LATEST ON SECURITY
UK "Travel ban" was lifted on 8th November 2013.
Curfew was lifted on 15th November 2013.
Cairo and Giza were removed from the 'travel ban' on 21st November 2013.
Thomson restarted Wednesday flights and holidays from Gatwick in March 2014 and have Manchester - Luxor flights listed from November 2014.
Egyptair are flying to Luxor direct from Heathrow on Mondays.
Several travel agencies, including Thomas Cook, Hayes & Jarvis, Olympic and Kuoni are selling Luxor Holidays, but they are selling Thomson or Egyptair flights, not their own. If Thomson don't sell the hotel you prefer, try Thomas Cook for Thomson flights matched with a wider range of hotels.
See 'Security Situation' box (below) for more details of any security issues.
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.
Some restaurants, especially restaurants owned or managed by non-Egyptians, but also local restaurants dependant on tourists, closed for much of the autumn & winter 2013 and the early spring of 2014 because of the lack of customers. They began opening again in March 2014 although some did not survive and remain closed. We are revising our reviews (see the 'updated' date at the foot of the page). See also the list of closed restaurants.
Cairo - Luxor cruise is back
The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has recently changed its travel advice on Egypt to remove the 'ban' on going to several areas in the Nile Valley between Cairo and Luxor. As a consequence, it is now possible once more to take the 'long cruise' down the 460 mile stretch of the Nile between Cairo and Luxor. The cruise goes through parts of the Nile Valley that have not been affected by modern tourism and takes in such places as Amarna, Akhenaten's capital of Egypt, where Tutankhamun was born. The long cruise takes about 8 days including visits along the way and can be booked locally. Voyages Jules Verne also have a 10-day package which includes flights from Heathrow.
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.
Price increase from $15 to $25 from 1st May 2014. 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. Read more ...
The FCO changed their advice on November 8th 2013. The FCO are no longer advising against travel to Luxor. Since July 2nd 2013 the FCO had advised against all but essential travel to Luxor and most other parts of Egypt, but that advice has been changed, leaving it open for tourists to return without being so concerned about insurance and other implications. See their latest advice here. The Egyptian government also removed curfews from 15th November.
Monarch (Cosmos) have Luxor listed as a destination for the winter season, but we have not been able to find availability for the foreseeable future. Thomas Cook have other Egyptian destinations, but still do not have Luxor listed as a Thomas Cook package, although their agencies sell packages based on Egyptair and Thomson flights.
Easyjet were the last to pull out of Luxor in July 2013. Their latest official travel advice is here but it doesn't mention Luxor. They have told us that they have no immediate plans to reinstate the Luxor route but that they will keep it under review in 2014.
Egyptair still have their normal flights between Heathrow and Cairo, Manchester and Cairo and between Cairo and Luxor. They have now reinstated their direct flights between London and Luxor on Mondays. There are some good prices on the London to Luxor via Cairo flights, especially if you book a good while in advance.
Although there was some trouble early in this latest sequence of political problems, they were on a relatively small scale and were soon over. The trouble was certainly nothing like as bad as in some bigger cities. Luxor is now calm but very empty. Security is very evident, with sandbags, soldiers with machine guns and even tanks in prominent positions, especially near the main police station.
All Egypt's archaeological sites were closed at one time, and the official line was that they would be closed indefinitely. Despite this, sites in Luxor, including the tombs, have been open. Although no-one can be absolutely certain what the position might be from day to day, you can be reasonably certain that you will be able to visit the usual sites.
Holidays to the Red Sea resorts were not affected by the travel limitations although there were some travel restrictions between dusk and dawn for a while and in some resorts guests were once advised to remain in their hotels. There was some trouble in Hurghada in a non-tourist area and at the marina but the FCO never warned against travel to the resorts themselves and flights continued.
Before the series of demonstrations that started in June 2013 and were ongoing sporadically until the 2014 elections, the previous 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 are going to Luxor and want to minimise the risk of being affected by any gathering there might be, it is best to be aware of the riskiest places and the riskiest times. The places most likely to be affected are:
- the police and security headquarters in Medina Street (more or less behind the Gaddis - see the map);
- the police station near where Puddleduck restaurant used to be and
- the Governorate next to the Eatabe (previously El Luxor) hotel
The most likely times for get-togethers are after midday prayers on Fridays.
If there are demonstrations, any crowds usually gather (sometimes following 'feeder' marches from the north and south of the city) in the paved area behind Luxor Temple (opposite Snacktime and McDonalds). The main march would normally start there and head in the direction of the station or to the Governorate Building next to the Eatabe hotel.
Not all of the police and security departments have been 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 time in Egypt
Egypt used to be 2 hours ahead of British time most of the year but Egyptian clocks have not gone forward since 2010, 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 is then TWO hours ahead of the UK until the UK clocks go forward 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.
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.
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.
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.
Avon's Skin So Soft body oil is reputed to have 'anti insect' qualities as well as keeping your skin moist in the dry Egyptian heat. For more about caring for your skin in the sun see the Sun page.
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.
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 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 the 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.......
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
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 2013. 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 became the El Luxor hotel and is now the Eatabe.
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). To help us to pay these costs, we receive a small commission from some of the big travel companies and hotel agencies if you get to a company's web site by clicking on a link from LuxorTravelTips and book a holiday, flight or hotel online. So, if you book holidays or flights online, it helps us (and doesn't cost you any more) if you click onto their site via a link from this one.
Our costs are also 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, that also helps us to keep going.
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.
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.
If it's blue- it clicks!
Throughout this web site if any bright blue text turns to red when you point to it, you can click for more information
Click the logo to go to the company's web site.
Enter the code at the checkout
Flight arrivals and departures
Check other availability
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)
Restaurants & closures
Jolie Ville hotel
Entry Fees to tombs etc
Transfers (in Luxor)
Visas fees and travelling via Cairo
Sights (new trips added & prices updated)
Flights baggage info added
Birds New pictures & descriptions added
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.