7 Tips When Visiting Petra in Jordan
Steeped in history, the ancient ‘lost city’ of Petra in Jordan, beckons the visitors to revel in its charm and impressive culture. Walking through this ancient city with its huge sandstone canyon, marveling at the ruins of once-majestic structures, enveloped by the towering buildings carved directly into the mountains, comes as a testament to the architectural acumen of its occupants. If visiting Petra is in your travel plan, then these 7 tips will come in handy during your visit.
7 Tips when Visiting Petra
- Remember, Petra is a desert! And it is also a huge city. Don’t underestimate its size and overestimate your strength says Hugh from Corinthian Travel. Although you don’t have to be in the pink of your health, you certainly do need to have the stamina to do a lot of walking. Yes, there are donkeys, horses and camels to help you move around, but it is advisable to avoid using them. It is not very comfortable riding a donkey. Believe me, all the jostling and the juggling will leave you more tired than you already are. And, the animals look too frail to carry a human on its back!
- Since you’ll be doing a lot of hiking and walking, a pair of sturdy and comfortable shoes will be your best friends while in Petra (you’ll thank me for this tip).
- Plan your travel according to the time of the year. Summer can get quite hot. And, in addition to that, you are in a desert. So don’t hesitate to apply a generous quantity of sunscreen. Better still; carry one with you. Large hats are highly recommended as you will not find many places that’ll provide protection from the sun.
- Bring some snacks with you. After the long walks and hikes, you are bound to get hungry. Rather than get cranky with all the hunger and sweat, make sure you are stocked with easy-to-carry snacks. You can easily get bottled water from a number of ‘roadside shops’ and ‘stalls’. However, they don’t accept credit cards; you have to carry Jordanian Dinars.
- Be modest in your clothes and respect their culture. Long sleeved, cotton clothes are the best when visiting in summer. However, if you are planning on hiking that day, you are better off with a light weight jacket.
- Don’t believe in anyone who offers to give you unofficial tours around the place. You can easily keep away from some of the pestering peddlers with a polite ‘la’a shukran’ or ‘thank you’. Having said that, a local guide by your side will certainly help you. Befriend a Bedouin; they share a bit of their culture, and also help you explore the area better. And the friendly and helpful Bedouin hospitality is certainly something you will remember for a long time. Often times, you will be end up getting invited to their caves for a cup of tea. Be polite; and if you do accept their invitation, be kind enough to tip them.
- The Bedouin vendors sell quite a lot of interesting things – from coffee to carpets. Don’t give in to the temptation of buying everything that looks antique! The ‘antique coins’ scam is pretty famous there, and you don’t want to be its next victim! On the other hand, sharpen your bargaining skills if you have your eyes set on something exquisite, because the Bedouin salespersons are really good at their job!
Finally, don’t try to cover Petra in a day. Petra at Night, a guided tour, is a must-see for every visitor. Looking at the iconic building of Petra – the Treasury – lit by candles, accompanied by great music, and the endless sky and the countless stars makes Petra at Night a truly breathtaking experience.