Luxor’s palaces and the Valley of the Kings

Last modified 10.03.2022 | Published 08.01.20052000's, Egypt, Middle East and Africa, Travelogue

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We were on a tour of the Nile and went on to visit Luxor, the Valley of the Kings, and the temples of Karnak and Luxor.

This article is one of four from a visit to Cairo and the Nile in 2005. It is based on my diary at the time.


Friday 7.1.2005, The Nile – Luxor

The Valley of the Kings

We are mooring in Luxor until tomorrow when we will take the night train back to Cairo. According to the itinerary we would spread the sightseeing over two days, but it turned out to be a bit too cramped. In the end we had enough of temples and hieroglyphs. Especially my son.

During the meals we share table with an Ecuadorian couple, he is a doctor and she is from Venezuela. Very nice, they love to dance tango, have eight cars, a horse and are overall hardly without a fortune. Well, well.

We hastened off with not the best guide, Mohammed. First to the Valley of the Kings and three graves in the stone desert mountains, Seth I, Ramses II and III. Then we drove back around the bend to Queen Hapsetshut’s palace and at last the Colossi of Memnon. It was all a huge experience. Say no more!


Images from the Valley of the Kings



And a video

This fifth video in this series from Egypt is from the Valley of the Kings outside Luxor. Filming is not allowed inside the valley so the video contains some photographs from the valley and even inside some of the crypts. In addition comes scenes from Queen Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple complex not far from the Valley of the Kings, and from the statues called Colossi of Memnon standing guard on the the way from Luxor to the Necropolis.


Temples in central Luxor

After lunch and before another guided trip we relaxed and my son had a bath. The little Viking managed to dip himself in the pool.

Then it was into the minibus to the second part of today’s program, the temple areas in Luxor town. First we walked into Karnak with the large columns and then Luxor Temple which includes a Christian altar, a mosque and buildings of the original Nile-religion of the Pharaohs.


Images from Karnak and Luxor Temple


And two videos

This video is from the Karnak temple complex in Luxor. There are several temples in this temple complex on the East Bank of the Nile. Most of what is seen was built during the New Kingdom between the 16th and 11th century BC. Here is found the famous Hypostyle hall with all the large columns, the largest being 21 metres.



Video from Luxor Temple in Luxor. The temple on the East Bank of the Nile dates back to the 14th century BC.


Getting settled

Today an Indian couple joined us, with their son at around five years of age. He and my son got along quite well.

In the evening we joined the South-Americans and their guide into the souq and smoked water pipe on a pavement café. By the way, we both had a swim (dip) before that. Then we went to bed for the last time on the ship.


Saturday 8.1.2005, Luxor and the train

A relaxing day. We strolled and horse-carriaged our way around the centre of Luxor, in and around the souq. It is colourful and mainly local. We lunched at McDonald’s (sigh) were me met the Indians again.


Luxor (ancient Thebes) is one the world’s top destinations with its temples and the Valley of the Kings across the River Nile. This video is my eighth in this series and marks the end point of the more than 200 km cruise on the Nile from Aswan and concentrates on giving an impression of city life in contemporary Luxor.


We sat down at a couple of cafés and worked our way through our diaries. Shoe shiners, black clothed women, traders, tourists etc. went by. Periodic “Allah-u Akbar” sounds from the mosques. People are polite, friendly and generally not harassing, apart from in the centre of the tourist trail.

Bargaining is a necessity. It is more colourful here, much more than my other son experienced in Cuba. By that I mean filth, poverty, crowds, dirty children, nomad families, buildings and so on.

We walked back to our ship for a late checkout and got in touch to two fellow travellers from Turkey. Only one of them spoke English. Very pleasant talking about this and that. They recommended the sound and light show in Giza, but we wanted to kill some time with the equivalent in Karnak. For half the price of what our travel agent offered we attended a nice show but missed half the point for reasons of language. Because of short time we had the French language version.

Then it was back to the boat to pick up our luggage. The travel agency drove us to the station and a bit delayed the train rolled off. We even met the Indians here as well. We had dinner on board. Now it is straight to bed for it will be a very early arrival in Giza tomorrow.


Read more

All chapters in this series:

(1) Cairo: A spontaneous tour of Egypt: This time it was my youngest (at the time 7 years of age) son who joined me to Cairo and on the classic Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor.

(2) Aswan and the south: Our tour of the Nile started with a night train up the Nile to Aswan and continued on a cruise ship north to the temples of Kom Ombo, Edfu and Esna.

(3) Luxor: The tour of the Nile continues with Luxor, the Valley of the Kings, and the temples of Karnak and Luxor.

NEXT CHAPTER: (4) Cairo (2): Back in Cairo after the cruise on the Nile, for a last round of sightseeing – this time to sites not originating in Ancient Egypt.