The temples of Abu Simbel are a symbol of Egypt. Although less iconic than the pyramids of Giza, Abu Simbel is a must-see when visiting the region of Ancient Egypt to discover its treasures.
I traveled to Abu Simbel to visit these temples, and in this article, I return to what you need to know to get there, on your own or an excursion. Due to its isolation, Abu Simbel is indeed a relatively difficult site to access, and it is important to prepare well for your visit.
First of all, some information about these temples, to fully understand what we are talking about. I would like to point out right away that we are talking about the temples of Abu Simbel, in the plural, because there are two of them:
the Great Temple is the most emblematic and the one that most illustrates this site. It is dedicated to several gods including Amon, but also the Ramses dynasty. This temple was completed under Ramses II, still called Ramses the Great.
The Small Temple is a hundred meters from the Grand Temple. This is dedicated to the main wife of Pharaoh Ramses II: Nefertari, as well as to the goddess Hathor (goddess of love and beauty).
These temples are located on the mountainside and date from the 13th BC. Their construction took about twenty years.
Legs of one of the statues of the temple of Abu Simbel
Legs of one of the statues of the Great Temple of Abu Simbel
They aimed to impress Egypt’s southern neighbors to strengthen the status of the Egyptian religion in the region. Hence the installation of the enormous statues in front of the "Great Temple", some twenty meters high, is particularly well preserved.
Another peculiarity of this temple of Abu Simbel, and invisible if we do not know it, is that it has been moved. Indeed, in the 1960s, during the construction of the Aswan Dam on the Nile, this temple as well as that of Philae, were moved so as not to be buried by the rising waters. It was thus dismantled piece by piece to be rebuilt identically on the shores of Lake Nasser, and in the same alignment with the stars. These temples have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, and are part of the Nubian Monuments.
Check out Aswan Day Tours and Excurrsions
How do I get to Abu Simbel?
There are several alternatives for getting to Abu Simbel, the most common being by road. The other two are by plane (there is a small airport a few kilometers from the site), or by boat (as part of a Lake Nasser cruise).
I mention these alternatives to get to Abu Simbel.
Abu Simbel is about a 3-hour drive from Aswan. This site is 300 km, in the direction of southern Egypt, on the border with Sudan.
For a long time, this road could not be taken as you wanted, let alone "alone" in his car. The journeys were in fact under military escort, with two departures per day from Aswan, at a fixed time (4 am or 11 am). Having made my trip to Egypt in 2009, I experienced this rather restrictive convoy system.
Since the end of 2016, the authorities have still carried out the necessary checks but are more tolerant. You have to go through the checkpoint at the exit of Aswan, on the road to Abu Simbel, to obtain the necessary permission. So there is no longer any notion of a convoy, and even less a departure at a fixed time!
Accompanied by a driver
Visiting the Little Temple of Abu Simbel
Small Temple of Abu Simbel
Nevertheless, the system of buses, minibusses, or at least a car with a private driver, is still very widespread. To find a means of transport of this type, two alternatives:
go on a day trip. The driver picks you up directly from your hotel or cruise ship. This excursion allows you to benefit from the presence of an Egyptologist and French-speaking guide. This type of service includes the entrance ticket for the tour and is done on board an air-conditioned bus, which is essential in this region.
go on a day trip, via a service similar to the one I just mentioned, but with a private driver this time (like this one). No bus, therefore, but an air-conditioned car with a driver's guide.
check with your hotel in Aswan which will redirect you to a local transporter (private or minibus). For this alternative, be careful to set the price well beforehand.
For my part, I went to Abu Simbel as part of a cruise on the Nile between Luxor and Aswan. The visit to the temples of Abu Simbel was thus part of the overall service, and we got there by air-conditioned bus, accompanied by our guide.
2 days in Abu Simbel
You have an option: it is indeed possible to go to Abu Simbel for over two days. There are many advantages:
We take more time to visit the temples, and more generally on-site in Abu Simbel. we don't have that impression of a long round trip during the day (almost 6 hours of driving in all), and above all, we enjoy the sound and light show at night, dedicated to Ancient Egypt.
The situation of the temples of Abu Simbel in Egypt
On the tourist side, there is an airport which is located not far from the Abu Simbel site. This is served in particular by the company Egyptair, from Aswan. The flight lasts 45 minutes, and it is, therefore, possible to make the round trip during the day.
To get to the Abu Simbel temple site, you just need to take a taxi.
Visiting the temples of Abu Simbel
Once there, if you have not gone through a tour operator, you must obtain a ticket to access the temples.
The ticket allows access to the 2 temples, but be careful, photos are prohibited inside. And whether with or without flash!
Also, you can attend a sound and light show in Abu Simbel. We are far enough from the historic site of the site, but it allows those who spend a night nearby to enjoy this moment.
If you are planning to visit Abu Simbel during your Egypt tour, I wish you a good visit. This site is really beautiful!
It sounds like you are interested in organizing a personalized tour of Egypt. Planning a tailor-made Egypt tour can be a great way to see the sights and attractions that are most interesting to you, and to experience the country in a way that is customized to your preferences and needs. Here are a few things to consider when planning your tour:
Determine your budget: This will help you narrow down your options and plan a trip that is within your means.
Decide on your travel style: Do you prefer a more structured, guided tour or a more independent, self-guided trip? This will help you decide what type of tour operator to work with.
Determine your travel dates: Consider the weather and peak tourist seasons when deciding when to visit.
Choose your destinations: Egypt is a large country with a lot to see, so you'll want to focus on a few key destinations rather than trying to see everything. Some of the most popular tourist destinations in Egypt include Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, and the Red Sea.
Book your transportation and accommodations: Consider how you will get around the country, and book your flights, train tickets, or car rentals in advance. You'll also need to decide where you will stay, whether that's in a hotel, hostel, or vacation rental.
Research and book activities and tours: Your Egypt Tours offers guided tours of Egypt's top attractions, such as the Pyramids of Giza, the Valley of the Kings, and the Temple of Karnak. Look for reputable companies and read our reviews to find the best options for your trip.
I hope these tips are helpful as you plan your tailor-made tour of Egypt. Let us know if you have any other questions!
"Your Egypt Tours" is one of the leading and pioneer travel agencies in the Egyptian tourism industry. We offer very special care and personal touch to our clients making them feel at home with their family. Great and high-quality service to ensure that your trip with us is one of a lifetime. In addition, the commonly known reasons such as our customers’ feedback and testimonials, competitive prices - excellent customer service, punctuality and. Most important of all, our customers’ safety and enjoying every minute in your trip are our priorities. With us, you are in a safe hand.
The cost of a tour of Egypt can vary significantly depending on a number of factors such as the length of the tour, the time of year you go, the type of accommodation you prefer, and the mode of transportation you choose. Some tours may be as inexpensive as $500 per person for a budget group tour, while others can cost $5000 or more for a luxury private tour. On average, you can expect to pay around $1500 to $3000 per person for a tour of Egypt that includes flights, accommodation, and most meals.
Don't drink the tap water - it is highly chlorinated. However, with enough time in Egypt, you could potentially grow accustomed to the water. This doesn't mean that the tap water is polluted, it simply means that you are not used to it, and you might get stomach problems. This happened to most people when they visit a country for the first time. They were simply not used to water there. It's a similar situation here. It is advisable to drink Bottled water during your entire holiday. That is why it is strongly advisable that you don't drink the tap water, and use it only for washing and brushing your teeth.
Enjoy Egypt Tours From September until March. It is the perfect time when the weather is good and mild. From September until mid-November, when it is very nice and the temperatures are pleasant for all activities - around 25 C to 15 C. mid-Nov until the end of February is wintertime when temperatures during the day are around 12 or 15 C, and at night can drop to about 7 or 8 C. In March and April, the weather is still so nice and travelers can enjoy the Easter vacation.
From May to September is the summer season. Spending summertime in a desert climate does not appeal to most travelers. Average daytime temperatures hover in the high 80s and low to mid-90s, although they can jump up into three digits in the South as in Luxor and Aswan. Summer is really hot here, prices go down and it is a good chance for travelers with a tight budget.
The weather in Egypt is generally warm and dry, with hot, dry summers and mild winters. The country is located in the northern hemisphere and its climate is influenced by its location in the tropics and its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea.
In the summer, temperatures can reach up to 40°C (104°F) or higher, especially in the desert areas of the country. The humidity is also quite low, which makes the heat more bearable.
In the winter, the weather is mild, with temperatures ranging from 15°C (59°F) to 25°C (77°F). The humidity is higher during the winter months, and there is also a chance of rain, especially in the coastal areas.
Overall, the best time to visit Egypt is from October to April, when the weather is cooler and more comfortable.
Safety and security are our first and foremost concerns! Egypt is a very safe country with a low crime rate. Now with the coronavirus outbreak, accommodations and sightseeing nationwide have finalized sterilization and disinfection in light of the Egyptian government's efforts to implement precautionary measures against the COVID-19. In addition, our company has followed the same procedures to make all our staff, guides, and drivers are well-trained with the current events to prevent and stop the spread of this outbreak. Traveling the world is a joyful experience and we want to do our part to keep the anticipation stress-free.
There are many interesting and exciting things to do in Egypt. Some popular activities include:
Visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza: The pyramids are one of the most famous landmarks in Egypt and a must-see for any visitor.
Exploring the ancient city of Luxor: Luxor is home to several important ancient Egyptian sites, including the Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings.
Cruising down the Nile: A cruise down the Nile River is a great way to see the country and visit some of the smaller towns and villages along the way.
Visiting the Abu Simbel temples: These temples are located in southern Egypt and are known for their impressive size and intricate carvings.
Going on a desert safari: Egypt has a large desert region, and going on a safari is a great way to experience the unique landscape and culture of the area.
Visiting Cairo: Cairo is the capital of Egypt and is home to many interesting museums, markets, and other cultural attractions.
Snorkeling or diving in the Red Sea: The Red Sea is known for its clear waters and abundant marine life, making it a popular destination for snorkeling and diving.
Visiting the Siwa Oasis: The Siwa Oasis is a beautiful desert oasis located in western Egypt. It's a great place to relax and escape the heat of the desert.
The high season for tourism is all year with winter and spring being peak season for cultural travels with lots of sightseeing. Weather in Egypt is perfect for many kinds of tourism, and if coming in June, July, and August, head for the seaside resorts. Those months are very warm with temperatures that can reach around 45C. and the humidity is about 70 to 80%, but it is bearable with the sea and large swimming pools nearby.
So the period of the high summer season is also a bit busy as hotels fill up with tourists from all over the world looking for a bargain, lots of sunshine, diving, snorkeling, etc. It is also a primary vacation time in Europe. If you come in the deep summer season you can still enjoy it because you can always sightsee early in the morning and go again at night when the sunsets. You will definitely need good sunscreen and a lot of liquids to drink with a nice hat on your head. Summer is a good time for people looking for good rates in accommodation and other services.
Egypt is a Muslim country and the dress code is towards the conservative side, especially for women. That being said, we are used to seeing travelers from all over the world. My suggestion would be to wear light clothes and not to wear short shorts, short skirts and alike to avoid the occasional unwanted stare. But it’s really up to you. When you visit religious places (synagogues, churches, and mosques) you do need to cover your shoulders and wear over the knee dresses, if you are planning to wear one of course. If you plan to attend the Nile dinner cruise, there is no need for formal wear unless you want to make that night a special night! Also, you will be sharing this experience with other travelers so you can dress however you feel most comfortable.
You can get your visa when you arrive at Cairo Airport. It is an easy process for USA, UK, Canadian, Australian and European citizens. The visa is simply a stamp (like a mail or postage stamp) that you buy from the visa office, at the port of entry just before the immigration booth. The visa will cost you $25 US Dollars and after buying it; you just stick it on any empty page on your passport. Once you have bought your visa you then stand in line to get your passport stamped by the immigration officer. You can also apply for E-Visa via the official electronic visa portal: www.visa2egypt.gov.eg
Egypt has many historical sites that you can visit and enjoy. Each tour is different and unique. If you go on a Nile cruise, you can visit Abu Simbel, Aswan, and Luxor in the South and enjoy the temples, tombs, and the treasures of the Nile. In the North, enjoy the Pyramids of Giza, The Egyptian Museum, Sakkara. Mosques, churches in Cairo, and many landmarks located in the city of Alexandria. On the East, Enjoy a beach tour for diving, snorkeling, and swimming in the Red sea. Every city has its charm, history, and flavor where you can do many tours and activities.
The amount of time you will need to spend in Egypt depends on your interests and the specific activities you want to do while you are there. Here are some factors to consider when determining how many days you should spend in Egypt:
What you want to see: Egypt has a lot of cultural and historical attractions, and the more you want to see, the more time you will need. For example, if you want to visit the Great Pyramids of Giza and the other ancient sites in the Cairo area, you may want to spend at least a few days in the city. If you also want to visit Luxor and the Nile Valley, you will need even more time.
Your travel style: If you prefer to take things at a slower pace and spend more time exploring each place in depth, you will need more time in Egypt. On the other hand, if you like to pack a lot of activities into each day and move quickly from place to place, you may be able to see a lot in a shorter amount of time.
Your budget: The longer you stay in Egypt, the more it will cost. If you have a limited budget, you may need to be more selective about what you see and do, and plan your trip accordingly.
As a general rule, I would recommend at least a week in Egypt to get a good sense of the country and see some of the major attractions. If you have more time, you can explore more of the country and see some of the smaller towns and villages as well.
There are many companies that offer Nile River cruises in Egypt, and the best one for you will depend on your specific preferences and needs. Here are a few things to consider when selecting a Nile River cruise:
Length of the cruise: Nile River cruises range from a few days to a week or more. Consider how much time you have available and what you want to see on your trip.
Type of vessel: Nile River cruises are offered on a variety of vessels, including traditional feluccas, modern riverboats, and luxury cruise ships. Choose the type of vessel that best fits your budget and desired level of comfort.
Itinerary: Different Nile River cruises have different itineraries, with some focusing on ancient sites and others on more modern attractions. Consider what you want to see and do on your trip and choose a cruise that matches your interests.
Price: Nile River cruises vary in price, and you should choose one that fits your budget. Keep in mind that you may be able to find discounts or special offers if you book in advance or travel during the low season.
It can be helpful to compare the features and prices of several different Nile River cruises before making a decision.
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Absolutely mind blowing. A definite must see. We flew from Aswan after I contact Your Egypt Tours, as I did not want to sit in car for hours with my 10-year-old daughter. Just so much history and ancient love. You cannot miss this one thing if you are in Egypt. The rocks are just HUGE, so special.
I recently traveled with my wife, daughter, son in law and two grandsons (ages 4 and 2) to Egypt with Your Egypt Tours. We had a private tour experience. From the moment we landed at the airport on our arrival to the day we left we were treated with the utmost care and attention
Our trip to Egypt was wonderful. The accommodations and travel was seamlessly arranged by customer service rep, Mona, and we visited so many of the famous Egyptian antiquities. I would not have done the trip without the very knowledgeable guides, Ashraf and Mamdouh