Now that we are done with the administrative part regarding Petra in the previous post let’s see what we should check out while in Petra.
The most important monuments in Petra are: The Treasury (AL Khazna), The Monastery (Ad Deir), the Siq, The Royal Tombs, The Big Temple, The Theater, The High Place of Sacrifice, The Church. There are many others, I did not check all of them.
From my point of view don’t miss The Treasury, The Monastery and The Royal Tombs. You will access some of them easily because they are on the main road and the trail will walk you besides them, for others you will have to put some effort.
More about each of the objectives, what they represent and their history you will find for sure on the internet. As I was saying I want to stay only around my personal experiences.
You will find 8 trails in Petra which will pass you near all the highlights of Petra. Just take a map from the entrance to easily visualize them.
But for the moment I will give you more details, maybe you want to plan your route in advance.
1. Main Trail
Is the main road in Petra which will take you from the entrance to the Qasr al-Bint area, the main and most important temple of Petra. Here is an intersection point of several trails and here you will also find the Basin by Crown Plaza restaurant. Being the main trail, you will find around it the most of the restaurants, stalls and toilets in Petra.
The trail is a flat one, without major climbs or descends. From here you can continue the walk to the Monastery or you can choose another trail from the four available, but the one to The Monastery is the most preferred one. We also took the Monastery direction because this is one of the most beautiful monuments in Petra.
2. Al-Khubtha Trail
Is the trail which will take you up, at the view point over The Treasury (that one seen in every picture from Petra). The trail is not so well signaled, you will have to walk on the main trail to the Royal Tombs and here you have to turn right. Go past the toilets, The Royal Tombs and make a right on the narrow alley between the stalls. Keeping right you will find eventually the trail indicator and from there you will start to climb a lot of stairs.
You will feel strange when you will be up because you will have to go down a little bit. You will only see a small arrow on the ground indicating several narrow stairs and after that you will have the feeling the road is going nowhere. Just follow the path and you will end up in the right place.
At the end point you will find a little tent, with carpets, sofas and cats and of course the famous pictures spot. Here you can have a break, drinking a mint tea, a coffee or a pomegranate juice.
In parallel with this observation point, on the neighboring rock, there is another view point. Basically instead of seeing the Treasury from the left side you will see it from the right side.
This place is not included in any trail. Many boys, local guides how they call themselves, will try to catch you in front of The Treasury in order to guide you at that place by telling you’ll be up in only 15 minutes instead of 2 hours following the official trail.
Of course you can choose this option, I’ve seen people climbing with them but you have to consider some aspects:
– the rocks are at the same level. As a result you will need less time to go up but the trail will be more cumbersome and steeper, you still have to get to the same height in less time 🙂
– Here, comparing with the official place, you won’t find any place to spend a little time enjoying a tea and admiring the view, just a narrow space and a little carpet brought there for picture purposes
– If you are afraid of heights (like me) don’t even consider this option, you won’t have any space to hide for not seeing the haul, you’ll just have to face it
– You will have to negotiate the climbing price, better said the orientation price because the climbing will still be done by yourself 🙂
– The official trail will not take you 2 hours as they say, I would say it takes you an hour
3. High Place of Sacrifice Trail
Is a nice and quite trail, less beaten by tourists, which will take you somewhere up to enjoy some beautiful views over Petra. During the trail you will go up, will go down but you’ll have also some flat areas. After visiting the High Place of Sacrifice, after around one third of the trail, you can go back or continue the trail in Wadi al Farasa direction until the point where the trail will intersect the main trail in the Basin restaurant area (or to be official around Qasr al-Bint area even if the restaurant is a good landmark).
4. Ad-Deir (Monastery) Trail
It’s the trail starting at Qasr al-Bint where the main trail ends. Most of the trail will be climbing stairs, many stairs. You will have the feeling of a never ending trail but you have to finish it.
The Monastery is one of the main attraction point in Petra and the landscape is beautiful there. In order give you some motivation I can disclose the fact that you’ll find a nice terrace there overlooking the monastery where you will be able to rest for a while.
5. Umm Al-Biyara Trail
6. Jabal Haroun Trail
7. Sabra Trail
These trails are mostly hiking trails, without major monuments along them (not considering the fact Petra is a monument by itself and you’ll find everywhere its specific architecture). All of them start in the same place, continuing the Main Trail (from Qasr al-Bint/Basin restaurant). The last two trails are the longest in Petra, around 5-7 hours each.
8. AL-Madras Trail
Is a short trail starting right after the Petra entrance also without any remarkable monuments along
We managed to finish the first four trails in two days (we walked the Main Trail twice in order to continue with the rest).
We started the first day very early and spent the entire day in Petra. The second day, being a rainy one, I think we arrived in Petra around noon. During these days we stopped many times for pictures, for a tea or coffee, for lunch or to hide from the rain. What I want to say is that we had enough time and we weren’t in a hurry.
If you only want to spend one day in Petra I will recommend the Main Trail,the Monastery Trail and the Al-Khubtha trail for a great view over The Treasury.
If you have also a second day you can add the High Place of Sacrifice Trail or you can split in two the trail from the previous day, depending on how fit you are.
You can add another one of the trails only if you spend three days in Petra and you want to explore every corner of it.
If you have enough time you can take a walk also inside Little Petra(Al Beida). This is, exactly how the name is saying, a smaller site, having the same architecture and history as Petra, it’s like a Petra suburb. You can get to Little Petra following a trail inside Petra but I am not sure if you can do this without a guide, or much easier on the road. In around 10-15 minutes you will get from Wadi Musa to the Little Petra entrance.
The entrance price is also included in the Jordan Pass if you have it. You will need around one hour to visit Little Petra.
We stopped here before leaving to Amman because we had enough time and because we were curious but I can’t say I was impressed about anything after spending two days in Petra.
As a recommendation: if you have enough time, stop here for a while, if not, don’t make an effort for this and do not regret not seeing the place.
Petra by Night
Petra by Night tries to be a show, taking place inside Petra, in front of The Treasury, three times a week. It takes place on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from around 20:30 pm to 22.30 pm.
These are the hours when you will effectively enter and exit Petra, more than half of a time representing the walk to the Treasury and back.
Petra by Night entrance is not included in the Jordan Pass. The entrance ticket costs 17 JOD and can be bought only if you have or buy a ticket for at least one day in Petra on daylight (or if you have the Jordan Pass).
I’ve read before going to Petra many reviews about Petra by Night, most of them advising to skip the show because it is not worth it. Furthermore, the hotel staff also tried to tell us not to go to Petra by Night. But following the principle <<better safe than sorry>> we decided to go. And I can say now they were right, Petra by Night is not worth it.
Probably you will do the same but let me tell you what exactly is happening during Petra by Night.
Around 20:30 pm you will enter Petra and start walking to The Treasury. This will take you around 30-40 minutes depending of how fast you are.
There are candles along the road, on both sides but it’s still pretty dark. Once arrived at The Treasury, you and many other people will sit on some rugs facing The Treasury. Here there are also a lot of lit candles on the ground. The atmosphere is nice,but that’s all. You will get a cup of tea that you’d better be careful not to spill.Talking from experience now :).
Then, the show starts. There will be some stories and some songs. Everything is happening in front of The Treasury. If you are sitting in the back you will hear and understand almost nothing.
For sure you won’t understand anything if in the mean time you are trying to clean the just spilled tea.
In the end the Treasury is lit in various colors. Everyone will raise their phones to take a picture. Pictures will be taken during the entire show, of course using the blitz :).
This will bother you a lot if you will try to take a picture using a camera, eventually on a tripod.
And that’s it, the show is over and you will start your way back. It will be even darker because some of the candles are out and without the enthusiasm and curiosity for the show you will prefer to be back as fast as possible.
This is Petra by Night and only you can decide how interesting the show sounds and if it deserves a visit or not :).
In the end I can only tell you to enjoy Petra. You are after all in front of the one of the 7 World Wonders and the site really deserves it’s place in the ranking.
No matter how you will decide to visit it or how long you will spend here,you will most probably like it and you will be impressed by it’s greatness.