People often associate Jordan with Petra and Wadi Rum only. Though it is not surprising as there is something extraordinary about Petra. Walking through the Siq until you catch a glimpse of the Treasury will take your breath away.
The image that one often sees of Petra is just the facade of the Treasury which was filmed in the climactic final scenes of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Actors Harrison Ford and Sean Connery appear from The Siq on horseback and walk into the Treasury in search of the Holy Grail.
Allthough there are donkey rides in Petra, we suggest you go hiking to explore the ancient city (animal abuse you know..).
Best hikes in Petra
The Main Trail
Distance: 4,3 km
The main trail starts at the Visitor center where you’ve entered the site Petra. It leads all the way through the Siq, the narrow canyon, before you catch your first glimpse of the Treasury. This is where all the tourists cluster, so if you are looking to take awesome Instagram-worthy pictures off you alone with the Treasury, I advise you to be at the entrance gates at 6am. I did this two days in a row and found myself alone with 10 other people max at the Treasury.
After having taking photos of the Treasury, the main trail continues along all major attractions of Petra until the end of the Colonnaded Street, where the Monastery trail begins.
Al Khubta Trail aka Treasury viewpoint
Distance: 1,7 km
Before walking the entire main trail, we advise you to follow the Al Khubta trail first. This trail leads to the Treasury viewpoint (the free one, not the tourist trap you will encounter at the Treasury). The trail starts at the opposite side of the Theatre. As you can imagine, there are some steps to be conquered to reach it, allthough the trail isn’t a hard one.
You will know when you are there if you see a sign with ‘best view in the world’ that leads to a Bedouin tent. When you enter the tent, you’ll get the famous Instagram view!
High Place of Sacrifice trail
Distance: 2,7 km
As its name suggests, the High Place sits high above the main area of Petra and getting there involves a steep climb, but the views are certainly rewarding. The trail begins shortly after the exit from the Siq, where you will climb up ancient Nabataean steps. At the top you can take in the magnificent panorama before turning right to descent to Wadi Farasa to see the Lion Fountain, Garden Triclinium, Roman Soldier Tomb and Az Zantur excavation.
Follow the main trail to the street of facades and then you branch off to the left before reaching the theatre, where you will find steps that lead up to the High Place of Sacrifice.
Click map to enlarge
Ad Deir (Monastery Trail)
Distance: 1,2 km
A must see trail, but a hard one as it involves taking many steps (about 800). Resist the urge to take the donkey ride (animal abuse!) and make sure you are fit and bring plenty of water to do this hike. The Monastery trail starts at the end of the main trail, where you can also find a buffet restaurant to have lunch. The hike is hard, but on your way you will encounter some bedouin cafés offering cold drinks. The Monastery is bigger than the more popular Treasury. Directly opposite the Monastery there is a café in a cave where you can have a refreshing drink. The best time to do this climb is in the afternoon, when the path is mostly in shade and the sun is shining on the Monastery’s facade.
How to reach Petra?
Flying in from Amman airport, it’s a four-hour drive pretty much straight drive down the King’s Highway. For a lower cost than a car rental or taxi, you can hop on a public bus direct to Petra from Amman bus station (Tabarbour BUS Station), which is itself a taxi ride from the airport.
From Aqaba airport, it’s a 1.5 hour drive – though a lesser number of airlines fly here. The closest village is Wadi Musa where several hotels make a great accommodation for your Petra visit.
How to purchase tickets for Petra?
You can only enter Petra by buying tickets at the Petra visitors’ centre in Wadi Musa, the closest town or purchase the Jordan Pass (recommended).
The Jordan Pass always is the cheapest option when visiting Jordan. If you purchase the Jordan Pass before your arrival to Jordan you can benefit from the entry visa fees exemption if you stay a minimum of three nights. There are three formulas for the pass:
- Jordan Wanderer – 70 JOD (99$)
- Jordan Explorer – 75 JOD (106$)
- Jordan Expert – 80 JOD (113$)
Depending on which Jordan Pas to take it allows you to enter Petra 1 day, two days or three days. I would suggest going for a two day minimum (Jordan Explorer) as one day in Petra is hardly enough.
Are there places to eat and drink in Petra?
There are restaurants on site, allthough we’d suggest bringing a packed lunch and eating outside – you honestly didn’t come to Petra to sit in a restaurant, did you?!
What should I bring?
Wear comfortable, sturdy shoes you’re happy to walk around in all day. Bring a hat, sunglasses and sunblock. Also make sure you have a ready supply of water. Temperatures drop fast when the sun sets – bring an extra layer to stay warm. Oh and your camera offcourse!