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Which Sites greatly enhanced by GUIDE?

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Which Sites greatly enhanced by GUIDE?

I do understand that people's opinion will vary on this but are there sites in Luxor where a visit could be greatly enhanced by a guide. Any where one would say a Guide is highly advisable?

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Luxor
Luxor
Nile River Valley, Egypt
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1. Re: Which Sites greatly enhanced by GUIDE?

I truly believe that if you have done a little general reading in advance and have a good guidebook, there are few sites that call for a guide. Certainly few of the mainstream sites. It would be an exceptional guide who could tell you more than a combination of the Rough Guide and the Kent Weeks Luxor guidebook by the American University in Cairo, available from Amazon.

In many places, for instance inside tombs, guiding is not allowed and guides have to prepare you and wait outside anyway.

Possibly a guide is worth it for Karnak. Do make sure they take you to the open air museum.

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Luxor
Luxor
Nile River Valley, Egypt
Cairo
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Cairo Governorate, Egypt
The Scottish Borders
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2. Re: Which Sites greatly enhanced by GUIDE?

Karnak Temple - it's huuuuuuuuge a guide can point out interesting things you may otherwise miss. Like Verity has said - don't forget the open air museum.

Medinat Habu - the story of Ramses III and the plot to overthrow him is fascinating, a guide can also point out some pretty interesting wall reliefs there - how they counted the dead after a battle - it's a family forum, I will say no more ;-)

Artisans Village - I had a guide the first time I went there, they spent a while explaining what the rooms in the houses were used for, the route the workers took to VOK to work on the tombs and general life for them at that time. Very interesting. Some guides avoid the Hathor Temple at the far end of the village - it's included in your ticket price so make sure and visit if you want.

IMO I'm not sure a guide is essential for a visit to Valley of the Kings or Queens and Nobles Tombs as the guide's can't go into the tombs with you - a good guide book such as Kent Weeks the Treasures of Luxor and Valley of the Kings is your best guide for inside the tombs.

Other's opinion's may vary, these are just my choices where I'm glad I've used a guide.

Suzie :-)

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Valley of the Kings
Valley of the Kings
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Luxor, Egypt
Luxor
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Nile River Valley, Egypt
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3. Re: Which Sites greatly enhanced by GUIDE?

Thank you so much. Will get the book(s) recommended and consider a guide for the Karnak Temple

Edited: 17 June 2010, 18:31
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4. Re: Which Sites greatly enhanced by GUIDE?

Our 'best ever' guide arrived with the car and said:-

'The boss says you know more than me, so I've just to shut up & answer questions when you ask them'

He obviously had never met this sort of order before, because he then said 'Is that OK?'

On confirming he said - 'So I've just to sit outside & have a cigarette & you holler if you need me?'

We confirmed this

He did exactly that. It was great!

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5. Re: Which Sites greatly enhanced by GUIDE?

I don't want to argue with Suzie (LOL) but I beg ro differ ....

I'd suggest you really want to make your FIRST visit to Karnak without a guide yammering on at you.

It's close enough to Luxor to get there easily and cheaply by street taxi (agree a return price and pick up time .. don't pay until the return leg is completed) and tickets are inexpensive enough to allow repeat visits, even within the same holiday.

Karnak is so overwhelming you just want to soak it all up at first encounter and enjoy the sense of awe and wonder.

Once you've got your bearings a guide may be worthwhile to point out the sort of details Suzie mentions, but take it steady ... you've got a whole holiday to go at.

By the same token Luxor temple is so easy to access I'd suggest you should make your first visit there in the cool of the evening by floodlight ... and again soak up the magical atmosphere on your own (with a bit of prior research with Kent Weeks' book) rather that be lectured at in fractured English about the family lives of the pharoahs.

On the other hand I'd say you DO want a guide for your first visit to the West Bank (sorry Suzie) until you become familiar with the geography and the ticketing arrangements.

We made a point of going to the historic sites very early to benefit from the cool and the relative lack of crowding.

The downside of being the only tourists in the workers' village at 0615 was that we were the ONLY available targets for the various hawkers and baksheesh-seekers.

It wasn't obvious where we were supposed to be heading and it would have been a bit stressful without a guide to show us the way and fend off the least deserving of the hangers-on.

When we go back I think we'll be a lot more confident to venture over 'the other side' on our own with just a driver and an air conditioned van to retreat to for a cool down and a rest between locations.

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Luxor
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Nile River Valley, Egypt
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6. Re: Which Sites greatly enhanced by GUIDE?

It's probably difficult for us 'double digit' visitors to remember our first time.

On our 1st trip we certainly had a guide (we did the 7 day cruise 3 Cairo 3 Luxor trip) everywhere and definitely were 'templed out' by the time we got back to Luxor, such that we spent most of the 3 days at the Hilton Poolside.

We tend to use a guide 1st time, the problem we have had is that most places in our travels have been one-offs (see my travel map) so we have had quite a few guides of vastly varying style & quality.

But we are probably h*ll for most of them since on all 'optional' tours, we are off doing our own thing.

I can understand visitors from the likes of the US, Canada, Australia who will have travelled a long way and don't have time to 'waste' looking for a local tour company, or the Brit who is there for a cheap Sun'n Sand holiday with little interest in the history, but feels the need to say they visited the VoK. They want a guide

Others, with an interest in the subject, will read up on it, join TA etc. They will be able to do it themselves

So what I'm really saying is:-

There is no 'one size fits all' answer to needing a guide or not. it depends on which of the above groups you may fit into, with the rider that 'We are all different' so what suits me mightn't suit them

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Cairo
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Cairo Governorate, Egypt
Luxor
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Nile River Valley, Egypt
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7. Re: Which Sites greatly enhanced by GUIDE?

Being our first time in Egypt and perhaps the last for the foreseeable future (We are on the 5th year of our "10 exotic trips in ten years" bucket list) we want to get the most bang for our limited time.We will be spending 4 days in Luxor after 3 full days in Cairo and don't want to be overloaded with too much information on Egyptian history. On the other hand I do want to see most of the sites that the very helpful folks on this site have recommended.This debate is useful - our trip is in late Oct-Early Nov so there is plenty of time for us to obsess. The planning is half the fun, I find

Edited: 17 June 2010, 22:08
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Egypt
Egypt
Africa
Luxor
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Nile River Valley, Egypt
Cairo
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Cairo Governorate, Egypt
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8. Re: Which Sites greatly enhanced by GUIDE?

Toured Egypt, incl. Luxor etc, in April, and to be honest, in my opinion, I found the constant handing over to guides a nuisance. I really really really wanted to wander and sit and contemplate these great places, but that wasn't possible. We were herded about to where the guide wanted us to go and frankly in the end I just tuned out to their monotone information. Don't mean to sound negative but if you've done any reading or research at all, I don't believe you need a guide at these places. I guess it depends on what you want when you visit - lots and lots of detailed information, or to just experience the wonder and atmosphere of it all.

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Egypt
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Luxor
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Nile River Valley, Egypt
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9. Re: Which Sites greatly enhanced by GUIDE?

Well that's just the thing, what works well for one doesn't work so well for another.

For instance I like all the detailed information though can understand why others might get bored standing there listening to it all. I also like to have someone to bombard with the many questions I have.

If hiring a guide for a private tour, I refuse to get herded about at the guide's pace - it's done at the pace I want.

There is no real right or wrong way to whether you should hire a guide or not as long as you get what you want out of your trip to Luxor and enjoy it as much as us regulars all do.

Suzie :-)

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Luxor
Luxor
Nile River Valley, Egypt
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10. Re: Which Sites greatly enhanced by GUIDE?

Paparam, just another quick thought ... are you committed the 3 full days in Cairo? If not you might want to reconsider.

We did an 'overnighter' from Luxor to Cairo arriving lunchtime on day one; we went straight to the museum and Tut's mask whilst the day trip tour groups were having lunch, then a bit of Coptic Cairo, dinner, cheap hotel just to sleep, dawn raid on the pyramids, lunch, out to Saqqara and then a flight back to our hotel in Luxor in reasonable time for dinner on day 2.

I wouldn't have missed Cairo's historic treasures for the world - BUT modern Cairo is an airless, gridlocked, polluted hell and it felt so good getting back to easygoing Luxor ... where so many world-class sites are just a short excursion from your hotel.

Just a thought. My abiding memory of Cairo was running a finger around my collar in the heat - and it came away black.

Edited: 18 June 2010, 08:39
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Cairo Governorate, Egypt
Luxor
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Nile River Valley, Egypt