My Top 10 for Petra
I set a goal to see the Seven Wonder of the World and I would say I completed this in a beautiful and surreal way by visiting Petra in Jordan.
Here is my top 10 for Petra
1. Visit Petra
Petra is famous for its large structures carved directly in the sandstone cliffs. Its most known structure is known as the Treasury. It is 45 meters high and has a Greek-style façade and should be seen during the day and during a separate night presentation that includes hundreds of luminary candles, lights, and music. To reach the Treasury, you hike past ancient tombs and other carvings, and then through a narrow canyon. The hike is not strenuous and takes about 40 minutes. You have several other transportation options including donkeys, horses, and horse and carriage. Once you reach the Treasury, there is a small café where you can purchase water and other beverages. Read on for other tips and things to do here.
2. Hike from the back of the park to the Monastery.
The Monastery takes a little effort to reach as it is hidden high in the hills. It looks similar to the Treasury but is larger in scale. If you hike from the visitor center, it is fairly strenuous hike that I have been told includes 900-steps. Along the way you will find a few places that sell souvenirs, water, and drinks. I think the hike from the back of the park to the Monastery is more scenic and interesting. From my hotel, I took 30 minutes to reach the point where I am dropped off. The drive requires a 4-wheel drive and is a bit rough in spots. When I asked how long it takes to hike from the drop-off point to the Monastery, I was told 30 to 35 minutes. This is simply not true and you cannot even jog it that fast. The hike was at least one hour but it is well worth the journey as you traverse beautiful landscapes and mountains. You are pretty much on your own here so wear good walking or hiking shoes and bring plenty of water and there are only a few people selling handy crafts along the way. You could take a donkey from here but I think it is better to walk and take in the beautiful scenery. Once you reach the Monastery, there is the Cave Tea Shop where you can recharge and take in the views.
3. Visit the Treasury at night
Visit the Treasury for the night presentation that includes hundreds of luminary candles, lights, and music. The path from the visitor center to the Treasury is candlelit and you get a whole different experience during the night visit. Check for times and further information at the visitor center.
4. Go horseback riding
You can take a horse from the park entrance to the beginning of the canyon. The ride is reasonably priced and worth the experience. You save some time getting to the main sites and I had a blast.
5. Walk from the visitor center to the Treasury
The Treasury was named this because it was rumored to hide the Pharos treasures. This structure, built around the 1st century BC and carved out of sandstone, is magnificent. The structure is almost 40 meters tall and should be visited in both daytime, and nighttime. View the structure from multiple angles and heights. There are tables where you can enjoy food and drink and relax for a bit as well.
The walk is very scenic. You can see multiple ancient structures and carvings along the way and an incredible narrow canyon. This canyon is very scenic with shades of sand and rose throughout. Take your time on this fairly easy walk and enjoy the moment as this is a rare treat to see.
6. Dine at the Mövenpick Resort Al Ghadeer Roof Garden
The Mövenpick is located right across the street from the entrance to Petra. This is likely the nicest hotel in Petra and they have a gorgeous rooftop pool, restaurant, and bar. I had and amazing dinner here and enjoyed great service and a beautiful sunset.
7. Stay at the Marriott Petra
The hotel is about a 10-minute drive from the entrance of Petra and it is almost half the price of the hotels that are much closer. The hotel has beautiful views of the mountains I enjoyed the spa.
8. Ride a donkey
Why not? You will see them everywhere and many are decoratively adorned. I would suggest riding them either to and from the Treasury. Do not ride them from the Monastery to the Treasury as this is a steep and uncomfortable ride.
9. Go to the highest viewpoint of at the Treasury
You will be offered at least a dozen times to be taken to the infamous viewpoint across from the Treasury for a fee. This is a bit of a scam and there is no need to pay anyone to do this, you can do it on your own and the walk up is nice. At the top, someone has set out carpets and pillows for you to enjoy, it is probably a good idea to tip them if you use them. The drop off is steep so do not get too close to the edge.
10. Tips – Do not pay to have someone lead you to the vista point at the Treasury. You can easily do this yourself if you are somewhat healthy. As you face the Treasury, look to your right and follow the path. It is a tad rough but you’ll make it! If hiking to the Monastery from the back of the park, bring plenty of water and wear good shoes. Take in the entire park, not just the Treasury. The canyons, mountains, and sights are all pretty spectacular here. Some of the people can be a bit pushy here but stand your ground and enjoy the experience.