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September 1, 2012

Petra, Dana and Feynan

by swebackpacker
At rest at the Treasury

I used Madaba and Mariam hotel as a base for my travelling in Jordan. The best strategy for travelling long distances in Jordan is renting a car. A rental car work out far cheaper than Mariam hotels very cheap taxi deals on long distance travelling. You might think it´s difficult to drive in Jordan? I can say it´s surprisingly easy! It´s also very safe, Jordan has few accidents and many speed bumps. This brings the speed down in road crossings. As a matter of fact there are two speed bumps in every road crossing on the main roads. Jordan has millions of speed bumps.

There are three roads to Petra from Madaba. The fastest is Desert Highway to the east which the tourist buses from Amman uses. In the middle is the 5000 year’s old King Highway the Middle East world famous trading route and to the west the Dead Sea Aqaba road down to Feynan and the spectacular route through Araba valley to Petra (maybe requiring 4X4 car). I recommend following the world’s maybe oldest and most beautiful highway the King Highway to Petra.

Man on mule in Dana

A man and his sheeps in Dana

On the road to Feynan

Important sights on the King Highway down to Petra are Wadi Mujib Canyon, Wadi Ibn Hamad Canyon, Karak Castle, Wadi Hasa Canyon, Dana Nature Reserve and Shoubak Castle. You can break the journey in Karak stay overnight at the excellent Cairwan hotel 29 JD. Next stop down the road is Dana Nature Reserve with two options RSCN Rummana Campsite and RSCN Dana Guesthouse. These places aren’t cheap but the location is fantastic. For wildlife and birding book Rummana Campsite. Dana Guesthouse has an incredible view over Dana valley all the way out to Feynan and a nice sun set.

For bookings in Dana National Reserve use the link bellow.

The Siq in Petra

Nowadays Petra has far fewer tourists than normal it pays off to ask for a discount on a hotel room. One important question to answer is should I stay at the more expensive hotels around Petra entrance or the cheaper ones in Wadi Musa? Try to bargain down the hotel rates near the Petra entrance first to see if you can afford it. After all, Petra has only two third of the amount of tourists compared to a normal year. This is due to the financial crises in Europe and the turmoil in Syria.

The Treasury in Petra

You can see Petra´s five most important sights, in one long day starting at 07:00 and finishing at 18:00, if staying near the entrance gate. To spread it out on several days don´t decrease the amount of walking necessary to see the Monastery. The Monastery is far away. You have to walk from the entrance down to the Siq, continue to the Treasury, go through lower Siq, stroll all the way down to the restaurant area and finishing off with the 800 steps up to the Monastery. Expect to walk about twenty kilometers in a day.

The Monastery in Petra

If you are not fond of walking you can hire a mule or camel at least for a part of the journey. Bring a lot of water with you and expect a long hot day. The day I visited Petra I had 37°C, walked twenty kilometers and  drank sex and a half liter of water.

Walking in Petra

Walking in Petra 2

The stairs to the High Place of Sacrifice

Reptile at the High Place of Sacrifice

The entrance fees for Petra are as follows one day no hotel nights in Jordan 90 JD, one day at least two hotel nights in Jordan 60 JD, two days is 65 JD. There is a special event Petra by night 12 JD. Petra by night is walking in candle light through the Siq down to the Treasury. It´s start at 20:30 on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. There is an old traditional Arabic music show lasting for an hour outside the Treasury.

The Treasury in the Petra by night show

The Treasury in the Petra by night show 2

The Siq in the Petra by night

If visiting Petra by rental car it´s not necessary to drive through Wadi Musa to Petra. If coming on the King Highway turn right after the first big brown rectangular Petra sign. This signs tells you that you have just left Al Shoubak and are entering Petra community although it´s maybe fifteen km to Wadi Musa. This small tarred road goes up into the mountains and down in Araba valley on the other side. You have a spectacular view from the top of the ridge. Down on the Araba valley floor turn left to Little Petra. After Little Petra continue to the entrance of Petra.

© SWEBackpacker, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material including pictures without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to SWEBackpacker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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