Our next stop in our Jordan trip was Petra. If you haven’t already checked out my blog post on Wadi Rum, you can click here. As I also mentioned in that post I will be sharing a full detailed travel guide later this week to Jordan where I will be covering details on how to cross over (if you are going from Israel), travel tips to Jordan and our exact itinerary details so that it would be helpful when you are planning your trip to Jordan. For our entire trip we booked a private car and driver with STI Jordan. This is the best way to get around from one place to another as a tourist in Jordan. I will touch base on this in my travel guide as well.
Petra was the very reason Jordan was on my bucket list from the very beginning. It is one of the new 7 Wonders of the world and is also classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is chosen by the Smithsonian Magazine as one of the 28 places you should visit them before you die. This ancient city is literally half as old as time and it has to be seen to be believed; its simply that breaktakingly beautiful! Exploring this Rose red city felt like I stepped into a different era, it was so enchanting and surreal in every way. Located amid rugged desert canyons and mountains in southwest Jordan, this “lost city” was once a thriving civilization years and years ago. It was a trading centre and the capital of the Nabatean empire between 400 B.C and A.D 106. It blows my mind that a city this intricate and beautiful was carved out of rock as early as the 1st century BC !
The city of Petra is HUGE, over 2640 acres or 264 sq km, so planning your visit in advance is certainly helpful. Its nearly impossible to finish seeing all of it in a day or even 2 days for that matter. So I suggest doing your research to see the important locations you really want to hit so that you can plan your trip out well. Since we had just a day to spend here we decided to cover atleast a third of it. Most people just do the most popular “Treasury” and turn around, but the creme de la creme view of Petra is actually the “Monastery” which is a good 5 hour walk one way from the beginning of the park (atleast 5 hours given you will stop along the way for the zillion photo opps). Of course the other way to get to the Monastery is by riding a donkey. But I was completely against this as the donkeys seemed SO overworked. I urge you to not ride them unless you are physically unable to walk. My suggestion if you want to see all the important stops including the Monastery is to split your visit over two to three days so that you can very comfortably explore the city at your own pace. The park sells 1, 2 and 3 day passes and it actually works out to be cheaper if you visit the park for 2 or 3 days instead of 1 day. Check out the pricing here. Also if you are flexible with your days, I would highly recommend “Petra by night”, which is a magical way to see a part of the rock city by candlelight. It happens every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings only, more details here. We unfortunately weren’t here on any of those days; but if I go back to Petra I would 100% make sure to do this! We visited Petra from Wadi Rum since we only did a day trip, but if you do stay in Petra, my recommendation for a good hotel is the Movenpick Petra, as it located right at the entrance of the city. You can also find other nearby hotel recommendations here.
When we visited Petra we went with a local guide, Yazeed. He is a local from Petra who is born and raised here and knows the city in and out. He was super informative and very helpful throughout the trip. If you are interested in booking him, definitely send him a DM via Insta. If you are looking for guides, the park also has ways to book a guide at the entrance. Since the park opens at 6am, we started our day here at the dot of 6! I highly recommend starting your day out early if you want to beat the crowd and the heat (especially in summer), we pretty much had most sites all to ourselves (including the treasury) in the wee hours of the early morning. It was such a magical experience to witness this awe inspiring city without the crazy crowds in all the quietness and solitude of the dawn. It is also known that the best time to see Petra, especially if you’re planning to take photographs, is either early morning or late afternoon, when the angled sun highlights and enhances the amazing natural colors of the rocks. Also if you are visiting Petra in summer like we did this is the best time to start out your day as the temperatures are so comfortable and mild. By midday it gets SO so hot, it really ain’t for the fainthearted. Anytime of year I suggest doubling up on sunscreen and always hydrating along the way as the sun here is very strong. Comfy shoes and a hat/scarf to cover your head is also a must.
The entrance to the city is through the Siq which is a narrow sandstone slotcanyon about 1km in length. It is flanked on either side by soaring 80m high cliffs. Just walking through the Siq is an experience in itself! The colors and formations of the rocks are so stunning, each turn opens up to a wonderful surprise.
But perhaps my absolute fave surprise was when you reach the end of the Siq where you catch the first glimpse of Al-Khazneh or the Treasury – wow it absolutely took our breath away! It is as magical and mystical as I had expected and more.
The Treasury is undoubtedly Petra’s most magnificent façade, 30m wide and 43m high, carved out of the sheer, dusky pink rock-face and is actually the tomb of an important Nabataean king. It is seriously an engineering marvel, the details in the carving are just beyond me ; like how did ancient man do this in the 1st century BC, how?!
At the Treasury, you will find plenty of photo opps and new friends – camels, donkeys, horses, other vendors, gift shops and more. Its a great place to relax, enjoy some local Bedouin tea, shop for some souveniers and just take in all the beauty of this city. I really wanted to view the Treasury from the top. There are local guides at the shops here at the Treasury who will be able to take you on a quick “shortcut” hike to the top. The steep hike to the top of the a Treasury at Petra was totally worth it for this breathtaking view! Aside from the view, we were also treated to the sweetest surprise on top – adorable kittens at a local bedouin’s tent. Just FYI -this shortcut hike is very very steep and I do not recommend trying this by yourself. We only did this route since we were short on time. If you have the time, then I would suggest doing the hike on the actual trail which is a lot more safe (even though it takes slightly longer). The name of this trail is the Al-Kubtha trail and you can find info about this on the park map. This hike will also take you along other stunning locations of the city.
We also visited the gorgeous amphitheater in Petra. This stunning Roman style theatre is carved into the side of the mountain at the foot of the High Place of Sacrifice and consists of three rows of seats and could accommodate 4000 spectators.
After the theatre, Yazeed also took us to some stunning lookout points which totally made us feels like we travelled back in time and stepped into a different era. It was EPIC in every way you guys! Such a perfect end to our day in Petra.
Sadly we were here only for a day and I felt like I didn’t see enough, but am so grateful we got to visit here in the first place. Cant wait to revisit this magical city in the future!
Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for the rest of my Jordan posts! xoxo