Temperature in Luxor at local (Luxor) time:
This is the temperature in Luxor now. Temperatures are measured in the shade. The actual temperature may be much higher in the sun.
Exchange rate now
These are current exchange rates, provided by coinmill.com and updated constantly. (If the list does not appear, or has fewer than 5 currencies, it may be because the rates are being updated. Please come back to this page later).
You are not likely to get these rates outside Egypt. For a better exchange rate, get your currency when you get there, not before you go.
Most visitors need a visa to get into Luxor. Travel Agents often suggest you get one in advance. Read the page about visas to help you decide when to get yours.
Don't buy your visa from a tour rep. Many of them take huge commission without even telling you. Some British travel companies tell you the visa costs £15. It doesn't. Read more ...
Most of the problems in the early part of 2013 have been in Port Said, Suez and Ismalia. There may be a state of emergency and/or curfews in these places. See the FCO advice for the current position.
The most publicised troubles have been in Cairo. These are usually worse on Fridays and may affect access to the Cairo museum (because it is close to Tahrir Square), so bear this in mind and check just before you go if you intend to visit Cairo.
On November 2nd 2012 the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) raised the terrorism 'threat level' in Egypt, but only in respect of North Sinai (where they advise against all travel) and South Sinai outside the resorts (where they advise against all but essential travel).
Luxor has not suffered, and is not suffering, these problems. The FCO warnings do not relate to Luxor, where the official risk level has not changed. The FCO advise that resort areas are 'stable and calm'. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are not advising against travel to Luxor. Their latest advice is here. UK airlines and travel companies that serve Luxor are all providing flights and holidays as normal.
The last significant political activity in Luxor was a celebration of the anniversary of the January uprising. These were very small scale and entirely peaceful. By and large, Luxor people are massively affected by anything that deters tourists, because tourism is such a huge part of the local economy. Most people don't want to put you off going to Luxor and spending your money.
Nevertheless, feelings about the political situation can run high, so some people, albeit relatively few, may be inclined to make some kind of gesture from time to time.
If you want to minimise the risk of being affected by any gathering there might be (and we are not suggesting there will be any) it is best to be aware of the riskiest places and the riskiest times. The places most likely to be affected are:
The most likely times for get-togethers are after midday prayers on Fridays.
If there are demonstrations, any crowds usually gather in the paved area behind Luxor Temple (opposite Snacktime and McDonalds). Any march would normally start there and head in the direction of the station or to the Governorate Building next to the El Luxor hotel.
There is no curfew in Luxor. The Egyptian government did introduce a 2am - 5am nationwide curfew on March 29th 2011 but it was lifted on 15th June and was not enforced in Luxor anyway. There has also been more recent talk of businesses being required to close at 11pm, but this has to do with energy saving, not security, and most tourists are usually back in their hotels by then anyway.
Not all of the police and security departments are working normally since the change of government, so police response to situations can be delayed or restricted and security may be less evident than it used to be. The number of tourist police is increasing and every now and then there is a police road block, but these are aimed at young local motor-bikers rather than security concerns.
Hotels still have loads of vacancies. Local people report that there was a slight improvement in visitor numbers from about September 2011 but the number fell back again when troubles in other parts of Egypt started again in November that year and have not really recovered. Tourist numbers throughout 2012 were very low, although some hotels report increased bookings in early 2013.
One hour ahead
Egypt used to be 2 hours ahead of British time most of the year but Egyptian clocks did not go forward for the summer of 2011, 2012 or 2013, so Egypt is only one hour ahead of the UK all summer. When the UK changes its clocks back for the autumn, and Egypt does not, Egypt will then be TWO hours ahead of the UK until the following spring. Read more...
Balloons flying again
Five balloon companies, Hod Hod, Magic Horizon, Alaska, Sindbad & Dream, have been allowed to start flying again following an inspection by the Egyptian CAA of their procedures and equipment. Sky Cruise, whose balloon crashed, and several others, have not (yet) been allowed back into the air.
Package tour companies are not recommending or arranging flights, but you can book them through local agents.
For more on the background to this, see the other box lower down this column.
A couple of things have combined to reduce the availability of bottled water in Luxor. The first was a February fire at the Nestle Waters Factory, which accounts for more than half of the mineral water sold in Egypt. The second was the closure of seven bottling companies by the Egyptian Ministry of Health because the water was contaminated. Affected brands are reported to be Alpha, Hadir, Seway, Aqua Delta, Tiba, Aqua Mina and Aqua Soteir.
Bottled water is still available, but until supplies return to normal, you may be well advised to stock up when you can and you have to expect prices to be higher than they were.
For more about this click the blue words.
Monarch have stopped flying from Manchester to Luxor and now only fly from Gatwick in the winter. Thomas Cook have stopped all Luxor flights from Manchester and Gatwick. Egyptair will start flights from Manchester to Cairo on 1st June 2013. Read more on the flights page.
What to see
Luxor is probably best known for its decorated tombs, for its temples and as a start or finish point for Nile cruises. Luxor has all this to offer and a great deal more. For a hint of things to see, visit the sights page.
See it while you can!
There are reports that Tutankhamun's tomb will be totally closed to visitors at some unspecified date in the near future. Humidity from the breath of visitors has caused 'dramatic' deterioration of the decorations and the plaster to which the paints have been applied is blistering and crumbling away. Facsimiles of the tombs of Seti I, Nefertari and Tutankhamun have been constructed. They will be sited in or near the Valley of the Kings, in a position that has not yet been determined, and visitors will have to see these instead of the real thing.
A lot of the problems are not caused by food, but when you pick up bugs on your hands (e.g. from dirty notes) and don't have chance to wash before touching your food or your face.
It is best to take some anti-bacteria gel wherever you go and use it regularly. You can get it from most pharmacies or buy this one online at around £1.50 for 100ml - click the picture for more details.
For more about tummy problems see the health page.
If you are unwell
Most hotels have access to English speaking doctors. Most medicines are easily available and very cheap. Read about pharmacies on the health page. If the worst happens, Luxor has a large and quite modern hospital.
Take something to read
Beware of over-tipping! Informal traders and touts in Luxor have an extremely effective communication network. If you become known as a generous tipper, you will receive ever more attention. Read more on the tipping page.
Where to stay
Most kinds of accommodation are available, from tent pitches to 5 star hotels. Read the Hotels section for a review of some.
Where to eat
Descriptions and reviews of some restaurants and cafés are in the Eating section.
Read the page on getting around to find out about taxis, buses and the different boats that sail the Nile.
The Holidays section has information about booking packages or just flights or hotels.
The airlines are getting very fussy about weights. You can get a useful gadget for about £8 that includes a 22kg scale and a tape measure, or a tiny digital one, so that you can check, and demonstrate if necessary, that your luggage is not overweight. These gadgets could save you a lot more than their cost in luggage supplements avoided. You can get them in travel shops or click either image for more details (and to buy online if you want to).
Reading in Luxor
Many of the bigger hotels have libraries of English language novels you can borrow. Ask at reception. Magazines are more difficult to find in Luxor. If you prefer to read magazines it is best to take them with you. You can get trials of the 3 latest issues of some major magazines for £1.
It is extremely hot all year round. Dehydration is the greatest health risk. Always take plenty of water. It is cheap and easy to get safe bottled water. Keep it cool if you can, but don't drink it really cold as this may upset your stomach. More about keeping well.
You will need a 2 pin continental type converter. This one provides two 13 amp outlets plus a nightlight and is delivered post free from Electric Shopping. You need the European one, not the US one. Electric Shopping also have other travel accessories, all post-free.
Birds in Luxor
We have photos and details of birds seen in Luxor, and photos without details of some more we have not identified. Help welcome! More.......
This is often difficult. You don't want to overdo it, but you don't want to be mean. Read the tipping page for the latest guide.
Just for fun!
To while away time at the airport, or on the plane, this travel battleships is about £5. Click the picture to go to toy shop.
What to pack
Light cottons for the day. A woolly or fleece for the evening if you are in Luxor between November and March or if you are going to Cairo on the overnight train. Beachwear is only appropriate within the hotel grounds or on a cruise ship. There is more about this on the What to Wear page.
Read the item called arriving to take you step by step through what happens when you get to the airport.
Beware of counterfeit LE100 notes circulating widely in Luxor. If anyone asks you to change a LE100 note - don't!
Read more about other scams here
Insurance provided by credit card companies usually only covers you for personal accidents whilst on the journey paid for using the card - not for illness or other accidents whilst you are abroad. Check the terms with your card issuer.
Free insurance offered with some bank accounts may also be limited - possibly to Europe, although in some cases 'Europe' includes Egypt and the other countries bordering the Mediterranean. Again, check carefully before taking it that you are covered.
Most adults under 65 can get travel insurance to Egypt for a week, including hot air ballooning, for around £8. See the insurance page for more.
More on balloons (also see above)
A tragic accident killed Japanese, French, UK and Chinese tourists on 26th February 2013, when a gas cylinder exploded. Balloon flights were suspended for about 2 months but restarted at the end of April. Read more from the BBC here.
Before this, following 3 serious accidents in 2009, balloon trips were stopped for several months but restarted on 26th October 2009.
After each 'stoppage' new rules were introduced limiting the number of balloons and requiring new licensing and fees to various authorities and, in 2013, requiring a prescribed safety briefing before each flight.
Before the 2009 problems prices had fallen to really low levels - around £25 per person, but the new rules caused prices to increase for a while in 2009 and 2010 but they subsequently settled back down. The reduction in tourism in 2011 onwards encouraged the slide. By early 2012 many companies were again offering balloon trips for as little as LE250 (£25), before flights were again suspended following the 26th February accident. For more see 'Hot air balloon' on the Sights page and insurance.
The Mercure Inn (Coralia) became the Swiss Inn and has since been demolished. The Mercure Hotel (Etap) on the Corniche is now the El Luxor hotel.
About us and our sponsors
We travel, stay and dine anonymously, pay all travelling, hotel and other costs ourselves and do not accept donations or advertising from anyone. This keeps us independent and neutral. We also do the web site design and management ourselves.
We have no connection to anyone, any company, any government or any private organisation in Luxor or elsewhere.
We have to pay for web hosting (that enables you to access the site from anywhere in the world). These costs are subsidised by besthighstreet.com a web site that helps visitors to find internet shops and providers of a large range of services. If you go to besthighstreet.com and use it as a shopping directory, it helps us (a lot) to keep going.
We also receive a small commission from some of the big travel companies and hotel agencies. So it helps us (and doesn't cost you any more) if you get to a company's web site by clicking on a link from LuxorTravelTips when you book a holiday, flight or hotel online.
On 8th September 2011 it was announced that the Egyptian cabinet had decided to require that tourists get their visas in advance, which would have prevented visitors from the UK, Europe and the USA, for example, getting visas on arrival. The cabinet spokesman (Mohamed Hegazy) said the change could be implemented within a week or so of the decision. The news caused a bit of panic amongst tourists about to go to Egypt, because there was precious little time to get visas in advance.
Thankfully, just a few days later, the Assistant Minister of Tourism, Hisham Zazou announced that Minister of Tourism, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, had agreed with the Council of Ministers to suspend the decision. It is only a suspension, not a cancellation of the change in the rules, so it could come about later, but for the time being it is 'as you were' on getting visas on arrival.
Hopefully, if the proposal is implemented, they will give more notice of the start date, or there will be major confusion at the airports. Do read the Visa page to make sure you don't pay too much for your visa on arrival.
Situation during the January - February 'big' unrest
The local office of the ruling party, the Suzanne Mubarak library and the police station (in Medina Street more or less behind the Gaddis but one road back) were damaged and there were demonstrations, but on a small scale compared with the incidents reported on TV. The biggest were near the Governorate - next to the El Luxor hotel and on the paved area behind Luxor temple, in front of McDonald's. There were parades of vehicles on both banks of the Nile and a little looting. Tear gas was used but we are not aware of injuries.
Barriers were erected around Luxor's monuments on the East and West Bank but all sites remained open throughout as far as we can tell, although balloon flights and the Karnak sound and light shows were cancelled. A would-be looter, allegedly a police or security man, tried to get into Karnak temple but was seen off by local people.
The city centre and the market were very quiet: most tourists keeping a low profile or taken home by tour companies of all nationalities. Hotels were said to be 80% empty and cruise ship sailings severely reduced. Day trips to Luxor from the Sinai and other places were cancelled by the major tour companies but resumed around the end of February 2011.
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Allocated seats on easyJet!
easyJet started allocating seats on Luxor flights from 20th November 2012, so you can now avoid the legendary 'elbows at the ready'.
Click the heading for discounted airport parking and low cost 'meet and greet'
Cheaper mobile calls
If you want a SIM that works in most other countries too, one option is the Geosim:
When in Egypt (and 61 other countries) it is free to receive calls and texts from UK.
Calls to UK from Egypt about 50p/min.
Card costs about £15 including £5 call credit. There is an annual fee (about £10) to keep it active
(Most recent first)
Does it affect tourism?
Accessibility and mobility
Getting to and around Luxor with mobility problems
Where to drink, where to buy, commonly available types of wine and beer
Common scams and how to avoid them
(most recent update first)
Sights (new trips added & prices updated)
Jolie Ville hotel
Southern area map
Flights baggage info added
Transfers (in Luxor)
Birds New pictures & descriptions added
Getting Around (Bikes added and prices updated)
Money (American Express machines added)
What to wear
PhotoBox print your digital photos and despatch them on the same working day if you place your order before 4pm. Click here to register and they will give you at least 30 free prints (usually 40, sometimes more - check their web site). You just pay about £1.50 postage.
Truprint will give you at least 20 free prints for registering (sometimes 30 or 40) and only charge 99p postage but don't have such a good range of print sizes. You will find a chart that shows which photoprint companies print which sizes at www.besthighstreet.com.