Luxor is a city on the east bank of the Nile River in southern Egypt. It’s on the site of ancient Thebes, the pharaohs’ capital at the height of their power, during the 16th–11th centuries B.C.
Luxor has been ruled by some of the most famous and important pharaohs and, today, most of their tombs, monuments and temples still remain, very well-preserved, including the tomb of the world-famous Tutankhamun. Luxor is the most important archaeological site in Egypt.
We took an overnight train from Cairo to Luxor. We booked it on here. We tend to not like overnight trains, except the one we took to Chiang Mai. This train was comfy, nice warm blankets and sheets, but the rocking up, down, side to side was not fun at all! It was also very loud, the tracks and train just seemed old.
Going to Luxor, we finally came to the conclusion that we were officially burnt-out. We left SEA thinking maybe we were just tired of Asia in general, but unfortunately we knew this was it. I won’t get crazy into details, since I will write a blog about travel burnout, but going to Luxor was very emotional, we both weren’t sure what to do with our travels, so we stayed at our Airbnb for two full days without exploring, figured out our plan and our next step in our lives. After with all the honest conversations with each other and our parents, we knew what we really wanted to do. After having all of those conversations, we finally felt better about the whole situation and decided to go out exploring!
We still unfortunately didn’t see as much as we wanted to in Egypt, but it just gives us a reason to go back one day.
Where to Stay?
We found this cute place that feels like it should be located in Greece. We paid $16CAD/night for a place that has a kitchen, full bathroom, cozy bedroom, and a full rooftop patio! It was walking distance to some restaurants, grocery stores, small convenient stores, and across from the Nile river, which made it pretty easy if you needed to get across, there were boats everywhere!
What to Do?
We decided to not get a tour guide this time, so we hired a driver to take us to three different places. Sometimes it’s just nice doing things on you own, without feeling rushed.
Valley Of The Kings
The Valley of the Kings, also known as the Valley of the Gates of the Kings, is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, rock cut tombs were excavated for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom.
With the 2005 discovery of a new chamber and the 2008 discovery of two further tomb entrances, the valley is known to contain 63 tombs and chambers. The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and give clues as to the beliefs and funerary rituals of the period. Almost all of the tombs seem to have been opened and robbed in antiquity, but they still give an idea of the opulence and power of the pharaohs.
It honestly blows my mind that archeologists are still finding artifacts! Insane!
To get in costs around $16CAD/PP and it’s valid for 3 tombs of your choice. Photography gear is an extra fee as well, unless you just stick with you phone, then you don’t need to pay extra. There are so many tombs to choose from, so take your time exploring.
Before you enter, you will have to walk through a small market, which seems verrry long when every single person is running up to you asking if you want to purchase whatever they’re holding. It gets really annoying because all the men are so aggressive, with walking right up to your face, or following behind you.
Be careful if they hand you anything, it comes with a price tag! A gentlemen handed Jamie a booklet of the grounds, we skimmed through it and started walking away, he walked with us and mentioned it’s wasn’t free, so we hand it back to him.. It’s the fact no one is honest in Egypt, they always try to scam you somehow… It’s just not fun.
Temple of Queen Hatshepsut
Often referred to as the Valley of the Queens, this breathtaking temple is found just over the mountain from the Valley of the Kings. Today it’s considered to be one of the great wonders of Ancient Egypt. Queen Hatshepsut Temple, built in honour of the longest living female Pharaoh.
Queen Hatshepsut ruled Egypt during the 18th dynasty, and she ruled the country longer than any other indigenous female pharaoh. She was also a very successful pharaoh that preferred peace rather than warfare. Price was around $16CAD/pp.
Colossi of Memnon
These two huge statues of Amenhotep III date back over 3,400 years (since 1350 BC) and may not be in the most incredible condition, but battered by more than 3,400 years of scorching desert sun and sporadic Nile floods, they still stand. It’s also free to see! yay!
Those are the only temples we saw, but here are other ones to see and do in Luxor!
Located on the East Bank of the Nile, this temple dates back to approximately 1400 BC. Unlike most temples in Egypt, Luxor Temple was not devoted to a God, a set of Gods or a deified version of a King, instead, this temple was built as a dedication to the rejuvenation of kingship, and was possibly where many Kings were crowned!
Entrance fee from Google says $4CAD/pp
Temple of Karnak
Arabic Khurnak meaning (“fortified village”), comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings near Luxor. Construction at the complex began during the reign of Senusret I in the Middle Kingdom and continued into the Ptolemaic period, although most of the extant buildings date from the New Kingdom.
Entrance fee from Google says $10CAD/pp
The Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu was an important New Kingdom period temple structure in the West Bank of Luxor in Egypt.
Entrance fee from Google says $6CAD/pp
Luxor Temple Museum
The Luxor Museum was inaugurated in 1975. Some items on display are grave goods from the tomb of the 18th dynasty pharaoh Tutankhamun (KV62 at the Valley of the Kings) and a collection of 26 New Kingdom statues that were found buried in the Luxor statue cache in the nearby Luxor Temple in 1989. The royal mummies of two pharaohs – Ahmose I and Ramesses I.
If you like taking your time at these things, I suggest going on your own, so you can go at your own pace!
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Enjoy views from a balloon ride. I could only imagine what you’d see.
Relax and cruise along the Nile River!
Egypt has very amazing foods, so I suggest trying everything. The flavours are delish!!