I nearly didn’t make it to see Petra Monastery on top of the mountains. Temperature in Elate Israel on the day I left was 43 degrees and the climb to Petra Monastery requires at least 6 hours to and from the main entrance of Petra tourist centre. It certainly wasn’t an easy walk in the park but I’m so glad I did it. It only took me a little over 3 hours from a secret entry on my second day in Petra.

I was with a tour guide the first day in the ancient city of Petra. We took the main road walking from Petra visitors centre,through the Siq all the way to the Byzantine church Petra. Of course the main attraction for the majority of visitors was the Treasury and most of them would stop there.

Weather inside the ancient Petra was surprisingly cooler compared to surrounding cities. I enjoyed the nice breeze and large areas of shades throughout the Siq.

There were a lot donkey owners approaching us to lure me to take a donkey ride but I didn’t really want to as I much preferred enjoying the journey on foot instead of worrying about falling off the donkey all the way. Yes, to see the Monastery is must. What’s the point of coming to a long way to Petra from Australia and not seeing the whole ancient city of Petra? Sure there are more than 800 steps to climb uphills after passing the museum. But when it comes to travel, I’m never lazy.There was enough time to climb all the way up to see the Petra Monastery on the first day but I felt the urge to take it a little slower. So it was decided to do it on the second day so we headed back.

Map Of The Ancient City Of Petra

Visit Petra - the map

More donkey owners came to persuade tourists to take a donkey ride. Some fellow travellers took the donkey ride to be taken back to the entrance but I walked back to the visitors’s centre on my own. Next time I met these travellers, they all complained that those bedouins were “lying” to them. They felt cheated because donkey owners dropped them off at the Treasury, not the entrance to the Siq as promised.

The Secret Entrance To The Ancient City Of Petra

I was planning to get up early and climb Monastery on the second day but didn’t want like pushing too hard waking up the next day. “If I can’t make it, so be it. Most people don’t make it any way.” I thought. “No big deal. You deserve a rest.”  So I had a warm bath and long buffet breakfast instead. It was 10:30am, looked like there was no time for me to do the Petra Monastery climb any more as I had to meet the tour guide at 2:30pm to go somewhere else. To go to Petra Monastery from visitors centre requires at least 6 hours. As I was walking back to my room, the hotel driver came up to me.

“You wanted to go to the Monastery right?”

“Yes, but it’s too late now. I might just go to the Treasury again then go to the market in Petra.”

“You can still go. There’s a quicker way. I can take you to the entrance that most tourists don’t know about.”


“Yes, it’ll take about 3 hours. I’ll pick you up from the entrance once back to the hotel once you finish. But you have to walk hard.”

So I rushed back to my room, quickly packed some water and snack and of I went. Fearing the driver won’t come to pick up in the end, I paid half of the $50 he charged and agreed to pay the remaining once I’m back to the hotel.

Looking out from the car window, we were in the only car on the road. The scenery was breathtaking – mountains, caves and desert, though it was becoming normal to me. 🙂

Drive to the “Secret” Entrance to climb Petra Monastery

Arriving At The Secret Entrance

After about 10 minutes drive, we arrived the “secret” entrance. There wasn’t anyone else there apart from a tiny office with lonely guard who checked my ticket to enter the ancient city of Petra. The driver promised to come back to pick me at 2pm. I started to get a little nervous as it’d be alone from there onwards.  There was a good 20 minutes walk all the way down the valley to the basin area where the foot path to Petra Mona started. What if I get lost? It didn’t look like there was anyone to ask directions. As you can see, it was a long empty road.

Will I make the return trip in 3 hours? I’m not fit. It was 42 degrees that day. It was 11am, which meant I had to climb Petra Monastery the hottest hours during the day. Oh dear.

I didn’t have a sim card to make phone calls in Petra, what if my driver doesn’t come to pick me up at 2pm?What if I missed my tour in the afternoon? It’d mess up the rest itinerary! I still had Egypt to go…

After went through all those doubts in my mind, I pushed head with my backpack. There wasn’t time to waste. Just march on!

A Surreal Journey

There wasn’t anyone, any car, any camel, horse or donkey on the road. Yes, the driver was right, that obviously was the secret entrance that nobody knows! A horrible thought came to my mind, if some came to kill me then, nobody would ever found my body. Then I quickly calmed down. There was no reason to kill me or rob me. I only had little money on me and dressed down as poor tourist.  March on!

There was only me walking all the way down to Petra Basin yard from the “secret” entrance

There were more caves and pretty flowers along the way. The road was super clean. No smelly animal poos. That was not a sound to obscure the deep serene. 

About 10 minutes on the way down, I walked passed another resting area with a gate , where they checked my ticket again. So it wasn’t far from the main traffic. Hurry!

Soon enough I saw the Theatre, the Royal tomb, the colonnaded street. Camels and people! Climb Petra Monastery

Climb Petra Monastery

You have to walk through the Basin yard where the torrents meet and to ascend to the Monastery. It was nice and cool under the shades of the Basin restaurant but I didn’t have time stay for a drink. March on!

Signage to the pathways to Monastery was damaged so it wasn’t clear which way to go. But I got on the right path eventually and started the first steps to the mountain top.

Climb Petra Monastery

Climbing up the path to Petra Monastery

There was a long climbing to do. The climb itself wasn’t hard. It was just super long. If I wasn’t pushed by time, it’d be easier but I was under pressure. And it was hot. All larger shady areas along the rocks were occupied by bedouin vendors. It seemed unavoidable to purchase something once you enter the shaded areas. I didn’t want to buy overpriced, useless souvenirs, nor have the time and energy to haggle. March on!

Climb Petra Monastery

More caves on the way and stunning views looking back down:

Climb Petra Monastery

Climb Petra Monastery Climb Petra MonasteryClimb Petra Monastery

But the top was nowhere near in sight. I kept climbing, climbing and climbing. After weeks of touring and hiking before visiting Petra, my body started to feel the pain. I started to doubt if I’d ever got to the top in such short period of time. “Don’t give up just yet.” I kept telling myself but my pace was slower and slower.

At last I sat down on the side of the road, sweating and panting with my tongue sticking out like a dog. “You’ll get there.” “Only another 15 minutes.” “It’s totally worth it.” People passing by on the way down encouraged me sympathetically.  “Be patient and calm down. There’s still time.” I too, tried to encourage myself though I was totally exhausted and wanted to give up. March on!

On Top Of The Mountains!

At last, I saw all the mountains behind me and there’s a cafe on top of the mountains near the Monastery.Climb Petra Monastery

Climb Petra Monastery

It was cool and breezing on the top. I breathed deeply feeling the joy filled my heart. It felt unreal. The views form nearby mountain tops are amazing. You can get a good view of the Treasury from the top.

The monastery looks similar to the Treasury but much bigger in size. V

Climb Petra Monastery

Can you see the little in green top behind me? That’s how small a person looks compared to the Monastery. I couldn’t help but wonder, how did they make it over a thousand years ago without any modern tools?Climb Petra Monastery

On The Way Back

It was time to rush downhills to meet my driver! Luckily it was so much easier walking downhills. It didn’t take me long to reach the Basil yard down the valley. And this time I wasn’t confused about which way to go. Obviously I was the only headed that direction and many people yelled at me “Turn back, Turn back! That way back to the visitors centre was on the other side!” But I carried on without turning because the secret entrance was the my destination, not the visitors centre. Some donkey owners chased me to offer me a donkey ride back to Treasury but I marked on without stopping.

Soon I was left alone on the road again. The long, steep journey climbing up to the secret entrance! I wished there was a donkey, horse, camel or something. It was 2pm, time to meet the driver at the entrance on top but the road ahead was so steep. I started to feel powerless and desperate.

All of a sudden, someone yelled at me from behind, “Do you want a ride?” A bedouin with a donkey! I was no longer alone!

“Not really. I’m scared of donkey ride.” I was telling the truth.

“It’s not a donkey. It’s a mule. I’ll take you to the gate.”

Looking at the animal I couldn’t tell what it was. It did look a little taller and stronger than a donkey. No matter a donkey or a mule, it was God sent. I only had strength left to climb up the donkey/mule. What a wonderful 15 minutes ride! I felt rested and slightly relieved.

Meet the Donkey/Mule?

Tell me, is it a donkey or a mule?

The bedouin dropped me off about 200 metres away from the gate. And I rushed up to find my driver. As I approached the gate, I saw the driver coming my way too. So everything worked out alright!

How to enjoy the climb to Petra Monastery

It was an enjoyable experience to climb up to Petra Monastery and totally worth the effort.

Be mentally prepared

Firstly be mindful that it’ll be a long climb up. Some people like me even felt a little bored in the middle of the journey. So just be patient, you get there eventually. In the mean time, admire the views!

Take your time to do it

Don’t rush it. I rushed and stressed because I only made the decision to go in the last minute. Take your time to climb and take a few stops to rest.

Rest well before trekking up Petra Monastery

The climb itself is not hard to do, even for a someone who’s not fit. But to enjoy the journey more, you must take care of your body before the climb.

Drink plenty of water

Make sure you drink plenty of water before and during the trip before feeling too hot and dehydrated.

Is it safe to do it alone?

The answer is Yes! I’ve seen lots of single travellers during my trip to Petra. Though there wasn’t anyone else trekking to the Monastery from the secret entrance that day, I was totally safe doing alone. There might be a lot people trying to make more money out of you but the chance of you getting killed in Petra Jordan is extremely slim. 🙂


It wasn’t a short journey to visit Petra travelling all the way from Australia. Ever since I saw a picture of the Treasury at Petra, my desire of seeing it in person started to grow stronger and stronger. That dream trip of mine finally came to fruition this year after years of fantasising and a lot research + planning. Was it worth the effort? Absolutely.

Going to Petra from Israel

I entered the the Kingdom of Jordan through Israel/Jourdan boarder after an overnight stay in Elate Israel. Security check to go in Jordan was very fast and straight forward compared to those stringent processes in Israel. A driver and tour guide met me on the other side of boarder and my trip to Petra started officially.

A stop over at the breathtaking Wadi Rum dessert on the way from Aquba to Petra is highly recommended though a lot visitors to Petra are here for the Treasury. It’s only a little over 100 kilo meters from Wadi Rum to the city of Petra so it’ll take less than a couple of hours travelling by car.

The Dead Sea stretches across Israel and all the way to the Jordanian border. I’ve ticked off my bucket list item floating in the Dead Sea while in Israel. However I wonder if it could have been a better experience if it was done in Jordan. My tour guide proudly told me that the first hotel on Dead Sea was actually built in Jordan. So if any of you have floated in the Dead Sea in Jordan, please do share your experience!

The City of Petra

Whenever Petra is mentioned, most people would immediately think of the movie Indiana Jones. For some reason, I can’t remember that particular Indiana Jones movie. Maybe it’s because I’ve never seen it? Now that I’ve visited Petra, perhaps it’s the time to find that movie and watch it haha!

The city of Petra is nested in a dirt covered, secluded valley. There were a row of restaurants on the street leading to Petra visitor centre. Someone asked me if there were any KFC or Macca’s in Petra when I got back to Sydney. Well, I don’t record seeing any. The thing is, you won’t want to have fast food from KFC or McDanald’s in Petra any way. I had some amazing middle eastern feast there. So when you go, make sure to take time to enjoy the local cuisine.

What you need to know about visiting the ancient city of Petra

You don’t really need the local currency.

As long as you have sufficient US dollars on you, you don’t really to go through money exchange to get the local currency because US dollar is widely accepted in Petra.

You don need a lot of small bills on you though

The biggest inconvenience for me at the time was that I had quite a few $100 US dollar notes on me when I entered Petra and  I was having a VERY hard time to break it into smaller notes. You won’t be able to go far without smaller bills. You need them for tipping, buying drinking water and taxi fares etc. People won’t help you without being tipped and you can’t tip them with $100 notes.

Do you need a tour guide?

I booked a private tour guide before my Middle Eastern trip because I was travelling alone. But in reality, Petra is so straight forward to explore and the chance of getting lost there is really slim. Without a tour guide you’ll be able to stop whenever you wanted and take as much time to absorb everything. Many times I wished my guide could stop talking and singing like a crazy person but hey, that was just part of the experience. I was extremely glad that I had a full day all to myself without a guide so that I could really take my time to appreciate those sights without being interrupted or taken to a souvenir shop. So you’d better off without a tour guide, even if you are travelling solo.

Don’t get the single day ticket

It’s certainly not enough time to explore the best of Petra and enjoy it in just one day, so allow yourself at least a couple of days in the area. In stead of getting the single day tickets, buy a two day pass to save money and hassle.

Have plenty of water

You’ll hike a lot and weather is try. In order to keep yourself hydrated through out the day, make sure to drink plenty of water.

The horse riding

Though it’s said the horse ride is included in the entry ticket, I didn’t take the horse ride because I wanted to explore the ancient city by foot. If you opt to take a horse ride, make sure you have a US$5 note to tip the owner. If you hand over a $10 or $20 notes and expect your change back, you’ll be disappointed. Hence the importance to have plenty of small bills on you all the time.

Be aware of the hawkers

There will be a lot people trying to sell something to the tourists. Just be careful not to be the easy target. Don’t believe it that you’d buy authentic silver jewellery for $5. Don’t follow those little boys who promise to take you to places with the most amazing view. Don’t ride the horse, the camel or the donkey if you don’t want to…The best way is to stay firm and say “No” straight away without eye contact. People normally go away. That was a lot easier to deal with than what I’ve experienced in Egypt (where people would chase you all the way and force their service on you, then grab you for money).

The dress code?

Sure, 90% of the population in Jordan is Muslims. But Petra is occupied by tourists from all over the world. As long as you don’t dress offensively and overly expose yourself, people don’t really care what you wear.

The Siq

The Siq is a gorge, a 80 meter split in the rock. It’s the ancient entrance to the rose city. Walking through it wasn’t as long or boring as some people might have experienced. It was nice and cool under the gorge even in a hot Summer day. Not to mention, it’s so amazingly beautiful.

Watch out for the roaming horse carriages though while going through the narrow gorge though. Horses don’t really care about sharing the roads with the pedestrians, either do their owners. The smell of horse droppings through Siq could also be a little overwhelming.

Check out this blog post to see more photos of the beautiful Siq:

Jordan Photo Dairy – From Wadi Rum Jordan To The Siq, To The Treasury Petra

The Treasury:

The best time to see Treasury is in the afternoon, while the sun is shinning on that majestic ancient stone structure. The breathtaking moment to see the Treasury appearing at the end of Siq to me is simply unforgettable. There it was – all mighty, rose coloured and grand, just as beautiful and magnificent as I have imagined, even more stunning in real life.

visit Petravisit Petra

visit Petra

visit Petra

visit Petra

visit Petra

visit Petra

visit Petravisit PetraPetra at night

Petra at night happens 3 times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday night when candle lights will be lit in front of the Treasury. You might have seen some magical photos of Petra at night on the internet. The true is, Photoshop could have something to do with the beauty of those photos. A lot people got quite disappointed seeing the whole event in person. But the main thing is to just enjoy the moment and manage our expectations:).

Petra during the day however, doesn’t require any Photoshop’s help. Every single snap would turn out to be a post card worthy photo.
visit Petra visit Petravisit Petra

The hike to Monastery

Local people said if you haven’t been to Monastery, you haven’t really been to Petra. But the hike to Petra Monastery is no easy task. It takes at least 6 hours going up and down, from midway, you need to climb nearly 900 steps all the way uphill. But no matter, when it comes to travel, I’ve never been lazy! After days of hiking and touring, my body was feeling the pain, I kept pushing and made it all the way to the top, in 40C + degrees heat. 🙂 Oh mine. How grand is Monastery! The hike to the Monastery took the my trip to Petra to a whole new level. It looks similar to the Treasury but much bigger. See that lady in green top behind me? That’s how small a person looks next to the Monastery.

The Monastery

An the view on top? Mind – blowing. I’ll leave it to another post for more photos from the hike to Petra Monastery.