Today is our fourth day in Egypt. Our plan is to fly out of Cairo to Luxor, a city frequently characterized as the world’s greatest open air museum .
We had until 10am in the morning before we checked out from Novotel. Not long before we’re ready for a short walk across Tahrir Bridge. It was Saturday, traffic was expectedly low and quiet, and the weather was so pleasant. We leisurely walked on the bridge that spanning around 360m over the river Nile, down to Tahrir Square, and then back to the hotel. A good 30-min walking exercise before good breakfast at Novotel.
The flight to Luxor is only one hour. Egypt Air offers multiple flights daily (starts from 500 QAR return) including ones early in the morning from Cairo and late evening from Luxor; making Luxor as a quick weekend escape.
We stopped-by briefly at Wisma Nusantara Cairo for storing our luggages – we would stay here for two days upon our return from Luxor. This hostel is currently managed by the Indonesian students in Al Azhar University. From its guestbook it can be easily noticed that it’s a favorite among Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei visitors and it’s received positive feedbacks. Apart from the hostel, Wisma Nusantara hosts a rentable hall, offices for the Islamic activities as well as accommodations for its management. It may worth your consideration when you are planning to visit Cairo, so you can contribute to its sustainability. Its close location to Ganena Mall, KFC and QNB ATM and a short drive from the airport is also an added plus.
Telp: (20) 2 -22609228
WhatsApp : +201151046377
Email : Wismanusantaracairo@gmail.com
Luxor is a laid back small city, at the opposite contrast to chaotic Cairo. Its population (currently about half a million) is heavily dependent upon tourism. However, large numbers of people also work in agriculture such as sugar cane (clearly visible during the balloon ride and from a short ride from the airport to the city center).
Twenty minute van ride from the airport saw us Nefertiti Hotel , a small budget hotel where its affordable price doesn’t correlate with its strategic location and very excellent staff services; winning accolades from TripAdvisor. Tucked away in the entrance to Luxor Market, Nefertiti also offered an excellent restaurant and incomparable rooftop seating area, overlooking Avenues of the Sphinxes, the Nile and the Theban Hills on the West Bank.
Via the hotel (who also manages Aladin Tours), we’ve booked one-and-half-day tour in Luxor; starting from Karnak Sound and Light Show at 7pm, and then balloon ride and the West Bank in the morning and Karnak Temple in the afternoon.
The sun has just set on the horizon with the Nile and the Theban Hills as backdrops; providing one of the unforgettable memories of sunset watching ever. Still enough time before we would be picked up for the Show in Karnak Temple, we chose to have early dinner in the rooftop; tasting what Egyptian Authentic Bedouin cuisines like. Camel meat dish, Egyptian style omelette, mixed grill, and umm ali were probably representable
The Show, in English, starts at 7pm. Karnak Temple is located about 3km north of Luxor city center. In the past, and we can see it today, Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple are connected by the Avenue of the Sphinxes. Some 1,350 sphinx statues are thought once to have flanked the path. Unfortunately this path is not well maintained the way I see it.
The show, which last for about one and half an hour, tells the history of Thebes and of the Pharaohs who built, extended the temple. Images of the Pharaoh were projected on the temple wall, accompanied by narration of the history of Luxor and the temple. Looking at the massive, grand temple in the dark, illuminated by the light of full moon above us seemed to throw us centuries or thousands years ago. The magical feeling of walking side-by-side to the floodlit 134 gigantic columns inside the Hypostyle Hall was indescribable.
Upon passing through the fallen obelisk (one of the three remaining obelisks in Egypt), visitors were escorted to seating areas by the Sacred Lake for the final history-telling show. That made up our fourth day!
KARNAK SOUND & LIGHT SHOW