Luxor is an important city in Egypt, situated on the east bank of the Nile River in Southern Egypt. In Luxor, you can act as an archeologist whole day as this city has the “World’s greatest open-air museum”. Trust me when you are back to your hotel or cruise at night, take a look at your shoes, you will see your shoes are covered by layers of dust and sands.
Many of the sites in Luxor are still having lots of real archeologists working on the field, digging, recording notes and data to reveal about the past.
From Cairo to Luxor – 7.5 hours by bus.
From Hurghada Red Sea to Luxor – 4 hours by bus. (We came from Hurghada Red Sea)
Dress code – In Egypt, it is best if you could wear anything that is longer than your knees and cover both shoulders.
Click on each link below to read more information on each topic.
Start as early as 5 am, so you need to leave your cruise or hotel at 4 am to catch the early hot air balloon for the sunrise. We depart from Hurghada Red Sea from 1.30 am as it took 4-5 hours to reach Luxor.
If you asked me if you should do a hot air balloon in Luxor Egypt, then my answer is -100 % Yes. If you miss the hot air balloon, it is as if you don’t have chicken in KFC. Hot air balloon is one of the must-do in Luxor and flying up high allow you to see the world’s biggest open-air museum – that is the Valley of the Kings and Queens with bird eyes view.
Click on the link above so you get to learn what to expect before and during the hot air balloon ride.
2. Colossi of Memnon
The minivan that brought us to the hot-air balloon take-off site passed by here early in the morning. We came back again to take some pictures after our hot-air balloon ride.
A pair of twins statues that depict Amenhotep III in the seated position. These pairs of statues are huge, about 60 feet high into the sky. These monuments are the first we saw when we arrived in the West Bank. Besides the monuments, there aren’t many things to see. Tourists come and go and usually won’t stay too long. The good thing about this site is, it is free of charge. Nearby there are several vendors selling things.
The statues are not in good shape but still impressive. They are so huge that you can even see it from the top of the hot-air balloon.
This place was used as a worship center of Amenhotep III as a god during his reign and after his death. The temple consisted of many large courts and contained many smaller stone sphinxes and statues at the back. If you come in the early morning, you will also see hot air balloons in the air which add a nice backdrop of this place.
Valley of the Kings Bird eyes views from the top of the hot air balloon.
The Valley of the Kings sites are huge but there are trams to bring you up the mountain. We visited 3 tombs and I think it is more than enough. There are over 60 tombs here but I get tired just after 3 tombs. Expect there is a queue to enter each tomb.
My final conclusion is the ancient Egyptian and Chinese share lots of similarities, just by looking at the building of the tomb itself, both took their tombs building seriously and well-prepared for their afterlife.
Hatshepsut temple viewed from a distance is stunning but not when you are up close. That means you could skip the steps and walking up if you are less mobile or having bad knees. I would suggest you save your energy for other sites in the Valley of the Kings and Queens. There are so many sites here.
You can still view the beautiful architecture of Hatshepsut Temple from the bottom. To be honest, there is nothing much left inside the temple when you are up there. You will be disappointed when you make it to the top. Trust me. As I said, it is nicer to look from a distance.
However, If you are fit and strong, then by all mean to go up, walk all the steps up with other tourists crowds and soak in the atmosphere of Hatshepsut Temple. It is hot, be prepared but you will love the atmosphere.
Some tips for you when you visit Karnak temple :
- The weather will be hot so wear a hat, bring an umbrella or a scarf to cover your neck or head.
- Do not pay attention to the people in the temple when they offer to take a picture for you or tell you the best spot to shoot the picture. They will ask for money once they showed you the best spot for pictures. If you wanted to help them then please go ahead. Due to the bad economy and the Arab Spring revolution, many Egyptian have no jobs so they came to the tourist sites to look for a living.
- Flat shoes are a must as the pathway in the sites are filled with lots of uneven rocks and dust.
- You need about 1-2 hour to explore Karnak Temple
- Always have small notes ready for toilet access – usually cost Egyptian pound 5.00 ( Toilet business is the best business in Egypt) 🙂
There are 12 things about Luxor Temple that are worth to know before visiting this ancient site in Luxor, Egypt.
At the entrance picture below, there are 6 giant statues of Ramesses II, with two seated. The other one did not seem to survive and the face was gone. The statues are huge and you will realize Ramesses II love building big statues of himself. When I said big, it meant giant. Those big statues will make you feel like a midget.