Abtal El Tahrir St., beside Cornech el Nile, Aswan, 81111, Egypt
Great View of Nile River at a Bargain Price
During any of our world travels, I don't think we have received so much for so little a price. The Ramses Hotel room we had provided an splendid view of the river, as seen in my title page for Aswan, as well as here, and had the amenities of air-con, color TV, mini-refrigerator, comfortable queen sized bed and clean private bath--all for the equivalent of $15- American dollars. The Ramses Hotel is situated in the center town, with reasonable access to the Corniche, but also to the route leading across the tracks to both the train station and shuttle van station. This high rise hotel has many rooms, but apparently tour groups book their frequently. We stayed elsewhere on the first night. But, because there are so many perfectly adequate hotels in Aswan, there really is no need to book in advance even during high season. This is after all only a two star hotel, but it's a great one if one can get a room overlooking the river.
Directions: In the center of Aswan. Ask around once you get there. This is a high rise building.
More about Aswan
After Landing at Aswan Station
The girl with her father.
Be careful of this shop & the blokes
We're goint to stay in Aswan for a week. We're thinking to visit Abu Simbel by ourselves. Any suggestion how to visit Abu Simbel by ourselves without joining a tour group if it can be done?
Re: Abu Simbel
Yes you must go to Abu Simbel - you can get there various ways but I would advise by plane or bus. The bus is long and tedious - 280km of desert, I flew (220 USD in 2007) but worth it. Once there you take a bus to the site.
Re: Abu Simbel
Well, theoretically you can go "without group", but since transportation is scarse and for that reason highly coordinated you still will go "with a group".
I explain. You take a flight to Abu Simbel - in a same plane together with several groups. Then at the airport there is a bus (included in plane ticket price) which takes you to the shrines (together with other tourists). You walk around - (area is so small that you can not avoid other tourists) for 2 hours and again the bus takes you back to the same plane you arrived to fly back to Aswan.
Of course you could arrange individual driver to take you there and back at the moment you desire - but I think that would have steep price.
Travel Tips for Aswan
Practicalities for visiting Abu Simbel
Some practical tips for visiting Abu Simbel:
1) Foreigners are not allowed to go on their own - you have to join the early morning convoy which starts at an ungodly 4 am. Buses will normally pick you up at your hotel at around 3:30 am. Independent travelers may book their trips with travel agencies in Aswan, many of them along Corniche el-Nil. You could also inquire at your hotel if they could help you out . Many of these hotels will, in any case, give you unsolicted offers. The going rate is USD 20 as of May 2007.
2) Advise your hotel that you are doing the Abu Simbel tour a day earlier - so they could pack a breakfast box for you. It's not much (toast, butter and jelly, hard boiled egg), but keeps the hunger pangs away during the long trip. Alternatively, you could bring your own food, but the breakfast box is usually covered by your room rate.
3) Bring protective clothing and sun screen - very important especially during the hotter spring and summer months. The trip begins at dawn and finishes early (convoy leaves Abu Simbel at 10 am), but the sun could still burn your skin.
4) If you don't want to pay for the excessively overpriced drinks at Abu Simbel (can of Coke costs about USD 2) - no choice, you're in the middle of nowhere - you can always bring your own drinks.
The Nile River
The Nile River is very well known in Egypt and for a good reason...it is the lifeline of many locals! The Nile is a beautiful river that is the home to many towns/cities and the majority of Egyptians. It is great to sail down, walk beside or boat across/along the Nile...there are so many things to see along the way...
If you have to skip something, skip the dam!
The very first thing our tour did after landing in Aswan, was to visit the Aswan High Dam. If you have time for it, be sure to stop by, but if your schedule is booked and you're looking to skip things, skip the dam. There wasn't a lot to see unless you are impressed with dams. :) There were two displays like the one shown and other than that, you could just take pictures from the dam. Also, the vendor didn't have any water at the refreshment stand, so be sure and bring your own water! He did have soft drinks and the Sprite was good, but it wasn't water! I was very interested to hear the statistics of how many artifacts they lost when they dammed up the river... I believe our guide said there were about 80 artifacts/historical sites they had to try and save at the time the dam was built, but they were only able to find the funding to save 17 of those!
The area around modern Aswan, including the island of Elephantine, was known in antiquity as Yebu ("Elephant Land"). At a later date the name was restricted to the island and town of Elephantine. From the earliest times down to the Roman period the quarries of Yebu, which became known in the Ptolemaic period as Syene, supplied the Egyptians with fine colored granite (containing quartz, yellow and brick-red felspar and blackish mica) for their buildings and statues.
Yebu was also of strategic importance, commanding as it did the Nile cataracts and traffic by water between Egypt and Nubia. It was also the starting-point of the great caravan route to Nubia and the Sudan, along which passed the commercial and military expeditions of the Egyptians.
Aswan suffered severely from the incursions of plundering Bedouin tribes, which were ended only when the Turkish Sultan Selim stationed a garrison in the town in 1517.
In the afternoon its very nice to sit in one of the colourful gardens of the hotels at the riverside. Some shade, nice view at the river, a swimmingpool and a cool drink.
We had it all in the beautiful garden of the New Cataract Hotel.
And afterwards a visit to the neighbouring historical Old Cataract Hotel in Moorish style for a drink on the verandah. The Old Cataract Hotel was used for the movie of Agatha's Christy's "Death on the Nile".
View all Aswan hotels
View all Aswan hotels
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