An April 2002 trip
to Petra by DrMaximus
Quote: 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.
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). 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.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 9, 2002
200m from the circle downtown
Peace Way Hotel
Attraction | "Overnighting inside Petra"
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 9, 2002
Ancient City of Petra
Petra Gates To El Khasneh
Ma'an Governorate, Jordan
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. Do not go expecting what I had expected!
Attraction | "El Khazneh Candle Light Tour"
Thief’s Plateau – Secret Photo Location of the Tre
Attraction | "The Siq"
The Siq is actually not the first entrance into Petra that visitors will come across. The first entrance – the gate – is where tickets and passes are checked. From here it is possible to ride horses and ponies to arrive at the start of the Siq, which is about one kilometre away. Prices vary widely according to the tourism climate, most offers are between JD3 and JD5 for a quick ride lasting not more than 5 minutes, but I received numerous offers of JD1.
Do not be overly anxious about wanting to see the Treasury, and thus miss out on what the journey through the Siq has to offer. There are several monuments and stone carvings along the way which hint at how opulently adorned the city must have been then. Nearing its end, the Siq is also flanked by a row of headless statues of obvious Roman influence – easily missed in one’s (understandable) excitement. But, don’t miss this!
Petra: The Siq
Entry Hike Into Petra
Attraction | "Al Deir"
The route to the Al Deir is surprisingly arduous, so allow yourself at least an hour or more to arrive there. The map does not depict elevation, but know that the route is continually ascending, at times sharply. From the Treasury to the Al Deir, the distance is about four kilometres. We hired a camel to take us from the Treasury to the foot of the mountain leading to the Al Deir, then changed to two donkeys to climb the steep stairs continuing up towards the monastery. Again, rates vary incredibly. We paid JD8 for two for the entire trip, and gave an additional JD4 in tips. Be clear that the sum includes both the camel and donkey rides, and see that the camel owner actually pays something to the donkey riders. Camels are not allowed to climb the stairs to the monastery, so if you decide to split the journey in two and hire donkeys only at the foot of the mountain towards the monastery, it would end up costing more.
Hills above Petra
Attraction | "Al Deir and Beyond & The Note"
Standing on the peak and facing the Al Deir, to your left are two more prominent peaks that are comfortably scalable. It was an odd decision for me to have attempted to get there because the area was by then beyond the boundaries of the map, and also because the path, though very safe and comfortable, seemed to lead to nowhere. It was quiet, I was alone, and it seemed just like the last path anybody should take. But I took it. And you should take it too, nevertheless. The path is not clearly marked out, but a continuous row of pebbles seemed to do the work just right. The view at either peak is different from that at the first peak because the faraway desert vista is visible. At the peak on the left, there is even that famous Bedouin who tries to sell tea, then invited my companion to spend a night with him in his cave house.
The note? What note? Overcome by the peace and tranquility of one of these two peaks, down deep inside a crevice in the area, some traveller wrote and left behind a special note. It still lies stuck on the rocky wall, deep inside a crevice, with only a tip of the note visible and fluttering in the breeze. On it is a heart-warming message signed by numerous travellers from all over the world. If you can find the location, why not pen a little something on it as well? See the photos for a description to the location.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 9, 2002
Attraction | "Street of Facades, Colonnaded Street & the Theatre"
"Once you have reached the Colonnaded Street you are at the heart of the city of Petra. Once a bustling marketplace, lined with shops and houses, the street was central to daily life."
The Theatre, with its high and steep stairway, is worth the tough climb up, if not to enjoy a full view of the theatre, then that of the entire surrounding area.
Attraction | "Introduction to Petra"
An eternal tribute to a lost civilization, Petra is the highlight of a trip to Jordan. Carved entirely into the naturally pink rocks, the remains of the once lost Nabataean city of Petra include temples, Roman theatres, monasteries, houses and roads. From the entrance a track leads you down to the Siq - the narrow gorge that takes you into Petra. Once inside, the path narrows as the cliffs seem to close about you, and just as you least expect it, the passage widens and you catch a glimpse of the astonishing monument that dominates Petra – El Khazneh (The Treasury)."
But Petra is not just about Indiana Jones and the Al Khazneh. It is an unimaginably huge site which requires not any less than two days set aside for a basic exploration of its major sights. For a more relaxed and thorough experience, four days would be reasonable.
Tickets cannot be purchased at the gate, but must instead be purchased at a booth next to the information centre. As you approach the area from the single possible road, it splits into a Y-fork. The left lane leads to the gate-check area. You must first take the right lane which leads up to the information centre and ticket sales, then proceed to the left lane to enter the gate. Before proceeding, be sure to ask for your free map to Petra at the information centre.
Two big banks sit along this main road, and there are also numerous money changers offering never-before-seen horrifying exchange rates. I have forgotten the name of the bank at the extreme corner of the row of shophouses, nearest to the Y-fork, but that branch often offers the best rates, and is also the only location where you can make a VISA cash advance.