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Petra The Lost City in Jordan

Planning to visit Petra the lost city in Jordan? A great choice for visiting Jordan and a popular one as well.  Can you allow at least 3 days?

Petra, a city of secrets,  is the world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site in Jordan and it is incredible.

Petra - the lost city of Jordan
Petra – the lost city of Jordan
If you only have one day to visit Petra we recommend a private day tour - details here

Be prepared for dust, dirt, heat, rain and what else the weather can throw at you.

What does Indiana Jones and Petra have in common? If you watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade you will recognise the rock formations in that movie with the unusual rock formations, tombs and temples in Petra. You could say that Indiana Jones put Petra back at the top things to see in the world – it is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site it is one of the New Wonders of the World that was chosen by over 100 million people in 2007.


 

We have visited the incredible Chichen Itza in Mexico and Angkor Wat in Cambodia but Petra could be our favourite.

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Where is Petra

Petra lies a 3-hour drive south of the capital of Jordan, Amman. You can easily visit Petra in a day trip.

Petra Map

Petra and its secrets
Map of Petra Jordan

History of Petra Jordan – What is Petra

Petra City was constructed by the Nabataeans in the Persian Empire around the 6th Century BC. It was the heart of the desert trading centre, the Nabataeans being keen traders in spices, textiles, perfumes and incense.

A major earthquake destroyed much of Petra during AD363. It is understood that the earthquake coupled with the changes in the trading routes left Petra city abandoned by its people.

Johannes Burckhardt a Swiss explorer set out in 1812 to rediscover the red city known as the Lost City of Petra.

Donkeys at Petra
Donkeys at Petra
Want a 3 day tour that includes Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea - check here for availability

Petra Treasury

On the way to the Treasury, you will be offered rides of all sorts. We laughed at the men offering donkeys to ride, “they are air-conditioned” they said.  In regards to carriage rides, we say “think twice about a carriage ride as the horses’ hooves slip and slide on the ancient pathway, as they try to right themselves around each bend.”

The Treasury
The Treasury

Nothing prepares you for the sight of the Treasury as the Siq opens up and it is right there in front of you standing 40 metres high. You stand and gasp in wonder at the sight of the columns of this 2000-year-old monument, and wonder how on earth did they build this.

The Treasury is also known as Al Khazna. It is believed that the Treasury was constructed in the 1st century BC and made out of iron-laden sandstone.  It was built as a tomb for King Aretas III. One of the secrets is that the Treasury was named and built for one of the Pharaohs to hide his treasures.

Pro-Tip

We came across visitors who thought that Petra was just the Treasury.  They were surprised that we had a 3-day ticket and that there was so much more to see. Don’t do Petra in a day, or two, take your time. There is much to see. Many steps to climb, awe-inspiring monuments to view as you wander through narrow gorges.

The Monastery

The Monastery
The Monastery

We enjoyed the Treasury but our favourite was The Monastery.  It is a challenging walk to get to the Monastery but you forget the number of steps you have climbed and the incline when you reach it. In fact, there are 800 steps, not counting of course. The Monastery dates back to the 1st century AD.

Pro-Tip

Award yourself a cup of Mint Tea whilst you wonder at the beauty. Opposite the Monastery is a tea house and it is worth the time spent sipping your Mint Tea and just looking at this important Peta Monument.

One of the many souvenir shops in Petra
Wonderful Bedouin lady daily trading her wares

There are many shops scattered around Petra,  even on the many steps you have to climb to reach the Monastery.  These incredible women climb the steps every day to set out their stalls, through the heat, the rain and the strong winds just to make enough to support their families.

Tomb of the Roman Soldier.

The external view of the Tomb of the Roman Soldier. This is one of the best-preserved tombs and archaeologists believe it was constructed in the 1st century AD.

The tomb of the roman soldier
The tomb of the roman soldier

The entrance to the Tomb of the Roman Soldier.

The High Palace of Sacrifice.

The High Palace of Sacrifice
The High Palace of Sacrifice

It is one of the highest viewing points within Petra, it is an upward climb of about 40 minutes.  We left this till the second day.  There are two ways to return the first is to travel down the way you came or take the route at the back of the mountain that takes about 2 hours, it is worth it just to see the amazing colours of the rock formations on the way.

The Urn Tomb

The Urn Tomb
The Urn Tomb

Built high on the side of a mountain, the Urn Tomb is one of the Royal Tombs constructed around 70 AD.

The Amphitheatre

The Ampitheatre
The Ampitheatre

The Amphitheatre was constructed out of the mountainside to seat over 8,500 people in the 1st Century AD.

Petra’s Secrets

The secrets of Petra? There will be more secrets revealed as they excavate more of the Lost City of Petra. Only a small part of Petra has been excavated, there are new discoveries happening every day.

The Nabataeans were advanced in “water harvesting”, especially in the dry desert conditions of Petra.  During their wet season, they were able to collect water in the channels that they had carved out of the rock formations, the channels were similar to aqueducts.  Apparently, they even sold the water.

Where To Stay In Petra

If you want a real Petra experience, one that is memorable, stay in the Bedouin camp on the night before you enter Petra. After dinner around the camp’s fire, and an excellent sleep they drive you to the entrance of Petra.

We combined our two night stay in Petra with a night staying in a bedouin tent at the Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp and the second night at its sister hotel The Rocky Mountain Hotel.

Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp

Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp Petra
Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp Petra

 

Nestled under the rocks of Little Petra is the Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp.

The Bedouin Camp offers private tents with carpeted floors and wrought-iron beds. The camp has separate shower and toilet facilities for men and women, with hot water for showers.

Breakfast and Dinner are served in the Restaurant. In the evening guests can sit around the campfire and enjoy the glow of lanterns on the rocks in the desert moonlight, or drink tea in the traditional beit shaar tents.

Guest review: “Only about 15 minutes from the gates of Petra, Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp is the perfect stay. It’s away from the bustle of town and is tucked in the hills of little Petra.”

Check availability here

 

We would recommend combining a night in the Bedouin Tent for the experience as in the morning they drive you to the Entrance of Petra as well.  It is a fun night eating dinner around the campfire.

The Rocky Mountain Hotel has the best views over Petra in the evening so we would recommend staying the rest of the time there. It is within walking distance to Petra’s Entrance.

Rocky Mountain Hotel
Rocky Mountain Hotel image credit Booking.com

Close to the centre of Wadi Musa, the Rocky Mountain Hotel is a small family-run budget hotel that features free WiFi in the public areas, a rooftop terrace with spectacular views of the Petra Mountains.

All rooms at Rocky Mountain are equipped with air conditioning. The small bathrooms are all private and are fitted with a shower. There is a free shuttle to and from the Petra site that is scheduled in the morning and in the afternoon.

Coffee is available all day on the rooftop terrace and traditional dinner is offered in the evenings. Soft drinks, mineral water, Turkish coffee and lunchboxes are also available upon request. Guests can use the computer in the lobby which features free internet access.

Guest review:

“We really enjoyed our stay at the Rocky Mountain hotel! It has an amazing view of the whole city, and it is located on the main road in, so it’s easy to find and isn’t mixed in with the hectic city.”

 

Check availability here

Read here what other travellers have said about the Rocky Mountain Hotel and their latest photos.

 

Getting to Amman and then to Petra

Flights to Amman

For the latest deals from your home airport to Amman check flights and prices here.

Save time, money and hassle book a private transfer from Amman Airport to your Amman Hotel here

Where to stay in Amman

Amman Pasha Hotel
Amman Pasha Hotel

We were staying at the Amman Pasha Hotel in Amman. We would recommend the Amman Pasha Hotel. The restaurant served excellent food and at night there is entertainment from the staff, which you should not miss. Since we have visited they have created a rooftop entertainment area.

Guest review:

“Excellent location in the centre of the city. Walking distance from places of interest. Staff were very welcoming and Abud played some great music on the rooftop terrace in the evening.”

Check availability at the Amman Pasha here

Read travellers reviews and see latest photos on Tripadvisor of the Amman Pasha Hotel

For more Hotel Options in Amman



Booking.com

 

Private transfer from Amman Airport to Petra

Book a private transfer from Queen Alia International Airport in Amman to your hotel in Petra or from your hotel in Petra to the airport. Enjoy a hassle-free trip in a luxurious, air-conditioned vehicle.

Check availability here

Our Recommendations

As we will probably not return to Petra there are 2 things that we feel we should have done.  One is to hire a guide and the other is to visit Petra at night.

When we were speaking to guests at the Rocky Mountain Hotel they were so excited that they had done the Petra at night tour – it finished off the whole Petra experience for them.

We also should have combined Petra with a visit to the Dead Sea.  There are many resorts available and they are only a 1-hour drive from Amman.

 

Entrance Costs for Petra

Tickets

Entry into the site of Petra is only permitted to visitors holding valid tickets. These are available at the Visitor Center and can be purchased on arrival. Prices differ for foreigners and locals and a range of ticket types are available depending on the length of stay and number of visits to be made into Petra.

1. Fees for the accommodated visitor: Visitor who stays at least one night in Jordan.

Entrance Ticket Price
One  Day 50 (J.D)
Two  Days 55 (J.D)
Three days 60 (J.D)
Fees for the accommodated visitor who visits Petra in the first day of his /her arrival from the border
             Entrance Ticket:          90 JD – 40 JD = 50 JD
* For the accommodated visitors who visit Petra in the first day of their arrival from the borders they will pay the border ticket fees(90JD) and return in the next day to get a refund of 40 JD

2. Fees for non-accommodated visitor:

Entrance Ticket:  (90 JD)

 

 

Notes

  • Please submit your valid passport or ID to the tickets office.
  • Tickets are available by cash or Credit cards.
  • Children under 12 years are free of charge.
  • The resident’s fee is 1 JD as long as the resident is holding a valid residence card issued for 1 year at least.
  • Jordan pass ticket doesn’t include the Night event “Petra by Night”
  • Jordan pass ticket holders should submit their tickets in the ticket office so they can do the back road route. 
  • A daylight ticket is required to attend the Petra by Night show.

Related Reading:

 


 

Do you need a Visa for Jordan?

Travel Insurance

We highly recommend travel insurance.

 

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To Travel Too Travel Shop – What To Wear In Petra

We recommend a good pair of walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water. Also, a scarf would come in handy for the dust storms that develop during the day. Check out our travel shop we have the products that we have suggested.

Travel Shop

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Thanks for stopping by and welcome to To Travel Too – Australia’s top Baby Boomer lifestyle and travel blog, with an international worldwide audience in mind, run by the married couple, freelance writers and full-time travellers Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith. Come with us as we explore the world. Our two mantras that we live by are 'chase time not money' and 'age is no barrier when it comes to travel'.

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