This is the one ‘side trip’ I find myself recommending the most to fellow travel planners. It’s so easy to fit in, easy to travel between the main tourist attractions, and it is home to some of the world’s most mind blowing ruins, Petra. You could plan as little as 5 days here and manage to see Petra by day and night, plus fit in an overnight expedition into the magnificent Wadi Rum desert.
Here’s how you get it done
Following your arrival take a taxi to the South Bus station. Here mini-buses depart (when full) for Wadi Musa. The trip is four hours and will cost you around JD5 a ticket, though the ticket collector will likely add on a small foreigner fee and ‘forget’ to give you your change. Just make sure you have some smaller notes and you’ll be fine.
Once you arrive in Petra there will be a guy there with a mini-van trying to sell you accommodation at Valentine Inn. Clint stayed there in 2010 and we both stayed there again in 2013. It is by far the best budget hostel to stay in so make it easy for yourself and let them help you out with a lift. I wouldn’t normally advertise for a guest house, but on this occasion it is well warranted. It’s one of the only places to buy alcohol in the town, they have spectacular sunset views of the Petra mountains (image below), the buffet meals are deliciously authentic, rooms are cheap and clean, and they play Indiana jones on repeat to help set the mood. From Valentine’s hostel you can get free shuttles to and from the Petra ruins. If you miss your return trip then you can hitch a ride in the back of someone’s ute for around $1USD.
In one day you could see the whole historical complex over a 12 hour session. Though, if you have the time and money, or aren’t up for the 12 hour solid hike, then a two day pass is always available. Tickets will set you back from JD50 ($70USD). As a backpacker this sure does hurt the budget. But just pay it and never think twice. Trust me, it is very much worth the money! You can eat and sleep cheap for a week to make up for it if you have to.
From your hostel everything becomes rather easy for onward adventures. There is an overnight package tour which you can book with a day’s notice. It’s around $30USD and includes the following: transfers to and from Wadi Rum desert, the ute expeditions exploring the unique landscapes, a desert sleep out under the stars, and an incredible over the top authentic buffet meal in a rustic tent dinning area.
To return back to the airport you simply make your bus trip in reverse. And that’s it – one epic adventure crammed into a quick, cheap and easy stop over. So c’mon… get planning!
Can you see yourself exploring the ancient city of rose-coloured stone?