Jordon

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May 18th, 2005, 05:55 AM
  #1
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Jordon

We're doing an overnight to Petra. It was suggested to hire a english speaking guide to show us around. The quote for this seems to be incredibly high - approx $350 US per day. Has anyone experienced this. Also, a friend suggested that we sleep in the mountains w/ a Beduin guide as another great experince...anyone?
Thanks!
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May 18th, 2005, 09:44 AM
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We recently toured Petra, staying overnight in the splendid Marriott Hotel in the town just outside the entrance to the canyon leading to the ruins.

Believe me, you can do it on your own. You just buy a ticket and walk through the canyon (or you can ride a horse or hire a horse-drawn cart) through the canyon to the Treasury, the first building you see at the ruins.

Excellent restaurant at the far end of the city (most any guidebook will show you the layout of the ruins -- all easily done on foot).

Forget about the Bedouins. Nice people but they have their livestock (and fleas and flies). At the Marriott you can arrange a tour down to Wadi Rum. Takes about 1.5 hours each way down to the visitors' center where you can hire a Bedouin-driven jeep. This is the place where much of the film "Lawrence of Arabia" was shot. A most worthwhile, early-morning junket.

But $350 a day? Are you sure you have all your facts? Sounds fishy.

Are they including the drive down and back from Amman? It's a looooong way from Amman to Petra. And, by the way, it's Jordan...not Jordon. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Oh, and one thing more. Have you made plans to visit the Roman city of Jerash? It's an hour north of Amman, and a fabulous square mile of Roman antiquities. And then there's the Dead Sea. And more. And more.
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May 18th, 2005, 10:04 AM
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Agree with USNR, the $350 sounds like a full day/overnight with transfers from Amman to Petra, the guide/tour within, the overnight hotel, and the trip back to Amman. You will most likely be transfered in an air conditioned Merc-Benz with driver. At the site, the entry fee is also included. Here, you will find an English speaking guide to walk you thru the site. His fee should also be included. You only need tip this guide at the end of your tour; also a small tip for the "donkey guy" who takes you to the opening of the Siq - you then walk thru the Siq, about 2/3s of a mile, and quite amazing - is there when you exit the Siq upon completing your tour. You have the option not to ride a donkey - my friend did, but I thought they were a bit nasty with flies about. As to the horse-drawn carts, these are usually for elderly or infirm, so I'd check if any in your party needs this, verify arrangements. Oh, and lunch may be included - it was when we did our day-trip here.. at a lovely restaurant right outside the site. And if staying overnight, what hotel, where, and is breakfast included?

Petra is a "must see" - wear comfortable shoes, have a hat to protect from the sun and SPF lotion, and water; wear long pants for riding the donkey.

So, if all I mentioned above are included, I'd say the price is about right. But may I ask, from which tour operator did you obtain this quote? I've seen like prices, but also higher and lower.
 
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May 18th, 2005, 02:24 PM
  #4
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Thank you so much for both your input. Embarrassed about my JordAn spelling The expense has to do w/ having an English speaking guide, but also because of the transfers. We'll actually be coming from the Araba Border, which is apparently an hr and a half drive. We feel more comfortable w/ that part of it as we'll be coming from Israel. I did feel a little suspicious about the cost, but just heard of others who paid more w/ a different company several yrs ago. Anyway, w/ that said, if u don't think it would be necessary to have a guide for the trip, it's definitely something to think about. We just want to be as comfortable as possible, but don't want to spend that much. We were looking into The Movenpick or Taybet Zeman Hotel
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May 18th, 2005, 02:36 PM
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Oh yah...I forgot - the trip also includes entrance fees to Petra and a horse ride, no meals or tips. I'm not sure who the tour operator is, as we're planning it through a travel agent who specializes in Middle East travel, here in Toronto.
Sorry, just want to confirm something; are u saying that it's not necessary to have a guide as we can just hire one there? I guess we're nervous as we're Jewish and look like we could be American. Hope no one is offended by that, but that's the reality today, we're not that liked.

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May 18th, 2005, 02:48 PM
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Cassidy - one more spelling error. It's the AraVa border. No matter, there are probably lots of other spellings that I'd mess up one way or another.

If you don't want to spend that much money, there are 1-day trips for less then half that amount. Whomever is arranging your Israel trip, or whichever hotel you are staying can advise on this.

There's an early pick-up or self-transfer (taxi) from Eilat to the Arava border, border procedures, then a bus to Petra. You spend the day, have lunch, may stop at Wadi Rum on the return, then back to Arava/Eilat. If crossing the border here, be sure to have passport size photos, as last I recall, these were required for your entry Visa.

Check out this option.

As to the Movenpick - this is immediately outsite of Petra, whereas the Taybet Zaman is about 7km from the site; you'd need a taxi to/from. Both are lovely and price-wise the former is probably a bit less expensive. The Taybet Zaman, an old town destroyed in an earthquake was redesigned by Queen Noor who had a degree in architecture.
 
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May 18th, 2005, 03:01 PM
  #7
sandi
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Cassidy -

We must have posted at the same time.

While some Israelis visted Petra via the Arava border prior to the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan, as soon as the agreement was signed everyone in Israel who wished to visit Petra did or will - Jewish or not. Likewise, foreign visitors to Israel often included Petra in a trip to Israel - easiest via Eilat/Arava... Europeans, Americans and even Canadians. Not an issue, even with an Israeli stamp in your Passport.

If you do the 1-day bus trip from Israel, I believe you have an English speaking guide. If you do the more expensive overnight trip, there are plenty of English speaking guides at the Petra site, so I don't understand your tour operator's comment re an "English speaking" guide. Are they referring to your driver/guide who get's you there or the guide at Petra? I can assure you that there are driver/guides who speak all languages.

My guess - if it's an overnight, someone has to pay for the guide/driver to sleep somewhere (of course, not a 5* hotel - likely there is housing for such purposes) and his meals... probably included in the $350.

 
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May 19th, 2005, 03:45 AM
  #8
 
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I just returned last month from Jordan and I went to Petra and stayed at the Movenpick. It was wonderful. The service is excellent in the hotel and anywhere else you go also. 350 for a tour guide, wow. I noticed a lot of ppl in Jordan do speak english except when you get to the northern part of Jordan. I walked through Petra, not every site. I didn't feel anyone needed a tour guide either. Have a beautiful time, you'll love it and i'm jealous and i want to go back.
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May 19th, 2005, 10:19 AM
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Heres another Torontonian who just returned last weekend from, amongst other places, an amazing 8 days in Jordan (Amman, Jerash, Kerak, Petra, Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea, Madaba, Mt. Nebo and Bethany). A trip report will follow, but to immediately answer your questions, US 350.00 does seem high for Petra alone. However, as it appears from your following posts that more is included in this price, I can't really comment.

Petra is very doable on your own as other posters have mentioned. I'd suggest just buying your ticket alone (no guide or horse or buggy) at the visitors centre, and everything else as you feel you might need en route to and through the siq. You will pay far less for the short but fun horse ride if you pay the wranglers directly, and this will also ensure that they are getting the money.

I stayed at the Movenpick Petra just outside the entrance to the site (there is another Movenpick hotel high up above the gorge affording a fantastic sunset view) and it was excellent. The dinner and breakfast were enormous and delicious, in the true Movenpick Swiss style (like our Marches here in Toronto).

I rarely hire guides as I find that 20% of what they tell you is useful and the rest just filler that you're no better off knowing about. They also tend to slow me down and you will need all the time you can to see the wonders of this magical site. My only regret was that I didn't have 2 days there to cover everything. Take or buy a self guided book and you'll do fine.

I really enjoyed all of Jordan and I hope you will too.
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May 19th, 2005, 04:17 PM
  #10
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Thank you so much everyone!!
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