Susan Hegarty 19 October 2005
Mid October was an ideal time to be in Luxor with very hot days and mild evenings. We stayed at The Maritim Jolie Ville Kings Island Hotel which was, as the name suggests, an island a few miles from the centre of Luxor. This was an ideal spot with access to the city but with us having our own private oasis onsite. The island boasts its own zoo, walking trails, a gym and spa, a selection of bars and restaurants and two swimming pools.

The infinity pool, located right on the banks of the Nile, was a wonderful place to relax as we watched the traditional Feluccas sail by and the local children frolic in the water, all the while being handed cool towels by the attentive staff who were happy to serve you drinks and snacks from the comfort of your sun lounger.

We found the locals to be friendly and welcoming and we hired a local guide who took us to The Valley of the Kings and Queens, Luxor Temple and the Temple of Hatshepsut. Our guide explained the story of this famous female ruler, Queen Hatshepsut, who famously posed as a man in order to gain the throne and leadership of Egypt.

We took an early morning air balloon ride, the view was nothing short of spectacular with the sun rising and the countryside dotted with temples and famous landmarks stretching as far as the eye could see. On one of the evenings we attended a traditional night with Nubian music and belly dancers which as a lot of fun and very enjoyable.

Another highlight was Karnak. After viewing this magnificent temple which is amazingly intact we were treated to a sound and light show. This takes place in the grounds of Karnak and you are seated overlooking the sacred lake where you hear the story of Egypt accompanied by a wonderful light show.

This was a fantastic holiday and Egypt is such good value for money. Hotels are very reasonably priced as is the cost of food and there are fantastic local products to be found including woodwork and leather goods and a huge range of spices, some of which would be very expensive at home.

From Luxor it is possible to do a 5 day Nile cruise to Aswan. You can also take a trip to Cairo to see the pyramids and Sphinx, the famous Khan el-Khalili bazaar and of course the Egyptian Museum which houses 165,000 artefacts.

If you are travelling to Egypt another popular destination and a direct flight from Ireland is Sham El Sheikh. Situated on the Red Sea, most of its hotels are located on their own private beaches and have excellent facilities including numerous pools some with their own water parks, spas and plenty of facilities and entertainment for couples and families alike.

Sharm El Sheikh is known for its excellent water sports and boasts the famous Ras Mohammed National Park perfect for swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving and boat trips with a huge variety of corals and marine life.

Quad biking in The Sinai Desert, jeep safaris and camel rides are just some of the activities on offer as well as trips to Cairo, the Bedouin village of Dahab, Moses Mountain where Moses received the 10 Commandments and St Catherine’s Monastery believed to be the site of The Burning Bushing.

I will certainly be returning to Egypt and next time hopefully for a longer trip. For the easiest way to get there and best prices, please contact me.