Our trip to Jordan was booked on something of a whim. One day we sat down over wines and talked about places we’d like to visit soon. Our friend Georgia made a short list and Jordan was one of the places on said list.
The following week, we just couldn’t shake the thought of Jordan off so we playfully looked at flight, found some pretty decently priced ones going to Aqaba and booked it straight away!
A few weeks later, we arrived into sunny Aqaba, already impressed on our arrival by the stunning and intricate landscape of the mountains surrounding Aqaba.
Aqaba is a destination in itself for holidaymakers but we didn’t really know this at the time and our sights were set on somewhere else entirely – the lost city of Petra – one of the new wonders of the world.
With that, we caught our pre-booked taxi from Aqaba airport over to our hotel in Petra (*we pre-booked this with our hotel as we didn’t really know what to expect and just thought it would be easier to do it this way).
The first night was relatively uneventful, we arrived after dark and pretty much just went for dinner and decided to call it a night early. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the combination of going to bed early and a small bit of jetlag meant that by 5.30am, we were all awake (3 of us – Lloyd, myself and our friend Georgia) and ready to go explore Petra.
Petra opens its gates at 6 am and we were amongst the first to get there. You can buy your tickets here (no need to pre-book or anything) and if you’re here for more than one day, it makes sense to buy a multiple day-pass – which we did. (I did we got one for 3 days which ended up allowing you access for 4 days or something like that – we didn’t think we’d need the 4th day bit but it was such a small amount extra it just made sense to get it).
And so off we went, looking for that iconic site of Petra – the Treasury.
As soon as you arrive in Petra though, you already start to see rather impressive buildings, a clue to something we found out even more about over the coming days – there’s so much more impressive stuff to see in Petra than you’d think.
The Treasury and the Monastery might be the most famous but there are some other pretty big hitters here too.
To get to the Treasury, you walk through the Siq, a valley/gorge that carves its way through the mountains to take you right to the Treasury.
The whole walk from the entrance to the actual Treasury can take anywhere between 20 – 30 minutes to walk and my advice would be to actually slow down and enjoy this walk. It’s impressive and absolutely worth soaking up.
The best part though is that when you actually then get to the Treasury, it kinda sneaks up on you that way.
You get used to just seeing this long path winding through the mountains that when it finally opens up to the Treasury, it’s just the stuff of dreams.
Finally getting to see the Treasury was just absolutely incredible. I am aware that all of this sounds super gushy and ‘a bit much’ but it’s just so true.
It’s just one of those places that you see in photos, books, on TV for so long that it almost seems like it’s not even a real place anymore. How could something so grand (and somewhat mysterious) be real but it is and boy is it worth visiting.
I’m not usually one for hype so I usually take these things with a pinch of salt but this is one place that lives up to the expectation.
After taking a few moments to soak that sight all up, my camera decided it wanted in on the action and the shutter button went at a hundred clicks a second – taking photos from every single angle possible (at least it felt like that at the time – looking back, it was mostly from just the front 😄 it is the most impressive part after all).
You can’t actually go into the Treasury anymore so after taking more time to enjoy the view, and revel in the joy of finally getting to visit, we decided to carry on to see what else Petra had in store.
Even as we ventured away from the Treasury, you already start to see other impressive structures, some tucked away a tad more hidden than others but all of which were absolutely impressive.
We were so early here that even the market stall traders hadn’t begun their daily trade yet – they were still setting up shop. The thing is, everyone had told us Petra was super busy – almost like we wouldn’t be able to move around for all the crowds and its nothing like that (as at this point anyway).
Just as we made our way past the Nabatean Theatre, the sun started to rise, transforming Petra’s colours while simultaneously warming us up immensely (like “Finally! I can take my jacket off!” kinda warm).
As it got brighter, darker oranges starting to grow brighter and warmer and deep red hues were revealed all across the landscape. It’s silly little thing when you think about it but you do start to notice little details here and there you’d otherwise had missed.
We slowly made our way over to Royal Tombs, which from afar, we were sure we’d be allowed to walk to but turns out you can wander almost anywhere you want up here.
When you walk up for a bit, before you actually head for the Royal Tombs, take a moment to hop on the little rocks near the market stall and take a look at the Royal tombs from there.
The perspective is incredible – not just of the tombs but over the rest of Petra (at least, the rest of it that you can see from this point).
I think it’s at this point, we kinda realised that the rumours about needing several days to properly explore Petra were actually true.
We made our way up to the tombs, marvelling at all the many different facets and facades of this equally impressive part of Petra.
It’s just impressive to think that so many years ago, people had built this amazing place (without any of the tools or technology that we have today) and that once upon a time, this was a bustling city, with people going about their daily business.
It does make you wonder what it must have looked like back then.
The best part of this area is, of course, the fact that you can walk into pretty much any of the buildings here so you get the chance to properly explore it both inside and outside.
I’ll leave you with the rest of the photos for now…
The next bit of the day involves perhaps the most almighty trek you’ll do when you visit Petra but one that is absolutely necessary!
More on that in the next post. (I’d put it all into one post but this post would take forever to loads as it’d be far too many photos in one. 😀 )