Transportation - Get In
Most travelers to Amman (and to Jordan) will arrive via Queen Alia International Airport. Very occasionally, regional or charter flights use Marka Airport, centrally located in east Amman a few km beyond the railway station. For most western visitors, entry visas to Jordan can be purchased at the airport, if not already obtained from a Jordanian consulate overseas. The price of visa is 40 Jordanian Dinars ($56), payable in Jordanian Dinars only; at the immigration line you will pay for the visa at the first counter, and then pass through to the second counter to receive the stamp. Note that there will be a sign informing you that payment is also available by credit card; this is inaccurate and you will be sent away to obtain hard currency. Money exchange is available before passport control and a single ATM (doesn't take MasterCard), more ATMs are available after customs. Please note than there is only one post office and no postbox in the airport, located in arrivals hall of Terminal 1 near the Lost and Found office. If closed, you can put your letters/postcards under the curtain.
From Queen Alia to Amman city proper, the two best options are to either take a taxi or an Airport Express bus. Taxi transportation from the airport to Amman should cost around 20 Jordanian Dinars ($30). Airport taxi fares are fixed. Note that the fare is only fixed from airport to city, taxi driver might try to secure a ride from you from the city back to the airport, often with a massive inflated price. It is not hard to get a ride from City to Airport for JOD20, if the driver is trying to charge more, make your stand and say no. The Airport Express bus runs around the clock every 60 minutes (except at midnight, 2AM, 4AM and 6AM) and costs JOD3. It leaves from a marked bus stop outside Terminal 2 only. The trip from the airport to Tabarbour bus station in Amman, with a stop at the 7th Circle, usually takes from 45 minutes to an hour. It is then possible to catch a taxi from the bus station to your hotel but beware of taxis drivers trying to rip off the newly arrived traveler. The bus stop at the 7th circle is less than 100m south of the circle. The small yellow "airport express" labeled bus is easily recognized and the driver will also stop on other places if you wave him. To reach the 7th circle from downtown take bus 41 or any headed to Wadi As-Seir and ask to be dropped of at Dawaar As-Saabe'a (7th circle).
There are, of course, rent-a-car stations in Amman as well.
Train operator in Jordan: HJR (Hedjaz Jordan Railway) . Since about 2005, scheduled services within Jordan and to Damascus have, sadly, been suspended. They are unlikely to resume. Train excursions run occasionally, as do local services to Zarqa. Neither operate more often than once per week, if at all. Amman's tiny, charming railway station (Mahatta) with its museum is worth a look even if you do not (or cannot) take a train.
Note that the Abdali bus station is now closed. The new bus station is called Tabarbour Bus Station and is in the North fringes of Amman. Most of the buses to the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge and the various cities ('Ajloun, Jerash, Irbid) in Northern Jordan leave from here. To get there from downtown, take Serviis (A sedan car that works like a bus) #6 from Raghadan Tourist Service Station (Raghadan Al Seyaha) which is located right next to the Colosseum. The Trababour Bus Station is the last stop on the Serviis' route. There are numerous buses pulling into the city of Amman, most of which are operated by JETT (Jordan Express Tourist Transport). The JETT bus to/from the Israel border bridge costs 7.5 JOD and takes about 1 hour.
There are two operators (on of them called Challenge) each providing two daily services from Damascus (Sumariya-Terminal) into Amman for 500 SYP (50 SYP student discount). Times tend to change a bit, but they leave around 7:30, 8:30, 14:30 and 15:30. The tour takes typically about 4 to 5 hours, but can be longer depending on border formalities. The Challenge busses still arrive in Abdali.
From the bus station, you can take a taxi to the city center. As a guide, it NEVER costs more than 2 JD on the meter from the bus station to most places in town, so either go by the meter, or pay a maximum of 2 JD.
Be wary of the private cars posing as taxis around the bus stands. They would offer their services asking you to pay as much as you want but later on insist on pocketing more money from you. In case you get one, insist paying the standard price which should not be more than 2 JD. Anything more than 2 JD is a rip-off.
NOTE: There are 2 Raghadan stations in Amman, the one near the Roman Theater (which is relevant to most tourists) is Raghadan Al Seyaha, make sure you tell the taxi driver this otherwise you will wind up at the wrong Raghadan station
A taxi to/from the Israel border crossing bridge can cost 25 JD and takes one hour, depending on which of the three border crossing points you use.
Transportation - Get Around
Yellow and grey taxis are readily available and can be easily found anywhere in Amman. Just hail them in the street as Jordanians do. Taxis for Amman will have a green logo on the driver and passenger doors. The grey ones have an advertisement on top of the car. Resist hailing cabs with another color logo; these cabs are based in other cities and it is illegal for them to pick up fares in Amman. White taxis are shared, and the driver can pick up other fares along the way, which can lead to confusion.
Taxis in Amman are required by law to use meters and most drivers will reset the meter as soon as a fare is picked up. Most trips within Amman should be under JD2 or 3, and even a ride from one end of town to the other should not cost more than JD5. Taxis are not required to use meters after midnight and drivers often expect double the normal fare for late night trips. Beware of drivers offering to give you a short ride "for free" as a "Welcome to Jordan", especially if you're walking between the Citadel and the Roman Theater; they will then offer to wait for you to take you to your next stop, and will use the "free" ride as an excuse not to start the meter. They will then charge you exhorbitantly when you arrive at your next stop.
The base rate for the taxi meter was changed in 2007 from 150 fils (JD 0.150) to 250 fils (JD 0.250) due to the rising oil prices, however, not all taxis have replaced their old meters with new ones, and when a taxi is using an old meter, it is legitimate for the driver to ask you for 10 extra piasters (100 fils) on top of the quoted meter fare. Make sure though that you note the initial fare as soon as the driver turns the meter on in order not to have the driver ask you for "the 10 piasters" when he has a new meter. Drivers are not normally tipped, instead the fare is simply rounded up to the nearest 5 or 10 piasters. It should be noted that many drivers do not carry much change, so exact change should be given when possible. If a driver is pretending he has no change, it is likely that he just wants to keep it, so that you'll have to pay more. If you mind this, ask the driver to find a nearby shop and get change or get the change yourself from a shop or (if you don't mind being rude) look into their money box to find the change yourself.
The going, negotiated rate for a taxi from Amman to the airport is JD20 or more, although some drivers can be talked down to JD15 or even JD 10 (which would be close to the metered rate). All taxis are allowed to take passengers to the airport; only special Airport Taxis may take passengers from the airport into town.
If you are visiting the Citadel, call it al'Aqal. The driver may try to convince you that the Roman theater is nicer so that he can drop you off there at the bottom of the hill. It's best to be dropped off at the Citadel and walk down the hill to the Roman theater.
Big, municipal buses serve many parts of Amman. They are used by low-income workers, working-class youth and foreign workers, but are perfectly safe. As of January 2011, the fare was 380 fils. Pay the exact fare (or overpay); bus drivers have no change! You can also load a bus fare cash card with a few JD and swipe the card past a reader as you enter the bus, but places to buy and recharge the card are rare. Most buses are numbered; some display their destination in Arabic only. Bus no. 26 conveniently travels between the old town (Balad) and the 7th Circle along Zahran Street. No. 27 goes from the old town towards the posh Abdoun neighbourhood. No. 43 passes near Shmeisani (as does no. 46) and continues along Mecca Street towards Mecca Mall. Many bus stops are marked by bus shelters, but buses also drop passengers at unmarked spots wherever it is safe to stop. Private minibuses shadow the municipal buses. They do not display route numbers, but a conductor usually shouts out their destination.
You can visit the fascinating Roman Theater and Nymphaeum, that reflect the historic legacy of the city, and the enchanting Citadel which has stood since the ancient times of the Ammonites. Or enjoy a leisurely stroll through the King Hussein Park and visit the Automobile Museum, which contains the late King Hussein's car collection, or the Children's Museum.
Jabal Amman 1st Circle Walking Trail is also interesting, with its coffeeshops and grand traditional villas. A leaflet with a route description is available from the Wild Jordan Cafe.
If it's shopping you're after, then the pedestrian Wakalat shopping district offers a wide selection of international brand names to choose from.
For a more exotic and traditional experience you can visit the old-downtown, also known as the Souq, and take in the traditional sights and smells of the spice market, and shop for authentic souvenirs. All of this info can be found at www.ammancitytour.com.