Hilton Luxor Hotel and local Tours
Hilton Luxor Hotel and Tours
Luxor is a quick one-hour flight down the Nile from Cairo, but it couldn’t be more different. Its not nearly as populated, not nearly as crowded, and the ruins are completely different from those in Cairo and Giza.
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The next morning we were picked up right at 6am to head out to our hot air balloon tour. We were quite fortunate in that we mentioned to the tour guide company that we were bloggers and would be reporting on our trip. The tour operator gave us a special bonus. Instead of driving 45 minutes north and out of the city to a bridge to cross over to the West Bank, he would get us on a local water taxi that would take us across in under 3 minutes. It came complete with snacks, coffee, tea, and we met a great video production company that was going to be doing a video for a local tourism company.
We arrived at the hot air balloon site just after sunrise, which is the perfect time to go.
I’ll let the video and pictures speak for themselves but suffice it to say, it was an unreal experience. The total cost was $35 per person.
The views over the West Bank were spectacular.
As the old adage goes, what goes up, must come down. The problem? Sometimes you can’t control where you go down! We tried for at least 15 minutes to find a good landing zone, but everytime we descended, we got close to power lines and had to go back up again. Finally we made a hard landing near the edge of a city in a pile of dirt. The local kids all came out to ask for money in “assisting us” in moving the basket out of the dirt.
It’s quite a sight to see really, you can see that the tour bus companies are following the balloons on the ground, turning down dirt roads, and having to switch back and make changes as the balloon makes changes as well. Finally when the buses DID get to us, one of them got stuck in the dirt and had to wait for another one to arrive.
Ben and I made a beeline for the first unstuck bus. We didn’t want to stick around any longer that we had to. Besides, we had another tour to get to! We went on a tour of the Hatshepsut temple, the only temple in the Valley of the Kings dedicated to a Queen 🙂 It is regarded as one of the most amazingly well preserved temples in all of the Valley. You can read more about that here.
After all the amazing tours, the tour operator had once again arranged a private water taxi to take us up the Nile river and back to our hotel, which has their own private docking station. The ride was great, but the docking procedure was a bit unique. Three boats were lined up one next to the other, we hopped from one, to the other, to the other, and then on a thin wood board connecting that boat to dry land. I’ll be honest, I thought it was going to break. Afterall, I’m not a small guy.
We had requested a late checkout from the hotel, and we returned to find a myriad of towel animals waiting for us including an elephant and a crocodile. Now that we had some daylight, we could walk around this beautiful property and really get a feel for how gorgeous it was.
The outdoor pools were stunning, and if you wanted to there were chaise lounges facing the Nile.
We decided to enjoy the day and sit down at the restaurant and have a beer, chopped veggie salad, and some hummus.
From there, it was a quick van ride back to the Luxor airport and the most LUXurious lounge we’ve ever seen.