Tag Archive: Luxor



A bunch of close friends. “Barkada”. We’ve long planned this — and planned around a 5-night Nile Cruise on a chartered Dahabiya or sailboat. Cairo and Alexandra first, prior to the cruise from Luxor to Aswan. Then 3 more nights in Aswan to include a day trip to Abu Simbel. There were concerns prior to the trip. Left on February 17, about the time when the world is whirling and reeling from Coronavirus issues. But we were all set for this trip. So, armed with masks, wipes and alcohol sprays, we went. The flights to Cairo and then to Luxor, as well as the long drives to Alexandria and Abu Simbel were uneventful. The weather was perfect, all rides comfortable, though I must confess we underestimated Egypt’s cold temps. The whole cruising time, we had breakfasts on the riverboat’s deck in our terry bathrobes. The same robes we donned for dinners! It grew warmer by the time we reached Aswan and Abu Simbel. Finally, we parked our boots and rubber shoes and wore our sandals to go shopping. All throughout the journey, we were floored by all these ancient wonders and happily absorbed all the ancient history lessons. It was our luck that we had very competent tour guides. Egyptologists. Yes, you take special courses for that. We also met some foreign Egyptologists in the hotels where we stayed — archaeologists who specialise in Ancient Egypt. Such interesting people. The ones we met must be in their 60s-70s but you can still sense that burning passion in them. The kind you can almost touch! By journey’s end, we can only feel so thankful for the wonderful cruising adventure, the excitement triggered by the history lessons, the fun and mirth all throughout the holiday and most importantly the good health and safety enjoyed by everyone. This is our story. Feel free to click on the links for more photos and details.

https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/21/the-sphinx-and-moi/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/22/revisiting-cairo/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/24/alexandria/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/25/ballooning-in-luxor-egypt/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/25/gliding-through-the-nile/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/02/29/the-ancient-temples-of-luxor/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/06/of-egyptian-gods-man-gods/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/18/sailing-without-care/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/19/abu-simbel-finally/
https://lifeisacelebration.blog/2020/03/19/aswan-as-two/

The Ancient Temples of Luxor


From the pyramids of Giza to the temples in Upper Nile, these ancient wonders make up Egypt’s history, inheritance and legacy. Unfinished or abandoned projects give a glimpse of how they were made but to this day, the unsolved mysteries still hound the construction of the pyramids, the mix of colours and dyes used, and the mummification process perfected in the ancient world. Questions remain unanswered, and many theories abound. The mysteries remain and such make it all the more compelling to go and visit this land of the Pharaohs.

It is amazing how these monuments withstood the test of time. Like how does one even begin to appreciate how these stones were quarried, dragged and installed 4,000 years ago? And why did they stop making pyramids? Not that those royal tombs in the necropolis comprising the Valley of the Kings is less grand, nor something to complain about. Karnak and Luxor Temples are so grand, one needs to devote a full day just visiting these 2. We were in luck to have a good guide provided by Aggressor River Cruises for the next 6 days and 5 nights as we cruised along the Nile River. Having done this 24 years ago sailing from Aswan to Luxor, I dare say it’s even better sailing south from Luxor to further Upper Nile (Aswan). Luxor is a highlight — and thus a good start — what with both Karnak and Luxor Temples welcoming every guest to this state’s ancient and grand wonders. These Pharaohs do an “overkill” by super sizing every temple, obelisk, royal tomb, and statue. What’s even more amazing is how they’ve dragged, carved and installed every boulder to make these monuments. Majestic even sounds lame to describe them.

No wonder Egyptologists like our guide Mahmoud comprise some of the more interesting persons on this planet. They regale us with these historical tidbits and scientific trivia with such dramatic flair that make our jaws drop. Dedicated to the gods Amun, Mut and Khonsu, Karnak claims to be the biggest religious complex in the world. Even bigger than Angkor Wat. The Cambodians may disagree. But where Angkor Wat is a sprawling temple complex, Karnak is an open air museum consisting of sanctuaries, pylons, obelisks and kiosks built over a long period of 1,500 years by generations of pharaohs, each wanting to leave their mark. Between Karnak And Luxor Temples is the Avenue of Sphinxes — an incredible line of human headed sphinxes spanning 3 kilometers. There is a project to renovate this entire sphinxes avenue connecting these 2 majestic temples. That will be the day! This is why I feel it is best to start the Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan. The Theban temples of Karnak and Luxor alone can blow one’s mind and inundate you with so much historical trivia. You just can’t take it all in in one go. And if you must take home a souvenir, go ahead and buy that book or CD.

The entire necropolis that makes up the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Nobles reinforces the might of the Pharaohs . The hot air balloon ride allowed us the “big picture” as we hovered that early morning over the necropolis including the Temple of Hatshepsut. Who is Hatshepsut? Depicted often as a male, Hatshepsut is really one of the few but the most famous female pharaohs of Egypt. Born to King Tutmose I, Hatshepsut managed to gain power as a ruling Pharaoh when she married her half brother Tutmose II who inherited her father’s throne in 1492 BC. When Tutmose II died and left the throne to his infant son Tutmose III (with another wife), Hatshepsut acted as Regent and ruled Egypt. In many paintings and statues, Hatshepsut sought to reinvent herself as she was depicted with a beard and muscled arms like a male pharaoh. Her mortuary temple at the foot of the limestone cliffs of Deir El Bahri is the most impressive (and admission ticket most expensive). Truly one of the best monuments of Egypt, it looks majestic viewed inside as well as outside.

Have a go at Luxor and immerse yourselves in its awesome temples for Egyptian gods and man-gods. Try the hot air balloon (it’s cheaper than those flying in Turkey, Tanzania and Myanmar) and spend extra days to take it all in slowly. Get a good guide. An Egyptologist. Go ahead and book that Nile Cruise. There is so much to explore and learn from a single visit to Egypt and one rule to observe is to give it enough time. Never rush it.


Just 5 nights on this chartered boat sailing from Luxor to Aswan. Offshore excursions included. Karnak and Luxor Temples. Valley of the Kings. Temple of Hatshepsut. El Kab. Edfu. Kom Ombo. Temple of Isis in Philae. All these as we glide through the Nile from Luxor to Aswan. And while sailing, unli food and unli drinks. The 8 cabins good for 16 pax are not big but good-sized and kept clean and neat. Then there’s the salon where we can choose to dine when it turns really cold, and the deck where most meals are served. A lounge for cocktail hours, a jacuzzi, beer and soda ref, coffee and tea stations. Good food, and even better service. What a treat! This is most certainly my kind of holiday.

The boat’s engine runs to make life comfortable for all 16 of us. Well-appointed, air-conditioned rooms. Hot coffee & tea. Cold bevs and hot meals. Good music and adequate lighting. A tugboat pulls us across the River Nile and the splash we make as we glide through the Nile is a symphony we’d likely miss once we get off. How nice to wake up to catch sunrise and enjoy wine or beer as we wait for sunset. A few hours in the morn and another after lunch make up our offshore excursions. Just enough activities for each day. Even more time to enjoy each other’s company on the boat. Life seems slow, unhurried, and savoured. The way it should be.

Captain is a kindly 56 year old Egyptian who has a younger brother also working on the boat. We don’t know what the younger Ibrahim does but we all remember him as the young lad with good dance moves when we feel like turning after-dinner sessions into dancing parties. Where we shake left to right, Ibrahim’s extra moves tilts up and down while swaying left to right. The Chefs cook up real good meals and have good dancing feet too! Same goes for Mandouh who is forever charming us with his stories on his 7 year old twins and always beat us with his keen sense of anticipation of what we need. A vodka here, some toast, more desserts, another glass of wine. To feel spoiled and pampered is an understatement. These men made us feel so comfortable and truly took good care of us.

This isn’t my first time cruising the Nile. Back in ‘96, we sailed on a bigger boat M/S Oberoi from Aswan to Luxor . Meals and service excellent but nothing beats having the boat all to yourselves. Besides, it wasn’t an open bar back then. Our Tour Guide sailed with us too and Mahmoud is a gem of a guide. He doesn’t mind us calling him “Superman”, by the way. His spiel had just the right amount of information laced with just enough excitement to keep us interested. Never too much info to douse our interest or give us indigestion over too much historical facts. This guy knows his stuff.

Over the 6 days and 5 nights cruising the Nile, Mahmoud’s itinerary covered the same spots I’ve visited 24 years ago, plus a couple more which I particularly enjoyed. El Kab and the Sandstone Quarry of Gebel Al Silsilah are worthy sites to visit along the Nile. I am including the link to our boat’s website for those who are planning to do a River Nile Cruise. We still have 2 nights to go on this riverboat cruise but this comes with our recommendation. We are that confident it can only get better! (https://www.divenewswire.com/aggressor-announces-new-brand-aggressor-river-cruises-with-the-nile-queen/)


Some mornings are just better. Woke up early to ride a hot air balloon in Luxor, Egypt. Was it worth feeling deprived of all those zzzz’s?

We arrived early enough to watch how the balloons are made ready for the one-hour sunrise ride over the Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, Temple of Hatshepsut and the rest of the necropolis.

Rising and getting ready to leave at 4am took a lot of effort. Our Nile Cruise riverboat packed a breakfast and snack bag for all 16 of us. But breakfast without a proper coffee just doesn’t make the cut. And the “take-off” area isn’t your regular terminal. Nor is it your typical departure lounge. I literally climbed up the basket (and with much effort and deliberate moves, climbed out) to make sure the hot air balloon does not rise up without me. Oh btw, the captain handed out “certificates” after the ride, which I was careful to discreetly decline. No need for any certificates. Whatever for? Besides, it just adds to the waste — not exactly environment-friendly. 🤪

Our Egyptian Captain piloted very gently and for a while, our basket was held steady real low such that we could actually and easily make out the Temple of Hatshepsut from a distance, and some Egyptian Bazaar down under the balloon. As the sun rose, the mountains, the palms, roads, farm animals, the River Nile and some green patches across the fields emerged more clearly.

Surely, this morning wasn’t wasted. 😊👌😘👍