Part 2 of Jordan Travel Blog Series: Exploring the Lost City of Petra. This wonder of the world will leave you awestruck, and your guide will make it easier for you to plan your trip.
Part 1: 1 Week Itinerary for Jordan
Part 3: Martian Landscape of Wadi Rum
Part 4: Floating in the Dead Sea
After having our minds blown away by Machu Picchu earlier this year, my heart was set on ticking off another wonder of the world. It was a tough choice between Egypt and Jordan, but we decided to do Jordan first. It’s definitely an understatement when I say that our mind was blown after exploring the lost city of Petra. The caves, temples and tombs built more than 2000 years back, is simply put a work of genius and you can’t get enough of the beauty in front of you.
Things to consider before the trip to Petra:
- We highly recommend getting a Jordan Pass as it covers both your visa and entry into Petra and is cheaper than getting these separately.
- You can choose the pass based on the number of days you want to visit Petra. Getting a two day pass is definitely worth it as Petra is huge and you will need at least 2 days to cover it all.
- Also, just to note that to get a Jordan pass, you will also have to stay a minimum of 3 days in Jordan.
- Check out this site to purchase your Jordan pass a few days prior to your travel.
- We recommend renting a car as soon as you reach Jordan, as traveling within the country would be very easy. There are public transportation, but not really efficient and the frequency is bad. Also, driving in Jordan is fairly easy.
- Wadi Musa is the gateway city to Petra. The city is about 4.5 hours drive from Amman if you take the desert highway..
Where to stay:
- Wadi Musa is very touristy because of this heritage site and there are a lot of good options in walking / quick drive distance from Petra.
- If you are looking for something close to the visitor center, check out Petra Sky Hotel.
- For a very budget trip, the Petra Capsule Hostel is a good option.
- If you are looking for a more fancy stay, check out Petra Bubble Luxotel and enjoy the night under a billion stars. This is the instagram famous hotel in Petra, in case you are wondering.
- Consider packing a wide angle lens for your trip, as it will make getting your shots much easier at Petra. We carried both, a zoom lens and a wide angle lens for this trip.
- 1 Week Itinerary for Jordan
- Istanbul, the delightful city of Turkey.
- Road trip through the highlands of Scotland
- Travel through the famous islands of Greece
- 2+ week epic travel itinerary for Peru
- Road trip through the finest wine region of France.
Exploring the Lost City of Petra
Entering the Lost city of Petra:
- While entering the lost city of Petra, you need to go to the Visitor Center and show your Jordan pass at the counter to get tickets of the site. You won’t need to pay anything extra at the counter.
- It is also advisable to bring an id card along with you.
What to explore inside the Lost City of Petra:
- As you enter Petra from the visitor center, you will walk through Bab As-Siq trail. You will immediately fall in love with the landscape, but one of the tomb that will catch your eye is Obelisk Tomb.
- Bab As-Siq will lead you to the Siq, which is a very stunning gorge and the main road leading to the treasury. The Siq is about 1.2km walk and really stunning, especially in the morning when the crowd is less. we couldn’t stop admiring this beautiful natural formation.
- At the end of the Siq, you will see the Treasury being revealed. Treasury is the main site of Petra which attracts millions of tourists per year. Take your time to click a few photos and marvel at this beautiful piece of work, dating almost 2000 years. There is a small view point that you can quickly climb to, to get a few shots. Easiest way to recognize this view point is to observe people who are already climbing up in front of the treasury.
- If you decide to venture ahead, you will see the path opening up slightly and filled with loads of street vendors selling trinkets, magnets and what not. You will also come across a lot of tombs and cave houses all around the sandstone mountains. Try venturing into one of them, as they are open (unlike the Treasury) to see the tiny space. I believe, the local residents currently house keep their donkeys and horses here as the caves stinked. Also, yes, there are currently 35 odd families living in Petra and they are well equipped with electricity, water, their kids go to school etc.
- Walking further, you will see huge Royal Tombs which you can hike up to. These tombs are of Nabataen royalty. The Urn Tomb is the popular one and you can go inside. Also, just to note that there is a view point to the Treasury from the Tombs.
- If you decide to venture ahead towards the Monastery, among other sites you will see the great temple and roman amphitheater on the way. Continue walking through stunning landscape and about 1000 steps to reach the Monastery. Not a lot of people hike to the Monastery as it’s far and bit strenuous. Monastery in itself is bigger than the Treasury but less detailed. Right in front of the Monastery there is a cafe where you can rest with the best view in Petra before heading back to the start location. If you still have energy, you can decide to go ahead to various view points around the Monastery.
- We did around 32k steps in one day, as we also did Petra by Night the same day. This left us completely exhausted and decided to skip the second day exploring Petra. We had left the Tombs and the Treasury view point for the second day, so we didn’t get a chance to explore them.
What time to visit:
- Unless you want to share your Petra experience with thousands of other people, we highly recommend entering & begin exploring the lost city of Petra as as soon as the site opens i.e. 6am in the morning. The calm we felt and experienced in the morning was so much more enjoyable than late afternoon.
- You would be able to finish your days exploring by 12pm – 2pm in the afternoon and can relax the rest of the evening.
Right time for photos:
- Mornings are the best best time for photography before the sunlight hits the treasury. A lot of people love experiencing the treasury coming to life / lit by sun light.. In November, this happens around 9am in the morning.
- Sunset time is another good time for photography when the sun is not harsh on the Treasury. However, it would be lot more crowded at this time.
What to Wear in Petra & Jordan:
- Petra involves a lot of walking, so make sure you are wearing very comfortable pair of shoes.
- Also, even through Jordan and especially Petra is very touristy, it’s always a good tourist behaviour to respect local culture. Ladies, please make sure that your are wearing clothes that not very revealing.
- In addition, we recommend carrying a cap to cover your head, as the sun can get very harsh very soon.
What to carry with you inside the Lost City of Petra:
- In addition to carrying a cap / hat, we recommend carrying a bottle of water and some quick snacks.
- There are a lot of tea shops around the site where you can purchase water / snacks but it’s cheaper and more convenient to get your own.
- Please raise your awareness around animal cruelty and say no to donkey / horse carriage rides. It broke our heart to see how badly these poor animals were treated in Jordan. Most of them had wounds on their face / body. The distances in Petra aren’t huge enough that it can’t be explored on foot.
Petra by Night:
- It happens every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. We were awed by how magical the treasury looked after it’s lit up by thousands of candles.
- You can purchase the ticket at the visitor center, an hour before the first show i.e 6pm. First show starts at 7pm. The ticket costs 17JD per person.
- The only downfall of this is that you will have to enter the site twice and walk through the Siq twice. If you had a long day of hiking around Petra, it can get quite tiring to make that journey again through Siq to Treasury.
- Also, even though the place looked amazing, the musical show was quite ordinary in our opinion and lasted about 10-15 minutes. To top it, people around just couldn’t keep quite making it harder to enjoy the show.
Where to Eat in Petra / Wadi Musa
Food has by far become our favorite topic during travels in the recent years, and we strive to find restaurants serving delicious local dishes. There is no denying the fact that, the thought of authentic falafel and hummus enticed us to travel to Jordan. So, of course food was our top priority. Also, since we are vegetarians, it becomes harder to find the best places serving authentic dishes. Read on for our take on best restaurants in Wadi Musa.
- Al Wadi restaurant makes the most delicious fresh bread in the oven. Get a plate of humus and bread, and you won’t regret. In general, this place offered really good food.
- Beit Al-Barakah restaurant had some really tasty hummus and falafel and the food price was quite decent.
- If you are in a mood for some drink, after the tiring day of exploring the lost city of Petra, head to The Cave Bar right next to the visitor centre. Alcohol isn’t available at restaurants in Jordan, and in Petra this bar is the only place that serves its.