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PETRA PAGES

    Arrival, departure,hotels

     The site of Petra

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     Baida and nearby

     A walk around Petra

     Tours from Petra - Dissi

     Villagers of Wadi Mousa

     A walk around Petra

     Map of Petra
 

Excursions from Petra
     Humeima, Disseh, Wadi Rum area

    

PHOTO GALLERY

Petra

Petra : rocks and mountains

Petra : Baida

Early views of Petra : the drawings of Laborde, Linant and of David Roberts

 

HISTORY

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    The first travellers to Petra

     David Roberts in the Holy Land

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A walk around Petra

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GENERAL INFORMATION
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Made in Jordan
Bedouin weaving

JORDAN OUT OF DOORS
N
ATURE RESERVES

     Dana

     Wadi Mujib
     Ajloun

     Azraq and Shaumari

Trekking in Jordan
Canyoning in Jordan
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Climbing El Habla

Road to Mudawarra
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Two Bedouin friends and their camels

HISTORY OF JORDAN
The Mesha stele
Mosaics of the Madaba Plateau
Early views of Petra
Lawrence of Arabia
The Kingdom : the beginning

MEETING THE PEOPLE
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Some Bedouin customs
Villagers of Wadi Mousa

THE MIDDLE EAST
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Towns and Tourist Sites in Jordan
Petra :
the village of Wadi Mousa

ALL THE PHOTOS ON THIS PAGE CAN BE ENLARGED

This is the village nearest to the site of Petra, and hence the official destination of buses and so forth going there. There was a movement a year or so ago to change the official name of the village to "Petra", but this was quashed by the government. In many ways it would have simplified life for the visitor.

The village is up in the hills, about a mile - call it a kilometer and a half - from the entrance to Petra, and most of the cheap hotels are here. You can see a few recommendations on the page about hotels in Petra. The distance, not to mention the rather steep hill, makes it important to choose a hotel which offers free transport to Petra.

Restaurants : To be honest, I so seldom eat in restaurants that I don't really know many to recommend.  The big hotel restaurants are mostly fairly bland and monotonous. The restaurants in the village seem quite acceptable, most of them serve the local dishes : mansaff, maglouba, galaya...

An excellent restaurant recently opened is the Midtown Restaurant - as its name suggests, it is right in the middle of the village with the entrance opposite to the Rose City Hotel. It employs a Syrian chef who uses a lot of herbs and spices, and you can find alternatives to the sempiternal "chicken and rice" here. There is a great view of the Petra Mountains and the sunset from the windows of this restaurant.

Right underneath it, with the entrance on the main road, you can find the Sanibel Bakery which offers a selection of all the breads available in Jordan, including the Bedouin breads, all the usual Arab sweets like baklava, knapffe and nightingale nests - and also a whole lot of sugary pastries! I particularly recommend the "stars" here! This bakery does tend to increase the price for tourists, which would normally eliminate it from this website, but quite frankly the pastries and the other products it offers are too good not to recommend...

If you are into picknicking and want to buy provisions to take with you, there is a fair choice of simple food in the village. All the fruit and vegetable shops have been moved out, however, and now can be found in a special market just behind the bus station, which is to the south of the village - head for the main mosque and keep going another hundred meters or so. I draw your attention to a largish "supermarket" (well, large for the village) just opposite to the mosque, which is almost remarkable in that it charges the same prices to tourists as it does to local people. There is another handsome "supermarket" near to the site, close to the Sunset Hotel, of which the same can most definitely not be said! In fact locals seldom shop there at all.

There is a most interesting initiative by the Petra Moon Travel Agency which has started a scheme called "Petra Kitchen". This is basically a cookery school for those wanting to learn how to make Arab dishes. In their publicity they say "We have a group of local women here in Petra who have decided to take the big step outside the homes and work with our guests each night, demonstrating and helping them prepare a tasty assortment of local dishes.  The work is done under the supervision of our chef, but the guests themselves will do the convivial tasks of preparing the dishes, cooking the meal and even setting the tables for dinner.... We’ve put together a number of different evening menus, all of which include a soup, a good assortment of salads and hot/cold mezza and a  popular local main course such as mensaf, magluba, suwanee, kofta and other dishes one might encounter if invited to a family home for a meal.  We’ll also show our guests how to prepare Bedouin tea, Turkish coffee and some herbal teas during the evening." The experience costs 30JD which includes the cookery course, meal and all non-alcoholic beverages as well as take-home recipes for all dishes prepared that evening.  You can find out more about this from kitchen@petramoon.com (phone/fax 03.215.5900) or see the page Petra Kitchen here.

Petra Moon Travel Agency has also a showroom, something between a gallery and a souvenir shop called "Made in Jordan" which displays high class artisanal merchandise, all of it made in Jordan, many under the sponsorship of such organisations as the Noor Al Hussein Foundation and the Jordan River Foundation. Their phone is 03.215.5700. You can see all of this in the line of shops near to Petra, just beside the Sandcastle shop.  The ground floor has the kitchen and the showroom is upstairs. (See also the page "Made in Jordan" on this website)

Night life? Um... The Cave Bar of the Guesthouse (right alongside the entrance to Petra) is just about the only place that is on occasion a hot spot. If there is a big group of tourists staying at the hotel, there is often dancing until midnight, sometimes even later! (My goodness!) If you check there, they have a "programme" which will tell you the nights that something is scheduled.

For a quiet drink in the evening, I usually go to the Crown Plaza Hotel where the terrace beside the pool outside has a lovely view of the sunset over the Petra mountains and down to the beginning of the Siq (just visible if one knows exactly where to look). This is quite popular with the local tourist guides, who often congregate here in the evening and talk shop with each other or with visiting guides accompanying groups. If there is a "pool barbecue" the terrace is crowded and noisy and in that case I make for the Roof Garden Bar of the Mövenpick Hotel nearby. Few locals go there but it is very pleasant.

If you still have the energy after a day in Petra, the Crowne Plaza also offers tennis courts and a few other sports possibilities. There is a charge, less for guests, but still a charge.

While I am talking about the village, I must mention the Salome Turkish Bath, which is definitely something to visit, especially after a hot and exhausting day down in Petra. Last I heard the price was 18JD, but believe me, it's worth it, if only for the massage afterwards. It is very pleasant, most attractively decorated, and a delightful place to "chill out", if you go in for chilling out. It is almost opposite the Alanbat Two Hotel in the centre of the village, but if you ask your hotel, Salome will send somebody to pick you up. Single women shouldn't hesitate here, they will have no trouble at all.

Beer and alcohol : there is no "liquor" shop in Wadi Mousa. The bigger hotels have bars, a few of the smaller ones and a couple of coffee shops serve beer and wine (but since they don't always have a permit to do so, I am not naming them here!) You can buy beer, wine or alcohol from all of these hotels, usually at bar prices (!) - if you ask a few of the locals, you will be directed quickly to the non-licensed places where you can find what you want. Again I warn you that you will be charged more than in the specialised shops elsewhere. Incidentally, one of the best places to buy beer is the Mövenpick, you don't always think of asking one of the most expensive hotels for take-away beer, but it's noticeably cheaper there than in the small hotels in the village. However, it is much better if you stock up before you arrive in Wadi Mousa.

The swimming pool at the Alanbat 1Swimming pools : the following hotels have swimming pools : the Crown Plaza, the Mövenpick, the Petra Palace, the Alanbat One and the Golden Tulip, which is a hotel pretty far from the village and above the Mousa Spring Hotel. Non-guests can use all of these for a fee. There is also a pool at Taibeh Zaman, but this is some distance from Petra.

Internet in Wadi Mousa : there are now so many Internet cafes in the village that it's no real use recommending one over the other. All that I have tried have broadband, some are open at more convenient times than others.

Besides hotels and restaurants/coffee shops, there are sufficient banks, drugstores and ATMs, to serve most people's needs. There are also plenty of taxis, etc. For trips outside of "the Wadi", as Wadi Mousa is generally known in Jordan, bargain hard. There are "official" prices, but since the price of petrol has been increased sharply several times since the official prices were set, almost nobody respects them - fairly understandably, actually.  The standard fares applied are now 35JD to Wadi Rum or to Aqaba and 10JD to Ma'an. Amman would be somewhere around 55/65JD but here you have a good chance of bargaining.

If you are looking for a reliable (and honest) taxi driver, then call Ali Salameen at 0777.533.958 or +962.777.533.958 from outside Jordan. He can meet you at airports etc and his prices are on the modest side. He speaks fluent English.

And if you are travelling in a small party, Yussef Salameen owns a minibus seating 8 people and has a licence to drive tourists anywhere in Jordan. He speaks good English, knows the tourist sites and how to get to them and is very reliable. He is also a nice guy! His phone number is +962.795.596.288 and his fax is +962.3.215.6466. Charly at the Mariam Hotel in Madaba (see www.mariamhotel.com) could also put you in touch with minibus drivers who work with his hotel.

You can read more about the non-tourist aspects of Wadi Mousa on the page about it in the "Meet the People" section.

You might also like to look at the web page entitled "Excursions from Petra : Humeima, Disseh and the north of the Wadi Rum area"

 

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