We cycled the big sights on Luxor's West Bank
Exploring the West Bank by bicycle in One Day
Luxor's West Bank is the place for the after life as this is where the sun sets. There were plenty of tombs for us visit, but we selected a few based on other blog posts and a rough sketch of a route by bike. The sites were not that far apart, but the heat and our fitness levels made it a challenging cycle.
|The road to Valley of the Queens.|
We hired bikes from our Hostel Host. He quoted us 175EGP for each bike for the whole day which we later learned was an exorbitant amount as other cyclist only paid 50EGP. I was kinda burning inside but in the end when we returned the bikes we got the price down to 75EGP each.
|Our bikes were pretty typical of what we saw others riding as well. We read online that you can find bikes with gears but we didn't see anyone riding those kind.|
We stayed on the West Bank and started our journey there. Whilst riding we heard from other cyclists who stayed on the East Bank that they caught the ferry over and rented bikes on the West.
On one of our ferry crossings, we did see a person bring his bike on the ferry so if you want to hire a bike on the East I'm sure you can bring it across to the West.
|This is the National Ferry which costs 5EGP for foreigners to cross the Nile. Alternatively you can take a private motorboat to cross which was pitched to us at 20EGP|
Our route and what we wanted to see
We wanted to start on the Valley of the Queen side first and then end our day at the Valley of the King side. This worked out great for us because the quietest time to see Valley of the Kings would be either early in the morning or late afternoon and because we chose late afternoon we didn't have to wake up super early to ride up the hill.
|This was the plan for our bike ride. We just had to cut out Ramesseum because I forgot to purchase a ticket and didn't want to ride back 1.5km to the ticket office to get one.|
You can see our maps list using this link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/35n3bC4XTVq4gvtc8
In summary our route was:
1. Collosi Memnon
2. Ticket Office
3. Habu Temple
4. Breakfast at Cafe Maratonga
5. Valley of the Queens
8. Valley of the Kings
7:50am Collosi Memnon (stayed for 20 minutes)
Two large statues stand here. The conditions of the statues were not very good but it really sets the tone for the rest of the rebuilt ruins we were to visit around Luxor. I came to Luxor without much of a history lesson but quickly learned that most of the temples and statues have been destroyed overtime.
|It seems tour buses stops here every few minutes but if you wait around between the waves you can have the place to yourself.|
8:15am Buy Tickets from ticket office (5 minutes)
Ride 650m from Colossi Memnon and you reach the ticket office. If you are following this post then buy tickets to Habu Temple and Ramesseum. We decided to skip the multiple Noble tombs because we are going to go inside Nefertari's tomb which will cost a whopping 1400EGP each.
|Ticket office window and prices.|
*Scam alert*: Count your bills and watch it carefully, the ticket staff tried to do a bill switch on me. I gave him two 100EGP bills and he tried to switch one with a 10EGP bill but I caught him.
|Student prices. You may need an international student identification card however, our friend Erik just showed his US student ID which worked fine (although some ticket staff wanted a tip from him for giving him the student price)|
8:25am Visited Habu Temple (stayed for 1 hour)
Ride 400m along the road from that the ticket window and you'll reach Habu Temple. It was fairly quiet at this time. I felt the condition of this temple was better than Karnak or Luxor.
|Habu Temple's main gate.|
|Habu Temple courtyard|
|Habu Temple. I like the ceilings at Habu Temple I reckon they were the most well preserved versus Karnak and Luxor.|
|Habu Temple. Nice columns.|
|If you want some explanations of the hieroglyph just ask a friendly guide. They will always be nearby ;)|
9:25am Stop for breakfast Infront of Habu (Stayed for 1 hour)
There's a cafe called Maratonga right infront of Habu Temple. I didn't have breakfast this morning so after the bike ride and Habu temple I needed to eat. Food was good and price was typical tourist price. Check out what we ate during our trip to Egypt here.
|Cafe Maratonga's roof made for a relaxing breakfast break after Habu Temple.|
10:45am Visited Valley of the Queens (stayed for 1.5 hours)
Ride 1.7km from Habu Temple to the Valley of the Queens. This ride was uphill but not too bad. We did some googling beforehand and the general consensus was that the tombs in the Valley of the Queens were not as good as the Valley of the Kings, unless you also visit Nefertari's tomb for 1400EGP extra - which is exactly what we did.
For Queen Nefertari's tomb they have only allocated 10mins to view her entire tomb! So we quickly went in and it was well worth it...
|an image of Nefertari as an older woman|
|Nefertari Tomb - just look at the colour!|
|Nefertari's ramp into the main chamber|
Nefertari's main tomb chamber emptied out of course. Imagine what treasures were once in here....
Note about photos in Nefertari's tomb: It seems mobile phone photos are fine in the tombs. We were told since 1 August 2019 you can buy a photo pass to take photos with a camera inside the tombs as well. In the end we tipped our guard 200EGP because we had the place to ourselves and he was like a private tour guide and explained some of the drawings (he also gave us another 10 minutes on top!).
We visited two other tombs in the Valley of the Queens but these were less impressive. If you don't plan to see Nefertari's Tomb and you are short of time I'd say the Valley of the Queens is skippable (assuming you are going to see Valley of the Kings).
|Hieroglyphs of the Tomb of Amen Khopshef was mostly protected behing glass|
|Lisa was just the right height to fit in the burial chamber of Tito's Tomb.|
12:37pm Arrived at Ramesseum
|Ramesseum. We forgot to buy tickets at the ticket office and didn't want to ride back 1.5km so we skipped it.|
1:00pm Hatshepsut (Stayed for 1hr 40mins)
Rode 2km from Rammeseum and we arrived at Hatshepsut. At this time it was chocker block full of tourists so we had to stay here a bit longer to get some pictures. It was also where we had our lunch snack break.
|Hatshepsut at the top|
|This temple didn't have too much Hieroglyphs preserved|
|Just before the ticket office we had to go through a souvenir alley. There's one here and another one before the Kings Valley. These hawkers can be pushy!|
3:20pm Valley of Kings (1hr 30mins)
From Hatshepsut it's about a 5km uphill ride to the Valley of the Kings. It's uphill but it doesn't look like it's uphill when you're riding which really mentally drains you! Arriving at this time was great as it was practically empty.
|get your tickets!|
|These were the open tombs and we went to the highlighted ones. We couldn't visit all the tombs because they only let you go into 3 of the "free" tombs.|
Tomb of Rameses IV
This tomb was cool because it had a big stone box at the back.
|Going into the tomb is like one long ramp to the main chamber with small pockets along the way for their body remains and treasures|
|all these hieroglyphs everywhere make you want to have a guide. Or maybe there's an app for that...|
|the stone box was huge!|
|on-top of the box is a figure!|
Next was Tomb of Rameses IX
This tomb wasn't as interesting as the first one we had went to but it was still nice to look at.
Then Tomb of Rameses III
This was a very nice tomb to roam and explore as it was a bit bigger than the Rameses IV and IX.
Tomb of Tutankhamen
This tomb was actually very simple. It was one large room with Tutankhamen's mummified body in glass on one side ( I didn't take a photo because I felt weird ) and on the other side was his stone tomb and some paintings. We wanted to see his mummy with our own eyes so we paid 400EGP but if you're not keen then this is easily skippable.
|one side of Tutankhamen's Tomb with the artwork and his box. Behind the camera is the other side of the room with his mummy and bare walls.|
Finally...The Tomb of Rameses V/VI
This tomb cost an extra 100EGP but was easily worth it. It was the best tomb we saw in the Valley of the kings in my opinion!
|that detailing in the ceiling!|
That was the last tomb we visited and by then it was almost 5pm and we were one of the last to leave the Valley of the Kings. The ride back down hill was the best although it got dark quickly so riding in unfamiliar territory at night was not fun.
|Coasting back home at sunset|
Hiking through the mountains from Kings Valley to Hatshepsut.
I just want to write that we initially wanted to walk through the mountain pass from Hatshepsut to Kings Valley and back. However, there were signs along the way saying this wasn't allowed and we chickened out. Another couple staying at our hostel tried it the day after as well and told us that 6 police officers chased after them to turn them around.
For anyone planning to try this we were using the maps on the GAIA GPS app.
|This is the sign on the Hatshepsut side. Apparently there's a similar sign on the Valley of the Kings side as well.|
Car instead of bicycle?
Another couple told us they took a one way taxi from the West Bank ferry terminal to Valley of the Kings for 30EGP then a one way taxi from Valley of the Kings to Hatshepsut temple for 20EGP and then walked the rest. In hindsight that would've been a better idea because it was cheaper (compared to two bikes for 150EGP) and we still can go at our own pace.
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