Petra Monastery: 800 Steps to Prove I Am Not Lazy

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Petra, Jordan

Most people come to Jordan to see Petra and plan their vacation around it. It is definitely up there with most impressive ruins around the world.

It is so famous that when Reine from Jordan Tourism asked me what I was most excited about in Jordan she was surprised I answered food and not Petra.

Do not underestimate my love of food.

But I knew Petra was a big deal. I had seen the photos of the Treasury, named so because people mistakenly thought this large space had once been a bank.

Apparently they were wrong but it remains the iconic photo of Jordan.

treasury petra

My guide Mahmoud and I traisped through the beautiful canyon to the Treasury and it lived up to the hype but after the obligatory photos he explained this was just the beginning of Petra.

In fact only one-fifth of the ruins had been discovered but the site is massive and most of it is underground.

As he explained the history we were approached by some Bedouin children trying to sell souvenirs.

All were very polite and certainly not as aggressive as those I have encountered at other sites like Angkor Wat.

It tugs at your heart.

Mahmoud explained that tourists should not buy from these children.

There are many programs to get these children into school, and if people did not buy from them they would have a better opportunity in the long run.


With so many options at Petra Mahmoud asked me what I wanted to do, I had already explained that I am a self-professed lazy traveler.

He was hesitant to push me to do any hiking but knew there were a couple of climbs of 800 steps or more.

He liked the Monastery the best but warned me it could take an hour to climb. Not wanting to pressure me he did say I could take a donkey up hill.


I am lazy but I am also stubborn.

There is no way I would not take a donkey up or any other animal. I could put my laziness aside for an hour.

And I did.

It was a surprisingly easy climb with shallow steps and sights to keep me occupied so time passed quickly. I was shocked when we reached the top that there was this massive site.

It was worth it and now I have redefined my adversion to hiking from all hiking to hiking for more than two hours.

Disclosure: I was a guest of the Jordan Tourism Board, they did not request that I write a favourable review or be so stubborn to prove that I am not always a lazy traveler.

Join the Conversation

  1. So gorgeous, the pictures are so beautiful, good job Ayngelina

  2. One of the most amazing places I have ever been. Well done on the hiking progress!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks. I almost considered doing one of the other hikes but then thought I shouldn’t get crazy!

  3. Grrrl Traveler| Christine says:

    Love the first photo! Totally drew me in.

    I used to detest outdoor activity and that went even when I was traveling. But somewhere whether it was to try different things, get new experiences or lose weight (I think it must’ve been the latter), I’ve gotten to love hiking and water sports and such. Hang in there.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think my problem is I clump all outdoor activities under one umbrella. I don’t enjoy steep climbing but easy hiking is pretty nice.

  4. OMG I so wanna go there…. Jumping some spots to the top on my bucket list 🙂 Great post!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The Treasury is nice but the Monastery is spectacular.

  5. … which is why I keep telling people hiking is for EVERYONE, as long as it’s easy hiking.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I guess I didn’t consider it hiking if it wasn’t steep. I do like easy hiking 🙂

  6. Careful there, it’s a slippery slope; soon you’ll increase that to four hours of hiking, and then maybe a day, and before you realize, you’ve signed up for a week of hiking!

    Great photos thou, I’m sure it was worth it 🙂

    1. Yep, it’s a slippery slope!

  7. The part of the ‘not buying from children’ makes me think of Senegal where I went a couple of years ago. The children were all running after us, opening their hand and saying ‘cadeaux’ (present)… because tourists were used to giving candy or a pen or something like that. Tourists had converted them in beggars and making them unhappy when they didn’t get a thing…

    I guess that sometimes we don’t realize how something that looks innocent or even a good thing can turn into something bad.

    1. Sad how our good intentions as foreign tourists can create an entire enterprise of begging & dependency 🙁 When poverty’s in your face, especially from young children, you want to somehow help instantly. It takes constraint to know that the best thing you as a passer by can do is to offer a smile. Then save your philanthropy giving for investing in more sustainable measures (like education).

  8. Camels & Chocolate says:

    That blue sky is surreal (particularly as we’ve been in China/the South China Sea for the past week where things are bleak and gray and ugly)–the bluest of blues.

    1. I was really surprised at how blue the skies were as well, we just don´t have that in the Americas.

  9. Lovely! Great pics … I don’t mind hiking i short spurts either. 🙂

  10. Emily in Chile says:

    Looks beautiful! I’m glad the hike was worth it.

  11. Seattle Dredge says:

    I know the feeling! Chances are I would have taken that Donkey,haha.

    Congrats!! Love the photos.

  12. Living in FL, on flat ground, I really do appreciate hiking which I don’t get to do very often. Your photography is gorgeous!

  13. Gerard ~ GQ trippin says:

    I would’ve dreaded going up those steps. But I’m sure the feeling of reward was well worth it. This place is on my bucket list!

  14. hey there,
    I’m so glad to hear your positive thoughts on your visit to my country Jordan , It’s a magical place that even amazes me , and I’ve lived here all my life , I’d like to invite you to come back for more , visit the central and northern mountains , I live in an amazing little town called “Fuhais ” and would gladly show you around if you stop by , lots of food and wine and chocolate included !!!!

    1. You make it sound all too tempting, I may just have to take you up on your offer.

      1. well as we say in jordan ,” betsharfee ” it means it would an honor if you do , i think you might have my email you’re most welcome to contact me if you’ld like to venture again ! it’s approaching christmass time here in Fuhais and it’s a sight to be scene 🙂

  15. Wow, I really love that first photo with the camel, though all of them are lovely. I always hated hiking too, until I realized that pretty much any walk uphill will be worth it for the views below. Sounds like your trip to the monastery was totally worth it!

    1. I hate to say it but I have climbed a bunch of things hoping at the top it would be ´worth it´ only to find out it really wasn´t.

      1. Really?! That’s such a bummer – which spots would you say were the worst?

  16. Beautiful looking place. In my books though, 10 minutes of stair climbing would have qualified you as not lazy. Thanks for toughing it out to get a great picture for us!

  17. Petra looks amazing. Ahhh, I want to go so badly!

    Kudos on tackling your hiking aversion. 800 steps is impressive!

    1. I know, I think I only did it because Mahmoud said it was 800 steps!

  18. Tyler @ says:

    How can you not love a post that has the tags “Do not underestimate my love for food” and “I am lazy but I am also stubborn”?

    Also, how can they know that the other 4/5 of Petra exists if it’s undiscovered…?

    1. Actually that is a really good point…

      I didn´t ask but I am assuming they must have photos or stories of a bigger city.

      I know the Monastery was covered in sand halfway up and you can see the difference in the colour on the building.

      The challenge is that they need people who can actually dig it up. So they have a lot of universities come to different areas. Imagine being an archeology student and being able to work on something like this.

  19. I am lazy too some times, but these pictures are so incredible, you would get me to walk a few extra miles just to see all the sights!

    1. You know it was a really shallow hike, I would have felt like I missed out if I took a donkey – which I found out later they really don´t want you to do because it´s hard on the land and not good for the animals.

  20. Good for you adjusting your thoughts on hiking. 🙂 Looks like it was well worth the trek!

  21. Haha I definitely would have taken the donkey. You are an inspiration to lazy travelers everywhere!

    1. When Mahmoud offered it several times I thought that it would be difficult but I was surprised at how easy it was, I´m sure you could do it too!

  22. I know what you mean. I always like the just the idea of hiking, I have some hiking planned on my travels, but i’m worried that when I get there I won’t like the hiking part as much as I thought I would!

    Petra looks wonderful 🙂

  23. Christy @ Technosyncratic says:

    Petra is unbelievably gorgeous!

    We had a similar experience in Cinque Terre, where we decided to do the hike between all five cities. I’ve never seen so many stairs in my life, and if it hadn’t been for mounds of gelato in each city to get us through, I don’t know if I would have made it.

    1. I have also thought of doing the Camino de Santiago in Spain but some people say it´s a crazy hike and not realistic for me because I´m so lazy.

  24. Did you have to walk back down?

    1. No I took the elevator 🙂

  25. Cole @ FourJandals says:

    The photos just make me want to visit more. Cannot wait for TBU there next September!

  26. The pictures and memories (and sense of accomplishment) totally make it worth it, doesn’t it?

  27. Petra is one of my all time favorite places! When we were there one of the locals raced up the back of the monastery as if he were running up a flight of stairs at home. He made it up in about 5 minutes– it was jaw dropping to watch.

  28. dtravelsround says:

    Good on you for climbing the steps!! I am not a fan of steps at all, but have a feeling if I was in Petra, I would likely suck it up and do it. Just with lots of stops along the way to … to take photos. So glad you got to experience this!! And, I like your amended rule.

  29. haha, I can definitely relate. Sometimes the struggle makes the destination even sweeter. I love proving to myself I CAN actually do something I had previously sworn I couldn’t.

  30. We really should get together and NOT hike someday. I love not hiking.

  31. So glad you have changed your mind about hiking!! These photos are wonderful, Ayngelina.

  32. Hello Ayngelina, congratulations for the small steps. I am recovering from a cycling injury and trying to improve my stamina bit by bit, although I understand our situations are not the same. 😉

    Child beggars or children in tourism industry in general is a major problem everywhere, and tourists are largely responsible for encouraging this ‘easy money’ approach.

  33. Zablon Mukuba says:

    so you are lazy and stubborn? 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah that is pretty much it.

  34. Pingback: Adventurous Kate Rides a Donkey; Hilarity Does Not Ensue | Adventurous Kate
  35. 50+ and on the Run says:

    I find hiking much more fun when I call it “walking!”

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yes I should stop saying the ‘H’ word and it will be a little less intimidating.

  36. Haha, I both love and commiserate completely with the title of this post. Brilliant – made me chuckle =) it’s funny just what motivates us to set foot to flagstone!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I know, sometimes I just like to prove that I’m not what I claimed 🙂

  37. That’s ma girl!

  38. haha I would still limit my hiking to an hour…. two hours is just crazy! I’m glad you enjoyed Jordan, I am dying to visit! 🙂

  39. It’s so worth the hike to the Monastery – glad you made the hike!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      And definitely not as hard as it seems.

  40. Mary @ Green Global Travel says:

    I’m glad to hear that the hour climb was worth the view and that you’ve expanded your hiking realm.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yes I will definitely rethink my disdain toward hiking the next time it is offered up.

  41. Joe W | planeters says:

    nice pics of a very interesting country. I haven’t been there but it surely looks nice

  42. So awesome, hun. Hiking for two hours – yay! One step at a time … or 800 steps in your case. 😀

    Love the pictures!

  43. Eileen Ludwig says:

    Fun hiking for a short time for the site Yes I have hiked or drive for many miles to only find something not worth it – it is nice to be pleasantly surprised

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I hate how some people try to convince me that once you are at the top it’s all worth it, honestly I have been at a lot of “tops” and it wasn’t worth it!

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