Originally Posted by Broncomutt
I haven't been to Jordan, but in 2010 I spent 3 weeks in the Palestinian West Bank, and a week in Egypt. I felt safe wherever I went and the people were very friendly. I was working with the US State Department though and had drivers, contacts and meetings, it wasn't a vacation. When we went to the Judean desert one weekend, and left Jerusalem to go float in the Dead Sea, we had a driver. It definitely helps to have somebody who knows the area.
From what I was told about Jordan, is that it was fairly liberal and friendly towards the west. The country was moving in a pro-western direction, which is nice considering it's proximity to Iran and Iraq. You do need a visa, but they can be bought for $30 I think. One thing I heard about Jordan though, people who talk sh*t about King Abdullah II--disappear.
I'd go back in a heartbeat and am planning a trip to Istanbul next year. Just pay attention to the State Dept. warnings, keep an eye on the political climate and do your best to observe local customs and you will be fine. But I'd be concerned about the "avoid leaving large cities" warning if you are planning on camping in the desert.
Really amazing to experience foreign cultures like the Middle East. It'll change your life. But it's best to go with somebody who has been there or knows the culture.
That is a good rule to any country you visit with a King. Just don't.
I haven't been to Istanbul myself, but would like to go one day. What ideas do you have there? Just the city or venture out?
Also there are buses/trains you can take in Israel/Jordan versus using a hired driver/taxi.