Aswan Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by MikeySoft
  • Things to Do
    by shavy
  • Things to Do
    by shavy

Most Recent Things to Do in Aswan

  • June.b's Profile Photo

    The Temple of Isis in Philae

    by June.b Updated Jun 16, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    our boat approaching the temple
    4 more images

    Just like the Abu Simbel temples, the Temple of Isis in Philae island was dismantled, chopped into pieces, moved and re-assembled to it's present location at Agilika island, some 550 meters from it's original location.

    This is due to the continuing water overflow caused by the construction of Aswan high dam. The water goes up to 2/3rds of the temple that a team under UNESCO collaborated to move/save it from deterioration during the 60s and 70s.

    This trip is a part of the private car tour I booked with my hotel in Aswan, cost EGP70 for the transport for 3 sights. Going to Philae Temple means you have to book a tour or hire a taxi that will take you to the lake where the entrance is -- not the entrance of the temple itself, but the entrance to the lake, then hire a boat there, and if you're alone like I was I have to hire the whole boat or if you're in a group, then split the cost of the boat trip --- to Agilika Island where the temple is. The boat cost for 1 whole return trip one person only is EGP50 (because I was alone), group would mean splitting the cost, cheaper than single passenger of course, most probably about 10 each depends on the number of passengers as you hire the whole boat. If you're alone, haggle for the cost but the least is 50.

    The boat trip is about 10 - 15 minutes and the approach to the temple is nice. The boatman will be waiting for you at the small landing in the island.

    For things to see on the island and photos of course, please check my Philae page.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • June.b's Profile Photo

    Visit a Nubian Village

    by June.b Updated Jun 15, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    westbank, Aswan
    4 more images

    If you're not that really interested to see a local village and their daily life, I would not really recommend it as on the top list to see in Aswan. In fact, I did not go there, some people I know did, I just watched it from my felucca sail. If you're in a tipping mood - go - but a visit to the village might turn out either enjoyable or you might end up thinking it's a tourist trap.

    You can get a henna tattoo from the village women at a price (or baksheesh) which by the way, check if you ahve allergies with hennas, as you might end up scratching your tattood skin for several days.

    You'll get to walk around the village, watch their daily lives, enter their colourful houses (get permission of course, but normally they will invite you), drink tea, partake with their shisha --- and of course, will be lured inside some souvenir shops.

    I've seen two Nubian villages, one in the westbank side of Aswan centre, and the other one near the Agilika Island when I took the Philae Temple trip. Oh no, not 2, I saw several once I remembered when I took the train trip from Luxor to Aswan, the train passed by several Nubian villages along the way. (See photos). The houses are colourful, mostly in shades of yellow and blues.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • June.b's Profile Photo

    Sharia as-Souq

    by June.b Updated Jun 14, 2011
    4 more images

    The Sharia as-Souq or Aswan Market or Tourism Market, it's all one and the same.

    The souq or market area is a large area and in a long street. This should be on my Shopping Tip but well, the place is also a sight to see - either you buy something or you don't. It's colorful, you'll enjoy the sights, the sounds, the smell, the people, the stuff on sale - clothing, beddings, souvernirs like papyrus, statuettes, jewelries, talismans, nubian handicrafts, swords, masks, henna, perfumes, bread, food, fruits, vegetables, spices especially those attrative dark red karkadeh.

    People said this is the most charming souq in Egypt - maybe - because of the lack of high-pressure selling prevalent in other souqs in Egypt, like in Luxor and Cairo. And I think the stuff here are better value and quality.

    Best time to go is late afternoon, the atmosphere is quite different, like a flea market of sort, and of course it's colder as the night starts to fall.

    Don't start to bargain if you're not planning to buy a thing at one shop or another, and if you won't - learn to say No in a polite way. Or if you're just wandering around the souq and not buying anything and shop people approach you and offer you their wares - just say "La Shukran" (no, thanks...) either with a smile or just not looking, but don't be rude... and they'll leave you alone.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • June.b's Profile Photo

    Take a leisure stroll along the corniche

    by June.b Updated Jun 14, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    If there's nothing left to do in Aswan, take a leisure long stroll along the Nile Street - the cornische road. It's their promenade, you can even start your orientation of Aswan by strolling along here before heading onto any sightseeings, just to have a glimpse or get an overview of life in Aswan. Many local people walk along this promenade everyday and more during the early part of the night, in fact when I'm not walking down there, I'm watching the people from up there in my room on the 4th or 5th floor of Memnon Hotel just before retiring to bed.

    There are a lot of stuff to see along the corniche, restaurants that offer a nice Nile river view line up the cornische and that include american fastfoods like KFC and McDonalds. There is also a small garden/park just before you reach McDo.

    Start walking from the entrance of the Firyal Garden and end up past the McDonalds. Just soak up in the sights, watch the feluccas, the massive luxury ferries anchored at the banks waiting for their passengers - they sail between Aswan and Luxor - and when you get tired, dine in at one of the restos or sip a cup of hot tea or arabic coffee at one of the cafes. Plus of course get bothered by the felucca guys who will definitely approach you offering their felucca sails.

    And as the sun starts to go down slowly and hide behind the sandy desert hills of the westbank, it seizes the Nile river scene in a perfect picturesque-orange-y moment... very dramatic indeed.

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • June.b's Profile Photo

    Firyal Garden

    by June.b Written Jun 14, 2011
    4 more images

    It's the small park at the end of the Nile Street.

    I passed by this garden on my first day on the way to the museum, it's Archangel Michael's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral. The day I took a full day's private car tour I availed from the hotel for EGP70, I ommitted the Unfinished Obelisk from the itinerary the last minute instead when we're about to reach the hotel, I spotted the garden again and told the driver to drop me off at the entrance and that he can leave, I'll just walk back to the hotel -- won't be more than 15-minute walk.

    Entry fee to the Firyal Garden is EGP5.

    The main feature of the garden/park is the panorama deck up on the edge of the Nile river. It command a breath-taking full view of the Nile river, the garden at your back, and both sides the river and infront of you in a distance is the westbank's desert with all of it's sights.

    Familes, couples, children, just sit there on the grass or the benches having picnics. There's a snack kiosk, tiolets, playground for the kids, water fountain, and some rare trees and plants, some of them even have labels with its scientific names.

    It was late afternoon so I just lay down on the grass and rest.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • National/State Park
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • June.b's Profile Photo

    Take a felucca sail along the Nile

    by June.b Updated Jun 14, 2011
    the felucca captain up the pole
    4 more images

    My last day in Aswan, I was thinking of going to the westbank or Elephantine Island, but I was tired and lazy and I just want to sit or relax, my legs are already complaining from the tiring trips to Philae, walks along the Nile street to Nubian Museum, the Abu Simbel trip during the previous days.

    So I thought about, well, a felucca sail would be nice, just to experience it, though I'm not really a huge fan of sailing. Besides I felt sympathetic to the plight of the felucca owners who kept bothering me - one even approched me maybe 4 times in 2 days and followed me for minutes distressed about the lack of tourists and business - so I gave in. But of course I bargained hard at EGP20/hour and I said I need only 2 hours, yet I ended up paying 50 -- 10 as a tip, I'm on a tipping mood that day. After all it's not easy to start the felucca boat, climb on the pole to set down the sail.

    A Felucca is a traditional wooden sailing boat, no noisy motor, just depending on the wind to move around the Nile river.

    The felucca captain (alone, no assistant) escorted me to his boat and laid down the wooden thing to connect the pavement where I was standing and the boat - the water in between, so imagine that it's a bit shaky and I have to balance myself. We sailed around and along the Nile - me and the captain, I was on the front deck lying most of the time on my back just watching both sides and the blue sky above. It was quiet, calm and I just take in all the sights along the baks of the Nile. We passed by the sights on the banck of the westbank but I'm not really in the mood of getting off the boat when the donkey or camel guy on the other side offered a ride to the sights on the westbank. I told the captain that I just want to relax on the felucca and wait for the sun to set down.

    Sunset along the Nile while ON the Nile river was an amazing sight, could have been romantic -- except -- I was alone! Still it was relaxing, and a good feeling that I got a rest and likewise a nice feeling that some good soul earned his income for the day...or kinda...

    These feluccas also could take you on an overnight trip to Komombo and Edfu, some even all the way to Luxor. Am so lazy to do that though and don't have much luxury in time. Besides a 2 days or 1 day on a felucca means you'll all (normally in groups) sleep inside the covered felucca at night near the bank somewhere as the boat doesn not sail at night, and you will have to use either any bush on the banks for those "call of nature" thing or a any local house known to the felucca captain (or not). Plus the pesky mosquitoes. It must be fun, just not on my plan.

    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Historical Travel
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • June.b's Profile Photo

    Archangel Michael's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral

    by June.b Updated Jun 14, 2011
    4 more images

    As I was walking along the Nile Street on my first morning on the way to the Nubian Museum, I spotted this huge and very prominent cathedral just beside the nice Ferial Garden and right on the road bend leading to the Nubian Museum.

    It's the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of Archangel Michael. The cathedral was consecrated on March 2006 by no lesser than HH the Pope, and attended by a lot of bishops from different places and countries that the cathedral overflowed with attendance.

    The size of the cathedral indicates a considerable number of coptic christians in Aswan.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • June.b's Profile Photo

    The Outdoor Exhibition at the Nubian Museum

    by June.b Updated Jun 14, 2011
    Nubian Museum building from the garden outside
    4 more images

    Upon exiting the Nubian Museum building, the surroundings which is walled and part of the 50,000 sqm. museum area displays some interesting structures and the Fatimid Cemetery on the other side viewable from the gounds of the museum. (See pics)

    In the outdoor exhibition area you'll find a cave with prehistoric drawings of animals on its interiors, there's also a Nubian house, an outdoor theatre for 500 audience, the maqqam of Saida Zeinab and the maqqam of the 77 Walis, place of prayer, Qubat Al-Mukhasal, and several graves - the Fatimid cemetery on the opposite side of the road, and a water canal (minus the water) said to represent the River Nile surrounded by trees, plants, flowers and birds flying around the area, seen some white birds.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • June.b's Profile Photo

    The Nubian Museum's Diorama of Nubian's daily life

    by June.b Written Jun 14, 2011
    4 more images

    Inside the Nubian Museum is a collection of display one scene after another of the daily life of Nubian's detailed in very attractive and interesting diorama.

    Don't miss it, it's may be the last one you'll see right before you finish the museum.

    It's kinda bizarre as I've seen a similar display only it's a miniature diorama (Turkish) in Konya 2 weeks later.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • June.b's Profile Photo

    The Nubian Museum

    by June.b Updated Jun 14, 2011
    4 more images

    On my first morning (I arrived late in the evening in Aswan by plane) I immediately decided to visit the International Museum of Nubia (or Nubian Museum for short). International because it was an ambitious project amde possible through the collaboration with UNESCO (multinational team of archeologists and technical people).

    I walked from my hotel along the cornishche - Nile street - passing by all the persistent felluca owners. The weather was nice that morning, some cold breeze (until it got really hot near noon) and took me about 20 minutes about 1km and a half or so.

    I reached the entrance which is near infront of the Basma Hotel. There are local school children on a museum tour and some tourists already on a queue at the ticket booth.

    I paid EGP50 entry fee. The building looks like it's relatively new - well, it was anugurated in 1997. The Museum won the Agha-Khan Award of Architecture 2001.

    The Nubian Museum houses a large collection - about 3 thousands pieces of antiquities, from various ages -- Geological, Pharaonic, Roman, Coptic and Islamic, which are arranged chronologically. It houses the main finds of the UNESCO salvage campaign done at the time of the High Dam contruction which caused flood in the region.

    Right at the entrance when you get in you'll be greeted by the huge imposing statue of Ramses II. The artefacts are arranged neatly, in fact, the whole museum looks neat and well maintained (unlike its Cairo counterpart which actually is a lot bigger and more stuff to offer), very orderly and you can easily follow the order of your movements along the way. The artefacts are house in the 3 levels of the building and the vast area outside are landscaped and there are several things also to see around it.

    Standing at the garden at the back of the museum, you'll get a nice view of the Fatimid graveyard from a near distance.

    The museum offers a lot of articles to see inside and out, so don't miss it when your in Aswan, for sure you can walk to there whenever you'll stay in the city as Aswan is not really a big city.

    And by the way, my very first conman was encountered here - a taxi driver! I decided to take a taxi back to the hotel though I can walk again, it was really hot already. I took one of the taxis near the entrance of the museum (don't get a taxi there please!) and we agreed on EGP5 but when I reached the hotel he said it's far when in fact it's walkable so he angrily demanded for 10, we argued for awhile but well, I gave him the 10 and I raised both of my hands in the air like in a state of pray like "God, let this be the only income this scambag will earn this day", (my bad actually :-( ) he knows that gesture and he wanted to return my money but I closed his door and walked away.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Museum Visits
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • June.b's Profile Photo

    Aswan's High Dam

    by June.b Updated Jun 14, 2011
    4 more images

    "The High Dam project is considered the Egyptian's challenge to the silent nature". (stated in the big board beside the entrance to the dam).

    Before heading to the Philae Temple in Agilika Island, my first stop on the whole-day tour that I booked with the hotel I stayed at in Aswan is - The High Dam. It's not very far from the center of Aswan, I think twas just about 15 minutes drive or so.

    The truth is -- this sight is a letdown for me. It wasn't that interesting as I thought it would be. We stopped along a highway where the entrance is and paid EGP20 to stand there and watch the dam and reservoir within a very limited viewing deck - something like 20 meters or so. I was about to walk a little near or farther along the deck but the military personnel there told me that I cannot go beyond that area - for security reason I guess. So I did not spend much time there, maybe just 10 minutes and I told my driver to move on to Philae.

    The very controversial High Dam is constructed in 1960 under the administration of GGamal Abdel Nasser (Lake Nasser was named after him) with a borrowed funding from the then Soviet Union. There were political issues wherein the US and UK were supposed to fund the dam but ended up in the hands of USSR, but so much for that.

    During the building of the high dam, there are several important monuments and temples (Abu Simbel and Philae for instance) which were relocated to avoid getting buried under the water. The High Dam is 3,830 metres long, 980 metres wide at the base, 40 metres wide at the crest and 111 metres tall. It contains 43 million cubic metres of material. At maximum, 11,000 cubic metres per second of water can pass through the dam. The main benefits of the High Dam are protection from floods and droughts, an increase in agricultural production and employment, electricity production and improved navigation that benefits tourism.

    There is an imposing tower/monument just near the entrance to the dam called Egyptian Russian Friendship Monument. Built to commemorate Russia's involvement in the construction of the dam. The tower is more than 70 metres / 230 feet high. There's an observation deck up with panoramic vistas across the Dam and its surroundings.

    When you're in Aswan and have a limited time, you can without guilt drop this sight out of your list, at least for me, it wasn't that kind of sight to behold.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • June.b's Profile Photo

    The Nile River

    by June.b Written Jun 10, 2011
    Nile river in Aswan
    4 more images

    I'll start with the Nile river. The long river is a sight in itself. When I chose the place I'm going to stay at, I really chose one facing the Nile river so I could have a view the whole time I'm inside the room.

    The Nile river is considered the longest river in the world running in 9 countries in Africa. It is 6,650 km long and ends in a large delta that empties into the Mediterranean Sea.

    In Aswan, most of the historical sites - monuments and temples - are located along the Nile. Egyptians depended on the river ever since the ancient times, reason why most settlements are located near or along the river.

    There are lots of feluccas and motor boats plying tourists along the Nile river, and so are the huge cruises that run between Aswan and Luxor.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Backpacking

    Was this review helpful?

  • June.b's Profile Photo

    Abu Simbel

    by June.b Updated Jun 10, 2011
    4 more images

    I put the Abu Simbel trip to a separate page, so much to say about this place and may not fit in here. I booked the trip through the hotel I was staying at, costs EGP80, transportation by minibus not including the entrance to the site.

    You've got to be prepared on this as you have to wake up at 3:00am, wait for the minibus at the hotel and travel on a convoy along with all the transports that goes to the site at dawn. Travel time is about 3 hours from Aswan to Abu Simbel and you'll get to spend about 2 hours at the site and travel back again to Aswan before noontime.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • al2401's Profile Photo

    The Nubia Museum

    by al2401 Written Apr 14, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Nubia Museum - Aswan
    4 more images

    When the Aswan High Dam was to be constructed in the 1960's, UNESCO appealed to the world's Egyptologists and archaeologists to save the history of Nubian Egypt before they were drowned by the waters of Lake Nasser. The 'Nubian Rescue Campaign' saw thousands of artefacts recovered and several important sites relocated.

    The number of artefacts salvaged prompted UNESCO to establish a museum where they could be displayed as close to their origins as possible. The museum was opened in 1997. The architecture is styled along traditional Nubian village design and the buildings are set in a terraced landscape of lawns, garden and waterfalls. There is also an open-air stage and amphitheatre.

    The museum contains artefacts from the Nubian Dynasty. The Nubians came from the lands to the south of Egypt and many of their significant sites now lie under Lake Nasser. The museum has a section dedicated to the history of the relocation of Abu Simbel and Philae temples along with photographs of the original sites.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • al2401's Profile Photo

    Temple of Isis at Philae

    by al2401 Written Apr 13, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Philae
    4 more images

    The island temple of Isis at Philae experienced occasional flooding which was made worse by the construction of the first dam. It was threatened by complete inundation after the completion of the High Dam and dismantled stone by stone and moved to a nearby island.

    The temple was built during the Ptolemaic perioid (332 - 30 BC) and the Greek and Roman influence can be seen in the style of decoration on the capitals of the columns.

    The story of the killing of Osiris by Seth, his ressurection by Isis and the birth of Horus is depicted all around the temple. This story is related during the Sound and Light show. Philae is wonderful under floodlights.

    Philae is reached fom Aswan and local people take you to the island in small boats.

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Architecture
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Aswan

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

91 travelers online now

Comments

Aswan Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Aswan things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Aswan sightseeing.

View all Aswan hotels