So you've decided to travel to one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Petra! Congratulations, you've just made the best decision of your life! Petra truly must be seen in your lifetime, and deserves to be at the top of your travel bucket list.
I am sure your mind is racing with the logistics: How to get there? Where to stay? How to best experience the place? What to do? What to wear? And even more...
The devil (and magic) is truly in the details, especially when traveling across borders into foreign land. It is crucial to be prepared ahead of time if you're going to make the most of your time when visiting Petra. There are key places to see and one experience in particular you will definitely want to make sure you plan your trip around.
Petra is an incredible place that will take you on a journey back in time, the time of the Nabataeans who first walked through the Siq around 300 B.C. The rose-colored sand is mesmerizing and everywhere you look there is something new to see. Whether you make the trek just to the Treasury or the climb up the eight hundred steps to the Monastery (so worth it), a day or two is necessary to fully appreciate the greatness of Petra.
After my first trip to Petra, there were a few things I learned to help make for a better time. So here it is, how to travel to Petra, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World:
How to get there?
To start, you will need to fly into the country of Jordan. The main international airport that has frequent flights with airlines like Royal Jordanian or Emirates, is Queen Alia Airport just outside of Amman. Depending when your flight lands, a night in Amman may be well suited instead of taking the 4-hour drive straight to Petra City. Either hire a private car or for less you can take a public bus from Amman bus station, which is a taxi ride away from the airport — I'd recommend the private taxi or car.
Where to stay?
This is of course dependent upon personal preference. I stayed at the Movenpick Petra, which was about a five-minute walk from the gates of Petra and a lovely hotel with a great breakfast. Being walking distance from the site what a welcome convenience as it saves you a taxi ride. Petra Guest House and the Crown Plaza are also conveniently close to the entrance. If you don't mind a quick drive, the Rocky Mountain Hotel further up the hill is good and has stunning views of the area. I recommend staying near the gates as after a long day of walking you will be thankful to be very close to your room!
How much does it cost?
The price depends if you stay overnight or not. If you are doing just a day trip (not staying overnight) then the price is 90 JD, for those staying overnight it is 50 JD. Children under the age of 15 get in for free. Tickets can be purchased at the new visitor's centre with cash only at the entrance. Petra is open from 6am - 6pm during summer months and 6am - 4pm during winter months and closes at sunset. Be sure to pick up your map at the entrance!
When is the best time to go?
This is the most crucial part of your trip to Petra! The best time to go to Petra is certainly before or after the heat. The spring months of March-May are pleasant and the fall months of September-November are good as well. It can be quite hot during the summer (95° F), so it is advised to go when the temperatures are more moderate.
How much time by day?
Sure, you could comfortably see the main sites of the Siq, Treasury, Monastery, and a few other short stops along the way all in one day. For myself, I wish I had a second day to venture off to the other sites like the view above the Treasury, and the other tombs. I think one day is good, I think a second day would be great. If you do one day, get off to an early start around 8am, take the walk through the Siq to the Treasury (45 minutes) and make your way through the valley to lunch. After lunch, a walk to the Monastery is doable and you can be out of Petra by dark from there.
When is Petra by night?
You've come all the way to Jordan to see Petra, it is a must to see Petra by night! Petra by night is a once in a lifetime experience where the Siq is lit by candles and you walk to the Treasury to see a Bedouin performance under the stars and enjoy the Treasury by night. Petra by night is available only Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights from 8:30-10:30pm. I recommend only doing Petra by night after you've seen it by day as it will make no sense what you are enjoying if you have not seen it by daylight.
What to wear?
Good shoes and layers! You are walking to see everything unless you opt for a carriage ride to the Treasury (I recommend walking the Siq for a better time). It will be cooler in the morning and quite warm by the end of the day. Loose pants or exercise clothes would be well suited for bottoms (definitely not shorts) and a t-shirt or tank top with a light jacket is a good choice. Be prepared to get a bit of a sweat going if you choose to venture on the longer hikes.
Where to eat?
Yes there is food inside! There are a few restaurants and cafes to choose from which can be located on the map you receive. If you make it to the Monastery, hang out at the tent with the best view in town and sip down a refreshing mint lemon tea.
What to do in Petra city?
So if you have some extra time in Petra, one other activity I would recommend is a cooking class at Petra Kitchen. It is an opportunity to learn classic Arabic dishes and enjoy a feast with friends and family. The class lasts about 2 hours. Be sure to pre-book as they tend to fill up!
Anything else to know?
Be prepared to feel the warmth and hospitality of the locals. In Petra, there are people selling their craft goods and there are some gems in there (I bought a cute camel piece). Be sure to bring tons of water on the hike with you as you will be walking a lot.
All photos of me, taken by the talented Diego Imai
Thank you to Visit Jordan for having me on the trip. As always all opinions are own.