My life is complete. I remember, when I first saw a photo of Petra circulating online, I made a promise to myself that I would go there one day. Now that I was in the Middle East, it was a no-brainer that Jordan would be one of the stops I would make for the sole reason of making my dream come true.
Continuing from our journey in Jerash, me, Moni and joined us later, Karren traversed across the desert to Petra. We spent 2 and a half days discovering trails and explored all the ruins in the area. As you would have expected from Petra, there were lots and lots of tourists, but we were able to escape them by hitting the ground running, hiking trails up to the High Place of Sacrifice and the Monastery during the hottest time of the day. The sights were worth sweating for as the trails took us through some remote ancient ruins tugged away in the desert mountains. Seeing Petra was something I had been looking forward to for ages and it sure delivered!
Day 2: Petra with Moni and Karren
Me and Moni woke up at 6 AM and caught the early morning JETT bus we booked the previous day to Petra at their pick-up spot in Amman. Along the way, I talked to Karren, a 40 years old Austrian doctor, who was one hell of a hiker. She had done several hikes in all the countries that ended with a "-stan" in Central Asia. She made a great addition to our little expedition as we set off to explore Petra together.
It took us around 4 hours as we arrived at the bus station near the entrance of Petra at 10:30 AM. Me and Moni went and dropped our bags at Saba's Hostel, a very chill out place I can recommend. One of the cheapest in the area with a pretty awesome roof-top area you can sit and watch the sunset over the desert mountains. The dorm room price also includes free breakfast, but a little caveat is that it is situated in the city center which is a few kilometers away from Petra. After a long day of hiking, walking uphill back to the hostel was a little tiresome but nothing a physically fit person can not do.
After dropping off our bags, we met up with Karren and went straight to the ticket booth where we bought ourselves a 2-days ticket for 55 JD.
Since Moni is from Lebanon, a fellow Arab country, she only paid like 2 JD for the entrance fee. Lucky her!
It was a long road before we entered the Siq, the dim and narrow gorge that winds its way around 1km until it ended at the famous Treassury.
Nothing could capture my face when I saw the Treassury from the Siq. In my head, I was imagining Morgan Freeman whispering "There it is.. There it is." as I approached the Treassury.
And as expected, it was fucking epic!
It was massive, very well maintained and seem a little unreal. I was smiling without knowing it as I stared at the Treassury in wonder.
There was a bit of tourist but not as much as I thought. My assumption is that due to all the negative news coming out from the middle east, people are skipping Jordan for other "safer" destination.
To tell you the truth, I felt safe all the time when I was in Jordan despite the proximity of Jordan and Syria . Not once did I regret coming to Jordan during this unsettling time.
We realized that we were no longer allowed inside the Treassury anymore so we went off the beaten track and hit the High Place of Sacrifice trail.
And of course, we got lost. This was Karren scouting out to find a path to go across the mountain.
The climb was steady and consistent. It took us around 30 minutes (including us getting lost) to get to the top of the sacrifical place.
The place itself was just a small square carved off the top of a mountain for a sacrifical ritual but the view from the top was incredible.
From both sides, we were able to see the whole Petra with Wadi Musa as a backdrop in one sweep.
Instead of going back the same way, we met a shop owner at the top who tipped us on a much better way down that would intersect with the Monastery trail.
It was already pass noon and the sun was as strong as ever. Me, Moni and Karren were also running out of water and we started to doubt whether we should do another trail or simply end the day.
Along the way, there were many donkey owners who tried to sell us a more comfortable way down. I saw the way they treated these animals and it was not pretty so no chance they will get money from me.
At one point, we met a boy who was trying to sell us freedom for the bird he caught and tied to a string.
The kindness in Moni's heart stirred unsettlingly as she tried to persuade the boy to release the bird. The boy continued to insist us on paying for its freedom.
She asked the boy gently if he would like it if someone tie a string on his neck and drag him around. He was still insist on us paying and in the end, Moni gave up and walked away. Until this day, we still don't know if the boy actually release the bird or not.
I thought to myself, "this girl will change the world" and I'm just sitting hear writing about my travel..
Anyhow, we came down from the High Place of Sacrifice, severely dehydrated as our water supply was running dangerously low.
Along the way, we saw a few small caves that were begging us to explore but we were definitely not in shapes to go crazy with our adventure.
We eventually found the intersection that would lead us up to the Monastery.
Fortunately, we found a restaurant where we could stock up our water before we tackled another trail. The problem was that a bottle of water would set us back 3 JD each. That's 5 USD for a god damn water.
They left us no choice and we had to shell out 3 JD each. Take note guys. If you are hiking in Petra, prepare enough water for the hikes. Go 3 - 4 litres each.
The Monastery hike began with a steep climb that seems to have no end in sight.
It was around 45 minutes that we started to see the Monastery, tugged away nicely in the remote area of the desert mountains.
In comparison to the previous trail, the Monastery trail is the more impressive one by far.
While most people stop at the Monastery, we decided to go up higher to the highest point in Petra.
The sun was starting to emit less heat as the day progressed and with the height we were at, it was nice and breezy at the top.
We were quite surpised to see a rugged terrain on the other side in contrast to a much more tamed and smooth rocks on the side of the Monastery.
This was the other side of the mountain.
Here is a group photo of our little expedition. Karren does NOT look like she's 40 at all, is't she?
On our way down, we saw a kid trying to force his donkey to walk by hitting and punching it several times. Our faces were showing our disapproval at how he treated his donkey and he turned to us and spoke in crisp english, "It's non of your business, tourist" and he continued to hit his donkey. This is why I will never ever support these abusive people!
Walking back the same way, we met a Brazilian guy who had such a thick accent it was almost a chore to listen and understand him.
He was talking about his plan tomorrow and how he would like us to join. Since me and Moni were still unsure what we would do in Petra in the next few days, we agreed to join him as he would take a taxi and explore Wadi Rum and Aqaba in one day. This was not how me and Moni travel but we were curious how the day would turn out and so we told him that we would join.
Before we ended the day, me, Moni and Karren made a decision to go for one last hike in Petra the next morning before we split. We discovered that we missed one of the best trails of all, the trail that would take us to the top of a mountain overlooking the Treasury.
Day 3: Petra, Wadi Run, Aqaba and Petra again
We woke up at 8 AM, and met up with Karren at 8:15 AM in front of her hotel. Joined us that day was Tobias whom we met in our hostel the day before.
So with 4 of us, we completed the trail in 45 minutes and spent the rest of the hours enjoying the view from the top. As for me, I love having breakfast in cool places like this so I grabbed my apple, and bit into it gloriously. This was among one of the best spot I have ever had my breakfast.
At around 10, it was time for us to disband our little expedition. Karren had to go to Wadi Rum and she would be staying there for 2 days. As for me and Moni, we decided to go with the flow and tagged along with the Brazilian guy we met the previous day.
He was definitely a different kind of traveler than us. We were meeting him at the Movenpick (one of the most expensive hotel in the area) and we went off to see Wadi Rum by a taxi he hired yesterday. At first I thought we were going to stop at some places and do some hiking but that was not his plan.
His plan was to stop randomly in Wadi Rum, snapped a few photos and move on to another location. To tell you the truth, I don't even think the taxi knew what the guy wanted.
We saw the Bedouin camp from the outside and off we went again.
Our next stop in his agenda was Aqaba. I asked him what he was planning to do there. He said he simply wanted to swim in the Red Sea and headed back.
We could only observe his day panned out and yet we are still puzzled about the way he travels.
After a long confusing day with our Brazilian friend, we split up and me and Moni went back to the hostel. After freshening up, we reunited with our friend from the morning hike, Tobias.
We went up to the roof-top and continued our discussion about all things spiritual until the sun dipped behind the Jordanian desert. I like talking to her. She is a genuine good-hearted person who, despite her age, always have a thought-provoking perspective about the world.
Moni came up with the idea of first going to the Petra by Night, an event that involves candle-lit Petra, tranditional music, an extra ticket to get in, and after that, grab a few beers and head back to the roof-top.
Petra By Night only runs on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday so time your visit carefully.
Petra by Night was quite a sight to behold. Candles were lit throughout Petra from the entrance through the Siq and eventually the Treassury itself. Everyone were given a hot tea and were seated in front of the treassury while musicians played their traditional instruments. It was so magical, someone decided to get married there!
Beers hunting in Petra
I thought it was a little cheesy but what the hell, it was Petra after all. After Petra by Night, we went back to the hostel and tried to buy some beers, but as you know, alcohols are not sold in supermarkets in Arab countries like Jordan so the hunt for beers was on. Joined us was Andrew, an Aussie who the hunger for beers united us together on this epic quest.
We got tipped by the people at our hostel that there was one hotel called the Valentine's Inn that sells beers. We were so excited like a child getting a new toy, but when we arrived they said they ran out of beers. The guy at the counter tipped us again about a restaurant called the Sandstone Restaurant that has beers stocked for eager travelers like us. We went there as fast as we could and found out that they did have beers. The problem though was that one big can of beer would set us back 8 JD. That is a whopping 11.5 USD for a can! It was outrageous!
"We came so far man, we should at least buy a few..", I remember myself saying. They all agreed and everyone chipped in to buy each of us a beer. It was the most expensive beer I have ever bought... EVER!
It turned out to be a fun night as the group grew larger and larger as the night went by. We joked at each other while sipping our precious beers, eating Hummus on a bread. The party ended when the clock hit 1 o'clock (for real!) and we were asked to leave the roof-top as they were about to close. We had no other options but to go to bed at that point.
Day 4: Goodbye Petra
It was time for me and Moni to say goodbye to Petra and everyone we met at the hostel. Since the bus leaves at 4 PM, we ended up doing absolutely nothing that day. We went for a walk along the road near Petra, saw some dwelling caves and we sat there and watched the landscape. It was a much-needed rest day after all the hikes we did the previous days.
And there you have it, our adventure in Petra. Stay tuned for the final entry of my trip in Jordan as me and Moni explored the north of Amman by camping in the Eco-Park before Moni went back to Lebanon and then joined me were Ramon and Luana from Brazil on my trip to the Dead Sea.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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