I will be honest, it took me some time to go back to Petra. Actually, I haven’t managed in the last two-and-half years while I was living in Jordan. So it was 10 years back that I first visited Petra and Wadi Rum. And with small kids and the birth of our second son last year, it just didn’t feel right to go into the desert. However, this month my mom came to visit again and we definitively wanted to cover the highlights of Jordan. Last time we covered Jerash, Amman and the Citadel and the Dead Sea. So we decided to take a long weekend and explore Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba. We were about to see various camels.
We left early on Thursday afternoon to Wadi Musa/Petra and stayed at Petra Palace Hotel – nothing fancy but OK. The desert highway towards the South is still under construction for many parts and the direction towards North is a bit better. However, you should be careful when driving but at least progress is noticeable. Once in Petra, we decided to go to the Moevenpick Hotel for dinner and it was quite nice. They have one restaurant with a beautiful interior but that one was full booked so we went to the other one and it had a good buffet with various international and Arabic food.
The location of the Petra Palace hotel is 3 mins walk from Petra visitor center and the rooms were spacey. We got a family room to accommodate all of us (3 adults, 2 kids) and that was totally fine as we only intended to stay for a short night. The breakfast, was below average I would say with poor choice and bad coffee. However, location is king in that case. Unfortunately, with grandma and kids, we did not leave very early and entered Petra on a Friday morning around 10.30…. worst timing… haha. I really wanted to be an early bird, but it just wasn’t possible this time. If you are alone, I mean without kids, do the effort to wake up early and enter as early as possible to avoid the crowds. Also, remember to take your residency card (Iqama), if you have as entrance fee will be 1 JD instead of 51 JD. There is a nice new visitor center at the entrance. Everything in Petra looked very different from 10 years ago – like 10 million times more people.
We first went down through the canyons towards the treasury and it was interesting. There is really so much to see as the walls get closer and higher and tighter until you reach the place in front of the treasury. Again, 10 years ago, there was no cafe, no souvenir shop, no tourist police and maybe just a few Bedouins with camels but surely not that cramped and packed with commercial stuff, even though it could be way worse, as I experienced at the pyramids in Cairo. Anyway, the timing of the day was our fault, so I kind of expected some crowds. Titus happily took the chance to hop on a camel and I enjoyed taking pictures. Together with some Turkish coffee, we enjoyed our break at the treasury.
We continued further keeping in mind that we won’t do the complete experience until the monastery. If you travel to Petra with young children, be aware that it is nearly impossible to navigate with a standard stroller. Because of that we took one with large wheels. I also wanted to take our baby carriers but honestly forgot them and actually they would not have fit in our car with all the stuff and 5 people. But with our stroller we were able to manage the way to the monastery and a bit beyond although the terrain gets rougher and rougher. I did not want to go on a horse, a carriage or camel for a longer ride as I feel the animals are not in good condition. Later we took more time taking pictures of the kids and camels in Petra.
You can easily spend two or three days in Petra wondering and hiking on different paths, climbing up to see the treasury from above, the high place of sacrifice or other hidden treasures. You can go up to the monastery all the way up in the end or you can enter from the backdoor via Litte Petra and much more. With very young kids we were not able to do all of that but we still enjoyed our time. I am sure I will come back without kids and hopefully will be able to explore some more of the stunning landscapes. Anyway, you can find some interesting shapes, colors and structures while exploring Petra.
Stay tuned for the continuation of this trip with articles on Wadi Rum and Aqaba.
And see my older post with some more pictures of Petra.