Petra Jordan – not just for Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones is not the only treasure seeker to brave the over 1 km-long Siq towards the ancient city of Petra Jordan. He is, however, the only person on record who has found a passage into the mysteries of the Treasury (Al Khazneh), notably the most iconic carving in Petra and the most photographed. The Treasury is actually mostly a façade that encloses a small hall, and try as we might the guards would not let us in to explore the inner sanctum such as Indiana Jones did. But the Treasury is a stunning first sight through the cracks of the Siq after walking in the sweltering heat, and we had fun walking in the footsteps of Indiana Jones.
Wadi Musa Jordan
Travelers arrive to Petra through the town of Wadi Musa. Most will arrive overland from either Amman, Jordan (250km North of Wadi Musa) or from the port of Aqaba (100km to the south). Petra is well worth the effort and cost of getting there – stay several days, if you can. The town of Wadi Musa has many hotels and restaurants and its economy is fueled by tourism. There is not much to see except Petra – but exploring the sights of Petra will keep travelers busy for days – not to mention each day you must traverse the long walk from the gates to the entrance of the Siq and then the kilometer walk through the Siq to get to the World Heritage Site.
Siq Petra Jordan
Travel-weary tourists can hire a horse to take them part-way and then a camel or donkey once past the Siq. Travelers unable to walk long distances can hire a small carriage pulled by a donkey or a horse and request special permission at the Visitors’ Centre (close to the entrance of the Siq) to take the carriage through the Siq. Though the Siq was built with water transportation systems in the sides of the rocks to carry water from the Musa Spring in Wadi Musa (purportedly where Moses struck water from rock), no water flows through today, so carry plenty with you. However, the Bedouin people sell water and other drinks once past the Siq, along with other hand-made crafts.
I would highly recommend having a guided walk through the Siq and around Petra as there is much sculptural art and history on the walls of the Siq, made by the Nabataeans, and dated to around 312 B.C., that would be missed without a professional guide. You can hire Bedouin guides at the Visitor Center at the entrance to Petra.
Planning your Trip
My family and I traveled to Petra via Aqaba, as a day-trip from Sharm El Sheik, Egypt. It was an exhausting and expensive day-trip but worth every penny. We booked online through a company called Memphis Tours in Egypt. Our booking was handled by Mohammed Amer, who was in constant email contact with me and relieved any worries I had over conducting much of our transaction online. We were picked up at our hotel in Sharm El Sheik at 4:30am, escorted every step of the way through airports and immigration, flew from Sharm to Aqaba and then travelled by air-conditioned touring bus to Wadi Musa. All entrance fees, visas, and guides were covered and lunch at a local restaurant was included. We arrived back in Sharm late – after 10pm.
The Jordan Tourism website is a good place to start your travel plans.
Memphis Tours offers tour packages and also day trips to Petra from Amman. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, send an email query and they will send you a quote.
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Did you know?
Petra is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World