In pictures

Petra by night // In pictures

The temples of Petra in Jordan lit up by candles at night

As soon as I announced I was going to Petra, the one thing everyone said I must do was see it at night. On three evenings a week, the ancient city is open to visitors in the evening when it’s lit by over 1800 candles. It’s a popular trip, with around 150 people on our tour. So we held back and let them rush off, and ended up with the pathway down almost to ourselves. A bright full moon lit the route down from the visitors centre to the Siq, into the darkness where the only light comes from the luminaries – candles in paper bags. It’s a challenge to capture how beautiful it was, especially without a tripod, but there are a few helpfully positioned benches and rocks to help you out. By the time we reached the Treasury the crowd were sat down on mats to drink tea and listen to Bedouin musicians. But the most magical part for me was the candlelit walk, so we snuck off early to have the route back all to ourselves again.

The entrance to Petra by candlelight, Jordan
Candlelit pathway through Petra at night
The temples of Petra by candlelight, Jordan
Candles at Petra by night
Treasury at Petra by night, Jordan

The details

Petra by night tours run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, starting from the main entrance gate at 8.30pm and finishing about 10.30pm. Tickets cost JD17 (approx £16) per person.

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Petra by night – On the Luce travel blog

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48 Comments

  • Reply
    Anita Mac
    December 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    So amazing! Love how they have all the candles…had never heard of that before! What an incredible night – the candles and the music. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      December 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm

      The candles really made it – though I can’t imagine how much work it must take to light and put out all 1800 each time!

  • Reply
    aBitofCulture
    December 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Looks awesome – is the old city not normally open to visitors?

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      December 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm

      Only until sunset – you usually have to be out of Petra by 5.30pm (or a bit earlier in winter) before the sun goes down, so this is your only chance to see it at night (just updated that bit in the post as it wasn’t very clear!).

  • Reply
    Orla-Jo Duill
    December 10, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Wow, given you had no tripod I’m very impressed with the photographs. Gorgeous.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      December 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      Thanks, I have to give my boyfriend credit for most of them as he has a steadier hand than me! Would’ve loved to have a tripod but it wouldn’t fit it in my case, but we managed to lean the cameras on various benches and rocks which helped.

  • Reply
    Bama
    December 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    I’ve never heard of this before. That means when one day I make my way to Petra, I should go twice — by day and night. Truly beautiful!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      December 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      You definitely should, it looks so different it’s like visiting two different places!

  • Reply
    Ship's Cook
    December 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Wow, that looks fabulous, lucky you they didn’t do that when we visited back in the early nineties

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      December 11, 2012 at 12:25 am

      I don’t know when they came up with the idea but it’s was such a good one to be able to see some of Petra by night too.

  • Reply
    Photography by Gisele Morgan
    December 10, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    wow!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      December 11, 2012 at 12:26 am

      Some great photo opportunities there – though if I ever go back I’ll definitely be taking my tripod!

  • Reply
    Rory Alexander
    December 10, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    That looks like it was absolutely amazing. And my bucket list grows… 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      December 11, 2012 at 12:23 am

      It was beautiful – I’d seen photos before I went to Jordan and knew I had to see it for myself!

  • Reply
    restlessjo
    December 10, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    That’s definitely a double wow, Lucy. The atmosphere must have been amazing.
    Mick’s just chuckling over the fact that your boyfriend had a steadier hand. It’s a problem I often have.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      December 11, 2012 at 12:27 am

      It was lovely, and so peaceful when everyone else had headed off ahead of us. Maybe the steady hands is a male trait then – either that or it’s my rubbish upper body strength with a heavy DSLR camera!

  • Reply
    Travelbunny
    December 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    That’s so beautiful Lucy – lovely to sneak out just before the crowds and experience it quietly by yourselves.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      December 11, 2012 at 12:25 am

      That’s what we thought – most people rushed off to get to the Treasury as quickly as possible but I enjoyed wandering down the pathway along the Siq just as much.

  • Reply
    Karen Johnson
    December 10, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    It’s so beautiful!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      December 11, 2012 at 12:29 am

      It really was – I’ve seen some photos taken without any of the people and they were amazing, hard to take though I imagine as it’s so popular now!

  • Reply
    Shelley
    December 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Oh WOW!! We didn’t time our stay in Petra to coincide with the Night event, but seeing your pictures, I really wish we had. How hauntingly beautiful it is!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      December 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      It’s a shame that they don’t do it every night – though when you think about how long it must take to light all those candles then you can see why!

  • Reply
    Gerard
    December 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Wow! I never heard of that before. That’s super cool. Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      December 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm

      It’s such a great idea isn’t it? You can almost imagine what it was like for the first explorers coming into Petra by candlelight (though maybe with a few more candles!).

  • Reply
    Si Ochoy
    December 12, 2012 at 4:57 am

    it’s just.. Am-A-Zing :’)

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      December 13, 2012 at 10:17 pm

      Thanks, it was a really lovely thing to see.

  • Reply
    h0tchocolate
    December 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    wow, so beautiful!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      December 13, 2012 at 10:16 pm

      So peaceful too when you got away from the crowds.

  • Reply
    carmillaweirdlove
    December 13, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Reblogged this on carmillaweirdlove.

  • Reply
    Rachael
    December 20, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Oh, wow. My vague thoughts about a trip at Easter are rapidly becoming less vague! A stunning sequence.

  • Reply
    On the Luce in 2012 | On the Luce
    December 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    […] the temples of Petra, within reach. As well as being totally awed by Petra – both by day and at night – we road tripped through the spectacular scenery of the King’s Highway and luxuriated at […]

  • Reply
    t
    December 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    this is simply amazing. You really captured the vibe

  • Reply
    Madhu
    December 28, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Wow! Seems magical!
    We didn’t go back in at night, because i was suffering from adverse effects to some drugs i was prescribed.

  • Reply
    cav12
    December 29, 2012 at 4:18 am

    WOW! Gorgeous. That’s all the words needed 🙂

  • Reply
    A first-timers guide to Petra | On the Luce
    January 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    […] and late afternoons. Petra is also open at night on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for the Petra by night tour. Tickets cost JD12 (£10) and the tour starts at 8.30pm and finishes about 10pm. It’s […]

    • Reply
      AK
      May 25, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      Thanks for sharing such a great experience. Is it required to buy the night tour tix in advance? Or would I be OK just buying the tix from the visitor centre just before the tour starts at 8:30?

      • Reply
        Lucy
        January 11, 2016 at 3:09 pm

        We bought ours about an hour before but there were people buying them right up to the start of the tour – as far as I could see they don’t usually have a limit on numbers so you should be ok except maybe in very high season.

  • Reply
    Chris
    January 10, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    Hey there,
    What camera settings did you use for these shots (which are excellent by the way)? I imagine a low ISO to avoid grain, wide open aperture, and perhaps 30 second exposures? Maybe longer with my cropped frame camera?
    I’m planning on seeing Petra at night sometime this year and just wanna be prepared.

    Chris

    • Reply
      Lucy
      January 11, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      Hi Chris, these were mostly taken with a Nikon D750 without a tripod – there are various rocks you can steady yourself on which helps. ISO was reasonably high but I use one of the Nik Software programmes – Dfine – which helps reduce noise. Also as they are fairly small on blog size that helps! Enjoy Petra.

  • Reply
    Gale
    August 25, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    This looks absolutely amazing! Cannot wait to get there, very exciting xo

  • Reply
    Sigrid
    December 1, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Yea! Yea! Thank you SO much for this! Will be there in Feb. 2017. Thanks to you, we will not miss this!!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      December 2, 2016 at 10:01 am

      Such an amazing experience – hope you enjoy it!

      • Reply
        Sigrid Wallach
        December 2, 2016 at 8:44 pm

        We like to book our travel through “in country” local tour operators. Do you happen to know of a good local (in Jordan) tour company? Also I am looking at some of the Bedouin Camps around Petra. I know it will be cold at night in February, but would still like to have that experience. Any suggestions?

        Truly, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your knowledge about Petra! Cheers!

        • Reply
          Lucy
          December 6, 2016 at 8:57 am

          Hi, I’m afraid we didn’t use a tour company so I’m not sure about that, but I know people who’ve stayed at the Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp near Petra and really enjoyed it. Most of the Bedouin camps have fires and lots of blankets so it should hopefully be warm enough even in February. Have an amazing trip!

          • Sigrid Wallach
            December 6, 2016 at 6:10 pm

            Thank you for your kind reply. I will check out the Bedouin Camps! I did find a tour company that has a very good reputation & they have been very responsive. They put together a great itinerary for me. If interested, it is Jordan Select Tours & I am working with Samar Farah. Thanks again! Sigrid

  • Reply
    Ahsan
    January 28, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Hi Lucy, loved reading your blog about Petra. We are going to Egypt then planning to go to Petra on 27th December on Wednesday. After reading your blog, I want to see Petra at night now. We can do the day trip on the second day on 28th December. We have two young children and need to fly back to Cairo for our return flight to UK. Any suggestions to make our life easy for Petra would be appreciated. I am happy to hire a car from Amman or can take a taxi to Petra. Your blogs are so much informative, I am following you now on the Facebook.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      January 30, 2017 at 11:18 am

      Hi Ahsan, driving is very easy in Jordan so if you’re happy to hire a car that might be a good idea as it gives you so much more flexibility. It’s around 2.5 hours from Amman to Petra so easily do-able for a day trip. Hope you have a great time!

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