Just like with everyone else, the main reason why we decided to come to Jordan was to visit Petra. It was well worth it!
Petra was a route for caravans around 2,000 years ago. I was really impressed by the scale of the place, with monument after monument and a large city centre. This really is one of the most amazing places on Earth.
We stayed at Petra Guest House, a very nice hotel right next to Petra Gate – so you can get the place pretty much to yourself before most of the other tourists arrive.
We had breakfast at 6.30 and made our way to Petra at 7am. This was an ideal time, as the place was dead empty and it wasn’t too hot yet.
The entrance leads you to the Siq, an amazing winding canyon that leads the way to the Treasury. We were completely alone for most of the way and took our time to get lots of photos.
The main attraction of Petra is the Treasury and again we were lucky to be there when there was hardly anyone else around.
Continuing alongside the main road, we reached the Street of Facades, with other impressive buildings along the way.
Because we had plenty of time in Petra, instead of taking the main route we climbed up to the High Place of Sacrifice. This gave us great views along the way, and when you reach the top you finally start to understand the actual size of Petra.
We descended through the long route that leads into a canyon full of temples and tombs. After a couple of hours we reached the city centre, where we had a deserved lunch break at Basin Terrace (which gave us 20% discount because we were staying at Petra Guest House).
At the height of the heat we made our way to the Monastery. This was a good climb up over 800 steps which took a good 50 minutes. But the Monastery was also the highlight of the day. This is a massive building at the top of the mountain, so in one side you see the building, and at the other you get breathtaking views across deep valleys.
After that we made our way back to the city centre and followed the main roads to get back. We were quite tired, but there was plenty more to see on another day.
We returned to Petra for some more exploring on our way back from the desert. We spent an afternoon seeing some more sights which we missed on our first day, such as the Urn Tomb and the Collonaded Street.
It was great coming back to see some more and to have a final look at some of the things we’d seen before.
We finished the tour with a cold beer at the Cave Bar at Petra Guest House, located in a 2,000 year old Nabatean tomb – supposedly the world’s oldest bar.
Petra by Night:
On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays it is possible to visit Petra in the evening. The visit starts at 8h30 and finishes at 10h30.
The main route through the Siq is lit with candles that lead the way to the open area in front on the Treasury.
Everyone sits around drinking sweet tea and there are demonstrations of local music and culture. It is a quick display, then it’s time to make your way back.
This is a nice thing to do if you’re around at night, but it’s not in any way unmissable.
HOW TO DO IT:
- Stay: There are lots of hotels in Petra, but Petra Guest House has the best location and it’s a great place to relax after a long day exploring. This is definitely my recommendation. We also stayed at Al Rashid a simple but comfortable hotel at 46JD per night. It’s about 30min walk to the entrance of Petra, but a taxi ride costs only 3JD.
- Tickets: Entry to Petra costs 50JD for one day, 55JD for two days or 60JD for three days – so it’s worth buying tickets for as many days as you have available. Tickets for Petra by Night cost 12JD and can be bought at the Visitor Centre or arranged with your hotel.
- Weather: We went in September and it was really hot after 10am. Petra is never really cold, so wear sunscreen and drink lots of water. Shops selling water, tea and souvenirs are available inside Petra.
- Inside Petra: Get there early and take lesser known routes to get the place all to yourself – although these paths do not have much in way of signage or facilities. Petra opens at 6am and closes at 5pm.
- Transport: We hiked all the way, but camels, horses and donkeys provide alternative transportation.