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14 Finest Issues to Do in Aswan, Egypt

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After spending a few chaotic days in Cairo, Aswan was such a welcomed interlude on my journey by way of Egypt. The general tempo in Aswan is way more enjoyable and tranquil than Cairo or Luxor and far of your time right here will probably be spent on the water taking boat rides to villages and temples. 

I booked a resort proper on the Nile and beloved waking as much as the views right here. Sunsets alongside the Nile are magical and a felucca trip on the water is an effective way to cap off your day in Aswan. 

Aswan is a well-liked base for starting Nile cruises or for taking day journeys to Abu Simbel. Nonetheless, there are additionally a number of locations to go to in Aswan so ensure you enable a while to discover town. Undoubtedly don’t skip it- twas one of many highlights of my journey.

To present you some inspiration, listed below are a number of the greatest issues to do in Aswan.

High Issues to Do in Aswan, Egypt

Nubian Village

Nubian Village Aswan

A well-liked expertise in Aswan is to take a ship trip to the Nubian Village. The Nubian persons are indigenous to the area of southern Egypt and northern Sudan. They LOVE colours! Their villages are painted in all colours of the rainbow and every coloration has a particular which means. Blue is for the ocean, yellow is for the desert and so forth and so forth. 

After a soothing boat trip alongside the Nile you’ll arrive on the artsy, colourful village, the place you possibly can go inside a Nubian household residence, find out about Nubian tradition and traditions, get pleasure from a tasty lunch, snap images of the colourful murals and store for souvenirs and spices.

Rabih family home in the Nubian Village, Aswan

The Nubians have their very own language, however a few of them have learnt English and can method you attempting to promote souvenirs or supply henna tattoos. Should you don’t wish to buy one thing, simply say a well mannered “no thanks”. 

On my go to to the Nubian village we went inside the house of the Rabih household the place we drank hibiscus and ate some salty snacks. It’s well mannered to tip the household for his or her hospitality, so ensure you deliver some money. The Nubian households hold younger crocodiles caged of their houses for good luck, and whereas it’s not one thing I condone, it was attention-grabbing to see the way in which they stay. 

Boat Journey to Philae Temple

If there’s one factor you should do in Aswan it’s take a ship journey to Philae Temple. The temple was initially situated close to the First Cataract of the Nile close to Aswan however the space was progressively flooded after the development of the Aswan Low Dam in 1902. 

Earlier than the completion of the Aswan Excessive Dam, UNESCO campaigned to avoid wasting this and several other different vital locations, together with Abu Simbel temple. 

Between 1972 and 1980 a rescue operation was carried out to switch Philae Temple from its unique place on Philae Island to Agilika Island, 12 kilometers south of Aswan. Agilika was leveled to resemble the unique island and the temples had been fastidiously restored to their former glory.

The buildings that you just see in the present day had been primarily constructed by the Ptolemies and accomplished by the Roman Emperors. A significant spotlight is the Temple of Isis, which was constructed throughout Egypt’s Greco-Roman interval and is devoted to Isis, Horus and Osiris. Philae in Greek or ‘Pilak’ in historical Egyptian, means ‘the tip,’ outlined the southernmost restrict of Egypt. 

The boat trip to Philae could be very enjoyable and also you’ll go some lovely surroundings alongside the way in which. It’s a very lovely setting and for positive among the best issues to do in Aswan.

Unfinished Obelisk

Unfinished Obelisk, Aswan

Because the identify suggests, the Unfinished Obelisk was by no means accomplished, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a very fashionable vacationer sight to go to. The obelisk was commissioned by Hatshepsut in 1508–1458 BC and is the biggest obelisk to ever be constructed (that we all know of). If accomplished, it will have measured round 41.75 meters (137.0 ft).

“Why was the Unfinished Obelisk by no means completed?” you might ask. Sadly, its creation was deserted due to cracks that started to appear within the granite.The underside facet of the obelisk remains to be connected to the bedrock. 

Elephantine Island

Elephantine Island in Aswan

Elephantine Island is situated on the western facet of the Nile, reverse town of Aswan. The island is residence to a number of vital archaeological websites, two Nubian villages and the luxurious Movenpick Aswan resort. Guests can attain the island’s shores by ferry or by taking a felucca trip from the banks of the Nile.

A well-liked attraction right here is the Nilometer of Satet Temple, which was used to measure the Nile’s water ranges, notably throughout flood season. Elephantine can be residence to Aswan Museum, which comprises many historic artifacts, together with ceramics, weapons and utensils which have been found across the grounds of the island. 

Mild and Sound Present at Philae Temple

Should you’re searching for issues to do in Aswan at night time, you might wish to try the Aswan Mild and Sound Present. It’s typically included as an optionally available additional on many tour packages and often takes place round 7 or 8pm.

With the assistance of lighting and sound results, the present brings to life the tales of Goddess Isis and God Osiris, in addition to the fascinating story of Philae Temple. Grownup tickets value round $19 (for kids it’s $11) and the present is out there in 10 languages.

Felucca Experience on the Nile

Felucca boat on the River Nile in Aswan, Egypt

A bucket-list Egypt expertise is a felucca trip on the Nile. The very best time to take a felucca trip is true earlier than sundown, so you possibly can benefit from the orangey-pink hues of the solar happening whereas crusing down the Nile.

A felucca is mainly a conventional picket crusing boat and so they’re very fashionable in each Aswan and Luxor. They often have a crew of two individuals and might accommodate about ten passengers. 

Locals will typically stand by the entrances to the lodges and attempt to promote visitors felucca rides. If you wish to go on one, you possibly can barter on the worth. Many package deal excursions will even embody a felucca trip as an optionally available additional, or you possibly can e-book on-line with an organization like GetYourGuide or Viator. 

Temple of Kom Ombo

Temple of Kom Ombo

Temple of Kom Ombo is situated about 30 miles (48km) north of Aswan and is well-liked as a day journey. Should you’re planning on taking a Nile cruise, this can often be one of many first stops after leaving Aswan. 

The temple was constructed through the Ptolemaic dynasty, 180–47 BC and is definitely a double temple – one temple is devoted to Sobek the crocodile god, whereas the opposite is devoted to Horus the falcon-headed god. Every part is completely symmetrical alongside the principle axis and the courts, halls and sanctuaries have been duplicated for the 2 gods.

A spotlight of the temple is the Crocodile Museum, which shows a whole bunch of mummified crocodiles that had been discovered within the space. The Nile was infested with crocodiles and the traditional Egyptians believed that in the event that they worshiped them, they wouldn’t be attacked. 

Aswan Excessive Dam

Aswan High Dam in Egypt

Aswan Excessive Dam is a dam that was accomplished in 1970 at a value of $1 billion to deliver the devastating Nile floods underneath management.

Constructed throughout the Nile River from some 57 million cubic yards of earth and rock, the dam impounds the floodwaters and is a significant supply of renewable power. Annually, the dam’s 12 generators produce as a lot as 10 billion kilowatt-hours of energy.

The enormous reservoir created by the dam was named Lake Nasser in honor of President Nasser, who initiated the mission. Lake Nasser measures round 300 miles lengthy and 10 miles large and the water inside it’s shared by each Egypt and Sudan.

Though Aswan Excessive Dam has supplied a significant increase to Egypt’s economic system, there have been some environmental, archeological and human prices. The creation of Lake Nasser meant that the Abu Simbel temples needed to be relocated and round 90,000 Egyptian peasants and Sudanese nomads needed to be resettled. It additionally resulted in a lower within the fertility of agricultural lands within the Nile delta, which used to learn from silt that was deposited by the Nile floods. 

Day journey to Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel was one of many highlights of my journey so it’s positively price doing as a day journey from Aswan. You may fly to Abu Simbel from Aswan, or you may get there by land with both a shared tour or a non-public driver. I’ve written an intensive information on how you can get to Abu Simbel if you wish to know extra. 

Flights from Aswan to Abu Simbel take round 45 minutes and price round $70 every means, so $140 spherical journey. By land the journey takes round 2.5 to three hours relying on how briskly your driver goes. Flying is quicker, nevertheless it’s costlier and also you additionally need to issue within the time taken to get to and from the airport. 

To get to Abu Simbel by land you possibly can take a shared tour or a non-public tour. Shared excursions are the most cost effective possibility however they depart very early within the morning and also you’ll be visiting Abu Simbel together with bus a great deal of individuals. Abu Simbel can get very crowded since all of the shared excursions arrive directly, so that you’ll have bother snapping images with out individuals in them! The most suitable choice is to do what I did and e-book a non-public driver with or with no information. You may depart later, arrive later and keep away from the crowds. 

Abu Simbel is a really spectacular historic web site that consists of two temples constructed by King Ramses II to rejoice his victory towards the Hittites through the Kadish Battle in 1274 BC. 

The temples had been carved out of a sandstone cliff on the west financial institution of the River Nile, however needed to be moved to larger floor as a consequence of injury from the rising waters created by the Aswan Excessive Dam. The temples had been painstakingly lower away from the cliff and moved to their new spot in a mission initiated by UNESCO and the Egyptian authorities. 

The primary temple (probably the most well-known one) is devoted to King Ramses II and the solar gods Amon-Re, Ptah and Re-Horakhte. It options 4 66 ft-tall seated figures of Ramses II and between his legs stand figures of a few of his favourite youngsters. The smaller temple is devoted to Nefertari for the worship of the goddess Hathor. The temple options 35-foot (10.5-metre) statues of Ramses II and Nefertari, his favourite spouse.

Outdated Cataract Lodge

Old Cataract Hotel, Aswan

The Outdated Cataract resort is an iconic 5-star resort located on the Nile reverse Elephantine Island. Courting again to 1899, the resort has welcomed many well-known visitors over time, together with Princess Diana, Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie, who stayed right here whereas she was writing Loss of life on the Nile. 

Years later, the resort hosted your complete solid of the movie adaptation of Loss of life of the Nile, starring Peter Ustinov, David Niven, Mia Farrow, and Angela Lansbury. 

Whereas it’s a beautiful place to remain, you don’t need to e-book a room on the resort to expertise its splendor. As a substitute you can also make a reservation on the resort’s restaurant, 1902, for the final word advantageous eating expertise. 

Store for Perfumes

Perfumes at a perfume shop in Aswan, Egypt

Should you’re searching for a pleasant memento to take residence from Egypt you might wish to think about stopping by one in every of Aswan’s fragrance retailers. Aswan is thought for making important oils and supplying the oils that go into well-known fragrances by designer manufacturers.

Fragrance is manufactured from important oils which can be blended collectively and so they’re often watered down with alcohol and water. The ratio of important oils to alcohol determines the worth of the fragrance. In Aswan, you should buy the undiluted important oils and simply rub them in your pores and skin. They might appear costly, however bear in mind, you’re getting an undiluted model.

Upon arriving on the retailer you’ll often be taken to a room the place employees will offer you hibiscus or tea and clarify how fragrance is made. 

You’ll have the possibility to scent a number of the important oils, which carry names akin to “Ramses II” or “Queen Cleopatra”. The bottles are lovely and you may select from completely different sizes. Should you don’t wish to purchase something after the demonstration then don’t really feel obligated to make a purchase order. Should you do wish to purchase some fragrance, be happy to haggle with them on the worth.

Nubian Museum

Artifact at the Nubian Museum in Aswan

The Nubian Museum is an archeological museum devoted to the historical past of the Nubian individuals and their tradition. Opened in 1997, the Nubian Museum was a results of a UNESCO worldwide marketing campaign to avoid wasting the monuments of Nubia from the rising waters of Lake Nasser.

In complete, the museum and its surrounding botanical gardens cowl a complete space of fifty,000 sq. meters. Shows are unfold over three flooring and hint Nubian life from the earliest settlements to the current day.

Aswan Market

Aswan market Egypt

For a style of native life, head to Aswan souk, which sells all types of Egyptian and African items. The market is on a road that runs parallel to the Nile Corniche and is crammed with stalls promoting herbs and spices, garments, perfumes, carpets, family items and different wares. 

It’s often fairly crowded and is well-liked with each locals and vacationers. As with every market, ensure you have some money and bear in mind to haggle on the costs. 

Dinner at El Masry

El Masry is an area restaurant serving scrumptious Egyptian delicacies, which was advisable to me by my information at Abu Simbel. In conventional Egyptian fashion, your meal will probably be served with an array of small dishes together with hummus, bread, salad, rice, tajine and an orzo pasta soup. Employees are pleasant, the meals is tasty and also you’ll depart feeling very, very full!

The place to Keep in Aswan

Aswan has quite a few nice lodges at very reasonably priced costs. They’re less expensive than the lodges in Cairo. Listed below are some good choices to your keep:

Sofitel Legend Outdated Cataract

The Outdated Cataract is an iconic resort that sits on a pink granite cliff overlooking the Nile and Elephantine Islands. This nineteenth century Victorian palace has been frequented by the likes of Agatha Christie and King Fouad, in addition to many different royals and dignitaries. The resort boasts an out of doors infinity pool, an indoor pool, a health middle, spa and several other eating places. A spotlight is the resort’s 1902 restaurant, which serves French delicacies paired with advantageous wines chosen by the resort’s sommelier.

Obelisk Nile Lodge

Throughout my time in Aswan I stayed on the Obelisk Nile Lodge, which is situated within the middle of Aswan on the banks of the Nile. The resort options 100 rooms unfold round a tranquil backyard and a few have Nile views. I beloved waking as much as a view of the Nile – it was so enjoyable and peaceable! There’s additionally a good buffet breakfast, a swimming pool and a riverside bar with comfortable chairs dealing with the Nile. I actually loved watching the sundown right here after a day of sightseeing. 

Kato Dool Nubian Home

Should you’d want to remain within the Nubian village, Kato Dool is a colourful visitor home painted within the Nubian fashion. Positioned on the west financial institution of the Nile a couple of drive from the airport, the resort affords 18 vibrantly designed rooms, nearly all of which have a Nile view.

Kato Dool additionally affords free WiFi, a 24-hour entrance desk, a restaurant, free non-public parking, a shared lounge and a backyard. Visitors can get pleasure from tasty Nubian delicacies within the restaurant or lunch on the Kato Dool Felucca with views of the Nile.

Attending to Aswan, Egypt

Aswan International Airport

The 2 primary methods to get to Aswan are both flight or prepare. Flying is my most popular possibility as a result of it’s a lot faster and much more comfy. Whereas I’m at all times up for an journey, I like my comforts as of late and I’d want to avoid wasting time and arrive feeling well-rested. 

The flight time between Cairo and Aswan is about 1 hour 20 minutes, whereas the sleeper prepare between Cairo and Aswan takes round 13 hours and it might probably typically depart an hour or so late. A number of individuals love to do the deluxe sleeper prepare for the expertise and likewise as a result of it saves them cash on an evening’s resort lodging. Nonetheless, you might not get one of the best night time’s sleep.

Flying to Aswan

Nile Air and Egyptair function flights from Cairo to Aswan. Count on to pay about $70 one-way. 

I flew from Cairo to Aswan on an early morning flight with Egyptair and the flight was very comfy. It was a fast journey with no delays and Aswan airport is small, so I used to be out of the airport inside a couple of minutes. Aswan airport is about 19km from downtown Aswan and the taxi journey takes round 20-Half-hour.  

Prepare to Aswan

Train station in Aswan, Egypt

You may also take the deluxe sleeper prepare that runs from Cairo-Luxor-Aswan, or you possibly can take an strange prepare.

On the deluxe sleeper prepare you’ll have your personal air-conditioned sleeping automobile with washbasin, cleaning soap, towel & clear bedding and a sizzling meal is included as a part of your ticket (though individuals I spoke to stated it wasn’t very edible). Sleeping vehicles have higher and decrease births and match two individuals of the identical intercourse.

Tickets for the deluxe sleeper prepare will be bought on-line as much as 30 days upfront and you may print out your ticket earlier than you go. 

To e-book, go to the Watania sleeping trains web site A single beginning one-way ticket between Cairo and Aswan prices $80, or a double beginning for 2 is $120. If the net system doesn’t work, you possibly can contact Ernst/Watania through e-mail [email protected] or name +20 2 25761319. They’ll offer you a reserving quantity and you may acquire your tickets at their workplace in Cairo. 

Ernst/Watania has ticket places of work at Cairo, Luxor and Aswan stations, so you possibly can present up in particular person to purchase a ticket. Attempt to purchase your tickets at the very least a few days upfront as a result of the sleeper trains can get booked up. Should you’re touring throughout busy vacation durations, you’ll wish to e-book even additional upfront. Tickets purchased on the ticket workplace should be paid for in money in international forex – US {dollars}, euros or kilos sterling. Playing cards aren’t accepted. 

Apart from reserving on-line, it’s also possible to e-book Egypt sleeper prepare tickets by way of numerous Egyptian journey companies, who will often cost you a small price of $10-$15 on prime. Count on to pay further charges if you need supply of tickets to your resort, or for somebody to satisfy you with the tickets on the airport or prepare station. They might additionally cost a bank card processing price if you wish to pay by card. 

Some package deal excursions will embody the sleeper prepare on their itinerary so that you gained’t have to fret about shopping for tickets. They’ll maintain all the things for you and supply a chaperone to and from the station. 

For all different strange trains, you possibly can examine occasions and purchase tickets on the Egypt Nationwide Railways web site.

Odd prepare tickets will be bought in Egyptian kilos on the ticket places of work in Cairo Ramses prepare station. You may also use the self-service ticket machines, which can be found at Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor & Aswan stations. The machines have English language capabilities and often settle for abroad bank cards. 

A Closing Phrase…

So there you might have it. A really complete have a look at all of the issues to do in Aswan. It’s a spot that’s positively price your time. If you need some assist planning a DIY itinerary, I’ve put collectively this 7 day Egypt itinerary for first-timers, which incorporates Cairo, Aswan, Abu Simbel and Luxor!

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