Luxor, Egypt: Day trips/things to buy

Mar 27th, 1999, 01:22 PM
Martin Conneely
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Luxor, Egypt: Day trips/things to buy

My wife, 8 year old son and I are going from Ireland to Egypt on 1 April. After the Nile cruise, we will have 2/3 days in Luxor. Can anybody recommend possible day trips (by taxi or whatever). Also, are there any must buys and, I suppose, things to never buy?!

I've been benefitting enormously from the advice of previous travellers on this list.

Mar 29th, 1999, 10:00 AM
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E-mail me for specific info on what you want to see, spend, enjoy.
Mar 29th, 1999, 11:57 AM
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Thanks for replying. Re. daytrips from Luxor, we will have had visits to the Valleys of Kings and Queens by the time we come to spend 2/3 days in Luxor. I'd like to know of maybe sites there that are of interest but skipped on the usual sightseeing. Or maybe there are trips into the desert? Anything that takes a day or less, really.

Re. things to buy, I'd like to be warned if, say, papyrus was generally fake but gold was good value or cushion covers or woven pieces or whatever. Also, how far down from the asking price is usual for bargaining.

Mar 30th, 1999, 08:16 AM
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With our Nile Cruise the visit of the Valley of the Kings / Queens was also included in the package. I suppose this also goes for the Temples of Karnak and Luxor. If not, you should see these.

Besides that we have walked a few hours in the soukhs. Egyptian shopkeepers are fairly tenacious but once you are out of the touristic part (1st 500 m) of the soukh you are in the real Egyptian soukh. I myself have bought some very fine woven tablecloths in Egyptian cotton. Bargaining is the usual way of doing business and I have paid about 1/3 of the asked price. They also have beautiful golden jewelry but it is usually only 14 carats.
What we enjoyed very much was the afternoon tea at the Old Winter Palace Hotel (Corniche an-Nil).
I suppose your cruise will also lead to Aswan. The Old Cataract Hotel (known from Agatha Christie's 'Dead on the Nile') is really worth a visit for a drink on the terrace where you have the most magnificent view on the Nile.

What we have not experienced ourselves, but from the info in my guidebook there is the possibility of horseback riding on pedigree Arabians in the Western desert (info at PLM Azur Etap Hotel (Corniche an-Nil, phone 749177) ; sailing boat trips over the Nile and to Banana Island (a peninsula with banana plantations) ; there is the camelmarket on Tuesday in a village (don't know the name) 3 km south-east from the airport ; there are excursions to the rocky Eastern desert of Wadi Hammamat (info at Thomas Cook at the shopping arcade of the Old Winter Palace Hotel).
Don't know if you have a hotel or if you stay on your boat, but at PLM Azur, Isis and Winter Palace Hotel also non-guests may use the swimming pool (against payment).

When you take a taxi or a caleche, make sure to fix a price beforehand. Especially the caleche drivers are swindlers!

I hope you will enjoy Egypt as much as we did.

Myriam (from Belgium)
Mar 30th, 1999, 11:43 AM
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For a day trip there is always the trip to Denderah which is an interesting temple complex. You can also get a guide to take you to Deir el Bahri - the village of the workers who built the Pharaoh tombs. Close by are the tombs of the Nobles, Queens which are somewhat more compact than the Pharoahs but have beautiful wall paintings. There is Medinet Habu,and the Ramasseum which are
in the area. You might try the Sound and Light at Karnak where you walk thru the darkened area while listening to the history of Karnak.

Things in Luxor are usually cheaper than in Cairo - try A.A. Gaddis on the Corniche. Cartouches are what people buy - your name in hieroglyphs - can be 18K gold or silver with 18K gold letters. Cotton is always a good buy. I would buy papyrus in Cairo at one of the large papyrus shops to ensure quality - you get what you pay for.

Bartering is part of the Arab tradition adn although annoying is part of the fun of the trip. Just be prepared to probably pay the same price for something that you would at home - the shopkeepers know prices and know the value of gold/silver which is checked daily.
Mar 31st, 1999, 01:36 PM
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Hope you see this before you go! I have been in the business of exporting products out of Egypt into the US for seven years and these are the things I would recommend buying: 1) Gold is always 18k in Egypt, very rarely will you come across 14k gold. When in Cairo, go to the Khan-el-Khalily and visit "Gouzlan" you will find high quality pieces and great prices 2) Raw alabaster vessels produced in Luxor and Cairo are beautiful, every time I go to Egypt I pick up another piece and my collection has become the envy of all of my friends 3)All of the papyrus in Egypt is real, the Egyptains brought papyrus back into Egypt (it was extinct there for some time) about 25 yrs (don't quote me!!) ago and it has become a big industry again mostly as a souvenir type product 4) There is some great inlaid wood to be found in Egypt, but you will have to pick through it as there a lot of differnt manufacturers of it and some are better than others 5) Stone tablets carved in Pharonic designs are also quite nice but find the best quality. These are all hand done and it is almost like taking part of a temple home with you. Anyway these are just a few suggestions, I hope you and your family havea great time in Egypt!
Apr 1st, 1999, 06:23 AM
Tony Hughes
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I disagree with one of Autumn's points. Not all papyrus in Egypt is the 'real' thing. I came across a number of traders trying to pass off dried banana leaves as papyrus (if it snaps when bent it's banana leaf).

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