Jordan Itinerary for 3 Days, which Includes Petra and the Dead Sea, sounds impossible. Well, trust me it is doable. If you plan and organize on what to see in Petra you will be able to cover the most Popular must do’s of Jordan. This 3 days from Amman to Petra is spaced out and it is suitable for people who love their road trips. We did a road trip to Portugal as well and thoroughly loved the leverage. I do understand Petra is on everybody’s bucket list as it is not only a UNESCO HERITAGE site but also one of the 7 WONDERS. I will try and cover the Popular tourist attraction in Petra and Amman.
Jordan 3 Days Itinerary- Petra and the Dead Sea.
After landing at Queen Alia International Airport, Amman, at about 4:00 pm, and after finishing the airport formalities and the Hertz car rental Formalities we picked up our car and headed straight to Petra. We reached Wadi Musa, a town adjacent to Petra at around 08:00 pm. So if you are wondering on How many days do we have in Petra? Well, it’s going to be 2 nights in Petra.
Distance from Queen Alia International Airport/Distance from Amman Airport to Petra:
The drive from Amman Airport to Petra is around 3-hours covering a total distance of 214 km/133 miles by the shorter route through the Desert Highway.
Wadi Musa town is situated on the southern part of Jordan. It is the nearest town to visit the archaeological site Petra. This small but fully equipped town hosts around 50 hotels and local restaurants to choose from. Tourist coming to visit this wonder would base themselves in Wadi Musa for easy access to the site. Wadi Musa’s entire economy is tied to tourism. Strangely, people in this town speak fluent English unlike people from the capital city Amman.
Where to stay in Petra? Candles Hotel.
Like mentioned earlier Wadi Musa town is the closest and the only town if you are Planning to see Petra. You will find accommodation from budget to star. We chose a budget hotel and got a good deal for 2 nights to stay at the Candles Hotel. The hotel location is a big thumbs up as it was literally a 5-minute walk to Petra. There are plenty of options to choose from in Petra.
As we were checking in, the hotel staff informed us about Petra by the night tour which runs trice every week every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. The timings for the Petra by the night are 08:30 pm from the Petra Visitor Center, ends at 10:30 pm at the same place. We personally did not much like the tour for the price as I think we went with high expectations when the hotel staff said “Petra light show.”
Petra night tour:
To be honest the walk through the Siq (a massive crack developed by tectonic forces) was very beautiful as the unpaved path leading to the Al-Khazneh Treasury was fully lit up with candles. There is no other source of light but just the beautiful moon and candlelight. These candles are intelligently placed inside a paper bag with sand at the bottom so that minor gusts of winds wouldn’t extinguish the candle, nor will it topple the paper bag due to the weight of the sand. The candlelight was perfectly diffused through the paper bags, adding a perfect contrast to the moonlight. The 1.2 km/0.75 mile or the 30 minutes walk was certainly very peaceful as we felt the cool breeze touching our skin.
The hotel provided us with tickets for Petra by night. As per Petra’s local website, children under the age of 10, had free access. After this romantic walk, we reached the treasury where the locals had laid down huge long carpets (Kaleen) for us to be seated for the show. As we made ourselves comfortable we were welcomed with a warm extra sweet tea. Probably the tea was extra sweet with the intentions to keep us awake with the sugar rush.
Finally, the show begins with a local playing the bagpiper which was soothing ancient Nabatean music and the other gentlemen singing songs in their local language. Then began the story of the Goddess of Petra with a very strong Arabic Accent which we could barely understand. This must have gone for easily an hour. As we looked around, we noticed people lying down on the mats and gazing at the stars and some even falling to sleep. Personally speaking, this was an absolute spoiler to the beautiful ambience that they had created. After this very confusing act, the much awaited Petra light show was turned on. The light show was basically a display of some colourful lights at the monument which was a good photo opportunity.
Cost of Petra Night Tour: JOD 17 each. ( Prices might have changed.)
After this bedtime story and of course awesome photos, we headed back to our hotel for an early start the next day.
We planned an early start at around 06:00 am, had breakfast at our hotel and headed straight back to enjoy the Petra during the day and beat the crowd. If you intend to see a lot inside Petra, starting early is the best option. As we queued up for the entry tickets we were very amazed by this personalized tickets that we paid for. It was quite fancy to have tour tickets personalized with our name. The cost of entering Petra was 50JOD/person. ( Prices may Vary.)
Do not forget to pick up your maps from the visitor’s centre as these are going to be your complete guide for Patra Trails. There are 8 trails of different difficulty levels one can walk inside Petra and they can be referred to on the map and as listed below.
- Main Trail (easy) – 8 km/5 miles, takes about 3.5-4 hours.
- Al Khubtha Trail (hard) – 3.5 km/2.2 miles, takes about 2.5-3 hours.
- High Place of Sacrifice Trail (hard)- 3 km/1.9 miles, takes about 3.5-4 hours.
- Ad-Dier (Monastery) Trail (hard) – 2.5 km/1.6 miles, takes about 2.5-3 hours.
- Umm al-Biyara Trail (hard) – 4 km/2.5 miles, takes about 3.5-4 hours.
- Jabal Haroun Trail (hard) – 7.5 km/4.7 miles, takes about 5-6 hours.
- Sabra Trail (moderate) – 10 km/6.2 miles, takes about 6-7 hours.
- Al Madras Trail (moderate) – 1.5km/0.7 miles, takes about 1.5 hours.
The trails we chose to do: The Main trail + the Ad-Dier (Monastery) trail where we manage to cover most of the attractions inside. If you choose to do all the trails, you will have to allow yourself a minimum of 2 days depending on your fitness level.
Things to carry for your 2 days Petra Itinerary:
- Carry Cash as there are no ATM machines inside the site.
- Sunscreen is Must.
- Water to avoid getting heat stroke or dehydrated.
- Camera fully Charged.
- Sturdy Foot Wear.
- Sun Glasses.
- A backpack to carry these titbits.
- Few nibbles or energy bars.
- Take a Map from the visitor’s centre.
- After your trip, make sure to collect your free certificate from the main entrance left in the corner. (not many people know about this)
Like most UNESCO sites in Sicily, Petra is a UNESCO world heritage site since 1985. and it was announced as one of the new Seven Wonders of the world during a star-studded event held in Portugal. And hence this wonder of the world is a very popular site amongst the tourist. If you prefer going on Amman to Petra on a day trip without having to drive yourself, then don’t you worry just book your tickets to save the hassle.
Our choice of trails got us to see, the popular Tourist attractions in Petra. We recommend this trail if you have just about the same time as us.
- BAB AL SIQ PETRA– ‘Bab Al Siq’ ” the Siq literally means a gateway or a shaft (this is a massive crack developed by tectonic forces). Bab Al Siq is the main entrance to the city of Nabataean. This dim and narrow gorge is not more than 3 meters wide and it stretches up to 1.2 kilometres. This is basically the same route you walked in the night. Remember that 30 minutes walk? It will take to the Treasury Al Khazneh. This wide valley outside leading to the Siq is known as Bab Al Siq.
- THE DAM – The dam protected the city of Petra by redirecting the flash floods which came from Wadi Musa. The water was diverted into a tunnel, which was later titled the ‘Dark Tunnel’. This proved to be successful, the dam thus represented the Natabataean’s skilful and modern infrastructure. During the excavation, it was found that the original name of the old city was Raqeem. However, upon their arrival, the Greeks renamed the city ‘Petra,’ meaning the rock.
- THE SIQ – The Siq is formed by splitting of a huge rock due to tectonic forces and the crack measures about 1200 meter in length, 3-12 meters wide at places and is about 80 meters high. This is the beautiful main entrance leading to the city of Petra. The Siq starts at the Dam and ends at the Treasury, Al Khazneh. There are two water channels that run along both rock sides to draw water inside the city from Wadi Musa (the Valley of Moses).
- THE TREASURY (AL KHAZNEH) – The 1.2 kilometre ends to the treasury. Petra’s most magnificent structure, The Treasury, or as the locals refer to it, Al Khazneh. The purpose of the Treasury is unclear: some archaeologists believed it to be a temple, while others thought it was a place to store documents. However, the most recent excavation here has unearthed a graveyard beneath the Treasury. The Treasury comprises three chambers, a middle chamber with one on either side, the elaborately carved facade represents the Nabataean engineering genius.
- THE STREET OF FACADES – It is a name given to the row of monumental Nabataean tombs carved in the southern cliff face that lies past the Treasury and adjacent to the outer Siq. When you go through the Treasury, the Siq begins to broaden gradually as it reaches into an open area. On either side, there are a number of Nabataean burial interfaces decorated with grindstones along with other decorations; and some of these interfaces were destroyed by natural factors, it is believed that these interfaces represent some of the senior officials in the city or princes.
- THE THEATRE – Carved into the side of the mountain at the foot of the High Place of Sacrifice, the theatre consists of three rows of seats separated by passageways. Seven stairways ascend the auditorium and believed that it can accommodate around 4000 spectators.
- THE ROYAL TOMBS – This is the name given to the four beautiful structures adjacent to each other on the right side at the end of the main path through the middle of the city. These structures are; Urn Tomb, Silk Tomb, Corinthian Tomb and the Palace Tomb.
- THE NYMPHAEUM – This is a semi-circular public fountain near the junction of Wadi Musa and Wadi al-Mahata.
- THE CHURCH – Petra’s main church is the second church in Petra. The church floor is characterized with mosaics paved in the north and south galleries as well as marble in the east hallway and mosaic imagery of geometric, animal shapes and graphics representing the four seasons, the gods of sea and land, with three inscribed apses and corresponding three entrances in the western wall. Some parts of the walls are preserved up to 3 meters.
- THE COLONNADED STREET – The street represents an original Nabataean creation. Later refurbished during the Roman reign, it would have been one of the principal shopping streets of ancient Petra.
- THE GREAT TEMPLE – Spread over an area of 7000 square meters, The Great Temple complex is one of the major monuments. The north and south entryways serve as enclosures for the temple itself.
- QASR AL-BINT – The monument is almost square and is set on a podium. Standing a 23 meters high, the temple is approached by a flight of 26 marble steps.
- THE LION TRICLINIUM – This can be seen on the way to the monastery and is so-named because of two lions carved on both sides of the entrance.
- AD-DIER ( THE MONASTERY) – It is one of the largest monuments in Petra. It was built on the model of the Treasury but here the bas-reliefs are replaced by niches to house sculptures. A columned portico extends of the facade; the interior is occupied by two side benches and altar against the rear wall. And dates to the early 2nd century AD, during the reign of King Rabel II. In the hall was reused as a Christian chapel and crosses were carved in the rear wall thus the name “Monastery” (Dayr in Arabic).
The details and the history mentioned above is courtesy to the website Visit Petra.
Like to book a 3 days tour from Amman?
On our way back, we stopped for lunch at the only restaurant inside Petra, located at the end of the Monastery trail. The restaurant served a buffet style lunch and they were quite busy. To our surprise, they also served alcoholic beverages.
After lunch we were on our way back to the hotel, took our walk easy, clicking plenty of pictures. From the Siq, we thought of having some fun by enjoying the horse ride back to the Petra visitor centre. We reached back to the hotel at 5 PM. Rested for a while and went up to the main street at Wadi Musa to have dinner and called it a night.
Day 3: Drive from Petra to the Dead Sea and Amman.
Had an early start again around 06:00 am, had breakfast and started for our journey back to Amman with a brief stop at the Dead Sea.
On the way back, you will notice a lot of local farmers selling fresh produce for dirt cheap prices. These farmers looked happy in what they did. They were extremely welcoming. When they realised we were tourist they sold stuff at cheaper prices as a token of welcome to their country. One of the farmers actually gave me half a dozen of free oranges as I did not have any change. As a token of thank you, I gave him Dubai Dirhams to which he was very thrilled.
As we hit the coast of Dead Sea, we started cruising north, running the whole eastern perimeter of the Dead Sea, taking plenty of photo opportunities. It was high tide when we got to the Dead Sea so we could not walk the coast. But we did notice families who had parked their car at the corner of the street and taking a dip in the Dead Sea. One of my Jordanian Colleague mentioned “on low tide, it is easy to find food stalls and hawkers selling local jewellery like bangles, scarfs etc. You might also find some ladies applying henna.”
Well, we were unfortunate with the tides. We stopped for lunch at one of the malls at the coast of the Dead Sea, just about an hour outside Amman city.
Getting into this over Populated Capital City was a bit of a challenge as just like India there was nothing called as traffic rules. We drove around the city centre which depicted a very old town design with busy and narrow streets, visited some of the attraction at Amman City, the city has a huge Roman influence like the Roman Theater and Amman Citadel which preserves architecture from the Roman empire and also has a museum housing ancient artefacts.
We also had a chance to walk around the busy market area. Parking was an issue but I think the locals are just amazing. We parked the car just around the corner and walked to a traffic police inspector to inquire about a place to park the car legally as we saw toying vans around. And he said, “you can walk around the city I am not going anywhere I will make sure your car is not towed.”
We were amazed by their welcoming culture. We then drove to the uptown Amman where we had a couple of hours to experience a bit of their nightlife. Had dinner in one of the pubs had a couple of beers and headed to Queen Alia airport for our late departure flight from Amman back to Dubai.
I hope we have lived up to all your queries on what to see in Petra and answered all your concerns on this Jordan Itinerary 3 days. We hope your search for a customized itinerary for Amman To Petra ends here. Please share your experience your comments your pictures below or #taletrips.
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