Once you've entered Petra the traditional way, why not try something a little different. Our featured blogger, Rebecca Smith, tells you how
Petra is famous across the world – even those that don’t know its name will recognise the Treasury there from the film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
If you decide to visit Petra you definitely need more than one day to fully explore and appreciate the entire site. If you have time, then the 3 day pass is worthwhile and ensures you can fully explore all that Petra has to offer. The thing is, if you are going there for 3 days, or even 2, then an alternative entry to Petra makes it even more exciting.
Everyone has to walk in the traditional way once – following The Siq. The walls tower up to 80 metres above you and in places it is little more than 3 metres wide. As you follow it along the suspension builds. You can her horses hooves clattering on the ground and the heat builds despite the lack of sunshine. Around each corner you expect to see the Treasury then eventually it pops up in front of you. If you go early enough you will have the place virtually to yourself and will be awed by the beautiful architecture seemingly enclosed by stone.
As beautiful as this sight is it is always good to mix things up and going in by an alternative route provides excitement of another kind.
There is a route from Little Petra to the Monastery which takes around 3 hours. This gives you the opportunity to explore Little Petra prior to the larger site of Petra being revealed. You can then head out through the Siq once you’re ready to leave. It is recommended that you use a guide for the walk – these can be arranged locally at one of the Bedouin campsites close to Little Petra.
The alternative route that we chose starts to the right just before you enter The Siq. It follows Wadi Muthlim along to the Royal tombs and takes around an hour and a half. Wadi Muthlim is very narrow in places so if there has been recent rain or it if forecast then it is advised not to attempt this walk as the route is subject to flash flooding. There is some scrambling and climbing involved so ensure you are wearing appropriate footwear and confident you can scramble over and down large boulders and (hopefully dry) waterfalls. Beware of any deep standing water on the route as it can harbour water snakes!
At the entrance to the Siq you will see a sign to the right saying “Venturing beyond this point without a guide is dangerous”. You will then see the remains of a Nabataean Tunnel behind the sign. You will need to enter this tunnel and follow it along for its 88 metre entirety before entering Wadi Muthlim. At some points the Wadi branches but ensure you stick to the left – there are arrows painted in some places.
Wadi Muthlim meets with Wadi Matha and the route becomes even narrower probably less than a metre at points. However, keep going and you will eventually be spat out from the Wadi into brilliant sunshine near the Royal Tombs.
Before you reach the Royal tombs there are lots of more remote tombs you can visit including Dorotheos which is closest to the Royal Tombs.
My experience was enhanced when we were exploring the remote tombs and a Bedouin lady beckoned us. She gesticulated for us to follow her and we ended up at her cave home. There, we sat with her and her children sharing our food. She treated us to traditional Bedouin tea and bread cooked on the fire and we shared the bits and pieces in the lunches we packed. No-one could really communicate beyond drawing and pointing but sharing a common experience counts for far more than words. This was the perfect end to an exciting and exhilarating hike into the lost city.
After spending months backpacking in Asia I developed severe wanderlust and continue to get itchy feet on a regular basis. However, with work and other commitments I have had to change the way I travel.
My blog is an attempt to show what you can achieve with a limited number of days off. Whether it's an activity or city break in the UK or a few weeks longhaul, the excuse "No Time for Travel" won't cut it. If I can do it then so can you!