Luxor budget travel guide to meet Pharoahs and fly above

Without witnessing the grandeur and architecture of Egyptian temples, the Egypt trip is incomplete. There can be no other better place than Luxor for that with tens of temples. Let us take you to ancient Thebes, where the desert meets the Nile, and it is the Heart of Egypt’s archaeological excavation.

Here is our honest Luxor Travel guide on a budget with best and dumb things we did.


Where to stay in Luxor

We stayed in Lotus Luxor; I DO NOT RECOMMEND IT- The hotel room was clean enough but had smaller bathrooms. The in-house restaurant was there, but there was hardly anything available to eat. Employees are sweet but slow. It isn’t about them speaking English. Even with Arabic translators, they struggled to understand certain things. Their advertisement said ” view of Nile”. But the view we had was shabby. In Luxor, most of the hotels face the Nile river for a nice view. So do not fall to a hotel/hostel that says “Nile view” as a significant selling point.

Booking hotels in Egypt can get trickier than in any other country. Read our post Guide to booking hotels in Egypt where we have made your struggle a little less.

How to reach Luxor

Asphalt road  in Luxor lined with palm trees

By Air – The airport in Luxor does cater to international flights. Luxor airport is not as big as Cairo. So do not expect all the services like currency exchange and SIM card kiosks. Most international flights to Luxor get connected from Cairo. The major cities like Aswan, Cairo, Sharm-El-Sheikh got direct flights to here. We did fly from Cairo to Luxor via Egypt Air. 

Reaching Luxor by Road

By road – The Road trip or Public bus journey of 630km from Cairo to Luxor can get hectic. Plus, Egyptian roads are infamous for not having streetlights. So avoid driving in the night at any cost. However, if you are coming from Hugrada or Aswan, a road trip in the morning will be fun.

Reaching Luxor by train and cruise

Train – This can be the best option if you aim at a low budget and get more time. Click here to visit Egypt’s official railway website.
By Cruise – Famous among many tourists. Usually, the cruise starts in Cairo. But it might get boring to be on the water all the time and get on the land to do sightseeing only.

Getting around Luxor

When compared to Cairo, Luxor is a smaller and cleaner town. There was neither Metro nor Uber for intercity commute in 2019. Looking at the lush green and desert pictures of Luxor, you may feel that cycling around the city is fun. We hardly saw anyone cycling around – it gets too sunny by noon! So private cars., Limousine with guide and driver is ideal. Commuting by bus is the most local way. Getting to archaeological sites and tourists spot may get confusing as their shuttle services are limited. These days, few hostels do rent out Motorbikes. If you are brave enough to drive in the unorganised, noisy traffic, this can be fun to be having your own sweet time at each place with self driver motorbikes.

HEADS UP – Driving by car may take 45 minutes from the East bank to the western bank. Do take boat rides to travel between two river banks. It is cheaper and faster.

Why visit Luxor

comparison of assassin creed origin game's temple to real Medinet Habu temple in egypt

My whole idea of Luxor was to roam in the temples as Bayek did in ACO! I was eager to see the real temples. Are those temples as royal as they show in the game? Are those columns I climb in the game massive like they show in the game? How colourful are they? Why are a few gods in the temples have an animal’s face? The temple treasures I looted, missions I accomplished in the game- all these things drew me to Luxor. Like a Cherry on top, the hot air Ballon ride of Luxor triggered my enthusiasm more. I could even see Luxor in Senu’s view ( Bayek’s Falcon) because of the Hot Air Balloon ride.

valley  and mountains with smaller caves glowing during morning sunset with shadow of a hot air ballon on them

Why Sahana wanted to visit Luxor –

 To see what I learnt and what I teach in reality! The Hypostyle hall with big columns and clerestory windows were built 4000+ years ago, the organic colours, hieroglyphs, different types of ornated columns, Ar. Hassan Fathy’s New Goruna village – I wanted to see all the architectural wonders.”

A gamer’s and an architect’s idea of Luxor was this.

If you are neither of these, still you will love Luxor. The town is cleaner than Giza. You ain’t going to see similar temples anywhere in the world. The history here is not just fact but mystical stories. The gripping stories of queen Hatepshut, Young king Tut’s richest tomb and his mummy, underground tombs, having lunch at Banana plantation, buzzing markets are sure to ignite your curiosity. The river Nile that you see throughout your journey shows its magic here, too – When you see the fertile land on the east and desert on the west from above in Hot air Ballon, the world below looks unreal and magical.

birds eye view of an ancient Egyptian temple surrounded by desert on one side and green field on the three sides at Luxor

How many days to spend in Luxor

Two full days are a must for Luxor! If you are here for a day, make a list of what you want to see. While you make a list, do not add too many things. Try to keep it short and hence sweet. The massive temples with desert and mountains behind them snatch your time without even you realising.

Amzing temle entrance with colossal statues of Egyptian pharoahs with orange sky glowing during sunset at Luxor

We stayed in Luxor for two nights and one day. In that one whole day, seeing so many things was exhausting, and we had to rush. The wish list was long; time was too short. We missed out on many things. I wish we experience the local Bazars and tried different local dishes. We missed out on our lunch at Banana plantation. Danderah temples are the most colourful ones I learnt after talking to our guide Mahmoud. So we defeinetly regret for missing out on that kaledoscopic experience. We couldn’t spend more time in the Karnak temple and explore other parts of King’s valley. Apparently, the Luxor vegetable market opening in the morning is delightful. We missed a lot of things. With our hotel rooms in Aswan and flight to Jordan from Aswan booked already, we couldn’t stretch our stay in Luxor.

Giant statues of pharoash in folded hand and standing posture at mortuary temple in Karnak, Egypt

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO Stay in Luxor for at least 2 days+3 nights. Keep one day each for East bank and West bank. Explore the markets, check out old cafes and restaurants – Do it at ease. After two days here, you can either fly to Aswan or make a road trip via Edfu and Kom Ombo as we did. The second option could be a road trip to Hurghada for a beach vacation at the red sea via the most colourful temples in all of Egypt at Dandrah.

Inside of a tomb at king's valley with heiroglyphs and colourful paintings on the wall and ceilings

So clearly, you know now that Luxor is beautiful. It has an immensely beautiful river bank lined with banana plantations and hides some exotic ancient temples behind them.

Read our post “Best things to do in Luxor “ to know more

How was your experience at Luxor? Did you rush or took it slowly. Let us know in the comment section below.

Heads up, we are super honest, and we keep it no secret.
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