Can I just start by saying how much I love Finland? It honestly wasn’t somewhere that I was dying to go to before since I am not the biggest fan of cold weather. But after spending a total of 5 days in the northern region of Lapland, I fell in complete love with the country. Now I absolutely crave a winter wonderland vacation at least once a year. Finland is incredible!
Thanks Finland, I’m hooked for life!
Where to Stay in Levi, Finland
The town of Levi is located in the heart of Finnish Lapland, the northernmost region in Finland. Lapland is a great spot to view the northern lights and participate in many awesome outdoor activities unique to this region. More on that later…
Located in the absolute center of the sleepy ski village of Levi, Break Sokos Hotel Levi is for those wanting quality accommodation at a reasonable price. Set across 3 buildings, Break Sokos has more of a homey boutique feel than a large chain hotel.
A cute little log cabin behind the hotel. I wonder who lives here?
The hotel is stylish, spacious, and cozy, and totally walkable to anywhere you needed to go in the city. PS. Levi is such an adorable little ski town.
My favorite parts of the hotel were the onsite coffee house and the in-room sauna. Have you stayed in a hotel with a sauna in your bedroom? It’s. So. Freakin. Cool.
My Cute & Cozy Room (with my own SAUNA!)
My room was located on the 3rd floor with a view directly facing the ski slopes. The room was large for European standards with a distinct feature of a SAUNA in the bathroom. Yes, you have your own sauna!
I can’t tell you how nice it was to get back from a day in the frigid Lapland air and relax my tense muscles in the soothing sauna.
And I didn’t have to worry about bringing a swimsuit because it was my own private sauna! All nudity welcome. 🙂
The room was decorated with local Finnish touches reflective of the area. It had 2 single beds, soft down comforters, a flatscreen TV, mini bar, safe, toiletries, and a hot water maker with coffee, tea, and hot chocolate ready to make. Oh, and there was a bobcat on the curtain. It’s like they knew I was obsessed with cats! #meow
The room also had a heater, which I didn’t need because it was warm inside. Actually a bit too warm at night (I found myself sweating even with a fan I travel with (yes, I’m crazy).
When I saw black out curtains I was super thrilled because light wakes me up instantly. But then I noticed there is a gap in the right side where light seeps through so it wasn’t totally dark.
Wide Variety of Brekkie Choices
Breakfast was served from 7-10:30am and I appreciated the later service. I hate when breakfasts end at 9am, I’m so not an early morning person. The variety was large and included the typical hotel breakfast of cured meats and cheeses, bacon, eggs, bread and butter, cereal, yogurt, granola, and a do-it-yourself waffle maker. All allergens were listed in the dishes which was great. They even had a gluten free section, which I highly appreciated.
Overall, the food was good, but not great (which seems to be the case in a lot of hotel buffet breakfasts). The variety was a plus, and trumped other hotels in that aspect.
The only thing I was disappointed with was the service. There was one attendant clearing dishes and it was really busy in the morning. I sat at a table with a whole bunch of dirty dishes and in 40 minutes of me sitting there, they weren’t cleared. Not a huge deal, but eating breakfast with dirty dishes all around you is not what I expected.
Like I mentioned above, the hotel was smack right in the center of the city of Levi with easy and quick access to everything you could need. Within a 5 minute walk, you could get to the gondola ski lift , a big market, several restaurants and shops, the tourist office, and the bus stop. You do not need a car when visiting Levi.
I’m always hesitant to stay right in the center because it’s usually noisy and I’m the world’s lightest sleeper (seriously, I am), but this was probably the most quiet hotel I’ve ever stayed in. Noise is not a problem at all. Maybe the snow absorbs the sounds? I’m not sure but I’m going with it since I didn’t hear a peep from outside.
What to Do In Levi
Levi is a great city to explore the many unique activities Lapland, Finland has to offer. If you like skiing, this town is perfect for you! In less than a 3 minute walk from the hotel, you are at the ski slopes! Super convenient if you want to come back to rest or heat up between ski sessions.
Just a few minutes from the hotel is the base of the ski lift
Amongst my favorite activities in Levi were a sauna + ice dip in a frozen lake (crazy fun) and a husky safari!
Oh, and Finnish Lapland is one of the best places to view the northern lights. In fact, I happen to see them in the city of Levi on my way to a restaurant. I had my tripod so ran behind the building to snap a couple shots. I never thought I would see the northern lights in the middle of the city! I felt like I was dreaming.
Break Sokos Hotel Levi has an on-site coffee house, a huge plus for coffee lovers like me. I really liked the vibe of this cozy place and went there every day.
They had a bunch of tempting pastries to choose from (and a good variety of gluten free as well!). It was a good chill out spot to take a break from the frigid outside temps. They also had a bunch of board games to play with which I thought was a fun idea.
They also had an onsite restaurant called Kiisa, which serves traditional Finnish dishes, however I didn’t have time to eat here (and also because it was a bit more pricy than other restaurants in the area). But hey, most hotel restaurants are.
Fitness Center and Spa
There was a fitness center right next to the hotel, which offered free access to hotel guests. It was a small but nice gym which I definitely utilized during my time there!
There was also a day spa which I didn’t have time for unfortunately. If you didn’t get a room with a sauna, don’t fret. Break Sokos has a public sauna and jacuzzi complex in the hotel.
Final Impressions of Break Sokos Hotel Levi
Overall, I really enjoyed my stay at Break Sokos Hotel. The hotel was immaculately clean, stylish, located in the perfect spot, and had everything you could need for a fun and relaxing time in Levi. The staff was warm and welcoming and offered great recommendations on what so do around the area, all you have to do is ask!
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*I was hosted by Break Sokos Hotel Levi during my stay. My opinions however remain my own and I am in no way obligated to write a positive review. I wouldn’t sell out like that! ♥
I recently spent 6 wonderful days in Peru exploring Cusco, Machu Picchu, and the Sacred Valley. I was on limited time so I wanted to see as many places as I could in a short amount of time. I didn’t get much sleep, but boy did I experience some awesome sites! You can sleep when you’re dead, right?
Sacred Valley 6 Day Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive to Cusco, relax and acclimate
Day 2: Taxi Tour to the Sacred Valley with drop off in Ollantaytambo
Day 3: Morning train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu, limited afternoon ticket to Machu Picchu
Day 4: Hike Machu Picchu Mountain, take late afternoon train back to Cusco
Day 5: Cusco all day
Day 6: Rainbow Mountain all day tour
Sacred Valley 6 Day Itinerary: Day 1
What to Do in Cusco
Saqsayhauman (aka “Sexy Human”)– a 30-minute walk from town with cool ruins and the best view over Cusco.
Plaza de Armas-the beautiful main square lined with restaurants and shops. It’s a good place to people watch, shop, sip coffee, and eat.
San Pedro Market-a large local market with cheap goods and food. It’s about a 10 minute walk from Plaza de Armas.
Chocolate Museo-for chocolate lovers, there is a free tour and chocolate tasting. You will not only taste chocolates, but everything chocolate flavoured, including fruit jams and liqueurs.
San Blas Neighborhood– the hipster area of Cusco that has cute artisan shops and great views over the city.
Where to Get Coffee with Soy Milk in Cusco (Because…lactose intolerance)
Finding coffee with soy milk in foreign lands can be quite tricky, but I found 2 great places in Cusco.
Punchay Cafe– in the San Blas area is a cute little cafe with soy milk options.
Cappuccino cafe-a cafe overlooking the main square with awesome views and soy milk options (pictured above).
Where to Eat Healthy Food in Cusco
As you may have heard me say before, I am allergic to gluten and extremely lactose intolerant. Therefore, most my food choices involve healthy/organic restaurants that aren’t the cheapest places to eat. But hey, being healthy ain’t cheap! The following are my favourite healthy restaurants in Cusco:
Organika-a tiny restaurant with awesome farm to table food and great juices. I tried the caesar salad and substituted the caesar dressing with passionfruit dressing and it was incredible! I am not a salad girl at all, but this one impressed me with the robust flavours.
Nuna Raymi-a large and cozy restaurant with organic food with fresh herbs and veggies/fruit. They have all the herbs and veggies displayed so you can see what you’re eating. I tried the gluten free version of Loma Soltado with Alpaca that was amazingly tender and juicy. Allergens are labelled on the menu.
Per.uk-a small restaurant near the main square that had the most amazing trout ceviche I have ever tasted. Allergens are labeled on the menu.
Greens Organic-an organic restaurant right off the main square that has awesome feta avo salad and juices. Allergens are listed on the menu.
Chia-gluten free/vegan/vegetarian new restaurant with yummy green curry.
Cafe de Museo–great breakfast and coffee with balcony seating outside. It’s also a nice cozy atmosphere inside.
Uchu-upscale steakhouse that I splurged on my last night and it didn’t disappoint. You can cook your own meat on a slab and they had the best side salad I’ve ever tasted. The wine was top quality as well.
Where to Stay in Cusco
I rented a room in an Airbnb for just $16/night. It had an amazing view over Cusco and an awesome host. Breakfast was also included. The room was basic and the hot water only lasted about a minute, but hey for the price, location, and awesome host it was super worth it. You can check the listing here. And if you are new to Airbnb, you can use my $40 OFF couponhere. (it will also give me a coupon as well, yay).
The first photo is the view from the Airbnb and the second is the cute little street the Airbnb is on.
Sacred Valley 6 Day Itinerary: Day 2
I decided to explore the Sacred Valley on the way to Machu Picchu. Through my excessive research I found the taxi company called Taxidatum, which had great reviews for professionalism and safety. I ended up using them 3 times in Peru and they were very professional, punctual, and drove slowly/safely.
The company offers Sacred Valley day tours as well as a final drop off in Ollantaytambo. I did the Sacred Valley tour which stopped in Chincheros, Maras, and Moray. The cost for the entire car was $65 so you can split between passengers. I did it solo and had my own private car, which ended up being cheaper than the train and so worth it. I could go at my own pace and stay as long or little in each place as I pleased. I highly recommend doing this to see some of the awesome sites along the way to Machu Picchu. My favourite stop was Maras, with the endless salt pans set in between the gorgeous Andes mountains.
Make sure to get the touristico bolistico ticket for 130 Soles. It allows entry into Ollantaytambo, Moray, Maras, Chincheros, Saqsayhuaman and a bunch more ruins and museums around Cusco. You can buy the ticket at any of the included sites (I bought mine when I entered Chincheros).
The salt mines of Maras used by the Incas in ancient times are still in use today.
Similar in appearance of a Greek amphitheatre, the concentric circular depressions of Moray remains a mystery. However, because of the vast temperature difference from top to bottom, it is believed they were used to cultivate certain crops and the area at the bottom was used as an agricultural research station.
Ollantaytambo is a common starting point to the Inca trail, this beautiful little city deserves at least a half day to explore. My taxi tour ended in Ollantaytambo and I had a half day to roam around, walk up the ruins, and relax before my morning train to Machu Picchu. From the top of the Ollantaytambo ruins, you can see the whole city and stunning landscape completely surrounded by the Andes mountains. I absolutely loved this city.
Sacred Valley 6 Day Itinerary: Day 3
Machu Picchu Tickets: Things to Know
As you may have heard, new regulations went into place on July 1st this year which is restricting tourists to either a morning ticket or afternoon ticket. Before you could just go any time of day and stay all day…not anymore.
Despite what you will hear, there aren’t 2 time frames, but actually there are 3. The morning, afternoon, and the limited “Horario Vespertino 13:00 horas”.
Machu Picchu Tickets Morning ticket + hike allows entrance from 6am-12pm. Cost: 200 Soles ($62) Afternoon ticket + hike allows entrance from 12pm to 5:30pm. Cost: 200 Soles ($62) Horario Vespertino allows entrance from 1pm to 5:30pm Cost: 120 Soles ($37) Machu Picchu entrance without any hike costs 152 Soles ($47)
The limited half day ticket starts at 1pm instead of 12pm. It’s cheaper than the half day and I got this one for my first afternoon there. The next day I got the morning ticket with the hike to Machu Picchu Mountain.
I spent a total of $99 for my 2 tickets to Machu Picchu. It’s not cheap, but I’m so glad I went 2 days. The first day I went in the afternoon at a relaxed pace taking photos and walking around the ruins. The second day I did the hike and after that I was so exhausted I didn’t stay much longer. The afternoon trip plus the morning hike was perfect.
You need to purchase your tickets as far in advance as possible because the number of people per day has been limited, especially for the mountain hikes. They only allow 800 hikers per day for Machu Picchu Mountain. For Huayna Picchu Mountain, the daily limit is only 400 hikers per day. It was actually sold out when I checked 2 months before so make sure to plan way in advance.
There are 2 different time slots for the hikes, and you must pick one when buying your ticket.
Machu Picchu Mountain time slots 1st time slot: 7-8am 2nd time slot: 9-10am
Huayna Picchu Mountain time slots 1st time slot: 7-8am 2nd time slot: 10-11am
To buy tickets, you will have to go The Ministry of Culture Website which is quite confusing. The site is annoying and takes forever to load and sometimes crashes, but just be persistent and try again. They only take Visa card for payment so don’t try to pay with MasterCard or Amex or you will wonder why it’s not working. I found a great step-by-step guide by Thrifty Nomads that will walk you through the confusing process, which is what I used. You can check their article here.
Visiting Machu Picchu
Take the Vista Dome or Expedition train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu. I booked my tickets on Peru Rail. When you get to Peru, you must take your confirmation to a Peru Rail office and get the actual tickets. They are a little slow with everything so give yourself an extra 30 minutes to get the tickets from them.
The view from the Vista Dome Train
You can only bring one small carry-on bag on the train as there is no overhead storage. If you want to bring anything else, you will need to email them 48 hours in advance and if they still have availability they will tell you yes. Still, no huge suitcases will be allowed due to space.
Once in Aguas Calientes, get a round-trip bus ticket for $24 to Machu Picchu and get up there by 1pm. By 3:30-4pm it was virtually empty. I almost had one of the top tourist sites in the world all to myself. I would definitely recommend going in the afternoon when there is less people. The only thing is you can only hike the 2 mountains during the morning time. This is exactly why going for 2 days is key!
Hike Machu Picchu Mountain in the morning. Allow yourself 4 full hours to complete the hike roundtrip. Take lots of water. Because of the altitude, the hike is intense and you will need to stop a lot to catch your breathe.
I caught the Expedition train back at 3:20pm and arrived in Poroy station at 7:10pm. There is no train station in Cusco and the station used is called Poroy, a 20 minute taxi ride outside of Cusco.
Sacred Valley 6 Day Itinerary: Day 5
Whatever activities you didn’t get to on day 1, finish up today. Tomorrow will be a very strenuous day so make sure to take it easy.
Sacred Valley 6 Day Itinerary: Day 6
Day Trip to Rainbow Mountain
Pickup is at 3:30 or 4:30 in the AM so make sure you get enough rest. You will drive 3 hours total, with a stop for breakfast, before getting to the entrance. Once there, you will have an option to rent a horse, which I highly recommend unless you have amazing cardiovascular endurance. Rainbow Mountain sits at an altitude of over 17,000 feet, so for most of us that don’t live at high altitudes, this will be the most challenging hike you will ever do. Pace yourself, go as slow as you need, rest when your body tells you, and drink lots of water.
Even with the horse, you will have to hike the last 200 meters which is at an extremely steep incline. I thought I was going to die and had to keep stopping every 10 steps to catch my breathe. My heart felt like it was going to explode in my chest. The altitude is no joke so make sure to listen to your body.
Even through all that extreme exhaustion and fatigue, the views at the top are SO worth it. It’s such an incredible natural phenomenon to see. There will be many tour groups there so it’s a little tough to get photos without a million people in them. But I managed to find a perfect spot. At the top of the mountain, turn left and walk down a little bit and the perfect spot will be on the left. It’s a little farther away from view than you see in photos, but I much preferred it to get some photos without people in them.
I paid $30 and booked online with Haku company via findlocaltrips.com. They were selling the tours in the city for 70 pesos (about $21), but I wanted to read reviews on the company as I have heard many stories of companies in both Peru and Bolivia having a problem with the drivers being drunk. There has also been many accidents with tourists which have resulted in death so I was not going to take that chance. I am willing to pay more for my safety and piece of mind. Please do your research before booking with a company that involves any kind of transport in Peru and Bolivia.
Travel Insurance for Peru
I never go on a trip anymore without travel insurance. Never. Too many bad things can happen (and they have unfortunately). Shit happens when you least expect it.
After crossing into Bolivia, my cellphone was stolen. Traveling without your cell is the worst! I’m so glad I had insurance because when I got back I filed the claim with no hassles and got fully reimbursed for my phone + the expensive case that it was in. Thank God!
My favorite travel insurance that I have been using for the past 4 years is World Nomads. I have made 3 total claims so far and have been fully reimbursed for all 3. I highly recommend them.
*this post contains affiliate links.
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Bali is a dream destination, partly because it’s so damn cheap! Oh yeah, and the other part because it’s so damn gorgeous! The great part about Bali is that you can ball it up in luxury, without the luxury price tags. So sit back and let yourself live like a queen (or king) while you’re there. You deserve it. ♥
On my recent trip to Bali, I was determined to find cute and comfy accommodation that wouldn’t burn a hole in my pockets. I ended up finding a few amazing places all with nice views, pools, and yummy food, for under $40! I used a combination of Airbnb, Booking.com, and Hotels.com and found the perfect places, which I highlighted below.
I included Lombok since that’s a popular nearby island that many add onto their Bali trip, although it’s not technically Bali. I also included 2 splurge resorts if you wanna go all out. But it’s still not that expensive as you’ll see ($103 for a 5-star resort. What??)
Oh, and before I begin, I may have a few coupons you can use! If you’re new to Airbnb, you can get $40 OFF your first rental. Airbnb is my accommodation of choice and I use them for 80% of my accommodations. If you’re new to Booking.com, you can get $20 OFF your first booking. Booking.com is great because they have the “pay later” option where you pay upon arrival.
Cute Places to Stay in Bali
♥D’mas Huts♥ | Cute Places to Stay in Bali | Nusa Lembongan
This family run place was absolutely fantastic. It’s composed of only 5 private huts and has spectacular views over Nusa Ceningan and the gorgeous blue water in between.
The owner Nyoman was the best host and catered to just about anything I needed. He always had a smile on his face and really made my stay more enjoyable.
They also have a nice restaurant which serves a big variety of foods at a super reasonable price. Plus the views over the pool and landscape below is fantastic! The food was super delicious as well!
I got a special deal on hotels.com and paid only $18/night. It was half off, but even at full price it’s super affordable. The value for money is incomparable and I cannot recommend this place enough!
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Another perk is onsite scooter rentals for 50k/day. Breakfast was not included in the price, but like I mentioned above, the prices were super reasonable.
The location was excellent to explore all 3 Nusas, about 15 minutes from Lembongen town and less than 10 minutes to Nusa Ceningan. The yellow bridge is also where you can catch the public boat to Nusa Penida!
*also make sure to check the listing on Booking.com as it’s listed there as well and they have the option to pay later!
♥The Inn Possible♥ | Cute Places to Stay in Bali | Uluwatu
Getting to this secluded paradise is no easy task, but it’s half the fun! It takes about a 15 minute walk down steep steps and passing through some houses. It sits on Bingin beach, one of the more secluded and beautiful beaches on the island. The hotel is literally right smack on the sand and it doesn’t get more secluded than this.
The pathway to the secluded Inn Possible
The views from the main hangout area/lobby are stunning. You can order food from their restaurant and eat it at the bar overlooking the ocean and it’s really incredible.
The vibe is super chill and laid back and the owner is super friendly and helpful with any info you need.
It takes about a 10-12 minute scooter ride to get to Uluwatu temple, perched high up on the plunging cliff side. While the temple itself is nothing spectacular, the dramatic setting makes up for it!
The rooms are huge and come with either an AC or fan (make sure to book the room with the AC because it’s very hot!)
As resources are limited in this secluded spot, there is no hot water. But you won’t even care, trust me! The Inn Possible is one of those places where you go to relax and enjoy the serenity. I didn’t ever wanna leave (also because of those evil stairs haha). Tip: I wouldn’t even think about taking a large suitcase down there!
How I booked: Booking.com and paid in cash at the resort (they don’t take credit cards).
♥Coconut Boutique Resort♥ | Cute Places to Stay in Bali | Senggigi, Lombok
This hotel was very visually stunning with private bungalows all with pool views. The pool had a swim-up bar and illuminated blue LED lights. The bungalows were huge with a comfy bed, cable TV, mini fridge, and a beautiful outdoor bathroom.
There was an onsite restaurant and room service available that I took advantage of several times. The food was great and the prices were reasonable.
My favorite part about the hotel was the onsite spa services out by the pool. You also had the choice of spa services in your room at no extra cost. I got 1-2 services each day, including a foot massage, shiatsu back massage, and a facial. The prices were really low, even at the inflated hotel prices, so that was an extra plus!
Onsite scooter rentals were 70k/day (~$5.25). Or it took about 10 minutes to get to Senggigi port, but I loved the peace and quiet of seclusion.
♥Airbnb Bungalow w/ Lush Pool♥ | Cute Places to Stay in Bali | (just North of Ubud)
This was the most secluded place I stayed and it’s exactly what I wanted! Comprised of only 5 private villas overlooking the lush pool area, this Airbnb was a total steal! Breakfast is included and can be served by the pool or on your patio.
A free shuttle service 4 times a day to Ubud was included. And if you stay 3 or more days, a free motorbike rental is included. It took about 10 minutes to get to the center, but the tranquility is exactly what I asked for.
The bungalow is equipped with a coffee maker, Cable TV, AC, a huge comfy bed, and multiple charging plugs. Even though I was solo, it’s a romantic place away from the busy and noisy center of Ubud. I even met a couple on their honeymoon staying right next door to me.
How I Booked: You can find the Airbnb listing here. Also, don’t forget the $40 OFF coupon if you’re new to Airbnb.
Where to Stay if you Want to “Splurge” a Little Bit in Ubud
♥Alaya Resort Ubud♥ | Cute Places to Stay in Bali | Ubud
Alaya Resort Ubud is a quiet oasis right in the middle of the city, literally. This elegantly designed 5-star resort is the perfect place to feel pampered and taken care of.
Alaya Resort Ubud has 2 pools, 2 restaurants, a fitness center, and a world class spa.
The rooms had a California king size bed with plush comforters and pillows. A little detail that I thought was awesome was the built-in outlet converters in the rooms so you don’t even need to bring any!
Turn down service was provided nightly with a robe and slippers. All rooms come with a patio and sitting area outside. You will either have a view of the pool or the rice fields. My room with the rice field view was incredible. There is something just so peaceful about the rice fields that you forget you’re right in the middle of the city where all the action is. But don’t worry, you’re tucked away from all the sound so you’ll get a good night’s rest.
The staff was incredibly helpful and kind and the breakfast was fresh and delicious. There were several choices on the menu and not your typical buffet style breakfast. I really appreciate when you actually have choices from a menu!
The location is great and just a few minutes from the famous Monkey Forest. It is also right next door to the popular Yoga Barn, where you can take a yoga class or eat at the cafe (which has amazing healthy juices and vegan/gluten free choices).
Fun fact: Alaya Resort Ubud was voted Eco-Hotel/Resort of the Year in 2016!
Pricing: prices are as low as $112 night (for a 5 stat hotel! Gotta love Bali).
How to Book: You can check the listing here on Booking.com
♥Alaya Jembawan♥ | Cute Places to Stay in Bali | Ubud
Fifteen minutes away from Alaya Ubud is their sister resort Alaya Jembawan, a boutique wellness center. It’s also in the center but a little more serene and secluded. Alaya Jembawan has 2 infinity pools overlooking lush tropical scenery. It is a bit smaller than Alaya Ubud, but also a bit cozier.
This location made you feel a little more like you were out in the jungle and completely distant from the city. Yet it was conveniently located and a great base to walk around the city and enjoy great nearby cafes.
Alaya Jembawan is more focused on wellness and healing and provides the perfect serene setting. In addition to the wellness spa offerings, there is an Ayurvedic doctor and yoga instructor on site to help encourage a more slow paced lifestyle.
Breakfast was served at the cutest little restaurant called Herb Library decorated in earthy pastels. They implement local seasonal and organic ingredients and serve raw or living food. They had many vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options on the menu and everything tasted so fresh.
I really appreciated that they adopt an eat anytime policy where you are not bound to time constraints and can have your breakfast literally whenever you want (starts from 7am). Why can’t they have this everywhere?
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Pricing: prices as low as $103 (how is that possible for a 5-star resort? It still baffles me).
How to Book: Check the listing here on Booking.com
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Disclaimer: Some links in this article may include affiliate links, meaning I may receive a small commission if you book through these links, at NO extra cost to you. It’s what keeps this site ad free (I hate ads!). Also, I was a guest at Alaya Ubud and Alaya Jembawan. However, all opinions are my own and I am in no way obligated to leave positive feedback. I had an amazing time in the beautiful properties and I highly recommend staying at either one. Plus, they are super affordable for 5-star resorts!
Do You Have Any More Cute and Affordable Places You Recommend in Bali? Please Comment Below!
So you finally decided to take the leap and venture over to The Lost City of Petra, Jordan. Yay! It’s pretty safe to say you will not be disappointed. I recently visited Petra and it was one of my favorite places I have seen on my travels. Ever. Blown away is an understatement.
There are a few things I wish I knew before visiting Petra and which I think may be helpful in planning your trip. So I have put together this wee little blogpost with some practical tips for visiting Petra.
Practical Tips for Visiting Petra
The Visa Situation
First things first: to get into Jordan as a US citizen, you must purchase a visa on arrival. The cost is 40 JD ($56). You can purchase the visa right at the passport check counter. They do accept credit card or Jordanian dinars (JD).
1JD = ~1.41 $USD (ouch).
How to Get to Petra
Take the JETT bus from Amman to Petra for 10 JD one-way. The journey takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes including a 20minute rest stop. The bus is clean and comfortable.
There is no online purchase system as of yet so you either need to call them within a week of your journey or show up early and try to get a ticket the day of. During peak season, it’s likely to sell out. There is only one bus a day.
The bus from Amman to Petra is at 6:30am and the bus from Petra to Amman is at 5pm. The bus leaves from Abdali Bus Station in Amman. The JETT office opens at 6am so make sure you are first in line if you are buying the morning of. (I would recommend buying a day or 2 before if you happen to be in Amman already).
Note: the online “booking system” does not reserve you a seat. They sent me an email saying I needed to call them within a week of the journey to confirm. I was traveling and couldn’t call so my seat was not reserved. I had to show up at 5:50am before they opened and hoped they weren’t sold out. It wasn’t peak season so I got lucky and got a seat.
Buying Tickets to Petra
Ticket Prices to Petra:
1 day non-accommodated visitor: 90 JD (i.e. if you come as a day trip without accommodations in Petra)
1-day ticket: 50 JD (with proof of overnight stay)
2-day ticket: 55 JD
3-day ticket: 60 JD
I have a feeling they are discouraging day trips and want you to stay longer based on those prices. What do you think?
The Royal Tombs of Petra
You will need to bring your passport with you to purchase tickets at the visitors center. However, they did not ask for my passport for Petra by Night. They do accept credit cards, but not so much for Petra by Night. They sell the tickets right at the entrance, so you need to bring cash. (I’m honestly not sure if the visitor’s center is open at this time of night. So ya, cash is king).
How Long Do You Need in Petra?
I recommend at LEAST 2 days in Petra. At least! I was there 2 days (+Petra by Night) and it wasn’t enough. There is a lot of walking and hiking up hills so you gotta break it up and pace yourself.
Rome wasn’t conquered in a day. Don’t try to conquer Petra in a day. The main trail alone from the entrance to the Monastery is 8km! That’s 5 freaking miles.
Take a look at this map below. You will see the entry on the bottom right and the Monastery on the top left. Do you see how far away they are? Freakin far!
It takes about 1.5-2 hours to reach the Monastery from the entrance. That’s 3-4 hours just to do the main trail so keep that in mind. That doesn’t even account for all the millions of photos you are going to stop for.
Get there bright and early when it opens at 6am. You will have the Treasury to yourself for the first 10-15 minutes.
I recommend breaking up the main trail into 2 days. The first day explore the Treasury, Royal Tombs, Great Temple, and at least one of the 2 hikes to the top of the Treasury or the High Sacrifice. Then on day 2 take the long route to the Monastery, and all the other sites you missed on the main trail on the first day, plus the other hike.
I’m sure you’ve seen the many awesome photos of Petra by Night. Some say it’s overrated, but I disagree. It was incredible and the highlight of my trip! There is something special about being there at night with just the lanterns lighting your path. It was magical, that’s the best way to explain it.
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Petra by Night is only 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday, & Thursday) and I made sure I planned my trip around that because I did not want to miss it. It starts at 8:30pm but keep in mind it takes about 30 minutes to walk to the Treasury from the entrance! The cost is 12 JD ($17).
Safety in Petra
The world isn’t a safe place these days, but we shouldn’t stay at home because of it. Unfortunately, there is a negative stigma tide to Middle Eastern countries, one very hard to shake.Yes, it borders Syria and Saudi Arabia. But Jordan is generally a safe place, minus a few areas here and there.
I was in Amman at night, rode the bus to Petra myself, and walked around the streets by myself. I went to Petra alone as a female and I felt completely 100% safe.
I never once felt uncomfortable, like I was in dangerous, or harassed by men. In fact, it is one of the few countries in the world where I never got catcalled. Not once! The Jordanian people were some of the kindest, most hospital people I have ever met and I felt super welcome and safe in their country.
Riding Horses/Donkeys/Mules in Petra
You may get exhausted from all the hiking and walking you will be doing in Petra and need a little lift. In fact, you will get hassled 20+ times a day for a “taxi” ride on a donkey/mule. They can be persistent so learn to politely, but firmly decline if you’re not interested.
If you do decide to take a ride, make sure to negotiate the price beforehand or they will for sure overcharge you. A horse ride from the entrance to the Siq is included in the ticket price. However, they do indeed expect a tip.
How to Dress in Petra
Make sure to dress like you’re going hiking all day, because well, whether you like it or not, you will be doing a LOT of hiking. Especially if you want the best views. Absolutely no flip-flops.
If you must get that shot in a cute dress, bring a change of clothesor wear them underneath. There are 3 bathrooms throughout where you can change. Or if you hike first thing in the morning, you can change on the mountaintop because no one is there!
I would recommend dressing in layers as it’s freezing in the mornings and evenings and scorching hot in the day. You are in the desert after all.
I would avoid wearing black as it picks up ALL the dust. I learned the hard way.
Note: while it is a super touristy area of Jordan and the dress code is not as strict, you still want to respect the Jordanian culture. (I.e. don’t dress like hoochie).
What to Bring With You to Petra
Bring small bills to buy water, coffee, snacks. I brought a 50 JD bill and not one person had change so I had to buy an expensive necklace to break change. The necklace sure is pretty though.
Bring sunscreen and lots of water. Also, bring some snacks as you’re going to be there all day and food is not cheap inside. There is also limited options.
Bring hand sanitizer as your hands will get super dusty throughout the day. You’re gonna be hiking in sand, dirt so if you’re a clean freak like me, don’t forget it!
Where to Eat/Drink/Snack inside Petra
There are 2 restaurants inside Petra. One is a fancier buffet that charges 17 JD (~$24) and another right across from it that looks like a rundown shack. This “shack” also serve a buffet which was actually pretty good for only 10 JD ($14). I ate at the shack and I was satisfied.
There are also many little cafes with coffee/tea and packaged snacks along the way. I stopped at so many because they had a nice views and I needed a break from walking in the heat. My favorite was the one right smack in front of the Monastery. They even accepted credit cards! (with a minimum 5JD purchase). Tip: order the coffee with cardamon, so yum!
Where to Stay in Petra
Technically there are no hotels in Petra. The town called Wadi Musa is where you will be staying, located right next to Petra.
For a budget hotel under $30, stay at Rocky Mountain Hotel. The hotel is located on top of a hill in Wadi Musa, a 5 minute taxi ride from the Petra entrance or a 30 minute walk down a very steep hill. The view at the top of the restaurant is worth it alone. The sunsets there are epic and the buffet food was actually very good. To check out current prices and pictures, check here.
View from the cafe at the top of the Rocky Mountain Hotel
The Sun will Make the Sites Look Different at Different times of Day
Wait, what? Depending on where the sun is in the sky, the red rock will appear a different color. When the sun is shining directly onto the rock, it turns a deep red color. In the shade it’s noticeably lighter so it’s a good idea to come back to certain sites and photograph them at different times of the day.
As you will see in the photo below, this is the difference of the colors of the Treasury at 6am (left) and 4pm (right). A HUGE difference, right?
I was told the sunlight at the Monastery is best around 1pm.
A Word on Travel Insurance
Make sure to get travel insurance in case something happens. You’re pretty much out in nowhere so getting to the hospital may cost you a fortune if you are uninsured. Most US plans will not cover you overseas so make sure to check in advance.
My go to travel insurance that I have been using for the past 4 years is World Nomads. I have made 3 claims and have been reimbursed without any hassle. I highly recommend them. This is an affiliate link, btw :).
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‘The rose-red city half as old as time’, the words used to describe the ancient city of Petra by poet John William Burgon.
Petra comes from the Greek word for rock. Quite fitting for an entire city carved into the red sandstone cliffs. Petra has a fascinating and mysterious history and is on many bucketlists rightfully so.
Petra is also known as the “Lost City” as it was abandoned for centuries after a devastating earthquake. It was rediscovered by a Swiss explorer named Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812.
Petra was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 and is known as one of the 7 New Wonders of the World.
Today, it is estimated that less than 2% of the sites are excavated in Petra, yet you could spend several days discovering all the remains and hiking trails of the monumental city.
I recently spent a few days in Jordan and was determined to find the most epic views in Petra, and I think I found most of them! I honestly wish I had one more day as I just scratched the surface of this amazing place.
Below I have highlighted the most epic views in Petra, as well as how to find them (some are kinda hidden so hopefully this guide will help you find them easily).
The Most Epic Views in Petra
Beyond the High Sacrifice
The high sacrifice is a holy place that was used for animal sacrifices and is located on the summit of the Attuf Ridge high above the Royal Tombs and main trail. The peak rests at around 550+ feet. From here, you can see most of Petra, excluding the Monastery and Treasury.
You will look right down to the royal tombs across from you. There is a little shack with coffee/tea and trinkets at the top and it’s hard to resist sitting at the very edge of the cliff sipping coffee with the epic view.
How long it takes to reach the top:
About 40-ish minutes, depending on your fitness level. I have read articles that says 1 hour but only if you go at a snail’s pace.
How to Get There:
Look for the sign that says: High Sacrifice (Jabal Almadbah)
About 5 minutes after the Treasury, it will be on the left side. When you see the shop called “Why Not Shop” , look for the steps on the left. You’ll see a brown sign. If you see the amphitheater, you’ve gone too far.
Looking down onto the Treasury
This might be the most epic view you can get in Petra and takes a steep hike to get to with many stairs. The walk takes about 45+ minutes to get to the top. I would definitely go first thing in the morning to beat the heat and the crowds. I went around 6:45am, at the top around 7:30am and absolutely no one was there. It was awesome to have the place to myself.
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Trail Name: Al-Khubtha Trail
How to Get There:
About 5-7 minutes past the Treasury, you will pass the Street of Facades and public bathrooms on the right. Right after the bathrooms, you should see some little steps and a brown sign saying Al-Khubtha Trail. Take the steps up and you should pass the Royal Tombs on the right side.
You will then reach the bigger/steeper steps. Follow that up and you will see a few more signs saying saying “Come and Sit and Enjoy The Spectacular View of the Treasury From Above”.
View from the Bedouin tent thingy
There is a sign at the top pointing with an arrow to the rocks saying “Best View” where you will get a side view of the Treasury. But in my opinion, the best view is actually from the Bedouin type tent thingy about 2 minutes past this. You can see the Treasury straight down from there!
The Monastery and Petra Mountains in the Distance
The Monastery is arguably the most epic site in all of Petra, bigger and more badass than the Treasury. It takes a strenuous 45 minute hike to the top. But the best views aren’t from there. The best views are from above.
How to Get There:
Walk past the Monastery and cafe and you’ll see a hill. Climb up the hill and on the left you’ll see a sign that says Do “Not Miss This Spectacular View”, another one that says “View Wadi Araba Water Spring”, and “Grand Canyon View, Best in Jordan”.
Climb to the first platform and that’s where you will get the best view. You can go higher to a little cafe, but the views aren’t as good as from here in my opinion. You get the Monastery from the distance as well as the vast Petra landscape framing it.
Cafe with the “Best View in Jordan”
One of the best views over Petra where you can relax and sip on some very yummy tea is at a cafe located 10 minutes past the Monastery.The cafe is decorated Bedouinstyle with the colorful floor pillows and tables. Have a mint tea and enjoy the views. There is a cute and super friendly kitty that lives there too! A bonus if you ask me.
How to get there:
If you come down from the Monastery view and keep waking up the hill, you will see signs that says “Grand Canyon View, Best in Jordan”(btw, if you haven’t yet noticed from this article, there are tons of signs in Petra that will claim the “best view”, that’s for you to decide!). Walk to the top to the cafe for a panoramic view of the mountains.
Petra By Night
This is a definite a MUST if you’re visiting Petra. It only occurs 3 nights a week (Monday, Wednesday, & Thursday) so make sure to plan accordingly. This was the highlight of my Petra trip and the only way I can describe it is MAGICAL.
The Siq opens right up to the Treasury at the end and that first sneak peak through the narrow gorge is EPIC. It brought me to tears seeing the Treasury and all the candlelights surrounding it. What a great introduction to Pera!
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How to Get There:
You really can’t miss it as it’s on the main trail. After you get your tickets at the visitor’s center, proceed to the walk through the Siq. It takes about 30 minutes from the entrance to get the the Treasury, but half the excitement is walking through the narrow path illuminated by candlelights.
Inside the Caves of Petra
I must admit I have never seen photos of the caves of Petra, as they are overshadowed by the Treasury and Monastery. The caves are made of swirly marble patterns and were so beautiful. They also provided a cool escape from the heat!
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How to Get There:
Walk past the Street of Facades and they will be on your right before the Royal Tombs (if you see the Amphitheatre, you went too far). You can climb up into them and it gives you a nice alternate view of Petra that’s pretty damn impressive.
Walking through the Siq
The Siq is the gateway to the city of Petra and is a long narrow gorge with twists and turns that ends with a dramatic opening right smack in front of The Treasury.
The Siq is around 1.2km long and is anywhere between 3 and 12 meters wide. The cliffs are as high as almost 600 feet in some parts and the walk alone through the Siq is filled with many photo ops.
How to Get There:
You have to go through the Siq to enter Petra so you literally can’t miss it!
Have you Been to Petra? Do You Have Any Other EPIC Viewpoints you Would Recommend? Please Share Below!
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