About ten years passed since the awful Luxor Massacre. It took place on 17 November 1997 at Deir el-Bahri – the West Bank of Luxor. I remember that days when the world has shuddered from this event.
In the mid-morning attack, Islamic terrorists massacred 62 tourists at the attraction. The assailants, who numbered six and were armed with automatic firearms and knives, were disguised as members of the security forces. They descended on the Temple of Hatshepsut in the early morning and killed 62 people. The attackers then hijacked a bus, but armed Egyptian tourist police and military forces arrived soon afterwards and engaged in a gun battle with the six terrorists, who were later killed or committed suicide.
The tourist industry was injured very much. During several years almost nobody from Western countries visited Egypd (exept Russian tourists). Years passed and we fogot it. Nevertheless the danger still exists…
LUXOR TOUTS : EXTREMELY AGGRESSIVE!
I can honestly say that people from Luxor are extremely dogged and aggressive in their touting approaches.
1) GETTING OFF THE ABELA ( EL WATANIA ) SLEEPING TRAIN AT LUXOR STATION IN THE MORNING ( 5:00 - 6:00 AM )
Even at this time, the minute the door opened, a group of touts swarmed the entrances and some of them started vigorously scrambling to grab tourists' luggages as if to " help " so they can be touted to go into their hostels, hotels, or taxis. They were literally like flies swarming vigorously around us. You would tell them to " Go away! " or yell " No! " at the top of your lungs, and they would run off and then come back again. My husband actually had to slap one of their hands really hard when he tried to shove a business card into his face, after my husband telling him 5 times, " No, no, no, no, no ".
Once they realise that you are not going to be touted....they refuse to point you to the right direction of the ferry. You would have to ask the guards ( but even the guards are questionable ).
2) FINDING OUR WAY TO THE FERRY
Note : The PUBLIC ferry that is open to all is in operation 24 hours. It is also a huge, light beige ferry with wooden seats. The ferry is also a " double decker " ( 1st floor and 2nd floor ). Anything that LOOKS DIFFERENT from this ferry is NOT the public ferry.
You can get the ferry at its dock, DIRECTLY IN OPPOSITE OF THE LUXOR TEMPLE. There will be a sign that say " Luxor Temple "...and then the river Nile. If you descend the stairs, you will get to the ferry dock.
It ONLY costs 1 Egyptian pound ONE WAY. They will try to ask you if you want a round trip..just say " No, I ONLY want one way ". The ferry ride to the West Bank or East Bank ONLY takes 5 minutes at the very most. The river is not that thick, wide or far at this point of the river.
HOWEVER, BEWARE of all the shop touts that line the Nile. We were scammed by one of them. After a harrowing, annoying and frustrating time at the station, we were exhausted by the time we reached the Nile banks. Yes, the 10 mins walk from the station to the river bank was long simply bc we had touts pounce on us the whole step of the way, with all our luggages. On the banks, there are shops...a seemingly nice young man who was sweeping his store floor asked us if we needed help. SInce he was sweeping his store floor, we thought, " he couldnt possibly tout us now ". We asked to use his phone and he said " Yes "...but before we got the chance to use it, he asked where we were going. We told him that our hotel was on the West bank. He said that he knew the hotel for it was his village. He can take us. So we asked him immediately, " How much ? ". He said " 20 Egyptian pounds " and we agreed, since we were under the impression that he was going to drive us there ( bc we couldn't find the ferry dock )......
Then he started walking us to the ferry and got on a different boat with all our luggages. When we got off the boat he asked us for 10 to pay the boatman. We couldn't refuse. When he took us to the hotel, he waited around the lobby bc he wanted to ask the hotel managers if he can GET A COMMISSION for bringing us there ( even though we called way in advance! ) . The hotel refused to give him any money bc they told him, " They booked and called from their country...so you technically did not bring them here. ". We gave him the 20 that was promised so we could get rid of him.
3) OUR EGYPTOLOGIST TOUR GUIDE ( THE FIRST ONE )
He seemed so nice until we were made to pay his lunches AT HIS OWN BROTHER'S RESTAURANT. He never divulged the information that it was his brother's restaurant and we were wondering as to why he didn't offer to pay up on the 2nd day for his lunches. We offered to pay for his lunch the first time out of courtesy, but on the 2nd day, he assumed that we were going to pay for his lunch.
MORAL OF THE STORY : Luxor people are aggressive in their touting approaches. Many are very determined to get money from you...and just when you think that you are being helped by a genuinely nice person, you just have to wait 5 mins for the touting to begin. It is so sad bc at Suez Canal, we met a very genuine person who was willing to help us. He was genuinely nice but we treated him like dirt in the beginning bc we thought he was a tout. It was only in the end, when he started arguing with some men to protect us, did we realise he was genuinely nice.
IN general, people from Luxor hardened us to the rest of the people all over Egypt...bc I guarantee you that 80 - 90 % of the population will TRY to get money from you or a free lunch ( as in the case of our Egyptologist guide who makes plenty of money for himself ).