Are you anxious to see Abu Simbel, one of the most incredible historical sites on earth? Is Abu Simbel worth the trip?
Abu Simbel is a location in southern Egypt, close to the Sudanese border. It is a 13th-century BC UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its two massive temples are proof of the might and majesty of the pharaohs.
We’ll look at the benefits of visiting Abu Simbel in this article. We’ll examine the sights more thoroughly, consider the advantages and disadvantages of going, and—most importantly—hear from some of our seasoned travelers to determine whether they think the trip is worthwhile.
What Is Abu Simbel?
The Abu Simbel Temples are just incredible! There are two of them, and Rameses II, a very able ruler, constructed them many years ago. Rameses II built one of the temples to demonstrate his power and importance, and his wife, Queen Nefertari, was honored in the other temple.
Incredibly detailed wall carvings and artwork in both temples depict ancient Egyptian life in vivid detail. Due to their beauty and historical significance, people enjoy viewing these images.
Because some very clever people worked out how to shift the temples to higher land so they wouldn’t get flooded by the river, they are still standing today despite the fact that they are very old. They succeeded despite it being a tremendously difficult task. The Temples of Abu Simbel can now be seen by visitors for many more years to come.
Is Abu Simbel Worth the Trip?
Let’s answer a big question: should you visit the Temples of Abu Simbel? I would say, yes! Even though I have visited many historical sites in my life, Abu Simbel was special. I went when there weren’t many people, so I had the temples mostly to myself. This made it more magical for me. Seeing the temples at night was also really cool.
But it’s hard to avoid crowds if you go on a day trip. Most people visit at the same time, so it can be really busy and crowded. The road to Abu Simbel only opens from 5am to 5pm, and the flights back are early in the day, so almost everyone goes at the same time.
If you stay overnight, it’s more magical but the hotels aren’t great and can be expensive. I stayed overnight and it was worth it to see the temples without many people and watch the amazing Sound and Light Show – it’s the best in Egypt!
What Should I See In Abu Simbel?
Embark on a captivating journey through the sands of time as you explore the mesmerizing temples of Abu Simbel. These architectural marvels, nestled on the banks of the majestic Nile River, beckon travelers from far and wide to witness their timeless beauty. Prepare to be swept away by the sheer grandeur and rich history that permeate the air.
The magnificent Great Temple of Ramses II is your first site on this temple-hopping tour. The massive front of the temple welcomes you with its dominating presence as you go closer. Ramses II’s imposing monuments stand with pride, appearing to defy the passage of time. The walls are decorated with intricately carved reliefs and hieroglyphics that highlight the pharaoh’s notable military achievements and divine position. When you enter, you will be submerged in a realm where kings and gods cohabit, with their histories carved into the very stones that surround you.
Next, make your way to the Temple of Hathor, a tribute to the goddess of love, beauty, and joy. As you enter, the vibrant colors and intricate artwork transport you to an era of romance and mystique. Marvel at the harmonious fusion of ancient Egyptian and Nubian architectural styles, adorned with delicate carvings and graceful columns. The temple’s inner sanctum unveils a sanctuary of serenity, where you can bask in the timeless energy of devotion and celebration.
Saving the best for last, venture towards the Small Temple of Nefertari, a testament to the enduring love between Ramses II and his beloved queen. Step into a world of enchantment as you feast your eyes on the delicate reliefs that adorn its walls. The temple’s artwork tells a tale of adoration, with Ramses II lavishing his queen with praises and immortalizing her beauty for eternity. Prepare to be captivated by the intricate details that bring their love story to life, evoking a sense of intimacy and devotion that transcends time.
As you explore these remarkable temples, don’t forget to pause and soak in the surroundings. The breathtaking vistas of Lake Nasser and the ever-changing hues of the desert sky provide a stunning backdrop to your journey through ancient history. Allow yourself to be transported back in time, as each temple reveals its own narrative, leaving an indelible impression on your soul.
How To Get To Abu Simbel?
You can go from Aswan to Abu Simbel and back in one day. It is a long drive of 6.5 hours roundtrip! The road was very straight and police are watching over it to make sure everyone was safe. In the past, you had to go with a police escort because it wasn’t safe. Most people visit Abu Simbel through a day tour which has transfer included. You can also hire a transfer if you want to stay in Abu Simbel.
There are buses that go from Aswan to Abu Simbel, but it might be difficult for foreigners to ride them. Some people say that the bus company might not sell tickets to foreigners.
If you don’t want to take a long drive, you can also take a short flight to Abu Simbel from Aswan or Luxor. The flight only takes 45 minutes to 1 hour. But you need to know that most flights leave early in the morning and come back in the early afternoon, so you have to visit the temples quickly!
Day Tour To Abu Simbel
This is an excellent option if you don´t have a lot of time. The Abu Simbel tour starts at 4:30 a.m. As part of the tour, you’ll have a gorgeous drive down a busy highway, accompanied by fellow travelers in a convoy of buses and cars. There will be rest stations and coffee refills along the way. Most tour companies will include breakfast in the van or bus.
Arriving at the temples around 8 AM, you’ll have several hours to explore the remarkable Abu Simbel sites. Marvel at the colossal statues, intricate carvings, and immerse yourself in the rich history of ancient Egypt. After a fulfilling visit, around 10:30 AM, the return journey to Aswan will commence.
The cost of the tour starts at $40 USD, with variations depending on factors such as the transfer arrangements. For the most accurate information, it is advisable to consult your chosen tour company. Prepare for an early start, embrace the excitement, and get ready to experience the wonders of Abu Simbel on this incredible tour.
Staying In Abu Simbel
I think staying there for at least one night is the ideal way to see Abu Simbel because you can avoid the tour bus crowds and explore the site at night.
It’s simply breathtaking to see the massive carvings in person, especially in the Great Temple and the Temple of Hathor! Climb the wooden staircase to the Great Temple’s entrance to see the grand hall. The four gigantic statues give the interior of the hall a very dramatic and unique appearance. The wall murals in the several tiny rooms are in superb shape. You may spend hours simply learning the details!
The interior of the temple is lit in a unique way that maintains the atmosphere of mystery and adds to its sense of wonder. With the exception of the occasional swallow flyby, it is likewise fairly silent inside.
Abu Simbel Sound and Light Show
Regular entrance tickets to the temple complex during the day are cheaper than tickets for the Sound and Light Show ($15 USD). Since I had heard about a similar performance at the Karnak Temple in Luxor, I was a little hesitant about it. However, being in the temple at night with special lighting and temple projections turned out to be cool. The history of the temples and the pharaoh who constructed them is narrated by a voice.
You can take pictures of the lit-up temples after the performance. Although they also have audio guides in other languages, it is often in English. Flash photography is permitted during the performance, albeit it can be very disruptive. Overall, seeing the temples at night was an interesting experience!
Where To Sleep In Abu Simbel?
There are numerous accommodations available in Abu Simbel. Personally, I’d suggest the Hllol Hotel, which isn’t as great as some of the other alternatives in town but has one of the best prices. It cost USD $65 per night, which is a lot of money, but I later discovered that Abu Simbel’s hotels are all pricey.
If you have more money, you can stay in the Eskaleh Nubian Ecolodge, which is a better hotel. They provide boat rides early in the day to see the sun rise over the temples. We were too worn out to do it, even though it’s really well-liked and receives excellent reviews.
Where To Eat In Abu Simbel?
In Abu Simbel, there is a really yummy restaurant called Elmodesh. They make some of the best food in Egypt! Order grilled fish which is caught from the lake, along with rice, salad, bread, and tahini. Everything is cooked perfectly and tastes great. It isn’t too expensive, but it is a little more than what people usually pay in Egypt.
How Much Is A Trip To Abu Simbel?
To enter Abu Simbel, you have to pay 275 EGP which is about $10 USD. When you buy your ticket, you’ll get some papers to show that you’ve paid all the fees needed.
If you want to go there in February when the temple and the sun align directly during sunrise, that’s called the solar alignment festival. But to enter during that time, you have to pay more – 500 EGP which is about $18 USD.
I’m a total Africa enthusiast! I’ve been exploring this amazing continent for years and I can’t get enough of its diverse cultures, stunning landscapes, and incredible wildlife. From hiking through the savannahs to sampling local cuisine, I’m all about immersing myself in everything Africa has to offer. I’m constantly on the lookout for new and exciting experiences, and I love sharing my passion and knowledge with fellow travel lovers. If you’re looking for an adventure like no other, Africa is the place to be, and I’m here to help you make the most of it!