Petra in pictures – plus tips before you go
Jordan is a wonderfully welcoming country. Whether you choose to stay in the capital Amman or the up and coming port city of Aqaba, that lies on Jordan’s small slice of the Red Sea, Petra is an easy day trip with a lot to offer! Petra was once a thriving city on the the silk road but came to ruin and became known as the “lost city”. Only in the 1800’s was it rediscovered by a western man in Bedouin disguise who sought out the site. But it wasn’t until 1985 that the Petra Archaeological park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as one of the new seven wonders of the world in 2007. It was just celebrating it’s 1 millionth EVER visitor days before our visit, showing it’s still way off the average tourists radar (the Eiffel Tower has had 250 Million visitors since it was built)!
Never heard of Aqaba? Me either until I went there!
- Dress modestly. Petra is a historical site, men should wear trousers and women can cover up to be respectful. Having said this Jordan is very liberal compared with its neighbours and especially towards foreigners.
- Wear comfy shoes. It’s a huge site and there is a lot to see. Allow at least one full day to see everything.
- Buy the Jordan pass. Most citizens will need a visa to enter Jordan (40 JD), incorporate this with a visit to Petra (50 JD) and anything else you do is free with a Jordan pass! (70JD)
- Please don’t ride the donkeys
- Do buy or trade your own things for Bedouin crafts. Trade is still a common form of payment in this culture and can be a fun way to recycle unwanted things.
The Siq and the Treasury
The Siq is a unique geographic feature caused by a fault splitting it apart by tectonic forces. It’s unlike others, such as Antelope canyon, that are caused solely by water erosion. It is the grand entrance to the site and a stunning walk.
The Treasury is the first main structure you will come across after walking about 1.2km through the Siq. Many will recognise it from Indiana Jones – The last crusade. It’s epic structures, carved out of rock, certainly don’t disappoint. Although you can’t actually enter the building you can climb the rocks opposite to get a great photo.
The Monastery Hike
There are several hikes of varying difficulty, most taking a good few hours to complete. If you are tight on time stick to the main sights and the Monastery hike.
The Monastery is quite a taxing hike. Don’t be that person that gets on a donkey (we saw one lady with a broken foot who had gotten off the donkey half way because she felt so terrible!). It takes roughly an hour to get there (900 steps) and half an hour back. Take your time and enjoy the views. Tea is waiting for you at the monastery. It’s especially pretty at sunset, making the walk back very peaceful as the park is closing.
Petra had been on my bucket list since I saw the first pictures of it in a Lonely Planet magazine as a teenager. It certainly didn’t disappoint, it is a real Lost Wonder! I think a lot of people are put off travelling to the Middle East and think it’s going to cost the earth! But we paid just £70 return flying from London to Aqaba with an overnight stop in Milan. Although Jordan is not a particularly cheap country, (prices in Jordan are similar to that of Western Europe) it has a strong economy and is known to be very safe! So what are you waiting for? Use the Skyscanner tool above to check for flights!
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