the sights, the sounds, the smell, the haggling among buyers and seller...you'll be right in the front row seat watching all these happenings when you get to the inner portion of the market. go...go further, the further you walk, the more local are the scenes.
The authentic local market scene is vibrant on the inner part of the souk -- the meat, vegetables, bread, etc... . It was never on the bazaar part, so if you only wish to buy souvenirs and gift items and don't want to be bothered by the chaos of a local market scene --- stay at the bazaar part which is just on the beginning of the long souk lane.
...BUT, if you want to witness and get immersed on the dizzying market scene... take a long walk up to the highway.
The souk of Luxor is very colourful and the more that you go further, the more that the local atmosphere is getting intense.
If you wish to buy souvernirs, don't forget to haggle for the best price you could muster, the souvernir and gift shops are just on the beginning of the market area and most likely than not, it's at the back or beside your hotel -- that is, if you're staying in and around the sentral part.
The best pictures - in my opinion - that I've taken in Luxor are in int his area.
The souk or market of Luxor is very colourful and it's just beside the hotel I was staying along the short Shalaby Lane. On my last day in the city, I decided to roam around the souk. I started at the beginning of the long street. It's a long walk upto the highway. Starting with the very colorful souvenir shops - it's comfortable because most of the shops are inside a shaded complex, selling all sorts of egyptian souvenir items like papyrus products, ceramics, antique looking stuff, colorful spices, clothing, trinkets, etc...
Be warned, the souks and bazaars are not what you would expect to find in any western civilization! But then again, isn’t that why we travel, to experience different cultures, different ways of life and different ways of doing things?
1.) If you ask to be taken to a bazaar in Luxor, you will end up in a “shopping mall’ that is located near the train station and sells mostly souvenirs, t-shirts and ornaments.
2.) If you ask to be taken to a market, you will end up at any number of shops that the driver gets a commission from when you buy something at inflated prices. (These are located south of the Luxor Temple.)
3.) If you ask to be taken to a Souk, you will end up north of the Luxor Temple at the street markets where the locals purchase their clothing, spices and fruit & vegetables from.
Either way, you are in for a real treat…expect the unexpected! (It is very safe to frequent all of the above.)
Located behind and around the Temple of Luxor, Sharia el-Souq was converted into a charming, yet unauthentic, covered pedestrian zone. The newly paved and renovated street accommodates many shops that sell that same Egyptian merchandise, catering only for tourists. While items are the same, the pleasant surroundings make for a generally better shopping experience, albeit highly artificial. Beware though, as you walk down the street, aggressive merchants will not stop inviting you into their shops. For a more authentic experience, however, continue north onto Sharia Ahmos where the local Luxor souk is located. See my travelogues for photos of the real local souk.
Forget Ramses and Hatchepsut and do spend an hour or two walking through the local Luxor souk. It's a museum of incredible anthropological interest. Likely, the lifestyle and traditions of these merchant farmers and their customers have not changed in millenia! Various foods are sold; from vegetables and onions to chickens and intestines, not to mention other animal body parts. Ropes, fabric, clothes and more; everything that is used in the daily lives of the average local Egyptian. You can watch bread being baked as it has been for centuries, and women carrying cabbage on their heads as they have for nearly as long, while others are choosing the live chicken to purchase. For photos of a day in the life of the Luxor local souk, check out my travelogues: "Just Another Day" and "All Your Basic Needs".
We lost our guide (on purpose! A group of 25 tramping round the souk had no appeal) and struck out together. Djelabias made to order - from cotton through to silk and only 24 hours to make them in! Or visit the gold market - not a place to get rock bottom bargains but well worth checking out (and needless to say, it's not just gold on sale here - plenty of souvenirs to be found here). Indoors and laid out with covered stalls and glass cases to display wares, there's little hustle and bustle here and usually a glass of tea is served to all perspective buyers...
Luxor area is famous for alabaster, so make sure you don't miss an alabaster shop. There are many of them and those are mostly small family shops. You can find interesting things, but there is a great difference between a hand craft and machine work. It isn't difficult to see that difference. There is the same shopping rule as anywhere else in Egypt: BARGAIN. I bought a copy of a famous Nefertiti figure and paid about 10 LE (1 EUR = cca 7 LE). The initial price was something like 60-80 LE. You have to be a good negotiator.
In front of the store we visited, men were sitting and making items in alabaster. They were also giving us "crude" alabaster in exchange for some "baksheesh". Take it! It's really cheap and yet a nice souvenir.
We really enjoyed looking through the markets in Luxor...the people seemed a lot nicer than those in Aswan and they really had a sense of humour. ;) One guy offered my new husband 10 million camels for me, another offered his shop!!! We loved looking through the various things for sale...clothes, statues, jewellery boxes, sheesha pipes, postcards, jewellery, shoes etc.
Never pay the first price offered...you can usually get them down to about 30 - 40% of the first price. Just walk away if the price isn't good enough and they will chase you almost every time. ;)
If you really want to get a feeling for the lifestile here, you must visit the markets.
Have a look at all the merchandises, the spices, the fruits, the clothes etc ...
It might be a little confusing, especially if you are new in this country, but definitely worth it.
At sunday we visited the market, just a few blocks behind our hotel in the centre.
It was very crowded, so there was much to see. We did some shopping (spices, fruits and pottery), looked around and enjoyed the lifely scenery.
I like it to stroll around in towns and villages. So we did in the streets of the centre of Luxor in the area between the Luxor temple and the railway station. We did some shopping and looked at the daily life scenes. We didn't see many tourists in this area. Walking in this area without tourists shops was very relaxing.
When you're in Luxor, take the opportunity of visiting the soukhs. To see the real untouristy soukhs you will have to stand up against very clever merchants who try to sell you things on one side, and try to buy your wife on the other side. Once you're out of the tourist soukhs you get to see the real Egyptian life. It's not always tasteful!
just go to the souk, watch local people, go there either in the morning or afternoon...the scenarios are very authentic....arab market scene..