With around one-third of the world’s relics and monuments, Luxor is a must-visit destination for history and culture buffs alike. Yet, for all its heritage and history, Luxor is so much more than just that – it’s a city with breathtaking nature, gorgeous scenery, extremely kind and generous people, and – above all – serenity. Luxor is quiet and peaceful, and – as with most of Upper Egypt – you’ll find restoration and redemption for the soul that's been chiseled at by big city traffic and sensory overload.
Once known as Thebes, the ancient capital of Egypt, Luxor remains a city built on countless years of ancient history. The city of Sun God Amun-Ra, Luxor is home to the biggest and most important temple in all of Egypt that was once dedicated to him – the iconic Karnak Temple. The city has managed to maintain its spiritual significance for thousands of years, throughout both Roman and Christian rule, and you can experience each era throughout the city's every corner.
For a first-time visitor, Luxor can be kind of intimidating, mysterious, and overwhelming; where do you start exploring the world’s biggest open-air museum?
01: Around the Neighbourhood: The People and Places of Luxor
02: How Do I Move?: Getting to and Around Luxor
03: Where Do I Stay?: Hotels, Hostels, and All The Alternatives
04: What's There to Discover?: Experiencing Luxor
05: What Do I Eat?: Local Food and Where to Find it
06: Beyond Luxor: Day Trips to Experience Nearby
07: How Friendly is Luxor?
08: SOS: Health & Safety in Luxor
09: Banking & ATMs
10: Pro Tips
A touristic hotspot centred around temples and museums, Luxor is comprised of two sides: the East Bank and the West Bank. Each side is very distinct, and they’re separated by the Nile River. If you're arriving by plane, train, or automobile, you'll wind up in the East Bank; that's where you'll find life-giving temples, representing the rising of the sun – it's also where you'll find most of the hotels, Luxor Temple (walking distance!), Karnak Temple, and Abu Haggag Mosque. The best way to get around the East Bank is by taxi. To reach the West Bank, you'll be crossing the Nile river whether via ferry or taxi. You'll most likely end up spending more time on the West Bank where there's a lot more to see; on this side is where you'll find tombs and mortuary temples because the West Bank represented the day ending and consequently the end of life. This is where you'll find the Valley of the Kings, Deir el-Bahari, Ramesseum, and the famous hot air balloon rides.
No matter which side of town you're on, the warmth and generosity of the people of Luxor remains unchanged. As is common of people in Upper Egypt, the locals are accustomed to opening their homes and hearts to tourists and visitors alike. Although city life has taken a toll on the people of Luxor, leaving them a tad rougher around the edges than their Aswani and Nubian counterparts, it remains that Egypt's southern hospitality may give the Texans a run for their money.
GETTING TO LUXOR
Luxor is about 750 km away from the Cairene capital, but the touristic hotspot is very easy to access via plane, train, or automobile – and also by bus.
There are two routes you can take from Cairo to Luxor, and the trip takes around seven or eight hours. The first option is starting out on the East Army Road, after which you’ll merge onto the West Road from Asyut to Luxor. This route takes about seven hours but it has fewer services than the Old West Road. The problem with the Army Road is that it’s poorly lit and you could drive miles with zero lights at night. Your other bet is the Western Road; you can take this one from Cairo to Luxor in roughly eight hours, but you’ll find rests, car services, medical services, and gas stations along the way. The catch with this one is the turns you’ll have to take in Qena Governorate, which is why this route usually takes a bit more time.
Between EgyptAir, Nile Air, and Air Cairo, there are plenty of flights heading out of Cairo to Luxor throughout the day. Flying from Cairo to Luxor takes somewhere between 60 to 80 minutes, and prices could vary between 2,000 EGP to over 4,000 EGP depending on the time of the year you plan to visit. You should keep in mind that you won’t find any buses headed into the city from the airport, so you'll most likely have to take a taxi. A drive from the airport to the city will cost you around 200 to 300 EGP. Another option that might save you a few pounds is to arrange with the hotel you’re staying at or a travel agency if they could get a private car to pick you up.
You can find the Go Bus office at 4 El Galaa’ Street in Abdel Moneim Riad – under the huge billboards next to the Ramses Hilton; this is one of the places where you can book your ticket, and it's also the main stop in Cairo. You can also book via the Go Bus website as well as by phone via 19567. If you’re looking to leave from Abdel Moneim Riad, there are daily departures to Luxor that also pass by the Go Bus station in Nasr City.
12:35 AM: Elite Plus – 385 EGP
1:20 AM: Deluxe Plus – 255 EGP
10:30 PM: Deluxe Plus – 255 EGP
11:15 PM: Deluxe Plus – 255 EGP
Your other option is Golden Horse Transport, which you can book online through the Golden Horse Transport website or by phone at 01222221843. A round-trip ticket between Cairo and Luxor costs just under 400 EGP, with buses departing from Cairo daily at 7:45 PM.
The most accessible and commonly used transportation between the capital city and Luxor is the train, although it’s definitely not the shortest. The distance is covered in just over nine hours – which actually becomes anywhere up to 12 hours – but it doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable ride. You have several options with a range of prices. If you’re looking to make the most out of your time you can always take the sleeper train and arrive with some (relatively) decent sleep and ready to take on Luxor. For the regular trains, there are over 10 daily trains that depart from Cairo to Luxor, with prices ranging from 60 EGP for second-class tickets to 200 EGP for first class. You can book your ticket online on via the Egyptian National Railways website; it’s also fairly easy to buy tickets at the Ramsis Railway Station station – it just requires some extra patience and a bit of internal serenity.
The deluxe sleeper train is booked separately through the El Watania sleeper office; you could also book the sleeper train online through the El Watania Sleeping Trains website. During high seasons – anytime between November and March – pre-booking earlier on is recommended. Prices for regular seats are 400 EGP for Egyptians and $40 for foreigners. For beds, you have two options: either a single cabin or a bed in a double cabin. The single cabin costs 630 EGP for Egyptians, 1,050 EGP for Arabs, and $120 for foreigners; a bed in a double cabin costs 400 EGP for Egyptians, 750 EGP for Arabs, and $80 for foreigners. Train number 86 departs from Cairo to Aswan – stopping in Luxor along the way – on a daily basis, but it’s always best to book your round-trip tickets online in advance.
GETTING AROUND LUXOR
The public transportation system in Luxor isn't the most useful since lines pass by points that won’t be of much interest to travelers who want to explore the main parts of the city -- but it is as cheap as 3 EGP, in case you want to explore all the unconventional nooks and crannies of the city. For the most part, taxis will pretty much be your main method of transportation.
TAXIS: If you’re arriving at the airport, a taxi to the city centre will cost you around 200-300 EGP on the East Bank. Most of the hotels lie on the East Bank, but the historical spots are on the West Bank. If you’re looking to rent a taxi for a day to take you around monuments on the West Bank – assuming the driver will be waiting for you to take your tours – it'll probably cost you around 500-700 EGP for the day.
FERRIES: A nice way to get from one side of the city to the other is by hopping on a felucca in the Nile. They take much less time than taxis to get you to the other side, with a not-so-bad view of the city, and a great way to enjoy the Nile.
BIKES: You can rent a bicycle to get around, but you should keep in mind that it could get extremely hot around the city – especially in the summer. If the weather is forgiving, and if you’ve got some time and effort on your hands, it's not a bad way to get around and enjoy the city.
HOTELS: UP TO $49/NIGHT
NEW POLA HOTELFacebook: New Pola Hotel
Location: Gazirat Al Awameyah
Contact Number: 095 2365081 or 0111 006 0022
Average cost/night: for one person in a double room it’s $10-15, depending on the season.
STEIGENBERGER RESORT ACHTIFacebook: Steigenberger Resort Achti
Location: Khaled Ibn El Waleed
Contact Number: 095 2274544
Average cost/night: for one person in a double room it’s $30-40, depending on the season.
PYRAMISA ISIS HOTEL & SUITESFacebook: Pyramisa Isis Hotel Luxor
Location: Khalid Ibn El Walid Street
Contact Number: 095 2370100
Average cost/night: for one person in a double room it’s $22-30, depending on the season.
ARACAN EATABE LUXOR HOTELFacebook: Aracan Eatabe Luxor Hotel
Location: Nile Corniche
Contact Number: 0100 160 1401
Average cost/night: for one person in a double room it’s $20-35, depending on the season.
SONESTA ST. GEORGE HOTELFacebook: Sonesta St. George Hotel Luxor
Location: extension of Nile corniche street, Gazirat Al Awameyah
Contact Number: 0952382575 or 02 22917105
Average cost/night: for one person in a double room it’s $30-45, depending on the season.
PAVILLON WINTER LUXORLocation: Nile Corniche
Contact Number: 095 2380425
Average cost/night: for one person in a double room it’s $40, depending on the season.
JOLIE VILLE KINGS ISLAND LUXORFacebook: Jolie Ville Kings Island Hotel & Spa, Luxor
Location: Geziret El Awameyah
Contact Number: 095 2274855
Average cost/night: for one person in a double room it’s $25, depending on the season.
HOTELS: $50 – $99/NIGHT
STEIGENBERGER NILE PALACEFacebook: Steigenberger Nile Palace Hotel - Luxor
Location: Khalid Ibn El Waleed, Geziret Awameyah
Contact Number: 095 2366999
Average cost/night: for one person in a double room it’s $60-90, depending on the season.
HOTELS: $100 – $300/NIGHT
AL MOUDIRA HOTEL
SOFITEL WINTER PALACE LUXORFacebook: Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor
Location: Nile Corniche, beside Luxor Temple
Contact Number: 095 2380422
Average cost/night: for one person in a double room it’s $115-125, depending on the season.
GUESTHOUSES: UP TO $49/NIGHT
JEWEL OF THE VALLEY HOWARD CARTER HOTELFacebook: Jewel of the valley Howard Carter Hotel
Location: Cairo – Western Aswan road, Al Aqaltah
Contact Number: 01229913300
Average cost/night: for one person in a double room it’s $20, depending on the season.
FLOWERS HOME LUXORLocation: West Bank, Bairat
Contact Number: 0100 840 2999
Average cost/night: for one person in a double room it’s $7, depending on the season.
VILLA NILE HOUSE LUXORFacebook: Villa Nile House
Location: West Bank, 4 km from Valley of the Kings
Contact Number: 0109 239 9543
Average cost/night: for one person in a double room it’s $24-27, depending on the season.
SUNNY GUEST HOUSELocation: West Bank, Bairat
Contact Number: 0100 209 8288
Average cost/night: for one person in a double room it’s $10, depending on the season.
BOB MARLEY HOUSE SHEREIFFacebook: The Bob Marley House - Shereif Hotel
Location: Badr Street, from Television street
Contact Number: 0100 441 6536
Average cost/night: for one person it’s $7-10, depending on the season.
NEW EVEREST HOSTELLocation: Television Street, City Centre
Contact Number: 0101 014 4610
Average cost/night: for one person it’s $7, depending on the season.
* Based on single person occupancy during high season.
Full of ancient wonders and open museums, Luxor is proof of the ambition of ancient Egyptians, represented in their mammoth buildings and vast tombs. There are so many monuments in this city that you could easily spend a week exploring and soaking it all up and you still wouldn’t be able to truly see everything. Luxor is basically a huge open-air museum, and there’s no better place in Egypt to lose yourself in the wonders of the ancient world.
via ETL Travel
Known as the southern harem of Amun, the Luxor Temple was built by Amanhotep II and Ramses II to celebrate the Festival of Opet — the most important celebration by the pharaohs – but, like all temples, was later changed by other pharaohs during their respective reign. During his reign, Amenophis IV obliterated all references to Amun and added the sanctuary of his god Aten, and then came Tutankhamun who destroyed the temple of Aten. The temple withstood so many changes throughout its years, and has lived to tell the stories through embellishments on the walls. During the Christian era, the temple was transformed into a church and later, after the introduction of Islam, a mosque was built inside the complex. A whole mess of history, reigns, and religions make up this beautiful complex that begins with the Avenue of Sphinxes that runs all the way to the temples of Karnak — a distance of 3 km.
LOCATION: Luxor Temple on Google Maps
KARNAK TEMPLE COMPLEX
via Egypt Tours Portal
This temple says three things about ancient Egyptians and their buildings: big, bold, and hugely ambitious. Luxor’s mammoth building, the Temple of Karnak, is a whole complex and is considered ancient Egypt’s grandest project. Every pharaoh added and amended parts during their reign, adding their touch and stamping their seal on this religious sanctuary. Karnak was the house of gods, and its glorious build only shows how precious religion was for ancient Egyptians. There's a lot more to discover about the iconic Karnak Temple Complex – including how to best experience it during your Luxor trip.
LOCATION: Karnak Temple Complex on Google Maps
HATSHEPSUT TEMPLE/TEMPLE OF DEIR EL BAHARY
A funerary temple located below the cliffs of Deir El Bahary, the Hatshepsut Temple has a light-coloured exterior that stands out a bit among the other temples and gives it more of a modern picture. It was built for Hatshepsut, the second female pharaoh of Egypt who had one of the most successful reigns in history. She started out as queen regent after her husband – the king – died, and remained so temporarily until her stepson came of age. She continued to rule and assumed the title of pharaoh, and, for the first few years, she ruled as a man to establish authority since people were not used to have female pharaohs (ugh, patriarchy). There's a lot more to discover about the iconic Hatshepsut Temple Complex – including how to best experience it during your Luxor trip.
LOCATION: Hatshepsut Temple on Google Maps
VALLEY OF THE KINGS
via Lonely Planet
This is where anyone who was of any importance in Ancient Egypt was buried – a great burial ground for the kings and queens who set the blocks for Egypt’s grand history. The vividly painted tombs will give you a glimpse of the rituals and how they perceived life after death. This is Luxor’s greatest and most popular attraction, and has gained the attention of the world after the discovery of Tutankhamun’s burial place. So many great rulers were buried in this region, and their tombs are even greater, but the tomb of Tutankhamun discovered in 1922 remains the most famous. Even though it was broken into, it remained intact and well-preserved. Findings in his grave were the largest and most valuable findings of grave goods ever made in Egypt, giving only a glimpse of royal burials back in Pharaonic times.
LOCATION: Valley of the Kings on Google Maps
VALLEY OF THE QUEENS
via Travel Notes
There are about 80 tombs in this area that are excavated, belonging to the 19th and 20th dynasties. Many of these tombs are unfinished and undecorated and some have few inscriptions and reliefs, but what makes this site special is the famed tomb of Queen Nefertiti, wife of Ramses II. Her tomb had been recently reopened to the public in 2016, and it’s among the finest tombs ever found on the West Bank, with the walls and ceilings covered with beautiful details and rich-coloured inscriptions celebrating Nefertiti’s legendary beauty. If you find this spot interesting, you could also check out the tomb of Khaemwaset, Ramses III’s son, and the tomb of Queen Titi — both contain some well-preserved interesting inscriptions and reliefs.
LOCATION: Valley of the Queens on Google Maps
MEDINET HABUvia We Travel
This is a spot usually overlooked on the West Bank, but it’s one of the most beautifully decorated temples in Egypt, and it definitely should be on your list. This is a complex, made up of a smaller older temple built in the 28th dynasty. Back in the day, Madinet Habu had it all — temples, workshops, administrative buildings, storage rooms, a royal palace, and accomodations. For a while, it was considered the centre of the economic life of Thebes. It was dedicated to Amun, and the reliefs on the walls here are some of the best you’ll see on the West Bank. If you have enough time to wander around the site, you’ll find the remains of a Christian basilica, a small sacred lake, the outline of a palace, and a whole courtyard. This is a wonderful underrated spot in Luxor, make sure to stop there, especially around late afternoon.
LOCATION: Medinet Habu on Google Maps
LUXOR MUSEUMvia Luxor Travels
This is one of Egypt’s best museums — as expected from the city that holds one-third of the world’s monuments. A huge collection from the local area, each tells a story of ancient Thebes, starting from the ancient old kingdom up till the Islamic period and everything in between. The museum's pièces de résistance are two mummies: Ahmos I and another that is believed to be Ramses I; these two pieces are both exhibited in separate rooms on the ground floor of the museum. The top floor holds a huge display of pieces from different eras – silver bows, tombs furnishings, amulets, and so much more — a well-chosen collection displayed brilliantly. Most of the items on display were unearthed from beneath the Luxor Temple and from the tomb of King Tut.
LOCATION: Luxor Museum on Google Maps
MORTUARY TEMPLE OF SETI I
Seti I, who started building this beautifully decorated temple, died before it was finished. It was later completed by his son Ramses II. The temple was originally 158 meters long, but now all that remains is a sanctuary dedicated to Amun. This temple shows the beauty of the handiwork of ancient Egyptians, represented in excellent reliefs, with rows of hieroglyphics and beautiful inscriptions.
LOCATION: Mortuary Temple of Seti I on Google Maps
COLOSSI OF MEMNONvia Destinations Magazine
This is a site of nothing but two massive stone statues of Amenhotep III. These two Egyptian statues have survived for 3,400 years standing in the Theban Necropolis just west of the Nile River. The statuses -that initially were identical but are now definitely not- once stood at the entrance to the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III, and you could tell about all the natural disasters that they’ve withstood once you see them. Centuries of floods turned the grand temple into ruins but the two statuses managed to survive, damaged a little, but still standing.
During sunrise, the northern statue used to find its voice when a whistling sound was emitted which was a mystery that attracted people from all over the world until Septimus Severus of the Roman Empire repaired the statue fixing the cracks that created the whispering sound. The statuses stand on the west bank of the city and it’s usually filled with an army of tourists snapping shots of the two figures not knowing they’re only standing by the entrance of an equally impressive funerary temple that’s the largest in Egypt.
LOCATION: Colossi of Memnon on Google Maps
ABU HAGGAG MOSQUEvia Izvirna datoteka
Built during the Ayyubid Dynasty, Abu Haggag Mosque lays atop the ruins of Luxor Temple, an Ancient Egyptian centre of worship dating back to the reign of Pharaoh Amenhotep III in the 14th century BC.
These are just a few of the places that you shouldn't miss on your trip to Luxor, but the list is far from over. There's definitely more to Luxor than just these eight spots; after all, we can't put one-third of the world monuments into one list. A few other historical spots in Luxor to keep on your radar: Tombs of the Nobles, Ramesseum, Deir El Medina, Tomb of Tutankhamun replica, Mummification Museum, the Temple of Mut, the Palace of Amenhotep III, and a hell of a lot of tombs – and they're all worth your time.
For some daytime activities beyond the history, Aboudi Bookstore and Coffee Shop is the place to go for a chill morning surrounded by books, and there’s a coffee shop where you could grab your morning coffee with a great view of the Luxor Temple. Art From People to People is an art gallery located in a small place behind the Nile Valley Hotel, showcasing art pieces by local artists; the gallery holds art classes and events as well, becoming a creative hub for the area. Another art centre in Luxor is Habiba Gallery, which is run by an Australian woman who's working to promote Egyptian crafts, selling a selection of Bedouin embroidery, jewelry, leatherwork, Siwan scarves, cotton embroidered scarves from Sohag, Aswan baskets, and more. For some shopping, you've got all the alleyways of the Luxor Souks to discover.
For some local experiences in Luxor, Mermah is a horse race for all the villages of Luxor and Upper Egypt where you'll also find Tahtib and Sufi chanting among other folk art. The race is usually held from the 1st to the 10th of Rabi' al-awwal, and it is usually held in Al Mansha’ah Village in Luxor.
HOT AIR BALLOON RIDES
Luxor's been seeing a huge increase in hot air balloon rides lately, and the experience is definitely one not to miss while you're in the ancient city. The West Bank, or Al Barr Al Gharby, is the only place in Egypt where you can get a balloon ride. In this case, the early bird gets the worm -- and the earlier the better. Sunrise balloon rides are the best, but you have to wake up at a ridiculously early hour. The balloon takes off at 5 AM for the hour-long ride from Al Barr Al Gharby, which means you're up no later than 3 AM to cross the Nile and get to your departure station. The company you book with sends you a car to pick you up and drive you to the location where the balloon will be taking off, although depending on the itinerary you may find yourself huddled up in a felucca and crossing the Nile in the dark at 4 AM with a bunch of strangers and a hot cup of tea. There are two main companies that provide this service:
- Sindbad Balloons:
Location: Abd El Hamid El-Omda Street, Gazirat Al Awameyah
Get directions to Sindbad Balloons
Hours of Operation: 10 AM – 10 PM
Contact Number: 0952272960
Website: Sindbad Balloons
Facebook: Sindbad Balloons
Cost: 1,000 EGP/person
- Magic Horizon Balloons, Luxor
Location: Khalid Ibn EL Walid Street
Get directions to Magic Horizon Balloons
Hours of Operation: 10 AM – 10 PM
Contact Number: 01005688439
Website: Magic Horizon Balloons
Facebook: Magic Horizon Balloons
Cost: 750 - 800 EGP/person
LUXOR BY NIGHT
Luxor isn't really known for its thrilling nightlife scene, but just because it's a calm historic town doesn't mean there's nothing to do once the temples and museums have closed their doors. Nighttime in Luxor is actually quite vivid and lively, and there are plenty of places to spend the night or grab a drink with a view.
Sunrise Bar and Restaurant
Location: intersection of Khalid Ibn EL Walid street and Al Rawda Al Sharifa
How to get there: Get directions to Sunrise Bar & Restaurant
Hours of Operation: 9 AM – 2 AM
Contact Number: 01278207494
Location: Bairat Island, Al Barr Al Gharby, inside El Gezira Gardens Hotel
How to get there: Get directions to JJ's at El Gezira Gardens Hotel
Hours of Operation: Monday, Thursday, and Saturday 5:30 PM – 11:30 PM
Contact Number: 01064263878
Facebook: JJ's at El Gezira Gardens Hotel
Location: Nile Corniche, inside Sofitel Winter Palace Hotel
How to get there: Get directions to Bar Royal
Contact Number: 0952380422
Esquire Restaurant and Pub 2000
Location: Aly Ibn Abi Taleb St, In Front Of Bella Donna Hotel
How to get there: Get direction to Pub 2000
Contact Number: 01223174011 - 01286593103
Location: Al Barr Al Gharby, inside Gezira Garden Hotel
Contact Number: 0952312505
Location: Hilton Street
Contact Number: 0952378335
Location: Khalid Ibn El Walid Street, Awamia, inside Sheraton
Contact Number: 0952274955
Location: Karnak Temple Street, second floor, Inside Savoy tourist souk
Contact Number: 0952370547
Location: Al Sahabi Street
Contact Number: 0952372386
Gawharet El Nile
Location: Al Rawda Al Sharifa
Contact Number: 01064326698
Location: Mohammad Farid Street
Contact Number: 0952359752
A Taste of India
Location: Al Mahdy, Awamia Island
Contact Number: 01093732727
The Lantern Room
Location: Al Rawda AL Sharifa, Awamia Island
Contact Number: 0952361451
Aboudi Luxor Restaurant
Location: Karnak temple
Oasis Palace Cafe
How to get there: Get directions to Oasis Palace Cafe
Contact Number: 0127 941 6951
Om Kalthoum Coffee Shop
Location: Luxor Souk
Contact Number: 0128 909 9909
People tend to do Luxor and Aswan in one shot since they're so close to each other – and so far from the Cairene capital – but that's not all this area has to offer. There are plenty of other experiences to be had near Luxor – some on the way to Aswan, and others just a quick day trip away.
Once you feel like you've had your fair share of sightseeing and tombs for the day, there's no better way to relax in Luxor than by taking a felucca to Banana Island (Geziret El Moz). With five acres of green, banana and figs trees, and simple country life, Banana Island is where many visitors go to relax and experience the simpler side of the story. It's a small, palm-shaded island in the middle of the Nile River, and you'll have to op on a felucca to get there. Late afternoon, when you're done with history-filled visits of the East Bank and West Bank, plan a visit to the Banana Island, sit back, and enjoy the views. Once you get to the island, you'll get to see banana plantations, a zoo with crocodiles, and you'll get to refresh with some fresh sugarcane juice and a whole lot of fruit. Time your ride back with the sunset for some majestic views. The good news is, once you get there, everything is pretty much free!
EL QUSSEIRvia Egyptian Streets
From the rich history on the Nile River to the sunny coast of the Red Sea in just a little bit over two hours, El Qusseir is a small, ancient town on the coast of the Red Sea just a couple of hours away from Luxor. A diving hotspot that remains under the radar for most, the sea in this area is pretty clean and you could even dive with one of the town's many diving centres. Make sure to stop by the coastline and head over to Calamari Fish Restaurant or El Fardous Fish Restaurant for a fulfilling seafood meal right by the sea.
EDFUEdfu is an Egyptian city located on the west bank of the Nile River between Esna and Aswan – and less than two hours away from Luxor. It's also home to the Temple of Horus – dedicated to Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris, who was often depicted with the head of a falcon. This temple was preserved by the sand of the desert, withstanding all those years with the roof still intact. The Temple of Horus is also known as Edfu Temple, and the entryway is guarded by two granite statues of Horus as a falcon. On the eastern wall of the temple, you can see the remains of the Nilometer, which was used to measure the levels of the Nile river, helping to predict the harvest timing. If you're traveling between Luxor and Aswan, you can easily integrate Edfu into your itinerary along the way.
Kom Ombo is an agricultural town in Egypt, most famous for the Temple of Kom Ombo. It was originally an Egyptian city called Nubt, meaning the City of Gold. It became a Greek settlement during the Greco-Roman period and its history is very rich. Located three hours away from Luxor, Kom Ombo is home to the huge Kom Ombo Temple, and you could reach it through the Nile. Approaching the temple from the Nile River, the columns of Kombo Ombo stand above the river banks in a dramatic view. Back in the day, this temple was dedicated to the gods of Sobek and Haroeris, the Gods of the River, as a reminder of the importance of this region in Ancient Egypt, being right by the Nile. The entrance to the inner temple is lined with 10 columns that are beautifully decorated and embellished with fine murals. Nearby the Kom Ombo Temple, there’s also the Temple of Hathor and Kom Ombo’s Crocodile Museum. If you're traveling between Luxor and Aswan, you can easily integrate Kom Ombo into your itinerary along the way.
Just like everywhere in Egypt, it's best for women to dress a bit conservatively – however, Luxor's a bit less strict than Cairo since almost everyone in Luxor works in tourism. The people of Luxor are used to receiving tourists all year round, and since the heat in Luxor could be unbearable at times, the dress code lines get blurred a bit. You should also be mindful while walking around the city alone -- especially in Souk Street. Or you could stick to the busy streets that are filled with tourists and workers who always stand up against robbery or harassment. Also, there are almost always police patrols in the main streets who can help you. If you're looking for outfit ideas for comfort, security, and without having to sweat your ass off, you could stick to light flowy dresses or long-sleeve shirts that are of light material. But also don't underestimate how cold it could get at night, especially in winter, so keep a light jacket with you just in case of cold or if you ever felt uncomfortable.
The good thing about Luxor is that 'most everything is within close proximity, so you won't be traveling incredibly long distances to get from one attraction to the next. The temples and islands have plenty of wide-open spaces for your kids to run – and you to run after them – and the views are an easy way to keep them engaged (read: distracted) as you explore. Banana Island has large open spaces for kids to play. Plus, you'll find the locals a little extra friendly if you have kids in tow.
SOS: HEALTH & SAFETY IN LUXOR
Location: Nile corniche
Hours of operation: 24/7
Contact Number: 0952372025
Location: Nile corniche
Hours of operation: 24/7
Contact Number: 01210010278
Hours of operation: 24/7
Contact Number: 0952277194
OTHER HEALTHCARE FACILITIES:
El Qornaa Central Hospital
Hours of operation: 24/7
Contact Number: 0952310751
El Bayadeya Central Hospital
Hours of operation: 24/7
Contact Number: 0952300039
Location: Ababda street
Hours of operation: 24/7
Contact Number: 2400956 095
Khalid New Pharmacy
Location: Salah El Din street
Mostafa Hashem New Pharmacy
Location: Nile Hilton New Pharmacy, Karnak
BANKING & ATMs
Location: Nile Corniche
Location: Khalid Ibn El Walid Street, in front of KFC
Location: Nile Corniche
Arab African Bank
Location: Khalid Ibn El Walid Street, next to KFC
Location: Khalid Ibn El Walid Street, in front of Pyramisa Isis Hotel
Location: Khalid Ibn El Walid Street, in front of KFC
Location: Khalid Ibn El Walid Street
Location: Karnak Temple Street, in front of Education Directorate
*ATMs are only present in Corniche Street, and Khalid Ibn EL Walid street. You can withdraw money through Visa from some hotels and restaurants, but generally speaking, Luxor isn’t exactly card friendly.
- If you're planning to get on a hot air balloon ride, make sure to get enough sleep for the ridiculously early hour you'll have to wake up. To be able to catch the sunrise, you have to start moving at around 3 AM, so plan your day with that in mind -- it's definitely worth it and it's one of the coolest things you could do in Luxor.
- Locals in Luxor are super friendly. Don't be surprised if you get invited to someone's wedding during your stay, or if a stranger invites you into their home for dinner -- take it all, it's genuine.
- If you're heading to the souk area, avoid taking horse carriages – it's definitely not a pleasant surprise when you find yourself cramped in the middle of the market and hollering at people to move over and let you through. Luxor isn't that huge, and you could easily explore it on foot.
- The Sound and Light show at Karnak Temple is a bit underwhelming. The sound quality isn't stellar and the open space even makes it worse. You could instead visit Banana Island in Al Barr Al Gharby, which has a countryside-like vibe and quite an enchanting atmosphere.
- As hot as the weather gets in Luxor during the day, don't underestimate how cold it could get at night – especially during the winter months.
- If you're heading all the way to Upper Egypt, make use of that and visit Aswan as well. Luxor and Aswan come as a package deal, and they're best done together with a day in between for visits along the way. Make sure to stop by Edfu and Kom Ombo while traveling between the two cities.
- You could see and do everything in Luxor in two or three days. They'll be pretty hectic, but they're definitely enough.
- Befriend a marakby (sailor); you'd be surprised at the stories you'll get to hear and how generous the people of Luxor are.
- Carry cash; Luxor is not card-friendly.