Do’s & Don’t’s for Visiting Petra

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Petra Travel Guide is part of the Quest Around the Globe Trip Report.


What is your favorite UNESCO World Heritage Site? Since there are 1121, answering is impossible for me because I have not been to all of them, and it’s hard to compare the ones that I have seen (see TPOL’s World Heritage Site List). One of the most remarkable is Petra. Constructed in 5th century BC, Petra and the Dead Sea are the reasons I visited Jordan.

With that intro, let’s get to the Do’s & Don’t for Visiting Petra.

Do 

Take a tour bus to and from Amman. Mind you, I said tour bus, not a tour. TPOL is usually anti-tour guides (see “You’re a Bad Tourist.” Words From Luxor Tour Guide Amalfi Coast: A Beautiful Tourist Trap vs. Guided Tours: Like Attending Class, It’s Boring But Sometimes Useful). The bus leaves early in the morning and comes back in the night, providing enough time to satisfy all your Petra desires.

I used JETT and found it to be reliable and comfortable.

Don’t 

Forget to bring an external charger. There are too many photo opportunities including on the way.

Do 

Be in great shape. This is not a walk in the park.

Don’t 

Be fooled by your arrival at the Al-Khazneh (Treasury). This is only the start of the arduous journey.

Do 

Try to take photos without tourists around.

Don’t 

Think it will be easy.

Do

Enjoy taking pictures of you and your camel friends.

Don’t 

Try entering the treasury. There are guards on duty.

Do 

Take time to realize what was built in this desert.

Don’t 

Think you are a world-class photojournalist because you take photos of locals.

Though I’m sure my photo was better than his.

Do 

Coach up your camels.

In the words of Gordon Ramsey, “Come on guys!”

Don’t 

Forget the donkeys.

Do 

Resist the urge to ride on a donkey. Riding one only results in a donkey traffic jam.

Don’t 

Worry about stopping for more photos. When will you ever come back to Petra?

Do 

Talk to the donkeys.

Don’t 

Take a horse to the summit. They can’t go up the steep steps and you’ll be right back walking.

No horse, no problem

Do

Commemorate your arrival to Ad Deir (“The Monastery”) with more photos. Don’t 

Be disappointed that the Monastery, at first glance, wasn’t as impressive as the Treasury. To that end, don’t question why you just hiked miles in the sweltering heat for this.

Reading the history helps.

Do

Keep hiking. The best view in Jordan is coming.

Don’t 

Be distracted by the beautiful celebrities.

Do

Stop for Argelh, if you must.

Don’t 

Forget where you are.

Do 

Take in the scenery and reflect on how this could have been built thousands of years ago.

Don’t 

Worry about taking the same photo over and over.

Do

Capture the best moment using something better than your phone camera*.

* While I love the quality, I no longer carry this big camera around.

Don’t 

Forget to include the goats who are equally mesmerized.

Do 

Pose with your turban.

Don’t 

Kiss your woman in the park, a stranger was very upset with a single peck.

Luckily, these are just actors.

Do

Take the same photos on the way down.

Don’t 

Forget how long ago all this went down.

Do 

Remember that there is no ‘P’ in the Arabic language.

It’s pronounced Betra.

Don’t 

Expect a conclusion. This post took as long as Petra to complete.

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