Bike to Petra
- Ride across Jordan; Madaba to Petra
- Quiet, scenic backroads, support vehicles throughout
- Crusader castles, traditional villages, ancient Petra
Bike to Petra
A fantastic 5 day bike tour across Jordan, from Madaba to Petra through Dana. Our ‘Bike to Petra' tour follows a beautifully planned route through some of the best scenery and historic sites in the country, cycling on good dirt tracks and quiet back roads. Finish in style with two days exploring Petra.
DAY 1 - MADABA
Arrive to Madaba. Early arrivals can explore the lively town of Madaba and the ancient mosaic map of the Holy Land
DAY 2 - MOUNT NEBO - MUKAWIR - DEAD SEA - DANA
Cycle from Mount Nebo to the village of Mukawir, enjoy a home-cooked meal with a local family, descend and float in the warm, saline waters of the Dead Sea - the lowest point on earth and stay in Dana village.
DAY 3 - DANA - SHOBAK - PETRA
Visit Shobak Castle, another great Crusader fort, and ride off-road through the Al Hisheh pine forest and on towards Wadi Musa.
DAY 4 - PETRA
A whole day to discover the tombs and temples of Petra, carved 2000 years ago from the red sandstone.
DAY 5 - PETRA - Little Petra
Another day to explore the huge site of Petra and an afternoon ride to visit Little Petra and ride on an interesting off road trail with views to the breathtaking Wadi Araba desert.
- Bike hire
- Water, juice and snacks throught the rides
- All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinners
- All accommodation - Hotels (3nts), basic lodging (1nt)
- All transports and listed activities
- Arrival transfer including bikes
- Professional local cycling guide and support guide
- Petra-specialized tour guide
- Entrance fees to all listed sites
What's not included
- Travel insurance
- Travel insurance
- Single accommodation (available on request for a supplement of US$85)
Welcome to Terhaal adventures. We've designed these journeys to help you explore the very best of Jordan. Don't hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions about the trip - we're here to help. Enjoy!
The holiday itinerary set out below offers a good overview of the trip, but should be taken as a general guide only. We're continually improving these tours, and it's possible we will adjust the itinerary to take advantage of new opportunities or to avoid adverse weather or difficulties with transportation. We recommend that you print out a copy of the trip details a couple of days prior to departure, in case there have been any changes that may affect your plans.
Riding duration: 3 days
Riding distance: 144 Km: 30% off-road on dirt and desert tracks and 70% on quiet roads. 100% vehicle supported
Max altitude: 1590 m
Group size: 4 to 14
Accommodation: 3 nights hotels, 1 nights basic lodge
Amman - Queen Alia International Airport (AMM). A transfer will be provided from the airport to our hotel in Madaba - a 30 minute drive.
If you are already in Jordan, then your meeting point becomes at out hotel in Madaba (Hotel name and address will be provided upon booking).
Wadi Musa - Petra
If you wish to plan an extension for your trip, please let us know and we'll be glad to assist.
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you!) but if for any reason you are unable to begin your trip as scheduled, please contact us immediately at one of the following numbers:
+962(0)7 7751 5919
+962(0)7 9755 9290
+962(0)7 9778 4433
+962(0)7 9553 6351
DAY 1 - ARRIVAL
NO MEALS INCLUDED
Your driver will be waiting at Amman (AMM) airport to take you directly to your hotel in Madaba - a 40-minute drive. There are no activities planned for today. Please keep in mind that hotel check-in time is typically after 2.00pm. Early check in is not guaranteed, but if you do arrive early luggage storage is available at the hotel. There will be time to rest and settle in before you meet your tour guide for the trip. He'll be happy to answer any questions about the journey, and to make sure you're briefed on the program for tomorrow.
DAY 2: MOUNT NEBO, MUKAWIR & DEAD SEA
DISTANCE: 78KM (MOSTLY DOWNHILL)
TOTAL ASCENT 650M / TOTAL DESCENT 1700M
MEALS INCLUDED: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER
After breakfast we set our bikes and head off on the first stage of our mountain biking adventure. Riding straight from the hotel, you'll follow quiet back roads west towards Mount Nebo, a hilltop site with sweeping views down to the Dead Sea and west across the Jordan River towards Palestine. On a clear day you can see Jericho and even Jerusalem from here. For centuries Christians have believed this is the place where Moses died, within sight of the Promised Land, having led his people out of slavery in Egypt. In the early Christian period Mount Nebo became a place of pilgrimage, and it was at this time that craftsmen made the beautiful mosaics floors that have been excavated here over the last 80 years.
From Mount Nebo you'll ride south on a minor road between isolated farms. At the village of Main you'll join the Kings Highway - one of the most ancient trade routes in the world, now a little-used back road - before dropping off the asphalt and riding along a dirt road towards Libb. Here a narrow and hilly road takes us west towards King Herod's palace, where John the Baptist was imprisoned and eventually beheaded. There'll be time to take in the mosaics and the ruins before arriving at the village of Mukawir where you'll be welcomed by a local family for lunch.
The afternoon's ride will take you from Mukawir, which is about 800m above sea level, down to the shores of the Dead Sea, which at 400m below sea level is the lowest point on the surface of the earth. You'll make this descent on a minor road with almost no traffic at all and almost no pedaling required. We'll arrive at a beach facility to take a swim and enjoy the strange buoyancy of the waters. The Dead Sea contains mineral-rich muds that have been recognized since antiquity for their curative properties. This mud costs a fortune in Europe, but in Jordan you can scoop it from the seabed and cover yourself with it! The blue water, the white salt-encrusted shore, and the red desert mountains also make this an outstandingly beautiful place.
In the afternoon we transfer south, bypassing the town of Tafila to Dana village and to our simple and friendly hotel. Here you are on the edge of Jordan's largest nature reserve, a spectacular wilderness of canyons and mountains that rise above the Great Rift Valley.
Do not be intimidated by the length of today's ride - the last 15km are entirely downhill and almost effortless.
DAY 3: OFF-ROAD ON THE EASTERN PLATEAU SCENIC TRAIL TO PETRA
RIDING: 35KM / 4 HOURS / TOTAL ASCENT 650M / TOTAL DESCENT 790M
MEALS INCLUDED: BREAKFAST, LUNCH
A short transfer brings us to Shobak, another in the great chain of castles that guarded the eastern edge of the Crusader kingdoms and watched over the old trade routes that ran from the Red Sea coast up towards Damascus. It was built in 1115 by King Baldwin, one of the leaders of the First Crusade and the first to be crowned King of Jerusalem. Like Kerak, it was part of the principality governed by Raynald of Chatillon in the late 12th century, and it was here at Shobak that Reynald built the ships that he then transported to the coast at Aqaba and used to launch a raiding party towards Mecca. The castle was taken by the Arab Islamic armies of Salaheddin (Saladin) in 1189, and extensively restored in the 14th century by the Mamluk dynasty. There are two churches inside the castle, and if you ask your guides they will show you the steep underground tunnel that the Crusaders cut to get down to the water spring below the castle.
Leaving the castle, we ride along an excellent dirt track that contours around the edge of the Eastern Plateau and offers magnificent views down into the Wadi Araba. There are some short, steep climbs along the way, but this is a really enjoyable section of the ride, and the support vehicle is always at hand. Eventually we rejoin the King's Highway and continue south towards Wadi Musa. This little town is right on the edge of Petra's archaeological park, and will be our base for exploring the ruins. You'll check into a comfortable hotel here for a three-night stay.
DAY 4: PETRA SIGHTSEEING
MEALS INCLUDED: BREAKFAST
You have a full day (off the bikes) to explore ancient Petra, accompanied for the morning (2-3 hours) by an expert English-speaking guide and then free to wander round the ruins on your own. An early start helps you to get ahead of the mass of tourists and walk through the quiet, atmospheric slot canyon or siq that leads down towards the city. After the long twilight of the siq the sunlit façade of the Treasury is a stunning sight, no matter how many times you've seen it reproduced on film. From the postcards, you'd think this was what you'd come to see. But it's just the beginning. Petra is a vast archaeological site, most of it still unexcavated; you could spend days exploring the ruins and still not see it all. It was built by the Nabataeans, an Arab tribe who began as tent-dwelling Bedouin but soon came to dominate the most lucrative trade of the ancient world: incense. They used the money to create this city and to build an empire that extended from the Red Sea to Damascus. They also absorbed architectural ideas from Egypt, from the Babylonians, and from the Greek cities of the Mediterranean, using them to create the hybrid culture that you see in these ruins. The Temple of the Winged Lions, the High Place of Sacrifice, the Roman theatre, the Garden Tomb, the Byzantine church - any one of these monuments would be an archaeological treasure in its own right; in Petra, you can explore them one after another, and find them all set into one of the finest desert landscape in the Middle East.
DAY 5: PETRA SIGHTSEEING, VISIT LITTLE PETRA AND RIDE AN INTERESTING OFF ROAD TRAIL
RIDING: 31KM / 4 HOURS / TOTAL ASCENT 600M / TOTAL DESCENT 600M
MEALS INCLUDED: BREAKFAST
This morning is free-whether you'd like to pay Petra another visit or rest, the choice is yours. In the early afternoon, we shall ride on the tarmac road from our hotel to Beida (12 km north of Petra). We'll stop to visit the site of Little Petra before we continue riding on an interesting off-road track that leads to the ledge behind the mountains of Petra at a secluded area which provides amazing panoramic views of the breathtaking Wadi Araba desert to the west. We will stop at a viewpoint for a while to enjoy the scenery before we retrace our tail back to Beida and transfer back to our hotel where our program ends.
Accommodation is not included for this night. Please let us know if you'd like us assist in any extra service.
Visit Mount Nebo
Bike from Nebo to Mukawir, visit Mukawir hill palace remains & lunch with local family
Bike from Mukawir to the Dead Sea
Swim at the Dead Sea
Stay at Dana village
Visit Shobak Crusader Castle
Bike from Shobak to Wadi Musa (Petra)
Guided tour in Petra
Bike from Wadi Musa to Beida
Visit Little Petra
Water, juice and snacks throughout the rides
All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinners
All accommodation - Hotels (3nts), basic lodging (1nt)
All transports and listed activities
Arrival airport transfer including bikes
Professional local cycling guide and support guide
Petra-specialized tour guide
Entrance fees to all listed sites
What's not included
Single accommodation (available on request for a supplement of US$85)
What to Take
During the trip your baggage will be carried by bus and by 4WD vehicles. The only baggage weight limit is that imposed by the airline. However, we ask that you restrict your luggage to one main bag plus a small daypack. In general we recommend that you travel as light as possible as this will make transiting between airports and carrying your bag to hotel rooms a lot easier for you. You may find that wheeled luggage is more convenient on a trip of this nature.
Temperatures in Jordan can be hot, with little rain from late spring through until late autumn. The heat can become extreme during the summer months of July and August. In the months of November to March it can be cool at night, particularly in the desert where the temperatures can drop to 5C or even less. Even in the hot months out in the desert it can get cold at night.
Jordan is a predominantly Muslim country and tends to be quite conservative, so you should dress accordingly. As a general guideline, shoulders and knees should be covered at all times.
A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat is essential. From mid November to late February, a sleeping bag is essential for your nights in the desert. At other times a sleeping sheet will suffice. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the heat.
For this trip you will need to bring the following equipment:
> A Helmet
> Eye-protection (shutter-proof sunglasses),
> Cycling gloves
> Camelbak or 2 waterbottles
> Bike-specific clothing suitable for generally warm weather (Padded cycling shorts with loose 'over-shorts')
> Lightweight waterproof/windproof top
> Shoes suitable for biking
> Comfortable walking shoes for sightseeing and casual use
> A warm sweater for the nights for tours between November and March.
> If you wish to bring your own saddle, saddle pad, pedals and cycling shoes, we'll be more than happy to replace the pedals for you
> If you wish to bring your own bike, please see the 'Your Bike' section below
You may also find this checklist helpful -
> Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance, air tickets
> Personal medicines
> Money - credit card / travelers cheques / cash
> Money pouch
> First aid kit
> Alarm clock and torch/flashlight (headlights are best)
> Tampons / sanitary pads can be difficult to buy in rural areas
> Lock for your bag
> Small travel towel
> Your personal hygiene kit
> Foot powder or vaseline can be useful against blisters
> Sun protection lotion
> Insect repellent
We advise you to use your own bike for this holiday, after all it is the bike you know best and will provide you with the best riding experience. If you bring your own bike you will need to bring spares specific to your mountain bike. A biking helmet must be worn when riding. You should make sure your bike and equipment have been thoroughly cleaned prior to packing. Please note that we cannot guarantee against small scratches and paintwork damage involved in the loading and unloading from support vehicles, so please ensure that you have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under an insurance policy.
We recommend SEMI SLICK tyres for this trip. Your Bike MUST BE at least a mid level Mountain Bike such as a Specialized Rockhopper or a Trek 6500. Please contact us if you are unsure about the suitability of your current bike. Rear suspension will make the journey more comfortable but is not essential. We cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring that your bike is in perfect working condition before you start this trip. It is VITAL to ensure it is THOROUGHLY SERVICED to guarantee it is in good mechanical order before departure. If you are not mechanically minded, get your local bike mechanic to service it for you.
Whilst not essential, it is a good idea that you familiarise yourself with how to carry out at least some basic repairs to your bike e.g. fixing a puncture, changing an inner tube. Naturally our bike guides will always be happy to assist with any repairs, but due to the often remote nature of our trips, being able to carry out a simple repair can save time and the inconvenience of waiting for assistance
We advise you to use your own bike for this holiday, after all it is the bike you know best and will provide you with the best riding experience. Otherwise, you are most welcome to use on of ours. We have a full range of well maintained 2010 Giant Yukon mountain bikes (sizes 15, 17, 19 and 22 inches), with front suspension, V-brakes and Shimano gearing are available.
This is an active trip, and it is highly recommended that all travelers be in good physical health prior to arriving in Jordan. We also advise all our guests to consult their doctor beforehand.
Group leaders reserve the right to exclude (without refund) clients from the trip if the group leader believes that that client's own health may be endangered by the journey, or if the group leader thinks that the client's participation might compromise the enjoyment, health, or safety of the group as a whole.
This is an active holiday. It involves cycling and hiking in hilly country. That will require a decent level of fitness to be enjoyable. We recommend you objectively assess your fitness level in conjunction with reading the itinerary to ensure this trip is right for you. Make sure to read the Physical Rating section above.
Physical Rating: Is this trip good for me? Do I need to be super fit to do it?
This is a moderate biking holiday designed for the regular rider with a good balance between time on the saddle and time spend on each attraction site. Most of the riding on this trip is straightforward on quiet tarmac roads or dirt roads and desert tracks. There are short sections of village footpaths, but very little that could be described as technical. There are some days involving amounts of ascent, however, the support vehicle is available pretty much throughout. This allows for groups of mixed ability and also provides the option (for those who are finding the going tough) to skip the most testing of the uphill grinds. We have rated this trip as moderate but keep in mind this is an adventure holiday and you will be on the move a good deal. You do not have to be super fit, but a good level of fitness is required for you to enjoy it.
Our trips are designed with shared accommodation in mind whereby single travelers are paired with individuals of the same sex in twin shared accommodation. Forced singles are free of charge.
Single accommodation is available on request pending availability.
Jordan is generally considered a safe country. There is very little petty crime here, especially in rural areas. However, we recommend you take normal precautions to ensure your safety and that of your belongings, as you would for any other destination. Take good care of your passport, wallet, and other valuables. In crowded streets, keep your bag closed and in front of you. There will be free time during this trip - you can always ask your local guides for their advice about where to go and what to avoid. Please make sure you have adequate footwear and clothing for the hiking trips you will be taking.
Jordanians are famously friendly and welcoming towards guests, especially in rural areas. It is quite normal for Jordanians to invite foreigners in to drink tea or have a meal in the family home. Meeting the local people in spontaneous encounters of this sort is one of the great pleasures of travelling in Jordan.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. Business hours are shortened, including opening hours at all tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours [except in 5-Star Hotels] and many restaurants will be closed. While you definitely need to expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month of Ramadan is a fantastic time to travel to Jordan as you'll be able to participate in the feasting and holiday atmosphere that follows the breaking of the fast as sunset each day. You'll also get to taste special sweets that are only baked for Ramadan. You do not have to fast, and no-one will expect you to; however, you should try to eat and drink discreetly, if possible, rather than in crowded public places.
Most nationalities are able to obtain a single-entry visa at the airport, at the land borders, or at the port in Aqaba, valid for 14 days and costing JOD 40. However, you should consult the Jordanian embassy in your home country to make sure you are not subject to any special visa requirements.
You will be required to pay a JOD 5 Departure Tax upon leaving Jordan (does not generally apply when exiting through airports, but travellers on some budget airlines may be required to pay it).
The Jordanian Dinar is fixed at a rate of JOD 0.709 against USD 1.
It is difficult to say how much spending money you should bring as each person is different! However, you'll need some cash for any meals not included in the itinerary, plus snacks, drinks, gifts etc.
It is a good idea to have access to extra funds in case of any emergency (urgent healthcare / travel costs etc.). This is highly unlikely, of course, but best to be prepared.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment, and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance (and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number) has been seen by your trip leader. If your insurance is provided through your credit card, your tour leader will require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt or credit card statement) with the credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
In case of an emergency Terhaal's Amman Office can be reached on -
+962(0)7 7751 5919
+962(0)7 9755 9290
+962(0)7 9778 4433
+962(0)7 9553 6351
Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Your Fellow Travelers
Group trips entail all the pleasures and occassionally some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travelers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the group's needs and preferences. Patience and flexibility really help to create a relaxed and happy atmosphere. Please remember that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, please don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and again that the best trips are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Many thanks in advance!
We believe in low impact or ‘positive impact' tourism. Broadly speaking, this means that we try to minimize the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit, while maximising the positive aspects of the encounter. Jordan is a small country with few natural resources. Water scarcity is a big issue in the region, so please go easy on the water. Terhaal designs these tours in a way that maximizes benefits for local communities. Whenever possible we hire local staff in the areas where we operate, and our guests stay in locally owned hotels. We also include some volunteering activities where appropriate, such helping farmers to harvest their olives. Terhaal also contributes towards efforts that strengthen environmental advocacy and the environmental education of Jordan's children.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make your destinations such special places. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession. It is also unsafe to drink alcohol while out hiking / cycling, so please wait until you're back at the hotel to enjoy a drink.
After your trip we hope you will send us your photos and any stories or feedback you may have. Your feedback not only helps us to improve the trips, but also helps other travelers to decide on the right tour for them. We would appreciate it if you could take a couple of minutes to complete our feedback form, just follow this link: http://www.terhaal.com/feedback-form
Our blog - ‘Treks & Trails of Jordan' - is a collection of stories posted by a variety of people that reflect the natural, environmental and cultural aspects of Jordan. It is also a great way to give feedback and to share your Jordan experience with others. All you need to do is write one or two paragraphs about your trip with Terhaal, attach some photos if available and send it to us at this email: team[at]terhaal.com
You can find the blog here -
The information in this document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and Terhaal.