The walk to the Monastery
Favorite thing: The walk to the Monastery takes about one hour. The best way to do it is to take it steady, stopping for rests in the shade & to take in the amazing views, be sure to have some water with you too. Along the way you'll pass locals with stalls selling handicrafts even if you don't buy anything at least smile & say hello. The only other thing to watch out for on your climb is the donkeys carrying people to the top.
A welcome sight
Favorite thing: After the long hot climb to the Monastery it is such a welcome sight to see a drinks stall opposite. The drinks stall is set in a cave with seating & a covered area infront of it. You can sit in the shade & take in the view of the Monastery.
Best time to be there
Favorite thing: The best time to see Petra, especially if you’re planning to take photographs, is either early to mid-morning or late afternoon, when the angled sun highlights and enhances the amazing natural colours of the rocks.
Avoid Petra in summer as it is awfully hot.
Toilette Facilities & Site Management
Favorite thing: Petra is an incredible destination. It must be on everyone's life list. But, it has some problems that you should know about. The Jordanian government lets the local Bedoins run the site -- although they are very friendly, they dont make good managers. No toilette facilities. There were 2 toilets near "The Treasury" that were both locked (and I did not see any more) the 2 days we were there. So, the thousands of daily visitors to the site had to find alternate places to relieve themselves (usually in caves that literally took your breath away when you entered them). 2. Maps & documentation. When we paid our 31 JDs for entry, no map or brochure was provided. We had to go to the information booth and the man would only give us one map for 4 people.
3. Signage. No signs on the trails. Small markers should be painted on the rocks to direct you along the trails so you dont get lost. So, you have to hire the locals to show you where everything is located (which is fine, I guess).
4. Security. No one at the entrance asked us to see our tickets when we entered the site. So, we could have just walked into it without paying.
Its clear that the Government of Jordan wants the local Bedoin tribes to run the concessions and provide guiding services to the tourists. I dont have a problem with that. But, this site needs a proper manager to run it. Petra deserves to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World -- I will never forget it. But, it needs competent management or its reputation will recede.
I mentioned these 4 issues to a local business owner in Petra and he said that Petra residents had serious concerns about the competence of the Petra management and suggested I contact the Jordan Tourist board about them -- which I did. I will mention one thing that I did notice about Petra -- there was daily garbage/trash collection -- so, there wasnt mountains of garbage all over the site.
Fondest memory: Breathtaking beauty.
- National/State Park
- Castles and Palaces
Favorite thing: The landscape of Petra is amazing, and especially so as you get to the top of the rocks and start looking down onto the mountains and valleys to the rear of the city. It looks like you are staring out into a vast, untouched, unexplored region. And a not that many years ago, it was.
Favorite thing: Petra also had a great collection of animals, some wild like the dogs, some tamed like the camels. All made for great pictures. My particular favourite was the desert puppy outside the Al Deir temple up in the mountains. He was wild, but totally unconcerned by my presence. He just sat and scratched while I took dozens of pictures of him. Then there was the poor sad donkey left by its owner to stand in the fading sun on the mountain top. Not even a flutter of its ear as I stood nearby beeping with my camera.
Oh, and if any bird watcher can tell me what kind of bird it is in the picture, I'd be really grateful.
Favorite thing: Although it may seem that most of the Bedouin at Petra are just there to get your money, they aren't unfriendly, mostly aren't too much of a hassle, and they do add a lot of colour to the already amazing landscape of Petra. One of my favourite pictures of my trip was of these two Bedouin children, high up in the mountains above the city, on the way to the Al Deir temple. The little boy's English was extremely good, and I got him to stop trying to persuade me to buy trinkets for 10 dollars each by posing for this picture for half a dinar. It was worth every fil.
Restrooms and Restaurants within Petra Park
Favorite thing: Restrooms: If you are like me you always know where they are, where ever you go.
On the way to the Treasury there are restrooms at the Visitors Center as well as a small shop, about half way, where you can get water, tea, snacks and various tourist trat. There are also more of the same kind of shops and restrooms at the Treasury and beyond. Once you pass the Treasury on the main path you will see the Theater, the Royal Tombs, Colannade Street, etc. which will lead you to the main restaurant. The Restaurant is affiliated with most of the 5 star Hotels in the area, you can charge things to your room (Crown Plaza, Movenpick, Marriott) regardless they offer an excellent buffet and assorted beverages for approx. $10. The museum is there also with of course, more restrooms.
- National/State Park
Tea with the girls
Favorite thing: On my way up the neverending steps to the Monastery, I passed 2 girls selling cheap trinkets. After chatting with the nice ladies, they asked if I would join them for tea. We walked to an area with some convenient rocks for sitting. Then water was poured into a pot, from what looked like an old petrol container (yikes!). We sat and chatted while we drank tea (it was dee-lish by the way). The women asked my name and then sang a song together, that included my name. The water container was used as a percussion instrument and at every point in the song where my name was uttered, there was a lot of giggling. I couldn't understand the words of course, but I'm sure they were having a laugh at my expense :-D. Then I was asked if I had a wife, and after I said that I was single, they let me know that one of them was unmarried......then it was time for me to run along !!
- Budget Travel
The Theatre - A place to rest from the sun
Favorite thing: Petra is a great place to walk around but it can get very dry and hot and I found that I was quite tired by lunchtime. We climbed up the 'stairs' or 'seats' of the Theatre to the top. At the top there is a nice ledge on which to relax. This area is in shade in the early afternoon and is cool and a nice respite from the sun. The views from the top are great. I actually feel asleep for about 30 minutes and awoke refreshed and ready for more exploring.
- Historical Travel
Enjoy every single step and look into Petra
Favorite thing: If you plan to visit Petra, be sure you wake up realy early in the morning. The best solution would be if you can spend more then one day there but if you decide to spend just one day then prepear yourself of hours and hours walking and filming. Don?t miss any part of this such great and beautiful place.
Fondest memory: My best memory? In general, everything!!! But the moment when you finish your walk through the Siq and sudenly you are standing there and watching Petra in all her or his? beauty. This moment it?s impossible to describe, you must feel it. I, for sure will never forget it.
The colours of Petra
Favorite thing: The intense colours and extraordinary striations you see everywhere in Petra really give a whole new meaning to the term 'living rock". Everywhere you look you see the rock forming amazing patterns - here looking like shimmering pleated silk, there looking for all the world like a giant layer cake with frosting dripping over the top. Swirls of colour dip and dive, turn right angles and twist back on themselves. Reds, greys, blues and golds dazzle the eye. Inside the tombs they glow with an inner light, outside under the fierce sun thay become paler, more muted but take on deeper and stronger tones in the shadows and as the sun moves through the day they shift and change in a kaleidoscope of colour and pattern that is quite breathtaking.
Fondest memory: When walking up the Siq from Petra on our 2nd day, I had quite a weird experience, I kept being drawn to a man walking behind us and just had to keep turning around to look at him all the time. He was in monks clothing with his hood up, very good looking, dark skinned with longish dark hair, flanked by a man on either side who here hanging on his every word. Now anyone who know me, knows I am an total athiest, but if there was a reincarnation of Jesus this was him! Very strange, he certainly had a way with him for his friends to show such concentration in what he was saying.
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel
Why not be a STUDENT?!
Favorite thing: Bring your international studnt card with you.
Fondest memory: When we bought the ticket, I was really happy among my gang. They have to pay full fare but I have an international student card, so my fare cut into half. It's really expensive to pay a visit there. Ticket for one day is JD21; for two is JD26; for three is JD30+.(can't remember)
So I paid JD13 for being a student.
Funny Bedouin Girl
Fondest memory: I love the Bedouin. They are so laid back and are some of the funniest people that I have ever met. I must have spent an hour talking to this Bedouin girl about life in Petra, her shop, and life in general. She was so funny. She told me that she didn't like speaking in Italian to Italians because if she did then they would "talk and talk so much that it makes me sick." She then proceeded to poke fun at every nationality that has come her way. I loved it. Political correctness went right out the window.
Then she started making fun of the stuff that she was selling. "This stuff is made in India. I don't know why people buy it. It's pretty, but not very real." She pointed out that only half the stuff that people were selling at the site were actually made by Bedouin or came from Petra.
By the way, if you want to meet this incredible person, she sets her shop up just before you hit the stairs to head up to the Monastery. Stop for some tea and maybe buy a couple of things.
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