Although many tourists come to Petra every year, Wadi Musa, the “modern” town right outside of the ancient one, remains a mystery. It is a small, local, charming city where the tourists usually stay a night or two and treat it as a base for visiting the beautiful Petra.
Even though the town is not big, there are still some things to do. The further away from the entrance to Petra you go, the more local the experience (and believe me, you don’t have to go that far). So if you still have some energy after spending the whole day in Petra, here are some things you could do. Wadi Musa – what to do:
Visit Little Petra
This, much smaller archeological site is less known by the tourists. It is believed that it was once the “suburb” of the capital city of Petra where traders would stay overnight while traveling on the Silk Road. It is much smaller than Petra itself, but also super authentic with a “local” feel.
The entrance is free, but if you ask a local to take you there, he will probably expect to be paid. Negotiate a price before you leave.
Take a Turkish bath
There are a few Turkish baths in Wadi Musa. I visited the one called Al Yakhor. It was hidden upstairs, behind a restaurant, but if you pass by and ask about it, somebody will for sure lead you upstairs. The waiting area was very cozy with books and magazines for you to read while you wait for the steam bath to be ready. As everywhere in the country, you will receive a delicious tea as a welcome. The bath itself was very pleasant and the message divine! I definitely recommend it to renew your energy.
It’s a simple Turkish bath, for a more luxurious experience check the Movenpick Resort.
Address: On the main street, next to the Petra Hotel. Map
Watch the sunset from the Rocky Mountain Hotel
It’s a small but cozy hotel with a big balcony in the restaurant overlooking the whole city and the canyon. Its windows face west, so if you still have a bit of strength in your legs, climb up there to enjoy a beautiful sunset. Wadi Musa is built on a hill, so be prepared for a tough climb up the mountain to get there (or take a cab from the Visitors Center, it’s around 3$).
Address: Find it on the map here
Go shopping in the Main Street
When you leave Petra, head towards the town for some shopping. A few souvenirs can be found right outside the entrance, but don’t expect to be blown away with choice. Even though Petra is one of the seven wonders and brings lots of tourists to the city, they don’t tend to stick around, so the infrastructures are not well developed. But you can find some beautiful carpets, scarfs, shisha, plates and lamps. Some of them, Chinese, some, true treasures from the locals.
Address: Right outside the entrace to the Visitors Center. Map
Get a drink at the Cave Bar
Although it is made for tourists, it is probably the only place in the city where you will get some alcohol. As Muslims, people in Jordan don’t drink, therefore don’t expect to have a drink with your meal in a restaurant. So if you feel like a cold beer after a day in the desert heat, that’s your place. The decor is very nice, it’s a bar inside of a cave, with some carvings on the walls and the location couldn’t be better: right outside the Visitors Center.
Address: Right outside the Visitors Center. Map
Have dinner at Beit Al-Berakah
This place has the best Mansaf in the city! It’s sooo fresh and aromatic and tasty… Just writing about it makes my mouth water. It’s located on the main roundabout “Al Wadi”, the service is outstanding. As always, the locals receive you as if you were a guest in their house and not just another customer. They will recommend a fresh drink and a dessert. And if you don’t want a dessert, you will get one anyway 😉 At least I did. I chatted with the waiters and they recommended another place for a quick bite. It’s Restaurant Al-Arabi and yes, their kebab is amazing and it’s only 1$!
Address: Al Wadi Roundabout. Map
If you are visiting Petra, I definitely recommend taking some time to discover the rest of the country. It’s incredibly interesting, very safe, and beautiful. Here are my 5 reasons to visit Jordan. Also, here you can find some information about the lifestyle of the Bedouins inhabiting this area.