Egypt day 5: Elephantine - Aswan to Luxor
We're on Elephantine Island and this is the Temple of Satet. A short walk from all the Nubian guesthouses. It's very quick to get here, maybe 4 less that minutes. It's 200, sorry 100 Egyptian Pounds per person to enter and what normally happens is you get a guide with a price but they expect a bit of tip. A lot of it has been destroyed including a pyramid but some of it remains.
This one looks like it's in quite good condition. Very impressive. I think it's worth coming here. It says no entry but they actually let you in. You can see everything basically.
This is Khnum Temple, a little plateau up here and from here you can see the sand dunes. And also Aswan on the other side of the river. It's spelled as Khnum actually. K-H-U-N-U-M, well that's not how you spell it but that's how the bastardised version of it is. This structure here is the tomb of the king.
Bit hard to budget probably so they just left it there as it is. Too fragile these things anyway. So well carved out, look at that. Perfect small surfaces.
So this place is 4000 years old. It's got a good view of the sand dunes there and the site where it's located in relation to Aswan. And you see the lush islands that you can take the fluka to travel between. This is after the Luxor Aswan Dam. So Fili is the Isis temple and the Egyptian goddess who looks after the earth, the Egyptian land and it's before the dam so you can't actually get a faluca from here to Philae, the temple of Isis.
You can see a fluka in the distance there, moving up downstream. You gotta be careful of the cats around here. What I've found is that you don't hassle them if they are hassling you for food, don't push them away because they get aggressive some of them and they might slightly scratch you which happened to me last night. I'm a bit concerned about rabies around here. So I've got a week before or more, I don't know.
The onset of rabies can come within a week and if you feel fever and stuff, it's too late. So if you do get bitten or scratched or whatever or licked even by a cat, just get some treatment. I heard Cairo has some injections.
So head off to get some treatment immediately. This is a sanctuary for Hakaib, a Nubian king. Lots of graffiti around here.
Not sure why anyone would bother to do that. There is actually a pyramid right in the site itself but it's been destroyed and this is all that remains. The center area there is where the tomb was found. That is the king's jacuzi, his bath.
Walking along the edge of the temple site. See the river Nile, walking towards the Nileometer, a very old 1600 or so device used to measure the height of the water in the Nile. These markings on the wall is the actual old Nileometer and compared to the water level now it must have been really high before. The markings you have on the river side, the new carvings, is the new one, the new Nileometer. Same location, same idea, just different markings. Steps leading up and down to the Nileometer on the bank of the river.
Now it's time to head to the ferry port to go to Aswan mainland and then get a taxi to go to the port where the Belukas to Philae Here is the ferry port. There's the shaded area for the local people to sit and wait for their ferries. Taxis from the ferry port are taking people to Elephantine. They wait outside the port there and take people to Philae for about 100 or 200 for whatever person.
We decided to take a tuk tuk and manage to negotiate 50 Egyptian pounds for two by Tuc Tuc This tuk tuk is equipped with MP3 player, equaliser and power amplifier. So this music must be quite good. So we took our tuk tuk. We thought it was a good deal but looking back they cannot go past that main gate there.
And to the ferry is a kilometre away so we had to walk. Yeah, it's ok. If you don't mind walking 15 minutes.
I swear this is more than a kilometre but we're here. That's the faluca port area. The tour bus is managing to get in of course. They have some deal with the local government around here to allow themselves to drive in but taxis don't. This is the central area before the ferry. There are a lot of stores selling everything here.
The kids, they run after the tourist buses arriving. They seem to be the target here. We walked along the road so they didn't bother to even look at us at all. So yeah, if you're arriving on the tour bus don't think you won't be hassled. Even if you've got a guide.
£200 Egyptian Pounds to get in through the barrier and then there's the faluca itself which is £200 per person. You've got offices right next to the entry over there. The barrier is there. £200 Egyptian Pounds to get through the barrier per person. And here is the road down to the faluca Lined up with lots of ornaments, gifts, souvenirs. Hot, hot, hot, hot.
The ticket does not include the faluca ride. The faluca is £200 and £200 back plus a ticket. So it's about £600 per person. Take it how you want. I think it's ok. Alright, forget what I said about the ferry ride price earlier. So it's flexible of course.
And the first thing is you should only pay when you return. You should agree on a price return ticket for the group, not individual. So what we've got is 1 hour and 15 minutes there. And then we're going to pay £250 for 2 people.
Alright, it's a bit of a negotiation though. Just try to be patient. On the way to Philae, Temple of Isis.
The water is very calm. There is a cool breeze. First time I felt cool the whole day. It was so hot. I wore quite a lot today. Top and long trousers because I had a fever. So just trying to be careful. You shouldn't. You should wear shorts and t-shirts.
It's just too hot. You can see Philae now. The island. With the temple. This has a very long history.
And was also redeveloped by the Romans. Not just Egyptian built there, but also Roman. No, that is not the National Bank of Egypt.
That is some temple. This is the structure which lies east of the Great Temple of Isis. It is the most iconic of the Three Lion Monuments. It is a rectangular structure consisting of 14 columns connected by a screen wall and architraves. Thought to have been built in 30 BC by the first Roman Emperor Augustus. That is the Great Temple of Isis.
It is much bigger than the rest of the temples around here. That's the broken window on the train to Luxor. Actually it's quite good here.
The air con here is good on the train. You can see around it is quite comfortable seating, lots of space. I have to say this beats a taxi in many ways because you have toilets, it's cool. Most taxis don't even have air con. No toilets. You are paying 310EGP (10 Dollar) per person.
When you go into the station make sure you take the foreigners ticket booth. There is clearly labeled for foreigners. It takes a while, like half an hour to purchase a ticket so come in good time because you don't want to miss the train.
However the train is every 2 hours but sometimes they cancel the train so it's not always that reliable. I would rather take 4 hours than 3 hours of these crazy Egyptian taxi drivers doing overtaking manoeuvres that are just ridiculous. Never mind. Leaving Aswan to Luxor. It's good that the train has open doors so people can stand the smoke while the train is moving along. Very convenient.
Hello Sir. 5 o'clock train leaving, 5 minutes past 5. Pretty decent. Nice to meet you Aswan. See you next time. Ok guys, we are off to Luxor.
See you there. We have just left Luxor train station. The train surprisingly took 3 hours, not 4 hours as advertised.
So really quick. About the same time as the taxi driver. Definitely the train is a better option to go from Aswan to Luxor and a lot cheaper too. So the plan is to walk from the train station to the ferry terminal, the public ferry and then take a ferry across to the west side of the river, River Nile. Again it's about £5 per person each way.
I'm not sure what the hotels are like, comparison compared between the west side and east side but there seems to be a better price in the west side. Also many of the attractions we are going to in the next few days will be on the west side so it's more convenient. You can take the taxi to the east side but the taxi has to go a really long route around because the bridges are far south and far north between the two locations. So the ferry is more convenient and cheaper. A lot of nightlife around here.
Getting hassled a bit but no problem. We have some information about sightseeing tour. Thank you. I'm ok.
Thank you very much sir. A lot of tourists walking around. I see Chinese, what looks like European. So this is like a very popular destination for tourists. I see them everywhere. So you can see we are trying to head towards the public ferry over here and we are around right here right now.
Continue the walk. Luxor is actually quite a nice town at night. Lots of local people out and about enjoying time with their family and there's a lot of tourists as well. This is along the riverbank and you can see lots of different stalls here. You can see people having dinner with their friends out here, the local people.
Tourists Nile cruises also seem to be around here as well. Tourism police. It's good they are policing these things isn't it? Making sure everyone is behaving. It's a nice town. I think Luxor so far has been more European like than the other cities, Cairo included.
Or at least this part of it is.