Jordan | Petra


Petra-31.jpgPetra-31.jpg

petra, jordan, wadi musa, monasteryAfter hiking and spending the night in Wadi Rum, we drove about an hour and a half to Petra, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. A lot of people (our tour guide included) had told us that Wadi Rum is the true hidden gem of Jordan’s tourism sites. Petra gets all the attention, but Wadi Rum is where it’s at.petra, jordan, wadi musa, treasuryA glimpse of the Treasury.After hearing this from Jordanians and expats alike, I was wondering whether I’d be underwhelmed by Petra. I was not. Petra lives up to the hype, but not necessarily for the reasons you’d expect.petra, jordan, wadi musaEn route to the monastery.Truth be told, seeing the Treasury was a bit underwhelming — at least compared to the rest of what Petra has to offer. Sure, it’s neat when you emerge through the siq, a narrow canyon, and see the 40-meter-tall facade in all its glory. This is the point where, according to our tour guide, Mustafa, 90 percent of visitors to Petra end their journey.petra, jordan, wadi musa, monastery hikeHalfway there?Perhaps they do so because it’s a bit of a walk and then 850 steps up to what I considered to be a bigger highlight, the Monastery, a 48-meter-tall monument carved directly into a mountain. The Monastery itself is an impressive sight, but the hike to get there was, for me, one of the best parts of our trip.petra, jordan, wadi musa, monasteryThat’s me.We hiked a total of 12 miles over six hours during our visit to Petra. We began at the visitor center, made our way through the siq, past the Treasury, up to the Monastery on foot and beyond the Monastery to a higher lookout point from which you can look down its impressive facade on one side and across Wadi Araba on the other.petra, jordan, wadi musa, monasteryAt this point, we were about three and a half hours into our hike. We made our way back down the 850 steps and up an off-the-beaten path trail to another site, the High Place of Sacrifice. We had to scale some pretty scary mountainsides on rock-cut steps, but it was well worth the beautiful hike and stunning vistas once we reached the top.petra, jordan, wadi musa, high place of sacrificeLookout point near the High Place of Sacrifice.petra, jordan, wadi musa, high place of sacrificeMustafa, our tour guide.If only about 10 percent of visitors make it up to the Monastery, even less make it to the High Place of Sacrifice. Mustafa said our hike was only the third or fourth time he’d taken a group on the same six-hour route.petra, jordan, wadi musaDonkeys.I can see why: We were pretty beat by the end of the day. Luckily, we did not have to make the three-hour drive back to Amman. If walking isn’t your thing, there are donkeys, camels, horses and horse-drawn carriages that can transport you for part of the journey — for a (bargained) fee.petra, jordan, wadi musa, royal courtThe Royal Tombs.Even though we spent six hours at Petra, we only saw a fraction of what there is to see. There are several other hiking paths, monuments, tombs and other sites to experience on our next visit.petra, jordan, wadi musaI mentioned in my previous post about Wadi Rum that our private tour was a bit on the pricey side, and that Petra is totally accessible and navigable without a tour guide. The benefit of having Mustafa as our guide in Petra was that he knows a few of the off-the-beaten path hiking trails — ones where you might not encounter another hiker or tourist — and he’s super-enthusiastic about showing off the beauty of his country.petra, jordan, wadi musaLisa.Kail and I definitely plan to return to Petra — it’ll certainly be a stop every guest we host will want to visit — and we’re looking forward to seeing new things each time.What’s your favorite hike?See more photos of Petra.

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

5 thoughts on “Jordan | Petra

  1. If you get the chance, there is a back way into Petra. You can’t buy your tickets at that entrance, but if you use your two-day ticket into the regular entrance (hard to skip the Treasury as a first view), it’s a great second day start.The area around little Petra is also where lots of Jordanian families go to have picnics. We only wound it originally because we got lost, but it’s so quiet and peaceful.

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