How bad is it in Luxor, really?

Hiya! I'm sure that most of you know that I frequently post on the 'TripAdvisor' Luxor Forum, under the name of 'ourLuxorflat'. Very original, eh? I don't usually get exasperated with other posters, but on the odd occasion, I certainly do! I have been expecting such an odd occasion for a couple of days now; ever since there was yet another question about 'Is Luxor safe?' zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!  (Check it out here.)

I write what I know to be the truth, but there's always some 'clever clogs', who's been here so many times that he or she knows the current circumstances better than those of us who live here, going about our business, as normal, every day! I actually don't mind that aspect of it quite so much as when they start to question the integrity of myself and other people who offer up reports that don't tally with the Foreign Office's warnings or the 'perceived' troubles ( Click on this link and go about half way down the page to "And yet more demonstrations in Luxor" ) which might have impacted on someone's holiday by them being told by their holiday company rep., or their hotel, that they should stay safe by staying in the hotel. (And, of course, spending all their money there too!)

There is always one poster who immediately imagines that 'small business = shady practice', and extrapolates the fact that I have a tourist apartment, ergo; I will falsify the news and thereby put my guests at risk of life and limb in order that I might make a profit (that dirty word!!!). It's peculiar, isn't it? I tend to wonder if that is the way that they would work, and therefore imagine that everyone else is also that greedy, and stupid?

One poster wrote, "being stuck in Egypt during chaos is no fun", while referring to the time of the revolution. I couldn't remember the 'chaos' being all that much different to the usual type that reigns in Luxor on any ordinary day! But, just to remind me, another kind person posted a link to an 'old thread' . He/she needn't have done, it was another 'he said this and she said that', sadly with very little substance. For example, several posters were quoting the 'curfew' as part of the evidence of the dire straits that reigned in Luxor, when in actual fact there was never a curfew in Luxor! I believe that this curfew was suggested by the central government, and they instructed the Governorates to implement it as they saw need. The 'need' never arose in Luxor, there wasn't even one night when the local service buses stopped running earlier than usual!  

I'm often amused by posters who tell us that their Egyptian friends have told them that Luxor isn't safe! Don't these folk realise that the Luxor natives have never experienced even the sort of crime which we wouldn't bat an eyelid at? Their unregulated system of righting wrongs and straightening out 'bad lads' doesn't count with them as being any sort of 'criminal justice'; it's more like a family thing. So this talk of jail-breaks, and real criminals being on the loose, had them all terrified! It was like a national dose of paranoia! But it didn't mean a thing! Our daft neighbours set up road blocks (with rubbish skips) on our main road for a few nights. They stopped everyone, including police and soldiers, and checked their I.D. cards. The children were no longer allowed to play in the streets! (Probably because their dads were actually playing at 'goodies and baddies' and the children would have spoiled their fun!) It didn't last very long, but the blacksmiths made a killing with all the new security doors and window bars etc., lol. We had two lots of guests in February last year, the first  were in Cairo before they came to us on Feb 2nd. I've been re-reading their reviews, and they don't mention any unrest in Luxor at all, funny? You can check them out for yourself, they are from 'The Quad-Bike Queen' and 'Becky' from London.           

But back to today! All the world's press and the various Embassies in Cairo are having a field day; issuing warnings about how Egypt is potentially dangerous, and of course anyone who doesn't know, would figure that Luxor was in the same boat! We've had email warnings from the Embassy, to stay away from crowds, and to be extra vigilant on polling days and stay away from polling stations etc. etc. So, we went out to see for ourselves just how dangerous Luxor was, on this unusually hot polling day evening. Just for you, Dear Reader! (Intrepid, or what?) 

We started off, as usual, by visiting one of our favourite hotels for tea! Of course, this meant travelling on the 'bus; with Egyptians!!! The traffic was diverted away from Salah El Din Square, because of the very large queues of voters which were spreading out over the road. We travelled, instead, along past the Winter Palace to the Iberotel traffic island, where almost everyone got off the bus to go and join the queues of voters. From there we were back on the proper route, and only had two white-uniformed policemen (complete with machine guns) as company till we arrived at the N.P. While we sat and sipped, and watched the newest batch of tourists at the Nile Palace, I rang our little caleche mate Ahmed Badawi. He would come and get us, and ferry us hither and thither.

We used Ahmed because I wanted to cover quite a bit of ground, and get some shopping into the bargain. 'Hotel Row', at Awamaya was pretty dead, including the four currency exchange machines in the vicinity of the N.P. We finally managed to get some changed with the banker in the Sonesta, or else we'd have had to 'tick-on' everywhere! Up to the Isis Hotel to turn around, and then onward to the St Joseph, where we turned right towards Madina Street, and the famous 'burned out' Police Station. (Which was never actually closed, so any fire damage couldn't have been all that serious.) Then along Luxor New Hospital Street to TV Street, turning right onto New TV Street, where there was a..........polling station, right there! Horror of horrors! Luckily, we got past it intact, and carried on up to where Ahmed Hashem has his new plumbers merchant's shop, around the corner on the left. We wanted two new water filters.

Escaping from there, we slowly made our way past the polling station again, and down TV Street to the KZ supermarket, where we filled up with necessities like skimmed milk and Cadbury's chocolate. The traffic was really bad down there as the voters were still all over the road in Salah El Din Square. You cannot turn left at the roundabout, you have to go along to the new Mosque and do a 'u' turn in order to get onto Salah El Din Street, where we passed our fourth polling station.

Even with the current TV campaign here about all foreigners being potential spies, I braved a few clicks at the security forces! This is the best one of the armoured car at Salah El Din Square. I'm sorry it's so dark, but if I use the flash it gets all those spots of dust in the picture.

Here's something that I just love! I snapped it along Salah El Din Street, shortly before the Iberotal traffic island. Now then, we all know what it is, but I'll buy a sugar cane juice for the first person to tell me what's wrong with it.

We trundled along the Corniche, passing the O.W.P.and Freda's temple, without being troubled. When we came upon the Council Offices, we saw these:


Again, I'm sorry about the quality of the pictures, but I was caught by surprise and also on a moving caleche! They were partly obscured by the foliage which separates the Governor's car park from the road, but you can see some of the soldiers in their normal state of razor-sharp readiness!

If you remember, we went out looking for trouble (if you click on this link, then go well down the page) actually during the revolution as well. So we followed the same route, out towards the far flung badlands of Karnak, looking for possible sources of danger! By the time we got as far as the airport turning, my poor old stomach was starting to rumble."What an opportunity" I thought! We weren't all that far away from the Hawawshi man! So we timidly ventured into Karnak, past the huge police place there, with all the dead police trucks lying about on the road, in various forlorn states of disrepair, and past the Karnak Charity place, we were really getting into 'no-man's land' now. But, soon enough, there it was; the Hawawshi cafe!

Ahmed just goes and gets them while we wait in the caleche. The bloke always gives us a welcoming wave now, and sometimes comes to shake our hands. I give Ahmed 10le, which gets three, one for him as well. I don't know whether he gives the 1le change as a tip, or pockets it himself, I'm hardly going to ask him for it back! The food is always piping hot, and we usually munch it as we sit on the caleche, burning our fingers and tongues as we go. But tonight we took it home, here it is:

On the left is Freda's 'macarona' with a small pot of tahina. My hawawshi is on the right, it's some sort of lightly spiced and minced meat, sandwiched in some Egyptian flat bread and cooked in a VERY hot oven, in brown greaseproof paper. Absolutely delicious, especially after risking life and limb in getting the facts for you, Dear Reader!


Even though we currently have no government, other than the Egyptian Army, and our Egyptian friends are half raging against Shafique (as being part of the Mubarak legacy) while the other half rage against Mr Mursi (for being one of the dreaded 'Men with Beards' whom they think might destroy tourism altogether) it is still quite possible to range around the town from one end to the other, during polling for the new President and on an uncommonly warm evening (and get a substantial meal for two for 6le) while remaining relatively safe.

I therefore wholeheartedly recommend that anyone reading this should disregard all the Luxor naysayers, and come and enjoy this town with all it's rubbish people and filthy streets, all of it's everyday chaos, and all of it's antiquities and very 'foreign' charm.            


  1. Good morning ourluxorflat,
    Very interesting blog but I must correct you if I may about something you wrote.In your first chapter or paragraph you refer to your place as being in a tiny alley which is so typical of the UNCHANGING CHARACTER OF THIS MAGICAL PLACE.
    I am sorry to have to say that after visiting Luxor for over 25 years and seeing over the last 8/9 years the criminal destruction of large parts of Luxor it has lost its magic.
    Some years ago you could not see Karnak Temple from the main road,the first you saw of it was as what ever vehicle you were in exitted the beginning of what were two areas of parkland then there in front of you was the magnificent Karnak Temple.The two areas of parkland were ideal shaded spots to relax in on a hot day after visiting the temple.
    The magic has also gone from the main souk.I can remember very well the look of amazement on the faces of the occupants of a calleche as it slowly made its way through the Souk.Sadly no more all gone.
    The destruction of large parts of Luxor really saddened me and over time I have made many comments on various sites about it.I have made a comment on the article The Rape of Luxor,I also left a comment on Jane Akshars blog on the same subject.I also left comment on the article,Egypts plans for Luxor-Vegas on the Nile.I also Emailed UNESCO as it was their money that was being used to destroy Luxor.I did not receive a reply from them but I later found out that they stopped the funding as they did not supply the funds for the purpose it was being used.
    Of course I cannot verify how true that is.I also wrote a letter to the Egyptian Gazette which was printed.
    So nobody has been more supportive of the people of Luxor than myself.
    Even now I am trying very hard to get back part of Thomas Cooks business which was unjustly taken away from them through what I firmly believe was corruption,and that was money transfers.
    The story of Thomas Cook and its beginning is a fascinating one and a romantic one and the company did more for tourism to Egypt than any other company.
    Thomas Cook built 2 hotels and as he cared about the welfare of the Egyptian people also built a hospital in Luxor.To add to the bed count he also moored a cruise ship on the Corniche.
    The company also built a shipyard at a place called Boulac near Cairo to build the cruise ships which were designed by the son of Thomas Cook, James Cook.The ships were fabricated on the Tyne and shipped out to Boulac to be built.
    So with both those projects alone gave many many Egyptians employment so they do not deserve to have taken away part of the
    Sorry if I have gone on a bit long but I would like to end by saying even now with the uncertaincy I would not hesitate to travel to Luxor and would tell people to go and enjoy.
    Apologies for putting this comment under the heading Anonymous but have been unable to submit it under the other profiles but my profile on Luxor4u forum is gordon292.Sincerely G Davies.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to post, Gordon.

      Obviously, I must agree with you,in the main. Nevertheless, I don't think that friend Samir Farag and his awful alterations to Luxor have killed off the character of the place altogether, surely this is made up of more than just the bricks and mortar?
      I deplore a great deal of the structural changes his vandalism has left us with, but I truly believe that the underlying character isn't all that much different from when I first discovered Luxor 15 years ago.

      Thanks again for the comment though.

  2. Loved reading your blog Edward, describing Luxor and capturing its essence, which we love. I returned to Luxor as a single female last November, and again with my husband in April. We encountered a demonstration near our hotel, and never felt in danger at all. As you say people in Luxor do not experience the kind of disturbance, muggings, and theft that we experience in our own backyard, which is far worse.

    I had a friend knocked unconscious at a filling station only a couple of weeks ago, and now has multiple fractures in their face. He only politely asked someone to move who was blocking his car. I personally experienced a theft from my property last week. All is far from well from a sleepy town in Leicestershire.

    Long may you continue to blog, telling the real story. I must find that Hawawshi place next time I visit.

    1. Flattery will get you everywhere, thank you.

      It saddens me to think that when weighing up the pros and cons of coming to Luxor, so many people pre-suppose that any changes in circumstance here will be for the worse, and that the place will necessarily become more dangerous!

      Surely there are more folk out there who realise that the people of Luxor are like a different species, when compared to the population of Cairo and the other big cities of the North?

  3. Well said about Luxor our feelings are the same.We have been there when there are problems but they dont bother tourists and will hopefully go again this year when tour company bring flights down a bit. Do people in u.k not have problems i ask myself!!!YES we do but it doesnt stop us going to were ever.HAWAWSHI THANKS eDWARD WE JUST LOVE THEM FROM THE SAME PLACE.pLEASE SEND US SOME SUN.XSANDRA MICK

  4. Who needs the sun when you have a sunny disposition like you? Keep an eye on that man of yours, mind. xx

  5. hey dude, you are deluded. you cannot rent your flat so you blame tourists? whatsup with that? read the news man. read the news!

  6. weird link on trip advisor. not the brightest bulb in the box are ya? moderate comments here all you like. doesnt matter!nothing will make people come to luxor booking with you would be a nightmare. your attitude stinks matey. book a decent hotel peeps do not waste money on two ** rooms in a slum street

  7. I couldn't agree more, the reports in all the press about a looming political and financial crisis are false.
    People in egypt will be happy with either candidate in the elections, the so called military coup is sensationalised nonsense.
    There was no revolution in Luxor, it was just a few children having fun.
    The videos that supposedly show a revolution on you tube are suspect to say the least, people colapse because it is hot in Luxor, what sounds like gunfire is probably nothing more than fireworks, as for fires and looting this was nothing, it could happen anywhere, it would be more dangerous in Birmingham on a Friday night. Nothing was damaged anyway.
    People need to stop worring about what might happen and go to Luxor.
    No problems at all, even the armoured personel carriers are just for show, it just provides a good photo oportunity for the tourists.
    Dispite wat you may hear the hassle is no worse than it ever was and its just banter from the locals, all nonsense.
    What are you waiting for.....

  8. I'm publishing the two previous comments ('hey dude' & 'weird link')as a matter of courtesy, without any comment from me. Quite frankly, I wouldn't know where to start with any reply! I'll just let you judge their value for yourself, Dear Reader.

    Welcome, to the above contributor, and thanks for your comments. Although I cannot actually agree with everything you say, we are certainly on the same wavelength!
    Let's all hope that the new President Mohamed Mursi will be a unifying force for good in the country, and that he will oversee a resurgence in tourism.

  9. 'Welcome, to the above contributor, and thanks for your comments. Although I cannot actually agree with everything you say, we are certainly on the same wavelength! '

    I wasn't being serious, it was a parody of the sort of posts that are allowed on trip advisor.

    I do however wish you the best with your business, times cannot be easy at the moment.
    IMHO denying there are any problems will just encourage negative comments to balance things out, censoring a whole forum is not the answer.

  10. " I wouldn't know where to start with any reply! " - nope, neither would I !!!!

    Just one wee comment tho.

    "nothing will make people come to luxor" - actually most of the flights I have been on since the revolution have been full, obviously people are going there and from the general chit chat at Luxor Airport boarding gate and on the plane people seem to be (shock! horror!) having a good time and considering going back.

    Until the UK FCO advise me that Luxor isn't safe then I will continue to travel there. I have experienced nothing that has made me be scared for my own personal safety (I'm out and about most days and spend very little time by the pool). I am aware of reports of increased bag snatches / pick pockets in the Luxor / Aswan areas, I've not experienced it but am mindful when out and about just in case.

    I'm not daft enough to believe Luxor is trouble free, although in a lot of aspects it's safer than home I have never assumed for one minute it was 100% trouble free, I have *always* taken the same precautions as I would anywhere in the world nowadays including the village where I live.

    Had I sat and watched every single news broadcast, read every single news article then I admit I probably would be very wary about traveling to Luxor - BUT, I wonder just how many of these reporters have actually been to Luxor or Aswan? the few articles out there from those that do venture south state what a wonderful time they have with sites almost to themselves.

    Just like London is not the whole of the UK (despite what some may think) Cairo is not the whole of Egypt. What is happening there and in Alexandria / Suez is currently not happening in the likes of Luxor, Aswan, Hurghada, Sharm. Yes, things could change, that's why everyone planning travel should try and keep up to date with the current situation and follow any advice from their own foreign office.

    If people are wary and don't want to travel to Egypt (perhaps worried their holiday 'may' be cancelled at the last minute) then yes they should choose another destination and consider Egypt again in the future when they feel more relaxed about going there, the river Nile will still be flowing, the temples and tombs still standing.

    The one aspect on safety questions on Trip Advisor I don't understand is those who say they have just booked their holiday - first question is will they be safe? please, please, please ask all questions BEFORE booking, you will get many varied replies on Trip Advisor, take all into account and weigh up the pros and cons for yourself - don't ask after and then spend the next few months worrying - ask BEFORE.

    I was off enjoying Selkirk Common Riding over the weekend despite the pouring rain and sadly I was too late to post my comments onto the topic on TA as it got closed, there's a surprise! If only people could respect others opinions without the nastiness and backbiting that seems to be all too common on TA nowadays.

    Anyway onto far nicer things, Hawawshi Cafe, I've done both take-away and eaten in trying the Hawawshi, Macarona, Chicken and the little pickled veggies side dish if you sit in, all absolutely delicious - highly recommend!!! There are many excellent restaurants in the 'Little Britain' area where most tourists seem to be situated nowadays, I wish people would get out and about and try places like this - even just once in their holiday.

  11. I know Luxor is not as safe as it once was and yes if nothing has happened to you then you won't want to hear the bad things that are and do happen in Luxor. There are plenty of forums that have warnings on this, I would suggest that people dont just rely on Tripadvisor as the be all and end all of knowledge.

  12. "it was a parody of the sort of posts that are allowed on trip advisor."

    "censoring a whole forum is not the answer."

    I don't mind anyone having a dig at TripAdvisor, sometimes I'm infuriated by either the site or the contributors!

    However....I have to defend TA against this sort of accusation of 'allowing' posts which some people don't like. Surely tourists and travellers should be 'allowed' to post their experiences? (Otherwise what is the point of the site?)

    Regarding 'censoring': posts are removed for various reasons, which are all explained in the guidelines for posting, but I've actually never seen what I would describe as censoring, sorry!

    "There are plenty of forums that have warnings on this, I would suggest that people dont just rely on Tripadvisor as the be all and end all of knowledge."

    I only read a few forums, which appertain to Egypt in general and Luxor in particular. The horror stories appear on all of them from time to time, and that's to be expected; we all know that bad news travels the fastest, and that good news sometimes doesn't travel at all! Nevertheless, I do believe that it is a tiny minority of tourists who ever bother to submit reviews or trip reports to travel websites, either way!

    There are a great number of reasons why people coming to Luxor might not have the holiday which they hoped for, and I firmly believe that most of those reasons lie with the actual person themselves. I'm not for a minute suggesting that Luxor doesn't have its share of unpleasant characters, who want to latch onto some unsuspecting visitor and take them 'for a ride', or even criminal types, who'll pick your pocket or do a dodgy note swap; it wouldn't be a holiday destination if that were not the case. But far too many visitors come here with either unrealistic expectations regarding the standards and conditions attainable in a third world country, or with a slightly belligerent attitude born of their determination not to fall foul of the scammers etc. which they have learned about from the very forums we are discussing! In either case, they are subconsciously predisposed to cause or encounter problems of one sort or another which will impact badly on the enjoyment of their time here.
    I seem to recall some famous person once saying something about a 'little knowledge being a bad thing'?

    Of course, the holiday company reps also play their part, when they plant the seed of of fear in the minds of those in their care. Again, if and when they do venture out on their own; they are then predisposed to be distrustful of every local they encounter! It's not a helpful attitude if you're hoping to conduct some sort of business, is it?

    It all makes for a very complicated and unsatisfactory situation, where a substantial number of us seem to manage to escape the worst of it, and really enjoy whatever time we have here, whether it's weeks or months, and come back time and again and year on year. While some others find it all too much and never want to see the place ever again!

    What can I say?

  13. Right last point for me then I give up.

    I believe you when you say Luxor is safe. None of the press reports say anything about tourists getting killed or kidnapped in Luxor, or Cairo for that matter. You make it sound worse than I would expect.

    The problem facing the tourism industry in Luxor as I see it is to do with the political situation across the whole country.

    Egypt recovering from a recent revolution is in transition.

    The Military is not about to give full control of the country to a bunch of 'Islamic extremists’ what ever happens in the election.

    My best guess is if Morsi is announced winner, there will be a long and drawn out power struggle, probably leading to a 2nd revolution at some point in the future. The Military is very much in control and this is increasing daily at the moment as is the anger of the protestors.

    If Shafiq is announced winner there will be a near instant uprising that will be put down hard. The situation will be back as it was but the military will have the moral high ground to rule so it will be over quickly. There will likely be protests about it but less so.

    There are problems ahead, that is fact. No-one knows what or when trouble will occur.

    If I were you I would concentrate on acknowledging there is a serious problem but point out that even when things do erupt they are over quickly.
    Getting caught up in a revolution is not a good thing. Peoples holidays are ruined if they cannot fly out, have to fly back early. They are ruined if they are out there but cannot visit the sights because they are closed or because they cannot leave the hotel. It is also frightening. Even in Luxor.

    There is a Youtube clip below which shows some bits of it from a tourists perspective.

    I would stress that you would have to be pretty unlucky to get caught up in that again and the sights in Luxor are worth the risk. It probably will happen again at some point. No one knows when or how bad it will be. Tourists rarely (if ever?) get hurt in such uprisings in Luxor.
    Luxor has a huge amount of fascinating sights to visit, If you want to come to Luxor and see these amazing things that is the rub but it is worth it.

    The censoring of the Trip Advisor forum as I’m confident we are both aware pertains to the ‘reporting’ of posts by other members who wanted to stop people reading them because they had their own agenda. To the casual observor this is what appeared to happen.
    I’m talking about using the ‘Report inappropriate content ‘ link.

    I know it works because we tried it on one of your posts and it’s gone as well now.
    Of course I cannot say if this is what happened or if you were involved in it nor would I want to. I do not think it helped you win any new business though. I don’t think mocking other people’s fears helps either.
    Just something to think about, I don’t expect you to publish it. Please don’t just cut chunks out of it and publish bits of it as that isn’t fair.

  14. This is the last comment which I will publish on this item of my blog.

    Thanks again Anonyous, I wish I knew who you were, so that this discussion might continue, but never mind.

    As far as I'm aware, there is no facility whereby I can edit comments from readers, so it's either all or nothing!

    I have never intended, and cannot think of when, I had mocked other peoples fears. Also, my point of posting or blogging is not mainly to do with increasing business for myself; I will get by, whatever happens here. But I am passionate in wanting to help people realise a possible life's ambition of coming to see the wonders of Egypt, and therefore will continue to try to counter the disproportionate reports of 'chaos', or 'mayhem' as regards Luxor. Even in the video you linked to, the only street which was filmed in Luxor with the obvious debris of a clash between security forces and demonstrators, is about 200 metres long, and the confrontation lasted all of about one hour. Why the guide took the tourists that way in the first place, is a complete mystery!

    As I've already commented, the reporting of TA posts is only applicable if and when the post in question goes beyond the posting guidelines, it's NOT censoring!