Ah Luxor, one of the many true lands of the pharaohs. A beautiful city situated on the banks of the Nile and surrounded by pharaonic history and culture. The temples and tombs here truly are a sight to behold, comparable only to the stunning Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom temples in Cambodia.
Sadly, since the revolution in 2011 with the Arab spring Egypt has suffered an economic crisis and subsequently, many historical sites are being leased to richer Emirate states. Salehadin Castle in Alexandria is an example of such practices. The repercussions of such have affected Luxor in many ways but it is most apparent as a traveller in the prices that are demanded of you for various commodities. Many taxies harass to the point of exhaustion unless you adopt an aggressive tone. People will pretend to befriend you to help you with any task only to hold out their hand in anticipation of compensation at the end. For myself, even after haggling I was often left feeling disappointed in the knowledge that I was still being over charged. Sure, wherever you go there is always a ‘tourist price’ but the attitude here made me lose many moments of enjoyment because I was frustrated that even the simplest of tasks were elevated to unnecessary battles.
An example of the ‘tourist price’ occurred in the Valley of the Kings; an incredible spectacle in itself. However, your 200EGP ticket only buys you entry into three tombs with no photography allowed inside. However, if you pay 600EGP you’re allowed to take photos inside three tombs of your choice. I chose not to trust this and stuck with the normal priced entry ticket. Sure enough, outside the first tomb that I wanted to explore there was a plaque prohibiting photography within. Nevertheless, if you threw the guide 20-50EGP he was more than happy to turn a blind eye while you snapped away. I personally don’t use photography on old historical pictures because they get hammered day after day with flash. If the lighting is okay for a snap on my phone and something really stands out to me I’ll take a shot as a memento, but I don’t encourage the use of DSLR, photography equipment and especially not flash as it just ruins images over time.
In another post I will explore the mental checklist that I believe is essential when planning a trip to Egypt. Even as a seasoned traveller and someone who speaks basic Arabic I was pushed many times to the limit of my patience, so the post will provide useful tips to bear in mind.
However, Luxor was not without its good bits, as with all adventures! The above are just a few simple things I struggled with in Luxor, especially because the Pharaonic history here is grand and under viewed because of this situation. But I will soon post about the best things I found with my time spent there.