Petra is one of the wonders of the world. I have wanted to visit Petra for many years and it turned out to be way more amazing than you see on TV or images.
After my disaster of crossing into Israel, I ended up having to stay the night before heading to Jordan. Leaving Israel and into Jordan took 5 minutes and then from the border it was another 3 hours to get to Petra. You need a visa to enter Jordan or you can get the Jordan Pass which gets you into the country and into many tourist sites. The Jordan pass is $100 USD and just getting into the country and going to Petra you already save money.
Wadi Musa is the village nearby Petra. I found a hostel, stayed the night and headed out to Petra early the next morning. Wadi Musa it’s self is just a small village with not much to see. I headed out to Petra at 8am and was ready for a long day of walking. Jordan is a hot country but it’s “winter” and the weather was a nice 22 degrees, perfect for walking all day.
Walking down into the entrance to Petra, I managed to get in front of a lot of tour groups. With the tour groups behind me the valley wasn’t crowded at all. After about 10 minutes walk you arrive at the most famous structure.
The canyon gets narrower towards the end and then it opens up into the treasury. It’s the first large structure you see as you enter the city and it’s probably the most impressive place in Petra. You can’t get a sense of scale and go up close because guards stand in front of the building. It’s mad to think that it was build almost 2000 years ago. It must have been the most recent structure because some of the other buildings are a lot less intact. It’s worth going to Petra just to see the canyon and the treasury.
As you follow the path down further and past some older, more worn down buildings it opens out into a valley. Each side of the valley you see buildings carved into the cliffs. They had a theatre, the royal tombs were higher up the cliffs and then down below hundreds of smaller caves. It’s funny to see caves repurposed into toilets, garages and gift shops. Gift shops selling Petra souvenirs that were probably all made in China.
As you get to the end of Petra city, the next building is a 45 minute hike up a mountain. It was still early in the day so all the tourists were still arriving so I rushed to the top to try to beat the crowds. Three rest stops and a bottle of water later I arrived at the top.
Views on the trail leading up to the monastery were amazing. I’m not into hiking, but I could get into used to seeing these sort of things more often. At the top the iPhone health tracker said it was 103 flights of stairs, is that a lot? I don’t know, it certainly felt like a lot.
As you get to the top, it opens up into a little plateau and the monastery is just around the corner. Unlike the treasury, you can walk right up to the entrance and see inside. It’s just a 10m square room inside, nothing else.
After the monastery you can keep walking up to a higher viewpoint. One side you have a canyon and off in the distance you can see the dead sea. The view of the monastery alone is worth the hike. You have the surrounding mountains then Petra behind. On the horizon, you can barely see the nearby town of Wadi Musa.
It was nice to jus relax at the top of the view-point with nobody around. My legs were aching, it was windy and dusty and i had a headache but it was worth it.
After the hike, I descended back to Petra to get some food. On the decent the path up the mountain was full of people, I think I had just missed the flood of people. It’s so bad seeing overweight lazy Americans sitting on donkeys going up the hill. It was only Americans for some reason. Them donkeys must have a hard life carrying fat people up a steep mountain all day.
Everyone needs to go to Petra
Petra is one of the best places I have seen. The pyramids were amazing in person but Petra was way better than I expected. You don’t get a sense of scale seeing the city on the TV. Everybody needs to go to Petra at some point in their life. The pyramids of Giza and Petra are relatively close together so it wouldn’t be too difficult to see both in the same trip. Seriously; go to Petra.