Road to PetraJordan
Since 1985 this famed ancient city has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and for good reason! The Rose City of Petra in Jordan was said to be built as early as 312 BC and (thankfully) has mostly stood the test of time to become Jordan’s most visited attraction. The original inhabitants of Petra were known as Nabataeans; nomadic Arabs who were known for their water-saving techniques which were vital for desert living. They were also well known for their ability to build into rock faces and mountains which are the main attractions to now visit in Petra, the most famous being the Treasury. Being lost for hundreds of years to the Western World, it was such a privilege to be able to walk through this ancient city. So here are some of my tips for getting the most out of your visit!
Getting to Petra
My recommendation would be to stay in a hotel in Petra. Not only do you get your entry tickets cheaper, but you can also walk or take a short taxi ride to the entry gates early in the morning to make the most of your day before the crowds arrive. From Amman you can catch a bus or taxi which takes 3-4 hours, and from Aqaba it’s roughly a 2 hour drive by bus or taxi. If you are staying at any of these locations check with your hotel for the return times of buses from Petra.
Entry to Petra
If you stay around the site of Petra, you will get your entrance into the archaeological site a bit cheaper. You can grab a one day pass for 50 Jordanian Dinar (around $70USD), two day pass for 55 Dinar ($75USD) or a 3 day pass for 60 Dinar ($85USD). In summer you can explore Petra between 6am-6pm and in winter from 6am-4pm.
Getting around Petra
When you arrive at ancient Petra you will find the Visitors Centre. Here you will be able to pick up a map and some water (if you don’t already have some!), and you can also choose to hire a guide for the day. With guides speaking Arabic, English, French, Spanish, German, Russian and Greek, you will surely find the right pick for you! It’s also great to have some inside knowledge when you are walking around, and even have someone to take you to see some hidden secrets. Once inside, the best way to get around is to walk. The distance from the Visitors Centre to the end of the main trail is around 4km, so you’re looking at an 8km-ish round trip. You will be walking on sandy-rocky surfaces, so pick your shoes wisely! There are locals inside who will offer you rides between places on their horses or camels for a price, but these animals aren’t always kept in the most humane conditions. There are also many stalls selling souvenirs, my favourite was watching the locals make the sand bottles. Inside Petra
This is the path that most visitors will take while walking into Petra, and it is stunning! The sheer size of the rock walls and the way they close in is intimidating yet beautiful. Some of the walls can be up to 200m tall but less that 1m apart, and keep an eye out for the elephant rock! Fun fact: parts of the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” were filmed in the Siq, and even today you should be wary of horse-ridden carriages speeding down the narrow paths! The Treasury
Coming up at the end of the Siq you will be greeted with a sight you will never forget, the Treasury (Al-Khazneh). Peeking through the walls, this massive facade standing at over 40m has become the face of Petra. Royal Tombs and Street of Facades
Lined up and poking out from the cliffside, these tombs can be seen from the main path or explored up close. The most popular one is the Urn Tomb, mostly for its impressive size and detail. You will find the Street of Facades on the way to the Royal Tombs, some more tombs of well-to-do residents from Nabataean times. Colonnade Street
Running through the centre of Petra towards the Monastery, this area sadly has been affected by flooding and most of what is left is ruins. Still cool to look at, you can take a break and imagine what it looked like so many years ago. Amphitheatre
Built in the 1st century AD, take a walk around the amphitheatre or take a seat and people watch!The Monastery
If you are up for a challenge, you can take the hour-long hike up the the Monastery (Ed Deir) to see this pretty facade. Stock up on some water before you take on over 700 steps, and enjoy the views at the end!
Well done, you made it! While walking around Petra is an amazing experience in itself, these are a few of sights that you definitely don’t want to miss. If you have any experiences to share or questions to ask, please comment below!