PLANNING A VISIT TO PETRA JORDAN
In 1985 UNESCO designated Petra, Jordan as a World Heritage Site. For travelers to the Middle East, and especially for travelers who love history, Visiting Petra is high on their list of “must dos.” A previous Travel And Photo Today.com article described Petra’s fascinating history and background: PETRA – THE LOST CITY. Visiting Petra takes a bit of planning. What does it take to visit Petra and how should you prepare? Here are some facts and ideas that be helpful in planning your journey to Petra.
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS – Petra is located in the southern portion of Jordan. Most visitors planning a visit to Petra and Jordan will need to have a valid passport as well as a visa to enter the country. Visitors from most countries can obtain a “visa on arrival” when they enter Jordan. U.S. citizens will need their passport and can travel in Jordan after obtaining a visa on arrival and paying a 40 JD fee. For more information visit – Visas to Jordan. This site also offers lots of information helpful to visitors to Jordan.
BE PREPARED FOR THAT LONG FLIGHT – AMAZON ECHO EAR BUDS WITH NOISE REDUCTION. TRAVEL IN COMFORT -LISTEN TO YOUR TUNES.
GETTING THERE – Petra is an ancient city located in Southern Jordan near the city of Wadi Musa. In ancient times it was well located, standing at the intersection of numerous overland caravan trade routes which criss-crossed the area. Today however, Petra’s location is not nearly as convenient for modern day travelers. Petra sits by itself in a rather isolated area and is not really close to anything. It’s a small place and there is no direct air service. Petra is 230 km south of Amman, Jordan and approximately 107 km from the southern most end of the Dead Sea. Most travelers to Jordan arrive at Queen Alia International Airport which serves Amman and is a 30 minute drive south of the capital city. If you head directly to Petra from the airport you have about a 3 hour drive to the south. The port city of Aqaba lies at the southern tip of Jordan on the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba, a northern extension of the Red Sea. Aqaba is 125 km south of Petra and it’s airport – King Hussein International Airport – is the nearest airport to Petra. Jordan’s road system is somewhat limited. Travelers have almost a 2 hour drive from Aqaba to reach Petra.
There are a variety of travel options available when traveling to Petra, each having it’s own value in terms of comfort, convenience and cost. Options include local bus, Tourist Bus (Jett Bus), private transfer, taxi, car rental, and organized tour. Prices obviously vary according to transportation type but for example, from Amman expect to pay @ 80 JD for a private transfer, 18 JD for Tourist Bus, 25-30 JD Car Rental per day, 85 JD taxi. For more information check with Tourist Jordan.com.
LODGING – Petra is located in the mountainous region of Southern Jordan near the small city of Wadi Musa. The city’s primary purpose is to serve the archeological site of Petra and it is filled with hotels, hostels, restaurants and a variety of administrative buildings.
There are a wide variety of lodging options for travelers to Petra, ranging from backpacking hostels to 5 star hotels. Click BOOKING.COM to view a listing of various lodging options in the Petra area . During my visit to Petra I stayed at the Marriott Petra Hotel which is a bit outside the city. Definitely not walking distance to the entrance of Petra.
The Marriott Petra has a great location high on a hillside away from the tourist traffic in the small streets of Wadi Musa. It has great views (such as that seen above) overlooking the mountains, a lovely pool area which shares the same view, nice rooms and good service. And a nice dip in the pool after a long day wandering the dusty desert paths of Petra was very refreshing – to say the least.
HOW LONG TO STAY – Given Petra’s location, it is actually possible to visit the area as a day trip. Some do it as a very long day trip from Tel Aviv, Israel – How to Make the Most of a Day Trip to Petra. And you can find many tour companies offering Petra day trips as well as longer trips from Eilat, Aqaba or Amman. If tours are your thing and you are planning a visit to Petra you can get loads of tour information with Viator , a company that provides information and does bookings for a variety of tour companies offering Petra excursions. Many cruise ships also offer Petra day trip excursions from the port near Aqaba, Jordan.
Even though it is possible to visit Petra as a day trip, I must say I would not recommend it. Consider Petra as a day trip only if your schedule is extremely limited and there is not other possible way to visit. Petra is a large and fascinating place. It is not someplace you want to see in a rush. If possible, stay at least one night, arriving in the evening and then visiting the site on the next morning before leaving. Better yet, stay two nights which allows you to spend a full day in Petra and then rest up before continuing your journey. Of course, if your schedule allows, the best option is to stay in Petra for several days. It is a site which you can explore for several days and still not see everything. In one day at Petra you will be able to visit most of the better known locations but your visit will be a fast paced “drive by” type of experience. Spending several days in Petra will allow you to see more and also allow you to linger and enjoy the sites. You can take some of the longer hikes into the back areas of Petra, viewing monuments less often seen. With a multi-day stay you will also be able to enjoy the small city of Wadi Musa. And if time allows, from Petra it is very easy to visit nearby Wadi Rum where you can experience a taste of the Jordanian Desert. For more on this exciting destination read Exploring Wadi Rum – Jordan’s Southern Desert.
TICKETS – Access to the Petra site is controlled. Visitors planning a visit to Petra must purchase tickets which are available in the Visitor Center, located at the main entrance. The admission fee for residents of Jordan is a true bargain – 1 Dinar ( approximately $1.41 U.S.). The fee for foreign visitors is significantly more: 1 day pass – 50 Dinar (approximately $70.00 U.S.), 2 day pass – 55 Dinar (approximately $77.00 U.S.), 3 day pass – 60 Dinar (approximately $85.00 U.S.) So again, if you can stay longer than a day it makes sense – you’ll see much more and the ticket price differential is minimal.
BE PREPARED – You will enjoy your visit to Petra much more if you arrive properly prepared. This is a dry, desert environment. The site is extensive, spread out over miles of unpaved and unshaded terrain. The temperature will change throughout he day as will your exposure to the sun. You will be walking a lot – more if you take some of the longer hikes into the back areas of Petra. Some food and water is available but only in limited locations. That said – some things to consider for your trip into Petra.
If you are planning a visit to Petra be prepared for long walks and explorations. Visitors would be well-advised to wear comfortable walking shoes. A visit to Petra involves walking – lots of walking. The ground is rough, mostly gravel and dirt, with infrequent areas of cobblestone. Petra is located in the Jordan Desert. While it may be a bit cool in the morning, temperatures rise rapid during the day. Most of the monuments and sites in Petra are out in the open, totally exposed to the sun. All this means you should dress comfortably and plan on warm to hot weather sunny weather. Take some sun screen and also water. The site is very large, reportedly covering more than sixty square miles, along canyons and river beds as well as up hills and mountainsides. Get in shape, dress properly, wear good shoes, pace yourself – and prepare to be amazed as you explore Petra.
- Hat – perhaps large brimmed
- Light weight, layered clothing – consider long sleeves for sun protection
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Sun Screen
- Sun Glasses
- Snack / energy bar / protein bar
- Camera(s) with lots of memory cards and batteries
- Money – you can purchase items along the way and also lunches, drinks, etc.
- Walking stick(s) – some love ’em, others not so much
- A lightweight day pack or bag to carry all your stuff
Be sure to check back when Travel And Photo Today.com publishes additional informative articles on Petra including: Petra – WALKING THE SIQ, EXPLORING PETRA and PETRA AT NIGHT.
PLAN A GREAT TRIP TO PETRA ………..
……… AND ENJOY THE ADVENTURE!
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