The only thing more magical than visiting Petra during the day, is experiencing it at night.
On select evenings out of the month, this breathtaking sight is transformed by thousands of glimmering candles.
The lights are thoughtfully laid out starting at the Siq all the way to the Monestary.
They provided the necessary illumination to guide us through the winding and massive slot canyon.
As we continued through, we found ourselves in the quiet of the night under a peaceful display of moon and stars.
Initially, in spite of my photos making it seem like a solitary experience, there were at least 100 other people walking along the path.
However, as we made our way at a slower pace, due to our kiddos, we were left behind and had the walk mostly to ourselves.
In retrospect, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
The crowds were extremely minimal towards the end which allowed us to completely embrace the whole experience more fully.
The trek took us about 1 hour each way.
Since it was easy, and with no incline, our kiddos handled it just fine (It takes a bit longer to cross the Siq at night since visibility is lower, the ground is a bit uneven and of course stopping to take a few photos along the way).
Our first glimpse of the Monastery was something beyond special.
I had waited for so long to see this grand sight, and not only was I finally there, but it was lit up by a majestic display of candle light.
As we found a place to sit and enjoy our surroundings, we were filled with the beautiful sounds of music as a gentleman sang and played an instrument.
This certainly made the experience much more sacred and splendid.
There was plenty of time to take it all in and snap photographs before the show was over and then we were all politely escorted through the Siq to head back the way we came in.
Suggestions for Visiting Petra at Night:
-Buy your tickets in advance as they are at high demand and may sell out quickly. Keep in mind they only offer this on selected nights of the week, so if you would like to take part in it, then try to work your trip around those nights.
-I once read that it was recommended to visit Petra at Night before seeing it at daylight. I would have to agree, as I am not sure the enchanting effect would have been as impactful had we already experience it earlier. If you can, plan your trip in a way that you arrive to Petra and experience this at night. You can then make your way back the next day to see it again during daylight hours which is what we did and we were really glad we went this route.
-As mentioned before, I would recommend staying towards the back of the pack so you can enjoy the experience more fully. There were moments when no one else was in sight and we could fully embrace the peace and serenity of the Siq at night.
-Bring a lightweight tripod to capture night photos (Amazon has a great affordable option here), a light jacket is also recommend as temperatures dip down a bit and great walking shoes as it is mostly a dirt path which can be uneven and tricky to walk through in the dark.
-If you are traveling with little ones, make sure to have energizing snacks. While its an easy hike, it does take about an hour each way. Bring a carrier for your toddler since the walk does not start until late and it might be past their bedtime.
-Also for kiddos, keep in mind they will be sitting down during the presentation at the Monastery. It would be wise to bring quiet games that will keep them entertained and calm during that time (there are a few good options here, here and my kids absolutely love these here).
While our experience to Petra at Night was mostly positive, there were a few setbacks that we would like to share.
The Not So Great Parts About Our Experience:
-Expect there will be a herd of people rushing around you through the Siq to get to the “finish line”. I was imagining walking through a magical peaceful path but found people rushing to win the race instead. While no on was literally running, it seemed that everyone was more concerned about getting to the Monastery than taking their time to enjoy the journey through a massively incredible gorge that was the Siq.
-There are no bathrooms once you enter the Siq until you return, so be sure to go before you start the hike. You should also bring a portable potty for the little ones in case they need to use it along the way (our favorite one is this one here).
-People are not very comfortable walking through the somber candlelit path as most turn on the flashlights on their phone to guide their way. I felt like it defeated the point, and the experience, plus I cannot tell you how many of my photos were ruined by these lights. When you are taking low shutter speed night photos and you have bright lights moving around, it can be a big mess. As mentioned before, we stayed at the back of the pack and managed to snap our photos without people and flashing lights getting in the way.
-Once we arrived at the Monastery people were a little irritated if our kids would make noises. I get it, we were not very well prepared by bringing things for them to do. While we enjoyed the quiet moment, they were bored just sitting there with nothing to do listening to a guy sing staring at a structure.
-It is not possible to get a photo of the Monastery without a million people in front of it. Well that is unless you want to literally run through the Siq to get there first. For us that was not even an option with our kids in tow. However, even if we could have pulled it off I feel like we would have missed out on embracing the magical experience of walking through the Siq and that was as cool and impressive as seeing the Monastery light up.
-Another option would be to rush to the Monastery to take it in before people arrive and assume you can enjoy the Siq on the way back. That might have worked, however we found that once the presentation was finished, we were all rushed back to the entrance by the staff. It’s almost like they are ready to head home and want everyone to get out so they can clear out the candles (which I am sure that’s what it is). Walking though the Siq even proved to be more chaotic on the way back then on the way there. At that point everyone saw what they came for and they were all ready to be done.
With all that being said, seeing this amazing World Wonder light was truly an unforgettable experience that we will never forget.
You can’t go wrong visiting this World Wonder day or night, and I would definitely recommend it either way.
Although there were not too many children aside from ours, we found it to still be a family friendly activity worth doing.
We hope our experience, tips and suggestions were helpful and be sure to reach out to us if you have any other questions we may have not covered.
For more on our travels through Petra and Jordan go here.
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