Petra By Night is the famous night show where you can see the Treasury behind a sea of candles. It can be a unique and wonderful experience or a big disappointment. If you look for reviews, you will find that they diverge extremely strongly from very positive to very negative. In the following I will tell you how the course of the Petra By Night show was, when I was there and let you know how you can influence some variables by yourself so that it will be a great experience for you.
Petra By Night only takes place on dedicated days and requires a separate ticket, which is only valid in combination with a day ticket. Even if you have the tickets, you have to leave Petra at sunset. The tour starts at the entrance. It is not allowed to wait at the Treasury until it is dark. As prices and times may change, you can find the information here: http://visitpetra.jo/DetailsPage/VisitPetra/EntertainmentsDetailsEn.aspx?PID=4
Course of the Petra By Night show
Petra By Night starts through the same entrance as you start during the day. Then the group went 1km along the path to the entrance of the Siq (Canyon). The way down was lit with candles. Approximately every 10 meters there was a candle. Once there, the guide advised us that no flashlights and no torcht should be used during the following way and that there should be silence when arriving at the treasury to not destroy the atmosphere. In addition, the further course was briefly explained. Then we went through the canyon, which was also illuminated by the candles standing every 10m on the left and right side.
Once you arrive at the Treasury and the sea of candles, you are asked to sit on the carpets. Then 2 pieces of music were played and a mug of tea was given before the guide told a few more minutes about Petra. Finally there was time for photos again and the Treasury was illuminated with a light show in changing colors. Afterwards it was time to go back.
The entire experience takes about 2 hours, the time at the Treasury is about 30 minutes.
Tips and Tricks
Time of travel
Nowhere the time of travel is as important as here. There are unlimited tickets for Petra By Night. Your read correctly, so far there is no limit. This has the advantage that everyone can see it at night, but the disadvantage is, that crowds of people can completely ruin the experience. I was on a tour with maybe a hundred other people in mid-December 2019, while there are will be definitely a lot more people in the summer.
The website said, that the tour will take place at 8:30 p.m. However, when I bought my ticket at the Visitors Center in the afternoon, they told me that there was a tour at 7:30 p.m. and one at 8:30 p.m.. They told me that experience had shown that fewer people take part in the 7:30 p.m.. So inform on-site again about any additional tours that may take place at other times.
You want to optimize your time and your photo opportunities at the Treasury and you want less people? Then you should be one of the first to get there. Position yourself so that you stand on the side of the canyon entrance while the guide explains the rules to be one of the first to enter the canyon. Afterwards you have to walk quickly and without a photo stop to the Treasury. If you were fast enough, the reward is a place on the carpet in the first row with the best view and the possibility to take great pictures while the songs are played.
Take a look at the canyon
While the light show is still running and all people are taking photos of the Treasury, the canyon aisle is still quite empty and your chance to take a great photo here too, as there was no time for a stop on the way down. You only have to go 5 meters in and you have the great atmosphere.
The first will be the last
Use as much time as possible before you are sent back.
Expectations – Instagram vs Reality
With a long exposure time, a camera can collect significantly more light for an image than the human eye. This can lead to disappointment because in reality it may not look like what you expected. It was clear to me beforehand and I think it’s also great what you see with the human eye. But so that you really know what to expect, I will also show you a picture of what you can see with the eye.