The East Bank of Luxor is the central part of Luxor township, centred on the twin foci of the Temple of Luxor and the Temple of Karnak.
Unlike the West Bank, which was always the main area for cemeteries and mortuary temples, the East Bank represented the main settlement of the living throughout the millennia - a role that has hardly changed. The vast majority of hotels and tourist facilities are in the East Bank.
The layout of Luxor town is fairly straightforward: arranged about the temples of Karnak and Luxor, 3 km (1.9 miles, apart in the north and south of the city respectively) are four main roads with a network of many small streets between them:
- the Corniche el-Nil (usually just referred to as 'the Corniche', running along the east bank of the Nile and connecting most of the major attractions
- Sharia al-Mahatta, linking the railway station with the area around Luxor Temple
- Sharia Karnak, running inland parallel to the Nile and the Corniche
- Sharia Televizyon, in the southern part of the town, an area of inexpensive accommodation
Completed major works include widening the main road along the corniche allowing the coaches from the Red Sea resorts to quickly access Karnak temple & the Valley of the Kings.
The East Bank of Luxor represents the central part of Luxor as a locality, the part of the town that the vast majority of tourists will first arrive in, either by land, river or air - arrive in Luxor, you've essentially got to the East Bank.
See main Get around chapter of Luxor.
- 1 Temple of Luxor. May–Sep 6AM–8PM, Oct–Apr 6AM–9PM. Largely the work of Amenhotep III and Ramsses II the Great (whose colossi and obelisk stand at the entrance). Also to be seen is the small "hanging" Mosque of Abu al-Haggag, its position a reflection of the ground level that had built up before excavation of the temple precinct. Also good from the outside, if you already spend your budget at Karnak, due to the low surrounding barrier. If you have a good zoom lens, there is a great shot from the northern end outside. This temple is more compact, has more of the large statues but is not as vast and has not so great obelisks. Opt for Karnak if you need to choose. Regular LE140, students LE40 (until age 30).
- 2 Church of Archangel Michael. A church with impressive large dome. You need a passport to get in. No admission.
Karnak Temple Complex comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings. Its construction began during the reign of Senusret I in the Middle Kingdom and continued into the Ptolemaic period, although most of the extant buildings date from the New Kingdom.
Complex consists of four main parts: the Precinct of Amun-Re, the Precinct of Mut, the Precinct of Montu, and the dismantled Temple of Amenhotep IV, of which only the Precinct of Amun-Re and the Precinct of Mut are open to the general public. The term Karnak often is understood as being the Precinct of Amun-Ra only, because this is the only part most visitors see. There are also a few smaller temples and sanctuaries connecting the Precinct of Mut, the Precinct of Amun-Re, and the Luxor Temple.
- 3 Precinct of Amun-Re (commonly referred as Karnak Temple). May–Sep 6AM–6PM, Oct–Apr 6AM–5PM. Another large temple complex. Very crowded during sunset, when the sun is very low. But also good then. Regular LE150, students LE75 (until age 30).
- 4 Karnak Open Air Museum. The same working hours as in Karnak temple. An off-shoot to the Karnak temple complex, accessed just before the Second Pylon at left, featuring an amazing array of statuary and reconstructed temple structures. Don't miss this! Ticket to be bought from the Karnak ticket office. Requires a separate ticket, regular LE60, students LE30.
- Evening Light and Sound Show. There is a separate light show in the evening, without access to temple, but with a view from a nearby hill. LE250.
- 5 Precinct of Mut. Contains at least six temples: the Mut Temple, the Contra Temple, and Temples A, B, C, and D. All in a pretty bad shape. There is also a sacred lake Isheru surrounding the Mut Temple from the three sides. Need to buy tickets at the Karnak Temple ticket office, LE50/LE25.
- 6 Precinct of Montu. Closed for general public. The main features are the Temple of Montu, Temple of Harpre, Temple of Ma'at, a sacred lake and the Gateway of Ptolemy III Euergetes / Ptolemy IV Philopator, which is the most visible structure on the site and can be easily seen from inside the Precinct of Amon-Re. Most monuments are poorly preserved.
- 7 Luxor Museum (approximately halfway between Luxor and Karnak temples on the Corniche el-Nil). Daily: Oct–Apr 9AM–3PM and 4PM–9PM, May–Sep 9AM–1PM and 5PM–10PM. A small but quality collection of antiquities, mainly from the Luxor region. Includes most of the remarkable collection of pharaonic statuary found in a hidden cache within Luxor Temple in 1989, displayed in a special annex. Regular/student LE140/70.
- 8 Museum of Mummification, Corniche el-Nil. 9AM–9PM. As the name suggests, the small but fascinating collection is devoted to mummification practices. Regular LE100, students LE50.
- 9 Temple of Montu, Medamud (5 km northeast of Karnak). An Egyptian temple dedicated to the worship of Monthu. Because of Montu's strong association with raging bulls, the temple was a major centre of worship for bulls, containing many statues of bulls for worship and reliefs. Most of these statues are now located in various museums around the world. The temple consists of an open forum with a tower and enclosing two mounds that housed the chapels of worship.
- 10 El-Tod Temple (20 km southwest of Luxor). The site of an Ancient Egyptian town and a temple to the Egyptian god Monthu. Regular LE40, students LE20.
- Pay a visit at the Brooke Hospital for Animals - and leave a donation!
- Visit ACE - Animal Care Egypt - it has new premises, and operates free for Egyptians. Donations are always accepted - but consider buying their clothing range or books, as a charity, they totally rely on such things.
- Pay a repeat visit to Luxor Temple at night - atmospherically lit, it has a completely different mood to that found in the daytime and is usually more intimate than with fewer visitors.
- Watch the sun go down over the Nile: preferably from the terrace of the Old Winter Palace hotel, with a drink in your hand. Listen to cacophony from thousands of small birds that roost in the trees lining the Corniche.
- Gift Shop everything for €2 (30 m north of Karnak Temple's parking lot, on the right (opposite the Nile)), ☏ . The same stuff you can buy everywhere else, but at a fixed price of €2.
- 1 Al-Sahaby Lane, Sahaby street (next door to Nefertiti Hotel). The restaurant is on the rooftop of Nefertiti Hotel.
- 2 Jamboree Restaurant (Inside the Souk), ☏ . Daily 10:30AM-2:30PM and 6:30PM-10:30PM. A clean, air-conditioned establishment with roof terrace, serving a range of mid-priced Egyptian and international dishes of above average quality including Cajun chicken (LE22.50), tasty jacket potatoes (LE9-13) and a safe salad bar. Operated by two owners, Mr Hamdy and Mr Amer.
- 3 El Zaeem, Salah El-Din Square (Main road bordering the market, bright lights, two levels (sitting upstairs)). 'Chain' feel, red uniforms. Offers fresh simple and cheap food such as shwarma and hawashi for LE5 or less. Note that they have an Arabic menu with the 'correct' prices, and an English menu (or no menu at all) with higher prices, such as LE10-25 for shawarma. Therefore, reading Arabic is necessary to get the local price, or ask for the Arabic version and compare.
- 4 Kam Thai. M-F 1PM–9PM. Small cafe run by Thai owner. Mains LE40-80.
- 5 The Lantern Room, Al Roda Al Sharifa Street, ☏ . Tu-Su 5PM-10:30PM. Excellent English-run restaurant serving both English and Egyptian food to a very high standard at reasonable prices.
- 6 McDonald's (behind Luxor Temple). Provides cheeseburgers and a safe haven from the nearby souk. LE35 McCombo.
- 7 Sofra, 90 Mohamed Farid St, ☏ . 11AM-midnight. Specialises in Egyptian food with a groovy decor of Egyptian antiques (and antique-like furnishing). Gives you a Western-style experience with Egyptian food. Very friendly service that can be a little slow at times. It's expensive for Egypt with starters around LE10-25, mains around LE30-60 and juices LE10-20. Because it's the top pick of a very well-known guidebook series, you really do need to book here otherwise you'll be turned away at the door. LE20-110.
- 8 A Taste Of India, St Joseph Hotel Street (100 m down the side street next to the St Joseph Hotel), ☏ . noon-11PM. A licensed Indian Tandoori restaurant with a good selection of international dishes including steaks. Good selection of vegetarian dishes. Quite popular restaurant owned by English ex-pat. LE70-190.
There is an excellent sugarcane drink place located near the train station, on the main road past the rotary. LE6 for a cold, fresh bottle of sugarcane drink (1.5 l).
However, if you prefer a feshly made sugar cane drink, go to one of the many fruit juice shops. To prevent being cheated, as everywhere else, act cool, and make sure you have small coins available.
- 1 Bob Marley Peace Hotel (or Boomerang), Mohaned Farid Road (200 m south from El Mansheya Street), ☏ . One of the highest rated budget places in town with friendly owner and great breakfast. Though, a little loud at a small side road and the Internet is very slow. Dorm from LE100 (incl. breakfast).
- 2 The Bob Marley House - Sherief Hotel, Badr St. (2 min from Salah El-Din Square), ☏ . Not as cosy as Bob Marley Peace Hotel, but equally friendly, fast Internet, and only loud at 7:30AM when the nearby schoolchildren arrive. Dorm from LE75 (incl. basic breakfast).
- Fontana Hotel, Sharia Radwan, ☏ . Clean and friendly, breakfast included, do haggle over the price. LE15.
- Oasis Hotel, Mohamed Farid St (200 m w of rwy station off El-Mansheya), ☏ . breakfast and internet included. Lovely breezy rooftop where tea and cake are served daily at sunset. Big rooms with firm beds and ceiling fans. Super close to train station - good for stumbling in after deboarding an overnight train. The internet is often turned off at night because it needs to 'rest'. Also, prices among the guests widely vary for a room - bargain hard. Moderately decent place to stay. When they say free tea with breakfast, they mean just the first. Same with the tea after sunset. You may be unpleasantly surprised with a bill if you think it is free after the first one. From LE20.
- New Everest Hotel, Station street (al-Mahatta) (150 m from station, follow al-Mahatta NW then take first left (al Madrasa al Miri) and then first right), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. breakfast, internet, Wi-Fi, bike rental, student discounts, helpful staff for trip organisation. LE30.
- ALPA apartment, El Shomos (off Kahled Ibn al Walid St), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. This two-bedroom apartment is situated on the 4th floor of a typical building where locals live, ideal for leisurely exploration of Luxor. Air conditioned with spacious rooms furnished to accommodate up to four people. Consists of a living room with comfortable settee, table and satellite TV. Bathroom with shower, a double room and a twin room with French doors leading to a small balcony. Grocery, fruit and vegetable shops, restaurants, pubs and coffee shops are close. Luxor airport is 10-15 minutes away and if you wish your airport pick up can be arranged for you. Clothing can be laundered cheaply if requested. Trips and excursions can also be arranged. The owner who speaks English and has an extensive knowledge of the local area, antiquities, sites and activities. LE15 per night.
- Mara House, Salah Al Din Al Ayoubi (off Nozha St), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: 11AM. A boutique hotel, tucked away in a quiet residential area behind the train station. The decor is arab/mamluk style and quite charming. Serving the Salahadeen Feast only to in-house guests. From €30 per night.
- Nefertiti Hotel (North of the temple). Clean and friendly. Roof terrace with view over the Nile, pool table, internet (unreliable) in rooms and lobby, simple breakfast included From LE120.
- New Philippe Hotel, 13 Nawfal Lane, off Cornish, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. A good mid-range hotel, well-located with a rooftop garden, bar and pool.
- Rezeiky Hotel & Camping, Karnak Temple St., ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Basically comfortable, the hotel has more than 60 single and double rooms. All rooms overlook the swimming pool and the garden. Hotel offers home-cooked Egyptian buffet.
Various large chains like Hilton, Sheraton, Novotel and Steigenberger also have high-end hotels in Luxor.
- 3 Maritim Jolie Ville, King's Island (Jazirat al-Awamiyyah) Luxor (4 km from Luxor/East and a free shuttle bus/boat service). A nice comfortable hotel with 332 rooms & suites. All the rooms are bungalow style, with satellite TVs, direct dial telephones, mini-fridge, private baths with showers and bath and individually controlled air conditioning. There are also terraces which usually face large garden areas and sometimes unusual for Egypt, non-smoking rooms. Recreational activities include an outdoor swimming pool, four tennis courts with flood-lighting, a jogging track, football pitch, table tennis, bicycles, a billiards room, volleyball courts, gymnastics, massages and felucca sailing. The main restaurant is good for breakfast but the dinner buffet is expensive. US$165-230.
- 4 Sofitel Winter Palace, Corniche el Nile Street, ☏ , fax: , ✉ H1661@sofitel.com. Built in 1886 during Queen Victoria's reign, this Sofitel chain hotel is the place to stay in Luxor. It is very central, well-appointed, and has good service and quite a bit of history. It was on the bulletin board in their lobby that Howard Carter first announced his discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. Often block-booked by tour groups, so reserve well ahead or be prepared to be flexible with dates. From US$200.
Luxor town has 4 telephone offices, allowing people to avoid the often hefty charges levied by hotels and mobile carriers for international phone calls.
The main telephone office is on Sharia Karnak, adjacent to the souqs and almost opposite the Emilio Hotel. It is open 24 hours a day. Another, smaller branch can be found below the grand sweeping entrance to the Old Winter Palace Hotel on the Corniche (open 8AM-8PM); whilst a third telephone office exists at the railway station (open 8AM-8PM) and the fourth telephone office is in Sheraton street, next DHL office.
If you wish to use your cell phone in Luxor, it is advisable to visit the Vodafone shop at the bottom of Television Street. You can buy a Holiday Sim Card, which costs LE25, and you will avoid any roaming charges, even on international calls. Just top up the card as necessary. If your phone is 'locked' by your phone company, they will advise where you can get it unlocked for a fee of between LE30-50.
Or buy a local SIM card.
If you want to buy stamps, you need small change because no one will sell you if you don't have.
- Luxor's main post office, Sharia al-Mahatta (not far from the intersection with Sharia al-Karnak). 8:30AM-2:30PM daily.
- 1 Post Office, Saad Zaghloul (next to roundabout in front of Luxor temple). A small post office with English-speaking service.