Luxor has got to be the town in Egypt with the most temples, so we decided to visit a few. We stayed on the East bank of Luxor, so we were near most of the markets and restaurants, as well as within walking distance of temples. The main temple in Luxor is of course the Luxor temple, which is rather beautiful and a great place to watch the sunset. The temple is lit up with lights as soon as it gets dark, and this gives the temple a magical appearance which is pretty awesome.
We visited Karnak temple, which is the largest temple in Egypt, which consisted of a few statues, but a lot of the complex was ancient ruins. We ventured across to the West bank by ferry, and caught a taxi to visit some of the other historical attractions such as the Valley of the Kings, Medinet Habu, and Queen Hatshepsut Temple.
At the Valley of the Kings there are many tombs that one can visits, not all are open at the same time, and the ticket entitles you to visit 3 tombs, so we chose Thutmose III, Tausert, and Rameses IV. The tombs were really interesting and beautiful but unfortunately the only down side was that you were not allowed to take any pictures or video at all. The tombs had beautiful paintings and hieroglyphics on the walls, and were otherwise empty as everything else has already been taken to the Cairo museum or stolen by grave robbers.
On one of the days we had in Luxor, we made the long journey to visit two well preserved temples some distance away. We hired a driver to take us to Abydos and Dandara temple, which ended up being a round trip of 8 hours. The trip was much longer than anticipated due to the many police check points, but we had to wait a few times for a police escort in hot spot areas. The police escort generally was a pickup truck with armed men wearing balaclavas and bullet proof vests, driving in front and behind our vehicle.
The Egyptian government cannot afford any more bad publicity with tourist attacks and is really not taking any chances. We enjoyed our time in Luxor, apart from the noisy Souk street which was directly below our accommodation, and the 4:30am mosque wake-up call every morning.