Jordan/Petra for Dummies

Dec 1st, 2009, 09:07 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 689
Jordan/Petra for Dummies

I think I've finally convinced my husband to go to Petra (a place I've wanted to go for a long time) but I'm not sure where to start. What's the best time of year to go? With our work schedules we were thinking of September or October. How many days should we spend at Petra? Any tour companies you would recommend? I see Petra Moon is quite popular. I also wanted to go to the Dead Sea as well as Jerash. What do you think of a night spent at Wadi Rum? Any tips/suggestions appreciated!
loru100 is offline  
Dec 1st, 2009, 01:11 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
September might still be quite hot, October somewhat better as it starts cooling.

Jerash is about 30-45/min north of Amman. Can spend the morning here and then head south to Petra... spend 3/nts-2/days. Wadi Rum isn't far from here for 1/nt-1/day. Then, on the way north stop at the Dead Sea for a few days of R&R. Depart.
sandi is offline  
Dec 1st, 2009, 04:21 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,617
Hi, unless you take a camel ride in, there is a long walk into and out of the heart of Petra. Most people suggest at least two days,as Sandi did. My family and I saw it on a very long daytrip from Eilat (Israel) and while of course we didn't see it all, we did see quite a bit, with our excellent Jordanian guide. There is very little shade on the Siq (main path into and out of the ancient site) so I would NOT recommend going in a hot season (I speak from experience--my visit was in July a few years ago.)

I was thrilled to visit Petra, it has stayed with me, and I hope to go again some day.
elaine is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2009, 06:47 AM
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 179
We visited Petra this past October. It was recommended to to pass the summer and go either fall or spring. Very good advice. It was cooler than Eilat especially at night. We crossed at Eilat/Aqaba. A taxi from the Movenpick Hotel was supposed to meet us there but was not there when we crossed the border. The Jordanians were very friendly and helpful including the border police who called the hotel for us. We eventually got a taxi for the approx 2 hr ride to the Movenpick hotel which is right at the entrance to Petra. We stayed 3 nights which gave us a leisurly way to sightsee. The afternoons were very warm, so because of the closeness of the hotel we went back for lunch or rest up. We ate 2 suppers in Wadi Musa because we found the hotel buffet expensive and not very good. One of the restaurants was the Red Cave, very good. Negotiate your taxi fare with the driver, going to Petra we paid 150 JD and the return was 120 JD. A Jordan Dinar is worth about 70 cents US. Enjoy your trip Petra was very special.
alan43 is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2009, 09:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,210
We spent 5 days in Jordan in January/08 and had a fantastic time - it is a magical destination.

Here's a link to our blog - our itinerary was:

Day 1 - Arrive Amman early (10am) - pick up and transfer to Dead Sea (Kempinski) - visit Bethany Beyond the Jordan on the way
Day 2 - Driver/Guide pick up and off to Jerash and Ajloun - tour of Amman by car in afternoon on way back to Dead Sea
Day 3 - Drive to Petra via Mt Nebo, Madaba, and Karak - Movenpick Petra
Day 4 - Petra all day
Day 5 - Little Petra and then to Wadi Rum (3 hour jeep tour) then late lunch in Aqaba and return to Amman airport

We were very happy with this itinerary - felt the one full day at Petra was good for us - used donkeys and camels to get around a bit!

Our trip was booked as an extension to our Egypt trip which was planned by Ahmed Hamed Yousif. If you are going to Egypt as well I would suggest you contact him for a quote/itinerary. If you are only going to Jordan I would recommend you contact the Jordan Tour Operator.
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2009, 06:53 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,201
How do I thank you for your link Elizabeth. I so enjoyed your pics and commentary I am going off to Jordan next spring and will of course do Petra. I was esp. thrilled to see the pics of how the path is going up to the upper part.....does look a bit slippery!!!

Anyway thank you so much.....
LEANNA is offline  
Dec 14th, 2009, 04:19 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 144
A night spent at Wadi Rum IN the desert? That's a popular feature but meant for people who are comfortable in those circumstances... or did you mean in a hotel in the area?

Just got back from Petra (2 wks in Egypt and a week in Jordan) and I can't imagine you two not going. Just a wonderful and varied time. Am starting to put up photos and did get 2/3rds of the Patra day up so far. That's at

We started walking there at 9:15 am, and except for a 45 minute lunch there we walked all day until about 5pm, deciding to enjoy going back by foot rather than by camel or horse, in order to see it in more detail.

You've seen the usual pictures - can't say I have much that's different but it gives an idea of what the walk is like. I had been at Abu Simbel in Egypt in 100 degrees, no shade, and somehow, no liquid with me and that wasn't good.

But at Petra, the gorge naturally provides quite a bit of shade and I loved the walk - it turned out to be not difficult, even for someone older. In the old city the spaces are open so you have to be sure to wear a hat, dress lightly, and bring liquid, always.

This was one of my favorite points of the trip although there is a lot I loved and will do a photo report with info, slowly. But Petra I did get 2/3rds of up, and this was in early November. I don't suggest September, as it would still be too hot to enjoy it easily.

If I go again, it'll be in November! Note that in Egypt we still hit days of 100 degrees weather in late October i some areas.

- Andrys
andrys is offline  
Dec 14th, 2009, 04:52 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 597
On our recent trip to Egypt, Israel, and Turkey, which included a day trip to Petra, I brought along a very small collapsable umbrella that I used over and over when in the sun. I found it much cooler than wearing a hat, and it shaded not only my head and face, but shoulders and back too. I think visiting Egypt or Jordan between mid October - mid April is best, if possible, as the very intense heat can take away from the pure enjoyment of cruising around the often very hot ruins.
tinydancer is offline  
Dec 14th, 2009, 08:46 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,201
Andrys......thank you. Fabulous pictures. I"ve bookmarked them so I can go back and study them more and more as my trip draws closer....Ou I am so excited!!!
LEANNA is offline  
Dec 15th, 2009, 08:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,491
Planning a trip there also - thank you so much for the links and information!
julia1 is offline  
Dec 16th, 2009, 03:11 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 144
Leanna, glad you enjoyed them. I have another set from Petra that will be going up and it helps me relive the trip, and I collected a lot of reading material that I can use to annotate the photos eventually, as I did for Turkey (and a bit for Italy but most know a lot about Italy already).

Your blog with Richard is a wonderful resource. I spent hours with it the other night.

I am with you on Jerash - I enjoyed that more than I did Ephesus ! Eventually people will know about it and they'll also do more with that site, though it's a dilemma what to do with that mosaic floor they have exposed to the elements.

- Andrys
andrys is offline  
Dec 16th, 2009, 07:05 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,201
Ou please Andrys...let us know when your pics are ready. I will start reading and preparing after the holidays and as May draws closer I will get smarter!! Then your pics will mean even more!

I also really enjoyed Elizabeths and Richards page.

Fodors is such a great place.
LEANNA is offline  
Dec 26th, 2009, 07:52 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 842
Andrys-Thank you so much for pictures. We will be in Jordan next year with our trip to Egypt. We have aboout a month-minus the loss on travel days. I think I have allotted 5 days for Jordan per rec'd.
Fodors is wonderful-I can't think of a better place to plan & get excited about upcomming travel-Chris
BeniciaChris is offline  
Dec 29th, 2009, 03:18 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 144
Leanna, was able to add another bunch yesterday and have one more set to add for Petra. I wish we'd had the time to get up to the Monastery but we were already walking for about 8 hours that day as we chose to walk back up the Siq too rather than take a camel or a bumpy carriage. Besides, walking is a better way to really see what there is, in detail. You'll be there during a fairly warm time, so be sure to have a hat and a bottle of liquid with you.

How wonderful to have a whole month ! We spent about 6 days in Jordan -not- counting flying days to and from, and it was barely enough as there is so much to see than is usually known. But it's a good amount of time.
Elizabeth and Richard's pages are the best I've seen for getting a good idea of what you'll be seeing or can see there.

Am putting my own pics up very slowly as I pick and choose (because I am not disciplined and shoot too many pics) when I'm not busy on regular projects but it's a great way to relive the trip and get even more out of it when I look up more info on the web on what we saw, to add to the pages.

I'll be back to check on when you all are going and get a bit green over it. I wish I could beam myself back for another look already!

- Andrys
andrys is offline  
Dec 29th, 2009, 06:16 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,201
A, just went again and looked at your pics. Gosh it will be exciting to get there!! 5 more months and a few days!!! Thank you soooo much for sharing!!!

Oh and btw....I did get my Kindle for Im keeping my men after all!!!! They are good guys!!!

Travel safe.
LEANNA is offline  
Jan 1st, 2010, 01:49 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 144
I wish we had gone up to the monastery (at least on a burro) but that would mean a 2nd day and I'd explore some of it more closely too. If you like hiking I'd take a 2nd day. They now have a way to come in w/o walking the Siq a 2nd time and it puts you near the monastery from what I remember. I'll have to look that up again. Just read it this week.

Congrats on your Kindle and being able to keep your guys!
If you have any questions on it, send a note.

- A
andrys is offline  
Jan 1st, 2010, 05:50 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,490
I spent three nights at Petra, and really recommend doing that if you can hike. Besides the monastery we went up to the High Place of Sacrifice, and to a viewpoint above the Treasury on a trail behind the Royal Tombs. In both of those places we ate lunch-time sandwiches alone! The rocks coming down the back way from the High Place were really remarkable. (Sorry haven't got to those photos yet).
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 1st, 2010, 04:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,525
Just got back tonight from my 16 days in Egypt and Jordan.Our family LOVED Jordan-the people,scenery and food! There are a few things that I would like to pass on (and if they don't make sense I would ask that you remember that I have had a long day?).

We had wonderful weather the whole time in Jordan until two days ago when it rained in Amman. Petra was done in short sleeve shirts and a baseball cap/sunglasses.Bring your water bottle with some snack bars as the only place to eat is the Crowne Plaza buffet for 17 JD or the place across from it for 10JD. (I don't know about you but I don't eat buffets in the middle of nowhere and with thousands of strangers?)

PLEASE do not use the donkeys at Petra up to the monastery or around the area of Petra. Their owners kick and beat them constantly to get them up the stairs and it is a scary walk for them. They are also saying that the donkeys can take you down the stairs which is extremely hard on the animals' legs and joints and all of the guides have said that it should not be done. Our family witnessed many "surprise" kicks from behind in the groin without a reason while the animals were just standing around waiting for the rides. The younger owners find great pleasure in hitting the donkeys in the face(eyes) with the sticks as a joke. My son and daughter who had taken the donkeys up to the monastery said that it was the saddest thing that they had ever seen and said that they will never do it again. I was appalled at what I saw done to the donkeys while waiting for them by the restaurant.I even mentioned to one owner that the animals made lots of money for them so why was he treating them so nastily-he just smiled but another owner did say that some people shouldn't own animals.

Quick tips-
I would strongly suggest NOT wasting your money on 5 star hotels in areas where you are only going to be there for about 14 hours-Dead Sea comes to mind.We stayed at the Marriott and loved it but unfortunately was only there from 5pm to 1000am the next day.The Dead Sea is amazing and we floated in it at night and early the next morning doing a quick self serve mud bath-great fun!

Wadi Rum is beautiful but I don't think that I would spend the night there during the winter as all of the guides say it is quite cold. I was saddened to see the massive amounts of trash including a full toilet and tires all over the beautiful desert landscapes. I am hoping that something is done by the country of Jordan before it is too late!

I loved Jerash! It is massive and deserves a half day for visiting.Hire a guide at the front and you will enjoy it more.

We went through Lady Egypt tours who contracted our Jordan part of the tour out to Desert Horizons. We had a driver and van for our family of four for the whole time in Jordan. There was a guide in Petra,Wadi Rum and Jerash for us which was perfect.Our driver made sure that all our hotels were acceptable for us along with the guides and restaurants that had been preplanned. He suggested some of his favs on nights that we had no dinners planned.

Quite frankly,we loved having our driver (who not only spoke perfect English and had a college degree in business) because that way we could enjoy the scenery and areas of Jordan without the hassles of driving.Our driver became like a member of our family by the end of the week- I would highly recommend using him if you contact Desert Horizons in Amman. His name is Yousif.He is a great driver and handles everything while you are in Jordan-we saw and met the tour company rep when we landed in Amman but was with Yousif the rest of the time.

I think that you will find that almost every Egypt and or Jordan tour is basically the same-the only difference is the price of your hotels and how much extra you want to shell out for "middle men" in the tour planning.
dutyfree is offline  
Jan 1st, 2010, 07:22 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 43
We were in Jordan early November 2008, and have great memories of the trip. Petra is magical - we did the night tour, and spent one day. We walked everywhere, including up to the monastery. I do wish I had a second day to explore more of it, so if you have the time, do that. Our night tour was organized by Petra Moon, and they seemed great. Whatever you do, don't go with a company called "Atlas". See my report for the trip, and you'll know why!

We ended with a day at the Kempinski at the dead sea. Wish we had two.

Agree on Jerash, it was magical. But I may be biased, since I am a sucker for all things Roman.
madalinahk is offline  
Jan 1st, 2010, 08:21 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,201
Ok we arrive one day and will see "Little Petra" and then stay at the = PETRA TAYBET ZAMAN HOTEL. The next day we get up go into the main part of Petra where we will have all day basically. I dont know yet what the plan is for lunch. I am traveling w/ Baraka Journeys and Petra is just part of our 4 week tour of Jordan, Syria and Lebannon.

I've not started my serious reading yet of where we are going so I will be ever so much smarter in the months to come before we go in May.

I dont know if I will do the hike up to the monastery. I fell off a pyramid in Palenque in 2008 and it took me 9 months to heal the 3 way break in my foot. So now Im a bit more cautious although willing in spirt. I notice its harder now that I have officially reached 341 years!!!

We will also be going to Jerash so I'll see that.

Anyway as I read up on things....I'll be back w/ more intellegent comments!

Andrys: I have already downloaded the new Greg Mortenson book to my Kindle and have more books on Syria I will get. I intend to use it mostly for travel and will save at least 3-4 lbs in books now that I just can pack this new toy!!!

Happy New Year everyone!!
LEANNA is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:55 AM.