Inside In2Jordan: Meet KhaledMeet Khaled Sabbah Atieg, In2Jordan’s colleague in Wadi Rum! Let him tell you about his job, his favourite places and what it’s like growing up in the desert.

Name: Khaled Sabbah Atieg
Age: 34 years old
Occupation: Tour guide and camp owner of Khaled’s Camp in Wadi Rum
Languages spoken: Fluent in Arabic and English

 

Q: How long have you been working with In2Jordan?
A: I have been working with In2Jordan for 6 years now.

Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: The best part of my job is meeting new people every day! It is very nice is to help them explore and discover the desert of Wadi Rum, especially if they are visiting for the first time.

Q: What parts of Jordan do your guests get most excited about?
A: I think usually people who come to Jordan and Wadi Rum are most excited about Petra, the Dead Sea and of course Wadi Rum.

Q: What is the hardest part of your job?
A: There is not really a hard part in my job but what I don’t like when guest leave Wadi Rum and they are sad because they don’t have enough time to stay longer in the desert.

Q: Where is your favourite place in Jordan?
A:. My favourite place in Jordan is Wadi Rum, of course! But I also like Petra as well as Um Qais and Jerash in the north of Jordan.

Q: What was it like growing up in Wadi Rum?

A: Growing up in Wadi Rum means being close contact to nature. 

There is  a big connection between me and the desert because I was born and grew up here. I’m in love with the desert and I cant imagine any life different.

Being a Bedouin means knowing how to live in the desert and how to survive with limited resources in food, water and technology. It also means to know how to appreciate everything that nature has to offer. Our rhythm of life is the rhythm of nature.

For us, it is important to keep our traditions with generosity and hospitality and welcoming people. I am really proud to be a Bedouin .

 

 

To find out more about Khaled and his camp, check out his website: http://www.wadi-rum.com/index.php

or follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WADIRUMCAMPING/

 

 

Inside In2Jordan: Meet Khaled

Salt is located only 35 km outside of Amman and has recently been nominated as UNESCO world heritage site. This ancient town was once the most important settlement between the Eastern Desert and the Jordan Valley. We figured this small town is definitely worth a visit when in Amman – here are the top 10 things to do in Salt on a day trip!

 

1. Stroll down Hamman Street and Al Ein Plaza

You should not miss a stroll down Hammam Street. With plenty of small shops lining up next to each other and full of locals, there is lots to see (and taste!). Vendors offer everything: local food and produce, clothing, household goods, handmade perfumes, delicious sweets from bakeries, old Arabic beddings, traditional crafts, more clothing and more food. Back in the days, the lower half was sued to sell cattle and horses, while the upper half was filled with shops selling fruit and veggies.

Al Ein Plaza is considered the heart of the city. Here you’ll see the local old men playing a traditional game called Manqala and you’ll hear the Islamic call for praying. Most people from As-Salt come here every day to talk to others, pray in the surrounding churches or head to the markets, as part of their daily routine.

2. Eat at Salaam (Peace) Restaurant

The perfect place for lunch on a day out in Salt! Head to Salaam Restaurant, which is located close to the Archaeological Museum for some good and local food. We ordered half a chicken with bread, cucumber salad, tahina salad and pickled vegetables – very delicious!

 

3. Head up to the mosque on top of the hill for amazing views

Climb up the hill towards the mosque on top, and you can enjoy nice views over As-Salt – in every direction! Just head towards the tower of the mosque on the hill from the Al Ein Plaza, which will also lead you through characteristic, small alleyways.

Photo by: Vadim Skorobogatko

4. Check out Salt’s museums

In Salt, there is the Historical Old Salt Museum and the Archaeological Museum that are well worth a visit. The Historical Museum has free admission and is located right next to the visitor centre. In the visitor centre, you’ll also find plenty of useful brochures and maps for walking tours through As-Salt. There is also a nice cafe with a terrace, and you can buy local produce from there. The rather small Archaeological Museum is 2 JOD per person and filled with old artefacts from the surrounding region.

5. Dinner with a local family

The perfect finishing touch for a day out in Salt: Have dinner with a local family. You’ll meet them at their home, help prepare the food and learn how to prepare a traditional dish. And then, of course, you’ll eat dinner together. This is a great way of meeting locals, learning from them and discovering new food! Get in touch with us, we can organise it for you[email protected] 

6. Empower locals by buying handmade products

The ideal place to get some souvenirs for your loved ones back home! The shop is located right next to the visitor centre and sells local products made by the people in As-Salt. It is a community project which aims to give locals the opportunity to display their items. That way, they can sell their products directly and without intermediaries, ensuring a fair price. You’ll find things like soaps, oils, jewellery, homemade jams and other produce or bags and paintings.

7. Go on a city walking tour with a local guide

A great way to get to know As-Salt is by going on a walking tour through the city with a guide, who will be able to tell you about the history and personal stories of local people. There are also several different routes, depending on your interests. The first one focuses on religious harmony in As-Salt and will take you to various mosques, churches and heritage buildings. The second trail is called Daily Life trail and is all about tasting new foods, buying unusual products and speaking to locals. Finally, you can choose to do the Educational Trail, where your guide will tell you more about the educational buildings in As-Salt, and you will pay a visit to the secondary school there. Click here for more information: http://www.saltcitytour.com/

8. Visit the churches in Salt

There are three churches you should visit in Salt: the Al-Khader Orthodox Church was built over the remains of an old chapel and Muslims as well as Christians come to pray at this church. There is also the Dormition of Virgin Mary Orthodox Church, constructed in the 16th century. The local community funded part of the refurbishment of this church. Last but not least, you should visit the Latin Church. It was designed by an Italian architect and back in the days, the basement of this church was used for storing supplies of the Turkish Army and local citizens.

Photo by: L’esc Photography

9. Go paintballing at the Mountain Breeze Resort

You can also combine your day in Salt with an overnight stay or visit to the Mountain Breeze Resort. Here you can do all sorts of exciting and fun stuff: Go paintballing (the only paintball field in Jordan!), unleash your inner Robin Hood and do some archery, play volleyball or football, hire a bike, ride ponies or go on a hiking tour! Follow this link for more info: http://www.mountainbreeze.jo/about/

Photo by: Mountain Breeze Resort

10. Get Lost

You can discover many characteristic alleyways in Salt. Most likely you will get lost, which is not as bad as it sounds: You will find small local shops, old and abandoned houses, stunning architecture and lots of friendly people who are more than happy to help you to get back on track again!

Photo by: Adeeb Atwan

Going to Jordan for an internship that has nothing to do with NGOs or aid organisations but for tourism sounds pretty random at first. When I tell people what I’m doing here, most people look at me in surprise and wonder “Why Jordan?”- I found that the best answer is “why not Jordan?”

 

Why Jordan?

Jordan is a great place to do an internship. It has so much to offer: from breathtaking landscapes and a warm and welcoming culture to endless activity offerings and food that makes your mouth water. Whether it’s an internship for 3 months or a year, you’ll have plenty to see and do in your free time. You can, for instance, go diving (or snorkelling), abseil from waterfalls, go on exciting hikes through canyons, sleep in Bedouin camps, join Arabic classes, see the world wonder Petra, float in the Dead Sea or race on a camel through the desert. From Jordan, it is also easy to pay a visit to the surrounding countries like Israel, Egypt, the UAE or Lebanon for example on a slightly longer weekend.

 

Why In2Jordan?

In2Jordan is a fantastic company to work for. Everyone in the company is incredibly friendly, doesn’t hesitate to help, give advice and share their knowledge. I always felt very comfortable and when working and enjoy going to work every morning.

Moreover, I was able to learn a lot from my internship with In2Jordan. Through the fact that I was involved in so many different and varied tasks, I feel like I gained more experience in several areas at the same time. Like, for instance, sales, product development or social media.

If there is a conference or seminar taking place, In2Jordan will send you to go there if possible. I, for example, was able to visit the women cooperation in Iraq al Amir, which was a great day and gave me a better insight of what they are offering.

When I arrived and before coming here, In2Jordan was very helpful with getting things organised. They helped me in finding a place to stay as well as pickup, transfers and accommodation in the first few days. They also assisted me with visa renewals and helped me to get a Jordanian phone number.

Last but not least, for some periods during my internship, I was able to work from home – or where ever I was. One day I worked in Wadi Rum!

 

My role during the internship

My duties in my role were varied and wide-ranging. I communicate directly with clients about what they want and how they imagine their holiday to be like, and create an itinerary accordingly. Part of that is also to calculate quotations and look after the payment procedure. I also book the hotels and activities for them, which means that I am in direct contact with suppliers. I am also available while customers are travelling, in case there are any issues or they have questions. Although colleagues who are from Jordan or lived here longer are often more useful in that as they know the country better.

Further duties include doing the monthly accounting, keeping up with posts on our social media channels, writing blog posts for our website or creating new trips and uploading them to our various sales channels. Lately, I have also started translating our itineraries into German, as we will soon be offering our customised holidays to the German market. This will be very exciting…

 

Options for after the internship

If the internship goes well for everybody and you enjoy the work, there are several possibilities for once the internship finishes.

You can, for example, continue working for In2Jordan as a travel consultant, but be based outside of Jordan. That means that you can choose to live where ever, as the job can be done from your laptop. Also, you might happen to be in the same country as some of the clients, which is also an advantage.

There is also the possibility of staying with the company as a fully trained travel consultant and living in Jordan. You can choose to base yourself in Amman, Aqaba, Petra or which place you would like best.

So, all in all, it might have been a bit of a lucky coincidence for me to have ended up in Jordan. I did not assume that this was the country I would work in after my studies, and before coming here I would not have thought that I would decide to stay in Jordan after my internship. But I have to say, I had a great time in Jordan and with In2Jordan, and I can only recommend it.

To see what vacancies we have at the moment, check out the career section of our website: https://in2jordan.com/about/careers/

 

 

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!

 

Here is a list of the 7 biggest differences between Western and Jordanian culture. Some of them will blow your mind!

1. Clothing in the Jordanian Culture 

Photo: Lauras Eye

It’s pretty obvious that clothing is a major difference in culture. Especially with locals and tourists, different ways of clothing often lead to misunderstandings. If you show too much skin it can come across as disrespectful and offensive in Jordan.

You will also notice that Jordanians pay more attention to dress well than people in the West. You would rarely see someone walking down the street in scruffy looking clothes! In Jordan, both men and women, expose as little skin as possible and always cover upper arms.

 

2. Culture around invitations

Here is something worth knowing: When being offered something, it is actually considered polite to refuse a few times before accepting!

If you genuinely don’t want to accept, this is a way of saying no in a socially acceptable way. With a big smile and right hand over your heart saying ‘shukran shukran’ (which means ‘thank you, thank you’). Although, you might have to say this a few times due to the ritual of polite insistence…

A tip for female travelers in Jordan: If you’re happen to be invited to a local family for dinner, it might be handy to wear trousers instead of skirts or low cut waists. Also bring a scarf with you. Most of the people sit on the ground to eat and you need to bend over to reach the food. On this way you’re sure to not show any cleavage, whether it’s on the front or the back! Jordanians also eat with their right hand, as the left one is for the toilet. You might want to do the same if you don’t want people looking at you in a confused way 🙂

Another cultural difference exists around gift giving: Be aware when complimenting someone’s possessions. As opposed to in the West, if you show interest in an object your host is supposed to give it to you!

3. Interactions between men and women

Men and women interact very differently with each other in Jordanian and Western culture. Public displays of affection between a man and a woman like holding hands or kissing are not recommended, even if the couple is married. Though you see more couples holding hands these days, a kiss on the lips is still kept for inside the house.

It is less known that Islamic women cannot interact freely with men outside their direct family (e.g. father, brother, closest cousins). Therefore, it is also common for a man to only greet the husband. Greeting the wife could be interpreted as showing too much interest.

Tip for male travelers: A woman might place a hand on her heart when greeting you, which means that she would not like to shake hands with a strange man.

A tip for female travelers: You might automatically look everyone in the eyes at home. It’s considered a sign of honesty in the West. Though, in the Middle East it might be considered as an invitation to something more than that!

4. Status of women

You will notice a big difference regarding the status of women in Jordan and in Western countries. In the Middle East, most women are staying at home, taking care of the family and children instead of having a career of their own. However, many women actually go to university (and even more so than boys) but once married don’t work in their profession.

Motives of decision making are also different, with the Western culture being more individualistically oriented. Jordanian women, on the other hand, are more focused and make decisions based on the collective interest of the family.

In order to empower more women to work and to be self-sustainable, we organize different activities around Jordan. If you are interested, consider joining one of our excursions to the Iraq Al Amir Women Cooperative Society in Amman or the Looming Ladies of Udruth in Petra. The women there have numerous skills to teach you, like producing soap or Bedouin weaving! Click here for more info: https://in2jordan.com/tours/workshops-in-jordan/

5. Customs around social interaction

Photo: petergustafson9

Jordanians are very energetic with regards to social interaction. Even if they are strangers they will hang around for a chat and exchange opinions. Westerners, who are not used to lengthy conversations with strangers, can often come across as cold or uninterested if not being too chatty when in a shop, for example.

So, when travelling in Jordan, have a chat with shopkeepers, they are genuinely interested where you come from.

 

 

Jordanians also shake hands more often – also with strangers. You’ll notice that sometimes Jordanians also shake hands with each other while in conversation when agreeing on something or joking around.

6. Muslim men can have up to four wives

In Jordan, Muslim men are allowed to have up to 4 wives – unimaginable in Western culture! Still, in Jordan polygamy is restricted and the first wife has to give her consent. It is not very common anymore, though.

7. Family is important

Family is very important in Jordanian culture. Here, people like to stay close to their family and relatives, and daily visits are not uncommon. If the family is not in close proximity, you’ll see a lot of people talking on the phone or Skype to their relatives, sometimes for hours or while doing other things. Respect for the elderly is also a big part of the culture, as well as taking care of parents when they grow old.

If you want to interact with locals and experience the famous hospitality of Jordanian families, have a look at our community-based tourism itinerary. Click here for more information: https://in2jordan.com/tours/community-based-tourism-jordan/