap house, you can learn more about traditional soap making, don’t leave without buying one of the unique soaps.
5) Come along with a local Bedouin and his goats to experience what it’s like to be a herder in rural Jordan. This day you can experience in Feynan, a ecolodge situated in the middle of Jordan.

 

To get more information about community based itineraries and what excursions we offer, please click here.

Don’t miss out on the ultimate food experience when travelling in Jordan. The kingdom’s national dish, Mansaf, should be a point on every traveller’s bucket list.

Photo by: WAELBQ

What is Mansaf?

It is a traditional Arabic dish, noticeably most popular in Jordan, which has made Mansaf its national dish. It is a dish made of rice, lamb, dried goat yoghurt (also called jameed), pine nuts and shrak (very flat bread, similar to crepes). Sometimes, the head of the lamb is placed on top as a symbol of good quality and fresh meat. In fairness, Mansaf is also popular in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Palestine, with slight variations in preparation.

In Jordan, it is usually served on a huge platter, with the shrak spread out on the bottom. Then, a gigantic mountain of rice is piled on top of it. The lamb meat is scattered on top, and pine nuts are sprinkled over the whole dish.

Mansaf is more than just delicious food, it is an experience in itself!

A bit of history

There is no better way of putting it: Mansaf is not only food, it is part of the Jordanian culture. In the past, the dish was known to resolve conflicts between Jordanian tribes. Nowadays, it is common to eat Mansaf at parties, family reunions or celebrations.

Mansaf was first prepared by Bedouins in the Arabian desert. Back then, it was made with camel or lamb meat, shrak bread and ghee or meat broth. Rice and jameed were included in the dish at a later stage. As Bedouins lived like nomads and moved around a lot, they spread their recipes throughout the region.

Photo by: Delphine Vincent

Etiquette around Mansaf

There is a certain Jordanian pride and significance that goes with eating Mansaf. The national dish is served on one big platter, with everyone eating from the same platter with their hands. Amongst locals, women and men sometimes have separate platters. Usually, Mansaf is eaten while standing around the table it’s served on.

In a very traditional setting, the host is always serving the guests. This shows appreciation, respect and good hospitality. The host is expected to continuously place pieces of lamb in front of all guests, and also keep pouring the jameed sauce. As a guest, you would not help yourself to the meat, but a good host will ensure that there is always some in front of you. You should also only eat from the “section” in front of you and not take food that is placed in front of other people. The host is not supposed to stop eating until the last guest has finished.

And finally: After your feast, you are allowed to lick your hands! Only if you don’t intend to dip your hands back into the platter, of course…

How to eat Mansaf

To really get the taste of Mansaf, you should eat it the traditional way: with your hands. It’s not as easy as it sounds, though. First and foremost, you should eat with your right hand and your left hand behind your back.

When aiming to catapult the first load into your mouth, take a good handful of rice and lamb, and form a ball in your hand. Avoid squeezing the rice too hard, as it will stick to your palm otherwise. Eat the entire ball in one bite and try not to touch your mouth or lips, if possible. Also, try to keep your face and the space around you tidy J

If you know how, Mansaf is not too difficult to prepare. Here is a good recipe: http://foodemag.com/recipe-mansaf/

Photo by: Gigiola

If you want to experience a Mansaf feast during your trip to Jordan, get in touch with us, and we make it happen! Contact us via Trip.me here: https://www.trip.me/profile/31265 or check out the trips on our website: https://in2jordan.com/intineraries/

 

Meet Ahmad Alomari, In2Jordans tour guide for Um Qais and proud camp owner. Let him tell you about his job and favourite places. 

Name: Ahmad Alomari
Age: 45 years
Occupation: Tour guide and camp owner in Um Qais, Northern Jordan
Languages spoken: Fluent Arabic, fluent English, proficient in German

 

Q: How long have you been working with In2Jordan?
A: I have been working with In2Jordan for three years now.

Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: The best part of my job is that I get to go hiking in beautiful landscapes every day and help visitors discover the history and natural wonders of Jordan.

Q: What parts of Jordan do your guests get most excited about?
A: It’s not a specific aspect of my program that people enjoy. It is the way I put each piece together that my guests like most. When hiking, I take my guests on unique trails that other people don’t get to see. During the homestay, my guests get to forage and farm the organic food they will eat, and prepare it using traditional methods. All of this takes place in a camp surrounded by panoramic views. I also offer swimming in hot springs for further relaxing moments for guests in summer and winter seasons.

Q: Where is your favourite place in Jordan?
A:. I love Petra and I’m yet to find a guest who doesn’t love it too. Wadi Rum is my favourite place in Jordan though. The red sand and rock formations are amazing.

For first-hand insight into what hiking through Um Qais with Ahmed is like, check out Hiking In Umm Qais and Yarmouk Nature Reserve by Baker Alkarimeh.

Q: What is the hardest part of your job?
A: Actually, but the hardest part of my job is to find an assistant when I have a bigger group coming. It doesn’t sound so difficult, but it’s the hardest part.

 

Updated In2Jordan travel app: Your personalised travel app will now provide an even better experience, having everything you need for your holiday in one place!

What is Vamoos?

Vamoos is an incredibly handy (and free) travel app. With the app, you can access all your documents, important information and even the local weather forecast. Moreover, you can easily share your holiday photos and message with your travel companions. All you need in one place!

Other features of Vamoos include:

  • Your itinerary and a count-down to your departure date
  • A map with all the locations you will visit
  • A general overview of local customs, language tips, and additional excursions that might be useful during your visit
  • Your transport and accommodation vouchers
  • suggested points of interest in your surrounding area
  • Links to external websites
  • Separate sign-in for all travellers

With In2Jordan being the first company using Vamoos in the Middle East, you’ve got a clear advantage if booking with us!

How does it work?

It’s really easy, you cannot go wrong. Firstly, our In2Jordan experts work with you to create your perfect holiday. When you’re happy with the itinerary, we’ll invite you to download Vamoos via the App Store on your phone.

Once downloaded, enter your personal reference number, which you will have received from your destination expert. Upon opening the app, you will be presented with the names of all travellers. Choose your own name and enter the app. You will be presented with a fully personalised app, containing all the information about your holiday. Simple!

Why use it?

Apart from all the obvious reasons why you should use it, here is another one: We also aim to reduce our environmental footprint by digitising many tourism paper-based processes, making them available 24/7. The updated Vamoos app houses all your travel essentials on your phone.

For In2Jordan, responsible tourism is a priority. We build itineraries that allow you to spend as much time with locals as possible so you can learn their ancient culture from the grassroots and make the most out of your holiday!