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how to get from Cairo to Petra?

Lydiah

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  • Added on: March 20th, 2008
Does anyone know a good way to get from Cairo to Petra?

I heard that there was a good bus-ferry-bus route, but I'm having a hard time finding good info or any kind of schedule.

Do I have to reserve seats ahead of time? I'd like to get on a bus the same day I get to Cairo, so it may be hard if I can't reserve over the internet.

How long does it take to get from Cairo to Petra? Should I book the hostel in Petra for that night or stay somewhere else, like Aqaba?

Is there anything else I should know ahead of time?

I'm planning to go in about a week.... Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

2wanderers

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  • Added on: March 20th, 2008
If that's your plan, fly. The ferry alone will cost about $60 for the slow ferry, or $100 for the fast ferry. Plus the Egyptian port is a disaster...we were only able to figure out where to go after finding an english speaking tour group who were very helpful. Flying is about $230 one way to Amman, and much less hassle.

Then there's the time factor. I did the bus from Luxor, and stopped in Dahab, about an hour short of Nuweiba, still a 17 hour ride. I'd expect from Cairo that it would be at least 8-10 hours. The slow ferry will take about a day (I have read of crossings taking as much as 3 days), while the fast ferry is still seriously slowed down by one of the world's most inneficient loading and unloading systems, and will take somewhere in the 5 hour range. I wouldn't count on it taking less than two days to get to Petra from Cairo by land. You could probably speed that up a bit if you went via Israel, which is fine so long as you don't have any plans for visiting other Islamic countries on your current passport, as many of them will bar entry.

I'd only recommend bussing it if you're planning on staying on the Sinai for a few days.

If you do opt for bussing it, I'd would rate your chances of finding a schedule online as next to zero. You don't need an advance ticket, but figuring out where to go and what to buy will not be easy. Your best bet is to be prepared to spend a night in Cairo, and get your hotel or hostel to arrange the bus. There's many bus stations in Cairo, and without local knowledge, you'd have to be pretty lucky to find the right one, let alone figuring out which bus to get on. Actually, even with local knowledge, there's no guarantee...our hostel missed picking us up after a few days in the desert because our bus dropped off in a different part of town than they were expecting. That's just how Egypt is.

Lydiah

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  • Added on: March 20th, 2008
We'll be arriving in Cairo at about 3am and I expect it to take a couple of hours to get through customs and get bags before we can be off to find the bus station... don't know if we really want to be in a bus station around 6am, but I found (after posting) a bus that leaves at 6 and goes to Nuweiba.

We have 4.5 days to spend doing whatever (ideally Petra) before we start a tour in Cairo. If the ferry can be that bad, we might need to re-figure our plans. I don't think we can afford to fly.

Tickles

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  • Added on: March 20th, 2008
Agreed on the ferry. It was a nightmare. The supposed 1 hour ferry from Nuweiba to Aqaba turned into a 9 hour ordeal for me. Horrible, not mention, it's pretty expensive too - we paid like $70 for it a few months ago.
(blog post about it here.)

Flying to Amman would be my suggestion as well. Enjoy Petra, it's amazing!!

2wanderers

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  • Added on: March 20th, 2008
quote:
I don't think we can afford to fly.

The real price difference between flying and ferry is probably only around $100 each way, so if that's breaking the bank, the ferry probably wouldn't have worked either.

Petra is worth it, one of the most amazing things in an amazing region. Some travellers we met worded it as "beats the crap out of anything in Egypt." Which is pretty accurate. If you can make it work, definitely try.

Tickles

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  • Added on: March 20th, 2008
quote:
Originally posted by 2wanderers:
Some travellers we met worded it as "beats the crap out of anything in Egypt."


Ha! That's funny. I think I actually agree!!

Lydiah

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  • Added on: March 20th, 2008
Does anyone have recent experience with the bus to Taba and then going through Eilat to get to Jordan?

I found this info, but I'm not sure how recent it is:
http://www.jordanjubilee.com/travelme/sinai.htm#top

This option seems pretty good since I'm not planning to go to Syria in the near future, but I'd love to know if it still works as well as it sounds. Thanks for all your help!

Tickles

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  • Added on: March 21st, 2008
I don't have experience with the bus, and can't even answer your question exactly, so this is probably no help, but I'm posting it anyway. I crossed the border from Aqaba, Jordan to Eilat a few months ago and it was easy. I did not need a visa ahead of time. There were loads of people crossing in the opposite direction as well - looked like they were heading over for a day of fun in the sun in Aqaba.

I would have taken the bus to Taba and done the crossing you are talking about if I had known the ferry was going to be so horrible. I haven't heard about any problems crossing the borders between Taba, Eilat, and Aqaba. Hopefully someone else has done this recently and can give you better advice than me. It CAN be confusing with double entry visas, etc, and it seems like things change frequently.

Lydiah

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  • Added on: April 10th, 2008
Thanks for all your input! Unfortunately my friends missed their flight, so we didn't have enough time before our tour to go to Petra. I just spent those few days bumming around Cairo, which isn't really the most inviting city for a solo female traveller... though I found that most people were incredibly happy to help when asked for directions.

I don't think 4 days would have been enough anyway to get from Cairo to Petra... time runs a little different in Egypt.

Skyehiker

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  • Added on: May 10th, 2008
Thanks for all the posts--my friends & I are going to fly from Cairo to Amman.

Any recommendations on Petra itineraries, backpacker tour operators, or just generally getting to Petra from Amman? We'd have easily 3-5 days to play with.

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page. ---St. Augustine

Michael C

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  • Added on: May 23rd, 2008
Skyehiker - some quick info for you; check out "Jordan Jubilee" for better details:

- There is an early morning minibus from Amman to Petra. It takes 3-4 hours, and isn't too bad. The seats are hard, but the road is good, so it's not too bad a journey.

- Hotels in Madaba (you can stay here rather than Amman if you wish) offer shared rides to Petra via the Dead Sea and the Crusader Castles. I had a lot of fun exploring the castles.

- Driving in Jordan is easy if you can find a rental. There is a boring but fast desert drive, or a fun mountain drive.

- I don't see the need for tour operators. Jordan is relatively easy to navigate.

- You should take at least two days in Petra. There are two entrances: the main, dramatic siq and a quieter, less traveled side entrance. Inside Petra, there is a main route through town to the "treasury", and a second less traveled route that cuts up to the High Place of Sacrifice and comes down through a whole section of the city that had no tourists the day we went. If you have a third day you can hike further out to the desert towards Aaron's Tomb (take a guide for this), or head to Little Petra.
Michael C

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  • Added on: June 25th, 2008
Thanks! Turns out we'll be going thru the Sinai & St. Catherine nearing the end of our time in Egypt, so instead of driving back to Cairo & flying over to Amman, we're thinking on just heading up to Petra & the Wadi from there.

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page. ---St. Augustine

Jen102

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  • Added on: June 27th, 2008
I just returned from a day trip to Petra (via Eliat) and I can say it is the coolest thing I have ever seen (even better than the Taj Mahal). Def. get there if you can. We took a tour from Eliat and crossing the border was easy albeit slow. I even managed to keep them from stamping my passport on both sides of the border so that I can visit some muslim countries in the future.
My tour company did suck- the guide kept stopping along the way there to "look at that camel" or "speak to that bedouin"..mostly these were excuses for him to have a smoke break.
Also, he gave us barely 3 hours at Petra and I was pissed about that. That wasn't nearly enough time to even scratch the surface. I would recommend staying a few days there and entering only in the late afternoon when there are no tour groups. Beautiful!

I am headed to egypt now and might cross back in again for the day just because I didn't nearly do it justice.

SuzTours

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  • Added on: June 28th, 2008
If you are going to return to Jordan after your visit to Egypt, I suggest you take either the "rust bucket" ferry or other water transport from Neweiba to Aqaba. Otherwise, you're going to be paying departure taxes all over the place again and again...

Oh - remember that when you leave Israel to cross at Taba, you'll need to pay Israeli departure tax of, I think, $15 - whatever you paid at the Arava crossing, should be the same.

"Yom Echad" (one day), I hope we finally make some arrangement whereby people can cross amongst the three countries without always paying departure taxes back and forth and back and forth!

suzanne
suzanne pomeranz, jerusalem, israel
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Janola

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  • Added on: September 7th, 2008
Greetings!

My hubby and I are also planning to see Jordan after our visit to Egypt. We'll be there in October. I'm really looking forward to visiting Petra and spending some time at a Wadi. Any recommendations on how to spend a night in a Bedouin camp?

Our plan is to travel through Jordan, into Syria and onto Turkey. Any advice? I'll admit to being a bit freaked-out about the US State Dept Travel Warnings.

Thanks in advance.
Determined to finish Round the World Trip in spite of Global Financial Crisis!


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