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Visiting Aswan and Luxor with the Nile Cruise

Why?

  1. I don’t like stereotypes about countries. Many people heard the word “Egypt” and they think about the Pyramids and Pharaohs. And hey, that’s perfectly cool, it actually is the land of the Pharaohs, and of the Pyramids, but do you know how big is Egypt? It covers 1001450 km2 of land of the world.. and it has a population of 100 Million people… so of course, the Pyramids will be the most outstanding construction and thing to see in this land, however they are not the only thing.
  2. I was received in Aswan by a local guy, expert in the region and in social media strategies, and thanks to that person my experience in that place was much better than if I was alone. Because I didn’t only visit an amazing unpopular spot of this huge country, but also had the chance to met someone really great, and I learnt many things from him. He really helped me, and make every day of my stay in Aswan worth it.
  3. The place was really charming, and the things to do there are many and very different. In the region of Aswan city, you can go to visit old Temples, ruins, hike mountains, sail small typical boats (Falucca) through the Nile River, visit the colourful amazing Nubian Village, learn from a new ‘ethnic’ called the ‘nubian people’, go on amazing photoshots…Aswan is rich in culture, landscape, historical sites and there’s a lot of stuff to see.

How to arrive to Aswan?

From Cairo, you can take a flight, for example with EgyptAir airline, it takes only 1h, and it cost will round the 40-60€ one way (yes, it’s expensive). Whenever I am out of Europe, I tend to think that I miss the ‘Ryanair low cost style’ of the region, to call some way. Though, now since corona hit in 2020, not even in Europe you can make profit of the advantage as you cannot travel anywhere freely anymore.

Expensive, but fast and comfortable.

The other option you have is to take a bus, it is much cheaper (10-12€ depending on the time of the day you’re traveling) but take on account that the whole journey will take you at least 9h. Best bus company to travel with, will be GoBus.

Cheaper, but less comfortable and long journey.

Your last option is to take a train. According to locals, if you are taking the train during the day that only costs 11€, it will take at least 1-2h more than the bus, and it’s less comfortable, but what you can do is… to take the train at night, and sleep on it. That is much more comfortable, and the price is at least 100€.

If you sleepover the train from Cairo to Aswan, that will be the more expensive option, but I believe also the ‘more unique’.

Itinerary of 3 days in Aswan

1st day in Aswan

Right after my arrival at the Aswan Airport, the guy who will show me all around the area for the next 3 days was there waiting to pick me up. That was really nice because, as I may have already mentioned in my first post about Egypt, Egyptians are quite pushy. Imagine now, without almost tourist due to the corona, they are really in despair for the small tourists they receive to take their touristic services. 

In the case of the Airport, they are waiting for you to take a taxi, and they will came to you in a pushy way. So, I really recommend you to go with some friend, or with a tour, or to have someone pre-arranged waiting for you and going with you all time.

1st day in Aswan:

Visiting the Nubian Village

The Nubian Village, as its name indicates, is a Village, situated 1h by car from the city of Aswan, but I believe from the airport it’s less (30min) that is what we took to get there. It is really small but cozy village, in which all the houses are built by hand, and decorated with very nice paints by the locals. It is called ‘Nubian’ because are the nubians (an indigenous ethnic in the region of the Northern Sudan and Southern Egypt). It is said the arrived in to the Nile region in very ancient times. My Egyptian friend told me, that Nubians live according to another rules than the rest of Egyptians, and that for example, Nubian women couldn’t marry Egyptian non Nubian men.

It is worth to take a walk around the place, without answering every time someone speaks to you because as I told people are pushy and specially owners of shops will tend to push you to buy. After a nice walk, talking very beautiful nice pictures, may be time for you to take a rest in some of the restaurants that are placed in the boats in the Nile. There’s a vibe in those places of calm, totally different and opposite from the vibes of Cairo.

These are the boats from where you can have a rest, drink some coffee, smoke some shisha
Nubian Markets
A 'Nubian Camel'
'A Nubian house'

Second day in Aswan:

Visiting the 'Tomb of the Nobles'

The view from up to the hill of the 'Tomb of the Nobles'.

During my second day in Aswan, we went to visit the ‘Tomb of the Nobles’, which it was not a regular visit, as I went accompanied by the guy from Aswan, plus a photographer. Yes, I was going to get my first photoshoot ever, and let me tell you, it really was an amazing experience I could enjoy. I was not only traveling and visiting a new place, but also I was capturing those moments in a high quality way, a way it will allow myself to upgrade the quality of my content as in this blog, as in my Instagram account.

The ‘Tomb of the Nobles’ date to the Old & Middle Kingdoms (2000-2500 BC), there are more than 400 tombs belonging to the nobles from the 6th dynasty of the Greco-Roman period. The entrance to this remarkable (yet, very unknown and therefore not much visited) historical site, costs around 100 pounds (5€) for non Egyptians. Yes, museums have prices for Egyptians and for non-Egyptians. Always expensive for tourists compared to the average prices of the country.

Inside of the site, there’s some local people, you can ask them to tell you a bit more about the history of the place, and to show you extra tombs rooms that are closed to the general public, in exchange you can give 20-30 pounds to him.

In the top of the mount of Tombs of the Nobles
With all the view to the city of Aswan, in the top of the mount of Tombs of the Nobles

Pictures inside of the 'Tombs of the Nobles':

3rd day in Aswan

Temple of Isis or also known as Temple of Philae

Me inside of the Temple's main Courtyard
Again, me in front of the courtyard of the Temple

The  ‘Temple of Isis’ or ‘Temple of Philae’ is placed in an Island close to the city of Aswan. To arrive there you first need to take a taxi that will cost you around 100pounds (5€), and then a boat that takes you to the Island that costs around 20pounds (1€). The Temple was built in 690 BC, and was dedicated to the goddess of Isis, a very important figure in the ancient world as she used to be associated with funeral rituals.

1h tour in the Nile with a Falucca (typical sailing boat in the Nile)

Falucca are wooden style boats very typical from this south region of Egypt. Sailing in one of those during about 1h, in the Nile it’s a good idea. The tour can not cost you more than 200 pounds (10€).

You will go with a man that will sail the boat, and because it goes with only wind, it will be times in which it will move a lot. But don’t worry, you’ll be safe!

That's how it looks inside of the boat

From Aswan, take the Nile Cruise until Luxor

The local guy from Aswan with who I was during my whole stay in Aswan put me in contact with a travel guide who make a special price for my 3 night stay at the Nile Cruise of 150$ including all the meals. Normally you should pay above the mentioned price, but depending through which agency you’ll book your trip in the Nile it could be more expensive. Also, the Cruise will do several stops at Temples which its guided visits and transport are not included in the price. What I did is, to pick which temples I really want to visit and which I am not that interested because otherwise if you take all of them as majority of tourists do you’ll spend more on visits than in the Cruise which I don’t see the point.

Also, it depends again of the tour guide you will make a deal with, there’s some who will charge more and others that will do less. It all depends on your negotiation skills, because in Egypt everything is negotiable, and never accept the first price you are offered. I always say ‘I don’t have a lot of money’ or ‘I won’t pay as much’ because thats the way negotiations start. Even if you have money, never accept first price because you can always get discounts. If you know a local person as me, then it will be even better because she/he will tell you which is the ‘regular’ price for something, so you can make sure if you are being ripped of or not.

In my case, the tour guide worked with tips. You are expected to pay around 300 pounds (15€) per on visit if it’s individual to your guide. I took two visits to 2 temples in Luxor, so I paid 600 pounds (30€) for both.

1 . First day I visited 'Komombo Temple'

Okay, so let me tell you how the Nile Cruise organisation works like. First day you check in, but you stay in the port of Aswan. The next day, the cruise will start its route through the Nile. The first and only stop of the first day will be the ‘Komombo Temple’. The price entrance will be 150 pounds (7€). Take on account, that museums in Egypt have two prices:

-One for locals (egyptians) that is way lower

-Another for tourists (way higher). Fair? Not much. But that’s how it works for now.

A bit about Kom Ombo Temple history: the main Temple was built by Ptolemy VI Philometor, while most of its decoration was ended by Cleopatrha VII’s father. The Temple is dedicated to 2 gods: 1) to the crocodile god named ‘Sobek (you will also find a museum dedicated to the crocodiles in Egypt and its meaning according to the mythology) and 2) to Haroeris which means the elder. 

The visit will take around 1.5-2h. You don’t need to pay transportation from the cruise to the Temple, because the cruise will stop right in front of the Temple, you’ll have to pay entrance and tour guide only in an optional way. Of course, tour guides add a lot to the cost of the visit, from the other hand may be interesting to take one to better understand what you’re seeing.

2nd day I just stayed in the Cruise

The second day the Cruise made a stop to another Temple I didn’t visit. You’ll have quite a lot of time inside of the Cruise, as you’ll stay there for 3 whole days, while only exiting couple of times for 2h maximum each to visit some Temple. What to do in your time while in the cruise then?

Well, theres a huge terrace above with pool, if it’s warm enough you can swim and sunbathe. All meals are included and there’s a lot of food to take, so eating and relaxing might be your two main ‘past-times’. And enjoying the view to the Nile, because is something unique. Watch the river from the window of your room, or even watching the sunrise that is outstanding in the Nile. 

3rd day and last, once in Luxor I visited:

After 3 whole days inside of the Cruise, we finally reached our final destination: Luxor. There, is plenty of historical relevant sites, specially the Temples. I picked up these two:

1. Karnak Temple

From the Old Egypt Era, built in 2055 BC, dedicated to the pharaoh Ramses III which construction purpose was to store the sacred boats of Amun, Mut and Khonshu. The place is really impressive, walking through the pillars of this Temple is super incredible! There’s around 134 pillars in total! So much history in one only place!

That's me in the entrance of 'Karnak Temple'

2. Luxor Temple

After Karnak Temple we went to Luxor Temple, really incredible as well. The Temple was built by the New Kingdom pharaohs Amenhotep III(1390-1352 BC) and Ramses II (1279-1213). In the beginning of the temple there’s an Avenue of Sphinxes. Beyond the temple, you’ll find the Court of Ramses. Also there’s a mosque inside of the temple called: Mosque of Abu Al Haggag. Very impressive again, to walk trough so many history, and how they could conserve all those pieces of Temples over centuries and centuries.

To end up with...

As always, thank you for reading me! And if you had enjoy this post and learn new interesting things, you may also like to follow me in my social media! Specially in my Instagram account where I publish more content about my multiple trips and experiences abroad! See you there ! 😄

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