The Rose City of Petra

How to avoid crowds in Petra? Start early as soon as the gate opens at 6 AM! However, breakfast began at 6 so we grab a quick bite and took water and bananas with us. Breakfast at the hotel wasn’t anything special but I just like having something hot in my tummy to begin my day, especially for a long hiking day. By 6:15 AM, we made our walk into Petra! It was very cold in the morning but as soon as the first sunray hit out of the mountain, it started to get warm….really fast.

The 1+ mile walk to the Treasury was flat and easy, the first section of the walk was on a loose rock gravel road. There were Bedouins offering horse ride into the Treasury and lied that it is included with the admission ticket. Do not fall into this scam! If you have mobility issue, you can pay for a golf cart ride (the site has replaced horse carriage with golf cart) into the Treasury and all the way to the trailhead of the Monastery hike from the visitor’s center.

The first monument that was carved out of the rock is the Obelisk Tomb. We couldn’t see the details last night and we were quickly walking by, now at daylight, we can see the structure much better…wow!

This interesting-looking rock/cave looked like a mushroom house.

The sun slowly lit up the rocks and looking carefully, there was a door!

We made our way into the Siq, it is a gorge that was formed when the rock split into two :O The floor of the Siq is paved with stone slabs.

The sun has not lit up this part yet so the rock looked dull-colored.

Admiring the landscape while walking…

A tree grew from a crack between the rocks!

A carving that looked like a temple:

Irrigation system to provide water and distribute the rainfall, ancient people are smart!

We needed to make it to the Treasury as fast as we could so we didn’t have time to stop for photos. I was photographing while walking…

As we get near the end of the Siq, we had a glimpse of the Treasury…that peekaboo feel:

The view opened more and more and more….

The Treasury looked absolutely amazing, what a masterpiece! The details were astonishing, it was hard to believe this was carved out by hand two thousand years ago! Look at the massive size and the symmetry! And the color of the rock, that was where the name Rose City came from.

If you are wondering if it was really no one else there, no, there were people there less than 20 or so but we did take turns taking pics except once in a while where someone decided to sit there!

The view of the Treasury from the left side:

After all of us got the famous shots, we walked to the right side for the next photo spot. This rock just provided enough space to climb up and sit there; it wasn’t that high less than 5 feet. I thought it was easier to climb barefoot 😉 The sun started to hit the Treasury which made it hard to photograph the details as it was overblown by the light.

There were Bedouins offering to take you to the photo spot with the high angle view looking down at the Treasury for 10 JD per person (you can bargain down to 7 JD), after debating, we decided to do it the next morning because by the time we hiked up, the sunlight would hit more of the Treasury so taking photos with the Treasury and people would be challenging due to the light difference.

We continued on our walk toward the Street of Facades where vendors with souvenir stands lined up the street. They sell the same things as outside souvenir shops but you might get a better deal bargaining here. It sort of brings you back to the time where Petra was once a living city of 20,000-30,000 people!

There are carvings along the wall and caves like this which turned into a bar!

A peek inside:

Donkey and horse carriages were banned to take tourists from the visitor center to the Treasury but once you are inside the Rose City, Bedouins can still take tourists up the trail to the Monastery. The poor-looking donkey was tied there but at least in the shades. I was amazed by the layers of colors of the rock!

An unfinished tomb or temple?

You can see a lot of unfinished carvings along the way. It was like a mystery why they didn’t finish carving them.

Bathrooms were plenty and clean throughout Petra, I appreciate that they build the facilities in a way that they blend into the landscape. However, some bathrooms ran out of toilet paper so remember to bring some with you just in case! You need to stay hydrated and the good news is that there are vendors selling cold water so you don’t need to carry a whole day’s supply with you to make the hike easier and enjoyable. It was hot even though it was only 70ish degrees when we visited end of April!

The rose color really stand out when the sunlight was not directly hit it.

Another plant growing out of the cracks.

We walked up and have a view of the street as the sun slowly lit up the street. Another reason to start the hike early is for cooler temperatures and more shades!

One of the many caves…

Look at the ceiling of this cave, the layering pattern looked really cool!

We kept climbing and exploring caves and not everyone has a name/label so use your imagination on what was the purpose of the structure 😀

Was this opening created by nature or manmade? If manmade why so narrow and tall?

We climbed as high as I can and we stopped at this view of the valley before we turned back.

Over the other side is the Royal Tombs.

We didn’t see an easy way to get to the Royal Tombs so we turned back and had quick stops on those tombs/carvings.

Now, the sun lit up one side of the street, look at the number of caves there! Some were inhibited by Bedouins!

Ahhh no shades…it felt much hotter than 70 degrees!

We walked by the Theatre which is fenced so we took a quick peek.

The massive Theatre viewing from the street.

Across from the Theatre, the rocks looked glowing, the colors were so rich and deep.

More caves….

The ceiling of the middle-upper-level cave looked like a painting, it was incredible!

A series of 4 beautiful tombs made up the Royal Tombs – Urn Tomb, the Silk Tomb, the Corinthian Tomb, and the Palace Tomb. I can’t tell which is which but all are massive.

We are so tiny!

After the Royal Tombs, we made our way down to the main street….shortcut we took I guess?

A metal bridge and I was too scared to look down to the narrow canyon underneath.

We didn’t go to check out the Byzantine Church with the mosaic floor as it was a hike up and we were saving our energy for the long hike to the Monastery. Jason ran up to check it out if it is worth it..only the mosaic floor was protected under a tent:

Back down at Colonnaded Street. The Colonnaded Street is filled with columns; the remains from the Romans when they took over Petra in 106 AD.

We spotted a baby mountain goat trying to catch up to mommy goat.

We walked up to the Great Temple but only the columns were remaining.

From the Great Temple, we saw Judy and Laili were stopped by the “Roman soldiers” and I guess you’ll need to pay for a photo with them?

We just said no thank you!

Lastly, the Qasr al-Bint Far’un – “Castle of the Pharaoh’s Daughter”:

It was 10:30 AM by the end we got to the end of the main trail and it was time for break and lunch! There are two restaurants there and since we got a coupon (I don’t remember if it was 10% or 20% off) from our hotel that owns The Basin Restaurant (the one on the right side), we dined there. The “buffet” starts at 11 AM so we got a table in the shades, ordered some drinks, and take a long break. Just before 11 AM, a small truck came and delivered the food from the hotel. The trays of food with cover were placed on a warmer just like a buffet right on the open deck close to our table. The salad and food that need refrigeration were placed inside a fridge that has glass sliding doors. Let me tell you, the amount of flies there was so scary, they knew food was there at that time of the day! Whenever we opened the cover to get food, we were battling with them and scoped out the food as fast as possible. However, the utensil placed on the dish were unprotected from the flies so we did not go back for a 2nd time….although, the food was terrible so there was no reason for a 2nd round! I tried to eat and keep the fly away at the same time that I had no 3rd hand for photos. Jason helped to take a quick snap, it looked like just like the hotel buffet food sigh:

The total for 7 of us including drinks was 133 JOD and that was with the % off, it was expensive!

After lunch and reapplied sunscreen, it was time for our 800+ steps hike to the Monastery! There were a lot of people on the trail, a lot more than I expected because when I read on the internet, people said not many people make the hike because of the 800 steps and short on time for daytrippers…..that wasn’t true.

The cave served as a parking garage hahaha!

Start of the steps and the trail is lined with vendors as well!

The colorful rocks in the area:

Luckily, it wasn’t 800 steps nonstop all the way up, some spread out like this to give my knees a break.

The layers resulted from thousands of years:

The view looking back…

There are plenty of cafes along the trail where you can take a break and have a cold drink and even ice cream!

Thanks to the vendors, their cafes and stands provided some shade from the brutal sun!

The hike wasn’t that bad as the 800 steps were spread out, the worst part was sharing the steps with donkeys that constantly traveled up and down the trail! There were a lot of tourists who paid for the donkey ride up and down and they weren’t even old or had mobility issues, unbelievable!

We made a turn and then the Monastery was there, tucked in the rock!!! WOW, it is massive, bigger than the Treasury. Although it wasn’t as detailed, it felt more grand! Unlike the Treasury where people take turns for their photos (at least true in the early morning), people were scattered here so no matter how long I waited, there were people. We waited for the least people so it will be easier to photoshop them out.

Next, we followed the sign “best view or something like that” to get up to higher ground (you don’t need to hike all the way up), and turned right. That is where the “cave” shot is located. There are benches inside this little cave where you can sit and wait for your turn. The floor was dirty so we ripped a plastic bag to sit on for the photos 🙂 Using the cave to frame the Monastery, it was difficult to sit and be in place because the edge of the rock was slippery and sloping out. Post-processing is required since the subject inside the cave is dark while the Monastery and the sky were super bright. Not too bad, our Samsung phones did much better post-processing when in that extreme lighting differences.

After we were done with the cave, we walked out and around the outside of the cave for this view of the Monastery:

Across from the cave, there is a bigger rock that you can hike up to, it wasn’t too bad of a hike (I was wearing sandals too!). You can get to a higher ground for a different angle of the Monastery and this spot was not popular, we were the only ones there!

I like this angle the best!

There is a cafe right underneath where I was sitting, we had a little break there before making our long way back. The hike down the 800+ steps was faster and easier and then the walk on the street with no shade was HOT! We had to take a break in a cafe to get fresh orange juice and drinks! By the time we got back to the Treasury, it was packed and dusty (from the golf carts, camel rides, people)! Now that’s what crowded looks like! I guess compared to the Monastery, the Monastery wasn’t bad at all!

The spot where we took pictures before, look at the line…

The camels weren’t there in the morning so I walked over to take some photos.

It was time to head out and take pics of the Siq instead.

The colors came out compared to the morning.

The mile+ walk out of the Siq felt much longer…we were so tired by then!

We stopped by the souvenir shops to get ice cream when we got back to the hotel to cool off! I asked Jason how he like Petra? He said it was much larger than he thought….he thought Petra has only the Treasury so he was surprised by all the structures 😀 I guess that is one benefit of not having to do the research and planning so you can get surprises!

Time for dinner and the food was a little bit better than the night before but still bad! The spring roll was soggy -.- The sweet and spicy fish could be better if they can cook the fish right… I tried to fill myself with the rice and the beef sauce, how sad! So glad that we made a last-minute change to shorten our stay in Petra, we will not be able to handle their food for 3 nights straight!

The white pudding was the best out of all the food in the hotel!

We finally visited Petra and the whole archaeological site was impressive! The temples, tombs, and caves carved out from the rock were definitely worth the trip!

2 thoughts on “The Rose City of Petra

  1. Thanx for the tour.I always knew there was more then just the treasury.If you like caves and stone carvings Ellora and ajanta caves in Aurangabad India are great.Buddhist caves in China r also impressive.

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