Souvenir shopping is a big part of the travel experience. If you are looking for what to buy in Jordan during your trip then you are in the right place. I have travelled to Jordan many times and have quite a few of these things at home! Some of them, like a scarf, are practical and I can wear it whenever I want, and others, like an ostrich egg, are on display on my mantle at home.
There are not souvenirs on every corner in Jordan. Yes, they are easy to find, but it is not a country that takes advantage of consumerism and you will not find pushy shopkeepers who “strongly encourage” you to enter your store. You will also not find a souq designed for tourists. It just is not how things operate in Jordan.
Shopkeepers are pleasant and friendly and whether you visit a rest stop on the desert highway or are shopping in downtown Amman, you are sure to find one or two Jordanian souvenirs to take home with you from your trip.
Jordanian Scarf (kiffiyeh)
The red and white checkered scarf worn by Jordanian military and many Jordanians is one of the first things I suggest when someone asks me what to buy in Jordan. They are probably the most common souvenirs from Jorda and are easy to pack. They are also practical and will keep the sun off your head and neck in the hot summer and will also keep you warm in the cool winter months.
Arabic Spices to Buy in Jordan
After enjoying zaater on bread for breakfast in Amman, you will want to bring some home with you! Especailly if you had the opportunity to make your own zaatar pizza somewhere like Feynan Ecolodge! I have tried the international aisles in my local grocery stores, but nothing compares to the Jordanian style zaater available all over Jordan. You can get spices at the grocery stores or the local markets. Also grab some maqluba spice and purple sumac.
Traditional Middle Eastern Clothing
You are unlikely to get through a day in Jordan without coming across a man wearing a traditional outfit. Often white, but available in other colors, this is worn by both bedouins and city-dwellers alike, although it is much more commonly seen in places like Wadi Rum. You can pick yourself up one in downtown Amman or in several souvenir shops around the country.
Coffee is central to life in Jordan. Refusing a cup of coffee can be considered rude, so whether or not you are used to the thickly flavored drink, I suggest you try your best to accommodate your hosts.
After a few tries (and some sugar), you might even start to enjoy it! I sure did. It is also used for important occasions such as marriage proposals or as a traditional way to resolve disputes. The best place I have found to buy Turkish coffee in Jordan is actually at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman. You can also find it in grocery stores quite easily.
Jordan Golf Shirt
Jordanians are very patriotic and I have never visited somewhere where more flags are visible except maybe the United States. Men all over Jordan can be seen sporting black golf shirts, puffy vests or sweatshirts with Jordan flags on them! Even the kids are all wearing them, and its not their school uniform.
It is the unofficial uniform for Jordanians and tourists can bring home a little piece of Jordan with them by buying one of these shirts. When shopping in Amman Jordan, you will find various vendors with different styles and quality of shirts!
Dead Sea Mud
The Dead Sea is well known for its skin healing properties and it is popular to cover your body in mud and allow it to dry on your body before washing it off in the Dead Sea.
Most hotels and private beaches have recently dredged mud from the bottom of the Dead Sea. You can buy mud from the Dead Sea at souvenir shops in the area, as well as in other souvenir shops around the country that is packaged for export.
I have found the large souvenir shops near the Dead Sea have the best selection of products that are made in Jordan. They also have an array of other Jordanian souvenirs.
Some arabic sweets will travel will home with you, but most will not. So, enjoy them while you are in in Jordan. Having kunafa at Habibah is one of popular things to do in Jordan. There are also plenty of sweet shops in Amman to try all kinds of baklava type treats!
Sand in a Bottle
If you want to know what the popular Petra souvenirs are, sand in a bottle is one of them. You can see artists creating colorful works of art with picturesque camels, or your name on them! watching your own customizable bottle be made ensures you are getting an actual made in Jordan product. Since Jordan only has a small handicraft industry, a lot of souvenirs are imports (but that does not mean you should not buy them)
A Shisha pipe makes a decorative story piece for your home and would be what to buy in Jordan if you want a cool conversation piece! Whether it is stories of camping in Wadi Rum, or enjoying a coffee shop in Amman, they are popular souvenirs from Jordan.
Prices start as little as 10 JD and you can get ones that come with a carrying case! Ensure you place the shisha tongs in your checked luggage as Amman Airport security will take them away if they are in your carry on. You can buy shisha tobacco at the duty free for less than JD10 for a carton. Check how much you are allowed to bring to your home country before you leave. Canada for example, is 200 grams (which works out to 4 packs).
Apple is the most popular flavor, and the aroma that you will most often smell as you walk past coffee shops in Jordan.
The black eyeliner you see the Bedul of Petra wearing comes from Kohl, or traditional eyeliner worn by Bedouins. You cannot miss their striking eyes as you wander around in Petra!
You can buy some Kohl to try for yourself while in Jordan. It could make a great addition to your make up bag or if you ever want to dress up like Jack Sparrow.
Painted Ostrich Eggs can be found in souvenir shops in Jordan and they make amazing souvenirs from Jordan. They feature Jordanian points of interest, the tree of life and biblical scenes.
Olive oil from Jordan and the surrounding region is known for its quality.
After trying some of the green colored oil on hummous or fatteh you may think the flavor to be overpowering, but by the end of the week, you will wonder how you will be able to use your olive oil at home.
While it is not a cheap Jordan souvenir, Olive oil makes a great gift or a practical keepsake to bring home.
You will also find high quality olive oil soaps, some made from the Women’s collectives if you visit Feynan Ecolodge, or Wild Jordan shops. Both of these places offer sustainable and locally crafted goods and help support the small communities in Jordan
Jordan River water
Jordan River water can be found in all of the souvenir shops in Jordan. Known as one of the most important biblical sites in the world, after a visit to the baptism site of Jesus you may want to bring some water from this holy place home with you.
Duty free shops are a great place to pick up Jordan wines, but there are liquor stores in Amman where you can also pick it up. There are no liquor stores in Petra and most Wadi Rum camps do not serve alcohol, so bring some with you before you arrive into Wadi Rum. I suggest a red, since it is hard to keep stuff cold in the hot summer or if you are travelling all day.
Jordan handicraft shops make beautiful mosaic pieces and they are available all over Jordan. Whether you pick up a fridge magnet or a beautiful table to be shipped home to you, these made in Jordan items make memorable pieces to have in your home. If you are visiting on a tour, you will probably have a tour of a handicraft shop.
Your Name in Arabic Gold
Jordan is known for its high-quality gold and silver and in Amman you will find a street with many gold and silver vendors. Their prices are well priced compared to the rest of the world, and they are known for quality. They are not rip-off vendors like you will find in other countries.
They offer competitive prices and are known to provide some of the nicest looking gold in the Middle East. If you want to buy a unique souvenir from Jordan, consider having your name written in Arabic, and even better, have it crafted in gold.
5 Things to Bring with You to Jordan
- I have always been a guide book person and physically having that book in your hand as you plan your day, in addition to blogs like this one, can help immensely. Pick up a Lonely Planet Guide to Jordan (or the kindle version) before your trip to Jordan.
- Whether you want to keep the sun off your head or want to show a little modesty, a scarf goes a long way in Jordan any time of the year. You can bring one with you or pick up one when you arrive, but don’t leave your hotel in the morning without it! It can serve as a hat to keep the sun off your head and neck in the summer and can add some warmth in winter and can offer modesty to cover shoulders for women.
- A Grayl Water Bottle is something I recommend for every traveller, not just those going to the Middle East. Some people say the water is safe to drink from the tap, others say it is not; it is not something I am going to chance. And Jordan has a HUGE garbage problem. The streets, the forests and even the desert are littered with plastic bottles.
If you consider drinking at least 1-2 big water bottles a day while you are there, think of how much plastic that creates when every visitor and the population’s 9 million people do the same. With a Grayl, you can filter any tap water (or actually any water source) and have clean drinking water in seconds. Since most people travel with water bottles already, consider one like this with a filter so that you are not just pouring from big water bottles to small. It might sound expensive, but when you compare it to spending a few dollars per day on water while you travel (and do not forget how expensive the water is inside airports), you will pay for this very quickly.
- Kleenex or Wipes are another thing to put on your list. Jordan’s public washrooms (and even restraint or hotel lobby washrooms can often be unstocked. Unless you are good with a bidet sprayer, bring yourself some kleenex or wipes just in case! You will find that most washrooms in tourist sites and rest stops have an attendant that will give you toilet paper and paper towel for a small tip. Usually half a dinar is fine.
In Jordan, the plumbing is not set up to handle toilet paper. Every bathroom (even hotels) you should use the garbage can beside the toilet for your toilet paper and any sanitary products.
- Motion Sickness Pills might be needed if you are prone to motion sickness and plan on traveling by bus or in the back of the car. There are many windy, hilly and bumpy roads in Jordan. Sea Bands might work for you if you are prone to motion sickness.
Travel Insurance for Jordan
There are a few other things to think about when it comes to travel. One really important one is travel insurance. Whether it is an emergency room visit for something as simple as strep throat, or an emergency appendix surgery, or an unfortunate moped incident things do go wrong when people travel every day.
I highly suggest travel insurance and a good policy. I personally never travel without it, and I even checked into my policy about care for my children if I am every in an accident or hospitalized. There are just too many things to think about.
You can find out more information and buy your travel insurance here.
More Jordan Travel Resources
In order to help make your visit to Jordan as memorable as possible, I have created a number of resources from planning guides to local eats.
If you have just begun the planning, check out 101 Things to do in Jordan to give you some inspiration on the places you want to make sure you have time to see.
If you are thinking of booking a tour, or wondering how much hassle a self drive itinerary can be, check out this post I have on the best Jordan tours to book.
If you are working on a self-drive itinerary or plan to see the country independently, there is a guide on getting around in Jordan.
For your time in Petra, check out our guide to Petra and what to eat in Wadi Musa.
If you are planning to visit Israel after Jordan, read this guide on What to buy in Israel.