"An Ancient Town Called Gadara..." Umm Qays by coceng

Umm Qays Travel Guide: 14 reviews and 63 photos

16th April 2005 ( Saturday )
On this day, it was such a hectic & busy day for me !
In the morning, woke up in Damascus, Syria; Then a bus to Der'a (Syrian - Jordanian border town...) to catch a service taxi to Bosra; After about 2 hours in Bosra, took a service taxi back to Der'a; Waited a while & collected back my luggage & a taxi to Jordanian border !
Smooth crossing considering it was a crossing for people carrying goods rather than people !
The taxi that I took dropped me in Ramtha, the border town in Jordan.
Ramtha to Der'a is about 2 to 3 km away...
Next, I will tell you my experience how I was being cheated right in front of my face ! I will tell it in explicit details !
If you don't like reading about it, please leave this page quietly...

In Ramtha, caught a mini bus to Irbid.
I didn't have the time to change money so I was having big Jordanian Dollar notes on the mini bus.
So, I had to give the conductor the big note that I had.
He didn't speak any English to my impression.
I gave him 20 JD note.
In fact, I didn't know how much was the fare from Ramtha to Irbid ! I thought it should be 2 to 3 JD.
I opened my guidebook & read that the fare should be 2 JD. He should give me back at least 18 JD.
When more passengers coming in, he should be collected small changes for me, right ?
Right, but he was short-changed me for about 5 JD as he was only giving me back 13 JD.
Just before we arrived in Irbid, I asked him for the remaining balance.
He took out some money from his pocket & opened his palm in front of me.
Now, I could take more than 5 JD but I thought he was kinda honest about it; So I took 4 JD.
That means that I paid 3 JD for the bus fare. I gave him 20 JD, all together he gave me back 17 JD...Extra 1 JD for him !
He said thank you & I replied no problem...'Thank You' is the ONLY English words utter from his mouth !
Then, I asked him about a service taxi or bus to Um Qais.
From his hand signs, he said could find me the transportation.
I said, "Thank You Very Much !"
I thought maybe he wanted to be nice to me for giving him that extra 1 JD, maybe...
He took me outside the station & waited by the road side.
He then asked me for 5 JD; I said I didn't want a taxi but a service taxi.
He then asked me for 3 JD, reluctantly I gave to him !
I assumed that he was going to give the 3 JD to the driver of a service taxi that I would take...
A service taxi stopped next to us & the guy was telling the driver something.
He then looked at me & shook my hand.
I went in the service taxi & the driver asked, "Um Qais ?"
I said, "Yes, please..."
He then said, "5 JD !"
I said, "No !"
I said I had already given the other guy 3 JD & that should be the money fare for the journey !


Um Qais was known as Gadara in The Bible. It was one of the cities in The Decapolis.
Situated in the north-west corner of Jordan, Um Qais is an attractive town with scattered Roman ruins amidst an Ottoman era village.
The most impressive however is the views over :
The Golan Height in Syria
Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias) in Israel.

Stated in The Bible, it was here that Jesus Christ cast demons out of 2 men into a herd of pigs !
Gadara is one of the cities of The Decapolis which was founded by The Greeks during the 4th century BC.
Hence, it was renowned in its time as a cultural center. It was the home of several classical poets and philosophers during The Roman's time. Hence there could be a university for this purpose alone.
Gadara was flourished during The Roman (64 BC - 324 AD), Byzantine (324 - 636 AD) & The Umayyad (661 - 750 AD).
In 749 AD, an earthquake shattered the town & it has never been rebuilt...

Um Qais is located 120 km north of Amman (Jordan's capital city) and 30 km northwest of Irbid (the biggest town in the north of Jordan).
It's told that many people who were originally from Palestine always come here to see the land that they used to live...
Um Qais is also a great place to see sunset as you won't be alone in enjoying the ambience.
There's no direct public transport from Amman; The best way is from Irbid.
Better still, stay the night in Um Qais although at night there's nothing much to see in the small town itself.
Just some shops/restaurants cater for the local people.
It is a good place to mingle with the locals anyhow...

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautifully Scenic Small Town In The North Of Jordan !
  • Cons:A Few Check-Points To Reach This Town...
  • In a nutshell:A MUST Visit In The North Of Jordan...
  • Last visit to Umm Qays: Apr 2005
  • Intro Updated Jul 14, 2005
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Comments (2)

  • Nicholas168's Profile Photo
    Jun 3, 2007 at 11:08 AM

    Just let u know the bus condctor money collector who impolitly acted and cheated u I,m sure wasn't native jordanian !!! rather one of the refugee who enjoy's looking at there home land from the uum qyis mountine

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Mar 16, 2006 at 8:09 AM

    Interesting stories, info and certailnly the Beautiful Sunset Over Um Qais :-)


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