Petra by Night - a different perspective on the Lost City

Petra by night, as the name suggests, is an amazing way of experiencing the Nabatean Kingdom city. The whole point of the show is to give curious visitors, a different perspective to marvel at this great monument!


The Al-Khazneh, or Treasury building, by day



The Petra-by-night show begins at 8:30 pm and lasts for about two hours. This includes the time taken to walk between the visitor centre and the Treasury about 1.6 kms one way. Visitors normally gather in a group queue at the visitor centre 15 minutes before and the guide takes the the group down into the valley, lit with candle lit lanterns on either side under starry, moonlit skies.



The lantern lit path, down the valley from Wadi Musa, Petra



The scenic walk by morning-this route suddenly feels like unchartered territory, with darkness all around. The lanterns make the experience very fascinating, and if you are visiting in winter like we did, then it makes the walk even more exhilarating because of the cold winds blowing!


As we entered the Al-Siq, ("the Shaft") the views were even more exciting. The views at the end of this canyon path, though, are the most surreal, just look at this:


The Al-Khazneh, starring in Petra-By-Night



After accommodating all visitors on mats and serving them hot bedouin tea (we LOVED sipping on it while sitting here), the guide begins a tale of the historic city, accompanied by classical bedouin music, about how the city formed the epitome of success, of the Nabatean kingdom.


The show accommodates sufficient time and space for everyone to take as many pictures as they want to! So there's no need to hurry and you can even wait till the programme gets over to get the best angles, unhindered by other eager photographers, so that you can calmly compose your perspective.



Visitors prepping their cameras



Things to keep in mind:

  • The show begins at 8:30 pm every other evening (not everyday) - so make sure you check before hand when you are planning to visit Petra so that you spend the correct weekdays there. (at the time of writing this article, the schedule is: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday)
  • The seats fill up really quickly, but there is no problem with the number of tickets they sell, its unlimited.
  • If you want to sit at the perfect spot, showing up on time helps. The group does not start moving until 8:30, but you can be amongst the first batch of visitors through the lantern lit pathway (makes it even more phenomenal, when not a lot of people are ahead of you on the trail)
  • The experience costs JD 17 (or USD 24, or INR 1,600). 
  • Try and avoid flash photography until the show is nearly over - it helps!
  • If you are visiting in the winter, ensure that you are carrying a warmer with you - it can get extremely uncomfortable in the desert cold, even if its just for a little while!



Although some visitors felt that the show was overrated for the cost, we still felt that it was a wonderful overall experience. The walk on the trail, under the moonlight, the innumerable hand-lit lanterns all the way from the visitor centre to the Al-Khazneh and the sheer magnificence of the monument in the darkness, and candle light is a great way of perceiving Petra! We would go back just to sit there, sipping the bedouin tea, looking up at the mighty monument!



How did you enjoy your experience there? Tell us about it!





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