Jordan’s Petra is officially a world wonder, but be warned, with no apparent evidence of any on site management , the Bedouin appear to have total control of this site, and from the moment you arrive they will do their upmost to separate you from your money, in an aggressive and intimidating manner. But for all the hassle it’s worth it, as there are truly amazing sights to behold.
A 3 day pass for 60jd is the best value for money due to the sheer size of the place. if your a day tripper it’s a steep 90jd entry especially as its impossible to see everything in a day. The main trail is a staggering 5 miles long.
Licenced guides are available to hire at the visitors centre for 50jd on top of the price of your ticket (for the group not pp) as I was travelling alone, I couldn’t justify the expense, so I purchased a Petra easy guide via I tunes (2.99), which gave a short audio on each of the sights, a helpful map and it worked just fine for me.
The best time to see Petra is as soon as the gates open at 6am. You’ll pretty much have the place to yourself, not even the Bedouin can be bothered to get up that early, to harass the unsuspecting tourist
When you get in the gate at the visitors centre it’s a 15 minute downhill stroll to the Siq, which at the end of day increases to a 30 min killer walk back. It’s claimed that the ticket price includes a horse ride down to the Siq, what they don’t mention, is the horse owner will expect a hefty tip when its time for you to get off, so you have been warned.
It then takes around 15 mins to get through the Siq, to reach Petra’s Treasury. This is the main hang out for horses & donkeys owners plying for trade.Once you get past the hustle and bustle of the Treasury area there are a number of well placed signs pointing out the main trails .
Most sites are up steps from the main trail but there are 2 sites which require a bit of extra planning . The Place of High Sacrifice is a 45 min upward climb, challenging but doable at a steady pace. The main and biggest climb, is to The Monastery the big brother of the Treasury. A noticeably harder than the Place of High Sacrifice, at around 90 min at a continuous upwards climb, so water and sensible shoes are a must.
As the start of the trail to the Monastary is the furthest away from the main gate (at least an hour ) , I suggest going straight to it when the gates open. Then you’ll get the place to yourself when you reach the top. There’s even a cafe where you can grab a mint tea, and take it all in, but be warned I didn’t see a toilet, so maybe best to stick to just the one tea.
The Bedouins do offer donkey rides to the top, which I wouldn’t recommend due to the sheer drops and narrow ledges of the path and the questionable health of the donkeys.
Along the trails , you will be invited by the bedouin to stop to drink tea, which out of sheer exhaustion I stopped for a while to catch my breath. To their credit they were hospitable and the tea was delicious , I made sure to leave a dinar or two for their hospitality before continuing on.
So if you get in early, and watch out for the usual scams, Petra is an amazing place to visit and well worth the hassles to visit at least once. If you are overnighting in Petra , it’s also worth doing the Petra at night tour , at the time of my visit, it was only running 2/3 times a week, so you’ll need to check the current schedule.
In relation to a well known animal cruelty issues at Petra, I can sadly confirm I did witness first hand shocking animal cruelty. The situation is supposed to being monitored, but unless people refuse to ride poorly treated animals , this practice will continue. If you must get a ride please check the health of the animal before you get on
With regards to accommodation, I stayed at the Petra Moon Hotel, a solid 3 star hotel which is 5 minutes from Petra’s main gates, and right next to where the bus from Amman pulls in . With free wifi , comfortable rooms and a roof top pool, I highly recommend it rather than the overpriced Movenpick next door. After a day at Petra, you won’t have the energy to do anymore than venture downstairs for dinner or order room service anyway.