Petra by night is something special that you should not miss when you travel to Jordan. Seeing the ruins at night gave them a certain mystique that you do not get during the day. You really get the feeling that this is how the ancient spice caravan travelers must have seen it.


The Entrance to the Siq (a 1.2 km long narrow gorge) Leading to Petra at night in Jordan

We walked through the Siq not knowing what to expect. We hadn’t really done a lot of research on Petra before visiting the ruins, so it was all a complete surprise to us as we followed the crowd to the Treasury.


The Siq Leading to Petra is hand lit by candles all the way to our Final Destination over 1km later

We imagined that we had stepped back in time. The stones that we were walking upon were the original stones of Petra and we were completely in awe of our surroundings. As the twilight sun gave off a golden hugh, we could still make out the tops of the towering cliffs above.


People have walked this ancient path since 1000 BC

Candles placed in paper bags lit our path all the way through the siq of Petra. This 2 km walk is an experience you will never forget. It feels as if you will never reach the Treasury, the most famous site of Petra, but when you do, the walk is worth the wait. Each candle is hand lit to give an authentic experience transporting the visitor back centuries.


Petra, The ancient Nabatean City of Jordan was Rediscovered in 1812

The ancient Nabatean City was the secret of Jordan and it wasn’t discovered by the west until 1812. Bedouins had used this place for centuries, but it lay hidden to outsiders until 200 years ago.


Petra lay hidden and lost for centuries in the Mountains of Wadi Mousa. The Siq did it's job of hiding this New 7th Wonder of the World

Petra will be celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2012 and it is a spectacular ancient city that is not to be missed. Jordan tourism will be pulling out all the stops to make the event a special one. If you happen to go to Petra, make sure to witness it at night.


Imagine how Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burchard felt walking Petra's narrow walls approaching the Treasury

Once you reach the treasury, you are treated to people playing traditional Bedouin music. Men serve tea as you sit on matts. Get there early to get to the front for the best photo opportunities and make sure to stick around after the crowds leave to capture the Treasury free of heads and shadows.

We lingered after the crowd left to capture an empty Petra, Treasury and Siq making for a stunning photo opportunity.


Our final destination for Petra by night..The Treasury

Petra by Night in Jordan is a truly magical experience. We captured these photos above by staying one step behind the crowd and one step ahead of the men taking down the candles. To be alone in Petra in complete silence and darkness was magical. But dress warm, once the sun goes down in the desert of Jordan, things turn cold quickly!

Stay tuned for more information on Petra from our visit to Petra by Day. There are many myths and legends surrounding the number 1 tourist destination in Jordan.

Petra is the perfect destination for Romance, Check out Velvet Escape for your romantic Experience in Petra. 

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    1. davendeb

      Hey Jack and Jill, you will love Petra when you go there. We were happy to see that we enjoyed it as much as we expected.

  1. Gillian @OneGiantStep

    Stunning! Petra was one of the highlights of our year away. One of those special times when seeing a sight brought tears to my eyes. Jordan was an unexpected stop for us and I couldn’t be happier that we did. Can’t wait to see more from your view! Cheers!

    1. davendeb

      Hi Gillian, I am glad that you loved Petra as well. Many times ancient ruins can be a little bit of a let down, but Petra was definitely anything but. The setting, the landscape, the surroundings….it is simply a beautiful location and experience. Visiting the Monastery is well worth it too. But that is coming up in another post on Petra,

    1. davendeb

      It is a wonder and well deserving of being voted in as one of the new 7 Wonders of the World. Let us know when you go and how you like it.

    1. davendeb

      Thanks Patricia. Staying right until the very end is key. Wait for everyone to leave and then take really long exposures. It took a while, but I was happy with the way they turned out.

    1. davendeb

      Thanks Leslie. The great thing about Petra by night is that it is only $12 JD

  2. Sherry Ott

    Did the tourist board hold off all of the tourists for you or provide some sort of special access early/late?! Great shots Dave. I skipped the night thing as I had the 2 day pass and had planned a lot of daytime exploring!

    1. davendeb

      Not for the nighttime photos. We waited until everyone left and pulled up the rear walking back. The guy that were cleaning up and picking up the candles eventually caught us and told us we had to leave. We had just enough time to shoot the entrance before they picked up the final candle. If you go to Petra at night, just wait for the crowd to disperse. People leave quickly after the show.

    1. davendeb

      You can and it is reasonable too. Only 12 JD, Thanks for the clarification Ali, that is what I meant to put. 12 JD, about $16.

    1. davendeb

      It was definitely a different experience than in the day. If you go the night before your tour in the morning, it is recommended. We didn’t know what to expect. Just the walk through the Siq is magical. It is also a long walk and they light every candle by hand each evening.

    1. davendeb

      Thanks Andi. It was an amazing way to be introduced to Petra. To see it at night and then go in the morning the next day is an excellent way to do your tour. It was completely different in the daytime. Just as impressive though.

  3. Randy

    Fantastic work! I’m dying to do this tour. When we make it, I’ll definitely try to work it so we can see Petra at night and then the next morning.

    1. davendeb

      Fantastic. Petra at night is very reasonable. Be sure to dress warm, when the sun goes down it is very cold. Looking forward to your photos too!

    1. davendeb

      Thanks. It’s Dave’s favourite form of photography. Taking photos at night.

    1. davendeb

      Thanks Debbie. That is what I felt too and why I didn’t write much. I decided I can give all the information about Petra when I write about Petra by day. This post needed as little of writing as possible in my opinion:)

  4. Cailin

    these photos gave me shivers down my spine!!!
    Its so beautiful and I have been wanting to visit there forever!
    Are there always lights lit like that on the ground at night time? really awesome!

    1. davendeb

      Yes, Cailin. They light candles and put them in paper bags every night that Jordan by Night is open which I think is all the time. Walking along the path is a pretty incredible experience. Make sure to bring your tripod and sit at the front on the mats.

    1. davendeb

      You will love it Christine. Like someone else said previously, the show isn’t the greatest, but walking in the Siq by candle light and seeing the Treasury lit with nothing more than hundreds of candles is pretty magical.

  5. Sarah Lee

    Wow, what incredible photos. This looks like a fantastic tour, offering a completely different perspective on Petra. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Abby

    Wow!! Admittedly, I just started hearing about Petra this year. I never knew much about that part of the world. Someday!

    1. davendeb

      Same with us Abby, this is only our second time in the Middle East (Egypt being our other trip) and we didn’t know much about Jordan other than Petra. While visiting this country we were amazed every day by the generosity of the people, the beauty of the landscape and the incredible history. I am looking forward to going back to this part of the world in the near future.

  7. my.

    Incredible photos! What an amazing experience it must have been! For some reason, Jordan was never on my Must Go To List, but I may now have to reconsider it. :) — Michelle

    1. davendeb

      Hi my. I am happy to hear that Jordan may now be on your list. It is one of those places that definitely lives up to the hype. The setting in the mountains and gorges adds to its impressiveness.

  8. Merav | AllWays Car Rental NZ

    Amazing work as always, Dave :-) An Israeli for 34 years and never visited Petra (well, to my defense for the better part of my life I couldn’t have even if I wanted to). Petra have always been a destination for rule-breaking and thrill seekers back in those days. Afterwards, it was just another tourist destination and lost its charm. These photos show how amazing the place can be!

    1. davendeb

      Thanks Sarah, It was the best decision I made this year deciding to travel with a good tripod. It adds more weight to my bags, but my night photographs have been some of the most fulfilling to take.

  9. Laur @ The Mad to Live

    I feel like having gotten to see these today was Gift they are so beautiful. I love the earth we live on… so much to explore, history to learn, and places to step our feet onto and LIVE!

    Thanks for sharing these truly breathtaking photos!
    - Laur :)

    1. davendeb

      Laur your comment is so beautifully written it adds beauty in words to this post. Thank you for sharing.

  10. TheGourmetCoffeeGuy

    Absolutely beautiful photos. Really nice warm tones and hues, also liked the dimensional aspect of the photographs that conveyed the enormous size of this place. The black and white photograph is very impressive as well. Thank you for sharing.

    1. davendeb

      Thanks GourmetCoffeeGuy. We appreciate the feedback and so glad that you like it.

  11. John

    What a great idea to visit at night. Petra by day has had way too much exposure, every other blog seems to cover it these days.

    1. davendeb

      Thanks John, yes, there have certainly been a lot of Bloggers in Jordan recently and it isn’t slowing down any time soon with the Visit Jordan campaign. I am glad that we could come up with a different spin thanks to Dave’s patience.

  12. Wai Tsui

    Great to know that you can visit the Indiana Jones place at night! Consider it bookmarked for my next destination. Thanks for sharing the gorgeous photos!

    1. davendeb

      Haha, Wai Tsui, I love the Indiana Jones Reference. There was a woman walking through the Siq with her video camera going and singing the theme song. I thought it was awesome. I didn’t even know that the Last Crusade was filmed here until we arrived. Everywhere in Jordan reminded me of all 3 of the Indiana Jones films even though it was just the 3rd one shot here. So cool.

    1. davendeb

      Have a great time in August. We know a great guide if you happen to need one.

  13. Leigh

    Night photos are something I haven’t even starting exploring yet – a whole other level of complexity. Dave you’re becoming the master photographer and all these Jordan posts are making me want to go.Keep up the stunning work.

    What kind of software do you use for your photos?

    1. davendeb

      Thanks Leigh. I have been lucky enough to have the chance to visit some incredibly photogenic places that inspire me to take better pictures. You should go to Jordan, you will love it!

  14. David @ MalaysiaAsia

    Nice shots Dave! I’m sure you used a tripod to achieve them and the amount of settings involved to get the right mood too. Sometimes when I am free, I too would explore on night shots. Keep up the great work!

    1. davendeb

      Hi David, yes I used a tripod and a very long exposure. 2 to 3 minutes. Luckily the mood was already set for me by being in Petra at night by candlelight. You will love exploring night photographs, it is my favorite.

  15. Annie

    Amazing! Petra looks so beautiful and I imagine even more breathtaking by night. I never knew much about Petra until I started reading travel blogs, now I’m interested!

  16. Merav | AllWays Car Rental NZ

    Beautiful work, Dave (as always :-)). Just like many other people I also didn’t know you could visit Petra at night (a well kept secret?). I never visited Petra. For the better years of my life I couldn’t, only the rule-breakers and thrill seekers did that, and later when the border was open it wasn’t on my wish list for some reason. Perhaps in one of the visits to Israel I should go ahead and do it.

    1. davendeb

      Thanks Ayngelina. The candles really set the mood for wanting to take photos. I am really glad that I brought my tripod.

    1. davendeb

      We didn’t know about Petra at night until we went either. Glad you like them.

  17. Anita

    HOLY COW!!!! These are incredible photos! And I’ve been looking at pics for a couple of hours now, and then these practically blinded me with their beauty.thank you so much for sharing- I’m going to pass this around. I so want to go to Petra!

    1. davendeb

      Thank you Anita. We appreciate your kind words and the complement. Hopefully you will get to Petra soon. It was a very cool place.

    1. davendeb

      Jade, You are right, it is almost spooky. Dave didn’t notice and I didn’t say anything, but being the last ones left made me feel a little uneasy. I will admit that I was happy when the guys gathering the candles came up behind us almost an hour later. We weren’t alone:) yay!

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    1. davendeb

      Craig: I hope you get to walk along this path one day soon. It was walking along the path that was one of the most exciting parts of the evening. There is no need to rush to get to the show, arrive early (gates open 8:00 pm) and take your time walking to the Treasury. It is a 1.2 km walk through the Siq and it is one of the most incredible gorges we have ever seen. The show lasts for less than an hour. Wait for the crowd to dissipate and then you can get people free shots of the treasury too. Make sure to bring your tripod!

  19. The Dropout

    Amazing, amazing photos.
    Petra’s been on my list for a long time and it’s hard not to race out to the airport right now so I can see it for myself. Thanks for using your talents to capture this beautiful and mysterious place – and then sharing it with the world.

    1. davendeb

      Thank you The Dropout. I know how you feel. I see photographs sometimes and want to get to that destination ASAP. I love the Internet for that, how it inspires us all to see new things. Glad that this made you want to see Petra even more so now.

    1. davendeb

      Hey Don,
      Thanks. No no colour tweaking. All around the outskirts of Petra the city gives off this Sodium vapour glow which reflects in the clouds resulting in the orangy sky.

    1. davendeb

      Thanks so much Visiting Jordan, it means a lot to us to have the Jordan blog stop by.

  20. Maria


    1. davendeb

      Thanks Sonya. Yes, seeing Petra by candlelight is completely different from seeing it by day.

  21. Brooks & Jeanie Goddard

    Greetings, we were your lunch mates at the Dana Guest House in Jordan in April and are thrilled to see your exquisite pix of Petra at Night which we found equally spellbinding. I hope all of your readers will avail themselves of seeing Petra in the not-too-distant future and plan to spend 2-3 nights so that they can soak up Petra on each day; the 3 day stay will also ensure them that they see Petra at Night. We encourage readers to consider visiting Syria which we found fantastic. We did not see any of the troubles reported in the press, but I gather the “movement” has gained steam since we were there (April 9-16, 2011). Even now I’m sure visitors can avoid the troubles, but certainly when it calms down. Great places and people to see and greater value for the money.

    1. davendeb

      Brooks and Jeanie, thanks so much for stopping by. It was wonderful talking with you at lunch and you have reiterated to us that we have to go to Syria. We have only ever heard wonderful things about the country and we hope that the unrest dies down soon so that other people can visit it. We look forward to going back to the region to give Jordan more time and see the countries surrounding it.

    1. davendeb

      Thanks Sofia. Yes, the sky was incredible. The light pollution from the city gave enough of a glow to really make the sky stand out.

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  26. Aisha

    Hope you had a great time in Jordan. I am in love with your pictures… You are pretty good at photography! May I know the camera you use? Thanks!

  27. Christina S.

    In preparation for our upcoming trip to Jordan (and Petra) I’m reading about all my fellow travel bloggers experiences as much as possible. Petra at Night looks absolutely incredible! Can I ask a technical question? What were your camera settings for these photos? Did you schlep your tripod along? Thanks for any info you can pass along!

    1. davendeb

      Hi Christina. Yep, I schlepped the tripod along. I couldn’t have taken the shots without it. I 2 to 3 minute exposures. It was a long process as I stopped every couple of hundred meters to grab the entire feeling of the Siq. If you wait until all the people leave and are the last out, you can just get it done before the guys come along to pick up the candles. I used a Canon 5D Mk II, 16-35 2.8 mm lens and a cable release. Cheers and have a great time.

    1. davendeb

      That’s a good idea Red. Jordan bumped up to one of our favourite countries we have visited so far and one of the few that we would go back to, to explore some more. Normally we say, “Ok we’ve seen it, let’s move on and see other countries. After Jordan we said, I can’t wait to return to really delve into the culture here.

  28. Traveling Ted

    I think you were wise not to write much here because as you say there is nothing else you can say. The gorgeous pictures of Petra tell it all. My night pictures always really stink, so I am impressed with how clear these are.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Ted, it’s always nice to let the photos do the talking. It was very long exposures and a tripod that helped to make everything so clear.

  29. Brooks & Jeanie Goddard

    In acknowledging the beauty of these photographs, let me add that they should be great stimulation for readers to indeed go to Petra and indeed to signup for Petra at Night. And if you are going to go to Jordan and Petra, you should definitely consider going to Syria once the troubles die down.

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  32. Sarah

    I basically can’t add anything else that hasn’t been said already.

    I’ll be in Jordan in a little over four months. And if I wasn’t already excited, well these pictures just put me over the edge.

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    1. davendeb

      I’m glad that you enjoyed your time as well Todd. Petra is one of the few places in the world that does live up to the hype.

  34. Batangas City Houses

    Is this Jordan?? I never thought that Jordan is this beautiful. i love the photos and it really looks amazing. Petra is really cool. You have the best photos that i have found. Thank you for posting this.

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  38. Pauline

    Wow! Those are really lovely photos! I was in Amman last month and I regret not finding a way to go to Petra. Thanks for showing me another side of Petra. Cheers!

    1. debndave Post author

      Hi Pauline, I am glad that you like it. At least now you have a reason to go back to Jordan, I always look at a missed opportunity as an excuse to re-visit the country:) Cheers.

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    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Michael. We wanted to focus specifically on the pictures and keep text to a minimum for this one. Dave’s photos really speak for themselves. Beautiful!

    1. debndave Post author

      The lamps make for an incredible view. It’s surreal to walk through it at night and something everyone should do if they go…at least we feel that way.

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    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks so much. You are right. You do have to make your own photo opportunities, they’re always there it just takes a little patience.

  43. Jonas Wynn

    Wow those are some mesmerizing pictures…definitely does look like an image from the past. How does 1km’s worth of candles stay lit!?

    1. debndave Post author

      That’s a great question. They put the candles in paper bags filled with sand. I guess they have figured out over the years exactly how long the candles have to be and the bags protect the flame from the wind.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Steve, Petra was very special at night. We were the last ones out and it was almost eerie to be there with nobody around. I can see why it was such an empire at one point in history.

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    1. debndave Post author

      Haha, oh yes they opened Petra at night just for us ;-) No, I’m just kidding. They do this every night and it is a must. The entertainment is average at best, but the experience of walking though the siq by candlenight is second to none.

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