Taxi ride from the hotel to the bus station and from Abu Simbel town to the temples: 13 EGP
- Round-trip ticket Aswan – Abu Simbel: 41 EGP
- Entrance ticket to the Abu Simbel temples: 70 EGP
- Spend 2 hours completely alone around the great temple of Rasmses II and the temple of Nefertari: PRICELESS
Yes, it cost me a bit more than going with the organized tour. Yes, it was longer and more difficult than going with the organized tour. Yes, I did not have police protection like the organized tour where all the buses form a convoy that is escorted by the police.
But it was more than worth it :). Alone with Ramses II and Nefertari. Nobody on my pictures. Pure. Quiet. Awesome. The way it should be. Thanks “Guide du Routard”.
This was yesterday’s highlight. I woke-up at 6:45, made my way to the bus station and lurked around until I found the 8AM bus to Abu Simbel. 4 hours later, I was in front of the two temples and I got almost 2 hours to enjoy them for myself in between 2 plane loads (the organized tour buses had left for almost 2 hours already). I then made my way back to town where I waited 2 hours for the 4PM bus. I was home for 8:30PM. A bit exhausted by so much traveling but with great memories and pictures.
Backtracking a bit more, my train trip went very well. I boarded at 10PM on Monday night and arrived arround 11AM in Abu Simbel. In the train, I ended up seating with two French people, Nadine and Bernard, who were going to Luxor. Nadine is an Egyptolog and Bernard has visited a lot so we had a lot of things to talk about. They also gave me a lot of pointers about many things to see, places to eat…
I found a nice hotel with my own bathroom and a view of the Nile in the middle of the Corniche. The staff is kind of clueless and unable to answer any of my questions but the room is ok and cheap.
I then visited the Nubian museum. Very nice museum that is very well presented. Unlike the Egyptian museum.
Today, I took it kind of easy visiting two temples around Aswan: Kalabchah temple and Philae temple. Philae temple is very impressive! The only caveat is that it cost me a lot to get to these temples. The cab to go around was fairly priced but since each temple is on an island on the lake Nasser, you have to take a small motor boat to get there. And they try everything they can to get the most money out of you trying to charge 3 or 4 times the normal price of the boat. I was visiting alone so I had to pay for the full boat but bargained hard until I was kind of ok with the price. I heard other tourists say they had to pay half what I paid each while they were 5 on the boat! This whole thing needs some clean-up for the best of the tourist industry.
Since it was only 3PM when I was done and I had enough hassling with the locals, I decided it was time to take it even easier and enjoy the sun and the hot weather. I spent the rest of the day at the Club Med hotel situated on a small island in the middle of the Nile. Their swimming pool and hamman are great and cost almost nothing to use (40 EGP but you can use 37 of them to buy drinks and some food). Definitely worth every penny I spent :).
Oh, and I heard it was rainning in California, sorry to hear that… here it is more like 85F. You should come ;).
[Edited on 4/7/2006 to add some info on Philae and Kalabchah temples and Club Med]
[Edited on 4/12/2006 to add links to the related pictures]