I spent 2 days in Aswan and it was just as lovely as Cairo and Luxor but it was lacking somehow. This may be due to the tour group I was a part, my horror story experience in a hotel or because it was really strangely organised or it might just be the fact that I don’t think there is as much to do in Aswan compared to the other cities.
picture of philae temple
I got the train from Luxor to Aswan, it was quite pleasant and on time, when I arrived in Luxor i met with a man from the tour group who brought me to my hotel. The hotel seemed to be in a nice area, it was across from the Nile but when I walked in I nearly died. Firstly, you don’t walk into a reception area you have to walk up 2 flights of stairs, the stairs were tight, badly light and the paint was scratched, dirty and falling off the wall. We then got to the reception and it was in total darkness except from the light of the tv and a single light over the reception desk. There were 3 men, 2 behind the desk and one sitting down watching the tv. The furniture was awful it looked like it had not been updated in 30 years and was all miss matched. I was asked for my passport and a few minutes later a guy came to take me to my room. I asked for my passport back and was told It would be brought to me in a half hour? I walked up to my room and all I could think of was I had walked into something from the red light district, it was dark shabby and there were windows in the bedroom doors! The worker literally had to shoulder the door to open it and then proceeded to tell me what switches I would have to use to get the shower to work. The room itself was like the reception really dim light, old bed clothes and just gave a sense of shabbiness. I walked back down to the reception to my tour guide and just told him that I was not comfortable staying there, that I would pay extra to be moved, he seemed ok with it and I was moved to a different hotel that was slightly better, it at least looked modern and clean. I don’t want to sound like a spoiled brat but I was solo traveling and I was just in no way comfortable staying there so I got myself out. I honestly don’t believe that the hotel would have passed regulations in Ireland.
hieroglyphics from Philae temple
This all occurred at around 11pm and I have to be up at 5am for my tour which was great. At 5am I was up and in the reception, I got a breakfast box and was brought to the bus that would bring us to Abu Simbel. Our guide on that tour was a different guy that I had dealt with the night before, he sat us down opposite the monuments and explained some of the history to us like how one temple has four statues of Ramses II and the other has four of Ramses II and two of his favourite wife Nefretari. This was a huge deal as you can see from some of the pictures the tiny little statues by his legs that’s how women were represented so to build not one but two equal size statues or Nefretari was unheard off. He also told us that Ramses married between 8 to 12 times, 4 of those being to his daughters … and had over 100 children. Another amazing thing about Abu Simbel is the fact that it was all dismantled and moved buy UNESCO and the Egyptian government when the Aswan dam was created. Having seen the temples, I just can’t even comprehend how they done it. The carvings and hieroglyphics there were some of the best I have seen in all of Egypt a lot of them still have colour and very few have degraded there just amazing.
I got back to my hotel around 3 pm but my bus didn’t stop at the hotel, so I had to walk for around 15 minutes which I’m not complaining about because I got to walk along the Nile and it was really pretty. However there was this guy who was probably around 17 -18 who started walking with me and trying to talk to me. I knew he was trying to sell something, so I just didn’t respond. But he kept walking and asking me where I was from, where I was staying and trying to convince me to take his boat to the Nubian village. I told him I was busy that I was leaving now and didn’t have the time but his continued to walk with me for 10 minutes! up to the door of my hotel. Now I just want to say I wasn’t afraid of him or worried about being robbed or anything but my god I said I didn’t want to boat go away!
picture of lake Nasser
The tour guide from the previous night then picked me up and brought me to see the Aswan dam, I’m sorry in I offend anyone by saying this but it was really boring and honestly a waste of money. We then went to Philae temple which was really nice, we had to get a boat to the island that the temple was on and the temple itself was just beautiful. Like Abu Simbel the hieroglyphics were in great condition and the views from the island were great. If you’re in Aswan I’d recommend visiting this temple. I was then brought to a perfume shop and shown different samples they were very strong and I was considering buying some but I didn’t like the prices so I didn’t.
I was then brought back to my hotel and I went on the hunt for koshary, which has become my favourite thing in the world. It is literally a bowl of pasta hoops, spaghetti, rice, lentils, chick peas, fired onions and tomatoes sauce, heaven in a bowl. I went to reception and asked where there any koshary stores around and the guy literally drew me a map of where to go, so cute. I walked to where it said to go on the map but to be honest there was no koshary there so I asked a guy in the shop and he broth me across to road to a different shop owner that spoke better English and he told me to go up to the train station and I would find one there. So I done that and had to ask someone else but I eventually found my koshary and it was worth every second. In relation to walking around the streets and lanes on your own at 7pm I have to say I felt totally safe. I wasn’t hassled once and the people were really helpful.
may not look that appealing but it is everything
One final thing, in regards to my tour I don’t think it was worth it at all. If you have read my blog post on my Luxor tour you will know that my transport, food, tickets everything was included in the 56 euro. The tour in Aswan cost 180 euro! No food was covered, I had to pay for all my entrance tickets and my train home so what did I pay for? It was supposed to be 150 euro but as I refused to stay in that hotel I was charged 30 euro more for the other hotel. so just learn from me if you are booking a tour through a hotel ask will your entrance tickets be covered and ask for the name of the hotel so you can check it out, don’t expect to be brought to a nice hotel. As a result of the tour I had a kind of bad experience of Aswan, my guide also offered no insight into the dam or temple we went to and I only went to 3 places compared to the 8 places I was brought in Luxor for one third of the price, it was honestly a waste of money. I am glad I seen Aswan and I am glad my trains tickets were bought for me (out of my money) and I was brought to each place as it made life easier for me but I wouldn’t be In a rush to go back.
Picture from Philae temple
This is also my last blog post on the things I done in Egypt but I have 2 more post coming one will be a list of places I would recommend to see and the things I would skip. And a post on tips and tricks the will make life easier there and I might throw in a few stories of different people that were just really helpful or nice to me while I was there as I feel like would be nice to share.
Thanks so much for reading my post have a nice day 💕