I wanted to love this event — Petra is genuinely beautiful, and even more so by candlelight.
Unfortunately, the Petra by Night event is so poorly run as to be insulting.
They say it starts at 8:30, but that you can arrive as early as 7:15. They sell tickets until at least 8:45.
We bought our tickets at 8:30, and while we stopped to take a few photos on our walk to the treasury, we made good time.
We wondered why we kept seeing people leaving...
We arrived just in time for the show to end. Whatever magic might have been left, after they lit the Treasury with LEDs instead of candles, instantly vanished.
The whole area was lit up with a flood light, so that the souvenir shop could maybe sell a few more pieces of *incredibly* overpriced Chinese-made “authentic” “antique” crap.
In addition, the only restrooms were inexplicably locked. There were at least 100 people there — I guess they wanted to make the experience “authentic” by having everyone just piss on the rocks?
I wouldn’t have minded roughing it, but I did mind being heckled by two different men when I tried to open the locked bathroom door. I was about ten feet from them. No need to yell.
Not only did they yell at me, they did so *during* the last minutes of the performance!
“Locked, only nature!”
I figured that out on my own, but I’m sure that the yelling really added to the atmosphere for everyone else! I was a bit embarrassed — so they yelled again!
“Only nature, ha ha!”
The boy who then got up and got his friend so they could follow me, pretending to be very interested in every rock I tried to crouch behind, hoping to get a look at my bare ass, was just insult to injury.
Once the show was over and tourist pockets had been successfully emptied at the gift shop, they herded everyone out.
Petra by Night *could* be an incredible, magical event. It is not.
It was an appropriate capstone to an otherwise awful visit to Petra in which I encountered starving dogs, and starving pickpocket children who made no secret about rifling through my bag.
Which isn’t even to mention the filthy, underfed horses that were too weak to walk the trails without *falling* and who flinched at the slightest glance from their so-called trainers. Those were not working animals — they were abused.
...oh, and just so you know, that “free” five minute horse ride that’s included in your ticket? It’ll cost you at least 25JD. Skip it.
Frankly, just skip Petra completely. It’s not worth it.