alley of the ram-headed sphiinges in Luxor Karnak temple

There are some places you visit in real life and when it comes to describing them to others, words fail you. This post is full of images that attempt to describe to you the truly magnificent temples that we saw in Egypt on our Luxor trip. I’m just sorry that it took this long for us to visit. It hadn’t panned out until recently and of course one tries to pay attention, maybe too much attention to the Egypt travel advisory.

affiliate disclosure

While it is prudent to be aware of the happenings in the world, no place is truly safe as l have stated before and I feel now is the best time to travel to Egypt, thanks to the thin crowds. We felt both safe and welcome. Here is a recap of our Hurghada to Luxor trip with one of the best transfer companies we have used to date. Egypt truly impresses and we visited Luxor the right way..stress free.

Visit Luxor from Hurghada the best way (This is how to do it):

Luxor from Hurghada Egypt 2 days

Hanging out in Luxor with ancient pharaohs.

Best times to visit Luxor Egypt:

The best times to visit Luxor is March, April, October and November. The temperatures then are pretty moderate and since they still off shoulder travel time, the lodgings are even more attractive and the crowds less.

Best way to visit Luxor:

Two words. Private Transfer to Luxor. Sometimes when we visit places, I will do a whole lot of research. More often than not, I just fly by the seat of my pants and go with the flow. The major reason is that we like to truly enjoy places. For us, it’s not about number counting and bragging. Some of my greatest memories from travel are about food and hanging with the locals, be it when l go home to Nigeria, or talking with a bartender over a beer in Amsterdam.

Despite the fact that l was disappointed with Amsterdam, the memory of his warmth towards us will forever be with me. I remember wanting to visit Krakow only after a lengthy conversation with a waiter on a rooftop in Stockholm. Those little moments l cherish. This trip to Egypt, I will cherish memories of talking to the shopkeepers in El Gouna (most called me cousin since l was from Nigeria :-) ) and little snippets of conversation with our guide at the pyramids and at Luxor, both young men with surprising extensive world knowledge.

El Gouna Egypt sunrise

Leaving El-Gouna early in the morning… this is the view from our balcony. Our hosts get to see this on a daily basis. Nice :-)

Our Luxor Guide: Hurghada Luxor Transfers

Our Hurghada stay was really nice. We knew we wanted to visit Cairo, we did, and it was a great time. We also knew we wanted to visit Luxor and the Valley of the Kings amongst others. The owners of the house we were staying at suggested Moh at Hurghada Luxor Transfers and being the stubborn idiot that l am, I went ahead and contacted 3 other companies in addition to his. His is a small outfit and he certainly pays attention to details.

He eased my thoughts right away once l spoke to him. He asked the right questions and he tailored our Luxor trip to my specifications. I peppered him with lots of questions, which he answered patiently. His price was fair  and right in the middle. l chose him over the others because he knows his stuff. I highly recommend using his services. Once again, I have nothing to gain as l have no affiliation with him.

Traveling from Hurghada to Luxor via private transfer:

The car picked us up at 6:30AM sharp as promised. It was a late model sedan, clean as a whistle and had the most pleasant driver. Our three and half hour drive was wonderful and we talked about a variety of topics, from marriage to cultural differences (that was funny to put it mildly as he had such macho bullshit beliefs that l shot down consistently much to his amusement) to soccer. Sometimes l surprise myself with my knowledge of the sport, I think it’s osmosis and the fact that Federico constantly talks about it and l have no choice but to retain some of the information.

There were lots of check points along the way which put my mind at ease. Every car that goes through that valley is documented. It was a breeze because our driver was so used to driving that route and l swear he was related to a lot of the policemen along the way. He lives in Hurghada but was born and grew up in Luxor. Pretty sure that by the time he drove us back to Hurghada, he was into having a “westernized” wife. The scenery along the way differed from when we went to Cairo. They were more like humongous sand dunes, not the Red Sea. After a while, you begin to picture everyone of them a yet to be discovered temple. They had that look.

columns in Karnak temple Luxor

The whole city is just one open air museum it seems.

 

Where is Luxor in Egypt?

Luxor is located on the east bank of the Nile river in the south of Egypt. Thebes was the ancient capital during the pharaohs pinnacle of power (16th-11th centuries BC) and Luxor occupies that site now.

Where to stay in Luxor Egypt:

Lotus hotel Luxor Egypt view

View from Lotus, our Luxor hotel room. It was very nice and in the morning, we were able to see people taking hot air balloon rides from the balcony.

hotel room Lotus Luxor Egypt

A big room and a big bathroom. The balcony was great for people watching…even though there wen’t that many guests.

I had originally wanted to stay in a five star hotel, thanks to the really favorable exchange rate which was $1 to 17.3 Egyptian Pounds so l thought we would splurge. What l realized in time was that because of the unfortunate downturn in tourism, a lot of hotels were going for cheaper and therefore were good deals. In the end, we stayed at the hotel recommended by Moh, the really nice Lotus hotel Our room had a gorgeous view of the Nile and a cute balcony from which to enjoy it. The room was a great size and the bathroom luxurious. I’m glad we didn’t upgrade because this was plenty great.

Find your Luxor hotel here

Things to see in Luxor: (Luxor Itinerary Guide)

Moh had arranged an English speaking guide for our Luxor two day tour and it was nice not to worry about anything but showing up. It saved us having to haggle to find the right person. Our Luxor guide was a very, very knowledgeable young man who was college educated and a budding Egyptologist. He had wonderful insights and added another layer of understanding to what we were seeing. He gave us space and plenty of time to  appreciate all Luxor had to offer. I am not a historian and so l will not go too deeply into the specifics on Luxor and Egyptian history as a whole, but l would offer you this advice… pay the extra and have a guide. You will definitely appreciate it more.

Luxor Egypt places to visit include these fantastic gems:

Karnak Temple (Temple of Karnak):

temple grounds in Luxor Egypt

Temple grounds just made for exploring.

 

alley of the ram-headed sphiinges in Luxor Karnak temple

Alley of ram-headed sphinges on one side of the entrance of the temple of Amun-Ra. The other side has the same number of rams sphinxes with ram heads and lion bodies.

The only way to describe this is simply wow! The Karnak complex is huge! The first time l saw it was on a Poirot episode and l was intrigued. Seeing it in real life was just mind blowing. Allow yourself at least two hours or more to see everything and walk through the grounds. There is constant excavation and they are finding new things all the time. There was a newly opened portion on our trip and you can’t help but imagine what it must have looked like back in those days. The ways the columns were built to catch the light for instance, the various markings and signatures and their meanings, all patiently explained by our guide.

 

river of water at karnak temple Luxor

Look as far as the eye can see, and someday soon..they will be joined.

 

hypostile columns in Karnak temple

The Hypostyle Hall at Karnak temple. You feel so tiny in the majestic surrounding.

Some of the pharaohs histories were quite amusing, like the one who became Egyptian by being creative with his semen. We were all positive that his “tool size” was greatly exaggerated in the artwork. We would have missed that whole scene without the guide, and that would have sucked :-) . Don’t miss the Hypostyle Hall contained within. A World Heritage Site as of 1979.
Karnak Temple Hours:
Monday through Sunday 6AM – 5:30PM

mean at work in Karnak temple Luxor temple Egypt

Men at work – I can’t even imagine how awesome it will be once the complexes are connected like in the old days. It requires shifting some of the people nearby and is quite an ambitious project.

Luxor Temple:

man at entrance to Luxor temple Egypt

The entrance to Luxor Temple

Ancient temple complex dating back to 1453 BCE. Luxor Temple is believed to be where the pharaohs were crowned and is dedicated to the rejuvenation of kingship as opposed to death tombs. This temple will eventually be linked to Karnak temple and we saw men working on the pathways when we visited. It was interesting to find out how deep below sea level the temple is. There are various chapels contained at Luxor, including ones built by Amonhotep III, Tutankhamun, and Ramesses II.

Luxor temple columns Egypt

You could spend all day if you wanted. There is so much to see.

 

christian like painting at Luxor temple

Some of the fabulous works of art that lurks everywhere. We would have missed it were it not for our guide as they were working around it and had scaffolding.

 

Luxor Temple Hours:

Monday – Sunday 6AM – 10PM

Colossi of Memnon:

colossus of Memnon statue

I was walking like an Egyptian. These things are huge!!!!!

This massive stone statues were meant to stand guard at the temple mortuary Amonhotep III. They have survived for over 3400 years through floods and other natural disasters. You feel so tiny when standing next to them for sure. It’s also a nice area to pick up your souvenirs as we felt the hawkers were not as pushy as in the other places.

Colossi of Memnon Hours:
Monday – Saturday 6AM – 5PM
Sunday 6AM – 6PM
Needless to say, these things are so massive, you can see them from the street even if you can’t get up close.

Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut:

entrance to mortuary of Haptsheput Luxor

The grand entrance to the mortuary. I was duly impressed. Fit for a queen one might say.

sphinx figure at hatsheput temple Luxor

Those ropes are there for a reason. Please don’t be the asshats that rest on the statues and refuse to move when others want a picture because ..

 

old man in Luxor Egypt

..this keeper of the temple will shoo you away rudely much to the delight of everyone. It was awesome to witness :-).

I think this was my favorite site and it was clearly the favorite of our guide. I loved learning her story. She was the only female pharaoh of ancient Egypt and outfoxed them all using the peoples beliefs. A lot of the statues have been either stolen or destroyed, some on the orders of her stepson Thutmose III, but it’s understandable given their history.

Hatshepsut Temple Hours:
Monday – Sunday 6AM – 5PM

Valley of the Kings:

2 days in Luxor Egypt guide

2 days in Luxor visit guide: I think we made a wise choice to follow the guide’s advice as to which tombs to visit. I think the 3 is a good enough figure as they start to look alike after a while.

One of the world’s most important archeological sites. Rock cut tombs for the pharaohs and noblemen of the kingdom are located here, almost five hundred years worth of nobility represented. So far there are about sixty three tombs, but of course there is a constant search for more. There is a bit of a distance uphill to reach the valley. You can choose to wait for the little tram that ferries people up and down (recommended) or you can be brave and walk up. We rode up and had maybe a ten minute wait and walked down afterwards.

hieroglyphic figures in tombs Luxor

Very beautiful colors from natural ingredients and it’s awesome that so much of it has survived intact. A visit to the tombs is definitely one of the best things to do in Luxor.

Your entrance ticket allows you to visit only three of the total number of tombs opened to the public and our guide advised on the best ones. This was the only place where the guides could not come in with you, so he told us the stories before we entered and so knew what to look for. I have to say that l felt quite smug explaining some of the paintings in a loud voice to Federico when we were inside and watched people listen intently and had no idea l was just spouting what l had been told :-) .

 

The passages were amazing and so colorful. Work stopped on the tombs upon the death of the rulers and noblemen so you sometimes saw like insane colors and then just slab left as is after death. If you intend on taking pictures, even with a cell phone, you need to pay extra before entrance. I think it was $18 additional which l thought was worth it and Federico thought was too much. I had to remind him it was probably a once in a lifetime opportunity and l was not going to be looking back with regret. Needless to say, he loves what he captured and wants to frame quite a few of the images :-) . Stubborn l tell you :-) !!!!

how to visit amazing Luxor Egypt the right way

Even the ceilings had stories to tell :-).

You know my post wouldn’t be complete without images of some of the food we had. Our package with Hurghada Luxor Transfer included a delicious meal in downtown Luxor. I can still taste the hummus, so fresh. The restaurant at the hotel was also surprisingly cheap and very tasty, I think less than $6 per person, wine included. It’s kind of sad that people are missing out on a great country because of safety concerns. I daresay if this was a situation in the first world, people would carry on traveling. I have yet to hear people stop traveling to Paris, Belgium and the U.S especially. let’s just say right now, I would feel safer going back to Egypt than the U.S, and so should you.

restaurant in Luxor Egypt

The restaurant in Luxor. Simple but really good food.

 

dolma plate with rice

Yummy. I think this was dolma, which was quite good.

 

hummus and pita bread and meat

I think this was our third bowl of hummus and pita bread :-). We finished it all!

Egyptian veggie soup dish

This l did not care for at all. It was some sort of vegetable thingie… my kryptonite!

 

rice and beef stewed meat plate in Luxor

I swear l think everything came with fries. I stuck with the rice, one of my favorite foods in the world.

 

dessert in Luxor Egypt

Dessert. Who can say no?

In conclusion, I think a Hurghada to Luxor private transfer is for sure the best way to have a pleasant trip as part of your Egypt visit. It offers as part of the package:
– hotel accommodation with buffet breakfast
– entrance fee inclusions to the Luxor Egypt points of interest
– Egyptian lunch at a beautiful restaurant
– Private car for your drive from Hurghada to Luxor and back
– English speaking and knowledgeable guide
– Personalized service
– Fair price

There are plenty of things to see in Luxor, and while you can do a one day Luxor trip, I highly recommend two days to see it all and not feel rushed. For sure, we will go back to Egypt as there are other parts of the country we want to see, including Aswan and Alexandria, not to mention a return trip to both Luxor and Cairo, as well as Hurghada. So yes! Egypt is safe to travel as long as you take the usual precautions and keep your wits about you.

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Visit Luxor Egypt recommendation:

Without a doubt, you should visit. You will love it. The history, the birthplace of the pharaohs. It’s amazing!

Have you been? If yes, which was your favourite city and one you would recommend to others? Did you feel safe or were you concerned about your safety in Egypt? Are you like us and can’t wait to experience a return visit. If you haven’t visited Egypt, is it on your list of places to visit in your lifetime?