The only public bus to Petra leaves Amman at 6.30am, so it was a very early start for us as we had to be at the bus station before that to ensure that we got a ticket. The bus takes you directly to the visitor centre entrance, so often people do it as a day trip from Amman.
Its 50JD for a one day Petra pass or 55JD for two days, so we opted for the two...and glad we did because there's so much to see. From the visitor centre to the Treasury monument there's a 2km walk through a natural gorge, it's a great first impression... with reminants of sculptures hidden in the rock and then, the most famous Petra view of all, the glimpse of the Treasury appears round a corner through a gap in the rocks. Spectacular, it doesn't disappoint. Petra was so quiet when we went that Jason managed to get the brochure shot of the Treasury without any crowds and with a camel perfectly placed in front.
It was really hot and a lot of the site is more of a hike than a stroll. You have to take regular rests and soak up the views. Or, you can opt to go round on a donkey, mule or camel for a fee. There's lots of ruins built into the red rock and you can get a sense of what the ancient town would have looked like all those years ago. It never felt busy, we could soon find ourselves a step to sit on and be by ourselves to admire the view.
After making our way up over the rocky path, we reached the monastery. This was my favourite of all the sites at Petra. It's huge! When we first got there there was a Bedouin boy climbing and jumping over it...and I thought "crazy"! Not knowing at the time, that later we'd follow a crazy Bedouin to an even higher point of the Monastery to watch the sunset. There's a perfectly placed cafe opposite the Monastery where we stopped to have a drink and started chatting to a local Bedouin. He told us a lot about his life, working in Petra, the Bedouin way, it was really interesting. He said he'd take us to the best place to watch the sunset...and it really was! If you look at our photographs, there's a dome shape at the top middle of the Monastery ruin...well that's where we sat to watch the sun go down! Again, I had a little vertigo episode (probably made worse by the boy that decided to balance near the edge and on the very top of the Monastery spire), but it was worth it! This had been one of my best days so far.
I hadn't quite sussed out how we were going to leave the Petra site once the sun had gone down and we were in pitch black...the only answer was by mule! We relied on a group of Bedouins to help us get back; although Jason had to run alongside in the dark because he was worried about being allergic to the fur. We got taken back to the Bedouin village where we had a cup of tea. A great end to a perfect day!
We only stayed in Petra for half a day the next day because we were shattered from our previous day's adventure. We hiked up to the High Point for amazing views of the site...you could see for miles and it highlighted new areas that we hadn't explored yet. It's breathtaking, honestly one of the most beautiful and interesting sites/parks I've been too. I could have spent hours just sitting, perched on top of the mountain, taking in the views. There must be so much more we could have seen if we'd had more time to explore.
Our hotel was really nice too, AlAnbat Hotel. The staff were really friendly, there was a pool, they cooked great food, and more importantly there was an onsite Turkish bath. After all that walking, we figured we needed a treat. We loved it...a steam room, a man to scrub you down and then sud you up with soap, then a full body massage, followed by jacuzzi and apple juice. Amazing! It was a little off putting when the man showed us how much dead skin he'd managed to scrub away...there was a lot!
My descriptions don't do justice to Petra. I hope you get an idea from our photographs how spectacular it is. We will continue to recommended Jordan, and especially Petra, to everyone we meet. Truely magical!