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One of the best diving spots in the world is the coast south of Aqaba (in the far south of Jordan) down to the Saudi border. The Gulf of Aqaba here throngs with tropical fish and coral. There are at least four dive centres in Aqaba offering PADI courses for beginners up. If you are into hiking, try the areas around Petra and Wadi Rum. Wadi Rum is also good for climbing, with basic gear available on-site. You can also go camel trekking around Wadi Rum.


Not surprisingly, Jordanian holidays and festivals are mostly Islamic. The big one is Ramadan, a month (around December) where everyone fasts between sunup and sunset to conform to the fourth pillar of Islam. If you're in Jordan at this time, be sensitive to the fact that most of the people around you are very, very hungry. Ramadan ends with a huge feast, Eid al-Fitr, where everyone prays together, visits friends, gives presents and stuffs themselves. Eid al-Adah, held around February, is the other big feast of the year, and marks the time when Muslims should make the pilgrimage to Mecca. Non-religious holidays include Independence Day, on 25 May.

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