Review of "Luxor (Egypt)"
I would like to recommend anyone travelling to Luxor to arrange themselves a trip around the Luxor West Bank using a local Luxor taxi. I have visited Egypt on 3 occasions now as a backpacker and the taxi trip to the west bank has always been one of the highlights for me. You really get to travel around not only at your leisure but in the company of a real local resident making himself a proper living. Your money will not be going to a tour company, it will be going directly to the local with the family to support. It is my opinion that Egyptian taxi drivers have been the friendliest and most helpful of anyone you are likely to meet.The taxis may look to be in a poor state of repair but they are functional and pretty comfortable in all honesty. You can usually hire a cab driver in low season for half a day for around £75 to £100 Egyptian pounds, although bartering will undoubtedly start much higher. Always organise your taxi the day before to get the formalities in order. When requesting, ensure that you have a plan in your mind from the start. For example, tell them that you would like a taxi for half a day taking you to the Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut's temple at Deir El Bahri and the mortuary temple at Medinet Habu. They will then quote you a price to barter.
Once the deal is done they will pick you up at the arranged time, drive you to the West bank via the Horus bridge to the south of Luxor and firstly stop at the ticket booth area. Tickets to all the West Bank attractions are bought at the same place. The driver will then take you to all of your choices and wait for you in the taxi rank at each spot.A quick note on West bank tickets. Like I said above, tickets to all West bank sites are bought at the same place which is on a junction spot just past the Colossi on Memnon . There are some intricacies to the tickets which I will describe. Individual Valley of the Kings tickets entitle you to entry to three tombs of your choice in the valley, dependent upon which ones are open at the time. If you are particularly tomb hungry there is nothing stopping you from buying yourself two tickets enabling you to visit six tombs. It must be noted here that these tickets do not include entry to the tomb of Tutankhamun. A specific ticket needs to be bought at the booth for this. If they are open, the tombs I would particularly recommend are Tuthmosis III, Ramesses III, Ramesses VI, Horemheb, Amenhotep III and Tausert / Sethnakht.
The Valley of the Queens has a similar arrangement to the Kings. The ticket will not entitle you to see the beautifully restored tomb of Nefertari, the wife of Ramesses the Great. Again a separate ticket for this needs to be bought at the booth, however visitors are limited to only 150 per day. If you want to see this tomb I recommend you get to the ticket booths at around 6am, however not even this can guarantee you.The West Bank is littered with the remains of Mortuary Temples built for the New Kingdom pharaohs. The most famous of these are the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir El Bahri and the Ramesseum at Qurna. I would particularly recommend the temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu. Here you can see the remains of a huge mortuary temple which is in a particularly good state of repair. The temple was modelled on that of the Ramesseum and is a awesome sight to behold with fine carved reliefs and paint remaining on the ceiling areas. A bonus sight is the remains of Ramesses' royal palace within the enclosure. Within the maze of rooms, the more eagle eyed of you will be able to find the remains of the actual throne room with the stepped plinth in the centre.
I would heartily recommend a trip to the ancient workmen's village of Deir El Medina. Here you can see the foundations and tombs of the artisans and their generations of families who actually built all the great tombs in the Valley of the Kings. The small tombs here are gems to behold. Although small, they are richly decorated with scenes of ordinary daily life. Unlike those in Kings Valley which are wholly religious in content.Once the trip is complete your driver will then take you all the way back to Luxor and drop you off at your hotel. It is here that you hand over your agreed fee with a tip left to your discretion.
All in all, doing this trip by taxi is a very pleasant way to get a small flavour of real Egypt and allows you to see these great monuments easily and independently.
Product Information : Luxor (Egypt)
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Listed on Ciao since: 25/07/2000