Are you planning a trip to Jordan to visit Petra?
In 2017, I got the chance to visit Petra with my wonderful parents. If you’re not familiar with the significance of Petra, you’re not alone. Petra is one of the Seven Wonders of the World which makes it popular with people from all over the world. Petra is also widely known for being one of the filming locations of the popular Indiana Jones movies. A few weeks ago, I ventured back to Petra with my bestie CJ. The second time around was even better because I was able to explore additional areas of Petra which I wasn’t able to see during my initial visit.
*Traveling during Ramadan
This time around I visited Jordan during Ramadan which was a slightly different experience. In places like Petra or hotels in Amman, you can still manage to eat during the day. Outside of major tourist sites, most restaurants will not be open until after final prayer which is after sundown. CJ and I managed to find an ice cream shop which was open in the mall. Despite it being open, we were kindly encouraged to essentially sit in the corner and hide while eating the ice cream as to be respectful of those fasting. We politely obliged and tried to eat the ice cream as quickly as possible, lol.
Here’s a few helpful tips to plan your visit!
1. Keep in mind Petra is 2.5-3 hours from Amman. The cheapest option is to take a bus from Amman to Petra, which costs about $30RT. The JETT bus departs Amman at 6.30am and reaches Petra in around four hours. Visitors can catch the return bus at 5.00pm. Due to the fact I was on a tight schedule, we opted to have a driver instead which included round trip transportation and lunch which cost about $160pp.
*prices are quoted in USD.
2. Arrive EARLY if you want to avoid the crowds and want to have that Instagram worthy image without hordes of people in the background. Early in the morning, the weather can be slightly cool but the later it gets, the heat can be unbearable. Petra opens at 6:00AM.
3. Wear comfortable shoes and lightweight clothing. If you arrive early, you may want to dress in layers due to the slightly cooler temperatures in the early morning hours. Women should be relatively modest in their dress but due to its popularity with westerners, you will see women dressed in tank tops, shorts, etc. The first time I went, I wore shorts and a tank top.
4. You DO NOT have to pay a guide to take you to the viewpoint overlooking the treasury. You will definitely be harassed to pay a guide but instead you can take the scenic hike to the top for free 99! The hike itself is not for the faint of heart but it’s not impossible.
5. Stay hydrated! Jordan in May, the heat was bearable but if you go in the early months of summer or August, the heat can be agonizing. Temperatures can easily reach 90 degrees and up. There are several cafes in Petra which sell bottled water.
Where to stay?
The W Amman is a new hotel which opened in 2018. The entrance of the hotel is an homage to Petra. Located in downtown Amman, the W is the perfect location which boasts a pool, fitness center, lounge, spa, and amazing dining options. I had an amazing pedicure at the spa which was very reasonable (28$)!
What to do?
Take the free walking tour offered by the Pasha Hotel. The tour lasts about 1.5 hours and gives you the opportunity to explore the various markets in downtown Amman. You will also learn about the history and culture of Jordan. The rooftop of the Pasha Hotel provides a great view of the Roman ruins in Amman.
Where to eat?
Check out the Boulevard in downtown Amman. The Boulevard features several restaurants, shops, and cafes. My personal fave was Free the Fork. This restaurant puts a Jordanian spin on tacos and sliders. Here you can try the traditional beef or Shawarma taco. Al- Quds is also a great restaurant which features traditional Jordanian fare. Mansaf is their specialty which is a traditional rice dish served with chicken or lamb along with a tasty yogurt sauce. Jordan is also home to delicious pastries so be sure to indulge in the white powdered cookies which are divine; or baklava which is also not to be missed.
* Keep in mind, Jordan is a predominantly Muslim country. Therefore, women should be mindful of their dress. In major tourist sites, it’s more common to dress how you would anywhere else. However, if you have plans to visit a mosque or will be in more remote parts of Jordan or Amman, make sure you are dressed appropriately to avoid unnecessary attention and to respect cultural norms.
Have you been to Jordan? How was your experience?