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> Petra, information about Jordan's most famous site
_tz_
post Mar 10 2009, 06:15 AM
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Since I've been asked so nicely smile.gif here's some information on Petra:

Jordan

The place everyone coming to Jordan visits is Petra. Sure it is wonder of the world, but Jordan has much more to offer. But since it is what people always ask for, let's start here. I will add information about other sites when I find the time - and upon request. So you have any questions, let me know smile.gif
I will stick to the "inside information" here, general information, history and location you can easily find o the web...

Petra

Getting there
Petra is an ancient city located next to the modern village of Wadi Mousa. This is where all the hotels and restaurants can be found, as well as the bus station connecting to Amman in the north and Aqaba in the south. The cheapest way to get here is by bus (about 2 - 5 JOD, depending where you start from), but it will take at least half a day, no matter where you start and usually you arrive in the late afternoon or evening. The only faster possibility for people without a rental car (where you also don't have to rely on the ever-changing schedules) is by taxi, of course more expensive (between 30,- and 40,- JOD).

Staying
You should find a place to stay, since Petra is not a day trip destination. Some guide books (and travel agencies) claim it can be done in one day, but don't go for it, you will regret it later! Allow at least 2 days, more if you are into hiking. Even if you stick to the tourist "main road", just take some pictures and not go up any of the mountains or high places, you will need at least 3 - 4h - and you have seen nothing. There are plenty of hotels and some hostels in Wadi Mousa offering accommodation from 2,- to 200,- JOD each night. Another possibility: though everyone in Wadi Mousa will tell you different stories about the Bedouin here, they are not dangerous people. You can easily meet them in Petra, and they can arrange all kind of stuff for you that makes your stay different from just "visiting another ruin": from desert camping to sleeping in caves in Little Petra to staying in houses in the nearby Bedouin villages of Umm Sayhoun or Baida. If you are interested in this, contact me, I can set you up with trustworthy friends of mine there. Anything from one-night home stays with local families to renting apartments for a couple of weeks or months is possible.

Security
Inside Petra it is generally safe, although there have been cases when the Bedouin trying to "fish for women" overstepped the line and became to offensive. There is tourist police everywhere, do not hesitate to report any incidents that go to far! Other than that, you will be offered a lot of "antique" souvenirs (Made in China), donkey (or other mammal) rides and real Bedouin-made handicrafts. Same as in every tourist sight I have been to.
My advice: even if you do not want to buy anything, it does not hurt to have some friendly words with the Bedouin. It is not nice being ignored all day - and the worst that might happen is you get invited for tea.

What to see
Well, apart from the carved rocks in the ancient city itself, there are some sights that take some more or less serious hiking to get there, but are well worth it. The most frequented are the Monastery and the High Place of Sacrifice, but if you have a little more time, consider going to Umm Al-Biyara, Jebel Khubtha, Wadi Siyyagh or Aaron's tomb. You may need a guide for some of the hikes, easiest and cheapest is just to ask a Bedouin in Petra. Prices depend on the destination and your negotiation skills.
Also worth a visit for some hours (and for those who do not want to pay the entrance fee to Petra) is Siq Al-Barrid, known in English by the name of Little Petra. It is about 1h walking from Petra and also has the caves and carved rock, only less. Entrance is free, the surrounding mountains are just as beautiful with great sights and you can stay after dark to see the sunset. If you do not want to hike there, take a taxi, pay no more then 5 - 6 JOD one-way. The driver will offer to wait about one hour for you or even explain the site for some more money. Do not go for it, it is not worth it. Usually the have no idea what they are talking about. And everyone I met felt pressed to rush back when a taxi was waiting and could not enjoy it. Although the taxi driver (of course) will tell you it is impossible to get a ride back, just ask the local Bedouin near the entrance, the can either drive you for little money or call a taxi for you. They also can guide you on hikes in the area. While you are there, about 15 min walk from Siq Al-Barrid are the remains of a stone age village called Al-Baida.

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starlagurl
post Mar 10 2009, 09:32 AM
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That's very useful, Andy. Thanks. Do you want me to sign you up as the Local Expert for Jordan now?


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manzara
post Mar 27 2009, 08:29 AM
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I've just read your post on Petra, _tz_. We're heading off to Sinai tomorrow for a couple of weeks and visiting Jordan mid-April. Your advice was very welcome, particularly as we are keen to see more than just Petra while we are in the Wadi Mousa area.

After a three night stay there, we are driving up to the Dead Sea area via the King's Highway up to Al Karak and then across to join the Dead Sea Highway.

Really looking forward to our first visit to both Sinai and Jordan.

Thanks again for the useful hints




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"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"
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hengriffiths
post Aug 13 2009, 12:51 AM
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thanks for the useful info on Petra - Are you serious about being able to set us up with trustworthy friends who can arrange sleeping in caves in Little Petra or staying in houses in the nearby Bedouin villages of Umm Sayhoun or Baida with local families. Can you tell me more about this. thanks alot
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_tz_
post Aug 20 2009, 07:00 AM
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QUOTE(hengriffiths @ Aug 13 2009, 12:51 AM) *

thanks for the useful info on Petra - Are you serious about being able to set us up with trustworthy friends who can arrange sleeping in caves in Little Petra or staying in houses in the nearby Bedouin villages of Umm Sayhoun or Baida with local families. Can you tell me more about this. thanks alot


Of course I am serious, just sent me a pm with some details what you plan to do and when, and i will sent you some contacts.
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