I was shocked to see babak's posting regarding ticket prices for Petra so i checked the Petra National Trust website and it's true- 50JD if you have stayed overnight in the country, 90JD if you haven't stayed in the country overnight, 13JD to Arabs in the low season and 1 JD for locals. I am glad that i visited there many times in the late 70's when i believe it cost next to nothing. Petra is a wonderful place but it's not exactly Angkor Wat ($20 a day or $50 for 3 days)
A warning about the restaurants down by the Basin: they look very attractive, and in fact they are, but they are also extremely expensive! The prices don't seem to be posted, so beware of an unpleasant surprise! (I was charged 7.50JD for fish and rice only when I sat at one of the tables under the trees - no dessert, and no drinks since I had my own bottle of water. To be fair it was a buffet and I could probably have eaten more for the same price). They are largely used by groups, and if you are travelling alone I strongly advise you to supply yourselves with picnic food before heading down into the site. The photo inside is of the Crowne Plaza restaurant in the Basin - no need to mention the prices charged by a 5 star hotel.
Unique Suggestions: The toilets are decent at the Crowne Plaza restaurant, and nobody checks to see that you are actually eating there!!
The walk is spectacular through the Siq and to the treasury and then you have the choice of walking on to the Monastery. I did it all last August. It was hot but I am Australian so I do not mind the heat. You can use donkeys, horses and/or camels for part of the way but if you love animals this may not be an option for you. Some handlers treat them pretty badly by Western standards. Beware of anyone wanting to take you off the regular tourist walks because they are probably scammers. They want your money - big time and they will do or say anything to get it. Mostly they are not to be trusted. If you are a solo female traveller be especially wary as you are number one on the scammers' list of targets. I have told my story many times to the Jordan police and on the net so I will not repeat it here. Just be very careful but the Walk is a must to do when in Petra. Petra is magnificent.
The Tourist Trap here is the local men who prey on unsuspecting female tourists, especially those travelling alone. They are expert, well-practised and devious with what they do and say. It can be dangerous e.g. rape or very costly e.g. embezzlement.
Unique Suggestions: Do not take too much money when you visit Petra.
Do not go off the beaten tourist path.
Do not believe anyone who tells you "You have beautiful eyes", It is usually their opening line!
Fun Alternatives: You must go to Petra as the whole experience is magnificent but always use a government of Jordan registered tour guide and stick to the main tourist routes.
I am not saying that this is very bad but this place is very popular and so also very crowded, if you can, try to get as early morning as possible so you can to avoid the crowed as well as the desert heat.
If you are planning to go to Petra by a tour operator from Eilat it is going to cost nowadays around 240 US. But, if you go by yourself...how? by taxi to the border, cross the border, and a bus on the other side to Petra, you are going to spend around 140 US. But to make it cheaper you have to make a reservation on a hostel for 2 nigths in Petra and with that you pay less fee on the border visa.
There is a lot of pressure to use the donkeys to carry you up the 1000 or so steps... Please don't be tempted!
Many donkeys are over-worked and under-fed and are in a poor state. The maximum weight for a small donkey to carry is 50kg. Almost every tourist who climbs on these poor, wretched animals is well above 50kg (8stone) in weight. Please don't add to the abuse of these donkeys for the sake of a photo or because you can't face the journey on foot!
A tax is added to drinks in the large restaurant in the middle of the Petra site. Beware!
The maths of some of the waiters is rather... mmm... creative!
In our Petra by Candlelight visit one waiter had made an 'error' for over twenty people ---it was nearly a day's pay for him in 90 minutes! Of course the manager knew nothing of it...
Unique Suggestions: Check the calculations and demand a refund of the 'little extra'.
Just like at Giza at the Pryamids, here there are tons of people trying to sell you all kinds of junk !!!! I don't have a problem with people trying to make a living but they should be seperated in an area just to sell stuff...they approach you from all sides !!!! dirty chains, old coins, you name it they try to sell to you....not a pesty as in Eygpt but still they are everywhere....also there are camels, horses, donkey's everywhere...that means there poop is eveywhere also, so you must watch your step so you won't step in it !!!!!!
What a shame if only the Jordian goverment would do something about it !!!!!
It is not permitted for motorized vehicles to enter the site. But if you don’t want to walk, you can hire a horse or a horse-drawn carriage to take you through the one kilometre Siq. For the elderly and/or handicapped, the Visitors' Centre, close to the entrance of the Siq, will issue a special permit (at an extra fee), for the carriage to go inside Petra to visit the main attractions. Once inside the site, you can hire a donkey, or for the more adventurous, a camel - both come with handlers and take designated routes throughout the site.
No surprise that the prices vary enormously but i just want to give an example with the famous donkeys in Petra. The starting price for foreigners for a donkey to get you up the 900 steps to one of the temples was 35 JD (app. 33 euro) while my local guide hired one for 2 JD (!). Since getting some form of transportation after hours of walking around by foot is very tempting, I recommend you do some serious bargaining before. You may not manage to achieve the success of my local guide but try to get closer to that amount ....
Fun Alternatives: The alternative is to walk both ways by foot which is certainly not impossible .... but really exhausting.
Locals will try and sell you a horse ride from the info centre to the Siq - you don't need this as they try and charge far too much for a ride of only a few hundred meters. Once through the Siq you'll be besieged with offers of donkey and camel rides, again there isn't really any need for the ride. Hold for for a while, the price will drop to well less than half or a third of the original price, and if you do go for it the value is in the guide's knowledge. The locals are happy to share information - we learned a lot from some of them.
Seems some people have too much money, they wouldn't be asking so much unless someone has agreed to pay so much.
This little bdool kid told me to take his picture, so I did. Then right after I took it, he yelled out: "One picture, one dinar!!!" The angry look on his face and how he did it made me laugh so hard I gave him a half dinar because of the entertainment value. I know this is a negative reinforcement...but oh well. It was funny.
At the gate you would be offered a horse ride to take on site. Make sure to agree on going all the way to the safe location as most horse rides ends before the long path starts...
Unique Suggestions: Make sure to take you all the way down...
Fun Alternatives: Make sure you start early in the morning as it is a long walk and the site takes time to go through. Also, different time of the day you'll get to see the surrounding mountains in different colors! Magificient sight. You need at least 2-3 days in Petra
Opportunities are everywhere. You can ride horses down the Siq. You can have your picture taken with a camel. Donkeys can take you up the hills. If you haven't had your experience with any of these beasts then you can do it here... for a price.
Fun Alternatives: Get off your butt and walk ya' lazy ...
At Petra, you aree encouraged to have an official guide, no probelm as they escort you through the magnificent sights. Watch out for the two tier pricing system. You pay about 20 Jirdanian Dinars, about £19 GBP but bewrae that the guide then tries to charge a surcharge as "I want to show you my Petra!" This extra can cost more than double the readies and isn't worth it . Watch out too for the throngs of locals who harrass you at every opportunity to purchase so called geniune 1,000 year old coins found at the historic site.
Unique Suggestions: A firm but polite "No" ought o put most of them off but beware of stragglers and the pickpockets amongst them
Fun Alternatives: Having said all that, the coins though worthless are quite good to look at and are intersting so if you want some then go ahead and buy, they cost very little.