Travelling to Petra was on my bucket list for a while and as soon as I got the chance I made it happen. Since Jordan was a new country to me, I had to spend a lot of time researching the country. There are a lot of options to get to Petra and I did my research before starting the trip. I found a lot of things from different sources: common friends, travellers and travel companies that approached on Facebook to sell the same trip at thrice the price. In this post, I would like to share all the information I collected about making a successful trip to Petra.
How to get to Petra from Amman or Aqaba:
As I mentioned in my post about Jordan (Here), there are public buses from South bus station in Amman to Petra every hour. The cost is 7 JOD and it takes the Desert Highway route directly to Petra in 3.5 hours. If you are planning to hire a car, you can either take King’s Highway or stop by at other stops like Kerak Castle and the Dead Sea on the way or take the Desert Highway to get to Petra quickly. Taxi costs 60-80 JOD and takes you from King’s Highway. You can share the taxi if you are lucky enough to find more travellers heading in the same direction or if you are travelling with a group.
From Aqaba, it is 1.5-hour drive by car and about 2 hours by bus. It costs about 5 JOD by bus.
Where to stay in Petra:
Petra is the biggest tourist attraction of the country, so there are countless hotels all over the town. I would recommend that you take the hotel that is closest to the visit centre of Petra so that it’s easy to start the hike early in the morning. Most of the luxury hotels are right next to the main centre like Movenpick and Petra Moon. I stayed at Candles Hotel that was 20 pounds a night and it was 200 meters from the main gate.
Cost to visit the Petra:
A one-day ticket costs about 50 JOD (I know it’s a lot of money right). For two days, it costs about 55 JOD. Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday night, there is a light event in front of Petra starting from 8 pm. They light thousands of candles in front of Petra in the night that makes it look divine in the moonlight. The ticket tonight event is extra 17 JOD and it’s not included in the main ticket.
Take enough water because there is little shelter once you cross the treasury and the hike to the Monastery is exhausting. Although there are restaurants and places on the way where you can buy some water or juices, it’s not that frequent so carrying some extra water won’t hurt. Comfortable walking shoes are a must because there is no room for error. Also, get a head cover, hat and sunglasses because there is no shelter and the rising Sun can give you a hard time.
Camel Rides and Donkey Rides:
One of the main attractions often seen in pictures of Petra, camels can be seen sitting and walking around. Camel rides are available from Treasury onwards and you would need to bargain with the owners to get a good price. Camel rides can be taken from Treasury to Monastery, the toughest hike. Other than the camel, we have donkeys that we don’t see in the pictures and that are most frequently available in Petra. The moment you step out of the visiting centre for the hike, the hawkers will try to sell you donkey rides to the Treasury and Monastery. The donkey ride from the main gate to Treasury is free on your ticket. But if you take the ride, they will force you to tip them so it almost costs the same. I won’t recommend taking any rides because the walk to the treasury through the Siq is going to be the best part of your day. In my next post, I will write about my hiking experience in Petra. Donkey rides can cost about 5 – 8 JOD and camel rides can cost about 10 -15 JOD.
Meeting the local Bedouin people:
All the way through the hike, you will notice a lot of local Bedouin people at souvenir shops and handmade clothing. Most of them will try to lure you to buy something from them, as that is their only way of making a living. I was offered a mint tea when one of them saw me exhausted. It’s nice to just sit with them, have some tea and talk about their daily life. Even if you buy a couple of magnets for 1 JOD, it won’t be a big deal for you but it will be for them. So do it if you can; it really helps them out.
Safety and Hygiene:
Generally, Jordan is very safe for everyone. I met many solo female travellers and no one ever complained about anything. Petra is no different; a lot of people hike and stay in Petra and it’s pretty safe for everyone. During the hike, there are many movable bathrooms located about every 500 meters. So as long as you keep drinking enough water and keep using them along the way, you will be fine.
When to start the hike:
There is no definite answer to this question. People start anytime they want; only 30% tourists decide to go till monastery, and the rest just want to visit the Treasury and take pictures. If you are a serious explorer and really want to get the most out of your trip, I will recommend that you start at 6:30 am in the morning when the visiting centre opens. It not only gives you a head start in the morning without thousands of tourists following you, but the weather is very nice in the morning. For first three hours of the hike, you can beat the heat. An early start also gives you tourist-free views to take the best pictures of the historical monuments.
So this was most of the information I think you should know before you plan your visit to Petra. It’s a must see and there is no way you should miss the Monastery. I will write about my hiking experience in the next post (here), so stay tuned because the adventure is yet to begin