When you think of Egypt, you think the Pyramids. Everyone goes to Cairo but then what? Well here are a few suggestions.
What most visitors today know as Luxor is actually three separate areas; the town of Luxor itself, the village of Karnak and its temple and the monuments and necropolis of ancient Thebes on the West Bank of the Nile. The Temples, tombs and palaces of Luxor are surrounded by modern day souqs (markets) and luxury hotels.
The Nile River divides the city into two banks. The East Bank is referred to as the 'City of the Living' and home to the major temples, whereas the West Bank is referred to as the 'City of the Dead' because it is where the royal necropolis is situated.
Heading away from the noise and hassle of Luxor towards the desert you can see one of the most striking vistas in Egypt - the Valley of the Kings. The east valley contains most of the royal burial sites including the tomb of Tutankhamun.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
Hod-Hod Soliman is one of only two companies that offer hot air balloon rides over Luxor. You take off from the west bank of Luxor, rise to 610m over the Ramesseum, then come down via the Colossi of Memnon, Medinet Habu, Hatshepsut's temple, to the edge of the desert. The company has a good reputation due to its well maintained balloons. On average, the company has 1000 customers pass through every month.
Laid back and pleasant, Aswan is the perfect place for a break from the rigours of travelling in Egypt. The Nile is particularly beautiful here. Thanks to its long history, Aswan has a mixture of Pharaonic, Graeco-Roman, Coptic, Islamic and modern monuments.
There are over 250 cruisers sailing the waters between Aswan and Luxor - so many that there is a moratorium on the launching of new boats. Cruisers are the easiest way to see the Nile in comfort and on a mid-range budget. There are hundreds of cruisers travelling the Nile but they are not the only option for river journeys. Cheaper and more popular with independent travellers are feluccas (simple sailing boats).
Abu Simbel is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Nubian Monuments", which run from Abu Simbel downriver to Philae (near Aswan).The twin temples of Abu Simbel were carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari. Abu Simbel remains one of Egypt's top tourist attractions and is a must see destination.