Where to stay
- Budget option – Stay at an AirBnb appartment. I highly recommend you to stay with Holly & Mohammed. They are the most hospitable and amazing people. Upon our arrival they prepared us a delicious home cooked meal and helped me with ice for my sprained ankle!
- Luxury option – Book your stay at the Petra Marriott Hotel and enjoy an incredible stay and definitely try out the traditional bedouin dinner overlooking the valley of Wadi Musa.
How to get there
- By bus – Petra is connected to the national capital Amman, at a distance of 233 km, by the desert highway. The Wahedat bus station in Amman offers buses leaving for Petra throughout the day. Due to a predominantly Muslim population, Friday, a holy day for Muslims, is off, but some buses still run on Friday mornings. From Petra, there are fixed departures, at 6.30, 7 and 8 am, and the city is 126 km away from Aqaba by Highway 15
- By car – There is a large parking lot right next to the visitor center so if you’re able to rent a car at the airport this is in my opinion the easiest and most convenient option.
When to go
The visitor center opens at 6am and I highly recommend you to be there at 5.45am at the latest. Unless you wish to share the beauty of Petra with 1000 other people. In summer Petra closes at 6pm, in winter already at 4pm.
Where to find a guide
I prefer to explore on my own but for those of you that want to receive explanations throughout the hike, you can book a licensed tour guide from the visitor’s center. The price depends on the length of the trail and is the same for individuals as for groups.
What to wear
- Comfortable shoes – A must since you will be doing a lot of walking. The hike in total can be around 6 to 7 hours! If you absolutely want to take photos in sandals just bring an extra pair in your backpack.
- Light clothing and a hat/scarf – To protect yourself from the scorching sun.
- Sunglasses – The reflection from the sun is very harsh once it’s high in the sky.
What to bring
- A small bottle of water – Along the way there are so many little shops but you’ll be very happy that you already brought one from the beginning as well. There is a lot of climbing and hiking going on here!
- A camera – A wide angle lense would be ideal here. I used my Canon 24-70mm so you can use that as a reference.
Below you’ll find all of my go to camera gear.
- Sunscreen – Most part of the hike is in a valley so don’t forget to apply sunscreen regularly. Unless you want to end up like a lobster 🙂
- A backpack – A small purse just won’t do it here and you will need your hands to climb
- Bandages – To treat blisters if needed
- A snack – You’ll be doing a lot of walking so you might want to take a protein bar or sandwich witch you.
Tip: If you’re taking photos for Instagram, take a second outfit with you. There is so much to see and photograph that you’ll otherwise regret it! The scarf that I am wearing in some photos can be purchased on the site.
- The first time you’ll feel like you’re on another planet is when you reach the Siq, the main entrance leading to the city of Petra. Try not to stop too much on the way (you can also take photos here on your way back) and since the canyon is narrow, no harsh light will ruin your photos during the middle of the day.
- Next up is the Treasury, which is for many people the main reason they visit Petra. It’s original function is even now still a mystery, some believe it to be a temple but recent excavations unearthed a graveyard beneath the Treasury.
Tips for photos
- The famous viewpoint – There are two roads leading up to this viewpoint. The short one of 30 minutes is not advised to do on your own, there is a lot of risky climbing involved so ask one of the bedouin men to escort you up (don’t forget to give them a nice tip on your way down). The other way is easier but takes at least 70 minutes.
- Tip: The shop up at the viewpoint has carpets etc. which you can use as a prop (ask nicely), also this photo is only possible if your guide climbs up another rock :p
- Tip: Don’t wait too long before you climb up because the sun will set on the Treasury and cause a harsh divide between light and shade.
- Camel – When we first arrived at the Treasury the camels weren’t there yet so we decided to first do the hike upwards and as soon as we came down again they were there. You can choose to just take photos with the camel, I am not a fan of riding one :p and it costs around 2 JD.
- Donkey – This spot is located on the right in front of the donkey stable. We asked one of the locals and he made it possible to take photos with the donkey.
Petra by night
To read about my full experience in Jordan, click here.