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Old Dec 2, 07, 1:22 pm   #1
 
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Question I want to see Petra, Jordan - Best way to get there?

Hi all,

I'd like to see Petra, Jordan - I will be flying from London - what's the best airport to fly in? AMM seems to be the most common airport, however, can I fly into Tel Aviv? Tickets in Feb are around 100 GBP cheaper if I fly into that airport. I'm just not show how far it is from Petra.

Also, what is the best area to stay in and to see other sites in Jordan?

Thank you
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Old Dec 2, 07, 1:33 pm   #2
 
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Smile

The best way to see Petra is either on an organized tour, which takes all the hassle out of it, or DIY which is more complicated. A British company named Voyages Jules Verne (VJV.com) are very professional and competitive,taking in all the sites, including Petra, Wadi Rum, Dead Sea, Madaba,Karak, Mount Nebo, Jerash and the Desert Castles to the east. They fly into Aqaba, where you stay for a few days at the end of the tour to relax by the Red Sea. They have chartered their own flight. Otherwise I think you will pay more just for the flight. You can fly into Amman (where we also stayed) with Royal Jordanian, but it will be more hassle and expensive to do it this way. I have been twice and love the history and landscapes and people.
I spoke to someone earlier on a different travel site and it did seem easier and cheaper to use VJV.
Good luck with what ever you decide.
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Old Dec 2, 07, 1:45 pm   #3
 
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Petra is defintely worth a visit.

Flying into Amman and renting a car works just fine. It's a straight shot down a multilane highway most of the way there ... well paved roads, with major signs in English. It's a bit long, though, maybe 4 hours?

There's also an airport in Aqaba (AQJ) and one nearby in Eliat, Israel (ETH). These are closer than Amman. Border crossing shouldn't be a big deal for a US or UK passport holder (not sure which you are)...I did it a couple years ago.

You can't take a rental car across, though I rented from Monte Carlo and they drove the vehicle to the border (or port in my case), and met me at the border leaving. They were prompt and professional, with reasonable rates.

Don't fly to TLV if Petra is your main goal. It's perfectly doable, but the combination of crossing the border AND being 5-6 hours away by car makes it a less-than-attractive option.

I hope this is helpful. Enjoy Petra, but also spend some time in less touristed areas, especially Wadi Rum...it's gorgeous!
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Old Dec 2, 07, 1:47 pm   #4
 
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Unless you want to see other sights in Israel, I would strongly urge you not to fly into TLV -- the immigration in TLV and between Israel and Jordan (both ways) will be unpleasant to say the least.
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Old Dec 2, 07, 3:57 pm   #5
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I would second the organized tour idea, a guide at the site itself is very helpful.

I went with a company called Imaginative Traveller, and had an excellent tour in Syria and Jordan
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Old Dec 2, 07, 9:53 pm   #6
 
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my vote is for independent travel

Petra is perfectly easy to organize independently. as previously mentioned, easiest is to fly into Amman, then rent a car at the airport and drive straight down a perfectly straight and well-maintained highway to Petra. there, you can hire a local guide if necessary. however, I found that a good guidebook is all you need. compare the costs - if organized tour is much cheaper, then maybe its worth it. also, many interesting stop on the way down (crusader castles, biblical places, etc). great way to make a day of it getting down there. Hertz and maybe others allows you to pickup car in amman and drop off in petra without any additional fees on rentals of 3 days or more. although you'd probably need to come back to amman to fly back as well.
another thing to note - i saw the tour groups in petra and I spend MUCH more time there than the groups were allowed to spend. also, some of the magic is being in quieter places without another 30 people with you, some of the quieter corners. impossible with a tour group. Petra is huge and there's a big choice of places to go or not to go. i would not want to have to follow the majority rule and go to some places and skip others.
if you can fly into Aqaba, it's about 1.5 hr drive, also on good highway. Jordanians are very friendly, polite and many speak english. I was traveling alone and had no problems whatsoever.
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Old Dec 3, 07, 7:27 am   #7
 
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Just like to say that even though we were with a tour we had lots of spare time to do our own thing, and we did. We saw Petra at our own pace too. The good thing about tours is that you don't have to worry about booking transport and hotels in each place. We covered most of Jordan on our tour, and we often went off on our own. I usually go independently to other places, including Egypt, but found it easier and a lot cheaper actually to go with a group to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. We felt very safe in all these places, and we also took off on our own in the latter two. I suppose its up to the individual, but if you feel happy going it alone and its actually cheaper then by all means do so.
Did miss out on points at the Crowne Plaza in Petra though!
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Old Dec 3, 07, 7:42 am   #8
 
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Originally Posted by daisymay2 View Post
Just like to say that even though we were with a tour we had lots of spare time to do our own thing, and we did. We saw Petra at our own pace too. The good thing about tours is that you don't have to worry about booking transport and hotels in each place. We covered most of Jordan on our tour, and we often went off on our own. I usually go independently to other places, including Egypt, but found it easier and a lot cheaper actually to go with a group to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. We felt very safe in all these places, and we also took off on our own in the latter two. I suppose its up to the individual, but if you feel happy going it alone and its actually cheaper then by all means do so.
Did miss out on points at the Crowne Plaza in Petra though!
The Crowne Plaza at Petra is a great place to stay...nice rooms, good food, and right by the entrance gate, so no need to drive locally.

I also second the above opinions about the ease of travel in Jordan as an independent westerner. There's no more need to be scared there than in Europe.
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Old Dec 3, 07, 7:48 am   #9
 
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I agree with the above posts recommending independent travel. It's easy.

I flew into AMM. rented a car and drove to Petra. It can be an awesome drive, passing a couple of Crusader castles (well worth a visit). There are two different roads and you can go south on one of them and return via the other.

You can spend the night in Petra (there are a bunch of international hotels).

There are lots of local guides offering their services. You can even travel to and/or from the site via a horse and buggy.

Enjoy
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Old Dec 3, 07, 9:41 am   #10
 
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I travelled there independently, but once at Petra I did pay for a tour guide for the first day. It was an inexpensive way to get a good orientation. We spent three days visiting the site (be sure to hike up (and up) to the monastery.

As for arrival airports, I would vote for Amman. When I arrived (fall of 2000) I flew in Tel Aviv (I wanted to see Jerusalem) and it took quite a while to cross into Jordan. Note that if you arrive in Tel Aviv make sure you have a Jordanian Visa ahead of time, as you need to already have a visa if you want to cross at the Allenby Bridge.

The other advantage to arriving in Amman in it's an easy journey to the ruins of Jerash, which are really worth a visit if you're visiting Jordan:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerash
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Old Dec 3, 07, 9:47 am   #11
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Originally Posted by discoverCSG View Post
The Crowne Plaza at Petra is a great place to stay...nice rooms, good food, and right by the entrance gate, so no need to drive locally.
.
You mean the Moevenpick? The Crowne Plaza is quite a bit further away.

I'd say flying into AMM is much better. 2 hour drive to Petra. Some people have just chartered a taxi which isn't too much(JOD 50 OW?) You don't need a car at Petra unless you want to have a look at other things between AMM and Petra. Roads are well marked.
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Old Dec 3, 07, 10:13 am   #12
 
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Originally Posted by YVR Cockroach View Post
I'd say flying into AMM is much better. 2 hour drive to Petra. Some people have just chartered a taxi which isn't too much(JOD 50 OW?)
I was going to mention this option as well. If you don't wish to drive, just fly into AMM and ask any taxi driver you see. They will be more than willing to cater to your every Petra-related need.
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Old Dec 3, 07, 10:23 am   #13
 
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If you are a bit adventurous and want to save money, you can take a public bus from Amman's bus station to Petra for 0.600 JD per person. A limited understanding of Arabic would of course be helpful.
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Old Dec 3, 07, 10:25 am   #14
 
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I had arranged a private tour. The guide picked us up from the ferry in Aqaba (we had been diving in Sharm), did the visa/immigration stuff and drove us to Petra. I would have liked to have had another day there. I think at least a day and a half if not two days would be idea.

I agree that it's do-able on your own. The question is whether you like tours or not. I hate tours, but others love them; it's just a matter of taste and disposition. There are other sites I want to see in Jordan (Jerash is the major one). You might also want to arrange a night in Wadi-Rum. We didn't, but I'd love to do that. I think there are some eco-tourism things there.

Almost everyone I met (including the Bedouins selling stuff) spoke at least some English.

The Jordanian government is under heavy financial pressure. They have taken in a lot of Iraqi refuges and tourism is down because of the unrest in the Middle East. If you go, please buy lots more than you need, especially from the Bedouins who are dependent on the tourist trade.
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Old Dec 3, 07, 1:10 pm   #15
 
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Whatever you decide, do not miss Jerash, which is only 51km north of Amman so easy to do. We do not usually do tours either, but found it cheaper at the time as there was a special introductory offer by a reputable company in the UK. We were on the inaugrual flight to Aqaba, hence the cheap price!
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