Jordan day 3: Petra, Wadi Rum arrival

Welcome to the stories of a magical week in Jordan where we navigated the coolest parts of the King’s Highway for an unforgettable week of adventure!

Day 3: Petra, Wadi Rum arrival

We awoke early the next day, had an easy walk from our Petra Palace Hotel,  and entered Petra just after its 6am opening.  We were among the first down the Siq so got a lot of pictures of the very cool canyon walls with no people in them, and then rounded the last corner to see an iconic camel in front of the Treasury . . . and no people!  It was totally worth the early arrival! We hiked up some stairs to the right and up to a viewpoint slightly above, managing to do so out of sight of the locals who were yelling at anyone that went on trails/overlooks unguided.  This was a bit annoying, but it is what it is.  

classic first Treasury view

Our ‘illegal’ high viewing perch

From there, we walked through the Street of Facades and over to The Theater.  Both are rad, and The Theater is super rad. It’s carved from one piece of stone, by all accounts repurposed from a temple.  Positioned to bring the greatest number of tombs into view, the Theater could hold 8500 people. Although Roman in design with similar architectural patterns to enhance superior acoustics, the temple is carved out instead of built and thus classic Nabataen.  

street of facades – such a cool entry!

I LOVED the Theater . . . so so cool!

From there, we walked over to the tombs which continued to blow our minds.  Really, the rock alone is so cool that it would make Petra compelling on it’s own . . . just a bonus there are incredible structures carved into it.  There really aren’t words to capture just how amazing it is. 

We continued on around the backside and found more stairs that took us to an overlook of the main city (another ‘best view in the world’) and then on to an overlook of the Treasury.  While you’re only allowed in the tea shop (view access) if you buy tea, we were also able to find a rock to sneak a private view from and chill for a bit. Again, a bit overdone, but the view is so cool and the Treasury so unique that I’d call it worthwhile.  And the stair cases themselves are pretty cool rock. And buns of steel never hurt anyone 🙂

As we descended, we went over to the Byzantine church to see yet another mosaic (still cool) and some well preserved pillars/statues. 

We also went by the Temple of the Winged Lion  which was pretty cool, and then onto Qasar Al-Bint and The Great Temple. Both were super cool, and the sheer size of Qasar Al-Bint was helpful to imagine the scale of the whole city when in its full built state.

Qasr Al Bint


The Great Temple

The Great Temple

The Great Temple

From the temple, we walked up Wadi Farasa, passed the Garden Temple and up to the High Place of Sacrifice.

Heading up Wadi Farasa

The Garden Temple

The High Place of Sacrifice . . . designed to let the goat blood drain appropriately 🙂

We then descended back to the Street of Facades . . . more stairs, more cool carvings, and a super cool view of the Petra center from the High Place of Sacrifice.  The hike is really worth it for yet another stunning view. And more cool things carved out of really cool rock.

Cool view from up there

The hike down to Street of Facades

Arriving back in ‘town’

Overall, we spent 9 hours walking around and covered nearly 15 miles!  We saw A LOT and loved every second of it. Perhaps it would have been better with a guide to learn everything about everything, but I really liked our style of covering so much ground and seeing so much.  We also spent a lot of time away from crowds by virtue of venturing further out. If your’e fit, I definitely recommend this approach. Also, we were sated by the time we’d hiked in from Little Petra, done Petra-by-Night, and spent the full day in the city.  As I walked by the Treasury the last time, I paused and took a few more pictures. I contemplated how one can ‘just leave’ a spot as incredible as this one, and then realized it’s one by taking a step away, and continuing to walk. In life, in Petra, in all things . . . I’ve been practicing appreciating the moment and being able to move on without wanting more from it.  At some point you can’t do everything, see every carving, learn every detail – and so there’s a balance and I’m satisfied with the one we struck. 

We left Petra at sunset and drove to Wadi Rum where we made the pickup and to the Bedouin camp (Martian Camp) by dinner.  Again, totally worth it to spend the evening under the stars and by a lovely campfire after a day in zany Petra.  

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