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Saturday, 5 December 2015

Egypt: Day 3 - A Little of History (and Luxury) in Luxor


After breakfast, JC and I rented a car (with a driver) to head over to Valley of the Kings to see for ourselves the tombs and chambers of pharaohs and royal figures of the Egyptian New Kingdom. The term ‘New Kingdom’ might be confusing to most of us ordinary folks, as this actually represents a period from some 25 to 30 centuries ago. Real historic stuff, you know, heh! ;) JC had wanted to rent a bike and cycle from the hotel all the way to the Valley and back but I sort of vetoed the idea because our hotel location is at one end of Luxor while the Valley is on the other end, across the Nile. Not my fault, because JC was the one who did the selection and booking for our hotel in Luxor. If we’re going to be Indiana Jones, might as well do it in style, ha ha!

We had flown into Luxor with EgyptAir the night before and checked in into our 3rd hotel in Egypt, Sheraton Luxor Resort, late at night. Unlike in Giza and Cairo, we didn’t get upgraded this time around but we still totally loved our hotel room. The room is more like a suite with 2 queen-size beds in a small villa or bungalow that has 8 rooms, each with its own separate entrance. We had initially booked just a night at the hotel to leave the possibility of either moving to another hotel in Luxor or flying back to Cairo the next night but we loved our room and their breakfast buffet, so we decided to extend our stay at the hotel for another night, right after breakfast.




Valley of the Kings was a bit underwhelming despite it covering a large area and having some 60+ tombs and chambers. The feeling was probably due to the fact that these tombs and chambers are located underground so you don’t really see much above the ground other than some unassuming rocky hills and small entrances to these tombs. Apart from that, not all tombs and chambers are opened to the public.

The tomb of Tutankhamun, which was only discovered early last century and made Valley of the Kings a must visit place in Luxor, is rather small (at least the area that’s accessible to the public) and lack the grandeur one might imagine of his tomb after seeing all his golden treasures at the Egyptian Museum. Add the fact that no photography is allowed inside (cameras and mobile phones have to be left at security check at the entrance gate), public visitors probably might not remember much about their visit to the Valley of the Kings, apart from just having visited the place.

Nevertheless, this UNESCO World Heritage site is still a must visit if you're ever in Luxor.


We left Valley of the Kings to explore the nearby Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut but not before our driver making a quick stop at a souvenir shop, much to our annoyance. We however realised that the driver was just trying to make a living; and that at least he didn't pretend that the shop is some kind of a museum, like what had happened to us with the Papyrus Museum back in Giza.

So off we went into the shop for a quick look. However, there was nothing quick about the “trip” into the shop as JC ended up asking questions about this and that, particularly about their wood & marble products, ha ha! #facepalm


Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut was more my kind of place when compared to Valley of the Kings, as you can see the architecture even from afar. And what’s better is that photography is allowed here. Woot! Woot! You can see the temple's being restored and that there’re still ongoing excavations around the area. I guess when you're talking about places with a very long history like Luxor, there would always be a new discovery from time to time. 

We also stopped by Colossi of Memnon, 2 huge statues of a pharaoh, on the way back to the hotel.






Late in the afternoon, we didn’t have anything much planned so JC and I thought we should just get out of the hotel and explore the nearby area. We however didn’t manage to walk far as we were approached by a young man just outside of the hotel gate asking if we would like to go on a felucca boat ride, watching the sun set on the Nile.

My first instinct was just to say “la, mashkoor” (no, thank you) and continue on walking but JC asked him “how much?” instead. He stated his price and JC counter offered before he quickly agreed on the price.

That turned out to be probably the best bargain of the day. Watching the sunset with just the three of us on the felucca, we couldn’t have ended the day exploring Luxor on a more luxurious note.








Have you been to Luxor, Egypt before? What do you think of it?
If you haven't, is it in your bucket list of places to go?




Are you on Pinterest? If you are, use these photos to bookmark and/or share this blog post ;)



Going to Luxor, Egypt? We recommend Sheraton Luxor Resort for your accommodation requirements there.

For other www.RambleAndWander.com blog entries on Egypt, click here.


21 comments:

Comments and feedback are always appreciated. So do leave one or two if you have the time. Thank you!

  1. Ha! I so totally agree about the extra stops at souvenir shops when you're on a tour. That happened to us in Turkey. We actually had to leave a great historic site after only 45 minutes so we could get to a jewelry shop before they closed. We were quite frustrated.

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    1. That's crazy and must have been really frustrating! What initially annoyed us during this trip is that we were not on a group tour. We rented a car with a driver to go to Valley of the Kings & a few other stops, so we should have control on what, where and when to go. Apart from the stop at the souvenir shop, the trip in general was okay.

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  2. I hate those extra stops for shopping! Ugh! But great post :)

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    1. Yup, me too. Unless if I need a toilet break, haha!
      :)

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  3. I have been to Egypt, but never to Luxor. I would love to go... And well, ALL guided tours have "casual" stops at markets and souvenirs shops...

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    1. "Casual" or not, I wouldn't mind a stop at markets where the locals go, haha! Souvenir shops, not really. By the way, if you've been to Cairo and could stand it or even loved it, you'd probably love Luxor too, I think.

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  4. I haven't been to Egypt yet, but would like to visit. Luxor looks like an interesting destination. The sunset from the felucca sounds wonderful, and a great example of a spontaneous decision paying off in a big way!

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    1. We went to Cairo & Luxor on this trip. Apart from the pyramids, the Egyptian Museum and Valley of the Kings, the whole trip was made without much of an itinerary to start off. So everything else was rather spontaneous. Totally loved the experience!
      :)

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  5. Nice I just got back from Egypt last night! I had a long holiday weekend where I work in Oman and only did Cairo. Everyone keeps telling me I got to get Luxor next time thanks for this!

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    1. You should go, haha! I love Luxor, and I think it can be a good weekend getaway from Oman. Not sure if they have a direct flight from Oman though? I know they have from Dubai. More laid back (although the hustling is still there, like in Cairo, but lesser), easier to navigate on foot. Karnak Temple + hot air balloon ride + felucca ride on the Nile. Something different from Muscat.

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  6. Wow! The Valley of the Kings is beautiful. I have never really seen such great pictures of it. I am with you, the Mortuary Temple of Hapshetsut is spectacular. That would have made my Christmas card for sure! I hope to visit there someday.

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    1. I actually like Luxor and glad that we made it there. Quite a contrast to Cairo, more sedated but you'd know you're still in Egypt, haha!
      :)

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  7. I hate those little extra souvenir stops! It happens in Asia too. Even when I'm not on a tour and I hailed a tuktuk!

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    1. Oh yes! Tuk tuk drivers definitely get their commission from those shops, no doubt about it!

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  8. I've heard a lot about Luxor. I've only been to Hurghada for beach bumming and would like to learn some history next time I visit.

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    1. Luxor is pretty nice for a few days, in my opinion. And it sure has plenty of historic places to explore. And less hectic than Cairo, definitely!
      :)

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  9. Ah the magic of the felucca... :) I took one in Cairo and I still remember to today. i will have to visit Luxor one day, the photos are impressive and I am sure the visit was wow. Egypt just has so much to offer

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    1. There really is something dreamlike and magical about being on a felucca, right? I wish I could just go back there now!
      :)

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  10. Oh, wow I hate those stops for shopping! As the years pass I'm getting more and more assertive about saying 'no' as I simply d not wish spend time I planned for sightseeing on anything else.

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    1. Yes, we all need to be more firm on these unscheduled stops, otherwise it wouldn't stop.

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  11. Okay, you convinced me. Luxor is on the bucket list! Love the pics from the felucca ride too...

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