This morning, we were awaken again when the ship start cruising at 5am but it was good that we were awaken before that is when we pass by the Esna Lock. This is where the ship took an elevator up or down the River Nile depending on which directions you are sailing. For us, it was going down. The ship reach the locks and enter an area where the doors are closed. Then water is pumped out and our ship saw a significant drop in altitude. Then when the level of water matches the level on the direction we are headed, the door open and we continue our sailing. It is am amazing process!
After breakfast we started our half day land tour exploring the West Bank of Luxor where we visited The Valleys of Kings (EGP 240), Hatshepsut Temple(EGP 140), and The Valleys of the Queens (EGP 100). We also stop by an Alabaster workshop, to see how they make the vase and tea light candle container. The alabaster shine amazingly under the lights showing a beautiful design, they all are each unique in their own way.
The Valley of the Kings are the resting place of the kings who used to rule Egypt. Instead of building the pyramids which is costly and take a very long time, they found a huge area of mountain/valleys with limestone that is easy to dig in (the mountain has the shapes of the pyramid). When the kings started its reign, he will choose a spot for his tomb. He then start to dig the hole and carve the walls and build the room for his tomb. As the ancient Egyptian King believes in afterlife, they also buried their personal belongings together with them in the room where their tomb is located.
There are more than 70 tombs found in the Valley of the kings and at any one time, only 6-7 tombs are open for visitors while the rest are closed for restoration, they rotate the tombs once every 5 years. To prevent crowd and in hope of preserving the colour of the drawings on the walls, each visitor is recommended to stay 10-15 mins in the tomb and tour guide are prohibited from explaining inside the tomb itself. The tickets purchased allowed each visitor to visit 3 tombs!
One of the highlight today is the Hatshepsut Temple build on the bottom of the King’s valley dedicated to Queen Hatshepsut, one of the most popular queen in Egypt. After her husband passed, she send her stepson away to be priests and reign for many years. She is the only queen that was buried in the Valley of The Kings.
As her stepson grew up, he retaliate and destroy Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple. All of her statues are destroyed and cut into pieces. What we saw today is restorated statue, and the process is still ongoing. It is a temple of three storeys and with a nice stairway leading up to it.
We then headed to the Alabaster Workshop to see how they make alabaster vase from its raw material. Each alabaster vase is unique in its own way and has its own fingerprint.
Ended the tour with a stop at Valley of the Queens. It was very obvious that this is a much less popular site compared to the Valley of the Kings. There are much less people and the tombs are practically empty and for ours to ‘enjoy’. As with all the other attractions, entrance to certain area is not included in our tour and require additional fees should we wish to enter. Usually they cost EGP 100-200 per person for this additional one but the Nefertiti Tomb here in the Valleys of the Queens actually cost EGP 1400 to enter, OMG!!! I wonder what is inside —-
We visited Queen Titi’s tomb and one of the prince’s tomb. Then went back to our boat for another buffet lunch which the kids love. I especially like the baked sweet potatoes , it is really yummy and I have second serving.
There is an optional city tour in the afternoon to see the local life at USD 35 for adult and USD 20 for kids and hot air balloon over the city at USD 90 for adults and USD 45 for children. We definitely wasn’t interested in the city tour but was considering the hot air balloon. However, the 5am wake up call and having a city tour straight after is kinda tired. Plus we need to fly back to Cairo straight after the tour so decided to give it a miss.
We spend the rest of the day chilling, blogging and having drinks on the sun deck enjoying the magnificent view of the Valley of the kings.
Dinner is served as 4 courses meal and ended the day with belly dancing performances.
Jaclyn rated the cruise satisfaction 100% and Justin 99%. They both loved the buffet, food, hospitality, good service, great room with jacuzzi, great guide with very detailed explanations. Justin only rated 99% as there is no free wifi onboard (please do not tell him that I used up his 1GB allocation :p)