Difference between revisions of "Petra"
Revision as of 21:56, 23 September 2013
Petra, 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 accurate and detailed illustrations of the city in 1839.
The first major 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. The site was included in the Steven Spielberg movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989 and was chosen in July 2007 as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Entry Ticket to Petra costs 90 JD (=127 USD) for those who are Day-Visitors to Jordan (i.e. those tourists staying in Israel or Egypt who will spend the day in Petra and return without spending the night in Jordan). Tourists (overnight and cruise visitors) pay 50 JD (=70 USD) for 1 day's access to Petra, 55 JD for 2 days or 60 JD for 3 days. Students have to pay the full price, unless they have a valid Jordanian University ID; then the entry fee is 1 JD.
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. Tours to Petra from Taba, Sinai and Sharm el Sheikh are also gaining popularity with charter tourism.
It would cost 19 JD(December 2012) per person to travel by JETT bus from Amman(Abdali JETT offices) to Petra and back allowing you to see almost the entire site in an (exhausting) day trip. Bus departs from Amman at 0630 and from Petra at 1600 sharp from the parking lot just outside the Petra visitor centre.
Public minibus from Wadi Musa (Petra) to Ma'an is 0.55 JD and from there to Aqaba 1.50 JD (April 2012). The main route from Wadi Musa to Aqaba is overpriced for tourists! The same for the route from Amman to Wadi Musa. With the stop over in Ma'an you should be able to pay the normal price for the public minibus.
Public minibuses also depart with no timetable(when they fill up) until midday, from Aqaba bus station in King Talal Street(next to the Police Station)for Wadi Musa(5JD) and the opposite. From there take a taxi and will cost you no more that 1-2JD to the visitor centre. The opposite is possible when you finish your visit. Taxis are available in the entrance of the Site and will take you back to the Wadi Musa bus station. Do not count on afternoon departures so better is to start your tour as early in the morning you can. As said this route is overpriced due to tourists.
The minibus from Wadi Rum costs 5 JD. It takes 1.5 hours to get to Petra. Have the Rum Guesthouse or your tour operator call the bus owner the day before to arrange an exact time for pick up. The bus usually leaves from Wadi Rum at 8:30 in the morning, but may be delayed due to weather or tour groups coming the other way.
There are also minibuses from Amman departing from the Wihdat bus station (cab drivers might also know it as the South Bus Station) - these leave when full, and tourists are charged 5 JD to get on. Do not allow the drivers to charge you for your luggage, as they might sometimes try to do. Taxi drivers at the bus station might also try and tell you the minibuses are cancelled so that you hire them to drive you to Petra - just ignore them and find the mini-bus. The ride is about three hours.
There is a minibus going from Aqaba, 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 (6:45) from Wadi Musa towards Aqaba, then returns from Aqaba when it fills up etc. The trip was 5 JD (Dec 2011).
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 hours. In December 2012 we manage to pay 60 JD from Petra to Amman. Official rate said to be 70JD.
A taxi from Aqaba to Petra should cost about JD 30 one-way.Negotiate the price with driver including the clarification that you are headed directly to the Petra visitor centre. Manage to pay 27JD fot the trip (December 2012). In January 2010 a day trip to Petra and back from Aqaba was 45 JD.
If you get there renting a minibus with a driver in the hotel at the Dead Sea, the one-way price would be 140 JD.
Phone numbers for taxi operators:
Getting to Jordan / Visas
The only modes of transport allowed within Petra are on two feet or four (camel, donkey, or horse). When entering Petra, there is a brief hike down towards the Siq. "Free" horses will be available for travel to the entrance of the Siq, or you can choose to take a horse-drawn buggy through the Siq (a distance of about 0.9 kilometers) and down to the Treasury. WARNING: Be very careful in dealing with the horse men - they will tell you that the horse ride is free, but once you are riding, will reveal that the "tipping" cost is actually 18 JOD per person (around £15 GBP/20 Euros/US$25). The ride takes about 5 minutes and is no quicker than walking. You can try negotiating - 4 JOD per person will probably be accepted - but these guys are mercenaries and will take you for every penny - tourists being scammed of 60 JOD for a family of 3 is usual. It really isn't worth it. Do not do it. The horse 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. So if you can walk, it's better to spare the animals.
There are 4 segments within Petra with 3 potential animal transport. From the entrance to the Siq (by horse), From the Entrance to the Treasury (by cart), From the Treasury to the stairs of the Monastery (donkey or camel), the 800 stairs of the monastery (donkey).
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 10 JD, a more reasonable price is around 3 JD a person. 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 on more level ground, but a donkey is recommended for more ambitious climbs, such as the ones to the High Place or the Monastery. Camels are the only animals respected by their owners in Petra as they're very expensive and less docile than donkeys or horses. So riding them is ok but deal well with the owner before climbing on them.
However if you are reasonably fit and the weather is good, the walk is quite nice. Prefer climbing the Monastery's path from 3pm on, it will be mostly in the shadow. Riding a donkey is nothing for the animal friends as they treat the animals really badly and the climb at noon is really hard for them. You'll see them passing by and it will definitely deter you from riding one of them. They're exploited by small groups of beduin youths who uses 75cm electrical cable sections to strike them all the way up to the monastery.
Between your hotel and Petra entrance, you can either walk or take a taxi for 1-2jd. Most hotels have free shuttle to the entrance on fixed schedules.
A good idea is to stock up on high quality batteries for your digital camera, before you enter the site. You will need more photos than you think, and local batteries will often not last many minutes.
Guides can be hired from about 50 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. You could hire the Bedouin licensed guide " Samer Twaissi - email : [email protected] , cell : 00962 77 909 52 53" he is the expert in this area.Alternatively, major hotels can rent you a portable Easyguide  audio guide (JD 10/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.
For the terminally energetic, there are a number of popular hikes around Petra.
Most hikes last about 2-3 hours both way.
Eat & Drink
There is only one restaurant in all Petra at the far end of the Roman Highway, which does a roaring trade despite steep pricing. It also has the valley's monopoly on beer.
For just snacks and hot & cold drinks however, there are a number of small stores and vendors scattered throughout Petra.
Shade is sparse in Petra, and on a hot summer day you can expect to go through at least 4 liters of water (and more if you can afford to carry it). The need for water in the winter months is much less. 1.5 liter bottles cost 0.5 JD.
In Wadi Musa, there are many more eating options.
you can follow up with
Map Tours Jordan www.map-tour.com [email protected]
The most cold and rainy months to visit Petra are December, January and February. 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 (like on Jan 18th 2010), it occasionally snows in Petra (around two days a year). During summer the hot, dry air sometimes results in nosebleeds for those who are prone to them. Carry petroleum jelly (Vaseline or other brands) 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 like Electral if you are traveling to Petra in the hot summer months to avoid dehydration. A good cap and sunglasses will help you avoid getting a heat stroke.
After a day of trekking through Petra, there’s no better way to soothe those aching muscles and rid yourself of the dust and sand than to check into a hammam (or Turkish bath). There are several hammams in Wadi Musa (alyakhor turkish bath) that serve both male and female clientele. A typical hammam session consists of a steam bath, a body scrub and an oil massage.cost only 20jd the offer free Transportation from your hotel and back to .
Al Yakhor Turkish bath is located in Quiet Street where next to Petra Palace hotel. Just 200m far from main gate of Petra. Freshen up with a centuries-old spa treatment! A scrub in a Turkish bath is not just part of a bathing ritual, it also helps with detox and enhancing our immune system. Indulge in a hammam and get clean on the inside as well as out! The Turkish bath, also known as a hammam, is the Middle Eastern variant of a steam bath. During the Ottoman Empire, Turkish baths served as places of social gathering and ritual bathing. Today people use the hammam as a pampering form of cleansing and relaxation. How the hammam works The Turkish bath is modeled on the Roman system of bathing with a warm room, hot room and cool room. The bather enters the warm room where their body warms up, then enters the hot room, or steam room, which has water basins along the walls and a large heated stone platform in the center. The bather can rest on the stone to increase body temperature and promote sweating, then rinse off at the water basins. One of the main specialties of the Turkish bath is the foam and scrub massage where a masseuse or masseur lathers up the bather with a special cloth sack full of foam and scrubs off dirt and dead skin with a loofah. The bather can then continue to relax in the hot room and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the steam and heat. Address : www.alyakhorturkishbath.com Al Yakhor Hammam
Jordan - Petra - Next To Petra Palace Hotel E-Mail : [email protected] Tel : +962775766861 or 00962776038004 Direct line 03 2154944
Most budget hotels have tours but the level of organization changes a lot and could block you to take a tour. Best to form a group yourself (at least 4 persons). Example tour could be Kings way trip: hotel, shoubak castle, dana, tafilah, karak castle, dead sea, madaba, mount nebo, churches madaba, amman for about 30jd at Valentine Inn.