Petra is truly an amazing place. Read the Highlights of Petra to plan your visit, as well as these following tips for exploring Petra.

Tips for exploring Petra: The Treasury
The Treasury, a landmark of Jordan.
Admission Fee

The Admission Service is run by the Petra Development and Tourism Regional Authority who reports to the Prime Minister of Jordan – and they have the say about how they would manage the park, including determining the admission fee system.

Petra’s Admission Fee is astonishingly complicated, and fairly expensive. But here’s the quick breakdown. The admission ticket varies between foreign visitors and Jordanian resident.

  • Jordanian citizens and foreigners with Jordanian residency. Jordanian citizens must present valid ID, and foreigners with Jordanian residents must in the possession of their residency for at least a year – The admission fee is JD 1
  • For foreigners who have stayed at least one night in Jordan prior visiting Petra:

One Day pass JD 50

Two Day pass JD 55

Three Day pass JD 60

  • For foreigners who arrive in Petra on the day of their arrival in Jordan (haven’t spend any nights in Jordan, and yes – they will check your passport) – Admission is JD 90 – no exception. However, if you spend your night in Jordan and get back to the same ticket office on the next day, you will get JD 40 back.

Children under 12 can enter for free, and this ticket does not cover the additional ‘Petra by Night’ event – it is an extra JD 17 and can be inquired at the ticket office as well.

They also sell the official tourist guide ticket and the carriages ticket – they are varies and depend on different distances and places. They run between JD 20-50, and I would advise to get them if you only have a few hours (less than 4 hours) to visit.

Main entrance
The Main Entrance to Petra
General tips for exploring Petra
  • Start early in the morning. The best time to explore Petra is in the morning. Try to get in when the entrance is open at 6 am. You will enjoy the serenity of having the sites before a flock you visitors come in, and you will start your day early to beat the heat.
  • Stay Hydrated. Petra is located in the middle of an arid desert, therefore temperature is hot and dry throughout the year. Make sure you drink enough water throughout your visit in Petra, or in the Middle East, for that matter. Bring some water with you – although there are food vendors and restaurants inside the compound, sometimes you may need a bottle of waters in between during your hike.
  • Bring Snacks. Along the same note, bring some food for snacks during your hikes, although there are restaurants and food vendors if you want more substantial food. And since Petra is desert region, you want to also bring some hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes to clean your hand before handling food.
  • Mornings and evenings are best for photography. Petra’s main landmarks are big, and sometimes it is quite frustrating to try to capture the whole façade from very narrow places. Wide angle lens are highly recommended. For photography enthusiasts, you know that good times to take great photographs are during the morning and evening hours, when the sun is low. And for the morning hours, the sun actually cast over the façade of the Treasury – Petra’s landmark.
  • Pace yourself while hiking. Pace yourself and be honest of your physical fitness level. Petra covers a huge area. Although you may decide to use any alternative transportation, such as camels or donkeys, you are guaranteed to walk a certain distance. Wear a pair sturdy and comfortable hiking shoes, there will be a lot of hikes and steps. If you opt to walk from the entrance to the Monastery, which is the farthest point and back, you need to plan to cover a 12 miles (16 kms) distance. Be ready.
  • Protect yourself from the sun. It is almost guarantee that your visit in Petra will be a sunny, bright day. Bring enough protection, such as hats, sunglasses and sunblock. Seek shade and take a rest everytime you can.
  • Wear light clothing. Wear light and bright clothing. Arid and sunny – the last thing you want to have on you is any dark colors to absorb more sun, or heavy fabric that are not absorbent. Keep in mind that you must also respect the local culture – Jordan is somewhat more liberal nation, but definitely still not a place for not modest clothing.
Tips for exploring Petra: Traditional Jordanian head scarf
An effort to blend in with the locals! Or at least to cover up himself from the bright sun.
  • Bring a sweat towel or Kleenex. Although I must admit that majority of my sweat during my visit in Petra was evaporated fairly quickly due to the arid desert air.
  • Hire a guide. Consider hiring a local guide for deeper learning experience.
  • Bring cash. Bring some money, and preferably small Jordanian cash and coins, especially for tipping.
Camel ride
Camel ride in Petra. Choose your animal wisely.
  • Be sure your souvenirs are legal. There are many vendors inside the park who sells pretty much anything: cold beverages, food, souvenir postcards, pottery and clothing. Avoid purchase anything that is claimed as authentic relics or coins from Petra – Some of these findings inside the park are protected by UNESCO and any archeological items, even though purchased legally by you from a vendor, is not allowed to be privately owned or removed from the site. Do not fall into this scam that potentially land you into legal trouble.
  • Learn about the working animals. For animal lovers, learn your facts and options to use any transport animals inside the Petra. Although there is a sign at the entrance to guarantee the animals’ well being by the Queen of Jordan, we witnessed a few donkeys and camels being whipped inside the park. We chose not to support them, as we can’t condone any business practice with animal abuse.
Animal rights signage
An official sign at the Petra’s main entrance to guarantee working animals rights.
Petra By Night

Many locals told us that this is quite what you would consider of a tourist trap (we opted to do the non-official Bedouin feast with our new local friends in the middle of the desert), but I’ve heard many other travelers who opt to do it to immensely enjoy the experience. This is how it goes. Thousands of tea candles lit up along the path of the Siq, leading to other thousands front of the Treasury, where you would sit down for a while with other visitors and enjoy, hopefully in some level of quietness, the majestic Treasury glows from the thousands of candle lights.

When in plan it is a great idea, in reality, I’ve heard many visitors don’t really think it is enjoyable. Nonetheless, if this is your thing, definitely do it!

Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday every week

Duration – two hours (20:30 to 22:30)

Meeting point/ending point – Petra Visitor’s Center

Cost: JD 17, which is not included in your Petra main admission fee. Children under 10 can get in for free.

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Halef moved from Indonesia to the US nearly two decades ago to go to college here. He hasn't looked back. He's been to over forty countries and doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon. He's a Landscape Architect in Atlanta, GA.

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