Top tips for visiting Petra, Jordan for an awesome day!

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Top tips for visiting Petra – Updated May 2024

There is a lot of think about when planning on visiting Petra, I know I was googling all sorts of questions about what time to arrive, what to wear, how much money to bring, what to bring. So this post will cover all of the top tips for visiting Petra that you need to know, to plan the perfect visit.

What to wear – tips for visiting Petra

Let’s start with the obvious of the top tips for visiting Petra – what to wear. You will have seen the images on Instagram of women in beautiful flowing dresses. However, this is just not practical. Unless you want to just visit the Treasury then this will definitely be fine. But if you are going to want to hike to the view points, I would recommend something a little more sensible.

It is going to be hot, so you will want to wear something to cover the shoulders. The ideal outfit would also be long, loose, cool trousers to avoid any rubbing! Alternatively a skirt with shorts underneath.

If you are going to arrive early, it can be a little cool first thing so a light jumper and scarf would be a good idea.

Although Jordan is a more liberal country, it is still advised to me slightly more covered. Most men were wearing trousers rather than shorts.

For footwear – go for comfort. Especially if you want to hike to some of the views! I wore trainers, but hiking boots would also be advised.

image of a woman standing in the siq, petra, wearing a jumpsuit, scarf and cargidan - clothing tips for visiting Petra

What to bring – tips for visiting Petra

There are going to be something things are really useful to take with you when you wander around Petra and these are key Petra tips!

Firstly – water. You can buy some from the stalls dotted around the site. But when you are on the hikes these are not so prevalent. And you are going to need a lot of water!

It would also be advised to bring some rehydration sachets with you to add to your water. No matter how much you drink, you are likely to be walking a lot in intense heat and so do end up really dehydrated. There is also a limit to the amount of water you can carry. A sachet will reduce the risk of you becoming really dehydrated.

Add the following to your day pack to make sure you have everything you need:

  • Money
  • Camera
  • Passport
  • Big bottle of water
  • Snacks
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Scarf  

How to get to Petra – tips for visiting Petra

You can book group trips from Amman and Aqaba in Jordan. But also from Eilat or Jerusalem!

But visiting as part of a tour is not the only way, you can get public transport from either Amman or Aqaba or you can hire a car and drive.

Driving from Amman to Petra takes about three hours, or if you are heading from Aqaba it is just under two hours.

If you’re wanted to public transport to Petra, JETT Bus leaves from Abdali station in Amman at 6.30am and gets to Petra around 10.30am. It then returns to the city at 5pm.

If coming from Aqaba, public buses leave from the central market and travel to Petra. You can find more infomation here.

When does Petra open and close?

The visitor centre is open from 6am – 6pm in the summer and 6am – 4pm in the winter. The visitor centre is where you can buy tickets, pick up maps and book tours. So this can be considered the ‘opening times’ of Petra. This s also the location of the entrance to the site. Regardless of the time of year however, you can only buy tickets until 4pm. There are instructions on the gate saying you need to leave the site by 7pm in the summer and 5pm in the winter.

Image of the treasury - tips for visiting Petra

How much is ticket – tips for visiting Petra

Prices differ for foreigners and locals and a range of ticket types are available depending on the length of stay and number of visits to be made into Petra. As of 2024,  a one-day ticket to visit Petra costs 50 JD (£57 / 70.50 USD). However, if you have a bit more time, it is definitely worth taking advantage of the multiple day tickets. There is so much to see you might want to opt for a two day ticket which is 55 JD or a three-day ticket for 60 JD.

Children under 12 enter free. Petra By Night tickets cost 17 JD (but you have to have already purchased a day ticket). You will also need your passport to purchase the tickets (as listed in what to bring!)

If you’re a resident of Jordan it’s very affordable at just 1 JD!

When to arrive – tips for visiting Petra

Definitely it is best to set of first thing, as soon as the visitor gates open at 6am. This is going to give you the best chance to walk down the Siq when it is quiet, and have uninterrupted views of the Treasury.

If there is a large group ahead of you, don’t rush and try and beat them. Hang back, let them have a bit of head-start and you are likely to get that clear view!

From around 7am in the summer and 8am in the winter you can watch the early morning sun slide down the Treasury facade.

What to see – tips for visiting Petra

When researching a trip to Petra, you will hear time and time again how much there is to see and how it extends beyond the Treasury. This is of course true. So make sure you check out this post:

 18 amazing reasons to visit Petra 

This talks about the amazing things you need to see in the site. The key sights are the Treasury, the Monastery, the Siq and Royal tombs -but even seeing these would just be the tip of the iceberg!

Petra by Night – tips for visiting Petra

After you have seen Treasury during day you can then return in the evening to witness the facade lit up. As mentioned above, the cost of the ticket is 17JD, but you do need to have already purchased a day ticket.

Petra by night happens every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evening and there is a magical light show in front of the Treasury, with tales and singing from the local Bedouin. You arrive down the Siq which has been lit by thousands of candles.

The evening starts at 8.30pm and the silent walk down the Siq is magical. Personally, I found the experience to be special but not amazing. Ideally you would only visit Petra by night after you have spent the day in Petra, not the night before. As the magical wow moment of seeing the Treasury for the first time is so much better in the daylight. You wouldn’t want your first view to be at night. The sight isn’t going to be as it looks on the front of the Lonely Planet guide.

How much money to take – tips for visiting Petra

This definitely depends on how much you want to buy! There are a surprising number of stalls that can be found inside the site. Selling wares such as beautiful handmade jewellery, which were definitely more expensive than the amount of money than you might think. If you just want to buy some food, snacks and drinks, you would be fine with only a small amount. However, there is a lot you can purchase in Petra, so if you want to pick up a souvenir from inside, make sure to budget accordingly. The usual tourist wares of trousers, scarfs and magnets. But also books, jewellery and metal teapots and so on- if you wanted to take something home with you.

Should you get a tour guide?

This is always going to be a decision made on personal preference. I visited as part of a G Adventures tour, so had a built in guide. Personally for me, this was great. He pointed out sights I might not have seen, guided us to get the most amazing first view of the Treasury and provided so much extra personal context and history. After this, we then explored the hikes to the Monastery alone – so it was the perfect combination.

If you are interested, you can book yourself a guide from the Visitors centre for around 50JD. These will be for the main trail. If you want to book something in advance there are plenty of companies who you can arrange it through.

 

The animals in Petra – tips for visiting Petra

This is always a tricky topic, as no one likes to see the mistreatment of animals. Many tourists call for a complete ban on animals at the site. Though, the counter argument to this is that as the income of the Bedouin is already stretched it then would not support a ‘redundant’ animal leading to further neglect.

While there are a few locals who resent the interference of how they should treat their animals, the majority are aware that they are under scrutiny. The Visitor centre is now also taking a closer look at the treatments.

If you do choose to take part in animal rides, there are things you can do to help to encourage the humane treatment. Firstly, make sure are paying the correct amount and don’t haggle (this price is given at the visitors centre). By haggling over the price the handlers feel more pressure to return quickly to make the necessary income and thus push the animals harder.

Make sure the load for the animal is not too great. If in doubt walk. And finally if you do see inhumane treatment, it should be reported to the visitors centre. Ideally with photographic or video evidence.

How long does it take to get to the Treasury

If you walk at a reasonable pace, this should take about 30 minutes walking down the Siq. But make sure you stop and take a look at all the sights along the way.

If you are trying to get an uninterrupted view of the Treasury, make sure to hang back and let the group ahead of you go faster. Much better than trying to out walk them .

How long does it take to get to the to the Monastery

Hiking up to the monastery, is no easy feat. The 800 steps are carved through the mountain and with each turn you think you might be getting there, only to see more steps in front of you. The path actually follows the old processional route through the city. It is also lined with stalls selling all sorts of souvenirs. When you get to the top there is a cafe, which sells snacks and drinks and is also an excellent place to relax and view the Monastery.

Again at a reasonable pace, this should take around 1 hour 30 minutes.

How long does it take to get to the to the views of the Treasury

There are two viewpoints you can climb to – to see the most amazing views down over the Treasury. One is not always open and when it is,  you are only allowed to climb with a guide. This should take around 45 minutes.

Taking photos of the Treasury

This wonder is best photographed in full sunlight between 9am and 11am. Make sure you get there in the morning to be able to take advantage of this.

One of the best spots to photograph is a small step where you can stand and with the photographer behind you, you have a shot of you looking forward towards the view. It can be found round to the right as you enter from the Siq.

How much time do I need to spend at Petra?

How long is a piece of string? If you want to see the highlights you can easily do this in a day. If you also want to take part in  some of the longer hikes, then 3 days would allow you to cover some distance.

I was there for a day and saw all the key things and sights I wanted to see. Of course, I wish I could have spent longer, mainly just for time to sit and watch and take in the amazing sights around me.

Are there toilets in Petra?

Surprisingly, yes. There are some in the Visitors centre as you arrive. Then there are also some dotted around the site. The ones in the bowl are clean and well supplied, at least in the morning! By the end of the afternoon, they are slightly more used but still much better than I expected.

Where to stay

Camping in the site isn’t permitted over night, so you will need to stay in the near by town. Which is walkable to the site.

There are plenty of options to suit a range of budgets. Take a look at these:

Expensive (£70+ a night ):

Movenpick, Wadi Musa

Petra Guest House Located the closest to the entrance of Petra

Mid-range: (£30 – £60 a night):

Petra Sky Hotel

Budget (less than £30 a night)

Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp – 15 minutes drive to the entrance of Petra. Comfortable and warm traditional Bedouin tents.


Hope these Petra tips help if you are thinking about visiting Jordan in the future! If you are heading to the country, check out these posts as well:

18 amazing reasons to visit Petra

8 things to do in Amman, Jordan

5 easy day trips from Amman, Jordan

Staying in a Wadi Rum Bedouin Camp


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