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Petra by Night Experience Explained

If you are looking for more information on Petra by Night and want to know whether you should go or skip it, this post is for you. Before we get started, some people are just starting research on the best things to do in Jordan and are not sure what to do while in Petra. So, What is Petra by Night?

Petra by night is a light show in Petra after dark. It is not included with your standard Petra entrance ticket and it needs to be purchased separately as it is put on by a private company.

The Petra by night experience occurs three times a week at 8:30pm until 10:30pm. It takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays each week.

Petra By Night  Should you Go and What to Know?

Petra By Night Worth It?

Al Khazneh in Petra, Jordan. The Rose City of Petra is magical by day, but in the evening seeing it lit up with candles is an experience worth visiting

Petra by Night Entrance Fee

The Petra by night cost is JD17 and you can purchase tickets from the visitor’s centre or ask your hotel as they may be able to sell you tickets. It is not included with the regular Petra visitor day pass sold by the Ministry of Tourism.

Is Petra by Night included in the Jordan Pass?

Unfortunately not, the Jordan Pass is for regular hours Petra visits only (between 6am and 6pm). As mentioned above, you need to purchase an additional ticket to attend Petra by Night as it is put on by a private company not the Ministry of Tourism.

When is Petra By Night?

Petra by Night occurs three times a week.  It takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The Petra by Night experience goes from  8:30pm until 10:30pm. Arrive at the visitors center for 8pm if you want to be one of the first to arrive at the Treasury. (Do not worry if you are not first, many will leave after the show giving you a few minutes to capture the candles and the Treasury backdrop).

How to Get to Petra By Night?

Petra by Night is accessed through the Petra Visitor’s center! Once you have your tickets, you can go through the main trail towards the Siq. There are no horses or carts available during the evening Petra performance and guests will need to be able to walk the 1.2km Siq to the Treasury and back.

How to Get to Petra?

The UNESCO Site of Petra lies next to the town of Wadi Musa. It is in almost every Jordan Itinerary whether you are self driving the country or on a guided tour!  There are several ways to get to Petra. If you have your own car, you can drive. It takes about 3.5 hours from Amman. If you are in Amman and do not have a vehicle, you can take the JETT Bus that elaves at 6:30 every morning from Amman. You can get more information in my article about Getting to Petra from Amman.

If you are in Aqaba it is about a 2 hour drive by car. You can also take the JETT Bus or hire a taxi. Best way to find the JETT bus information is to go to the JETT bus station in Aqaba which is located next to the Movenpick Hotel. I find their website quite unhelpful but it is here if you want to take a look!

Petra By Night Siq by Candlelight

What to Expect at Petra by Night?

We walked in silence, most of us slowly taking in the candle-lit Siq. I could imagine what it would have been like to be a Nabatean trader, entering the city through this naturally created chasm.

There were no clip-clops of shoed horses carrying passengers on carriages, no donkey’s braying and no tour guides with groups of tourists taking in the secrets of the Siq. It was just me and my thoughts, eager to get to the Treasury.

When we arrived, most people were already seated, sweet, aromatic bedouin tea being passed out as we marvelled at the lights in front of us.

The performance at Petra by night is not too long, a few melodies on a traditional flute, the rababa, and a story of Petra, and it is over sooner than I had wished. After finishing my last glass of “shai” we walked back along the siq. taking in each shadow, each curve until we arrived back at our hotel.

While some people might tell you it is a waste of money, I loved the silence of the Siq and the magical feeling of walking down its winding path with just my own thoughts in my head. there were no distractions around and only a few others, who were taking the evening in with me.

My candlelit visit to the ruins of Petra was one I will not forget, and I encourage you to spend one of your evening’s in Wadi Musa, doing the same. You can rest your weary legs another night.

Is Petra By Night Worth It

Taking Kids to Petra by Night

I chose to leave my kids with a babysitter at Movenpick Petra when we went to Petra by Night. They were only 5 and 3 at the time and after walking all day, I was pretty proud of them. We hired a babysitter through the hotel for 2 hours and the kids were asleep almost before we left!

If you have children, they are welcome at Petra by night. Children under 10 are admitted free of charge. Children 10 and over pay the same rate as adults 17JD (about USD$24)

Wheelchair access to Petra By Night

Jordan tries to accommodate visitors with limited mobility. There are carts which take visitors from the entrance to the Treasury in Petra during the day. However, the ride is bumpy and it does not actually accommodate a wheelchair for guests on arrival to the Treasury. If you are not able to walk 1.5km each way, you should not attempt to visit Petra by Night. The Siq is also not very wheelchair friendly as it is gravel and dirt and cobblestones.

You can get a really good sense of the ambiance by taking a look at this video.

Is Petra by Night Worth It?

This question gets asked often. In my opinion, enjoying an evening wandering the giant walls of the Siq lit only by candles hearing only your own footsteps and those of others is something you should not miss. For me personally, I got a babysitter while we were staying at Movenpick and it was a welcome break from my boys for 2 hours.

I am often asked what to do in Petra at night, and besides resting your weary hiking legs, there is not too much to do. Wadi Musa is a pretty dry town and hit and miss whether or not your hotel has a bar or restaurant selling alcohol. There is not even a liquor store in town, so I would much rather experience a light show in Petra than sit in my hotel.

With that being said, I did visit Petra for three days. After the first day, we did quite a bit of hiking and I was happy to put my feet up and relax. But on our second night, we went to to the Petra by Night show and was happy I did.

Many people arriving to Jordan on a guided tour have the option of buying a Petra by Night pass. If you are one of these people, I recommend adding it on your itinerary! It is a short performance, but if you have a good camera and tripod you can take some really cool images!

Will I be able to Take good Pictures during Petra by Night?

I will warn you that those out-of-this-world images of Petra by Night with the Treasury and the Stars above are not taken by ordinary travellers with a camera. They are taken by professional photographers who not only know a great angle when they see one, but also are well versed in exposure, depth of field and have lots of practice exposing for stars. They probably have those camera’s mounted on a tripod that costs more than your camera!

With the limited lighting, your cell phone will probably get a shaky image of the candles and the Treasury. Do not expect much more.

Related: If you have good photos from Petra by night, check out these night captions for Instagram to give your photos some inspiring words when you share them.

Are you planning a visit to Jordan? If it is a region you are looking at, check out these guided itineraries.

If Petra is on your bucket list, why not take a trip with G Adventures? Their small group tours are perfect for travelers who want to get off the beaten path. You can get some info on these tours here.

Want to read some more of my posts on Jordan and Petra:

What to Pack for Jordan

Is Jordan Safe to travel to?

Amman to Petra Bus

5 Days in Jordan Itinerary

Traveling Jordan: How to Get Around In Jordan

Some Photos Courtesy of Cailin O’Neil from Travel Yourself and Margherita Ragg from The Crowded Planet

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