“Phantastic Philae: Why a Visit to this Ancient Temple Should Be on Your Bucket List”
What makes a place beautiful other than its own beauty? Leaving the philosophical answer out, I think the context enhances the beauty of the place. What lies around adds to the charm.
Let us get you afloat on the Nile to visit Egypt’s mosque unique temple Philae that Trojans once used.
- Why Visit Philae?
- Importance and why the temple was moved?
- How to reach?
- Can you Stay near the island
- Things to Know before you go to Philae
- Best spots for photography
Why visit Philae Temple?
It is the most unique temple of all the temples you would see in Egypt! Hatshepsut temple at the foot of the mountain, Kom Ombo on the river banks, Edfu temple in the heart of the village, and Abu Simbel inside a hill. And Philaefloats on the water! Well. It doesn’t float but sits on an island like a beautiful mermaid soaking in the sun!
Being a history buff isn’t mandatory to fall in love with Philae Temple. It is even a nature lover’s paradise. If you love riverside surrounded by desert and looking for a quiet spot to take sunshine during Egypt’s winter or shade in summer – A visit to Philae temple is a must!
What makes the Temple beautiful?
The “beauty” of temple starts from the journey itself. Taking a boat to reach temple during sunset is fantastic. Once you enter, the Philae temple complex make you go “wow” with it’s distinct architecture style that is Greeko-Egyptian.
The flower bud capitals and countless hieroglyphs adorn the wall. The courtyards open to a surreal view of might Nile.
Most of all – This may not be a hidden gem, but the temple by the riverside offers a few amazing quiet spots away from the crowd to sit and forget everything else in the world watching the Nile.
Does the Temple get too crowded with visitors?
Tourists keep coming and going to the main temple, but many ignore this kiosk. Either you can choose to sit in the kiosk to watch the Nile or go further ahead near the green patch to escape the crowd. Once we entered this place, we decided to scrap all the other plans and spend time sitting near the kiosk till sunset.
Philae temple is not an “Off-beaten place” or “Hidden Gem”. But when compared to the temples of Luxor, Karnak and Abu Simbel- this is less touristy.
Why is the Temple of Philae important?
Back in the day, circa 280 BCE, when Ptolemy II was holding it down in Egypt’s Greco-Roman period, they decided to construct a temple in honor of the OG trio: Isis, Osiris, and Horus. Located in Philae, this temple’s walls were decorated with some epic scenes from Egyptian mythology, like when Isis brought Osiris back to the land of the living, gave birth to Horus, and handled the mummification of Osiris after his unfortunate demise.
What is Philae Temple known for?
The temple walls are like a cinematic masterpiece showcasing the greatest hits of Egyptian mythology, featuring Isis as the ultimate multitasker: bringing Osiris back to life, popping out Horus, and even handling the daunting task of mummifying Osiris after his unfortunate demise. Talk about a power goddess!
Built during the Greek-Roman period, in 600 AD, this was used as a church by Romans! The eastern Trajan’s kiosk – This used to be the actual entrance before, but the main entrance was shifted to the Southside later.
Why was Philae Temple moved?
Surviving through the Pharaonic, Greek, Byzantine era is already a big thing. Unfortunately the temple was about to take it’s last breath after Aswan High dam was built – They don’t simply say “Urban development is a necessary evil.”
The temple was rescued with the help of UNESCO from the water grave when Aswan high dam was built. So what you see here is not the actual temple, but a temple re-arranged the exact same way, 12km away from its actual location. How cool is that!
How do you get to Philae Island?
The nearest airport and train station to Philae temple is Aswan. From Aswan, you need to get Philae Port that is 8km. From the port, it is 15 min boat ride to the temple.
How to get Philae Port from Aswan city?
There are hardly any public buses running between Aswan and Philae Port. You may find shared taxis and minibuses at Aswan market. But these don’t leave until it gets full. So the best option would be hiring a private Taxi.
You can hire taxis in the city centre or from the hotel. Usually, it is a combo the taxis offer- Visit unfinished Obelisk, drop at the Philae port+wait till you are back and drop you back to Aswan.
Where to stay near Philae Temple?
We made Aswan our base for 2 nights and 3 days for our day trips to Abu Simbel, Philae and Nubian village. You can either choose Nubian village or Aswan as your stay place, as Philae is only good for a few-hour trip. We stayed in Basma Aswan. Read our post ” Guide to Booking hotels in Egypt” to know more in detail.
FAQ about Philae Temple by Tourists.
Abu simbel + philae temple possible on same day?
Yes, you can. But you got to be an early bird that day, and you won’t regret that day. You leave Aswan at the godly hour of 4:30 am for a journey to Abu Simbel.
The sunrise on the thot straight black road with brown desert on either side makes you feel you are part of the “Stranger Things” episode – It is that magical. You can be back in Aswan by 2:30 pm and have ample time to visit the splendid Philae temple.
Do I need a guide for Philae Temple?
Yes! Egyptian monuments aren’t just beautiful to see but also hold bewitching stories. Hire the guide before you get onto the boat.
If you don’t want to hire a guide, basic information on why the temple was built and other things are narrated well at the temple premise. But you will miss out on stories.
How much is the ferry to the Philae Temple?
Boat ride price(To and fro) – There are regular group ferries, which cost around 25EGP/person. But we had prebooked a private boat.. So the boat was ready to wait as long as the next 3 hrs! You can take the public boat, but they have fixed timing for waiting. Usually, they ask you to be back at the dockyard 45 minutes after drop off.
The group boats easily fit 15 to 20 people. You can hire the entire boat for yourself or be a part of the group- like public transport. Whatever you choose, haggle! Do not agree with their first price.
What else to do near Philae Island other than the Temple?
Once you are at the port parking area, you go through the market to the Boat Dock. Nubians are the ones who own most shops. There is no Bazar vibe, but the markets are colourful. Unlike the other cities, shopkeepers here are polite. They might ask you once or twice, but no clinching.
How much is the entry fee for Philae Temple?
Temple entrance fees is 180EGP for one adult.
How much time do you need at the Philae Temple?
You need a minimum of an hour at the temple. Add 30 minutes more to sit by the temple edge and watch the Nile. So anywhere between 1 to 1.5 hours is a good time to spend at Philae Temple Complex.
Best spots for photos in Philae temple Island.
Are you wondering why I am talking about the photography points? This is because the boat to Philae temple from port speeds so fast that you would miss the perfect spot when you take your camera/phone out.
The surroundings are beautiful, with a few Nubian vaulted guest houses. Though no crocodiles are in this water, you will always look for one. With all this, you may miss out on the best spots to capture some unique frames, as your boat may take two different routes while going and coming back
Here is a list of 4 spots to capture amazing pictures and videos when you visit Philae temple.
Spot A – Northwest side of the temple. This is when you are approaching the temple from the port. The only spot where you get to see both the pylons of the temple in a single frame
Spot B – This spot is on your right side (East side) after you walk up the staircase from the dockyard. This reminds me of our South Indian temple corridors! The tall Egyptian column arcade plays well with shadow here.
Spot C -The most serene spot of all – Trajan’s kiosk. The Flower capitals framing the Nile can not get more picturesque. Most tourists ignore it as it is a bit hidden from the main entrance near the dockyard. It stands outside the temple on to the Eastern side.
The last and best Spot D
Take a detour different from how you came to capture the fantastic exterior view of Trajan’s kiosk on the Eastern side.
Found our guide to visiting Philae temple interesting? Let us know in the comment section below.