General Information About Luxor
Imagine a very large and natural outdoor museum, and Luxor will more than measure up to the vision. Built on the 4,000-year old site of ancient Thebes, once ruled by great pharaohs such as Ramses II, this fascinating city stands on the east bank of the Nile and quite literally, resonates with history. As well as incredible backdrops against its busy centre, the flat plains around it offer endless treasures. Yet for all these ancient relics, Luxor remains a lively modern city, pulsing with colorful life, bazaars and 4 and 5 star hotels which provide visitors with placid retreats from their action-packed itineraries.
Your first must-see here is the incredible Temple of Luxor in the heart of the modern town. Gaze wide-eyed at the incredible Obelisks built by Ramses II and wonder at an unimaginably long-gone world, and then finish up with a tour of the Mummified Museum . Luxor’s two other highpoints lie outside the city. Head north to gaze at the Temple of Karnak , a jaw-dropping series of vast shrines and pillars. Across the Nile the legendary Valley of the Kings , with its 62 hill-carved tombs, including those of Tutankhamun and Ramses II, awaits your presence. Descend into the eerie hieroglyphic-inscribed burial chambers and you’ll feel totally humbled. When you can lift your jaw off the floor – don’t forget the haunting Valleys of the Nobles and Queens also on the West Bank – head back to your hotel or cruise ship to cool off in the pool or at the bar, the latter providing the nightlife of choice for most visitors here. You’ll need time to recharge your batteries for the next day’s time traveling, after all.
Endless Fun and Experiences
Located roughly where the Western Desert and the Eastern Desert meet, and just north of the great expanse of water created by the Aswan High Dam known as Lake Nasser , Aswan has a gorgeous winter climate and is a popular sun resort from November through to March with Egyptians as well as International vacationers.
Tourism is the mainstay of the economy of Luxor. Estimates vary, but some claim that as much as 85% of Luxor’s livelihood depends on visitors and their hard cash. So you should be prepared to enjoy (if that’s the right word!) being invited to step inside every shop, rent every caleche, or have offers to shine your shoes made at virtually every street corner. For some people, that’s the essence of Egypt holidays: the cheerfully persistent sales pitches, the theatre of bargaining, hunting for real gems and a genuine taste of the Souk. Others can feel hassled at every turn and find the relentlessly aggressive selling unpleasant. It depends on your approach and attitude. Keep your cool and sense of humour and you’ll discover genuine warmth in Luxor and throughout Egypt.
There are only three main streets in Luxor: Sharia al-Mahatta, Sharia al-Karnak and the Corniche next to the Nile. Sharia al-Mahatta runs from the Nile to the gardens of Luxor Temple. Sharia al-Karnak runs along the Nile from the Luxor Temple to the Temple of Karnak. It’s also known as Sharia al-Markaz where it meets Sharia al-Mahatta and to the south around the temple it becomes Sharia al-Lokanda. It’s here you’ll find colourful restaurants and cafes as well as bazaars with a good selection of Egyptian souvenirs. If you tire of all these ancient wonders indulge in the facilities provided by Luxor hotels that include swimming pools and health clubs. Further afield, there’s the Royal Valley Golf Club. This 18-hole, Par 72 championship standard course is open to tourist groups and is situated on the East Bank of Luxor about 13 Km from the city centre.
POPULAR EXCURSIONS IN LUXOR
HALF-DAY AND FULL-DAY EXCURSIONS
The following excursions are just a few of the many available at your resort, please check with your resorts travel desk for complete details including rates as prices vary per excursion.
DO'S AND DON'TS WHEN TRAVELING TO EGYPT
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Egyptians are known for their great sense of humour, kindness and hospitality. It is always a fruitful cultural exchange so don’t miss out on that.
This will not only help you get around more easily, but locals will also appreciate your effort. Here are some common colloquial Arabic phrases that will come in handy during your time in Egypt:
Good morning / evening
Sabah el foll / masaa el foll
What’s your name?
(Male) Ismak aih? (Female) Esmik aih?
My name is…
Have a nice day
Atmana lak youm saeed
Where is the bathroom?
Fain el hammam?
(Male) Enta, (Female) Enti
Me / Him / Her
Ana / Howa / Heyya
(Male) Men fudluk, (Female) Men fudlik
How much is this?
I’m hungry / thirsty
Ana awez akol, ana awez ashrab
My Arabic is poor
Ana mesh bafham Arabi kwayyes
If you’re not sure what something means, just ask. Most Egyptians will be happy to assist you.
There are delicious dishes to throughout Egypt, and you should try it all! No matter if it is from a street stall or at a formal restaurant, you’ll find scrumptious food cooked fresh and served with plenty of the renowned Egyptian hospitality.
- Mahshi: stuffed vine leaves, cabbage, aubergine, sweet peppers and zucchini
- Fiteer Baladi: Egyptian filo pastry with sweet and savoury dips
- Hawawshi: baked minced beef sandwich
- Shawerma: shaved meat with garlic sauce
- Koshary: a rice and pasta mix with spicy red sauce (popular with vegans)
- Falafel: Egyptian ones are very green and crunchy (best falafel you’ll ever taste!)
- Foule: Fava beans with vegetables, cumin and oil
- Roz bel Laban: Cream Egyptian rice pudding (try it with ice-cream or fresh cream)
- Om Ali: Egyptian bread pudding with nuts and raisins
Most first time visitors to Cairo usually pick hotels near the Pyramids. That is fine if you don’t plan to visit any other district in Cairo, but the area around the Pyramids is pretty far from everything. Ideally, you should pick a more central location like Tahrir or Zamalek for better access to the rest of the city.
Egypt is mostly an Islamic country, and even though they are quite tolerant, you will get looked at, etc. which is not very pleasant. When entering religious sites, you may be required to cover your knees and shoulders. It’s a good idea for women to keep a scarf with them when visiting such places. If you are going out at night to one of the posh places you can wear whatever you feel like without a worry.
That is looked down upon. Couples kissing on the street, even a kiss on the cheek might be unacceptable in some areas in Egypt. Handholding and shaking hands is ok in general, but strict Muslims don’t shake hands with people of the opposite sex to avoid any physical contact.
(to be sure you have the right information). Sometimes people will give you directions even if they don’t know the place.
Unless you’re very confident, in such situations wait for someone to cross with you, or ask someone to help you. Most Egyptians will be happy to oblige. This doesn’t apply for all streets, of course, but in cities like Cairo and Alexandria where traffic is congested and traffic signs may be hard to locate, cars won’t stop to let you cross, and you have to find a way between them. To foreigners, Egyptian drivers are suicidal. To Egyptians, leaving more than a few centimetres between cars is wasted space.
Especially for women, if you have to travel by public transit, always try to sit next to other women. You can avoid unwanted attention if you, for example, take the first car on the underground train.
Agree with the taxi driver on the fare before getting in. In Cairo they have the metered (“white taxi”), but always check the meter is working. Otherwise leave the taxi and take another. You can leave a three-pound tip at the end of your ride. It is preferable to use Uber or Careem and they are available in most cities in Egypt.
Unless you are travelling with a guide or someone who knows the area, you should not be there.
Many places you’ll visit or want to buy something from don’t take credit cards. It is advisable to have exact change, especially when you’re in a market or buying street food but don’t carry a lot of money.
Keep in mind that the Egyptian culture revolves around tipping. People will request a tip for simple tasks like holding a door or giving directions. This is expected for both visitors, and locals as well. Sometimes people won’t take tips, but usually, they will, as they have small salaries.
Within reasonable limits, bargaining in souvenir markets is expected and is a good way of starting a conversation.
When both signs and personnel indicate that photos are not allowed PLEASE just follow the rules and don’t take photos in such places. Paintings on the walls of temples, tombs, and statues of Egypt are delicate and taking photos of them, especially using a flashbulb dulls the colours on the paintings, damaging artefacts that are over 5,000 years old.
Egypt is unlike any other country, in Arabic, it is called “Om el Donia” which means “the Mother of the World”
You will need an international driving license and nerves of steel! Taking a bus or a taxi will give you the luxury of enjoying the chaos from the safety of your passenger seat.
People in Egypt are quite laid back, so sometimes people will be late or delayed because of traffic and you will have to get used to it during your stay.
For men it’s ok, but its preferable to wear tshirts instead. Egypt is a predominately Muslim country and even non-Muslims there are quite conservative. Therefore generally revealing clothing are not recommended. This does not apply if you are visiting Red Sea towns like Sharm-El-Sheikh, Dahab, Marsa Alam and Hurghada. In these coastal resorts, wearing this type of clothing is acceptable.
offering services like city tours, special visits to tombs, sites or shops…etc. It’s always safer to use registered tour operators and agents.
Egyptians are kind people and most of them are truly helpful. However, at some tourist areas, some people might tell you they’re going to show you or bring you into select areas of the attraction. These people tend to allow tourists into areas that are off-limits to get tips and sometimes to rob them.
This is good advice where you’re travelling. Go out and buy bottled water or carry your own reusable bottle, which is better for the environment.
Make sure you are at a designated bar, disco or at a private residence. Unless you are in a tourist place where this is common it’s not socially acceptable, and in some areas, it’s forbidden by law but in some eateries, drinking is allowed. If you do drink, you should not do so in excess and avoid drinking brands of hard liquor you are not familiar with. While you may just trying to be friendly, it is considered rude to offer alcohol to someone who is Muslim.
When strolling through markets and tourist attractions you will meet vendors everywhere. It can get a bit overwhelming as they will all be trying to sell you something. However, there is no need to feel intimidated. If you are not interested in what they’re peddling, firmly tell them no thank you, and continue walking. In Arabic, no thank you is: “la, shukrun.”
That is a big no-no wherever you’re travelling. While people in certain parts of Egypt may dress differently than Westerners that doesn’t mean it is ok to take their photos without permission. Keep in mind you may have to give a tip for taking a photo. Even more importantly, taking photos of military or police personnel, buildings and vehicles is strictly forbidden in Egypt.
Unless you are a Muslim and are going to pray, wait until the prayer is over before venturing inside. Men and women pray in separate quarters in mosques and when entering, women must cover their heads, arms and legs and make sure you take off your shoes.
Women, too, can hold hands or link arms. It doesn’t mean they are gay, it’s just part of the culture.
This behaviour is not acceptable and might offend the people around you.
(unless you have all your vaccines and you’re not afraid of being bitten or scratched).
Flying drones is not allowed anywhere in the country of Egypt. According to the Egyptian Aviation Act under Article 46, sentence 8: “No unmanned aircraft is allowed to fly or to work in the territory of the State unless by permission of the Civil Aviation Authority. In all cases, using unmanned aircrafts is prohibited as per the rules of the Air and Air Traffic outlined in this respect.”