Safety in Jordan, Syria and Iran

edited February 2009 in Middle East
Hi, I am keen to travel around the Middle East, particularly Jordan, Syria and Iran. I hear these countries are amazing and very unspoilt by tourism and more weloming of tourists than you'd imagine. I am from the UK and would travel with my girlfriend. I am a little concerned about safety. Has anyone been there recently who can advise? I would also be really interested to know the highlights of your trips there... Many thanks, Jason.
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Comments

  • edited 7:13PM
    hey jason,, im from jordan, its very safe here probably the safest arab country..
    hope ur and ur gf enjoy it
  • edited 7:13PM
    and go to Wadi Rum for offroading, then to Aqaba,
    and if ur in amman just bar hop
    also dead sea,, obviously
  • edited 7:13PM
    Hi Jason,
    I too am from the UK but I live and work in Jordan.
    As anywhere do not be complacent but generally Jordan is very safe and the people are brilliant so if you get stuck there's always someone who will help out.
    I concur with previous posters but would also suggest Petra as a must

    Enjoy!
  • edited 7:13PM
    is there muslim intolerance for buddhists? how would a westerner with a buddha tattoo be viewed in jordan? does having a buddha tattoo in jordan pose any safety risks?
  • edited 7:13PM
    my questions above were real......there are so many cultural differences between the western world and the middle east, and i know that many things we make nothing of can be viewed as offensive or worse in the middle east. it's important to me to get a non-sarcastic response.....
  • edited 7:13PM
    Sarah - you are right. My answer is that there is no historical animosity between Islam and Buddhism, and no evidence of Buddhists getting ill treated by Muslims. Tattoos wont draw much attention, but the amount of skin you show probably will. If the tatoo is small-ish, like on your arm or foot, then you will be ok. I have been to Jordan and there are far stranger sights than a westerner with a buddha tattoo. Plus, Jordan is not really a fundamentalist kinda place, not like iraq, saudi or even parts of north africa where religious nuts can get worked up over little things. My call on this: you will be just fine with the tatoo, but don't dress down too much.
  • edited 7:13PM
    thanks for your input!
  • edited 7:13PM
    Hey Jason,
    I'm an American Iranian. I couldn't bring myself to go to Iran for a visit. I held back 30 years!
    Finally I went back last summer. You will have the time of your life, however, because of strict and somtimes stupid Islamic law, you would have problems staying in the same hotel room with your girlfriend. Don't go together unless you marry her!!!! If you can fake some papers that you are married, then you can stay in the same room. And they do check. Other than that, Iranians have a love affair with English speaking, Europeans and American. You'll enjoy your stay.
    Sincerely,
    Mitra
  • edited 7:13PM
    Travelling to Syria just for a ten-day short trip in October - what should I not miss - and what should I watch out for?
    N
  • edited 7:13PM
    Dear Naomi
    I am a tour operator in Syria ABINOS Travel & Tourism
    with 10 days program you can include the highlights of Syria plus more time in the big cities Damascus and Aleppo
    please to contact us or to check our website www.abinostravel.com
    you will find your program
    for any question pleas contact us
    manager@abinostravel.com
  • edited 7:13PM
    Thank you very much, Ibrahim, I surelly will, N
  • edited 7:13PM
    I have went to Jordan, Iran and Syria within the last 5 years. The most stunning architecture and hospitable people i found in Esfahan and Yazd, Iran. Damascus in Syria is also a very good destination. Regarding to safety i found Iran having the most focus around tourist safety and i did not feel any fear traveling there.
  • edited 7:13PM
    Hi All,

    I'm considering a new job which will require regular travel to Amman in Jordan. I'm an American and I'm concerned about my safety while traveling and working in Jordan. Is my concern warranted ?

    Assuming I take the position, any guidelines/tips can you share regarding spending time in Jordan would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance !
  • edited 7:13PM
    Amswiss - please do not have a concern about your safety. Jordan is safe for everyone and remember that they rely on their tourism industry. Amman is a big and very busy city so get out of there whenever you have the time. Go to Jerash, the old Roman city and make sure that you see the Roman re-enactment in the arena there. Definite musts are Petra (at least 2 days), Dead Sea, Aquaba for diving and Madaba for amazing mosaics. See my website for more ideas.

    Lesley
  • edited 7:13PM
    I returned from a trip to Jordan last week. I have to say I have never felt so safe. Everyone was so kind and friendly, shopping on my own was enjoyable (no pressure to buy like you get in countries such as Egypt). I was in a group for most of the time but felt that I could have easliy done the trip as a single female without any bother at all (and I am tall blonde and busty with blue eyes)!
    Go you Jordan, it is an amazing country, I am going back leater this year to see more of it and to go to Syria too. Don't let the fact that it is in the 'Middle East' worry you. There are much more dangerous places in the UK.
    I can't speak for Syria and Iran but a friend of mine lived in Syria for 6 months and said that it is also very safe.

    One tip, I tried to learn just a handful of arabic words and I think it made all the difference to my trip. People seemed over the moon that a white westerner knew some arabic and I believe it made them even more friendlier. (I'm sure that just hello, good bye, how are you, what is your name will do)
  • edited 7:13PM
    Hello . I am travelling to syria this august .. will I be able to stay with my boyfriend in the same hotel room . is there any rule against this?
    I am iranian and he is jordanian.??
  • edited 7:13PM
    Smara:
    I livede in 2½ month in Syria, with my wife. Once the police was informed that we proberly was not married, they showed up, my wife is Iraqi and I am Danish, however they where big excuses, when we showed them our marry certificate. Further our landlord, an old woman, swered at the polise telling that we where a good couple. However this came as a result of some neighbour that assumed when he saw a local woman with a white man, there had to be something wrong.
    We staied in private rented flat. In hotels it would not think it would be possible to use same room unless you are married.

    I am not aware if it only would adress muslims, or it would also be a problem for other faiths, but however it is something that can make the police take the trip to check, so unless you are married i would not take the chance.

    Besides this, I only found Syria very nice. Helpfull people, nice places.
  • edited 7:13PM
    Hi,

    I working in security field, I have ben to Iran , Syria and ofcourse Jordan and now my shift my business from dubai to jordan,
    now jordan is the saftyest country , Syria good too, Iran it debends on the setuations over there but there is some resorts and nice secure places you can visit its seems that its a pease from heven.
    Please for more info you can contact me on nofalsecurity@live.com or to call me on 00962799192495.

    Salam
  • edited 7:13PM
    Hi,

    My friends and I will be travelling to Syria next week for 10 days. There will be 3 of us (two guys and a girl). We are hoping to share a hotel room in each city we visit (Damascus, Palmyra, Aleppo, Hama). Does anyone think it will be an issue for one girl to sleep in the same room as two guys?

    Thank you all for your advice.
  • edited 7:13PM
    Hello,
    I am from the UK and am planning to travel around Syria, Jordan and Lebanon next year. My girlfriend is going to meet me at some point on the trip. I'm sorry if this is an offensive, ignorant question, but is there going to be an issue with us holding hands, being affectionate in public etc and sharing a hotel room? Just a wondering...All three look beautiful and im really excited!
  • edited 7:13PM
    hi,im from iran and i want to marry a guy from jordan,he is orginaly from palestine,do i find some prbs in future for him and me?or our children?
  • edited 7:13PM
    NJ - just caught up on this thread. Yes there will be an issue, you should respect the local culture and religion and in Arabic/Islamic countries we do not show affection outside of our house. Even my husband and I do not hold hands in public. In Syria it may be more difficult for you to share a hotel room but in Jordan and I think Lebanon it should be fine. Be aware though that in Jordan it is an offence for unmarried couples to share a hotel room. My advice is to say that you are married but you didn't know you had to carry your marriage licence.
  • edited 7:13PM
    Mary - have your families given their blessing to your marriage. I am assuming you are Shiite and he is Sunni? If this is the case then there could be problems later on and as you well know any children of the marriage will be educated in his religion and beliefs and not yours. What sort of problems do you anticipate? On no account should you go to Palestine even if you are issued with a visa once there you can't get out.
  • edited 7:13PM
    hi lesley,
    the prb i spoke is about ourself,i mean when do the goverment bothers us when i travel from jordan to iran from time to time or some prbs will happen for my husband,as his work bcz he got married with iranian girl,the goverment will bother us by searching,asking,i want to know it of iranian people who got married there with jordanian???!!!
  • edited 7:13PM
    Hello all,

    I am an American thinking of moving to Jordan with husband and two kids. Given how hot it is in Iraq right now, will this likely spill over to Jordan? Also the bombing on the Dead Sea Highway. Is this really a safe place to bring small children for a year? Are American-type schools potential targets? Thanks.
  • edited 7:13PM
    Mary, I can't honestly tell you if there will be problems for you and your husband or not. There are some issues with Iran and the rest of the ME right now and you will know this better than me. Jordan should not be too much of a problem for you both and as long as you are both carrying your ID/Passports and your marriage certificate (tranlsated into Arabic if in another language) then all should be ok. I hope that perhaps like you ask there are some Iranian and Jordanian couples who can answer your questions for you.
  • edited 7:13PM
    Mamon - Firstly Jordan doesn't get as hot as Iraq however, it does depend on where you will be living. I presume Amman? It does get hot but it is bearable. I really can't answer your question in regard to targets and small children. I know Jordan very well and the Jordanians are respectful, hospitable and very good people. The American International schools have high security as do all the foreign schools so in that regard I think it would not be a target but no-one can answer this question definitively.

    As for bringing small children to another country for a time I personally think it is a wonderful opportunity for them to learn about other people/language/culture and will definitely give them better understanding for their future.

    Ultimately, the move must be your decision but you should know that problems that occur from time to time in any country are usually instigated by those with an ulterior motive which is at odds with the government and the people of the country.
  • edited 7:13PM
    my boyfriend is a foreigner working in syria, i am hinting that she is dating somebody in syria? is it possible if they stay together in one house even if not married is it ok for unmarried to stay together in syria?
  • edited 7:13PM
    Tachie - I'm not sure I understand your question. Can you give some better details please. Is it your boyfriend, girlfriend or someone else that you are talking about.
  • edited 7:13PM
    Hello, I would like to know what is allowed in in the Middle East in countries like Syria, Jordan and Lebanon for unmarried couples. I would like to travel there soon with my boyfriend and am not certain whether holding hands in the street, or even sharing a hotel room together are allowed. Could anyone please help?
    Thanks
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