Petra (Arabic: البتراء, Al-Batrāʾ), the fabled "rose red city, half as old as time", is a well known ancient Nabataean city in the south of Jordan. Due to its breathtaking grandeur and fabulous ruins, Petra was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.
Petra was the impressive capital of the Nabataean kingdom from around the 6th century BC. The kingdom was absorbed into the Roman Empire in AD 106 and the Romans continued to expand the city. An important center for trade and commerce, Petra continued to flourish until a catastrophic earthquake destroyed buildings and crippled vital water management systems around AD 663. After Saladin's conquest of the Middle East in 1189, Petra was abandoned and the memory of it was lost to the West.
The ruins remained hidden to most of the world until the Swiss explorer, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, disguised as an Arab scholar, infiltrated the Bedouin-occupied city in 1812. Burckhardt's accounts of his travels inspired other Western explorers and historians to discover the ancient city further. The most famous of these was David Roberts, a Scottish artist who created a number of accurate and detailed illustrations of the city in 1839.
The first real excavations of the site were in 1929 after the forming of Trans-Jordan. Since that time, Petra has become by far Jordan's largest tourist attraction, partially due to the exposure by the Steven Spielberg movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in 1989. Due to the fantastic engineering accomplishments and the fact of its being well-preserved, the archaeological site was chosen in July 2007 as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Petra is the archaeological site and Wadi Musa is the city nearby.
Petra is open to visits 06:00-17:00 in winter, and 06:00-18:00 in summer, daily throughout the year.
What may be one of the most expensive admissions to any archaeological site in the world. The entry ticket to Petra costs 90 JD for one day visitors to Jordan (i.e., those that have arrived in Jordan from some other country, e.g. Israel, on the day of the visit and will be returning there for the night). Tourists that overnight in the country or on a cruise ship pay 50 JD for 1 day, 55 JD for 2 days or 60 JD for 3 days. Bring your passport to prove you entered Jordan at least one day before. If entered the same day, your room key will be asked by the ticket seller. Students have to pay the full price, except those who enroll in a Jordanian university, for whom the admission price drops sharply to 1 JD.
Do not attempt to purchase tickets from dubious scalpers around town! Time permitting, the two-day pass is recommended, as there is much to see and do in Petra. For more than one day, the ticket office can ask for your passport as the ticket has your first name on it.
The Jordan Pass (purchased online before coming to Jordan) gives you access to over 30 sights and attractions in Jordan, including Petra, Wadi Rum Protected Area and Jerash. And the fee on the regular 40 JD visa is waived when entering Jordan, if you stay at least four days in the country. (If you leave before, you will have to pay the 40 JD at the border when exiting.) There are three different types available, depending on the length of your stay in Petra: 70, 75, or 80 JD for one, two, or three days in Petra. Also read Jordan#Jordan Pass.
Children under 12 years can enter the touristic sites for free when accompanied by their parents.
JETT buses, both ordinary and all-inclusive guided tour, connect to Amman and Aqaba via the fast (but boring) Desert Highway. Other tourists come with organized groups, including daily trips from Eilat, Israel. Tours to Petra from the Egyptian cities of Taba, Sinai and Sharm el Sheikh are also gaining popularity with charter tourism.
It is easy to take the bus from Amman to Petra. It leaves from the JETT bus office close to Abdali station (departs at 06:30, runs daily) and in 3½ hours you'll get to the bus station not even 5 minutes from the entrance of Petra. At 17:00 the JETT bus takes off again to go back to Amman. The price is 10 JD for one way (as of March 2023),
See the JETT time table.
The 1 Wadi Musa Bus Station is next to the mosque.
Public minibus from Wadi Musa (Petra) to Ma'an (or vis versa) is 0.55 JD and from there to Aqaba (or vis versa) is 1.50 JD. The main route from Wadi Musa to Aqaba or Amman (or vice versa) is overpriced for tourists! Going through Ma'an, you should be able to pay the local price for the public minibus.
There is a direct minibus going from Aqaba for 5 JD, for those that cross from Eilat and don't want to pay the outrageous taxi fare. The problem is, there's no timetable - it leaves early in the morning (06:45) from Wadi Musa towards Aqaba, then returns from Aqaba when it fills up etc. Ask at the tourist information right at the border for information of departures.
There are also direct minibuses from Amman - these leave when full, and tourists are charged 7 JD (March 2023) to get on. Do not allow the drivers to charge you for your luggage, as they might sometimes try to do. The ride is about three hours.
The minibus from Wadi Rum costs 10 JD. It takes around 2 hours to get to Petra. Have your tour operator or guide call the bus owner the day before to arrange an exact time for pick up. The bus usually leaves from Wadi Rum at 09:30 in the morning, but may be delayed due to weather or tour groups coming the other way.
There is a daily bus to Wadi Musa from Madaba that travels via the scenic (but slow) King's Highway. This minibus leaves from outside the Mariam Hotel in Madaba.
Taxi is also a viable option. For 75 JD or less (depending on how much you haggle) you may be able to get a private taxi from Amman to Petra and back, including the driver waiting around for 6 hr.
A taxi from Aqaba to Petra should cost 55 JD one-way. Though, see the remark on the Aqaba border taxi Mafia under Aqaba.
Renting a minibus with a driver in the hotel at the Dead Sea would be around 140 JD one-way.
A taxi from Madaba to Petra arranged by a hotel costs 60-65 JD (Oct 2018). Arranging one directly may cost less.
By tour company
Many visitors to Petra come on day trips from Eilat, in Israel. Single day tours cost around US$220 per person, including park admission, but not including Israel border fees (2015). A bus driver picks you up at your hotel around 07:00 and takes you to the Yitzhak Rabin-Aqaba border crossing just outside of Eilat. Once you cross the border, a Jordanian tour guide drives you to Petra, where you spend about 4 hr before having a late lunch and returning to the border around 18:00. Day tours can sometimes be booked at your Eilat hotel after you arrive, but advance reservations are recommended, especially during peak travel times.
In case you travel on a shoestring or really do not have the money for Petra, there is a way to see parts of Petra without having a ticket. From the highway south of Wadi Musa there leads a track to the top of the mountain that faces the Treasury. You can get some pretty good shots from there. Try OpenStreetMap, which many mobile Apps like OsmAnd or Mapy.cz, use to identify the track or look for an according GPX file.
Wadi Musa to Petra
Many hotels organise free transport to and from the entrance to Petra. Otherwise you can either walk downhill along Tourist Rd. for about 15 minutes, or take a taxi for 1-2 JD.
The only modes of transport allowed within Petra are on two feet or four (camel, donkey, or horse). There are 4 segments within Petra with 4 possible types of transport: from the entrance to the Siq (by foot or horse), from the Siq to the Treasury (by foot or cart), from the Treasury to the stairs of the Monastery (by foot, donkey or camel), the 800 stairs of the monastery (by foot or donkey).
When entering Petra, there is a brief hike down towards the Siq. Horses will be available for travel to the entrance of the Siq. The prices for such rides are not set and are extremely negotiable, depending on one's bargaining abilities. Although the horse guides will tell you that riding a horse to the Siq entrance is included in the ticket price, they will try to sell you a longer tour, and argue aggressively for a 'tip'. As the walk down to the Siq entrance is only 15 min, it's not really worth it. The horses have been treated so badly in the past that a clinic to treat and heal them from the bad treatments they receive has been opened left to the entrance. It's not uncommon to see wounded animals, especially those pulling the carts, to be put to gallop under 37°C.
There are also horse-drawn carriages available to take you through the Siq (a distance of about 0.9 km) and down to the Treasury, but—as per the sign at the entrance of the park—these should only be used by those who are otherwise unable to walk due to health-related mobility issues.
Donkeys are exploited by small groups of Bedouin youths who use 75 cm electrical cable sections to strike them all the way up to the Monastery. So if you can walk, it's better to spare the animals.
The video in the Petra Museum (just past the security gate and the ticket sales booth) tells visitors not to ride the donkeys because:
- The donkeys have wounds under their saddles from carrying excessively heavy loads (overweight tourists).
- The donkeys are beaten by the owners (you'll see this; they do it in front of you).
- Many of the owners are children that would otherwise be in school if you didn't encourage them to be skipping education by giving them money.
- The donkeys walking up the steps carved directly out of the sandstone mountain damage the steps, harming the preservation of this remarkable World Heritage Site.
Once you arrive at the Treasury and throughout Petra, there will be many camel and donkey owners jockeying for your business. Be prepared to do some bargaining and don't pay more than 15 JD per hour. Often there are times when the owner will drop his price in half simply by hearing a few phrases in Arabic.
Camel transport could be an option. Riding a camel is a unique experience along the Main Trail.
Much of Petra is literally covered in feces from all of the animals, and it has a near-perpetual smell—especially in narrow areas like the Siq and the tombs that are full of animal (and human) feces. Please don't fund the exploitation of animals that's destroying this World Heritage Site and making it an unpleasant visit for others.
"Free with ticket" scam: Even though it might state on your ticket that the horse/donkey transport from the entrance to the Siq is included in the price, it is a common way to scam people into paying unjustified amounts of money for the guides service. Some guides with horses and donkeys will offer you to carry you further, but many people ended up paying 50 JD for a two-hour ride, which is beyond fair and justified. Don't fall for any such lies and simply reject any offer. If you really want to use their service, agree on a all-including price for animal, guide and any other services beforehand and only hand over the money at the finish. Do not get tricked into extra tracks, services or anything these scammers could charge you for.
However, if you are reasonably fit and the weather is good, walking the whole of Petra is quite nice. Prefer climbing the Monastery's path before 15:00, otherwise it will be mostly in the shadow. If you are a good hiker, Petra area including the Monastery climb, the climb up the tombs to see the Treasury from above and even the High Place of Sacrifice are possible on one day.
There is an unofficial section from the High Place of Sacrifice directly down to the Treasury, saving you some time, but finding it can be a little tricky. Try OpenStreetMap, which at least shows the official track to its very end. The other way around from the bottom of the Treasury is blocked by a sign and probably official personal. Not going down to the Treasury, you can even walk back to the highway.
"You need a guide" scam: On some trails (especially an ascent from the Treasury and a walk starting between the entrance and the Siq), touts may falsely tell you that a guide is mandatory and may pursue you (on foot or horseback) to try to force you to turn back. Some routes are officially designated as "dangerous without a guide" (though this very much depends on your mobility and the weather), but a guide is not mandatory. On the other hand, some other routes are indeed blocked off, but in that case having a local guide doesn't detract from the fact that you are trespassing. In any case, if hassled, the best thing to do is to try to ignore them. In busy hours, tourist police are often nearby, especially near the Treasury.
Guides can be hired from about 25 JD and up (depending on what you want to see) at the Visitors Center. Many of them were born and raised in Petra, and will gladly share their knowledge with you. Major hotels can rent you a portable Easyguide audio guide (10 JD/day) for commentary in English, Arabic, French and Spanish. Easyguide is also available as a mobile phone service on all Jordanian mobile phone networks; a map is needed to use this service.
- 1 Siq. The entrance to Petra is a long, winding sandstone canyon (about 2 km). There are minor carvings spotted here and there throughout the Siq, but the most impressive sights are the colorful and unusual sandstone patterns in the rock walls. There are also remains of terracotta pipes built into the sides of the canyon that were used in Roman times to carry water.
- 2 Treasury (Al-Khazneh in Arabic). Upon exiting the Siq, visitors can view this jaw-dropping grandeur. Be sure to note the urn atop the Treasury structure, it has been rumored that the urn contained a Pharaoh's hidden treasure, and the urn bears the bullet pock marks where Bedouin travellers throughout the years have tested the theory. Get there when the park opens at 06:00 or 06:30 (depending on the season) and you may have the Treasury all to yourself or with fewer than 5-10 people around and no vendors.
- 3 Street of Facades. Past the next bend is this part also sometimes called outer Siq, a large canyon lined with the facades of various tombs.
- 4 Nabatean Theatre. At the end of the Street of Facades is the 7000-seat Roman Theater. The theater was created by the Nabateans but later enlarged by the Romans. It is still used for occasional performances.
- 5 Royal Tombs. On the side of the valley opposite the Roman Theater and a short walk up the hill, are the tombs. The name was given because they are quite grand in scale compared to the others in the area, but it is unclear for whom the tombs were built.
- 6 Byzantine Church.
- 7 The Great Temple.
- 8 Monastery (ad-Deir). The largest carved monument in Petra, dates back to the 1st century AD. The interior, like that of the Treasury, is underwhelming in comparison to the façade. The more than 800 steps up to the Monastery can take over an hour, and even if you take a donkey you will have to walk and climb for about 10 minutes near the end.
- 9 Desert View (beyond the Monastery). If you follow the track further from the Monastery, you will reach a camp offering tea and stuff to sell, which offers a great view of the desert to the west.
- Petra by Night. Happens on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 20:30 (be there at 20:15!). Entrance fee is 17 JD and you do not need a day pass. Order your tickets at your hotel, or buy them at the site's visitor center. The approach to the Treasury through the Site is lit only by candles. Musicians will play about 15 min of Bedouin music, and you'll be served some tea in paper cups while you sit on mats at the Treasury. It's best to see this before you see Petra by day, as it becomes far less impressive if you already walked up to the Treasury during daytime. It's not amazing, but it's something nice to do during nighttime. However, there are really mixed reviews of this.
- Princess Alia Clinic, Brooke Hospital for Animals. Just inside the entrance to the park. As you can witness inside Petra, not all donkeys, horses and camels are treated right. A few are overworked, carrying overweight tourist or being excessively whipped. The Brooke charity educates owners about the treatment of equestrian working animals and treats the animals for free. The clinic is happy to tell you about conditions for working animals in Jordan. You can give a donation to the clinic.
- 10 Wadi Musa. This is the city next to Petra, doesn't have any big touristic attraction except for a great panorama from uphill.
- Petra Museum (just past the security gate right next to the Petra ticket sales booths). A small museum with lots of great info and artifacts about Petra. free.
For the terminally energetic, there are a number of popular hikes around Petra. Most hikes last about 1-3 hr round-trip.
- In order to understand what Petra is, it is better to spend there two days. The first day: Siq - Treasury - City - Monastery. The second day: another way to Petra through Wadi Muthlim - see the Treasury from above on Jebel Al -Khubtha - High Place of Sacrifice. If you enter Petra through Wadi Muthlim do not turn left immediately after the small Siq, first go right to see Aqueduct, Tunnel and Al-Wu'eira Fort and only after that return to Petra center. It may not be possible to go through this route due to excess water in it. It's not recommended doing this route without a guide.
- 1 Tomb Staircases. Just after the last tomb on the side of the Royal Tombs, there leads a staircase up the mountain which gives a good view of the Petra area. At the very end of this track there is a camp giving a great view from above the Treasury.
- 2 High Place of Sacrifice. The site at the top of the mountain contains elaborate rock altars used for sacrifices. From the High Place, one can view much of Petra from above. Beautiful scenery. It can get cold and windy up there. The trek down the back side of the mountain reveals many interesting tombs and carvings that might be missed by the average tourist. The round trip generally takes 1.5-2.5 hr. Not many people go through the back route as it's not always clear where it starts - ask or use OpenStreetMap to identify the track. You might even try to use the direct track to the Treasury, which is even harder to find and not official, even though the staircases are clearly visible from down the Treasury.
- 3 Mountain of Aaron (Jabal Haroun). This is the highest peak in the area. At the top you will find a small church and the tomb of Aaron, brother of Moses. The route to the top and back will take you past the Monastery and will take 4-8 hours depending on your chosen path.
Throughout Petra, vendors will offer bottles of decorative sand art (small ones about 1 JD bigger ones up to 6 JD). While they may appear similar to other such souvenirs found in other Jordanian locations, these are unique in that the sand used to create the art is naturally colored sand scraped from the rock walls of various Petra canyons and not artificially colored. The most common design displays a camel's silhouette against a desert background. Some artists can write a name inside the sand bottle in a surprisingly short amount of time.
Bracelets, necklaces and rings are sold frequently by vendors walking around and presenting their goods. Offers vary extremely in price and often salespersons claim that they are made out of silver, even though they are not (1-5 JD is a fair price for most of the offered goods).
There is a fruit and vegetable market next to the minibus station in Wadi Musa.
Souvenirs in Petra/Wadi Musa often cost twice or three times the price demanded in the rest of Jordan. So, if you are also going to visit the rest of Jordan, do your shopping there.
Ancient coin, mister?
The Bedouin tradesmen around the area will display artificial "ancient" Roman or Nabatean coins which are rather large in size. If pressed further, they will generally have a hidden stash of small, authentic coins from various periods. However buying these coins encourages the illegal looting of archaeological sites. To supply you with a souvenir the local inhabitants destroy graves, tombs and buildings in searches for coins and other antiquities. The Antiquities Law of 1988 states that individuals who engage in illicit excavations and/or trading in antiquities are criminals.
Eat & drink
There is only one restaurant in all of the Petra site - at the far end of the Roman Highway. It's operated by Crowne Plaza, and does a roaring trade despite steep pricing, and also has the valley's monopoly on beer (6.5 JD for a 300 ml can, Oct 2018).
For just snacks and hot & cold drinks however, there are small stores and vendors scattered throughout Petra.
Many of these shops are powered by petrol. If you follow the electrical cables, they go up the slope into the old tombs where the generator is running. Not only does this create sound and air pollution, but the top of these old cave tombs becomes thick with soot and desecrating their beauty. Please don't buy from these vendors.
Shade is sparse in Petra, and on a hot summer day you can expect to go through at least 4 l of water (and more if you can afford to carry it). The need for water in the winter months is much less. A 0.5-l bottles cost 1 JD, and 250 ml soft drinks cost 2 JD (Oct 2018).
There are several bathrooms along the Main Trail with running water.
- 1 Al-Janoub Sweets. Delicious sweets beyond the ordinary stuff sold by many shops around the country. Baklava filled with cheese or pudding, other sweety warm rolls and nuts and almonds specialities. 0.2 JD per small piece, 0.5 JD per piece on a plate.
- Al-Wadi Restaurant (on Shaheed roundabout/Circle in the center of town), ☏ +962 7 7725 9961. Reasonably priced, and the servers are extremely friendly. 2-4 JD for a main dish.
- Cleopetra (below Circle/Al Wadhi restaurant). About 1 JD for a falafel or a tea.
- Wrangler Bar (at Petra Palace Hotel). Cosy bar with alcoholic drinks and oldies but goodies music. 4 JD for beer and wine.
- Valentine Inn (see below) sells various alcoholic beverages and is famous for that with the locals.
- Si Wan restaurant has some good local food with fair prices. Also, there's a good and cheap bakery near it.
- Mountain Pub (at Hidab Hotel). Traditional wood bar with alcoholic beverages, hot and cold drinks, and snacks.
The most authentic way to stay in Petra, and very budget and unique experience, is to stay in a cave with a local. When you walk around Petra you will be approached by many nice local people with camels or donkeys inviting you to have tea with them. When you talk to them for a bit, they will propose to stay in their cave with them, cook dinner for you and hang out with you in the evening. They can also help you get back to your hotel after dinner. It is a very basic accommodation, but they can give you blankets and mattresses. Of course they wouldn't do that if it were not for a appropriate donation, but something around the price of budget accommodations in town is reasonable. It is probably always best to stay in a group of friends, just in case. This way the "payoff" for the local is more worth the effort.
Most accommodation will be available through the common hotel websites. To get a good price, check out a places availability and location and just turn up and ask for the price referring to the website. But even walking around in the center of Wadi Musa will give you plenty of options. But in high season book ahead.
- 1 Valentine Inn, Wadi Mousa, Jabal Alzohour Str, Jordan. (At the main roundabout, head up the (steep) hill about 200 m, entrance on the right.), ☏ +962 (03)215 6423. Check-in: anytime, check-out: 11:00. The place where every taxi driver will attempt to take you, the Valentine Inn has become very popular with budget travelers and backpackers. They offer a generous and tasty breakfast and dinner buffet (3 JD and 7 JD), clean and cool dorm rooms, and sociable dining area with great views of the town and mountains beyond. Depending on which staff or owners, you can easily have help with directions or get tea. Like all places they can arrange everything, and offer a free minibus to the park entrance at 07:00 and 08:00 and returning at 17:00 and 16:00 or 18:00 (depending on the season). The dorms may be cramped, but there is free WiFi and pickup from the bus stand. Laundry is available at 2.5 JD. Dorm 5 JD (14 beds) JOD JD (9 beds), Single 8-14 JD, Double 10-15 JD, Triple 20 JD (the lower prices are for the room when without the electrical heater).
- 2 Al-Anbat 1, ☏ +962 (06) 215 6888, fax: +962 (03) 215 6888, [email protected]. Clean rooms with satellite TV (including BBC & CNN). All upstairs rooms have baths and the occasional balcony. 4 km from Wadi Musa, but breakfast and transport to Petra is included in the price. Internet cafe, restaurant and Turkish bath. From 35 JD.
- 3 Al-Anbat 2, ☏ +962 (06) 215 6888. All rooms have air-con and satellite TV. 5/10 JD single/double.
- 4 Petra Gate Hotel, ☏ +962 (03)215 6908, [email protected]. Warm, welcoming, and friendly atmosphere; the rooms all with bath and toilet , offers free transportation to the site; free luggage storage; international telephone call service; laundry; wireless internet services; satellite TV; movies; tickets to Petra by Night; and a big buffet-style restaurant. English speaking, super friendly and helpful staff is there to answer all your questions, and they can organise trips to Wadi Rum and to the kings highway and Dead Sea and they will help you during your stay. Clean and quite cheap, breakfast included. 11 JD per person.
- Saba'a Hotel, Wadi Musa, Petra, Jordan (From the bus station, turn left and walk along the main road to the roundabout, cross over and walk 100 m up the hill on the left.), ☏ +962 776250574 (Ibrahim), +962 779730533 (Gail), [email protected]. Very welcoming owners - he's from Jordan and she's from the UK and they really make you feel at home. The rooms are simple and clean, they are all en suite. Wireless internet; packed lunches; laundry service, luggage storage; satellite TV; book swap;local information; trips to Wadi Rum are all available. Prices per person from: single ensuite 14 JD, double ensuite 10 JD, twin ensuite 10 JD, triple ensuite 9 JD, breakfast is included.
- 5 Valley Stars Inn, Main Street, Wadi Musa, ☏ +962 3 2155733, [email protected]. Family owned and operated, and the manager's devotion to service and direct attention to details makes this two-star hotel like a five-star international quality experience. Bright and sociable living room and eating areas with warm and homey atmosphere and unlimited free high speed wireless internet access. Clean and comfortable guest rooms. Manager speaks and writes (emails, texts) English, graciously responds to all questions about your complete Petra vacation, and can arrange for local guided tours. Upon request, Manager will assist with travel plans to and from other points within Jordan, organize trips, and provide travel advice for Wadi Rum, Wadi Dana, Aqaba, Amman and other destinations, all for a fair and honest price (no need to haggle). Free shuttle service provided to and from Petra main gate. Free luggage storage upon check-out. Boxed lunches can be arranged for day trips with a local restaurant and delivered to hotel. 35 JD for double, includes international breakfast buffet, complete with eggs cooked to order. Half board for 10 JD extra adds a superb dinner.
- Nawaf Bedouin Camp, ☏ +962 795 537 109, [email protected]. Very good way of getting to know the real Bedouin lifestyle. Nawaf is a warm and respectful person, and the way he manages his camp has very little to do with a hotel - he likes to work with small groups of tourists, so he can use all his energies to make you feel comfortable and spend time talking with you around the campfire. At night, in the magic atmosphere of the Bedouin tent, he will prepare on the fire (just in front of you) a very tasty dinner, following the old Bedouin traditions. The price also includes transportation to and from the Bedouin village next to Petra and to the desert camp in Wadi Araba. 95 JD/night, including dinner and breakfast.
- 6 Peace Way Hotel, fax: +962 3 2156963, [email protected]. Free WiFi in the lobby, free transport to Petra in the morning (1-way only). 18 JD single room including breakfast.
- 7 Amra Palace Hotel, P.O.Box 124 Wadi Mousa 71810 - Petra - Jordan, ☏ +962 3 2157070, fax: +962 3 2157071, [email protected]. Wifi in lobby and bedroom (7 JD for 1 day but often special unlimited offer mix with other things). Located just next to the Petra Gate Hotel - offers a nice terrace with good standing, a swimming pool and clean rooms. 24 JD single room including breakfast.
- Moon Valley Hotel. Room was decent for the price but not the cleanest. Air conditioning, Satellite TV, and hot water. Included in the price is a minimal breakfast. WiFi for 2 JD/day. Staff was very nice and helpful. 10-min walk to Petra's entrance. It's near a bunch of cheap supermarkets, SiWan restaurant (great local food, fair prices, not the cheapest), and near a good and cheap bakery. 22 JD, 20 JD for additional nights.
- 8 Sharah Mountains Hotel, Main Street, Wadi Moussa (500 m from the bus station), ☏ +962 779421440, [email protected]. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. Sharah Mountains Hotel is a one minute walk from the Al-Shaheed roundabout. Offers free transportation to & from the gate of Petra at any time you want, deposit safe, reservation for other hotels in Jordan, organizing transportation to any place in Jordan with very competitive prices. 20 JD per room.
- 9 Qaser Al-Bint Hotel, City Center (five minutes to The bus station), ☏ +962 776434952, [email protected]. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. Offers clean and comfortable rooms with air condition and private paths. 18 JD per room.
- 10 Hidab Hotel ([email protected]), City Center (five minutes from the entrance to Petra), ☏ +962 32159100. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. Budget 3-star hotel offering spacious rooms with air conditioning and private bath, satellite TV, hair dryer, fridge, 24-hour front desk service, Turkish Bath, Moonlight Terrace Restaurant, and Mountain Pub. Breakfast included. 25 JD per room.
- 11 Cleopetra Hotel, Main Street, 71810 Wadi Musa, Jordan, ☏ +962 (03) 215 7090, [email protected]. Mid-range hotel with common area with TV and couches. Refurbished in December 2010, all rooms have bathroom included. Located up the hill (near the bus station) but free transport is provided to Petra. Great reception with lots of advice and can organise trips to Wadi Rum. Mosleh will take care of you - he seems to know everyone in town. Breakfast is also included in the price which makes this hotel great value! 25/30 JD single/double.
- 12 Mövenpick Resort & Petra, Wadi Mousa 71810, ☏ +962 3 21 57 11 1, fax: +962 3 21 57 11 2, [email protected]. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. At the entrance to the historic city of Petra, the luxurious rooms and suites are equipped with wireless broadband internet connection and a 32/37-inch LCD flat-screen television. From 99 JD.
- 13 [dead link] Grand View Resort, Queen Rania St (Beside the Marriott overlooking Wadi Musa), ☏ +962 (3) 215 68 71, [email protected]. The Grand View Resort offers excellent service with a fantastic view of Jabal Haroun (the Mountain of Aaron) and the surrounding area. 75/100/150/250/450 JD single/twin/studio/junior suite/executive suite.
- Taybet Zaman Hotel and Resort, ☏ +962 (06) 215 0111. In a renovated 19th-century village, this is quite possibly the best hotel and almost certainly the most stylish one in Petra, if not in all of Jordan. The 111 rooms are all in individual houses decorated in Bedouin style. The inevitable handicraft shops are attractively camouflaged in a "souq", and there are good restaurants and even a Turkish bath on hand. The resort is a fair distance from Petra, but a courtesy shuttle bus is provided once a day: 09:30 to Petra and 14:30 for the return. This doesn't give enough time for exploration of Petra. If you have your own transportation, this is doable. If not, you end up paying 8 JD each way for a taxi. Rooms start at US$110.
- 14 Mövenpick Nabatean Castle Hotel, Wadi Mousa 71810, P.O. box 184, ☏ +962 3 21 57 20 1, fax: +962 3 21 57 20 9, [email protected]. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. A 10-minute drive from the entrance to the historic site of Petra, in a secluded position on a hillside at an altitude of 1,400 metres. All the hotel's 90 rooms and suites are spacious and most have extraordinary views over the Great Rift Valley. Interconnecting rooms and non-smoking rooms are available on request. From 66 JD.
The most cold and rainy months to visit Petra are December and January. In this time it is warm during the day and very cold in the evenings and at nights. That's why it is necessary to take coats, hats and gloves. And it could warm up your visit there if you take a thermos with hot tea with you. Avoid going if the forecast shows a lot of rain, as the guards may need to transport tourists out if the valley starts to flood. The hot, dry air sometimes results in nosebleeds. You might want to carry petroleum jelly, or petroleum jelly-based products like Vicks and apply liberally to the insides of the nostrils to avoid nosebleeds. Also, carry plenty of water and oral rehydration products if you are travelling to Petra in the hot summer months to avoid dehydration. A good cap and sunglasses will help you avoid getting a heat stroke and sunburn.
The park is populated by a significant number of Bedouins, living in caves, tents, and buildings off the main tourist trail. A handful undertake herding and agriculture and your interactions with them (if any) are likely to be brief and pleasant; however, the vast majority are focused on tourism within the park. The perceived wealth of tourists, together with a high visitor turnover and ineffective authorities, can make the (unavoidable) interactions with these touts unsavory at best, and occasionally quite intimidating.
Some practices have already be mentioned in the according chapters before. Here are some more:
- Animal mistreatment – You will not visit Petra without witnessing the kind of animal abuse that would lead to imprisonment in western countries. The touts who work with horses, donkeys, and camels think nothing of beating them, including with sticks or rocks. This is especially prevalent towards closing time, and might entirely sour one's visit. Despite animal protection being mentioned on a sign near the entrance, the authorities have not yet fixed this issue.
- Fake park rangers – In addition to the tourist police, some park rangers work in the park. The park rangers' primary tasks are to ensure the preservation and scenic quality of the site, and to assist tourists in education and appreciation of the park. Therefore, if a difficult gentleman claims to be a park ranger and insists on inspecting your ticket, consider showing him, but do not physically hand over your ticket.
- Changing money – One or two touts may ask you to exchange some foreign money (maybe a €10 note) to JD, complaining that there is no bank in Petra. It is not recommended.
- Female travelers – The internet is awash with stories of female travelers who have experienced financial scams, uncomfortable situations, or worse. Western women are often assumed to be promiscuous and even a basic interaction might be construed as an advance. So accepting an invitation for a walk, an Arabic coffee, or an evening under the stars might be inadvisable. Likewise, in the adjoining town, if a woman sits in the front seat of a taxi (even in a group situation) this might be taken as an invitation.
While going off the main tourist path is a rewarding experience for the trails, scenery, and less-visited archaeological sites—the further you stray, the less likely you are to come across police or fellow tourists who could help if necessary—best to always go in a group.
While the main trail has proper bathrooms, you may not encounter one if you do some trekking. Be prepared with plenty of water and dig a cat hole. If you must use toilet paper (instead of a rock or water), be sure to dispose it properly.
Many of the tombs in Petra are literally full of feces and (worse) feces-smeared toilet paper. Don't contribute to the desecration of these beautiful sites. If you have to go, bury your excrement off the trail (not in a tomb!) and dispose your toilet paper in a decent and proper manner.
- 11 Little Petra — a scaled down version of Petra, is accessible by taxi or from Petra. It is less traveled than the main site and is well worth the visit if you spend more than a day in Wadi Musa. Approximate cost for a cab ride to and from the site, including having the taxi wait for an hour or so, is 25 JD (Oct 2018). There is also at least one minibus leaving from the bus station (city center) around 12:00. Price: Free.
- Wadi Rum — a stunning desert valley in southern Jordan, lies about an hour south of Petra. Buses leave in the morning (~06:30) and generally cost 5 JD. Make arrangements through your hotel. Taxis for 40 JD (Oct 2018).
- Dana Nature Reserve — stay in a local village within the Nature Reserve, and enjoy unforgettable hiking in an offshoot of the Great Rift.
- 12 Shoubak Castle (Al-Shobak / Shawbak) (south of Kerek and Dana Reserve, from the highway (fuel station) it is a 20-min direct hike (not along the road)). It is on a hill with spectacular views and a great for a stop when going south to Petra. Most of the castle is a pile of rubble but there are underground rooms to explore, including the staircase (through a metal door that should be open) that goes down 375 steps to the old wells. Take a torch. At the bottom, you can climb up metal rungs to a hatch next to the road below the castle, then walk back up the road. Along a side road to the castle, you can also find 15 The smallest hotel in the world with a steep price of 25 JD, but maybe it can be bargained down to 15 JD, considering there is only space for one. Just nearby the owner of it also has regular rooms with dinner and breakfast. 1 JD.
- Kerak — site of a once-mighty Crusader castle.
- 13 Wadi Mujib — great nature reserve famous for its impressive canyons. Read more here. Limited access in winter.
- Madaba — known as the 'City of Mosaics' for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, especially a large Byzantine-era mosaic map of Palestine and the Nile delta at St. George Church.
- Dead Sea — The lowest point on earth and the most saline sea, letting you float on top.
- Buses to Aqaba also leave in the morning for 5 JD (price for tourists) (~07:00). From Aqaba, it is possible to cross the border to Eilat in Israel and from there to Taba in Egypt.
- To get to Amman, you can take a minibus from the central bus station. There must be one every hour until 14:00 or 15:00. JETT also has a daily bus leaving at 17:00 from the parking close to the visitor center.
- For a cheaper trip, a public minibus from Wadi Musa (Petra) to Ma'an is 0.55 JD and from there to Aqaba 1.5 JD. Also cheap buses to Amman from Aqaba pass by here.
Most budget hotels have tours but the level of organization varies a lot and could prevent you from taking a tour. It is best to form a group yourself (at least 4 persons). An example tour could be Kings way trip: Shoubak Castle, Dana Nature Reserve, Tafilah, Karak Castle, Dead Sea, Mt. Nebo, Madaba & Churches, and Amman for about 30 JD at the Valentine Inn.