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Petra - A travel report by Filippo
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Petra,  Jordan - flag Jordan
3507 readers

inzaghi's travel reports

Petra - The Definitive Guide

  13 votes

Petra travelogue picture
The highlight of my Jordanian trip must have been the ancient city of Petra, famed world wide for having been the filming location of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Favourite spots:
Petra travelogue picture
Quick tips/suggestions Plan to cover all the way up to the Colonnaded Street in your first day. On the second day, hire a donkey or camel to get up the the Al Deir and spend the whole day at the area beyond the Al Deir. Be sure to commence on your return trip by 4pm to arrive at the entrance by closing time at 6pm. On your third day, hike up to the High Place of Sacrifice. Bring lots of water and sun protection. Best Way to Get Around (i.e. walking, driving, taxis, public transportation etc.) Donkeys and camels are cheap enough to hire, if you are well-versed in the art of haggling. Rates very between 2JD and 5JD. Otherwise, be sure to bring a very good pair of walking and hiking boots.

What's really great:
Petra travelogue picture
1. First view of the Treasury... Indiana style! 2. Realizing that the Siq actually has many hidden treasures to offer 3. A private tour around the site with a police man 4. Locating numerous secret locations offering superb panoramas

Sights:
Petra travelogue picture
“The first glimpse of the Khazneh as you abruptly reach the end of the Siq is truly breathtaking, so much so that no amount of descriptive prose does it justice, it is better experienced first-hand. The urn perched at the top of the monument was believed to hold countless treasures, gold and precious jewels, hence the monument’s name. Inspired by classical Hellenistic architecture, the Khazneh’s façade is 30 metres wide and 43 metres high. Carved in the first century BC as a tomb for a Nabataean king, some scholars believe it was later used as a temple. The elaborately carved façade depicts Nabataean gods and goddesses and mythological figures.” Although super impressed by its exterior, I must admit that I was a tiny bit disappointed by the interior of the Khazneh. It was but a huge hall, a big block, carved out from the rocky outcrop. It’s still an amazing feat, but my expectations were perhaps heightened by the exotic albeit false depiction its interior in the famous Hollywood film.

Accommodations:
Petra travelogue picture
Valentine Inn
200m from the circle in downtown Wadi Mousa is this very controversial accommodation choice with a very interesting history. Valentine, the current owner of this backpackers’ inn, told me that she had just bought over the previous hotel (Twaissi Hotel) and renamed it. The previous hotel, as I was told, was ordered to shut down because the owner had repeatedly molested his guests. The owner of another hotel told me quite a different story, that Valentine Inn and its predecessor are actually owned by the same person, just renamed to avoid clashes with the authorities. Their alleged scam, as I was told, was uncovered and the Inn was ordered to shut down within two weeks from the time I visited.
In any case, Valentine Inn provides: free transportation to the Petra site entrance (3 minutes by car), nightly movie runs (almost always Indiana Jones), meals, packed lunches, kitchen use, free parking and hot showers (6-8am and 6-8pm daily only).... (continues at Pubs)

Nightlife:
Petra travelogue picture
Accommodation suggestion #2
Peace Way Hotel
Located at Tourist Street, this hotel impressed me with super high quality rooms comparable to three or even four star hotels. En-suite facilities are also clean and well maintained, and the rooms are equipped with visible frills. The hotel has three restaurants - a breakfast café, an outdoor dinner restaurant and a rooftop BBQ area for their weekly BBQ dinners. Service is prompt and responsive, and all guests are invited to mint tea or Turkish coffee upon arrival at the lobby café which is also well-stocked with brochures and numerous guide books. There are several rooms available that cater to all your needs, and prices range from JD12 to JD22. With such reasonable room rates, it is no wonder that the Peace Way is almost always fully booked. Prior reservations are a must. In all, one of the best bang-for-your-buck accommodation choices in Petra.

Hangouts:
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(...continued from accommodations on Valentine)
The dinner, for JD3, is a buffet spread of at least twenty local and pasta dishes and is sure to satisfy even the most voracious appetite! For 2JD, help yourself to the vegetarian dishes at the buffet. Room rates are, on average, JD5 per person in a room for four. The three of us paid JD20 to occupy the entire room with en-suite facilities, usual breakfast included. To share a room with common facilities, you pay only 2JD, sometimes even less. Roof space costs JD1. Prices are very negotiable. I was not very impressed by the en-suite facilities which were filthy by my standard. The furnishings were sparse and very old, and the shower was always clogged up, which meant that the people who showered after the first person had to wade in a pool of used water left behind by the first guy. The only plus is that Valentine is fairly flexible and try to accommodate all guests’ requests.

Other recommendations:
Petra travelogue picture
Thief's Plateau - Secret photo location
Most travellers content themselves in taking the vastly seen picture of the Khazneh as seen from behind a crevice in the Siq. That’s indeed a nice picture souvenir to have – kind of a “been there, done that” thing to do – but there are better, more uncommon shots to be had. As you stand facing the Khazneh, you will see to your right several large, coarse boulders that seem to casually create a flight of steps. Follow the trail, with utmost care, up a fairly comfortable route, and you will arrive at a plateau, the highest point in the vicinity of the area. Here, unparalleled and complete views can be had of the Treasury, and valuable photos taken. Be advised that the brief hike, which takes about eight minutes, is not a marked out route and not recommended for the elderly or persons unable to lift themselves with arm power.

Published on Saturday March 20th, 2004


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Mon, Jan 24 2005 - 05:53 PM rating by mistybleu

I'm planning a trip to Petra in May; thanks for the tips, this is a nice report.
Misty

Thu, Apr 29 2004 - 02:18 AM rating by britman

Loved the report and particularly the tip on the Thiefs Plateau photo location - I missed that when I went - wished I known beforehand! Many Thanks.

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