You might recognize this place from the movie ‘Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade’, in real life this is The Treasury in the Ancient City of Petra, carved out of the Mountain itself. I just rewatched the movie and suddenly recognized the temple in which the holy grail was hidden in – in a sort of ‘Wait! I’ve been there!’ realization. How cool is that!? Then, naturally, I wanted to make a post about my visit to Petra last December and maybe even share some tips!
(I’ll save the story of how I got to Petra through the border between Eilat and Aqaba for another blog post, as it was quite an adventure in itself!)
First order of business: Where to stay.
Petra lies in Jordan, right by the town of Wadi Musa where I recommend getting a room for the night. My sister and I got a room at Rocky Mountain Hotel for a cheap price. We came at night when it was dark, but were amazed when we woke up to this view!
As you can see, we actually slept in our sleeping bags just because it was sooo cold. We discovered that during wintertime you actually had to pay extra for the heating.. Despite that, if you are looking for a good price, I would recommend the Rocky Mountain hotel.
This might sound strange, but bear with me. Firstly, travel in spring or autumn and you avoid that problem entirely. We only travelled in December due to necessity, and as isolation and heating is generally poor in the Middle East you can safely assume everywhere will be cold in December. Secondly, you get an awesome view and location overlooking the Petra Mountains. Even if you don’t get a room with a view, you get a top floor dining hall with large windows and a balcony. And thirdly, nothing beats charm and authenticity in my book – here you get loads of it. It might not be a flashy hotel, but it has character.
As a bonus point the hotel is owned by a woman from New Zealand and her Jordanian husband – and she was more than willing to sit down and give us some pointers on our sightseeing. We even had a very interesting talk about the current state of Jordan with all that is happening in the Middle East at the moment.
Second order of business: What to expect.
Walking. Expect walking.
I’m not even kidding with this statement. Clothes-wise, we weren’t exactly prepared for a hike, so we gave up on reaching the Monastery at the top of the mountain. Who would’ve known Converse wasn’t appropriate footwear?!
Another important thing is to bring a lunch pack and water with you as the trip will most likely last all day. Our hotel was so kind as to provide us with it. We ended up having a really special moment when we, halfway up the Mountain, sat down for our lunch and a bedouin climbed up the cliff wall in front of us and began serenading us!
Third order of business: Enjoy!
Petra is truly amazing. The Nabataeans, a tribe of nomadic arabs, built Petra as their capital city around 300 BC. What is even more amazing is that there are still nomadic tribes living in the stone caves of the Petra Mountains to this day! Some of them you can see on your way through Petra, there are caves just on the side of the trail where women are making and selling their handcrafts. You might also get invited to come in for some chai. The men offer tourists horse and camel rides.
Throughout our walk we saw giant structures cut out in stone. They are larger-than-life and rose-coloured, which is why another name for Petra is the Rose City. The whole area is really a perfect photo-op, so bring your camera and go wild!
Do you see the camel in this picture? A hint is that it’s in stone.