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Petra, Jordan

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I am going to Tel Aviv and would applreciate advide on a side trip to Petra. thanks

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    I did a day trip to Petra from Eilat a couple of Decembers ago, the trip may be longer from Tel Aviv. We left very early in the morning. At Eilat the border with Jordan is only a couple of hundred yards outside town. There was a visa fee to pay, the amount depending on your nationality I seem to recall, this and the other minimal border formalities were mostly handled by the courier. The usual way to approach Petra is through a long narrow canyon. Unfortunately the sand in this canyon is the fine type which fills in around your shoes as you walk. Nevertheless the half mile or so trudge is more than worth it as you round a bend to be confronted by this huge hellenic frontage framed by the canyon. Its the sort of moment you want to bottle forever. On the steps a couple of mounted police/soldiers lounged over a cup of coffee their camels (sorry Dromedaries!) 'parked' in front, the timelessness marred only by the bare minimum of souvenir stalls (at least in December). I can safely say that Petra (particularly that first sight) was one of the few places, along with Nemrut Dagi in Turkey, that was the equal of my expectations. Even in December it was quite warm in the sun, in summer it must be quite hot. Take as much water as you can comfortably carry and take your time getting around.

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    My wie and travled to Jordan last November with TelAviv as our departure point.We arranged for transportation to the border customs point through a travel agent in TelAviv.We were dropped off at the border where the Israeli customs people extracted a departure tax.
    There were a good many Israelis crossing over being excorted to their tour buses. We had no such arrangement.The Lonely Planet guidebook mentioned that there were regular Jordnian buses at the customs office but we didn't see any until we were clear of the customs area. It would have been a about a 200 yard shlep if we knew that they were there. We didn't know. After we made a query or two to the Jordanian customs people we were told to wait.About twenty minutes passed and a bus came over from the Israeli side. We were astonished until we noted that the bus had Palestinian plates. I approached the driver who spoke no English and waved a $20 bill at him and said"Amman" and he nodded and took us into Amman.
    In Amman we took a taxi -very reasonable -to the Marriott Hotel. If you make a reservation at least 21 days in advance the price was about $57. We had also made a reservation well in advance at the Forum Hotel in Petra.
    At 5AM we left the hotel and went to the bus station where we boarded a bus to Petra. The bus stop in Petra was about 50 yards from the Forum Hotel.
    Then we walked a short distance to the Petra entrance. Foreigners pay a fee about twnety times higher than a native but if you pay for 2 days the second day is about $5. We walked from the entrance to the opening the canyon. You may ride a horse if you choose.
    The most impressive sight is the Treasury Building.
    that you first encounter. Pray that the sun is out when you get there. It's beautiful with the sunlight on it.Then you proceed on into a shorter canyon where the exit shows the rest of the old city.
    The next day we returned to the site and finally caught the 3PM bus back to Amman. The bus trip and the hotel stay came to substantially less that if we had signed with a tour.
    Amman has some interesting Roman ruins and a very nice small archeological museum. You can take a cab to the ancient Roman city of Jerash. Quite extensive. The driver will wait for you and take you back to your hotel. There is another city with an very old map of the entire region in mosaics. You will have to look up the name in your guidbook.Usually loaded with tourists.But there is another church in twon that has the most beautiful mosaic floor.Don't miss it.Same deal with a taxi. I trust that you know how to bargain.

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    I was in Petra in the summer of 96, one of the most beautiful places i have ever been! I will leave the normal run of the mill stuff out of this message, you can find all of that in the guide books ( lonely planet was the best i found). What is absolutely most important is that you find a good hotel to stay in. The prices range dramatically. The entrance fee to petra is 20 Jordanian Dinars. 1 J.D. %3D 1 british pound. I tried to circumnavigate this fee by sneaking in the back side ( this is something alot of backpackers do, i am told) After parking our jeep in a remote area, a couple of goat herders pointed us in the right direction to slip in the back door. Upon gaining entrance, we were immediately confronted by a revolver in the face. The man on the other end of the gun kept insisting he see our tickets. just before attemping to out run this bandit, i noticed his three friends atop a nearby rock with AK-47's. Note to self - leave immediately. after escaping these bandits, my friend and I tried another route into the lost city. This time as we were walking along, we began to hear the sound of approaching helicopters. Sure enough, it was a military gunship ( missiles and all). Instinctively we dove under some brushes for cover and the metal beast thundered overhead. Just as i was feeling a little relief, the copter began another sweap of the valley, and of course we again hid. This cat and mouse game continued for a half hour or so. Finally, we were able to continue on our little adventure to save a few J.D.'s in peace. Surprisingly, we were able to gain entrance through this new path without being harassed for tickets. However, upon entrance my keen eye was able to discern that there seemed to be a lot of military folk about ( 10 - 1, i would guess). Next, some military commander started screaming that all the tourists should leave out the front gate. Naturally, we were involuntarily swept up in this herd of people rushing out the front gate. Once out the front gate, it was locked, and everyone started milling about like cattle with no clue as to what was going on. Suddenly, the crowd kind of parted and the gate was opened to let in to petra a armoured caravan of vehicles. there were 5 armoured trucks followed by two chevy subarbans and then five more armoured trucks. Up in the sky, there were at the very least 7 helicopter gunships. I peaked in the chevys when they passed me by, and much to my surprise saw King Hussian and Bibi Netyanahu. in the meantime, our jeep was searched for bombs and impounded. The moral of this story is: pay the 20 J.D.'s, else you could end up dead.

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    I plan to visit my son who is on a kibbutz in the Negev, Ketura. From there I would like to go to Petra for an overnight. I think I can pick up a bus or taxi to Petra after I cross the border in Eliot. Can anyone tell me how long the trip to Petra is, how often the buses leave, a nice middle-price hotel in which to overnight in the vicinity, any tips?

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    good day from jordan holiday tours/amman

    for those who are interested in visiting jordan,syria,lebanon,or israel ,we can help in getting you the best rates &services.

    ali rawashdeh

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