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Visit Petra through the main trail and don't miss the iconic siq
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Visit Petra: Everything You Need to Know About Jordan’s National Treasure – Curls en Route

When in Jordan, you must visit Petra! Not just because it’s one of the 7 Wonders of the World or that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but because it is indeed an extremely magical destination. So, without further ado, here’s everything you need to know before you visit Petra to guarantee an unforgettable experience.


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About Petra

The ancient city of Petra is one of the modern 7 Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This explains why Jordan’s national treasure is one of the most popular archaeological sites in the world.

Petra began to prosper as the capital of the Nabataean Empire from the 1st century BC. It was mostly known for trade in frankincense, myrrh, and spices. 

Later on, Petra was annexed to the Roman Empire but kept thriving until it was hit by an earthquake in 363 AD, which left much of the city destroyed. That, along with changes in trade routes, led to the downfall of Petra. Fast-forward to mid 7th century, Petra became deserted and was lost to all except for the local Bedouin community.

It was not until 1812 that it was rediscovered when Swiss explorer, Johannes Burckhardt, disguised himself as an Arab and convinced a Bedouin to lead him to the lost city. This allowed Petra to be increasingly known to the West, attracting more and more visitors to this day.

Petra © 2022 Curls en Route – All Rights Reserved.
Visit Petra and don't miss the iconic treasury
Petra © 2022 Curls en Route – All Rights Reserved.

Different Ways to Visit Petra: All About the Trails!

8 Trails You Can Take to Visit Petra

You might only be familiar with the Instagram-famous siq and view of the treasury, thinking these are the only highlights of Petra. If that’s the case, then you’re wrong! These are only parts of the main trail, which is the most touristy and easiest one – Petra actually covers so much land and can take days to properly explore. Overall, there’s a total of 8 trails that you can take to explore Petra – you can opt for one a day, or you can mix and match trails. For example, on my first day, I started off at the backdoor trail and instead of going back upon reaching Qasr al-Bint, I decided to continue to the main trail and go all the way back to the Visitors Center from there.

Below, you can find a brief about each trail, as well as a picture of Petras map to easily visualize your route before planning it.

Trail map for Petra
Petra © 2022 Curls en Route – All Rights Reserved.

#1 Main Trail

  • Approximate walking distance (round-trip): 8 KM
  • Walking duration: 3.5-4 hours
  • Level of intensity: EASY

#2 Al-Khubtha Trail

  • Approximate walking distance (round-trip): 3.5 KM
  • Walking duration: 2.5-3 hours
  • Level of intensity: HARD

#3 High Place of Sacrifice Trail

  • Approximate walking distance (round-trip): 3 KM
  • Walking duration: 3.5-4 hours
  • Level of intensity: HARD

#4 Ad-Deir (Monastery) Trail/Backdoor Trail

  • Approximate walking distance (round-trip): 2.5 KM
  • Walking duration: 2.5-3 hours
  • Level of intensity: HARD
Petra © 2022 Curls en Route – All Rights Reserved.
Petra © 2022 Curls en Route – All Rights Reserved.

#5 Umm al-Biyara Trail

  • Approximate walking distance (round-trip): 4 KM
  • Walking duration: 3.5-4 hours
  • Level of intensity: HARD

#6 Jabal Haroun Trail

  • Approximate walking distance (round-trip): 7.5 KM
  • Walking duration: 5-6 hours
  • Level of intensity: HARD

#7 Sabra Trail

  • Approximate walking distance (round-trip): 10 KM
  • Walking duration: 6-7 hours
  • Level of intensity: MODERATE

#8 Al-Madras Trail

  • Approximate walking distance (round-trip): 1.5 KM
  • Walking duration: 1.5 hours
  • Level of intensity: MODERATE

About Little Petra

Including Little Petra in your visit to Petra
Petra © 2022 Curls en Route – All Rights Reserved.

As the name suggests, Little Petra is a mini version of Petra but a less touristy one. It would be an unfair comparison, but Little Petra is still very pretty and definitely worth seeing. If you plan on visiting, I suggest you either do so very early in the morning before you visit Petra or the day after you’re done exploring the ancient city. Since you’ll make a stop there anyway if you’re taking the backdoor trail, that leads to the monastery, you can do it before that early in the morning like I did.

Also known as “As-Siq Al Barid”, Little Petra is a 15-minute ride away from the Visitors Center, North of Wadi Musa. To go there, you can take a shuttle bus from the Visitors Center for free.

Is “Petra by Night” Worth It?

Honestly, I can’t tell you not to do it because I haven’t done it myself. However, the reason why I skipped Petra by Night was that I was discouraged by both locals and travelers alike. The locals that I talked to told me that the idea was nice but could’ve been executed better and that the whole experience wasn’t 100% authentic. As for the travelers that I met who’d done it, they said it wasn’t really worth it.

I personally chose to skip it, especially since I don’t really like super touristy, commercial experiences. However, you should do your own thing and decide for yourself based on the givens and your own research. What works for me might not be for you and the other way around.

*Petra by Night runs every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday of each week from 8:30 PM to 10:30 PM.

Petra Entrance Fee

To visit Petra, you need to get a ticket from the Visitor Center. The price of your ticket will vary depending on your nationality, as well as the length of stay and number of visits.

  • 1-day ticket price for foreigners: 50 JOD
  • 2-day ticket price for foreigners: 55 JOD
  • 3-day ticket price for foreigners: 60 JOD
  • Petra by Night ticket: 17 JOD
*Jordan Pass holders don’t need to pay for the entry ticket. There are 3 different packages; the Jordan Wanderer package exempts you from the 1-day ticket, the Jordan Explorer grants you a 2-day entry, and the Jordan expert gives you a 3-day entry. Click here for more information about the Jordan Pass packages.
*Petra by Night is not included in any of the Jordan Pass packages.
  • 1-day ticket price for locals and residents: 1 JOD
  • 1-day ticket price for Arabs: 10 JOD
Click here for more information about other available tickets.

Tourist Traps to Watch Out for When You Visit Petra

Petra is a dream to many, but it’s also a super touristy destination, and at every tourist attraction, unfortunately, there are always people who’d prey on you.

So, here are common tourist traps to expect when in Petra:

Tourist traps to watch out for when you visit Petra
Petra © 2022 Curls en Route – All Rights Reserved.
  • In the touristy areas on the main trail, you’ll see guys that look like pirates. They claim to be Bedouins but they aren’t –they’re gypsies. Real bedouins don’t dress or act like that, they have core values that they all stick to. So take care cause they’ll try to sell you something and most importantly, DO NOT ACCEPT an invitation to go back to their cave for a “real bedouin experience”.
  • Do you know that Instagram-famous lookout spot at the treasury? The gypsies will claim you can’t go up without a guide as it’s dangerous and that they’d be fined if you go on your own. They’ll also claim there’s a fixed fee. That’s all BS! I knew this was a scam cause they kept changing the price and my friends went up on their own and only paid 1JOD right before me. So, I went and asked the cops on site and they said that they don’t even allow people to go up, and if someone wants to go then it’s on their own responsibility. They already fine the gypsies for taking people up, but they let them be. Long story short, if you want to go up, haggle haggle haggle because they won’t even “guide you”, they just want your money. Or try to look for another one, they’re so many – honest ones are rare but it’s possible to find one.
  • Your ticket includes whatever it says on the back. Don’t let anyone convince you that your ticket already includes a free horse ride when it doesn’t, in case you want to get off the horse eventually. Not all tickets include a horse ride and even if yours include a free one, the operators will push for a hefty tip and can get aggressive.

Petra Packing List

Since you’ll be spending a long, tiring day (or more) in Petra, you need to keep your comfort and health as a priority. So, don’t forget to pack the essentials below for your Petra trip:

Want to visit Petra> Don't forget to pack these essentials
Petra © 2022 Curls en Route – All Rights Reserved.
  • Comfy running shoes, and preferably hiking footwear if you’ll take the harder trails.
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • A sun hat or scarf for extra sun protection.
  • Linen clothes that are breathable (make sure you were light colors like white or beige).
  • Comfy clothes in general that you can hike or walk long distances in. Don’t be fooled by the gowns in those Instagram photos –they wear them just for the shot.
  • Band-aids, and ankle and knee braces in case you get injured.
  • Hiking sticks can also come in handy if you have bad knees or if you’re doing one of the harder trails as it can get exhausting.
  • WATER to stay hydrated.
  • Snacks to stay energized – nuts are the best hiking snack!

How to Go to Petra?

Amman to Petra

  • You can take the JETT bus – there’s a daily one from Amman to Petra for 10 JOD. It moves from Abdali at 6:30 AM and from 7th Circle at 7 AM. The round trip (same day) is for 24 JOD and the bus departs from Petra at 5 PM. You can book a return ticket seperately, of course, if you’re planning a multi-day trip to Wadi Musa.
  • You can take a taxi from Amman to Petra and negotiate the price. It’s a 3-hour drive from Amman to Petra.
  • If you’re traveling with others, you can rent a car to get around for around 25 JOD per day on average (insurance included) and split the costs. The liter of gas in Jordan costs 1 JOD. It can be pricey, but it’s a practical option and even a cheaper one if you’re traveling with others.

Wadi Rum to Petra

  • There’s a daily JETT bus from Wadi Rum to Petra at 9 AM for 15 JOD.
  • You can take a taxi from Wadi Rum to Petra for an average of 35 JOD for the 2-hour ride.
  • If you’re traveling with others, you can rent a car to get around for around 25 JOD per day on average (insurance included) and split the costs. The liter of gas in Jordan costs 1 JOD. It can be pricey, but it’s a practical option and even a cheaper one if you’re traveling with others

Aqaba to Petra

  • There’s a daily JETT bus from Aqaba to Petra at 8 AM for 15 JOD. The round trip (same day) is for 18 JOD only.
  • You can take a taxi from Aqaba to Petra and negotiate the price. It’s a 2-hour drive from Aqaba to Petra.
  • If you’re traveling with others, you can rent a car to get around for around 25 JOD per day on average (insurance included) and split the costs. The liter of gas in Jordan costs 1 JOD. It can be pricey, but it’s a practical option and even a cheaper one if you’re traveling with others

Where to Stay in Wadi Musa?

You don’t have to visit Petra for a single day only – in fact, it’s best to dedicate at least 2 days to Petra because it’s huge and requires so much time to explore. That’s why I highly recommend you stay in Wadi Musa, the village where Petra’s located, for at least 2 nights. Here are some recommendations for different budgets:

Hostels and Budget Stays

Medium-Budget Stays

Luxury Stays

Useful Information for Your Visit to Petra

Petra © 2022 Curls en Route – All Rights Reserved.
  • Winter working hours are from 6 AM to 4 PM and summer working hours are from 6 AM to 6 PM.
  • There are few restaurants, coffee shops, and rest areas along the main trail.
  • There are some WiFi hotspot areas as well along the main trail. However, it’s best to download the offline map on Google Maps beforehand or the AllTrails app. Also, grab an old-school map from the Visitors Center before you get in – it’ll come in handy.
  • Keep the Visitors Center number (+962-3-215-6044) on you in case of emergencies or inquiries. They’re very helpful and knowledgeable.
  • If you take the backdoor trail (Ad-Deir trail), you need to go to Little Petra and then take an off-road car from there to the starting point of the trail for an extra fee. You can take the shuttle bus to Little Petra from the Visitors Center for free, and upon your arrival, from the ticket office, get a new off-road car ticket for 5 JODs.
  • Don’t always believe the photo signs – they’re usually exaggerated. Instead, ask someone coming from the direction the photo sign leads to and ask them if it’s worth it first because you want to reserve your energy. For instance, when I saw a sign about a waterfall, I asked a couple coming from the direction the sign was pointing at and it turned out there was no waterfall at all!
  • After you exit Petra, you’ll probably need a ride back to your hotel. You’ll find plenty of taxis but they tend to be very pricey in Wadi Musa and will try to take advantage of your exhaustion to rip you off. Try to haggle if you have the energy because the ride will probably not be worth more than 2 JOD and they’ll ask for more (probably 5 JOD).
  • It’s better to go as early as 5:45 AM to enter at 6 AM, especially if you’re starting with the main trail because the tourist crowds can ruin your experience.

Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance!

Travel (solo or not) isn’t always rainbows and butterflies – things might go down south sometimes. You might fall ill or lose your luggage, and that’s when you’ll thank me for having your back covered with travel insurance.

SafetyWing offers different travel insurance packages, tailored to your needs, but their Nomad Insurance is my favorite option.

This travel medical insurance is perfect for frequent travelers. It covers lost checked luggage, travel delay, doctors, hospitals, and more. It even covers the COVID-19 emergency quarantine period if deemed necessary by a physician.

GET INSURED NOW – Nomad Insurance

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