Hawkers, Guides and Donkey Rides
Of all the places in Jordan, Petra was the most hasslesome of them all. It wasn't all that bad. I've had to worse, but by European standards, and Jordanian, the guys here are hard sell. I found this especially so of the unofficial guides at the gate, but less so as I got inside the main area of the city. I think the local traders keep a tight rein on who is allowed into the main site.
You have to be a bit cold hearted here. Don't tell anyone where you are from. Don't accept tea from the Bedouin. Don't look at anything you aren't interested in buying. Don't let anyone stop you if you don't want to be stopped. Whatever you do don't buy any "antique coins" from the shady guys wandering around, nor help them by giving them change for their large notes.
Don't get stressed: it's not that bad at all. The place is big, the intrusions infrequent, and most times a "no thanks", or even better a "la'a shukran", gets you a "you're welcome" (or its Arabic equivalent "afwan") and a free ride to continue unmolested.
Be ready to Haggle at All Times!
being a touristy site and known all over the world, Petra Has its share of scam artists and price gougers! you can find all kinds of stuff to buy in Petra and Wadi Musa area, but be sure to haggle as many of the traders here jack up their prices by more than 100 percent. be sure to haggle up to at least 70% off the price of what you are buying and these traders and sellers won't agree, then leave immediately and go to the next seller and most of the times, these sellers will then agree to lower their jacked up prices of their merchandises.
- Arts and Culture
- National/State Park
- Budget Travel
Romantic deceit in Petra
Please be aware of the romantic deceit in Petra/Wadi Musa.
When you visit Petra / Wadi Musa, any bedouin you meet in or outside Petra, who starts to be a little too friendly is after your money. He will charm your socks off: take you to caves, cook for you under the stars, you will meet and spend time with his friends, party in the desert with them, stay with his family, who will be very kind and friendly and warm and generous with you. And he will declare his neverending love for you. When you go back home you will be receiving countless I love yous I need yous I miss yous I want yous, loads of copy pasted internet sugary sweet one-liners, and lots of phone calls.
Meanwhile he will be doing the same to a number of other women. She is probably already sending him money on a monthly basis through Western Union. No, you are not the only one. When you leave, he most likely will have another woman lined up at the airport, returning to Jordan to be with him again. If is he
lucky, he probably has 4 or 5, the more the merrier.
And once he knows he has you....that is when it will start...he wants your money. And he will invent any story to squeeze as much money out of you as he can through shrewd manipulation. He will phone you acting depressed, telling you he couldn't find enough tourists in Petra, that he has no work...etc. He will pull back, go hot and cold on you, just to get your money.
DO NOT under any circumstances give or send them money. He does not love you, he will not marry you, he wants no future with you. It is not even about you. You are his business, his income. You are either his pocket money, gifts, a car, a house, or even a small business. However convincing he may seem, all he wants is money...any which way he can.
So enjoy Jordan, but be smart and sensible.
- Women's Travel
Danger Petra, jordan
My written English is not so good so bear with me.
There is a lot of talk about safety at Petra, but in my opinion Petra is not as safe as you might think.
This is the story about the horrible and shamefull treatment we recieved by the Jordanian guide Riyadh and the beduins of Petra,on our daytrip from Sharm el Sheik, Egypt to Petra, Jordan with Al Jawad tour company on tuesday august 16.th 2011.
When we arrived from Egypt to Aqqaba port in the morning we were not greeted by our English guide. He was 10 minuttes late.
We were told we were missing a bus and had to wait a short period at aqqaba castle where there would be a cafe and toilets.
This was not the case there were no access to water and no toilets were open.
All your guide from Al Jawad did was to say that he cant help us, is it not his job he said.
After an hour I managed to get the guard at Aqqaba to open a rather disgusting toilet.
Aqqaba castle is a fenced area and since we got no help and no information from our guide Riyadh we were infact kept prisoners for more than 3 hours.
Around 1300 Jordanian time we could finally leave and we driven to a restaurant, despite the fact everyone wanted to go to Petra.
We kept complaining but the guide did nothing.
We finally arrived at Petra at 1530, and the official closing time at Petra is 1700.
We wanted to see the monastery, but going up the stairs on horse back there were suddenly no tourists left, and our beduin guide got very nasty.
He sexually harrashed my girlfriend and were left alone when he fled with our horses.
We the fled down the mountain to the area with temples and restaurants and found ourselves alone.
There were no tourist police, none of the guides from the tour company, the toilest were locked, no access to water, the restaurants were closed, and no other tourists.
We were all alone with the beduins who chased us for more than a mile back to the Treasury were we finally could see other turist and the beduins disappeared.
During the chase of us we were on foot and the beduins rode very close to us and starred at us with evil eyes, yes evil eyes is the best description.
We then returned to the bus and complained again, but again there we no help
We are still in shock and anger after our trip to Jordan.
We have complained to Al Jawad tours and recieved no reply.
And also complained to the Jordan Embassy in Berlin.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
So the safety is security are what people ask and see in the news, but to be honest, dehydration is a higher risk here. In most of the year it is rather hot here as well as most will also take the walk to the site. So remember to take some water or other drinks with you. You can buy just before entering the site on the many stalls on the location but you can also buy water down the canyon in the site itself.
In general Petra is safe place to visit. Also Jordan in general is rather safe but this is the middle east and like many other countries in this region they had some security incidents and there fore in our bus there was also policeman assigned to protect us.
(Not that he could help much, but maybe he make tourist feel safer)
Use Three Brothers Internet
My wife tried visited three different Internet cafes and found them men (owners or managers) at each to be over aggressive. One had the nerve to run his fingers through her hair and smell it while she was typing. She left abruptly and had me confront the manager. An altercation quickly arose. On the main circle in town "Three Brothers Internet" is easy to find. The staff are more restrained and it is a much safer feeling place to work online. It is also a far faster connection and better equipment than most.
Beware of Fake Coins
Do not mistake the Bedouin people of Jordan for being country bumpkins....they are extremely savvy and know how to make a dollar...or dinar. The most current scam that they run there is trying to sell fake Nabetaean coins to unsuspecting tourists. The coins are actually decent looking fakes but mark my words they are indeed fakes and just about every vendor has a handful of coins that he will swear on his life are real. They say they found them in a nearby riverbed. The will try to sell you the coins at anywhere from 20 to 50 dinars initially. If you decide to buy some coins because after all they are clever fakes, do not pay more then 2 to 3 dinars per coin.
Take 3 Litres of Water
Take at least 3 Litres of water when visiting Petra. It is a 3 mile walk to the city and under that beating sun you will get a tad thirsty. If you're in a hotel that gives you free water or maybe you are all inclusive, order water and put a stash away in your hotel as we did, you WILL need it, and if you have it in advance, you wont be paying for it there.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Petra is surrounded by mountains, and many of the best sites, like the Treasury, are contained within high, narrow stone walls. This means that daylight is more limited than you might expect. Some of the sites are best viewed at certain times of the day, when the light streams down directly onto them. For example, the Treasury is best viewed before 11am, when the sun starts to move behind it.
For the entire site, expect daylight to end an hour or two earlier than sunset.
It's another reason why you want to spend more than a day there, so that you can get the best pictures with the best light possible.
I was actually planning on staying in Jordan longer then 3 days, but ended up cutting my trip short and bailing back to Lebanon. The Jordan part of my trip was on my own and I found the men in Jordan a bit dodgy. I am sure not all of them are like this, and coming from an extended stay in Lebanon (Muslim lite) Perhaps I was expecting the same (I mean Queen Noor was American, right? and it is supposed to be one of the more progressive middle eastern countries, correct?).
Traveling alone I find safety in numbers and safety in women - and in Jordan women do not work (even hotel housekeeping is male) so they are not around.
I was very conservatively dressed (long sleeves, loose fitting clothing, long pants, hair pulled up, usually tucked into a hat) and felt fine within the Petra park with other tourists from around the world (anything goes there - shorts, tanks, etc), but walking in town - the cat calls were far worse then walking past a construction site in a bikini, uuuugh. And this was in front of the Movenpick! I found men not just looking at me, or checking me out, but leering at me. Very uncomfortable!
At the Amman Airport when waiting in line random men would cut in front as if I was not even standing there. I would say something and they would return to the que, but it is just not cool. Guess "Ladies first" is NOT part of the culture there, whatsoever..... lol!
- Women's Travel
Dangers for Women
Women travellers in Wadi Musa should be extremely cautious due the high risk at night of being assaulted in dodgy hotels. Many hostels recommend that women travel with a partner or go with a group. The area and streets near the Shaheed rounabout should be avoided at night and some of the cheap budget hotels have a reputation for harrasing women. Go to bed early not only to rest your feet but to be safe.
- Budget Travel
Shadow of Terror
Petra is a potential target for suicide bombings.
While visiting with at least 10,000 people around at that day, I had 3 reminders for the threats of cruel terror of fanatic Islamic groups:
Police is watching the site, by using local means of transportation, horses [the site is not accessible for motoric vehicles like car or 4x4], helicopters, and soldiers in Bedouin Desert Army dressed for a traditional uniform.
This tip is irrelevant when you stay in the site. Just take it into consideration when thinking about visit here.
- Historical Travel
They're NOT bedouins.
Anyone operating any business inside Petra, be it an animal service, restaurant, or souvenir stand is NOT a bedouin. They are really from a small tribe called the "bdool" which I am told has gypsy roots. The gypsy connection makes a lot of sense to me as mothers constantly would push their 3 or 4 year old children to sell postcards to any tourist in view for 1 JD. That and the fact that everyone wants to sell you jewelry everywhere you go, but could almost not care less about you. Bedouin have more dignity and honor than to push their children to make them money or to be so concerned about making it.
Becoming dehydrated while roaming Petra is a very real danger. During the day you should be drinking several liters of water, at least 3 and up to 5 if you are there all day. 1.5 liter bottles of water can be purchased inside or outside Petra for 2 JD.
Techincally, you can gauge how hydrated you are by your pee. If it's consistently clear you are okay. If it is cloudy and darker...drink more water!
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