Before I tell you about Petra, I will describe getting there.
Oddly even though Petra is a huge tourist destination getting there is pretty challenging. At least it was for us. We were able to find an affordable flight but it arrived at 2:00 AM. Once we arrived at the airport in Amman we had to figure out getting to the bus station where the “JETT” bus company transports people to the main gate at the historic site. We failed to figure all this out before we left because honestly we are constantly planning our travel and it just slipped through the cracks.
In any case we found a 3:00 AM public bus that would take us to the general area of the bus station but the bus station itself would not be open. So we thought about waiting until later for a public bus from the airport so we wouldn’t have to wait on the streets of Amman in the wee hours of the morning but instead opted for a spendy two and a half hour taxi ride. By spendy I mean about $140.00 US versus less than $20.00 US for the “JETT” bus.
Our taxi cab driver was an unlicensed taxi driver (by unlicensed I mean that he was a guy hanging out at the airport offering rides). Now I would like to say I normally don’t hop into cars with strangers when visiting foreign countries but now that I have done this two times I guess that is simply not the case.
Our driver was a nice guy with two college aged daughters and a single parent due to his wife dying. He explained that he wouldn’t speed while driving us. Of course I noticed we were doing 140 KHM at one point and I am pretty sure that exceeded the posted speed limit.
The road is a long highway through the desert with occasional towns along the way. Every town has a few speed bumps before and after it on the highway. They are poorly marked so sometimes our driver would have to slam on this brakes to avoid hitting too hard and a few times we definitely hit very hard. Basically I was “on guard” much of the trip. I might be the worst car passenger ever. I don’t like driving at all and I don’t like being a passenger either.
In the end we made it safely to our hotel by 6:00 AM. Since we slept quite a bit in Istanbul in order to deal with our jet lag I was wide awake the entire flight and drive so I was pretty bleary when we got here. We ended up sleeping that day away until about 3:00 PM!
We headed out to get food and cash in the downtown area of Petra and we were quite a sensation with the local boys. I get the feeling the western tourists take cabs mostly so when a little boy called out “sandwich” and we walked into his cafe everybody jumped up to help us. Many of the neighborhood boys stopped by the cafe to look at us, say hello, ask our names and where we are from. It was pretty fun and the kids were very charming.
If I had to do it again I would fly in and arrive in the middle of the night like we did but I would wait at the airport and take the bus to Petra. The cost when traveling long term becomes a big consideration and we have found Jordan to be very expensive. If I come again I will try to be better at watching our costs.