Theft and scams, Luxor
Be careful how you handle horse carriage rides in and around Luxor. Sometimes the driver may stop at a gift shop to get you to buy souvenirs along the way. (This scam has been planned and well thought out!). Sometimes the driver will stop and pick-up the "Real Owner" of the horse and carriage. The "Real Owner" will then bump-up the price of your already agreed upon ride. If this happens, stop the driver, pay the 1st agreed upon price get out find another carriage driver or a cab to take you back to your destination.
Agree on a price before you take the ride and explain to the driver that you do not want to stop you only want a ride up and down the Corniche.
When you go to a restaurant in Luxor (especially if you are taken there by your guide) insist on seeing a menu with prices. If they don't have a menu then insist on getting a price first. Otherwise, you are likely to get a shock when you get your bill. Don't accept them saying "don't worry, it won't be expensive" or "no problem, don't worry".
Guides get kickbacks at restaurants in Luxor and if you haven't fixed a price before you sit down they will charge you whatever they think they can get away with.
Even if you think you have the price fixed, the bill might be double what you expect. The explanation for this is that you are paying for the guide's meal. Refuse to do this and only pay what you have agreed.
By the time you get to Luxor you might have already realised that you need to be extremely specific in giving instructions to taxi drivers but we still got caught. If you organise a taxi to go to the Valley of the Kings, be aware that the ticket office for the VotK is NOT the ticket office for other attractions in the area. If you say that you want to go to the valley, and the driver says he'll take you to "the ticket office", make sure it's the Valley of the Kings ticket office and not the 'general' one. Otherwise he'll take you to the first ticket office, which is several kilometres *before* the valley of the kings, then demand more money to take you the rest of the way, claiming that this is the ticket office you arranged for him to take you to.
If it gets ugly, don't hesitate about getting out of the taxi. Other taxis, buses and local transports regularly pass the first ticket office so you won't be stranded. You could even walk back into Luxor, it's only 2-3km.
Tickets for the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, and Temple of Hatshepsut are all bought at the sites themselves. Tickets for other sites like the Ramesseum, tombs of the workers & nobles, are bought at the first ticket offce. Tickets for King Tut's tomb - sold seperately from general Valley of the King entrance tickets - are bought at the VotK ticket office.
When paying for a carriage ride or taxi fare look at what you give the driver point out eg.that it is a 50 LE note not the smaller note 50 piastres
Quick as a flash they switch these notes saying that you only gave them the smaller 50 piastres note 5p in english and not the 50 LE £5.00 english that was agreed .
be aware with locals [ps: not all of them, nice people still can be found here. don’t worry :) ] who keep push you with the same modus operandi “the road is closed, the road is closed, so let me bring you to the local bazaar.” or insisted to company you to the papyrus museum and perfume.
Myself and my partner have been on boat trips down the Nile and stayed in luxor and Cairo, couple of hints I might suggest
1) When you are shopping in the local bazzars people will try to say that they work on your boat and try to make you feel very guilty for not paying them so please buy from there stall when they not working, they have a photo there of A boat and they also pretent to know you, nice little trick but if you really wanna know if they telling parkies Ask them the name of the boat they work on, and I bet you get the answers most of them...dont fall for it,it is a scam.
2) Local men will approach other men and ask you if you want a Good time, now if you are gay or like a bit of both, BE SAFE, they are usually going to rob you, get you to goto a local hotel and you pay for the room, or even worse undercover police, may I remind you this is a muslim country and if you are cought have gay sex or even a hint of it you WILL end in Jail, and they aint nice!!
3) Herbs and spices. Simple rule is DONT buy them , you see huge bag of saffron for very cheap price, unfortunaly it is usually colour Donky crap or simalar if you dont know what saffron looks like it should be long strands of deep orangey red, they should be about a cm long and no shorted, if shorter and poweder ask for a sample and pop in some water should dye the water orange around where you dropped it str8 away or very quickly.
We met Naser when get off the buss at Luxor’s buss station. There were a lot of locals and all of them were trying to get tourists for some cheap hotels. Naser was one of them. He, as we understood, was from “Venus Hotel”. And as we had read about “Venus Hotel” in our guide book, we decided to go and see how it look’s like. Naser was ready to show us the shortest way to this hotel. Here i must remark that “Venus Hotel” isn’t far away form buss station and the Temple of Luxor. Very fast Naser became our “Friend’ :-) He was ready to show all that we like to see, he was ready to became our guide and he was ready to take our money.... As we didn’t know the real prices – in some things we trusted to Naser.... And it was very good lesson for future!!! So, if some day ;-) you met Naser, be ready that he will try to find some way how to get your money ;-))) For example, we payed for “Trip on donkeys” 50,-LE per person only because Naser understand that we doesn’t know how much it costs in reality. In reality price is about 25,-LE per person.... So, be ready :-)))
Conveniently we were informed of this after we had had our bags stolen on the train.
According to the Chief of Transport Police there is a growing number of incidents occurring on the Tourist Trains whereby gangs of thieves are operating. Due to the long nature of the journey the only occupation is to sleep. If you travel first class you will be in a compartment with possibly 4 or 5 other occupants. ATTACH YOUR BAGS TO YOUR PERSON BY SOME MEANS as the train thieves will actually crawl across the floor to steal your bags if they are under the seats. If travelling in a group, ensure at least one of you is awake at any one time and if you leave the compartment wake someone else up to watch your bags. BE WARNED THE REPORTING PROCESS IS A LENGTHY MONOTONOUS AND INTIMIDATING ONE SO DONT EXPECT TO RELAX UPON YOUR ARRIVAL IF SOMETHING HAS BEEN STOLEN.