Petra, one of the seven wonders of the modern world, is undoubtedly on the “MUST VISIT” list of all travellers to Jordan.
As an attraction holding so much prestige, it is important to us that no one should go and return feeling underwhelmed or disappointed.
Here are a few tips on what to expect, to make your trip easier, stress-free, and more than worthwhile!
1. Entrance Fee
For Jordanians, entry is JD1. For tourists, one day entry is JD50, 2 days is 55, three days is 60. It pays to be ready with cash.
2. Horse rides to the Siq
When you enter, you will be welcomed by Bedouin men with horses offering you a ride for free- yes for FREE! The price of a ride down to the Siq is included within the price of your ticket, but should you have a ride you are expected to tip. Tipping is important and is a way to show honour to the culture and your host the beduoins who use to live in Petra. It’s a lively experience!
3. Camel and Donkey rides within the site
There are many animals inside Petra which shows the authentic Bedouin roots. The opportunities for a ride on a variety of animals are plentiful, and feel free to have one- there’s nothing to fear. Just enquire about price before hand, and remember that you are expected to tip too.
4. Sellers – Trinkets & Food
There are many people selling trinkets, souvenirs, kohl, food, drinks…. etc etc. All are pretty much the same price. Enjoy haggling, but remember that once you start to haggle the expectation is to purchase.
Taking food and water with you will save you a heap of money but there are many cafes and a couple of restaurants on site. It is culturally acceptable to only buy a drink and then sit and eat your own food. Remember though you have a long walk into the site so keeping your pack as light as possible is advisable.
5. The monastery – Al Deir and Beyond
Al Deir is a good climb up from Petra (around 1000 steps in fact). It is worth going for sure, but make sure you set yourself adequate time to do so- take into account the going up, site seeing, and coming back! Once you’re up there, you can go on just a little farther to a look-out point. This is a must; seriously, you’ve already come all that way- make the most of it by seeing all of the amazing views!
In addition to this little hike there are a few other hikes available from the site. It is well worth it to pick a couple to do and stay for a few days. You don’t want to miss seeing these spectacular views!
USAID have done a great job of making Petra completely tourist friendly in terms of facilities, including toilets- which are spread out around the archeological site.
7. Visiting times
Petra is open from 6am-6pm in the Summer, and 6am-4pm in the Winter. Going early in the morning avoids the rush of tourist groups, and the heat- which makes a real bonus if you’re planning on trekking a lot (which is kind of a given here).
8. Night Time
‘Petra by night’ runs every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and offers an amazing perspective of Petra as visitors watch the rose-red city illuminated by candle-light. For admissions information click here.
The site of Petra is light on signs and information. If you really want to know about the history and culture of the past and/or present, a guide is essential. Otherwise, it’s pretty much just looking at the scenery, which is amazing! But, there is so much more to the site than what you can see with your eyes. The stories that come with a good guide will connect you to a place that may seem quite foreign. The reality though was that the great city was inhabited by people, who were not so different from you and me.
10. Additional Information
If you’re keen to read up on the subject a bit more, there are some great blogs that give a tourist’s perspective on Petra, including this one listing 10 top tips.
A trip to Petra is unforgettable; the magnificence of a city “half as old as time” won’t leave you disappointed. There are options to purchase water inside the site as we have said, but remember to drink a LOT of water. There is nothing worse than hiking out of the site when you are thirsty. Bring a hat and/or scarf to cover your head. It’s surprising how this one small item can make you feel so much better in the heat.
So grab some sturdy shoes and get exploring! The following tours include Petra in the itinerary, but as we can customize any tour for you, just let us know and we can add it to your trip.