Backpacking In Petra

in Jordan

Petra, located about 300 kilometers south of Amman, is Jordan’s most popular tourist attraction. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Petra draws in hundreds of thousands of travelers backpacking in Jordan from around the world every year.


Known as the Rose-Red City because of the color of the rock from which it was carved, Petra is an archaeological site that was established as the capital of the Nabataeans in the 6th century BC. The ancient city served as a fortress, and it was the center of the main commercial routes from Gaza to Damascus, to the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, and to Aqaba. There is a theater, tomb site, monastery, and most famously the treasury, carved into the red rock cliffs of Petra.

petra jordan petra tombs of kings


Accommodations here are much cheaper than in Israel and cheaper in comparison with backpacking in Syria as well, but staying in Petra is not the easiest on your budget. You can even consider staying in Amman and take a day trip to Petra, which is only about 3 hours south of the capital.

The Saba’a Inn is a fairly small, family run hostel in the heart of the town of Wadi Musa, which is the closest town to the Petra site. As there are no establishments or cars allowed at the ruins of Petra, the Inn is in walking distance (about 15 minutes) to the gates of Petra, and a short walk from the bus station. The Saba’a Inn provides a free breakfast every morning and free tea all day—the best of Middle Eastern hospitality. The Inn also offers free linens and towels, wi-fi internet access, air conditioning, and satellite television. There is also a library and a roof top terrace to keep you relaxed during your stay in Petra.

There are single and shared rooms available, ranging from 10 to 15 euros per person per night. All suites have their own toilets and showers, and while all standard rooms have fans, the deluxe single rooms are equipped with air conditioning.

Another one of the several options in hostels that you have in Wadi Musa is the Petra Gate Hostel, which is also located in the city center close to the bus stop, but it is a bit more expensive than the Saba’a Inn. The hotel offers free transportation to the gates of Petra if you don’t feel like walking, and international telephone service in case you may need it.

The hostel consists of shared rooms (dorms), single, and double rooms. Prices range from 12 to 20 euros per night depending on the type of room you stay in. The Petra Gate Hostel is unique in that it offers home style dinners in its own restaurant and live Bedouin music afterward.


Motor vehicles are not allowed past the gates of Petra, and the gorge leading to the site is over 1 kilometer in length. If you don’t want to walk, you can ride a horse or take a horse-drawn carriage. Once you get there, you can also pay to ride a camel or donkey to get around.

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