At the beach in Koh Nang Yuan, Thailand

By Norbert Figueroa, an experienced architect, travel writer, long-term budget traveler, and photographer with over 13 years of travel experience in over 139 countries and counting. @globotreks


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The common image of Petra shows it radiant, glowing under the bright sunlight. But, did you know that Petra is just as impressive, and even more mysterious, by night?

This is what I wanted to experience during my third visit to Petra with the Jordan Tourism Board.

One thing is for sure, the moon’s white dim light and the golden paper candlelight give the ruins a mystique character that is different from what you will ever see during the day.

Petra by Night, Jordan

Unlike the regular visit to Petra during the day, Petra by night is only done on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, at 8:30 pm.

There was still the slight presence of the twilight when I started walking from the entrance towards the mile-long Siq – the narrow gorge.

Petra by night, Jordan
Petra by night, Jordan

Once at the entrance of the Siq, I felt like the experience was exponentially heightened to new levels of sensorial experimentation.

The golden candlelight emanating from the ground creates a gradient with the white moonlight from above.  

The heat of the candles was barely felt when contrasted with the cold winter breeze that pushed through the gorge.

Trees created shadows; the stones and the sand on the floor created an interesting topography to walk on, and jagged walls created shapes. It felt like if I was in a longitudinal world that no longer exists.

Petra by night, Jordan

The Siq was like a twisting serpent, turning here and there, only giving you a peek of what’s beyond, only for a couple hundred feet.

Petra by night, Jordan

I stayed behind the group to take pictures with the space in its pristine condition and to have the space for myself. I didn’t feel scared of being alone at night; I was just in awe, enchanted by the unique experience I was having.

Petra by night, Jordan
Petra by Night, Jordan

I reached The Treasury, again peeking at it through the gorge. But, this time was different. The space is filled with traditional Bedouin music, echoing and bringing life to a space that once heard no music for hundreds of years.

Petra by Night, Jordan

We all sat on mats, and with a cup of tea in hand, we were mesmerized with the hypnotic tunes played with the Bedouin flute.

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The background of this performance… Al-Khazneh (The Treasury)… lit by hundreds of candles. 

I could see how the façade was brightly lit at its base, and as I raised my eyes, the façade turned darker and the details less visible, until it almost blended fully with the natural un-carved sandstone that frames it.

PETRA: Day 3 – Night and Music 1
Petra by Night, Jordan

By the end of the performance, people started to walk out through the Siq. Again, I stayed behind to snap a few more shots. This is when I saw how The Treasury slowly lost its golden glow, as the workers took down the candles, one by one.

I loved the character the paper-wrapped candles gave the space.  It felt like stepping back in time. 

On my way out, it was like walking back to the present, through the warp hole that once brought me to this mysterious past.

As I walked, I stayed a few steps ahead of the workers taking down the candles through the Siq, leaving only a dark shadow behind me.

Petra by Night, Jordan

Essential Info: Logistical Tips and Tricks to Book your Trip

BOOK YOUR FLIGHT
Regarding cheap airfare, I highly recommend using Skyscanner and Expedia. These are two of the sites I use the most due to their exhaustive search on several websites and airlines around the world. They usually bring the cheapest fares.

Additionally, I recommend getting the WayAway Plus membership to save money on cheaper fares and earn cashback (sent straight to your PayPal) on your bookings.

BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION
For hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and other types of accommodation, I highly recommend Booking.com. They are my go-to booking site because they usually have the cheapest fares.

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If you’re a registered Booking.com user (“Genius”), you can take advantage of their “Genius discount” to save even more money. I almost always book my accommodation with Booking, and I’ve saved thousands of dollars with their Genius discount.

And of course, as one of the largest travel booking sites in the world, Expedia is another excellent accommodation booking site with a free reward program and discounted member prices.

If you’re looking to save money by staying at a hostel, HostelWorld has the largest inventory of hostels with shared dorms and private rooms. On the other hand, Vrbo offers a wide variety of rooms and apartments at affordable prices.

DON’T FORGET YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE
Travel insurance with comprehensive coverage will protect you against unexpected events like theft, cancellations, injury, and illness.

I use HeyMondo to insure my trips and recommend them. Their affordable plans offer a 24/7 assistance platform for claims, medical coverage for every traveler, adventure sports and covid-19 coverage, and more. And better yet, GloboTreks readers get 5% off their plan! Get a quote.

Alternatively, if you’re a nomad and travel often or long-term, then SafetyWing could help you save a lot of money on long-term travel insurance.

FIND THE BEST TOURS AT THE BEST PRICES
If you’re looking for the best day tours and cheapest ticket entrances to local attractions, I recommend checking Viator, as they have the largest selection of attractions, passes, and activities all around the world.

BOOK YOUR LOCAL TRANSPORTATION AHEAD OF TIME
Bookaway
 offers the easiest and most accessible way to book overland transportation with local operators, be it by bus, train, ferry, plane, mini-van, or even private transfers.

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If renting a car, then I highly recommend DiscoverCars to get the largest car selection at the best price.

OTHER TRAVEL AND MONEY-SAVING TIPS?
Lastly, check out my resources page for some of the best products and companies to use for your trip. If you like saving money (like I do!), then this page will help.

Adventure Awaits

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Plus, receive a short e-book with 15 Beginner Tips and Tricks to Start Travel Hacking!​

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13 Comments

    1. Andi, you HAVE to visit Petra by night with your husband. You’ll see how romantic, cultural, and mysterious it is. You’re going to enjoy it so much.

    1. Amanda, keep it in your bucket list! You’re going to love the experience of visiting Petra at night and hearing the bedouin flute sound reverberating through the siq.

  1. Our experiences were identical. I stayed right in front of the workers when it was time to go as well. Your photos turned out much better than mine, and my tripod was so shitty.
    But it was magical.

    1. Mica, good photos or not, the experience and being there is never fully captured with even the best camera. This is a place that has to be experienced firsthand. 🙂

  2. This is mesmerizing beyond words. I have visited Petra by day last year, but I’m going back in September anyway and MUST make sure to get the night experience.

    1. Oh yes, Inka! You must not miss Petra by Night. I was blown away by how unique that space looked and felt, and how the music and light played so much with the environment and the experience. 🙂

  3. Awesome photos Norbert! Sadly, none of my photos from Petra by Night turned out remotely well. :-/

  4. Lovely photos! I definitely have to visit Petra at night one day. It sounds like such a mystical and romantic experience.