Petra by Night is Pure Magic

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Imagine yourself in the distant foreign lands of the Middle East. You’ve been riding your camel through the desert for days when you come across some people that lead you in a direction that promises water and food. 

As you draw close, you can see the illumination of light in the distance. The soft glow of candlelight will lead the way to civilization. This is only the start of your experience at Petra by Night.

To get the most from this experience you should allow yourself to be wrapped up at the moment and think of what it would be like to arrive into this illuminated city at night. Our story starts in the modern city of Petra.

** This is the tour we took ** Book your own adventure in Jordan: 8 Day Jordan Explorer

Petra by Night Jordan

Knowing we wanted to arrive early to make time for photographs, we hopped in the hotel van and made our way to the entrance. Entering was easy, but busy and we made sure to lag behind the group so there wouldn’t be much for obstruction in our photos.

This tactic ended up working for us and before too long, all the people had gone ahead of us and we were left alone under a star-filled sky.

We couldn’t have been luckier when you think about the conditions. Clear sky, massive amounts of stars and the softest most beautiful glow of the candle lights along the path.

While Petra by Night offers a show with Bedouin dance and music, we couldn’t help but absorb ourselves in our surroundings. We dawdled, experimenting with long exposures and enjoying the moment that belonged just to us.

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Petra by Night Jordan

Petra by Night Experience

The walk from the entrance to the Treasury takes a solid 20 minutes along a path and then into a gorged area called the Siq. The total distance overs 2 km.  With the mesmerizing stars in the sky, we meandered along taking photos and not really being too concerned about the show.

That’s right, Petra by Night includes a show where you sit on mats placed on the desert floor in front of the treasury while the locals dance and serve you tea. 

This is the part where I tell you we didn’t make it to the show. We were so absorbed in photographing the illuminated Siq with the stars that we missed the whole show.

Knowing we wanted to take photos of the Treasury before they blew out the candles, we rushed towards the opening of the Siq just as they were playing the last song.

We set up in the far right corner and then waited for people to start clearing out.  We were able to get some pretty great shots of the Treasury by just hanging back.

** This is the tour we took ** Book your own adventure in Jordan: 8 Day Jordan Explorer

Petra by Night Treasury Jordan

All Alone at the Treasury

It wasn’t long before the staff was pushing us out and back through the Siq to the entrance of Petra. Again, we took our time and continued to take photos while the staff came behind us and put the lights out.

I can say, without a doubt, that we are not sad about missing the show. We had a chance to experience Petra by Night in a unique way that we do not regret.

Walking back through the Siq, alone again, I found my mind wandering to the information we had learned during our day visit. Petra was a secret city that wasn’t discovered by the West until 1812. It was an ancient Nabatean City that the Bedouins had used for centuries, but it lay hidden to outsiders until 200 years ago.

** This is the tour we took ** Book your own adventure in Jordan: 8 Day Jordan Explorer

Petra by Night Jordan

Imagine discovering this hidden city and marveling at its architectural wonders. Think again about being lost in the desert, found and then led down the path of lights to see the Treasury for the first time under the illumination of candles. This is what makes Petra by Night Magical.

Yes, there will be lots of visitors but if you bring a little patience and a sense of adventure, you can experience the lost city in it’s the best glory.

Where to stay in for the best Petra by night experience?

It’s not hard to find a good location in Wadi Musa, Jordan. Most hotels are close to Petra, so you easily can walk from your hotel. We have put together the best places to stay for the ultimate Petra by night experience.

 This is the tour we took in Jordan: 8 Day Jordan Explorer

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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA

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9 thoughts on “Petra by Night is Pure Magic”

    • It really depends on what you are trying to capture but for sure bring a tripod and a remote to take long exposures of it. Start with you aperture wide open, ISO at 100 and a 30 sec exposure and then work from there. 🙂

    • Hi Liz! Yes, we did them both on the same day and yes, you have to leave and then come back. The Petra by Night is ticketed separately and the site closes for 3 hours between the general day admission and admission to Petra by Night. Enjoy, it’s awesome!


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