Ninh Binh Vietnam: The Incredible Day Trip You MUST Take from Hanoi

Ninh Binh Vietnam: The Incredible Day Trip You MUST Take from Hanoi

Day Trip to Ninh Binh Vietnam

If there is ONE day trip you take from Hanoi, make sure it is to the serene Vietnamese countryside to an area called Ninh Binh. It was such a nice escape from the insanely hectic city of Hanoi and it ended up being my favorite place in all of Vietnam!

It’s an easy stress-free day trip from Hanoi and is 100% worth doing, especially if you love nature, mountains, and epic panoramic views. Here is a quick guide on how to do an easy day trip to Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

How to Get to Ninh Binh from Hanoi

Train

Hanoi to Ninh Binh:

The earliest train to Ninh Binh leaves at 6 am and takes about 2 hours.

Ninh Binh to Hanoi

The last train leaves Ninh Binh at 5:27pm and takes 2 hours to get back to Hanoi.

The cost of the round-trip train from Hanoi to Ninh Binh is 216,000 dong ($9.50). To get your ticket, go to the tourist info center in the train station. You will see someone behind a desk and you sit on a chair and wait for them to process your ticket. I waited 10-15 minutes and they wrote me a paper ticket. You must bring your passport to purchase a ticket (a photo of your passport works too).

Note: I went the day before to get my ticket because I wasn’t sure what time they opened and I didn’t want to miss the first train. I’m glad I did because they were very slow in processing the ticket! Apparently you can book on the official site of Vietnam Railways but when I checked the online prices were way higher than the in-person prices.

Bus

There is also a bus that runs from Hanoi to Ninh Binh and takes about 2.5 hours. The cost is around $7. But honestly, when it comes to public transportation in Southeast (SE) Asia, I would definitely trust the train over the bus as bus safety is a big issue in a lot of SE Asian countries.

What to Do In Ninh Binh Vietnam

Hang Mua (Mua caves)

Hang Mua is the crown jewel of Ninh Binh in my opinion. I went here first because I wanted to beat the crowds and the heat. I went right when they opened and was the first person there so I had it to myself for a bit which was really nice.

Ninh Binh Vietnam

You must climb almost 500 steps to reach the top of the Hang Mua Peak and the views from the top will blow your mind! The entrance fee is 100,000 dong ($4), cash only!

Ninh Binh Vietnam

At the top of what the locals call, “dragon mountain” is a HUGE carved out dragon that is said to be watching over the valley.

On the other side you will have a sweeping panoramic view over the Tam Coc Valley, and the BEST view I saw in all of Vietnam.

Ninh Binh Vietnam

Tam Coc Boat Tour

You can take a quick taxi from Hang Mua to Tam Coc for 50,000 dong ($2). Tam Coc is part of the Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Tam Coc Boat tour costs 270,000 ($12) dong per boat (2 ppl max). The trip is 1.5 hrs long and goes through the gorgeous valley, passing under some caves and past some rice fields. You also randomly stop to feed some hangry goats, which was fun!

Ninh Binh Vietnam

The fun thing about this boat trip is that one of the locals pedals the oars with their feet for the entire ride. They work really hard so make sure to give them a good tip at the end!

Rent a Bike in the Tam Coc Valley

One of my favorite things I did in Ninh Binh was rent a bike and wind through the gorgeous rice fields with the river on one side and the mountains on the other. There were many different paths to take and I had such a blast exploring the peaceful countryside.

You can rent a bike from across the street from the Tam Coc Boat tours at one of the shops for 50,000 dong ($2).

Get a Famous Vietnamese Egg Coffee

Brick coffee shop was only a 5 minute bike ride away from the boats. It had the most amazing egg coffee and was a super cute/trendy coffee shop. This was a great way to end my day trip in Ninh Binh before returning my bike and heading back to the train station.

Taxis in Ninh Binh Vietnam

I took taxis the whole time I was in Ninh Binh and it was super cheap and convenient. The taxi from Ninh Binh train station to Mua caves cost 100,000 dong ($4). The taxi from Mua caves to Tam Coc cost 50,000 dong ($2). The taxi from Tam Coc back to the train station cost 100,000 ($4). So in total it costs 250,000 for the entire day of taxis ($10).

Grab App

The Grab app is like the local version of Uber. But you can see messages through the app, good for when you have WiFi but not a local phone number to call. You can also add a quick note to the driver when you book (ex: I’m right outside the train station). You pay them in cash. You can set up to pay by card but you have to buy credits in increments of 100,000 dong so if you don’t use them all you waste money.

Tours in Ninh Binh

If you don’t really want to lift a finger and have everything planned out for you, I would recommend the tour company Get Your Guide. I usually like to do thing on my own, but when I do a tour, I usually choose this company. You can check the Ninh Binh tours HERE.

 

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Why You Should Always Travel with Travel Insurance (Because shit happens)

Why You Should Always Travel with Travel Insurance (Because shit happens)

Is travel insurance worth it? This is such a big debate in the travel community and I’ve noticed that sometimes the arguments  around it can get heated. In the end, it’s a personal choice.

The truth is, if you knew all the facts, you would probably agree that you should never travel without travel insurance. It’s just foolish and risky.

But hey, if you have a few hundred thousand dollars handy just in case you need to get air lifted from an island to the mainland, by all means, skip the travel insurance.

Travel insurance can save you a shitload of money in case an accident happens. And let me tell you, accidents DO happen when you least expect them.

I use World Nomads for all my international and yearly California trips. World Nomads offers comprehensive travel insurance internationally, as well as domestic travel insurance that is at least 100 miles from your home.


World Nomads Insurance Review


What Does Travel Insurance Actually Cover?

Travel insurance can save your ass in so many different ways (and get you reimbursed for your expenses). Here are the main things travel insurance will cover:

Trip protection

If your flight gets delayed or cancelled. This can also cover your accommodation/food expenses in these cases as well.

Emergency medical insurance (probably the most important part of travel insurance)

Unless you have some magical health insurance back home in the US, your health insurance will most likely NOT cover you abroad. I never knew that til about 10 years ago and that’s when I started getting travel insurance. Ignorance is bliss.

If you’re lucky, you may be covered so just call your health insurance to make sure. Even so, I would still purchase travel insurance for all the other benefits like trip protection/baggage and personal effects loss, etc.

Travel insurance will cover medical bills and dental costs in case you have an emergency overseas (examples: you get in a car accident, you catch the flu, you need to be hospitalized for food poisoning/yellow fever, you chip a tooth, etc.).

Gear Protection

In case your camera gear/computer/drone, etc gets damaged, lost, or stolen; your baggage gets lost/delayed.

Evacuation and Repatriation

In case you’re on a remote island and need to be airlifted to the mainland. Repatriation means in case of your death abroad, your body will be returned to your home country.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)

CDW is included in the Explorer Plan and will cover up to $35,000. (Note: CDW is not available for residents of NY, OR or TX).

What Travel Insurance Usually Does not Cover 

Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

Most travel insurance does NOT cover pre-existing medical conditions. Sometimes you can add on an extension for this and pay more. In terms of World Nomads, they do not cover pre-existing medical conditions UNLESS they are controlled and stable.

If you do have a stable pre-existing medical condition, such as diabetes or something, I would still call to make sure what exactly would be covered in the event you would need medical treatment related to this.

Motorbike Rentals

If you read the fine print, a majority of travel insurance companies will NOT cover you for riding a motorbike. World Nomads DOES cover motorbike activities. However, this is ONLY if you are properly licensed in your home country to drive the vehicle.

For example: if you want to rent a motorbike in Thailand and you’re from the USA, you must have a valid motorcycle license from the USA. I didn’t realize this until recently, so basically all the motorbikes I rode in SE Asia I wasn’t properly covered for. Thank God nothing happened!

World nomads insurance review

You Should NEVER Travel to the USA without Travel Insurance. Period. 

Great news! World Nomads covers non-USA citizens for traveling to the USA. I was able to help my boyfriend (who is from Croatia) secure travel insurance for his month long trip to the USA.

The USA is NOT a place you ever want to travel to without travel insurance. The cost of healthcare is RIDICULOUSLY expensive. A trip to the hospital can run you $2,000-$10,000+(for a one night stay).

There is no way around it and if you need medical care while you’re here, you WILL pay the price (they will track you down until it’s paid so be prepared if you visit without travel insurance).

My Favorite Travel Insurance: World Nomads Insurance

I’ve been using World Nomads for the past 4.5 years and I absolutely love them. I have filed 3 claims so far and have gotten fully reimbursed without hassle. I had 2 claims for stolen gear (both in South America) and one hospital visit in Croatia.

Top 5 Reasons Why I Love World Nomads Insurance

  • You can file a claim entirely (and easily) online
  • Their customer service is very helpful
  • You can get reimbursed fairly quickly
  • Their coverage is some of the BEST, especially when it comes to emergency medical expenses
  • You can extend your coverage easily, even while you’re already on your trip (instead of having to buy a whole new policy)

My real life experiences with World Nomads:

1. After a big trip to Africa I was in Croatia and had severe stomach pains. My hypochondriac self was convinced I had Hepatitis A since I didn’t get the vaccine before my trip. Two hospital visits later and some meds and I was discharged with gastroenteritis.

Type of Claim: Medical Emergency

What was required to file my claim: the discharge letter from the hospital which included my diagnosis and doctor’s signature, copy of my bill, receipt/bill from the pharmacy where I got my prescription, and a copy of my return plane ticket in and out of Croatia.

How Long Did it Take to Get Reimbursed: 6 weeks total to get my check mailed to my door (it was delayed a bit since I forgot to submit proof of my plane ticket…not entirely sure why the plane ticket mattered since it had nothing to do with my hospital visit, but hey, they required it).

Note: it says on the site that documents need to be translated into English, but when I called they informed me that it was not necessary. So I just submitted the doctor’s note in Croatian and it was totally fine.


2. While on a bus in Colombia I had my very expensive camera lens stolen from my bag. My Airbnb host helped me file a police report in Colombia and as soon as I got back I filed my claim.

Type of Claim: Stolen Gear

What was required to file my claim:the police report, receipt of purchase of the camera lens, proof that my credit card was charged for the purchase, and a copy of my return plane ticket.

How Long Did it Take to Get Reimbursed: 4 weeks total


3. While in Bolivia I had my cell phone stolen from me right in front of my Airbnb with 2 security guards. How does this even happen? Ugh.

Type of Claim: Stolen Gear

What was required to file my claim:the police report, receipt of purchase of my cellphone, proof that my credit card was charged for the purchase, and a copy of my return plane ticket.

How Long Did it Take to Get Reimbursed: 5 weeks total


How to Get World Nomads for Your Next Trip

If you want an idea of how much travel insurance is going to cost, you can get a quick quote below:

World Nomads Standard vs Explorer Plan (Which one do you need?)

There are basically 2 different plan options for each trip. The standard is a more basic coverage and the explorer offers a bit more coverage.

If you can’t decide which one you need, the main difference between the 2 plans are as follows:

Activities you plan on participating in:

If you are going to be doing more high risk activities such as cliff jumping, cave diving, scuba diving more than 50 meters deep, sky diving, hiking (up to 22,965 feet/7,000 meters), etc. you probably will need the Explorer Plan.

If you plan on going to to the beach and lounging most the time, the Standard Plan may be more suitable for you.

You can check the list of activities and which plan covers them here.

The Explorer plan also gives more coverage in almost every category including gear coverage of $3000 compared to $1000 in the standard plan, CDW coverage up to $35,000 versus no CDW coverage with the standard plan, etc. Without getting too detailed, you can check the example below:

World nomads insurance review

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World nomads insurance review

Note: I am not getting paid for this post nor did I receive any discounts for using World Nomads. I have been using it on my own for 4.5 years and absolutely love it. After using it for so long, I decided to sign up for their affiliate program which lets me receive a very small commission if you use my links (at no extra cost to you of course). This helps me keep my site ad free (cuz I hate ads when I’m trying to read a site, don’t you?). So THANK YOU! ♥

 

How to Visit Murano and Burano in One Day (from Venice Airport or Venice)

How to Visit Murano and Burano in One Day (from Venice Airport or Venice)

It took me my 3rd trip to Venice to finally visit the colorful towns of Murano and Burano. I would say they were worth the wait!

Murano and Burano can be visited as a day drip from Venice. Or as I did it, a day trip during a long layover at Venice airport (airport code VCE).

I arrived around 9am and my next flight was not until 7pm so it was plenty of time to get out and explore. The immigration process took a lot longer than I though for a smaller airport (about 40 minutes total) so keep that in mind!). It was a Saturday so maybe that’s why it was so busy.


How to Visit to Murano and Burano in One Day


How To Get To Murano and Burano from Venice Airport

Alilaguna Water Boat

The Alilaguna water boat from Venice Marco Polo airport to Murano takes 30 minutes. The Ticket costs 8€ one way and 15€ return. (The ticket to Venice costs 15€ one way). 

How to Visit to Murano and Burano in One Day

The boat for Murano leaves every 30 minutes from the airport. It is Blue Line B. 

You can buy the ticket online, at the airport, on the boat, or at the dock. They take credit cards in the airport. It costs 1€ more to buy it on the boat. The boat takes cash only.

The dock is a 5 minute walk in a covered walkway that’s connected to the airport.

How to Get to Burano from Murano

Vaparetto 12

The Vaparetto 12 goes to Burano (or Venice).

The #12 leaves from Murano to Burano every 20 minutes and takes 33 minutes from Murano to Burano.  

How to Visit to Murano and Burano in One Day

Note: you MUST validate your ticket at the machine for Vaparetto #12 or it’s a 70€ fine. There is a little box when you’re waiting in line to board that stamps your ticket with the time.  DO NOT FORGET!

It’s about a 7-8 minute walk form the main terminal of Line B to Vaparetto 12 

How to Get to Murano & Burano from Venice

Vaporetto 12 goes from Venice to Burano and the cost is 6.50€. You can get on the #12 from Fondament Nove (near St. Mark’s Sq).

How to Visit to Murano and Burano in One Day

Colors of Burano

The Vaporetto 12 leaves every 30 minutes. Get off on the first stop if you want to go to Murano (Burano is the 3rd stop). It takes a total of 40 minutes to get from Venice to Burano.

The Vaporetto 12 schedule can be found here.

What to do in Murano and Burano 

There isn’t a whole lot to “do” besides walk around and take in the amazing colorful towns. 

How to Visit to Murano and Burano in One Day

Murano is famous for their colorful glass and its fun to walk into all the shops and see all the artsy creations. If you have time, you can take a tour of the glass workshops.

How to Visit to Murano and Burano in One Day

Burano is the prettier of the 2 in my opinion, and I enjoyed just walking around and enjoying the vibe and having a cappuccino with a waterside view. 

How to Visit to Murano and Burano in One Day

Make sure to eat at Trattoria al Gatto Negro in Burano. It’s a Michelin Star restaurant and has fabulous seafood dishes. It’s very popular and there is always a wait. I had to wait one hour. The seafood pasta was amazing and they give you a lot of seafood. They had GF pasta and Gf bread too!

How to Visit to Murano and Burano in One Day

How To Get Back To Venice Airport from Burano

Unfortunately, there is no direct line back to the airport so you will have to go back to Murano first via Vaparetto 12 and then back to the airport via the water boat on Line B. 

Make sure to allow enough time to get back to the airport because both boat rides will take 63 minutes total, plus the time in between to walk from one dock to the other (7-8 minutes), plus whatever time it is until the next boat. So give yourself AT LEAST 1 hour and 30 minutes to get back to Venice Airport from Burano.

Luggage Storage at Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE)

You can easily store your luggage at Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE). The cost is 7€ for the first hour and then 0,30€ (30 cents) for each additional hour. They charge per bag so definitely try to consolidate.

Luggage storage hours at VCE: 5am to 10pm.

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Cute Places to Stay in Bali with Amazing Views for Under $40/night (+ 1 Splurge!)

Cute Places to Stay in Bali with Amazing Views for Under $40/night (+ 1 Splurge!)

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. 

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

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! 

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

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! 

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!

For more on the Bali Nusas, check out my article How to Spend 3 Days in the Nusa Islands (Lembongan, Ceningan, & Penida)

Pricing: on sale for $18/night 

How I booked: Hotels.com

*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. 

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

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!

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

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!

Pricing: $40/night 

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.

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

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!

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

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. 

Pricing: on sale for $38/night 

How I Booked: Booking.com link here

♥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. 

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

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. 

Pricing: $40/night

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. 

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

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.

Where to Stay in Bali

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. 

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

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?

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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where to stay in Bali

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!

 

Practical Tips for Visiting Petra (aka “The Important Sh*t You Need to Know”)

Practical Tips for Visiting Petra (aka “The Important Sh*t You Need to Know”)

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.

Practical Tips for Visiting Petra

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 20 minute 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?

Practical Tips for Visiting Petra

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.

For the most EPIC viewpoints in Petra, check out my article The Most Epic View in Petra (+ How to Reach Them).

Practical Tips for Visiting Petra

Petra by Night 

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.

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 clothes or 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!

Practical Tips for Visiting Petra: How to Dress in Petra

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. 

Practical Tips for Visiting Petra: Where to Eat in Petra

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 $50, 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.

Where to stay in Petra: Rocky Mountain Hotel Petra

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? 

Practical Tips for Visiting Petra

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 Most Epic Views in Petra (+ how to reach them)

The Most Epic Views in Petra (+ how to reach them)

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.

most epic views in Petra

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. 

most epic views of Petra

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.

most epic views in Petra

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. 

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.

most epic views of Petra

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”.

Most epic views in Petra

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. 

most epic views in Petra

How to Get There:

most epic views in Petra

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”.

most epic views in Petra

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 Bedouin style 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. 

most epic views in Petra

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.

most epic views in Petra

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!

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!

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.

most epic views in Petra

 

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.

most epic views in Petra

How to Get There:

You have to go through the Siq to enter Petra so you literally can’t miss it!

Travel Insurance for Jordan

My favorite travel insurance that I have been using for the past 4 years is World Nomads. I have made 3 claims so far and have been fully reimbursed for all 3 without any hassle. I HIGHLY recommend them.

Here is my more detailed review of World Nomads if you’re interesting in their coverage.

Have you Been to Petra? Do You Have Any Other EPIC Viewpoints you Would Recommend? Please Share Below!

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