How To Rock a Trip To Petra In a Day

On my third night in the Jordan, a New Zealander named Ayla arrived at my hostel. Her airline had lost her luggage, and we made it a mission to spend the following day exploring Amman in search of new clothes for her to wear.

Both our travels in Jordan had started off pretty badly, but things for both of us began brightening up when we decided to become partners in crime during our Jordanian odyssey.

She bought a few t-shirts at a local market, we ate our way through Amman and quickly decided to join forces and head to Petra the following day together. During our market hauls, we came across a few gorgeous embroidered cover-ups, and we decided to buy them to take pictures in Petra the next day.

And so, the next morning, we headed over on a day trip to the ancient capital of the Nabateans. While we both only had time to make the most out of our visit to Petra in a day, we managed to explore and see all the highlights in our list.

 

Petra in a day: the glorious desertscapes you'll get to see
Petra in a day: the glorious desertscapes you'll get to see

VISITING PETRA IN A DAY

Nestled between sandstone mountains lies Petra, a place dubbed the “Rose City” due to the color of the stone which it was carved out of.

Once a lively trading hub and the capital of the Arab Nabataeans as early as the 6th century BC, it was later on occupied by the Romans in AD 106, who expanded the city even further until it was largely destroyed by an earthquake and was left abandoned after Saladin’s conquest of the Middle East.

For a very long time, Petra was forgotten by the Western world, until Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt visited, disguised as an Arab. Today, it is one of the seven New World Wonders, one which still holds so many mysteries left to be uncovered.

While most guides recommend at least two days to get the most out of Petra, I felt very satisfied with how much I got to see and do in just a day. I do wish I would’ve lingered a bit longer to experience a Petra by Night walking tour, but overall I feel I made the most out of my day in Petra.

If you also have a tight schedule in Jordan, here’s a quick guide to help you plan and rock your trip to Petra in a day!

 

THINGS TO SEE IN PETRA

 

EL SIQ & THE TREASURY

Before actually getting to the main sights of Petra, you must walk through a two-kilometer-long narrow gorge known as El Siq.

As you walk through the orange gradient walls, you will feel as though you are about to uncover Petra as did its first explorers back in the day!

Petra in a Day: Walking amid the gorge that leads to the Treasury

Petra in a Day: Walking amid the gorge that leads to the Treasury

Petra in a Day: Walking amid the gorge that leads to the Treasury

Petra in a Day: Walking amid the gorge that leads to the Treasury

At the end of the gorge, you will begin getting tiny glimpses of the Treasury, a temple carved out of sandstone by the Nabateans.

Originally, built as a mausoleum and crypt during the 1st century, the Treasury is locally known as the Al-Khazneh.

This will be your first stop, and interestingly, I noticed there were many visitors hanging out here and leaving afterward, not realizing that the treasury is actually just the doorway to the rest of Petra.

Petra in a Day: Walking amid the gorge that leads to the Treasury
The Treasury in Petra

Petra in a day: Camels

 

HIKE TO THE MONASTERY

The Monastery was my favorite sight in Petra. It boasts a facade carved out of sandstone and the journey to it involves a pretty cool hike.

There are two ways to get there: the first one being by foot, the second one by camel or donkey. Please don’t ride the animals. They are often abused by their owners and carrying tourists up and down all day is very exhausting for them.

The way up takes roughly an hour on foot, but it is perfectly doable (I did it without much effort and my physical condition isn’t exactly at its best right now). The hike is truly a treat – you will pass by Bedouins drinking tea, amazing landscapes filled with sandstone carvings, ancient Roman pillars, and a ridiculously beautiful desertscapes as far as the eye can see.

Standing in front of the Monastery in Petra in Jordan, one of the landmarks you'll get to see when you visit Petra in a day

Petra in a day: Sandstone desertscapes

Petra in a day: Sandstone desertscapes

Petra in a day: Bedouin women in Petra, Jordan

Petra in a day: A Bedouin woman

Petra in a day: The Monastery in Petra

 

DRINK A COFFEE IN FRONT OF THE MONASTERY

This was my absolute favorite moment of the day. After the exhausting hike, we were so pleased to find that there are a few small local (and very decently priced) Bedouin cafés overlooking the Monastery.

Sitting there and relaxing while soaking in the views sandstone mountains on one side and the magnificent Monastery on the other was a highlight for me!

Petra in a day: Drinking tea in a Bedouin restaurant across the Monastery

Petra in a day: Glorious desertscapes

 

SHOP AND TRADE

One of the amazing things about Petra is getting to shop from authentic Bedouin families.

As you walk through, you’ll feel overwhelmed with all things pretty like rugs hung on the side of a decaying structure, carved out camel figurines, bracelets made out of stone beads, and so much more!

Petra in a day: Buying gorgeous souvenirs to bring back home from your trip to Jordan

 

For Bedouins, trading “x” thing for another is still a common practice. I exchanged my shoes (oops), a dress, and a lantern for gorgeous handmade jewelry made by the girl in the image below.

Petra in a day: Meeting the Bedouins!

 

Bring trinkets from home that you don’t use anymore and see what original gifts and souvenirs you can bring back in exchange for that old jacket that’s been collecting dust in your wardrobe for a while!

 

HOW TO GET TO PETRA FROM AMMAN

The easiest way to get to Petra is by booking a private tour from Amman. They usually start at $160 if they include your entrance fee to Petra.

You can also hire a taxi to drive you there, wait for you, and pick you up when you’re done exploring Petra. These usually cost 60JD or so from Amman (ask your hotel/hostel to arrange it for you!)

If you’d rather visit Petra on a budget, you can always take a JETT bus for 11JD each way. It leaves early in the morning and will drop you off right in front of the entrance to Petra. The return bus eaves from the same spot at 5PM, giving you plenty of time to explore. Check their schedules and book your ride on their website.

 

TIPS FOR PLANNING YOUR TRIP TO JORDAN

  1. Get the Jordan Pass instead of a visa to save money BIG TIME. For $99, it includes a visa waiver (so the cost of your visa is included) AND entry to tons of attractions around Jordan (including Petra!).
  2.  As always, I recommend World Nomads for a reliable travel insurance to cover you Jordan.Healthcare in Jordan is the best in the Middle East, but clinics and hospitals are mostly concentrated in Amman. If something happens, you’ll need to be evacuated and transferred to the capital, which could get really, really costly.World Nomads covers most nationalities and over 150 adventure activities that most other insurance companies don’t. You can also make claims online and even extend your insurance while you’re already abroad.
  3. If you want a few packing tips for your trip to Jordan, check out my Jordan packing guide here.
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Daniela Ramos
Daniela Ramos

Since I was little, I knew that I did not want to work in an office and instead, I wanted to travel all around the world.

Throughout my travels, I have lived in a Maasai village in Tanzania, spent over a year working in a tiny river-side village in Thailand, taught geography to novice monks at a monastery school in Myanmar, climbed to see the world largest lava lake in the world in the Congo, traveled Africa by public transport, hitchhiked around Europe, and more!

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7 Comments

  1. Amy
    August 18, 2018 / 2:52 am

    Beautiful photos! I have Petra up on my bucket list of places I need to see – and this is such a helpful guide to it! Sometimes travel opportunities are short!

  2. Natalie Ast
    August 18, 2018 / 4:19 am

    This blog post is EPIC. Your photography, writing and overview of the destination is fabulous. Thanks for sharing! xo, Natalie https://nataliastyleblog.com/

  3. Angela
    August 29, 2018 / 8:48 pm

    Awesome post. I am really wanting to see Jordan next year. Did you feel safe travelling solo as a female ?

  4. Mariana
    February 28, 2019 / 4:00 pm

    Love your Petra photos! Did you take them yourself or did you hire a local photographer? I’m interested in getting a shoot there done but seems difficult to find someone.

    • Daniela Ramos
      Author
      March 3, 2019 / 3:08 am

      Hi Mariana! I took most pictures myself 🙂 The ones of me were taken by a friend I met at the hostel! Petra is so beautiful, it’s hard not to get great photos there 🙂

  5. Hazel G
    March 22, 2019 / 2:23 am

    Do you remember the name of the market in Amman you bought the cover ups from? I love the.m so I would like to try to find them in September when I am over there.

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