When planning a trip to Petra, there are a lot of questions. What to wear, what to see, how to get there and how much it costs? Find out all the answers in this ultimate travel guide to Petra.
I visited Petra last month and before I left for Jordan I found myself in a Google frenzy. I was searching all sorts of things… What’s it ok for women to wear in Jordan? How hot is it in Petra? Do I need to cover my head? Can I buy food once I’m inside Petra? Is there water for sale? How much does it cost to get in? How long does it take to tour the site? So many questions! Surprisingly I couldn’t find all the answers.
I thought it’d be helpful to impart some of my newfound knowledge for any of you who are planning to visit in the near future.
How much does it cost to visit Petra?
As of April 2017, a one-day ticket to visit Petra costs 50 JD (£57 / 70 USD). As there is so much to see, many people opt to visit for multiple days. A two-day ticket costs 55 JD and three-day ticket costs 60 JD. Children under 12 enter free. Petra By Night tickets cost 17 JD (more info on that below). Remember to take your passport in order to purchase your ticket.
Oh, and if you’re a resident of Jordan it’s super cheap… just 1 JD!
How much does it cost for a guided tour of Petra?
A private guide for the main trail costs 50 JD. You can arrange it at the visitor centre when you arrive. There are plenty of tour companies you can book to travel to Petra with. I visited with Abraham Tours who were very friendly and efficient. Fin out more about my experience here.
What time does Petra open and close?
Petra’s Visitor Centre is open each day from 6am to 6pm during the summer and 6am to 4pm in the winter. This is the place to buy tickets, arrange a guide or pick up a map of the site. While there doesn’t seem to be an official ‘closing time’ there are instructions at the front gate saying you need to leave the site by 7pm in summer and 5pm in winter, unless you’re attending Petra By Night.
When is the best time to visit Petra?
I’d recommend getting to the site as early as possible. We arrived at 8am and avoided lots of the big tour groups, making for a more pleasant experience. It can get extremely hot during the day so you’ll want to prioritise the bigger treks in the morning and late afternoon. Also, avoid rainy days as the valley is prone to flooding.
How much is a horse and carriage, donkey or camel in Petra?
You actually get a horse ride included in your ticket at the entrance, but it’s often thought of as a bit of a scam! The owners will ask for costly tips, so if in doubt agree the final fee before you accept the ride, or avoid altogether.
A horse and carriage from the entrance to the Treasury costs 20 JD (two ways) and 40 JD to get to and from the main basin area. As there are lots of trails, many of them steep with numerous steps, many people choose to travel by donkey. We paid 15 JD for two donkeys up the Al-Kubtha trail (the viewpoint overlooking The Treasury).
As camels and horses can’t travel up steps, and there is much debate as to how well any of the animals are kept, it’s best to walk unless you’re incredibly short on time (as we were) or not very mobile.
How long does it take to walk to The Treasury?
At a reasonable pace, it’ll take you around 30 minutes to walk from the entrance, along The Siq, to The Treasury.
How long does it take to get to The Monastery?
At a reasonable pace, it takes around 1 hour 30 minutes from the basin area (just beyond The Treasury) to reach The Monastery. There are 800 rock cut steps to get up there.
What are the key sites I have to see on my first visit to Petra?
The Siq, The Treasury, The Monastery, High Place of Sacrifice and the Royal Tombs. It’s too much to see in a day but if you have the chance to stay a few, then that’s the dream itinerary!
What should a woman wear to visit Petra?
While it may be warm, most women were still respectful of the Jordanian culture and chose to cover up. I wore a long skirt with leggings, my Converse trailers, a T-shirt and cardigan. I took a scarf too. I’d recommend sturdy trainers or walking boots rather than sandals or flip-flops. Here’s some inspiration…
What should a man wear to visit Petra?
Again, most men were in trousers rather than shorts, with a T-shirt and sturdy trainers or walking boots. Here’s some inspiration…
How do I travel to Petra?
Many visit Petra as part of an organised tour – but that’s not the only way! There is the option of public transport from Amman and Aqaba, or you can hire a car and drive. Petra is a three-hour drive from Amman and just under two hours from Aqaba.
If you’re looking for public transport to Petra, JETT Bus leaves from Abdali station in Amman at 6.30am and arrives to Petra around 10.30an. It then returns to the city at 5pm. Or from Aqaba, public buses leave from the central market and travel to Petra. More info here.
How much time do I need to see Petra?
How long is a piece of string?! I only had around 6 hours there, but could have easily spent several days. We raced around the site, keen to pack as much in as possible, but it would have been nice to explore at a leisurely pace. I’d opt for two or three days, and stay at a hotel nearby so you can enter the site early in the morning.
What trails are there in Petra and how long do they take?
I could write all this info out, but as I snapped this handy pic at the entrance, I’ll let that to the talking. Plus check out the map below of all the key sites.
What is Petra By Night?
Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday there’s magical light show at Petra, with 1500 candles lighting the route to along The Siq to The Treasury. Along with the beautiful views, there are tales from local Bedouin people and live music. The experience begins at 8.30pm from Petra Visitor Centre and finishes at 10.30pm. Tickets cost 17 JD. You can find out more here: Petra By Night.
What should I bring to Petra?
Big bottle of water
How safe is Petra?
I’d read a few blogs before travelling, and had a pretty mixed impression on safety at Petra. I was with my boyfriend so didn’t feel nervous, and saw plenty of solo female travellers exploring the site. I think the biggest dangers are to do with being scammed and ripped off, so as long as you know what price you’re aiming for when you’re haggling, you should be fine! There are parts where the ground is quite even and rocks are crumbling, so be sure to wear sensible shoes and look where you’re going.
Where should I stay in Petra?
Camping isn’t permitted within the site, so the best option is to book a hotel or camping experience nearby. Here are a few suggestions
Luxury: Movenpick Resort Petra
You can’t get any close to Petra than this! Just two-minutes walk from the entrance, this 5-star hotel is perfect for those wanting to relax in style after a busy day exploring. There are several restaurants, a swimming pool and all the other amenities you could possibly need!
Bed and breakfast: 126 JD / £143 / 177 USD
Mid-Range: P Quattro Relax Hotel
17-minutes walk to Petra, this is a comfortable mid-range hotel with a buffet breakfast, free wifi and an indoor pool.
Bed and breakfast: 50 JD / £57 / 70 USD
Budget: Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp
This camp is an incredible place to stay out in the desert, yet only 15 minutes drive to Petra’s entrance. The traditional Bedouin tents are warm and comfortable, and the location is truly magical!
Bed and breakfast: 20 JD / £22 / 28 USD
What can I buy at Petra?
There are a number of stalls within the site selling water, tea, Turkish coffee, scarves, jewellery, antique coins and other nic-nacs. We bought a lovely scarf for 5 JD (a price we negotiated). We also had a free cup of tea thrown in!
Is there Wi-Fi at Petra?
You’ll find Zain free Wi-Fi points around Jordan, and my phone picked it up next to the Visitor Centre at Petra. Once out in the site, a few small stalls and café claimed to have Wi-Fi but I didn’t test it out. It was nice not to be looking at my phone all day!
And finally… Are there toilets at Petra?
Yes, of course! Don’t panic if you get caught short. There are toilets around the site, but they’re not everywhere, so pick up a map at the start and plan your route. There are plenty by the entrance and I found one by The Monastery, which was a makeshift portaloo. It had toilet paper and a bowl outside to leave a small tip for the pleasure!
Some photos courtesy of Macca Sherifi.
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