Petra at night

Petra at night: A guide to visiting

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(Last updated on: 24/01/2022)

Jordan is a beautiful country. And top of everyone’s to-do list is a trip to Petra. One of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, Petra is a historical city in southern Jordan. You and your family will love exploring the various parts of the site, and there are some great photo opportunities too. You can even visit Petra at night! This blog post will explain how…

Petra: a bit of background

Before we go on to looking at how to visit Petra at night, here’s a little bit about the ancient city itself…

Petra covers an area of 102 sq mi, or 264 square kilometres. There really is so much to see and explore at Petra! Walk through the Siq, a gorge created by the mountain breaking in two – seeing the sun shine through is just exquisite; admire the Treasury, Petra’s most famous view, and wander down the Street of Facades. Enter the Royal Tombs, hike around the area, explore the Roman colonnaded street. Gasp at the Great Temple and even ride a donkey – there is just a wealth of ways to spend your time at Petra.

It dates back to possibly as early as the 5th century BC, and it is known as one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. New structures at Petra have been discovered as recently as 2016. Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New7Wonders of the World.

It really is no surprise that Petra is on everybody’s Jordan to-do list. Whether it’s history, architecture, archaeology, culture, scenery or just the great outdoors that piques your interest, Petra has something for you!

Visiting Petra at night

Petra at night

There is something really magical about Petra at night. Maybe it feels a little bit like you shouldn’t be there – like it’s a terribly kept secret, and you’re sneaking around about to get caught at any moment. But rest assured it’s perfectly legal to visit Petra at night. There’s even a light show!

Petra by Night, the official way to visit Petra at night time, is available three nights per week. These are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. The entrance gates open at 8.30 pm, and it costs 17 JOD – around £18.30 GBP or $24 USD.

TOP TIP: children under 10 get into Petra at night for free!

To purchase a Petra by Night ticket, you are required to have a valid day time ticket. No advanced reservation is necessary. However there is often a queue, so it can be worth purchasing your night time ticket at some point during your day time visit.

There is a 1.5 mile (2.4 km walk) from the entrance to the Treasury, which is worth noting. The way will be lit by candles until you reach the iconic Treasury area. This is where the show takes place, and you don’t go any further than this when visiting Petra at night. You’ll sit on mats, drink some tea and wait for the show to begin…

What is the Petra by Night show?

Petra by Night is less of a show and more of an experience. The candle lit walk from the entrance, through the Siq and out towards the Treasury is just incredible. It will feel as though you’re stepping back in time and experiencing Petra as the ancient inhabitants did. The cool evening air, warm candle light and peaceful atmosphere of the walk is amazing.

See a snippet here!

When you reach the Treasury area, as mentioned above, there are mats and hot tea is available. Petra at night is lit by hundreds upon hundreds of candles, and it really is awe-inspiring. The ‘show’ part of the experience consists of a musician playing the rababa (similar to the flute) and a Bedouin guide who goes on to tell the story of Petra.

The show lasts approximately half an hour, but expect to be there for around 2 hours in total when visiting Petra at night.

Top tips for visiting Petra at night

Now you know a bit about Petra, and about the Petra by Night show, you’ve probably already decided to go! And so you should, because it is fantastic. Here are some top tips for ensuring your visit runs smoothly…

  • Wrap up warm! Just because you’re in the desert and it was boiling hot all day doesn’t mean you won’t feel the cold at night, so take a coat with you. Better still, pack a blanket if possible.
  • Get there early – there will be crowds. It is a magical, once in a lifetime experience and one that most people want to enjoy when visiting Jordan. So get there with plenty of time to spare to be one of the first through the gates. That way you won’t have to deal with the crowds quite as much!
  • Wear your comfiest shoes. The walk from the entrance gates to the Treasury isn’t too long but you’ll want to make sure your feet don’t get sore and spoil the ambience.
  • Don’t use your flash when taking photographs. And be respectful to other guests – you may want to get a hundred perfect shots, but some people will just be enjoying the atmosphere so try not to get in anyone’s way and move around too much.
  • It is better to visiting Petra at night before your day time visit. Spending the whole day in Petra will leave you exhausted, so you won’t want to head back out at night. The best way to do it is enjoy the Peta by Night show, stay in Wadi Musa and then head back out to Petra the next day. If you can get up in time, the sunrise is incredible.

So there it is! Everything you need to know about visiting Petra at night – it really shouldn’t be missed when planning a trip to Jordan.

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