Day 1: Cairo, Egypt
Welcome to Egypt. Arrive at Cairo International Airport, where you are welcomes and assisted with passport and customs formalities. Then, you are transferred to your accommodation where the remained of the evening is at leisure. Four Seasons Nile Plaza
Day 2: Cairo
After breakfast, you join your guide and begin your morning visiting the Pyramids of Giza. Nothing evokes the long and intriguing history of Egypt as powerfully as the pyramids. Rising from the desert, Khufu (Cheops), Khafra and Menkaura seem to symbolize the enigmatic tug of Egypt in our imaginations. The Great Pyramid of Cheops immortalizes the son of Sneferu and Hetepheres. Though little is known of this pharaoh, his monument, the largest of the three, is comprised of 2.3 million stone blocks, each weighing an average of 2.5 tons.
Enter the great pyramid and visit the chamber of the king. The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest chamber is cut into the bedrock upon which the pyramid was built and was unfinished. The so-called Queen’s Chamber and King’s Chamber are higher up within the pyramid structure.
You also visit the colossal statue of the Great Sphinx, which has stood guard over the pyramids for more than 4,500 years. Carved from an outcrop of rock, the Sphinx remains the ultimate symbol of ancient Egypt with its lion’s body and human head. The history and the lifestyle of ancient Egyptian pharaohs come alive through the skilled narrations of your specialist guide.
Enjoy lunch before you explore the amazing new the Grand Egyptian Museum, currently one of the largest museum development projects in the world. In February 2002, the foundation stone of the museum was laid, and an international architectural competition was launched to design the largest museum of Egyptology in the world. The area of the land is 470.974 m2, which is divided into the main museum and the conference center with an area 133.282 m2. Return to your hotel. Four Seasons Nile Plaza (B,L)
Day 3: Cairo / Luxor
After breakfast, you check out of your hotel and are transferred to Cairo domestic airport for your flight to Luxor, once known as ancient Thebes. Arrive at Luxor domestic airport, where you are transferred to discover more sights of the West Bank of Luxor including Ramessum, King Ramses II called his temple “The Temple of Millions of Years of User-Maat-Ra,” which was one of his titles that means ‘the Power of the Justice of Ra’. Work in the temple continued from the beginning of the reign of Ramses II until the 22nd year of his reign. But not long after the end of the New Kingdom, the Ramesseum was stripped of its wealth by hungry citizens, and its buildings were used as quarries for the construction of other monuments. Tombs for major and minor court officials were put into the bedrock beneath it. Small shrines built from its stones and a Christian church was built within the ruins.
Today, you take the entrance to the temple, a narrow doorway in the northeast corner of the enclosure wall. The huge First Pylon, now badly damaged, is 67 meters/220 feet wide and originally about 24 meters/79 feet high. Similar to the scenes of other monuments of Ramses II, those of the Ramesseum depict the wars of the king against the Hittites.
Tombs of the Nobles encompass comprise distinct areas on the West Bank at modern Luxor, primarily in five different regions. Farther north is an area known as el-Tarif, where large row tombs were dug during the late Second Intermediate Period and early Middle Kingdom. Just south of el-Tarif is Dra Abu el-Naga, a hillside with about 80 numbered tombs, most belonging to priests and officials of the 17th through 20th dynasties, including some rulers of the 17th Dynasty. Just southwest of Dra Abu el-Naga is an area called El-Assasif, where there are 40 tombs, mostly from the New Kingdom and later. Just south of El-Assasif is El-Khokha, a hill with five Old Kingdom tombs and 53 numbered tombs from the 18th and 19th dynasties. Directly west of El-Khokha is Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, named for a mythical Muslim sheikh, and has 146 numbered tombs, most from the 18th Dynasty. Here one finds some of the most beautiful private tombs on the West Bank.
Madint Habu is the name commonly given to the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III, an important New Kingdom period structure in the location of the same name on the West Bank of Luxor. Aside from its intrinsic size, architectural and artistic importance, the temple is probably best known as the source of inscribed reliefs depicting the advent and defeat of the Sea Peoples during the reign of Ramesses III.
Deir el-Medina is an ancient Egyptian village, home to the artisans who worked on the tombs in the Valley of the Kings from the 18th to 20th dynasties of the New Kingdom period (ca. 1550–1080 BC). The settlement’s ancient name was Set Maat, “The Place of Truth”. Workmen who lived there were called “Servants in the Place of Truth.” During the Christian era, the Temple of Hathor was converted into a Church from which the Arabic name Deir el-Medina (“the monastery of the town”) is derived. Sofitel Old Winter Palace (B)
Day 4: Luxor /Nile River Cruise
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and then you are transferred to your Nile cruise. Morning at leisure and lunch on board. Today you will visit the Karnak temples and Luxor Temples on the East Bank.
The temple of Luxor is close to the Nile and parallel with the riverbank. King Amenhotep III, who reigned during 1390-53 BC, built this beautiful temple, and dedicated it to Amon-Re, king of the gods, his consort Mut, and their son Khons. This temple has been in almost continuous use as a place of worship up to the present day. It was completed by Tutankhamun and Horemheb and added to by Ramses II. Towards the rear is a granite shrine dedicated to Alexander the Great.
Then on to the Temple of Karnak, the largest temple in the world! The complex contains a group of temples such as the Great Temple of Amon Ra, Temple of Khonso, Ipt Temple, Temple of Ptah, Temple of Montho and Temple of the God Osiris. A 20-meter/66-foot high, mud brick enclosure wall surrounds all the buildings. This great Temple of Amon Ra was known during the Middle Kingdom period as Ipt-Swt, which means the Selected Spot. It was also called Pr-Imn, the House of Amon. Oberoi Philae Nile Cruiser (B,L,D)
Day 5: Luxor / Esna
Begin your day discovering the Valley of the Kings that encompasses the East Valley, where you can find most of the tombs of the New Kingdom Pharaohs, and the West Valley, which has only one tomb open to the public, and that is the tomb of Ay, who succeeded Tutankhamun to the Egyptian throne.
Tutankhamun was buried in a tomb that was unusually small considering his status. His death may have occurred unexpectedly, before the completion of a grander royal tomb, so that his mummy was buried in a tomb intended for someone else. This would have preserved the observance of the customary 70 days between death and burial. King Tutankhamun’s mummy still rests in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings. On November 4, 2007, 85 years to the day after Carter’s discovery, the 19-year-old pharaoh went on display in his underground tomb at Luxor when the linen-wrapped mummy was removed from its golden sarcophagus to a climate-controlled glass box. The case was designed to prevent the heightened rate of decomposition caused by the humidity and warmth from tourists visiting the tomb.
The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut of 18th Dynasty was built just north of the Middle Kingdom Temple of Mentuhotep Nebhepetre in the bay of cliffs, known as Deir el-Bahri. In ancient times, the temple was called Djeser-djeseru, meaning the ’sacred of sacreds’. It was undoubtedly influenced by the style of the earlier temple at Deir el-Bahri, and Hatshepsut, who chose to site her temple in a valley sacred to the Theban Goddess of the West, but more importantly it was on a direct axis with Karnak Temple.
The Colossi of Memnon are a pair of huge, ruined statues, around 17 meters/56 feet high, that once stood at the entrance gate of the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III, though very little of the original temple remains today. They were cut from two massive granite blocks from quarries near Cairo and carved to represent the pharaoh Amenhotep III of Dynasty XVIII.
The Valley of the Queens is located near the Valley of the Kings on the west bank of the Nile across from Luxor. This barren area in the western hills was chosen due to its relative isolation and proximity to the capital. The kings of the 18th dynasty, instead of the traditional building of pyramids as burial chambers, perhaps because of their vulnerability to tomb robbers, chose to be buried in rock-cut tombs.
After your touring, return to the cruise where you will sail to Esna. Throughout the day you are invited to lunch, afternoon tea and dinner on board during your journey to Esna where you overnight. Oberoi Philae Nile Cruiser (B,L,D)
Day 6: Esna / Edfu
During breakfast, you sail to Edfu and visit the Horus Temple at Edfu. The site of Edfu Tell was known as Wetjeset-hor (classical name being Apollinopolis Magna), the place where the god Horus was worshipped and where the battle between Horus and his traditional enemy Seth in ancient mythology took place. The Temple of Horus at Edfu is the most well-preserved and the only one we know to have been completed. Built from sandstone blocks the huge Ptolemaic temple was constructed over the site of a smaller earlier temple, oriented east to west, towards the river. Return for lunch on board then sail to Kom Ombo.
The Temple of Kom Ombo stands on the east bank of the Nile, right next to the river, about 4km from the town. It was dedicated to two Gods, Horus and Sobek. The Temple was mainly dedicated to the God Sobek, the crocodile God, together with his wife, in another form of the Goddess Hathor. The Temple is of Greco-Roman structure, dating back to the year 119 BC, when Ptolemy VI, who started the construction, built it out of limestone. Enjoy dinner on board and overnight in Kom Ombo. Oberoi Philae Nile Cruiser (B,L,D)
Day 7: Aswan
Have breakfast on board during your sail to Aswan. Today you visit the High Damn and the Temple of Philae. The Temple of Isis in Philae is one of the greatest Temples in Egypt and it occupies about a quarter of the island. It is the main Temple on the island, with its massive complete pylons and beautiful scenes. The Temple is built in the same style as the Temples of the New Kingdom, as well as some other elements, which appeared in the Greco-Roman period, such as the Mamisi (the House of the divine birth of Horus), and a Nilometer, but the Temple became submerged after the first Aswan dam was built in 1906.
The High Dam of Aswan was a great project. In fact, it was one of the most important achievements of the in the last century in Egypt, even for many years it was a symbol of the New Era of the Revolution of 1952. It provided Egypt with water and electricity and secured the country of the risk of the destructive inundation of the River Nile.
After dinner on board, you get a chance to explore the Aswan Botanical Garden by felucca boat. Here you can relax and take in the beautiful landscapes full of exotic and rare plants and trees such as the Royal Palm and the Sabal Palm, many of the rare plants being brought from India. Previously known as Kitchner’s Island, who began the project around 1914 to transform the small island into the mini paradise it is today, it is now a popular area for locals and tourists to escape the noise of the city for afternoon teas and picnics. Have dinner on board and overnight in Aswan. Oberoi Philae Nile Cruiser (B,L,D)
Day 8: Aswan
After breakfast, you will bid farewell to the cruise and join your guide for a special tour in Aswan visiting the Nobles tombs, Kalabasga temple, Nubian village and the Nubian museum. The Nubian Village is located on an island, the origin of the name of the island is still a mystery. First it was called Khnum (khnemu), but since the Greek times it is known as the Elephantine island, and there have never been elephants here! Some historians say it is because there used to be an elephant market here; others say it is because there are large boulders in the river near the island which resembled bathing elephants. The island is also famous for its Nubian villages. Nubians are the ancient inhabitants of this region.
The riverscape of Aswan is dominated by the sand-covered hills of the West Bank which is strewn with rock-cut tombs of high-status officials of the Old and Middle Kingdom. At the crest of the hill is the domed tomb of a Muslim prophet which gives the hill its local name, Qubbet el-Hawa or ‘Dome of the Winds’. At the northern end of the tomb area and a steep climb up several flights of stone steps, leads to the upper level of the cemetery where there are around 6 or 7 tombs open to visitors. The guide will usually begin at the southern end of the upper level where the most interesting tombs can be seen. These ancient tombs are roughly cut from the natural rock, and though they are not as well preserved as some of those to be visited in the Luxor or Cairo areas they are well worth seeing. Tombs of this period are usually fairly inaccessible in most places south of Cairo and these show fine examples of hieroglyphic texts detailing the careers of their owners as well as scenes of daily life in the earlier periods. Many of the tombs are linked together as family members added their own chambers.
Kalabsha temple was situated on the west bank of the Nile River, in Nubia, and was originally built around 30 BC during the early Roman era. While the temple was constructed in Augustus’s reign, it was never finished. The temple was a tribute to Mandulis (Merul), a Lower Nubian sun god. It was constructed over an earlier sanctuary of Amenhotep II. Due to the quantities of material recovered from tombs, temples and settlements, UNESCO was encouraged in the 1980’s to plan a new Nubian museum in Aswan where the objects could be stored and exhibited. It was universally felt at the time that they should be kept as close as possible to their principal places of origin. Nearly twelve years later, the Museum became a reality and opened its doors in November 1997. It was designed by the late Egyptian architect Mahmoud al-Hakim, and Mexican architect Pedro Vasquez Ramirez designed the museum’s interior display. The Museum won the Agha-Khan Award of Architecture 2001. After the tour you are transferred to your hotel for check in and overnight. Sofitel Old Cataract (B)
Day 9: Aswan / Abu Simbel / Cairo
Today to take a morning flight to Abu Simbel and upon arrival start your tour by visiting the temple of Ramses II & Queen Nefertari. The Temples of Abu Simbel are amongst the most interesting Pharaonic Temples. Located close to the southern border with the Sudan, it is 280 km south of Aswan and consists of two, rock-cut Temples, which both date back to the reign of King Ramses II (1290-1223 BC). Unfortunately, these unique Temples suffered from the raising water of Lake Nasser while the High Dam was being built. They serve as a lasting monument to the king Ramesses II. His wife Nefertari and children can be seen in smaller figures by his feet, considered to be of lesser importance and were not given the same position of scale. This commemorates his victory at the Battle of Kadesh.
The complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary or they would have been submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the River Nile. The project was carried out as part of the UNESCO Nubian Salvage Campaign. Later, return to Cairo on an afternoon flight back to Cairo and check into your hotel. Four Seasons Nile Plaza hotel. (B)
Day 10: Cairo
Have breakfast then meet your Egyptologist guide in the hotel’s lobby for a special tour at the National Museum of Civilization (NMEC) in Cairo. The museum houses over 50,000 artefacts representing Egyptian civilization from prehistoric times onward. On April 3, 2021, the Pharaohs’ Golden Parade moved 22 mummies to NMEC, including 18 kings and four queens, from the Egyptian Museum, which immediately became a notably historic event. Your guide will take you through the Museum, sharing the history and importance of the artefacts and mummies with you.
You continue to discover cultural landmarks that span three millennium of Egyptian history. Begin with the Citadel, commanding a complete view of the city. Completed in 1183, the Citadel was surrounded by sturdy walls and towers to withstand attacks from Christian crusaders. Inside, you shall see the lavishly decorated alabaster Mosque of Mohammed Ali.
Continue to Coptic Cairo, where you visit the famous Suspended Church (Hanging Church), dating back to the late 4th and early 5th century. This basilica was named “Al-Mu’allaqah” because it was built atop the south gate of the Fortress of Babylon. Continue to the Church of St. Sergius, a 5th century Coptic Church. This basilica is built on the cave in which the Holy Family stayed and is regarded by visitors as a source of blessing. As you stroll along, you come to the recently restored Synagogue of Ben Ezra, which marks the place where Moses was saved from the water by the daughter of the Pharaoh. This is the oldest Jewish synagogue in Egypt built in 882 AC.
Then stroll with your guide through the Khan El Khalili, a bustling warren of shops where you can bargain for rugs, copper and leather crafts, perfumes, and other goods both exotic and familiar. Then return to your hotel for the remainder of the evening at leisure. Four Seasons Nile Plaza (B)
Day 11: Cairo / Depart
After breakfast, meet your guide the hotel’s lobby then you are transferred to Cairo international airport for final departure. (B)