a VirtualTourist member from Fairbanks
I was thinking of going to Abu Simbel on the bus (convoy) but want to spend the night. Some of the posting say they will make you go back on the next bus. How do you avoid this? Why is there a need for a police convoy? (I must be a little out of touch with the news) Also one posting stated they won't go alone as a women Why? I will be traveling with with my two boys (13 and 11) and will dress modestly, avoid the eyes of men etc. Any thoughts?
One option is to take the plane to Abu Simbel. Abu Simbel is in the middle of the desert, and there is nothing there. There is a small town, and a decent hotel nearby, with a pool. Our tour included a snack at this hotel, but it was bad. Cold cheese sandwich and cold fries, but the patio area near the pool was great. It took us about 2-1/2 hours one way. Since this area is considered a high risk area, the gov't provides police escort. We waited for our escort, but they never showed up, so our 2 buses proceeded w/ no problem. We came back at about 11:00 p.m. after the light and sound show. This is a must see in Egypt.
Don't be alarmed with the convoy thing! Any trip in Egypt that leaves the well protected area's needs a convoy or police guidance. It is government policy. Egypt depends for more than 45% of her National Income on Tourism; they want to protect their guests at all cost!
If you like to go to Abu Simbel and stay there overnite, why not make a deal with a taxi driver in Aswan at your own standards?
Also women can travel safe in Egypt! Sure you will get some looks. Unevitable. But my experience is that NO means NO in Egypt. I know several women that traveled all around Egypt on their own and received nothing but respect.
We took a plane overnight and stayed at the Nefertari Hotel, almost at the gate of the temple. The light show was a good one and the temple at night do make it worth the effort to see. The other advantage is that you will get the site to yourself later in the day, or early in the morning, as you chose to visit it.
I think the tour buses prefer to take people on a day trip as this means less hassle for them.
One couple we bumped into had arranged their own car from Aswan. It came on one days convoy and went back with the next days. They had arranged it through their hotel who put them in touch with the car / driver company. If we had had the time we would have taken this option.
If you're staying the night you'll be OK, but be sure to tell them when you book the tickets just so you don't automatically get put onto the next convoy or flight back (as we were!).