Petra is an archaeological park, so the entrance fees are considered fairly steep compared to other Jordanian attractions. Visitors can purchase tickets at the Visitor's Center for 50 JD/person for a one day pass, 55 JD for a two day pass, 60 JD for 3 days (as of Nov 2010). Note, however, that one-day visitors are charged an impressive 90 JD (March 2011), so even if you want a one day pass, it will only be 55 JD (March 2011) if you can prove that you're staying in Jordan overnight (ask your hotel for confirmation and bring a passport to the Petra's ticket office). A valid student ID card used to allow cheaper entrance, however this offer has been discontinued, it is not sure if it will become available again. Do not attempt to purchase tickets from dubious scalpers around town! Time permitting, the two-day pass is recommended, as there is much to see and do in Petra. For more than one day, the ticket office can ask for your passport as the ticket has your first name on it.
Guides can be hired from about 10 JD and up (depending on what you want to see) at the Visitors Center. You may want to take advantage of the knowledge of the Bedouins who work in Petra. Many of them were born and raised in Petra, and will gladly share their knowledge with you for the price of a camel or donkey ride. Alternatively, major hotels can rent you a portable Easyguide audio guide (JD 10/day) for commentary in English, Arabic, French and Spanish. Easyguide is also available as a mobile phone service on all Jordanian mobile phone networks, a map is needed to use this service.
The entrance to Petra is a long, winding sandstone canyon known as the Siq (about 2km). There are minor carvings spotted here and there throughout the Siq, but the most impressive sights are the colorful and unusual sandstone patterns in the rock walls. There are also remains of terracotta pipes built into the sides of the canyon that were used in Roman times to carry water.
Upon exiting the Siq, visitors can view the jaw-dropping grandeur of the Treasury (al-Khazneh in Arabic). Be sure to note the urn atop the Treasury structure. It has been rumored that the urn contained a Pharaoh's hidden treasure, and the urn bears the bullet pock marks where Bedouin travellers throughout the years have tested the theory. Get there when the park opens at 6AM or 6:30AM (depending on the season) and you may have the Treasury all to yourself or with less than 5-10 people around.
Past the next bend is the outer Siq or Street of Facades, a large canyon lined with the facades of various tombs.
At the end of the Street of Facades is the 7000-seat Roman Theater. The theater was created by the Nabateans but later enlarged by the Romans. It is still used for occasional performances.
On the side of the valley opposite the Roman Theater and a short walk up the hill, are the Royal Tombs. The name was given because they are quite grand in scale compared to the others in the area, but it is unclear for whom the tombs were originally constructed.
The Monastery (ad-Deir), the largest carved monument in Petra, dates back to the 1st century AD. The interior, like that of the Treasury, is puny in comparison to the facade. The more than 800 steps up to the Monastery can take over an hour; Few visitors choose to ride donkeys up to the top. The donkeys are treated very badly, and it's quite depressing seeing this along the way.
Petra by night happens on Monday, Wednesday and Tuesday at 20:30. Entrance fee is 12 JD. Order your tickets at your hotel. It is only made of candles, you'll hear a short play of Bedouin music and be served some tea in plastic cups while you sit on mats at the Treasury. It's best to see this before you see Petra by day, as it becomes far less impressive if you already walked up to the Treasury during daytime. It's not amazing, but it's something nice to do during nighttime. There are really mixed feedback on this, see for example,
Princess Alia Clinic, Brooke Hospital for Animals located just inside the entrance to the park. As you can witness inside Petra, not all donkeys, horses and camels are treated right. A few are overworked, carrying overweight tourist or being excessively whipped. The Brooke charity educates owners about the treatment of equestrian working animals and treats the animals for free. The clinic is happy to tell you about conditions for working animals in Jordan. You can give a donation to the clinic.
Wadi Musa which is the city next to Petra doesn't have any big touristic attraction
The Most Frequently Asked Travel Questions about Petra
Where To Stay & Best Hotels in Petra - updated Sep 2023
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