As you guys would already have known, I launched a mini capsule collection with local online label The Closet Lover a few weeks back. In early May, I went to Egypt with my friend and TCL co-founder Bertilla, Make-Up Artist Airin, and our Graphic Designer Shilin to shoot the campaign images. It was one travel experience I will never forget: We traveled through Luxor, Cairo and Alexandria in the span of 6 days, and I’ll be giving you guys some tips on how to get around these three cities in 3 separate blog posts. This post will focus on our trip to the city of Luxor, and while this may not be the most comprehensive or exhaustive article out there, I hope it will come in helpful when planning your trip nonetheless. Some questions first:
Is Egypt safe?
Yes. There are your typical touters at tourist-centric areas, but overall harmless, just do not promise to buy anything, or try anything unless you are absolutely sure of spending some money. I would always recommend hiring a private guide and driver so you can avoid getting into any problems. A driver would roughly cost you USD $50 – 60/ car/ day, and a guide will cost you about an average of USD $30 – $50/ person/ day. You can find a guide you trust based on TripAdivsor reviews.
Where should I go when traveling around Egypt?
In my opinion, I think a trip to Luxor and Cairo is a must. I would spend 2 nights in Luxor, and 2 nights in Cairo. Another area I would recommend (but I did not manage to go due to time constraints), is the city of Aswan, where the magnificent Abu Simbel Temple sits. Alexandria is a nice day trip from Cairo to take on if you have another day to spare, but if you just are out for the temples and pyramids, I think you can give Alexandria a miss!
How should I travel in between these cities?
Definitely take the domestic flights EgyptAir has to offer if you are traveling to Luxor and Aswan. EgyptAir is totally reliable! Alexandria is a 3-4 hour drive away from Cairo.
When should I go?
We went in May, which averaged 35 – 40 degrees Celcius during the day. Extremely hot, but less tourists according to our guide. Dec – Feb sees cooling temperatures ranging between the low to mid 20s, but conversely be prepared for a higher volume of tourists. So pick your battle!
Do Singaporeans need to apply for a tourist visa to Egypt?
Yes. You can get your tourist visa at Cairo International Airport for USD $15/ person. However if you have time to spare before your trip, you should definitely head to the Egyptian Embassy in Singapore to secure your visas beforehand. We didn’t have time to head to the Embassy, and decided to just get the visas at Cairo.
Now that I have answered a few of the basic questions, lets talk about Luxor in more detail. I would recommend that you start your Egypt trip with Luxor, subsequently Aswan, then Cairo. Why? Luxor with its temples and valleys are way more impressive than what Cairo has to offer in my personal opinion. It’s always good to start the trip on a high, and end it off with a more relaxing trip (i.e. Cairo). What we did was land into Cairo on our first evening, spend a night at a hotel nearer to the airport to rest up (perhaps do not go for Pyramisa Suites as the hotel is a little dated and lacks maintenance), and set off for Luxor the next morning. Due to time, we could only spend one full day in Luxor, and as a result, could only tick off a few places off the Luxor list. So I would recommend 2 nights in Luxor for a comprehensive trip.
Where to go in Luxor?
We went to the Colossi of Memnon, Medinet Habu, and Karnak Temple. If I had an additional day, I would go to the Valley of the Kings, and the Temple of Hatshepsut.
Colossi of Memnon
This was our first stop in Luxor, it’s a small site that consists of two statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. It was part of a bigger complex, but disappeared over time, and these two statues are what’s left of the compound. If you’ve heard the story of the Trojan Horse during the Trojan War, you would probably remember Agamemnon, whom these statues are named after.
Where: Colossi of Memnon
On me: #dreaxtcl Giza Reversible Dress in Stripes
Definitely one of my favourite spots throughout our Egypt trip. Medinet Habu houses the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III. It’s close to Colossi of Memnon, and less crowded compared to Karnak Temple (see below). The high walls, columns, hieroglyphics, and untouched stone architecture made me feel like we were on an Egyptian adventure like in the movies. The security guards may approach you to take you to “cordoned off areas”. If you are keen to explore these areas, make sure you consult your guide first, as the guards will be expecting a small token fee after.
We were touring the Karnak Temple in the middle of a sandstorm, so grabbing photos was a little tough! The Karnak Temple is the largest religious complex ever built in ancient Egypt, so completing this site may take you at least 90 minutes. My favourite spot is definitely the stone columns of the Hypostyle Hall, which you see below.
Where: Karnak Temple
On me: #dreaxtcl Amunra Midi Romper in Sierra
Hope you guys found this post on Egypt/ Luxor useful. Till Part 2 on Alexandria later this week!