Petra is located in the South of Jordan in the city called Wadi Musa. The famous picture of Petra often seen on the Internet is basically one of the sights in Petra, called Treasury. The Treasury is undoubtedly the most stunning sight in the region, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more than that to see in Petra. Different people have different opinions about how and when to visit Petra; based on my experience, I would suggest you push yourself and start as early in the morning as early as possible. I started at 6:30 am when the visiting centre opened, and I was one of the first few who started the trek. The first few hours of the trek were very pleasant because the Sun wasn’t out and wind was cooler. Walking along the dusty and rocky path was more pleasant than we could ever imagine.
The moment I got out of the main gate, local residents started offering donkey rides to the Treasury. The ride is part of the ticket but they ask for the extra tip that makes it non-free, but I had decided not to take any rides and complete the hike myself. I moved on one by one crossing the rocky streets of the lost city of Petra and slowly got lost in the historical mystery of the city.
About an hour after I started my hike, I reached the point that seemed to be the starting point of a huge but narrow gorge, with about 80-meter-high cliffs on both sides and only a 3-meter-wide narrow pass in between. This was the Siq. I was there! After all this time of planning and efforts, I was standing at the gate of the famous Siq—eager to see what was on the other side of it. With every meter I walked in the Siq, the colours and formation of the walls changed and it was indeed a fascinating part of the hike. It was exactly as described by every travel writer I have ever read. While admiring its beauty and trying to capture the 1.2 km long Siq in my multiple cameras, I reached a point where I just stopped. My head was straight looking through the end of Siq and I stood there for next 15 minutes without blinking my eyes, because I was watching the most stunning sight I could imagine. It was the sight of the Treasury from the crack of the end of Siq. My eyes didn’t blink for a while and after few minutes I realised I need to capture this in my camera.
Since there were no tourists there in the morning, it felt like the ancient sight was waiting for me to come and admire its beauty in silence. I knew by the time I come back this place will be flooded with tourists, so I took my time to capture the beauty of Treasury from every possible angle. The real trek was yet to begin. As I mentioned in my previous post, there are a lot more sights in Petra apart from the Treasury. Other than the Treasury, the famous sites are Ad Deir, High Place Of Sacrifice, Royal Tombs, Urn Tomb – Al Mahkamah, Theatre, and Djinn Blocks – God Blocks.
The Sun started to come out and I took out my new Arabian Scarf and sunglasses to deal with the heat. The trek to Monastery was another 6 km rocky and vertically upwards trek. The increasing temperature and uneven stairs going vertically up were making the trek tougher. On my way, I met a few trekkers from Argentina, Spain, England, and New Zealand who were also smart and strong enough to start the trek in the morning.
The trek challenges your physical and mental strength. It is physically exhausting. Exactly when you feel like giving up, there are always donkey and camel riders sitting every 100 meters to lure you into cheap rides to the Monastery. It will be a very tempting offer because you are tired and know that you can avoid all the hard work anytime you want, but that’s the decision that separates a traveller from the vacationer. The place is best explored on foot. I had initially planned to take the camel ride on my way down to save time, but I enjoyed it so much that I decided to complete the whole walk myself.
After over an hour of extensive trekking from Treasury, a lady from England and I walked together to the top of the Monastery. We were the first one up there and it couldn’t have been a more beautiful sight than it was. The Monastery was not as well maintained as the Treasury, but it was double in size and with more space to sit and admire the beauty. There were a few more points 15 minutes from the there, and we had to go there because a board there said “The best view of Jordan”.
I walked back after spending half an hour near Monastery and on my way back, I started to see tourists marching towards the Monastery. I was happy realising I was right to start the trek in the morning. Bedouin people of Jordan had shops of souvenirs and handmade clothes. I bought a couple of magnets from a lady who offered a mint to me and told me she had 8 kids to take care of.
By the time I reached the Treasury, it was flooded with thousands of tourists and that also brought a smile on my face while I walked back through the Siq. Physically, I just wanted to crash in a bed but the satisfaction of being able to do the whole hike in 5 hours and back was an achievement for me. My heart was full of beautiful sights and memories I was taking from there. My next destination was the part I was looking forward to the Dead Sea was waiting for me and I was all set to move from rocks to the sea.