Updated: Oct 21, 2019
Hello travelling girls!
We are Polish Travelling Girls (our account on Instagram is @polki_w_podrozy) – Gosia, Marta and Justyna. Here is the story from the trip to Jordan. We hope we will inspire you! ☺
Eilat (Israel) – border – Aqaba (Jordan)
After landing in Eilat-Ovda airport (Israel), we took a taxi (there are also buses to the city center https://eilatshuttle.com, but not directly to the border) to the Israeli-Jordanian border. I was very curious how passing this walking border looks like! And will they let me go? ☺ Of course, it turned out that it is easier to leave Israel than to return to it after a week's stay in Jordan (they check everything carefully and ask lots of questions – for example how long you stayed in Jordan, with whom did you travel, who are these people for you, what was your flight number etc...). How about the visa issue? At the exit from Israel, you pay around 30$ (general you can pay in $ in Israel), and on the Jordanian border you get a special document with the date of entry into the country. When you stay in Jordan for longer than 3 days, you do not have to pay for a visa when leaving the country. For shorter stays and, for example, if you don’t visit Petra, the fees are higher. In Israel, you do not get a passport stamp (you only scan it and get a small document), while in Jordan you get stamps. If you plan to visit more than Wadi Rum and Petra, it is recommended to buy a Jordan Pass (https://www.jordanpass.jo). 40 tourist attractions are for free with Jordan Pass! In Jordan is more difficult to pay in $, so exchange dollars or euro as soon as possible (1 euro = 0.8 JOD, 1 dollar = 0.71 JOD). We chose Eilat, because we had good direct flight by Wizzair. Also, Ryanair has cheap flights – and even in better places - directly to the Amman (capital of Jordan).
The first Jordanian city after crossing the border is called Aqaba. There are no buses on the border – the only way to get to the city center is by taxi – which costs between 10-15 JOD and the ride is 15 min. In Aqaba, we rented a car (which cost around 280 euro for 7 days) and stayed there one night. Aqaba is located on the Red Sea gulf and is a great place to dive or go snorkelling. It was too cold to dive and moreover we didn’t have enough time. We ate breakfast and finally left for Petra!
Aqaba – Wadi Musa - Petra
The best way to get from Aqaba to Wadi Musa is by rented car (for example from the company Thrifty) or by taxi (from Aqaba it costs around 35 JOD, from the border around 49 JOD). Public transport is not popular and to be honest, we didn’t see any local buses – but you can check buses by this website, which is often recommended for tourists https://www.jett.com.jo/en/. From Aqaba, you first reach The Desert Highway (highways are free in Jordan), and then you turn on the King’s Highway (which is not as good a highway as the Desert one…). It is better to drive during the day, because on the King’s Highway there are no lights, no petrol stations, the road has many turns and goes up. You get there in 1.5 hours from 0 m to the highest peak at around 2000 m above sea level (so it’s not recommended to dive just before going to Petra). But as you can see from the photos, views after passing the mountains are magnificent! ☺
Wadi Musa - Petra
History: Petra is the city of secrets. We do not know exactly when Petra was built, but the city began to act as the capital of the Nabatean, trading incense, myrrh and spices in the first century BC. Then, Petra joined the Roman Empire and continued to develop until the great earthquake in 363 AD, which destroyed most of the city and led to its downfall. In 1812, Swiss explorer Johannes Burckhardt (disguised as a Bedouin) set out to rediscover Petra. After this discovery, Petra became more and more known in the West and attracted numerous tourists. Petra is also called a rose-red city. This is a magnificent place!
The case with prices is interesting - if you are already a few days in Jordan, you pay 50 JOD for 1 day of sightseeing, 55 JOD for 2 days of sightseeing or 60 JOD for 3 days of sightseeing. There are 8 trails, so if you want to visit the lost city, buy a ticket for 2 or 3 days. ☺ If you buy tickets on the first day of your arrival in Jordan (and plan to stay longer) then you pay 90 JOD, and the next day you get a refund of JOD 40. If you came from Israel specifically to visit Petra for one day, then the price is just 90 JOD. The Jordan Pass is also a good idea when you stay for at least 3 nights – you pay 70 JOD (1 day in Petra and over 40 tourist attractions in price) or 75 JOD (2 consecutive days in Petra and over 40 tourist attractions included in price). In addition, remember to take a document to the Petra office that you get on the border and based on which you will later pay for the visa at the exit. At the ticket office, you should also have a passport with you - they check it everywhere! ☺ In Petra, you can either walk or ride on the horse or use the buggies.
Petra is a very big, old city, with many monuments/landscapes to see such as: al-Siq, the Treasury (Al-Khazneh), the Street of Facades, the Nabataean Theatre, the Royal Tombs, the Byzantine Church (375-600 AD), the Colonnaded Street (included the Great Temple, the Qasr al-Bint, the Winged Lions Temple, and at the end - the facades and tombs on the Jabal al-Habis). If you want to see everything, you should buy tickets for two days, or if you have only one day, just wake up very early and start visiting Petra from 6.00 am. 3 times a week there is also a night visiting in Petra – we didn’t have this opportunity due to the New Year’s Eve party – it was just closed on this evening! Such a shame! Do not forget, that Petra is a very popular place to visit, with lots of tourists every day, so it is also recommended to start visiting in the morning.
It's best to spend 2-3 days visiting Petra (unfortunately, for us it was only one day! - we had a tight schedule), because you have 8 different routes to choose (you can see in the picture above). Routes have a different degree of difficulty, and the duration of walking described on the map is approximate - each route you can go faster. For example, the route from the main entrance to the Treasury can take only half an hour. You should put on comfortable and well-attached shoes, because there are places to climb. 😊
Little Petra (Siq al-Barid)
It is believed that Little Petra was built in the 1st century CE during the height of Nabataean
influence. Scientists believe that Little Petra was the suburb of Petra. After the decline of the Nabataeans, it was used only by Bedouin nomads. It was discovered by European archeologist (first by Diana Kirkbride in 1957 and later by Brian Byrd) in the 20th century.
Entrance is free! You don’t have to pay anything.
After coming to Little Petra, we expected only the same monuments as the famous Treasury from the "big" Petra. After a few minutes of walking from the entrance, you first see a notable tomb. The tomb has a door and internal shelving. Then, you walk further and a small version of the Treasury is found! In this place you can also find many slippery stairs to climb up. Who is brave enough to climb higher? If you don’t want to use these stairs (which is not a surprise, because they look quite dangerous), fortunately, the Jordanians met the expectations of tourists and offer better stairs with "the most beautiful view in the world" only after 10 minutes of climbing up - could anyone say “no” to this offer? Oh no, especially when the entrance to Little Petra and climbing were completely free! We quickly ran to the queue of tourists that was waiting for the climbing. On the top there is a large space to take pictures, but also a place to sit and drink tea - there is a small stall! Fortunately, the climbing itself wasn't too straining - you can forget to bring many things to Jordan, but certainly do not forget the most comfortable and attentive shoes that you have at home. All right, the passport is also useful. Good shoes and your passport are the must-haves! To sum up, we recommend Little Petra when you have a few hours of free time during your travels in Jordan ��.
Duration of sightseeing:
You will need between 1-2 hours for visiting Little Petra. The amount of time will increase depending on how many photos you take and how far you will climb on the rocks. If you don’t climb, from 30 to 60 min is needed to see the old buildings in Little Petra. If you climb and walk a bit on the rocks, you'll neeed 60 min to 120 min. If you want to go further (we saw people who climbed higher), then duration time might increase to 3 hours.
Where to Sleep?
Petra is located in small village named Wadi Musa. There you can find hotels or hostels for affordable prices. If you travel by rented car and want to make even better memories,
there is also a possibility to sleep outside Wadi Musa. You can choose many different Camps and sleep in the special tents (just remember, Petra is in mountains and nights could be very cold!). We chose “Little Petra Bedouin Camp” (https://pl.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g318895-d2533330-Reviews-Little_Petra_Bedouin_Camp-Petra_Wadi_Musa_Ma_an_Governorate.html), which is located 15 min by car from Wadi Musa and around 5 min by car from Little Petra. We
strongly recommend this place! Excellent food (we ate breakfast and dinners there), big
entrainment tent – where you can smoke shisha, talk with other people, play guitar or drink their special Bedouin tea). Also, no worries about showers or toilets – they are in good condition. Moreover, there is also Wi-fi. The owner and workers were very friendly and helpful – they explained everything we needed and recommended to visit Little Petra – for which we are very grateful! It is also not too expensive – average price for 2 nights for 2 people is around 100 euro. Of course, the price depends on date and season, but it is really worth it! It was the best stay in Jordan.
If you have any questions about our trip to Jordan, do not hesitate and write to us on Instagram (@polki_w_podrozy - https://www.instagram.com/polki_w_podrozy/)
or Facebook (@polki_w_podrozy - https://www.facebook.com/polkiwpodrozy/)!
We are happy to help!