Visit Abu Simbel In South Egypt

Visit Abu Simbel In South Egypt

Egypt is not all about Pyramids and Mummies – in fact, the most beautiful temples are further southward along the Nile. The royal temples of Ramses II and Nefertari at Abu Simbel will definitely leave you spell bound. Are you ready to go back in time?

In this blog post, you’ll find everything you need to know to plan a visit to Abu Simbel, the most stunning temple in Egypt, including details on how to get to Abu Simbel, where to stay, how to visit Abu Simbel from Aswan on a shared tour with the Military convoy and most importantly, the history of Abu Simbel.

What is the story of Abu Simbel?

The land of Upper Egypt was identified as the higher ground from where the river Nile flowed. It was the home to some of Egypt’s greatest rulers who made Thebes (modern day Luxor) their base. They ruled farther down South into Nubia (today’s Sudan). Over the course of the millennium, many temples came up along the Nile river. And in the 13th century, this Temple of Ramesses II was built!

Ramesses II had a second temple built for his beloved wife Nefertari, right beside his own. Both temples were built as victory monuments, overlooking the Nile river. The temples were built in such a way that on two specific days in the year (October 22 and February 22) the sun shined right through into the Sanctum, illuminating the sculptures in the back.

 

Stunning fact: In the 1960s, the Aswan High Dam was built nearly 200 kms downstream leading to the formation of Lake Nasser. As the dam continued to fill, these Temples were threatened of being submerged in the backwaters. The Egyptian government and UNESCO successfully moved the temples, block by block, from their original location to a higher spot by 200 metres. Back in 1968, this cost a whopping USD 40 million!

How to visit Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel is a little village in Nubia, the area of southern Egypt and northern Sudan. See this map marker for the location. Although the village of Abu Simbel is connected to other cities by the Airport, the number of flights are very few and very expensive. Also, hotels/BnBs are not very popular here, so it is best to avoid staying overnight.

The best way to visit Abu Simbel is to make a day trip from Aswan, the nearest city (280 kms) which has excellent connectivity with Cairo, Luxor, etc. by both flights and trains. You can choose to ride on a bus, minivan (shared) or taxi (private). You can also ask for group tours which are easily organised from Aswan – book with your hotel reception.

 

Full details of visiting Abu Simbel from Aswan

Duration: 10.5 hours
– Aswan to Abu Simbel: ~4 hours, starting at 4 am
– Exploring the Temples: 2 hours
– Abu Simbel to Aswan: ~4.5 hours, generally reach before 2:30 pm with stop in the Sahara Desert

The shared tours costs about EGP 250 (~USD 15 or INR 1,000) per person.

Tickets to Temples of Ramesses II and Nefertari

The tickets to enter the temple complex costs EGP 220 per person. If you intend to carry your camera, there’s no fee. But if you intend to photograph the inside of the temples, the camera ticket is EGP 300! Do not get the camera ticket unless you intend to take pictures of the insides of the incredibly crowded temples.

Tip: If you want to explore Abu Simbel without the crowd, try and find other travellers (total of 4 passengers) to share a private taxi with you. This way you can ask your driver to be ahead of the convoy and reach earlier, before all other tourist vehicles arrive.

Other things to keep in mind while visiting Abu Simbel

There are souvenir shops where you can buy some snacks, but no restaurants or cafes. Ask your hotel to pack a breakfast-box for you so that you can eat on the way in the bus or car.

If you opt for a shared bus/minivan tour, make sure you get back to your designated vehicle within the time stated by the tour conductor. Egyptian bus drivers are notorious for leaving without checking if all passengers have boarded. 

You may get to see some interesting mirages on the Sahara Desert on the way back to Aswan, so keep an eye on the window.

If you have more questions about visiting Abu Simbel, don’t hesitate to ask your questions in the comments section below. If you want to explore Egypt with us, write to us and we’ll plan a fun-filled experience for you!

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21 Comments

  1. Parita Bhansali

    Can you mention the contact details of the share drivers ?

    Reply
    • Shishira & Navneeth

      Every hotel has the contact details for getting you a seat in the convoy. There’s no need to have a contact before hand 🙂

      Reply
  2. Thompson Henneberg

    Amazing article. Couldn’t be written much better! I’ll definitely put it to use when I travel here.

    Reply
    • Shishira & Navneeth

      Thats great to hear Thomspon! Thank you 🙂

      Reply
  3. Jordan

    Oh, wow! I’ve been to over fifty countries and I haven’t been to Egypt yet. Need to add it to the list now! Thanks for this.

    Reply
  4. Marie Phillips

    This has always been on my list of places to visit since I was a child. I hope to get there someday.

    Reply
  5. WorldInEyes

    Egypt is very interesting country to explore..perfect clicks..Loved the views of places…Great work…

    Reply
  6. Krysten Quiles

    Oh my gosh this would be such a COOL experience, I would love to be able to check this out someday.

    Reply
  7. Emi Div

    I tell you as a matter of fact, this is a place I would truly love to visit. I like historical places and have added it to my list of places to visit, I believe by the grace of God would eventually visit.

    Reply
  8. Norma

    Abu Simble seems like an awesome place. I visited Egypt once and loved it, guess I will go again

    Reply
  9. Gervin Khan

    I have never been to Egypt but if I will be given a chance to be there I will definitely visit this place, so beautiful!

    Reply
  10. Celebrate Woman Today

    Such a unique place to be and to learn from, to connect to that magical energy that is there.

    Reply
  11. Lavern Moore

    You are so lucky. I would love to visit Egypt! Yet, your review and pics make me feel like I’m already there.

    Reply
  12. Razena

    I’ve always found Egypt and it’s temples fascinating. These ones especially as they are often included in the movie scenes filmed in Egypt. Hopefully I will get to see them for myself one day.

    Reply
  13. Ceci Rey

    What an amazing trip this would be. You have made me place this on my bucket list!

    Reply
  14. Monidipa

    I always had a dream to visit egypt. it is so beautiful. I loved your pictures and it was like a virtual tour for me.

    Reply
  15. Hannah

    Absolutely stunning photos! I would love to visit Egypt one day and have it on my bucket list!

    Reply
  16. Ayi

    Egypt is one of my dream destinations. I hope to go there soon and see these beautiful images 🙂

    Reply
  17. GENNY GALL

    I recognize it; I am pretty sure at some point that I would like to visit this dreaming place.

    Reply
  18. Sushmita

    Egypt is on my list since I learned about the pyramids. Abu Simbel was on my list! So exotic! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  19. Elizabeth O

    Egypt is definitely on my bucket lists. I really want to see how impressive those temples and pyramids they have. Anyways, love seeing you photos.

    Reply

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This article features in the Africa, Egypt, Middle East, Travel for Children categories

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Shishira & Navneeth

Shishira & Navneeth

The Backpacksters

We're a fun, travel-loving duo from Bangalore, India. We've been exploring the world with two backpacks and a lot of curiosity as The Backpacksters since 2017

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