What to shop for in Jordan? - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Saturday, May 04, 2019

What to shop for in Jordan?

Petra Treasury and the colorful camels

An international holiday to Jordan must be on many of your bucket lists. After all, with exotic locations like the UNESCO world heritage site of Petra, the Martian landscape of Wadi Rum, the natural beauty spa called the Dead Sea, a bustling, colorful and vibrant capital city in Amman, beautiful turquoise waters in and around Aqaba, the lands where Jesus once walked in and around the Jordan river and Bethany and so many other gorgeous ones, it is a no brainer to have this beautiful country in your travel bucket list.

This article is not about Jordan’s must-see destinations, but it is about what you can buy there to carry back home as souvenirs, gifts and mementoes. Or you could even indulge in your purchases during the course of the holidays itself. Here is a detailed shopping list for your Jordan holiday.

Medjoul Dates

In my umpteen travels through the Middle East, I have tasted a variety of dates, but I have taken an immense liking to the Medjoul dates of Jordan. They are big, fleshy and sweet and are perfect as a snack, a breakfast starter, a power packed pre-exercise shake or even a post exercise shake and/or as an accompaniment with desserts. They make for great gifts too. They are so good that you might want to carry at least 10 kgs back home.

Best place to buy: Local markets of Amman, Aqaba or the airport shops.

Madaba Mosaics
Mosaic artist creating the tree of life mosaic at Madaba, Jordan

The world’s best mosaic work can be found here. In fact, mosaic was born here to decorate the churches and other religious places. This colorful stone work can be used to decorate your new home, become the center piece in your living room and can also make for fabulous gifts.

Best place to buy: The town of Madaba is the best place to buy this, though one can find good mosaic work in the markets of Amman too.

Dead Sea Bath Salts and Mud Packs

Floating in the Dead Sea - one of the top things to do in Jordan as a tourist

The world over knows of the rejuvenation qualities of Dead Sea mud and its bath salts. If you are into skin care, beauty care, aromatic and therapeutic baths, then the Dead Sea mud and bath salts are just for you. These premium products make for some of the best gifts to your loved ones, especially to your wife or girl friend. You can choose from a wide variety of products depending on your needs.

Best place to buy: Almost anywhere in Jordan. You could buy it directly at your Dead Sea hotel, in Aqaba, in Amman or at your airport duty free shop.

Sage, Za,atar, Sumacand other Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices on display at the local market of Amman, Jordan

All food aficionados and cooks, the secret to delicious Jordanian food lies in its herbs. Za, atar, Sumacand and Sage are some of the names that come to mind. Sage tea is a great calming drink for your stomach. Za’atar and olive oil goes fabulously well with bread. Sumacand goes very well with your meat preparations. These herbs have a long shelf life too, which means that you can happily store them in our tropical weather.

Best place to buy: Amman would be the best place to buy these herbs, though you can also buy them in the markets of Aqaba.

Pistachios, Sunflower seeds and other seeds and nuts

Jordan may or may not necessarily grow the best nuts and seeds, but its markets are full of top quality nuts and seeds from neighbouring countries such as Iran, Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon and they are available at very reasonable prices. So, if you like to chomp on your nuts and seeds, then you should definitely buy a few kilograms of each. In my case, I love the pistachios and sunflower seeds. They are imported into Jordan from Iran and are available at about 35% of the price in India and way fresher than what we get here.

Best place to buy: The markets of Amman or Aqaba for the best quality stuff.

Traditional scarves or Keffiyehs

It is a joy to explore the Middle East wearing a Keffiyah

Men’s fashion in the Middle East means a long flowing gown with comfortable foot wear and colorful scarves. These scarves, locally known as Keffiyehs are not only a style statement, but they protect your head and neck from the blazing sun and they give the locals an idea of your roots (country, race, ethnicity, etc.). They also make for a great way to embrace the local culture and are a great ice-breaker when it comes to conversations with locals.

Best place to buy: Almost anywhere in Jordan.

Holy water from the Jordan River

The Jordan river at Bethany is where Jesus was baptized. A lot of people visit this place from the world over to get baptized here. They take a dip here and some even carry the holy water back home. This holy water can be used as a religious charm and hence comes under the purview of religious gifts.

Best place to buy: The markets of Amman or the churches in and around Bethany and Madaba.

Tea, Coffee Sets

Dazzling Jordanian gifts from Amman, Jordan

The Middle East has some of the most vibrant and dazzling tea and coffee sets. Jordan is no different. If you wish to up the style quotient of your hospitality, these tea and coffee sets make for a great accessory. They will certainly add glamour to your home parties. They make for exotic gifts too.

Best place to buy: The traditional markets of Amman and the airport shops.

Nargis, Shisha or Hookah

Colorful Nargile or Sheesha or Hookah in a local market store, Amman, Jordan

Some people call it Nargis. Some call it Shisha. Some call it hookah. If you like traditional smoking pipes, you will definitely like these Nargis/Shisha/Hookah. While they might be tough to carry on the plane, they can certainly add glamour and a bit of old world aesthetics to your living room . It is not necessarily that you have to use them to smoke, but you can use them for smoking if you wish.

Best place to buy: The traditional markets of Amman.


Hand painted ceramics with native motifs and traditional drawings are another thing to buy in Jordan. You could use them as wall decorating elements, use to serve food and beverages and give as beautiful gifts to friends and family.

Best place to buy: The markets of Amman, Aqaba, Madaba and the airport shops.

Bedouin Handicraft and Natural Goods

A Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp

The Bedouin men and women make a lot of handiwork and use a lot of substances available in the nature around them. These could be soaps, fragrances, pottery work, embroidery, beeswax, colorful rugs, silver jewellery, frankincense, bone work and many others. All these items make for fantastic gifts, though I would definitely keep the frankincense all to myself as I absolutely adore their smell.

Best place to buy: The Bedouin camps at Wadi Rum and Petra.

Kajal or Kohl

Inside a souvenir shop, Amman, Jordan

One of the first things that you notice in a Middle Eastern lady is her eyes and for that you have to thank the local Kajal or Kohl that they use to highlight their eyes. If you are a woman or a girl, you might be very keen to get your hands on this Kohl. They are available almost everywhere and they don’t cost much at all. You could either buy it for your use in Jordan or stock up your make-up kit for your personal use.

Best place to buy: Almost anywhere in Jordan.

Musk Fragrance

The Amman sand artist and his creation

In Wadi Rum, you will find a fragrance that is completely natural, but immensely popular the world over. This is the musk fragrance from the musk deer. You can find them with the Bedouin people in the Wadi Rum desert. This fragrance is great for both personal use and for gifting.

Best place to buy: Either with the Bedouin people in Wadi Rum, in the markets of Amman or in airport shops.

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