Hiking Petra: Four hours of beauty and awe

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If you ever find your way to Jordan, make sure you go to Petra. The ruins of the ancient city of is perhaps one of the most breathtaking and humbling sights I have ever seen, seriously.

Quick history lesson: Petra is a historical and archaeological city in the southern Jordanian governorate of Ma’an, that is famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system.

Back to the fun stuff…

Located about three hours from the capital city of Amman, Petra is a tourist trap, but it is one that is well worth the visit just be prepared. The best to go is early: at 7am as it opens. You will appreciate exploring the city in its most still moments. Trust me when all the tourist show up it is a game of get through the crowds to see everything.

The city is vast so you can navigate away from the crowds by taking different paths but wouldn’t you rather enjoy it without the distractions?

Comfort is key at Petra, so dress for it. A four hour hike, the city expanse is rocky and full of hills and great heights to climb. It is advisable to have water and if possible a snack. If you are not the walking type, don’t worry you can hire a horse drawn buggy that can take you around the ancient city and the drivers tell you its tales.

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My favourite thing about this place was just the amount of history it had to offer, homes of its past inhabitants their story still alive in the walls and the memories they left behind. Within the city walls merchants await the tourist to sell them a piece of Bedouin history and culture. You can get anything from the people here, jewellery, pottery and tea. This part can actually get annoying.

There is so much to see that even the four hours it takes to cover the city doesn’t seem to be enough time. The good thing is once you buy your ticket you can stay in the city for as long as you want. You don’t need a guide to tell you about the ruins, plaques at designated points tell the you the story of what you are looking at, the people who walked the paths you now follow.

Everyday people from all over the world come in the hundreds to see the ruins of Petra, a true marvel of the ancient world.

When in transit: Rather explore than stay stuck

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I have had the unfortunate pleasure of having many long layovers. When I first started travelling it was awful, I would be stuck in some random city for hours with nothing to do expect walk around an airport that doesn’t have much to offer.

So as I have trotted about more I learnt that rather make the most of the time rather drain your battery playing Angry Birds because let’s face it some airports still don’t offer free wifi. Depending on the airport you it might actually offer enough entertainment to while away 4 or even 5 hours but can an airport entertain you for 8 or 10 hours?

Try get a visa for the place you are and use the opportunity to explore a new place before you head off to your destination. Not only will the fresh air do you good but you get to add a new location to your list of visited places. You might actually be lucky and get all this for free.

I recently had a 9 hour layover in Dubai, if you are every going to be stuck anywhere this is a great place trust. Emirates airlines bless their hearts, gave me a complimentary hotel room and visa, paid for a dinner and transportation to and from the airport.

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Instead of just sitting at the airport I used to opportunity to go see Dubai, be it s very short visit and I was kinda exhausted it made for a difference and I also got grab about tow hours of sleep before I faced the next leg of my journey.

Someone asked me why Emirates would do this? Easy customer loyalty. The company has achieved two things about giving 5 hours to play in the city: for someone hasn’t been to Dubai before they get a glimpse into a great city. It really is, hot but pretty cool. Two, if this was the first this customer was flying Emirates they have made a loyal customer out of that person because let’s face it if I am booking a flight that may result in a long layover I rather go with the people who will consider my needs that the ones that just want my money.