The ancient city of Petra has been on my bucket list ever since I watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It was every bit as magical as I imagined it would be. At 6am, my group began hiking through Petra in an effort to miss the crowds and spend the whole day exploring the carved city.
Winding through the canyons, the Treasury is the first main building carved into the cliffs.
When you begin really early, it is not crowded. In the afternoon, the throngs of tourists on daytrips from cruise ships, Israel, Aqaba, and Amman descend upon Petra making it a less enjoyable experience. Go early!
Alllllll byyyyyy myyyyyyseeeeelf (Celine Dion singing voice of course):
It was a chilly January morning so I was bundled up in a few layers- all the outer ones I would shed later in the day as the sun came out, as we hiked further, and the temperature warmed up.
We are tired in this picture after only a few hours of sleep but are so excited to be at Petra.
The Treasury is the most famous sight in Petra and the easiest to get to for those who are physically not able to walk far (you can take camels or a horse carriage here). But if you are able, the best parts of Petra are still further inside the ancient city.
The middle section of Petra is filled with numerous carved buildings, houses, and amphitheater.
By this time of the morning, coffee shops and little shops inside Petra were open. Most of us ordered coffee and some of the boys had their kohl eyeliner done. The kohl didn’t come off for at least 4 days despite showering and they loved it. Their eyes really popped!
The Monastery is larger than the Treasury and so much less crowded. The reason: the long, tiring uphill climb to get there. It is a tough climb but shops and stands line the path up and everyone is trying to sell you something or is wanting to chat with you on your climbing breaks.
A much needed lunch was consumed overlooking the Monastery of goodies purchased at a market the night before. We mostly ate crackers and hummus, apples and oranges, dates, and pita with cheese. Then it was time to climb back down.
It is possible to get a donkey ride to the Monastery but we only saw a few people doing it. Dealing with the operators is intimidating so most people just walk. After this hike up and back down, I was tired like these baby donkeys. I wanted to take a nap too.
For our last big hike of the day, most of the group decided to hike to the Treasury overlook for the quintessential Instagram shot of Petra. This grueling climb almost killed us. A lot of breaks was necessary because it was straight uphill.
A small tent with juice and coffee is at the overlook. We took turns taking photos. The cliff was straight down and was pretty scary if you are afraid of heights! My brave roommate went out for this shot:
I clocked 13 miles hiking through Petra. Every hour someone in the group would break into humming the Indiana Jones theme song or announce “He chose poorly” in the creepiest voice one could manage. It was a fun day!
The ancient city of Petra is one of the coolest places I’ve ever seen. The sights were amazing and I am so happy I booked this trip to Jordan. It would be worth it just to see Petra. Just make sure you go at 6am if not earlier. When we left Petra around 4pm, it was mobbed!
Reader Question: Are you an Indian Jones and the Last Crusade fan? Which Indiana Jones movie was your favorite? Is hiking through Petra on your bucket list? Would you ride a camel instead?