A 10 minute drive from Petra is Little Petra, also known by locals as Siq Al-Barid. It lies roughly 9 kilometres from Wadi Musa town, Little Petra is in Ma’an Governorate in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Little Petra is a Nabatean Archaeological site with carvings on the sandstone walls. It is similar to the main site and also included as part of the UNESCO site. It lies in an arid, mountainous region 1040 meters above sea level.
Little Petra has a similar “Siq” style entrance and includes tombs, temples, water channels and cisterns carved out of the sandstone rock.
While it is not known what all of the buildings cut into the sandstone in Little Petra were meant for, it was likely a suburb of Petra and used by visitors to the area.
In 2010 a ceiling fresco in the Hellenistic style was discovered depicting grapes, vines and putti in great deal. Their degree of preservation are considered superior to the Roman paintings at Herculaneum.
Little Petra to Petra Hike
One of the popular reasons to visit Little Petra is to do the Little Petra to Petra Hike, which is part of the Jordan Trail and also part of the popular Dana to Petra trail. This is one of Jordan’s most popular hiking trails.
Driving from Petra to Little Petra
Driving from Petra to Little Petra is a short and beautiful drive. The road winds along the edge of the mountain and passes through the Bedouin village of Umm Sayhoun. Residents of Umm Sayhoun once lived in the Petra site and were relocated to the village by the government.
Married to a bedouin offers a glimpse into the life of these bedouins from the time they lived in Petra to their resettlement in Umm Sayhoun.
Taxi from Petra to Little Petra
For those who do not have a car, it is easy to get transportation to Little Petra. There are taxi’s (official and unofficial) that will take guests to the site (and back). Make sure you negotiate the rate before you get into the vehicle.
Beidha – Neolithic site at Little Petra
While in Little Petra, you can visit Beidha, a Neolithic site nearby and one of the oldest settlements in Jordan. It is thought to have been occupied from 7200BC to 6500BC. It once burnt down and was rebuilt, but eventually abandoned.
Visitors to Beidha can see remains of houses and a retaining wall.
A reconstructed Beidha Neolithic site shows what dwellings may have looked like.
Little Petra Entrance Ticket
Some information indicates that Little Petra is free but “technically” a valid Petra entrance ticket should be held by visitors. However, there is no ticket booth.
There is however, a ticket booth along the Little Petra to Petra trail and hikers will not be permitted without first obtaining a Petra entrance ticket (sold from the Petra Visitors Centre or part of the Jordan Pass.
Souvenirs and drink stands are at the gravel parking lot. There is also an outhouse style washroom at the entrance.
Hotels Near Little Petra
As mentioned, Little Petra is a 10 minute drive from Petra. There are no hotels near Little Petra but there are bedouin camps. If you are looking for the camp type experience, choose from Seven Wonders Luxury Camp or Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp. If you do not have a vehicle, you can take a taxi to these camps from Wadi Musa or arrange with the hotel for a pickup from the visitors centre. They may charge a fee for this.
More Petra Resources
If you are short on time, read this one-day itinerary for Petra to get the most of your day. Beyond Petra is Petra by Night (click the link for more details) where 15 000 candles illuminate the Siq all the way to the Treasury. Sweet Bedouin tea, a starry night, and a traditional Jordanian flute, set the stage for a short performance. It occurs three times a week from 8:30-10:30pm
There are several hotels near the Petra site entrance. You can read about which ones are close by in this post on Petra hotels. If you want to specifically stay close to Little Petra, Choose Seven Wonders Luxury Camp or Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp
If you are at the beginning stages of planning your trip to Jordan, check out this 7 day Jordan itinerary that gives you plenty of time to explore Petra over multiple days. The best time to visit Petra weather-wise is late Spring and Fall.
What to Pack for Petra
It depends on what time of year you are taking a tour to Petra from Amman. But generally, you are going to need these items any time of the year:
- Comfortable shoes (or hiking boots or comfortable sandals that you can walk in all day)
- Water (I highly suggest a Grayl Water Bottle to everyone, not just those going to the Middle East. Some people say the water is safe to drink from the tap, others say it is not; it is not something I am going to chance. And Jordan has a HUGE garbage problem. The streets, the forests, and even the desert are littered with plastic bottles.If you consider drinking at least 1-2 big water bottles a day while you are there, think of how much plastic that creates.
- Hat or Scarf (will keep the sun off your head in the summer and will keep you warm in the winter)
- Snacks (you can buy tea and snacks inside the site, and there is a restaurant also)
- Camera and or Phone
- Selfie Stick
- Kleenex and Hand Sanitizer (there are washrooms in the site, but few, and sometimes they are not well stocked)
Read more tips on what to wear in Jordan. It covers visiting at any time of year and what to wear, where ever you are going in the country.