Hot air balloon
Valley of Kings
Luxor, pronounced as Luuksor, is a small, very beautiful place.
We stayed at Hotel New Pola, a nice clean and comfortable hotel, with pleasant staff. It is located just next to the Nile, unfortunately because of the trees in between view of the river is not clear from the hotel's lower floors, so ask for as high a floor as possible. On the rooftop it has a small pool and an excellent Nile View. At $35/- per day, it is a steal!
The town runs parallal to the Nile and the Corniche is a road alongside the river. Beautiful to walk along.
Luxor Temple is in the center of the town and Konark Temple is about 15 minutes away.
The most charming thing to do in Luxor is to take a balloon ride. We booked at a place called Jolleys, which is right in the center of Corniche, next to a huge hotel called Winter Palace. Haggle all you can about the rates. They pick you up from your hotel around 5 in the morning, take you to a boat, serve tea and snacks in it, then you cross the Nile and go to the West Bank, from where you are taken in mini vans to the balloon area. The flight itself lasts around 45 minutes, it is as gentle as a breeze. You land at a distance of about 15kms from where they are waiting in mini vans. They pick you up and drop you back in your hotel!
To go to the Valley of Kings, you should cross the Nile in a government ferry @2LE per person, walk 10 steps to the left from the jetty on West Bank, to a taxi stand. Choose a blue and white official taxi which looks comfortable and haggle with the driver for the whole day, it should cost around LE 100 all inclusive. He will take you to the Valley of Kings, leave you there for 2 hrs. Note down his mobile number so that you can find him on your return. After that he will take you to the other attractions and drop you back at the jetty.
Warning: Do not try to fix up your taxi in the ferry itself. You will find a number of touts posing as taxi drivers trying to strike a bargain. The problem with that is that they will pass you on to some one else, who will have a private car. In the Valley Of Kings private cars have to park outside and only the official taxis can go inside and drop you at the gate. So, it will be a long long walk in hot sun till the enterance, while other taxis drive in.
Carry lot of water when you visit the West Bank, as it is very hot and dry even in December and buying water there is very expensive.