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We left Aswan to reach Cairo by night train. The railway station is in the city center on Sharia as-Souq. The architecture of the building is usual. 11 trains a day depart to Cairo. Time in a way is 12 hours. 12 trains a day depart to Luxor. Time in a way is 3,5 hours.
The appearance of carriages isn't attractive. It seemed to me that these carriages were used since times of English colonial sovereignty!
However there was clean enough and decently inside of the carriage. I have paid a place in a sleeper (in addition $60 including supper). Therefore I had a good rest at night unlike other tourists, who preferred to save money and used the sedentary carriage.
You may watch my VIDEO-Clip from my personal YouTube channel: 6 min 04 sec Egypt Aswan-Cairo by Train 2007
Updated Oct 8, 2007
We reached Aswan after two-days cruise over the Nile from Luxor. The boats have five tourist stars. I do not have wide experience of river and sea cruises. However it seemed to me, that the boats on the Nile are comfortable and convenient enough. This is the best option for you to see all possible sights on one route in Luxor, Edfu, Kom-Ombo and Aswan.
Accommodation aboard the cruise boat is on full board basis. In other words all meals included buffet style. Your cabin will be fitted with air-condition and a TV set. Every day there is an entertainment program; these up of such program vary from one boat the other. In each major cruise stop you will be given a boarding pass to be able to identify your ship upon your return. So you won’t mix your boat!
You may see my VIDEO-Clip from my personal YouTube channel: 2 min 04 sec Egypt Nile Cruise Boat 2007
Updated Oct 8, 2007
Aswan has a large lower class residential section slightly downstream and across the river from the main city embarcadero area. Also across the Nile are the tombs of the nobles and the departure point for an excellent camel ride out to the early Christian monastery ruins. For all of these, the local ferry is the way to cross the river. The price is about $1-, and the ride takes very little time despite the leisure pace of the passenger ferry boat. Watching the locals in transit is always a favorite form of entertainment, and when couple with the beauty of the Nile River; what more could anyone ask?
Written Aug 18, 2007
At Lake Nasser, ferries transport people to a number of islands and villages. Some ferries are mostly filled with tourists and others are filled with mostly locals. We didn't see any price difference here, in contrast to Luxor (see transportation tip for Luxor), and in any case prices were surprisingly low. We prefer to join the locals when we can. Although private tour boats and vans can fill the need for this transportation, the transit ferries are pleasant way to get around. Skip the tour van and stick to public transportation in Aswan is what I normally recommend; however, I also understand that on Lake Nasser a tourist oriented hydrofoil may now be an option, probably a much faster but also much more expensive option.
Updated Aug 18, 2007
Perhaps the best way to appreciate the beauty of the Nile at Aswan is to hire a felucca and crew for a few hours, or a few days. We didn't have time for an overnight trip, but we did fill a late afternoon with a trip to and around Elephantine Island with this adventure. There is a special quay where the felucca's port, and one can bargain for what seems reasonable, recognizing that $25 ro $30 US dollars should get you at least a couple of hour's boat ride. Our captain and sailor were gentleman and quite skilled with their rigging. We were impressed by the harrowing tacking quite near the big boulders of Elphantine Island. The captain and sailor stayed in Elephantine's port while we wanderd the street of the old town for about 30 minutes, but we were motivated to quickly return to the thrill of sailing.
Updated Aug 18, 2007
From Cairo, I took the sleeper train to Aswan, which took around 12 hours (train 84 leaves Giza at 2000H and arrives in Aswan around 0815H). Besides the sleeper trains, foreigners are only allowed to take two other trains, which were less comfortable, i.e. no sleeping cars. For a single cabin, I paid USD 80, one-way, inclusive of dinner and breakfast.
Reservations could be made at the Sleeping Train reservation office at Ramses Station in Cairo (to your left upon entering the station). I did the reservation two days prior to departure, but during peak season (around winter), I was told reservations have to be made days in advance. As of May 2007, there are no more departures from Ramses station, but only from Giza station. From downtown, Giza station could be reached by: (a) taxi - costs about EGP 15 from Midan Tahrir; or (b) Metro - take the Metro going towards Giza, where you get off. The train station is right below the Giza Metro station - costs EGP 1. You board the train on the platform on the station side.
One interesting fact about taking this train, is the amount of security the government has provided for tourists' safety. The train is accompanied by a group of heavily-armed Army personnel - still can't make up my mind if this is a safer strategy or only attracts more attention.
Updated Jul 31, 2007
Most travellers go to Abu Simbel in one of the two official convoys at either 4am or 11am ( Ive never met a person that actually went at 11am) and it takes about four hours to get to the site because it is near the Sudanese border. There are several checkpoints and and most people go in luxury buses or minivans. Some agencies charge around 250 pounds to go but budget hotels charge around 80 Egyptian pounds. For all costs including food, you will spend around 150 Egyptian pounds ($25 Canadian dollars). Foreigners are sometimes allowed to get a public bus to the site but dont count on it as seats are limited. EgyptAir has two daily flights to the site (completely sad) and they cost around 650 pounds and leave at 630 and 9am.
Written Apr 9, 2007
When there's no wind you have to change from the romantic felucca to a small-kind-of-felucca motor boat to get you to the Nubian village before nightfall...
At first the trip starts in a small felucca (up to 20 people) sailing...then a bit ahead, they change you to a motorized felluca that goes through the Nile channels (if the guide wants to) and ends up in a camel ride trip to the Nubian village. But you can stay in the boat and go by boat all the way (as I do because, camel are rude and they manage to leave you with no back bone for the rest of the week).
Updated Mar 25, 2007
As part of our Geckos tour, we had a cruise boat for three nights of our trip, we travelled from Aswan up to Luxor... Our boat was named the "MS Rosetta". It was a really nice boat (although a little old in the decor area...hehe...) and it was one of the highlights of our trip. The rooms were very comfortable, clean and everyone had a window. They have a small pool on the top deck, a bar and restaurant etc.
Updated Jun 5, 2006
To take train out of Aswan to Luxor, for example, there are only 3 official trains, 06:00, 18:00, and 20:00 for foreigners. However, the tourist office told me that I could take any other trains to Luxor if I brough the ticket on the train. This information was confirmed by another VTer to be wrong and she could not even get through the ticket conductor at the train before she board on the train. To avoid this potential trouble, I took the 06:00 train (1st class 26 EGP May 2006) to Luxor.
The 1st class is very comfortable (see pic).
Updated May 28, 2006
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