London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
For many of us, exploring Petra is a lifetime wish. And Petra with kids for us was a dream coming true. So vast and so popular, this UNESCO World Heritage gem sits on magic lands where timing and treks choices are crucial with little feet susceptible of little patience and physical resilience. The Treasury in Petra is the most accessible and iconic, but as soon as we looked at the maps we all knew we wanted to see The Monastery in Petra as well even if that meant an adventurous long Petra Monastery Hike.
We picked the backdoor to Monastery on our second day and this hike ended up as our best part of these 2 days on the magic lands. Spectacular and less travelled, the backdoor is little marked but left us to enjoy the peace and grandeur of the canyons and mountains away from the hordes of tourists, mules, camels, Johny Depp wannabes and souvenir stall sellers.
We arrived in Petra from Hyatt Aqaba the day before. My high level plan was to get the 2 days tickets, trek to the Treasury via the main trail starting early afternoon, wrap up by sunset and hopefully face less crowds. As soon as we got in, we have faced the first hasslers of the day.
Horse ride apparently included in the tickets price easily convinced our kids. It proved to be about 5min ride and the perfect occasion for the guys to ask for tips on the back of the 5 minutes presentation. Easily predictable and no offence taken, as after all these guys rely on tourists like us to put a bread on the table.
We continued by foot to Treasury, mouth opened wide at the beauty around us, the narrow tall gorges and rocks colours in the afternoon sun.
Finding the Treasury after 45 minutes felt like an adventure fairytale; and we continued to the Royal tombs and the Sikh with most of the crowds gone and the moon coming out.
7pm we made our way back, admired Petra museum about to be open the very next day and headed to Little Petra to our luxury glamping base. We knew we needed a different strategy than the the main trail to the Monastery given the crowds and lenghty 3 hours each way. So after some deliberation, online searches and conversations, we opted for paying a car to drive us to the ultimate off road point after Little Petra and opted for Petra monastery hike via the backdoor.
The tickets are checked but can’t be bought from Little Petra, so come prepared! If you are attempting the backdoor, you may decide to drive yourself – 4×4 definitely needed! Come also prepared with water and snacks as this is definitely the road less travelled.
We’ve just uploaded on Youtube the backdoor to Petra, the link in here, the hike and the adrenalin from few hazardous bits all worth it! Ad Deir (The Monastery in Petra) also known as El Deir, is monumental and iconic, the second most commonly visited monument in Petra after the Treasury. The rock-cut facade is 45 meters high and 50 meters, believed to be first constructed in 3 BCE as a monumental Nabataean tomb. The tomb has several incised crosses carved into the wall, which may indicate that the structure was reused as a church during the Byzantine period.
Reaching the Monastery felt just glorious ! We indulged into icrecreams, snacks, celebratory drinks and more pictures. Thereafter we got back to our car mostly on the main trail – more tombs, temples, an impressive amphitheatre and a Roman colonnaded street. It’s a long way for little darling feet but they’ve done unbelievably well, the 5 years old walking by himself over 10km and the 3 years old managing say a third by himself . The rest, many thanks to our resilient shoulders ! We wrapped up at 5pm, by our car in the main parking by Petra museum.
Interestingly enough we have not been the only family that day who attempted Petra with kids and the Monastery with little feet. We met one other family who was going back through the backdoor and a couple of others the main trek. The kiddies loved exploring, jumping around, collecting stones and sticks. One lifetime experience for sure!
The Rose City of Petra is believed to be first settled around the 6th century BC by the Nabataeans and has been rediscovered in 1812. And the back door to the Monastery leaves one to discover this place closer to what must have been 200 years ago, in its stark natural beauty and peacefulness.