An obvious path leads through the 400m-long Siq Al Barid, opening out into flat, sandy areas. The first open area boasts a temple while four triclinia – one on the left and three on the right – are in the second open area. These were probably used as dining rooms to feed hungry merchants and travellers. About 50m further along the siq is the Painted House, another small dining room reached by some exterior steps.
The Painted House is worth a closer look as faded but still vivid frescoes of vines, flowers and birds on the underside of the interior arch are a rare example of Nabataean painting, though the walls have been blackened by Bedouin campfires. Cut into the rock opposite the room is a large cistern; there are also worn water channels at various points along the siq.
Climbing the steps at the end of Siq Al Barid affords great views of the wind-eroded landscape and plenty of picnicking opportunities. With extra time and interest the Nabataean quarries and cisterns of Umm Qusa, located just before the entrance to Siq Al Barid, are worth a look.
There are guides, souvenirs, drinks and snacks available in the stands clustered near the entrance to the siq, beside the car park.