Wadi Rum to the Lost City of Petra – Day 12 Travel Talk Egypt & Jordan Discovered Tour


Jordan / Travel Talk Tours Egypt & Jordan Discovered
Wadi Rum & Petra Highlights & Recap

Today we embark on another very exciting day for those of us travelling on the Travel Talk Tours Egypt & Jordan Discovered Tour. We continue on our adventure through Jordan as we depart our overnight desert camp in the desert of Wadi Rum and travel north to our next destination for the night, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Petra. Before getting to this point the group travelled across the border from Egypt into Jordan by going through Israel and on arrival in Wadi Rum, went on a jeep safari showcasing the impressive rose coloured rock and sand of the region.

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RECAP: Dahab, Egypt to Wadi Rum, Jordan via Israel – Day 10 & 11 Travel Talk Egypt & Jordan Discovered Tour

Straight after breakfast this morning in our desert camp we depart for Petra, also known as the Rose City, giving us ample time to stop at some sites along the way and to spend the some of the day exploring the ancient city.

Sites & activities include…

  • Visiting the ancient city of Petra
  • Petra’s Treasury building
  • Petra’s Monastery
  • Petra at night by candlelight

Day 12: Wadi Rum to Petra – 07 December, 2016

Early in the morning we wake to a crisp morning in our desert camp. Last night the sleeping conditions weren’t great, constantly been woken up by mosquitoes buzzing around my face and ending up tangled in the mosquito net that didn’t quite cover the bed. Once packed, our luggage goes on the bus for departure and we grab some breakfast in the dinning tent within our desert camp. This morning when we depart we will be heading towards what will be one of the biggest highlights of this entire trip, the ancient city of Petra.

It’s only a relatively short journey to Petra today compared to most of our travel days on this tour which is great as I am expecting to have heaps of time to explore the city and its ancient sites.


Leaving the camp we pull over a short distance down the main highway to the Wadi Rum train station which is essentially located in the middle of the desert on its own. Here is an old Ottoman Empire steam train that has been converted to be a diesel train. We jump out of the bus and are given some time to check it out, climb all over it and have a few photos each doing our silly poses. Along with the train, the railway line here and all other railway lines in Jordan, these are a legacy of Ottoman Empire rule with the country looking to start expanding these railways to increase trade in the region.

We then continued on until we reached the outskirts of the modern day town of Petra and pulled over at a lookout to view the region from a high vantage point. From here it was pointed out to us where out hotel is and you could also see the entrance to Petra which was only just a few hundred metres from our hotel. You could very clearly make out the canyons where the lost city is hidden and where we were about to go and visit.

We made our way down the steep narrow roads into town where we stopped to grab some lunch. Although it was rather early at this point I was starving none the less, and we had to wait a good 30 minutes for my wrap to be made anyway as people started pushing in front of us in the queue. It was a short drive down to our hotel from here and as we were too early to check into the hotel our luggage was unloaded from the bus and put inside the hotel luggage room just outside the lobby. Whilst in Petra we’ll be staying at the convenient La Maison Hotel Petra which enabled us to walk down to the entrance of Petra.


The key thing to remember here in Petra is to make sure you have your walking shows on today as you’ll be doing A LOT of walking everywhere. Once we enter the main gates of Petra we start walking down the main walkway which in itself is lined with many tombs from the wealthy inhabitants of the time. At this point you’ll also notice a lot of horses and carts and people offering you rides down to the main city centre. The cost of the horse ride is included already in your ticket however it’s not recommended that you take part in riding with the horses for a number of reasons.

First of all you’ll see that the horses aren’t in the best condition and are not being looked after properly, you’ll also see in the walk down to the city that they struggle to carry the load back up the hill to the main gate slipping along the concrete path. Additionally as much as the people offering you rides on the horses will say it’s free and included in your ticket, they are still going to expect you to tip them, basically nothing is free otherwise they wouldn’t be so desperate to get you to ride the horse. You’ll also see camel rides on offer, these are not included with your ticket.

Our guide Osama takes us down the main pathway and stops us along the way to explain what we are seeing and what they story was behind the people who built these tombs and the people who had the money to be able to afford to have these tombs built in their honour. All these tombs that line the main path are outside of the main city, we haven’t even reached the narrow cliff lined pathway yet to start our walk to the main attraction, the Treasury.

Background Story: UNESCO World Heritage site Petra

One of the most famous sites in the world, the UNESCO World Heritage listed Petra or Rose City lies in the cross roads between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea and in ancient times was an important passage for travellers making their way through to Egypt and back again. Petra is half built into the rock face of the surrounding mountains that contain many caves and passages weaving their way through the area and is home to an elaborate aqueduct system combined with many cisterns controlling the seasonal rains and helping to avoid the city from being flooded.

Believed to be constructed around 312BC, the site remained lost until 1812 when Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt stumbled across it and reintroduced Petra to the world. It became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985 and was also named in 2007 as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

Petra isn’t just about the most recognisable site the Treasury but is an entire city full of a labyrinth of tombs, monasteries, homes and a theatre that has Roman modifications made to it. For more information on Petra click here for the official website. If visiting ensure you purchase a Jordan Pass which will give you entry to Petra and forty other sites across Jordan as well as your free entry visa to the country. More info here.

VIDEO: The Lost City of Petra with Travel Talk Tours


The group continues to meander their way down the narrow passages of Petra getting ever closer to the main attraction of the Treasury. Before then though we are stopped frequently to be shown some of the inscriptions that have been made on the walls along the way and where a pedestal was located where wedding ceremonies would take place. Along the circuit you will also see on either side of the passages where damn walls have been constructed to contain the raging flood waters that plague the area.

After a long walk to the bottom of the main pathway we are suddenly greeted with a small glimmer of what is the Treasury building. We are told to walk along the wall on the far left so that we get the best view of the building as we walk out into the open courtyard. Once there we are graced with the stunning building known the world over shimmering with its rose red colour and pristine attention to detail that makes this place look absolutely amazing.

Osama gives us all some background information on the famous building, explaining to us the origins of the name, it was called the Treasury because it was believed that the wealth of the city was kept stored in here. However upon discovery of the city nothing was to be found and further excavation work on the site reveals that the Treasury is just simply an elaborate tomb like most of the carved out buildings in the city. You cannot go inside the Treasury, this was banned a while ago because too many people were breaking the rules inside, basically now ruining it for all future generations visiting the site. Up close you can look down the mesh covered tombs that go underneath the carved out building.

We are given a small amount of free time to get our photos and to have a look up close to the building before it was time to move on. A lot of people would be mistaken for thinking the Petra ends here but no, it keeps on going and going. Around the corner from here are more buildings carved into the rock, many caves that were once homes to the residents and also a large Roman Theatre carved into the rock face going against the tradition of many other Roman Theatres.

We continue on to higher ground where our guided tour will end, but from this vantage point you can appreciate how massive Petra is as the city just keeps on going as far as the eye can see. There are an array of other buildings and tombs carved into the rock face in the distance that we won’t have time to see on this occasion which was really disappointing. From here Osama gives us more information on the city as we look down on the main road leading into the city, a cobbled Roman style road. We are then given free time to explore the city, however time is running out fast as the sun is slowly setting and it will be dark at around 4:30pm!

The group breaks up at this point, some people are opting to do an optional extra activity of visiting a hammam Turkish Bath which means departing at 6:00pm so they won’t have time to see anymore of the city and pretty much have to start walking back to the hotel. For myself and a group of others we continue on to see what could arguably be an even more amazing site than the Treasury and that is the Monastery.

When visiting the Monastery it’s hard to believe, once in front of it, that you don’t hear more about it and that the Treasury taked all the lime light, even if it does so for good reason. Most people won’t want to take the epic hike that is required to reach the Monastery, with the trek from after the Treasury to the Monastery taking at least a good hour to complete and most of this is on steep uphill inclines. I powered ahead of the rest of the group and at about halfway stopped for a break, everyone then passed me and I was exhausted. Admittedly I’m not the fittest person in the world and I used to power ahead of everyone else when it came to long walks.

The path is strenuous but in the end it is well worth the strain and effort to get there for the impressive site that is the Monastery. From here you have the option to take it all in as there weren’t many people it made taking photos a pleasure. You can also continue on to a further lookout that takes in the impressive region from this vantage point. Because I was absolutely exhausted I thought I would get a head start on everyone else and started heading back down the mountain and back to the hotel before it got dark.

Pressed for time it took about an hour just to get back to the Treasury. With the place just about deserted I was then able to have the famous monument all to myself. I was on a good pace though so I didn’t want to stop for too long and kept going knowing that tonight I would have to come back down to the Treasury for the Petra at Night show and I still had a 30 minute walk ahead of me to reach the entrance.

By the time I reached the hotel it was pitch dark outside and I was really exhausted. To cap it all off the hotel is up a hill which didn’t impress me so much at this point in time. Back at the hotel I collected my key from the check-in counter and all our bags had been taken up to our floor and dumped in the hallway. I wasn’t too impressed with this given before we left for Petra we were required to put luggage tags on our baggage with our room number on them. Why go to all the trouble of taking our bags up to only dump them in the hallway, why not either leave them in the luggage room and we’ll collect them ourselves or go that little step further and put them in the room? I was more annoyed at this because attached to my luggage on the outside of my bag I had my expensive Egyptian papyrus scroll, I would have been pissed if that had been missing!

Our rooms at the La Maison Hotel Petra were really nice, by this time I was starving and thought I might as well eat at the hotel, however it was too early (it was 6:00pm and really dark so it felt like 8:00pm) and it wasn’t the menu that had been placed in our rooms, it was a buffet. Not wanting to wait and not wanting to have yet another buffet I went for a walk to some shops that were around the corner from the hotel and consumed some Pringles for dinner.

I was really looking forward to seeing the Petra by Night show, this is one of the things I had researched before leaving home and had already decided that if no one in the tour group was doing this then I’m doing it on my own. However laying in bed after an exhausting day of walking it was really a struggle to get myself out to depart the hotel at 8:00pm to walk back down the the main entrance and then further down to the Treasury once again.

To my surprise not many people elected to go to the show, a small group of us headed down with the main pathway down the narrow path all lit up with tea candles. It was a pretty cool thing to see and we all found it quite funny that there was no supervision all the way down as we were pretty much walking in the dark with limited light. Something you wouldn’t get back at home with all our health and safety regulations. Once you arrive at the Treasury you sit down in groups on top of some mats so you don’t get dirty from the sand and then the show begins with what should be silence from the crowd and a performer playing a traditional flute-like instrument.

We are then told a story from another performer about Petra, the disappointing thing about the whole thing was that a lot of people had no respect for what was going on by talking through the whole performance when there was supposed to be silence and people were using flashes on their cameras, ruining parts of the experience. Some people even went as far as having the flash permanently on their smart phone as they were recording video. They were quickly told off by everyone but some continued to do it. We were all also offered tea which is a Bedouin custom and while the performance was going on out of the hundreds of people in the audience of course a local kitten decides to come and sit on my lap for the duration. I HATE CATS!

At the end of the performance they light up the treasury so you’re able to take photos and give you a time limit before they turn the lights off and you need to exit the park. Some of the people who came down admittedly didn’t think the show was worth coming down for. I on the other hand knew what was going to happen and what to expect so it met all my expectations, mostly I wanted to see the Treasury lit up at night and I was really happy with that and glad I went along. The entry cost for Petra by Night is JD 17.00 (not included as part of the Jordan Pass) (AUD $32.00).

Other optional activities tonight included as mentioned above the hammam Turkish Baths and also the opportunity to visit a Nabatean family home in Petra for dinner. I opted to skip both of these as I really wanted to do Petra by Night and doing these other two things would have been too much in one night. It would have also meant sacrificing time looking around Petra.

Before you leave home make sure you check out this amazing Google Trek of Petra. You get your own tour guided experience through Petra from the comfort of your computer using to power of Street View. It will give you a great perspective on what to expect and to plan your day at Petra before arriving so you can experience everything in the city. Click here to give it a shot, highly recommended!

Today was an amazing day and was not only a highlight of the trip but I would say was my number one highlight of the entire tour. However my biggest criticism of this tour is that we don’t spend enough time in Petra. We would have easily spent more time here if we arrived earlier in the day and didn’t stop off to see the train or spent so much time in town. I think for me Petra is on top of my list for places I want to return and see again as I feel I haven’t seen it all and the best bits that we got to see felt a bit rushed.

After a long day exploring the fascinating sites of Petra the Travel Talk Tours Egypt & Jordan Discovered by Nile Cruse Tour continues onto our final destination of the trip, the capital city of Jordan Amman. The group will spend two nights here before the tour comes to an end and before we arrive we will get to stop off and experience the fun of floating in the Dead Sea the lowest point on the Earth as well as another stop at the famous Kerak Castle along the way.

About this tour

Egypt & Jordan Discovered by Nile Cruse
During this two week adventure with Travel Talk Tours our journey starts off in the capital of Egypt, Cairo before making our way south, down along the River Nile. Travelling by road to Luxor and Aswan, and checking out many of the famous monuments and temples along the way, we also have the choice of participating in some exciting optional extra activities. From Aswan at the bottom of Egypt and close to the Sudanese border, we jump on board a boat and spend three nights sailing along the Nile back to Luxor, checking out Edfu Temple and get a brief glance at Kom Ombo Temple along the way.

We end up back in Cairo to explore the capital in greater depth with a city tour before we start heading east towards Jordan. Before hitting the border we arrive in Dahab for two nights of relaxation by the sea and then travel by road from Egypt into Jordan via a 30 minute crossing through Israel. We spend our first night in a new country out in the desert park of Wadi Rum before heading to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Petra, a real highlight. We’ll go for a swim in the Dead Sea on our way to the capital of Jordan, Amman where our tour will come to an end. Before bidding farewell to our fellow travel companions we’ll spend two nights exploring this exciting capital.

This tour of Egypt and Jordan can be taken in three different forms, however a number of people on this journey travelled on nine day Egypt tours that started in Cairo and ended when we returned to Cairo. Other travellers with the group also did fifteen day tours that followed the same path to Dahab and spent just short of a week there before returning to Cairo…

GUIDE BOOKS

A guide book isn’t cheating! Before you leave on your next adventure ensure you plan to get the most out of your trip and check out the range of guide books from Lonely Planet. The comprehensive guide books on Egypt & Jordan from Lonely Planet will give you an insight on what to expect on your Travel Talk Tours journey of these two amazing countries.

ACCOMMODATION ON THIS TOUR

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loneXplorer travelled as a guest of Travel Talk Tours on the Egypt & Jordan Discovered by Nile Cruse tour. The cost of the 15 day tour was covered by Travel Talk Tours however all reviews and opinions on loneXplorer remain those of the author and have not been influenced by the tour operator, accommodation provider or anyone else. For more information on all the reviews you see on loneXplorer and the links provided to advertisers please click here.


Just your average guy doing his 9 - 5 job as a Senior Payroll Officer by day, writing about his travel adventures and hopefully giving you inspiration and ideas for your next travel adventure here at loneXplorer...

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