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Whenever you have to go through the desert, it's to be done in convoys. You are not allowed to do it on your own. The security risc is to high. The best arrangements are made by Egyptian travel agents. They provide busses to take part in the convoy. The police does also. In front and in between as well as in the rear of the convoy. The fair is even sheaper then a local taxi or even a rented car.
Egyptian authorities are very eager to prevent terrorist attacks. Police is everywhere, waring Kalashnikov automatic rifles. They are not freightning for the tourists, rather friendly really.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Flights to Abu Simbel are a bit tricky and require a little patience. They can be purchased online via the Egyptair website but, because travel agents bulk-buy the seats in advance, (the remaining) seats aren't listed until 3 weeks prior to any particular date. If you need to buy your flights earlier than this, check with a local travel agent. Flights usually connect through Aswan. There are direct flights from Cairo but they are few and far between.
Lastly, when purchasing any internal flight on the Egyptair website, be sure to put Egypt as your home country to get the cheapest rates.
Updated Aug 1, 2009
Trips here can be arranged quite inexpensively through any hotel in Aswan. The budget hotels eg. The Keylany do a half day group trip which includes Abu Simbel, The Unfinished Obelisk, High Dam and Philae Temple for around $US20 p/p. The hotels usually band together so you will most likely be part of a group of 10 or 12 since the mini bus usually makes a few stops for passengers before it sets off for the convoy. There is no guide.
Cars and tourist buses must join the military convoy in Aswan. There is one at 4am and one at 11am, Most people take the earlier one, so they're back in Aswan by 1pm. The drive is approximately 3 1/2 hours each way.
The temples can be reached by joining the convoy, by cruise boat or by air.
Updated Aug 1, 2009
I took an early morning bus tour to Abu Simbel from Aswan. The price was very reasonable. All the busses leave at the same time but we had a mini bus and it was like a race to get there first. It was not too crowded when we got there but got crowded over time. I would be nice to spend a little more time there but a few hours were ok.
I definitely would go again and recommend going to everyone.
You can combine this trip with a stop at the High Dam in Aswan, The unfinished Obelisk and the Phiae's Temple of Isis. See my soon to be entered tips in Aswan about these places.
You can also do Abu Simbel alone.
Please rate this and my other tips if you find them interesting, useful, or like the photos. Thanks.
Updated Dec 22, 2008
Abu Simbel is best reached by plane from Aswan, on a smooth 40 minute flight on Egyptair. The flights are fairly inexpensive, but in high season, they get booked up rather quickly. Reserving in advance is a must. There are two morning flights from Aswan to Abu Simbel, and two returning in the late morning. 1.5 hours in Abu Simbel is usually sufficient to see the sites. Alternatively, one could reach Abu Simbel by car (in a convoy) which takes about 3.5 hours or so from Aswan. Convoys typically leave before dawn and, while worth it, I was told could be quite exhausting!
Updated Apr 3, 2008
By air from Cairo or Aswan (about 2 flights daily of less than 3 hours each)
By air from Aswan (2-4 flights a day of 45 minutes flight)
By road from aswan : Limosine, Convoy, or Mini bus for Small groups
A daily local bus twice a day, very cheap but ... just a public one...
By cruise: 3 cruises are serving presently Lake Nasser attractions.
By rail : None
Updated Apr 7, 2007
Most of tours going to Abu Simbel make people get up at 3am to go either to the airport and have a 30m flight or by bus (aprox. 5 hours) to get to the monument.
Then you have to walk in plain desert...
The best way is to go on a Lake Nasser cruise and come from Aswan by plane. Then you have the possibility of going to the site during sunset and watch the sound and light show (I didn't) and in the next day you can see it from the river, on the boat, which is really nice.
I did it on MS Nubian Sea:
Updated Mar 25, 2007
Phone: 2 010 1077438
There are 2 ways to get there. The first is by bus or taxi, the second is by airplane. Either way you take, you have to get up early. And boy, do i mean early!! Because it's a 3,5 hour drive and that means that you can set your alarmclock at at least 4am (if your lucky) You have about two houres there and then you have to get back. Usely you can arange this trip with your hotelmanager. Every day busses and taxi's drive up there, so it's not a problem. You go to the front desk and say you would like to go to Abu Simbel. It's not cheap (not very expensive too), but it's worth the money. If you book this trip with just 2 persons, there is a great chance, almost not advoidable that you have to share your bus or taxi with other people.
If you go by plane, it's a 1 hour flight, but you also have to be there 1 hour in advange, so this won't save time. It's only more expensive, but maybe a little more comfortable.
While sitting in the car/bus/taxi it's fun the watch or count the roadsigns on the only road that leads to Abu Simbel. Well, it's not like you got anything else to do during that time, are you?? ;)
Updated Feb 20, 2007
We had to get up very early and to leave the ship at Aswan at 3:30 am in order to join the convoy at 3:45 am.
Abu Simbel is about 280 km south of Aswan and just 40 km away from the Egyptian-Sudan border. The bus drivers were driving at least with 100km/h and slowed down only when we passed by some military check-stops. I really couldn't get used to seeing so many uniforms wearing Kalashnikov...
On the way to Abu Simbel I did not see another vehicle not part of the convoy. And I really enjoyed the sunrise while my travel companions were sleeping.
Of course, travelling in a convoy has some disadvantages beside in our case the getting up so early. We were about 30 buses and we arrived at Abu Simbel at around the same time. So, it was very crowded and impossible to take pictures or to observe the temples in peace. Not to mention that the time is limited and that we had to leave Abu Simbel just after an hour and a half stay there.
Updated Jan 17, 2007
Most people stay in Aswan, and then take a van or bus to Abu Simbel. Prepare to leave before daybreak in winter. The hotel desk will make arrangements, so there's no need to book in advance. We took a van, which was quick and adequate for the purpose. On the way back, the van made a stop at Lake Nasser. Because of security problems in southern Egypt, the vehicles are sometimes cued up outside Aswan. It's a strange affair. Buses, taxis, vans, and trucks all parked with motors running, waiting for the signal to proceed. Once the signal is given, the vehicles are in a virtual race for Abu Simbel. Trucks are left behind, as taxis, huge tourist buses, and mid-sized vans jockey for position, hoping to reach the temple parking lot before the others. The desert drops into sand on either side of the ribbon highway though, so nobody can afford to be too wreckless.
Written May 19, 2006
1 Review and 17 Opinions Pleasant situation on the lake. Very close- within walking distance -from the the temple. Service...