Al-Ahram Weekly Online   2 - 8 March 2006
Issue No. 784
Travel
 
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Traveller's notes


Getting to Luxor couldn't be easier. With an international airport situated just 10 minutes by car from the town centre, airlines from all over the world have regular direct flights to the city. From Cairo, the flight lasts about 50 minutes. For travellers with more time on their hands, the train journey from Cairo takes around nine hours, and is best taken at night. Most trains are fitted with sleeping cars, but even seats in first and second class are comfortable and clean enough to suit just about any tourist. The Luxor train station lies in the heart of the city, and taxis are always available to provide transport.

Given its reputation as a central archaeological site, Luxor offers a wide variety of options for accommodation. A plethora of youth hostels near the train station cater for backpackers on a budget, as well as those seeking the ultimate opportunity to relax at the Sheraton. With a swimming pool on the edge of the Nile, three international restaurants, including Indian and Italian, and rooms fit for kings, the hotel is small enough to feel cozy but big enough to provide real luxury. Relaxing with a massage, a game of tennis or simply contemplating the river after a long day in the Valley of the Queens, visitors find it hard to leave once it's checkout time.

Other possibilities for the more energetic include taking a felucca or a cruise from Luxor to Aswan or passing through the Temples at Esna and Kom Ombo. The trips, which last between two and seven days relative to visitors' plans, can be arranged with Thomas Cook via the Sheraton. Otherwise, for travellers staying in Hurghada on the Red Sea, Luxor is becoming an increasingly popular day-trip. Indeed, 25 per cent of tourists in Luxor on any given day arrive in the early morning and are ready to leave by sundown. Even for them, there is always time to relax, shop around and glimpse into eternity. It is little wonder, though, that a great many visitors to Luxor are not actually first-timers, for one can never honestly claim to have seen it all.

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