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Cairo to Luxor to Abu Simbel and back to Cairo

Cairo to Luxor to Abu Simbel and back to Cairo

Old Dec 11, 18, 1:28 pm
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Cairo to Luxor to Abu Simbel and back to Cairo

I am in the early stages of planning 7 - 10 days from the US (BOS) to Cairo, Luxor, and Abu Simbel. I think we'll fly from CAI to LXR (I am reading the train is sketchy and slow) but then I am not sure the best way to get from Luxor to ABS - but whatever we choose will be with a guide or a tour. It sounds like you have to go through Aswan to get to Abu Simbel. I am reading that you can fly from LXR to ASW then it is a 3 - 4 hour one-way car trip through the desert to Abu Simbel which sounds a bit unnerving, even with a guide/driver or tour. Can you fly straight from Luxor to ABS, spend a few hours, and then fly back to LXR? Or fly back to CAI? Any advice on the best way to arrange my 7 - 10 days?
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Old Dec 12, 18, 12:29 am
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Originally Posted by Graciecatt View Post
I am in the early stages of planning 7 - 10 days from the US (BOS) to Cairo, Luxor, and Abu Simbel. I think we'll fly from CAI to LXR (I am reading the train is sketchy and slow) but then I am not sure the best way to get from Luxor to ABS - but whatever we choose will be with a guide or a tour. It sounds like you have to go through Aswan to get to Abu Simbel. I am reading that you can fly from LXR to ASW then it is a 3 - 4 hour one-way car trip through the desert to Abu Simbel which sounds a bit unnerving, even with a guide/driver or tour. Can you fly straight from Luxor to ABS, spend a few hours, and then fly back to LXR? Or fly back to CAI? Any advice on the best way to arrange my 7 - 10 days?
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This might help with the planning, and might reassure you about safety! https://worldtravelfamily.com/gettin...el-from-aswan/


You can certainly fly from Cairo with Egyptair. I think there's at least one direct flight (though probably stopping in Aswan) and others connecting through Aswan.

Aswan is a much nicer,more scenic and relaxed place than Luxpr - though of course it doesn't have the full historic weight of Thebes and the West bank necropolis.
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Old Jan 7, 19, 4:48 pm
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I think the problem is getting a flight from Luxor to Aswan - from the Egyptair website, it looks like you have to transit through Cairo. You can arrange for a car and driver to take you to Aswan, but that's a very long ride.

How many nights are you spending in Luxor? What I did was fly CAI-LXR, and then took a 4 night cruise to Aswan. From Aswan, I did the drive from Aswan to Abu Simbel, then returned to Aswan to catch a flight to Cairo that same day.

The cruise basically spent 2 days in Luxor. I boarded the ship in the late morning, and then we did a tour of Karnak and Luxor temple that afternoon. The next morning, I did the hot air balloon flight over the West Bank, and then did a tour of Valley of the Kings, Temple of Hatshepsut, Worker's Village, etc. Returned to the ship by late afternoon and the ship departed Luxor that evening. Next day was at Kom Ombo and Edfu. Last day was in Aswan - saw the dam, unfinished obelisk, Philae temple, and Nubian village. Next morning (very early) drove out to Abu Simbel, stayed for a couple of hours, then drove back. Had lunch, and then caught a flight to Cairo.

I did my trip end beginning of last December. My 10-day itinerary looked like this:

Day 1: Arrive Cairo late evening.
Day 2: Giza Pyramids and Saqqara
Day 3: Coptic Cairo, Citadel Salah El Din, Egyptian Museum
Day 4: Flight CAI to LXR (hung out in Luxor)
Day 5: Cruise (Karnak and Temple of Luxor)
Day 6: Cruise (West Bank)
Day 7: Cruise (Kom Ombo and Edfu)
Day 8: Cruise (Aswan - Philae Temple, Dam, Unfinished Obelisk, Nubian Village)
Day 9: Abu Simbel; Flight to Cairo (overnight in Cairo)
Day 10: Flight Home

The whole thing was arranged by an agency and was fully guided. Tours in Cairo were private and tours from the cruise were small group tours. Aside from the the two nights hotel in Cairo (I used points to stay at the Le Meridien Pyramids) and the international flights, total cost was $1335 for everything for one person traveling solo (not including tips - lots and lots of tips; and a few meals).

I think this worked out fairly well. I didn't feel too rushed. On Day four, I did spend some time on my own at Luxor temple which made the next day better even though I revisited the temple. The first day, I could wander around to my heart's content and take pictures. When I went on the guided tour the next day, I could pay attention to the guide without feeling anxious about having time to take pictures. My only regret wasn't also going out to see Karnak on my own in the same way.
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Old Jan 9, 19, 11:13 pm
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Originally Posted by escog View Post
I think the problem is getting a flight from Luxor to Aswan - from the Egyptair website, it looks like you have to transit through Cairo. You can arrange for a car and driver to take you to Aswan, but that's a very long ride.

How many nights are you spending in Luxor? What I did was fly CAI-LXR, and then took a 4 night cruise to Aswan. From Aswan, I did the drive from Aswan to Abu Simbel, then returned to Aswan to catch a flight to Cairo that same day.

The cruise basically spent 2 days in Luxor. I boarded the ship in the late morning, and then we did a tour of Karnak and Luxor temple that afternoon. The next morning, I did the hot air balloon flight over the West Bank, and then did a tour of Valley of the Kings, Temple of Hatshepsut, Worker's Village, etc. Returned to the ship by late afternoon and the ship departed Luxor that evening. Next day was at Kom Ombo and Edfu. Last day was in Aswan - saw the dam, unfinished obelisk, Philae temple, and Nubian village. Next morning (very early) drove out to Abu Simbel, stayed for a couple of hours, then drove back. Had lunch, and then caught a flight to Cairo.

I did my trip end beginning of last December. My 10-day itinerary looked like this:

Day 1: Arrive Cairo late evening.
Day 2: Giza Pyramids and Saqqara
Day 3: Coptic Cairo, Citadel Salah El Din, Egyptian Museum
Day 4: Flight CAI to LXR (hung out in Luxor)
Day 5: Cruise (Karnak and Temple of Luxor)
Day 6: Cruise (West Bank)
Day 7: Cruise (Kom Ombo and Edfu)
Day 8: Cruise (Aswan - Philae Temple, Dam, Unfinished Obelisk, Nubian Village)
Day 9: Abu Simbel; Flight to Cairo (overnight in Cairo)
Day 10: Flight Home

The whole thing was arranged by an agency and was fully guided. Tours in Cairo were private and tours from the cruise were small group tours. Aside from the the two nights hotel in Cairo (I used points to stay at the Le Meridien Pyramids) and the international flights, total cost was $1335 for everything for one person traveling solo (not including tips - lots and lots of tips; and a few meals).

I think this worked out fairly well. I didn't feel too rushed. On Day four, I did spend some time on my own at Luxor temple which made the next day better even though I revisited the temple. The first day, I could wander around to my heart's content and take pictures. When I went on the guided tour the next day, I could pay attention to the guide without feeling anxious about having time to take pictures. My only regret wasn't also going out to see Karnak on my own in the same way.
Which agency did you use? Also, what was the cruise company and how did you like the accommodations and tour from the boat? I'm trying to plan a similar trip but with two fewer days.
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Old Jan 17, 19, 11:46 am
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I used Memphis Tours. They were very good - very responsive. The tours they arranged were also good - I liked the guides. All of the arrangements were fine. They went out of their way for me, and made on-the-fly adjustments when needed/requested without problems.

Memphis booked the cruise for me. The ship was the Iberotel Crown Empress. The accommodations were fine - it wasn't luxurious, but it was comfortable enough. The common areas were good - I didn't use the pool since it was so cold, but it was nice hanging out on the upper deck. The food was o.k.

The tour guides from the boat were good. I think the more important factor with regards to the tours are who the other guests are. They'll group together people who speak the same language, so I was in a group with all english speakers. There were other groups for Italians, Chinese, etc. There were about 12 people in my group. There was one large family (about 8 people) who were a bit of a pain - always late, wandering off, asking silly questions.

Every tour had one shopping stop - e.g. perfume shop, alabaster shop, etc. When I was on a private tour where it was just me, I could cut these short - which is fine - I get that the company mandates these stops and the guides have to go, and they didn't care if I didn't buy anything and left after 10 minutes. However, when I was with a bunch of people who wanted to shop, then I had to wait.

I did enjoy myself - I liked the guide we had on the ship - he was very knowledgeable and experienced.

I was talking with the guide and the captain of the boat, and they said all of the ships are mostly the same. They all go to the same places, do the same tours, very similar accommodations, similar food, etc. The only difference with the higher class boats is that the accommodations (e.g. furniture) is better, and the food is a bit better.


Iberotel Crown Empress

Cabin
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Old Jan 17, 19, 9:41 pm
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I'd look at cruising Aswan to Abu Simbel. Did that on the Kasr Ibrim qite a few years ago Very enjoyable. There is also the Eugenie which is a more classic ship (think Death on the Nile). Booked through De Castro which was at the time owned by the Al Fayads.
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Old Jan 31, 19, 11:14 am
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Thank you! We ended up booking a fully-guided small group tour from Cairo-Aswan - side trip to Abu Simbel - Luxor - Hurghada - Cairo. The company (Timeless Tours) has been extremely responsive to my zillions of questions. We chose this particular tour b/c it included flights from Cairo - Aswan and from Hurghada - Cairo and also included all entrance fees. I had read too many reviews that talked about upgrading a tour to add flights, then those that chose flights having to be parked at a location to wait several hours for the rest of the group arriving via overland to catch up. Other reviews talked about the time it took to collect entrance fees and one person (only one! so who knows?) said that guides overcharged and pocketed the difference. So we are hoping for best, knowing that the accommodations are many fewer stars that we are accustomed to but expect to just be there to sleep anyway.

Has anyone used the TourRadar website or Timeless Tours?

Wonders of the Pharaohs 10 Days
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Old Jan 31, 19, 11:24 am
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Originally Posted by escog View Post
I used Memphis Tours. They were very good - very responsive. The tours they arranged were also good - I liked the guides. All of the arrangements were fine. They went out of their way for me, and made on-the-fly adjustments when needed/requested without problems.

Memphis booked the cruise for me. The ship was the Iberotel Crown Empress. The accommodations were fine - it wasn't luxurious, but it was comfortable enough. The common areas were good - I didn't use the pool since it was so cold, but it was nice hanging out on the upper deck. The food was o.k.

The tour guides from the boat were good. I think the more important factor with regards to the tours are who the other guests are. They'll group together people who speak the same language, so I was in a group with all english speakers. There were other groups for Italians, Chinese, etc. There were about 12 people in my group. There was one large family (about 8 people) who were a bit of a pain - always late, wandering off, asking silly questions.

Every tour had one shopping stop - e.g. perfume shop, alabaster shop, etc. When I was on a private tour where it was just me, I could cut these short - which is fine - I get that the company mandates these stops and the guides have to go, and they didn't care if I didn't buy anything and left after 10 minutes. However, when I was with a bunch of people who wanted to shop, then I had to wait.

I did enjoy myself - I liked the guide we had on the ship - he was very knowledgeable and experienced.

I was talking with the guide and the captain of the boat, and they said all of the ships are mostly the same. They all go to the same places, do the same tours, very similar accommodations, similar food, etc. The only difference with the higher class boats is that the accommodations (e.g. furniture) is better, and the food is a bit better.


Iberotel Crown Empress

Cabin
This is all great info - thank you - and aligns with the reviews I read for Timeless Tours. I bet they all use the same group of ships and hotels. I think our Cairo hotel is the Oasis Hotel Pyramids (they say that "or similar") and the reviews for that hotel are not too bad but it seems to be in a location without much around it. They didn't quote a ship name for us but it is encouraging to see your photos.

I hate being taken to a store and made to hang out while they wait for you to buy something but I'm trying to remind myself that I did not want to attempt this country on our own and I can deal with it. I think my expectations are set to how things will be.

There is always someone in a group who is a pain and yet another reason why I hate guided tours. That's another piece I'm trying to wrap my mind around and temper my expectations. Hopefully if this happens, I can tune out the noise.
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Old Feb 1, 19, 3:27 am
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We go in a few weeks on a Egypt-Jordan trip with 10 family and friends. I also have never taken a group tour and didn't want to now. I've built our own tour, booking guides, transfers, hotels, flights and a cruise. We are doing a 5 day private Nile charter, Aswan to Luxor, with Sanctuary Retreats on a dahabiya, Zein Nile Chateau. It looks like a nice boat. I sort of copied a Abercrombie and Kent tour I saw but arranged it myself to save some bucks. Time will tell if this was a wise choice.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 11:58 am
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Originally Posted by cayohueso View Post
We go in a few weeks on a Egypt-Jordan trip with 10 family and friends. I also have never taken a group tour and didn't want to now. I've built our own tour, booking guides, transfers, hotels, flights and a cruise. We are doing a 5 day private Nile charter, Aswan to Luxor, with Sanctuary Retreats on a dahabiya, Zein Nile Chateau. It looks like a nice boat. I sort of copied a Abercrombie and Kent tour I saw but arranged it myself to save some bucks. Time will tell if this was a wise choice.
This is ideally what I wanted to do versus booking the 10-day tour that I did book. I mostly didn't book piecemeal by myself because I was unsure how to book airport/hotel transfers, as well as how to choose guides. I posted a link to our tour in a previous post on this thread. We are definitely getting what we paid for ($800 including flights, hotels, cruise ship, most meals, and entrance fees) but of course you get what you pay for and our accommodations and food will not be anything close to 4 or 5 stars, but look adequate. As long as I temper my expectations, and keep the bar relatively low I expect to feel safe while touring and without any stress about making connections.
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