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fun to do kids luxor egypt   Travel for Kids
Egypt
   
     
   

Luxor

Karnak Temple
  Karnak Temple – This huge sprawling complex has lots of courtyards with columns for kids to run around. You do need to run quietly (shouting is frowned on) and try not to bump into any tour groups. To get to the temple, take a horse carriage (caleche) from the center of Luxor. Or boat down the Nile from Luxor, so your kids can arrive the way the pharaoh used to.
   

Luxor Temple – This temple is a gem and on a smaller scale. Visit it more than once, it grows on you. Also, be sure to go back at night. It is beautifully lit up and even more striking in the darkness.

     

Tip: When you enter the temple, if the entrance seems a little lopsided, it is. On the left is a soaring obelisk, once gold tipped, with four baboons at the base. On the right, originally there was a matching obelisk – that obelisk now sits in the Place de Concorde in Paris.

Khaemsawet
  Valley of Kings and Queens – The whole area is chock full of tombs. Our favorites were Thutmose III, really impressive because you climb up a ladder for 30 meters to reach the tomb and the tombs of Ramses III’s sons. In the tomb of Khaemsawet, there is a wonderful scene of Ramses introducing his son to the Anubis and other gods of the Afterlife. The painted relief shows the prince in typical clothes and hairstyle for a boy (photo at left).
    Deir el-Bahri – Visiting the Temple of Hatshepsut (Djeser-Djeseru)at Deir el-Bahri is an extraordinary experience. The monumental temple was cut out of the rock in three levels, ramps leading up to courtyards, decorated with reliefs of important events in the reign of Hatshepsut as pharaoh. Don't miss the chapel of Hathor (goddess decorating the pillars has lovely cow ears), and chapel of Anubis, with golden stars and shimmering blue ceiling, perky cobras along the top of wall.
More about Deir el-Bahri and Hatshepsut, read our blog post "Hatshepsut at The Met."
  Deir el Medina – It's well worth a trip to Deir el Medina, ruins of the village that housed the craftsmen who built the royal tombs, the stonecutters, masons, painters. For 300 years, in the New Kingdom, this was a thriving town where the workers lived with their families. And the craftsmen who lived here decorated their own tombs (visit the Tombs of Peshedu, Sennedjem and Ankherha), and they're beautifully painted with scenes of farming, making offerings, daily life in ancient Egypt, so much freer than the formal ceremonial paintings of the royal tombs.
    Ride boats on the Nile – You can rent motor launches or feluccas (sailing boats) by the hour and go for a cruise on the Nile. The felucca is extremely atmospheric, but with the motor launch you can go where you please.
Motor launch
    A motor launch looks like the "African Queen" and is quite comfortable, with cushions and small tables. If you’re lucky, the kids will be allowed to pilot the boat (in the area around Luxor, the Nile is sandy bottomed). Tea is always brewed and served but you can also arrange to have lunch on board.
      A popular ride is to take a felucca to Banana Island near sunset. Banana Island has, you guessed it, banana palms, but not much else. The small "finger" bananas are quite delicious – the kids gobbled up quite a handful. The wind-blown felucca is quite a way to travel on the Nile, but can be slow, depending on how much wind there is.
Kids riding donkeys above the Valley of the Kings, Egypt
  Donkey rides – For a breathtaking experience, take a donkey ride above Valley of the Kings. The trail is precipitous, so, if you have vertigo (as I do), hold on, but it is well worth it. We started in Gerizra village on the West Bank, rode through the sugar cane fields, on up along the crest of the ridge above Deir el-Bahri, peeked over into the Valley of the Kings, and descended on the trail down by the temple of "Hot Chicken Soup" (Hatshepsut).
    These donkeys were a big hit with our kids. The donkeys are kid-sized and with cushioned saddles, are comfortable to ride. A caveat – as our guide said, you can either kiss or kick your donkey. We had excellent donkeys that were very sure footed and knew the way. Tell your guide that you want "smart donkeys." While you get off to admire the view, you wouldn’t want your donkey to wander off, leaving you stranded – it would be a long walk back.
   

Ride in horse drawn carriages – The horse-drawn carriages, caleches, have creaky leather and lots of gilt fringes. They are spacious, don't require seat belts and make a nice "clip-clop" sound as you ride about the town.

Relax in the cafes – Day or night, the cafes are a great respite from the tourist trade scene in Luxor (aka the spice sellers, the felluca captains, the guides, the caleche drivers, the taxi drivers, the souvenir sellers).  Traditionally cafes are frequented by men only, but foreign women are okay in the back-alley cafes we visited in Luxor. Tables are small so the kids can have their own, and soft drinks in the cafes are safe to drink.
Mummification Museum – On the Corniche, the Mummification Museum has great examples of mummified animals, including a crocodile.
Watch local soccer games – When your kids have had it with antiquities, there's a soccer field on the West Bank, across from Luxor, near the main road that goes from the motor launch landing. Late in the afternoon, there’s always a local soccer game or practice to watch. 

Aswan High Dam and Temple of Philae (Aswan) Two big attractions at Aswan are the Aswan High Dam and the temple of Philae. I didn’t think the dam looked like much, but my kids loved the diagrams showing how the dam is constructed and the huge expanse of Lake Nassar behind the dam. And in fact, damming the longest river in the world is a big deal.

      The temple of Philae is fun, in part because it is on an island and you can only get there by boat.
    Editor's note: We saw the Aswan Dam and the Temple of Philae as a day trip from Luxor, but it's really too much for a day trip. You're better off staying off in Aswan as your starting point.
family travel tools luxor egypt

Avoid the hassle of negotiating with guides or taxi drivers to get to the Valley of Kings and all the cool tombs on the West Bank. With a private tour (4 hours), explore inside the tombs on your own and decide how much time to spend at each location:

Luxor West Bank Private Tour
You'll need a driver and motorboat to get to the Aswan Dam and Philae. Sign up for a private tour, your guide will pick your family up at your hotel and whisk you to the sights:
Aswan Dam and Philae Private Tour
kids books luxor valley kings egypt
     
Mummies of the Pharaohs ancient egypt kids  
Mummies of the Pharaohs
Melvin Berger & Gilda Berger

Explore the Valley of the Kings – the hidden tomb of King Tutankhamun (Tut's toes were capped with gold), vast tomb complex of Ramses II (over 110 rooms), paintings, unwrapped mummies and statues of the Thutmosis III, Hatshepsut, Akhenaten, Seti I. Gorgeous close-up photographs of tomb treasures and mummies. (Picture book)

 

     

Fascinating look into the life and times of the boy pharaoh, Tutankhamun, and discovery of his tomb centuries later. Step-by-step reconstruction drawings of unsealing the tomb, the burial chamber, layered coffins, Tut's mummy and all his magical amulets, gilded shrines and treasures of the tomb. (Illustrated chapter book)

 

 
archeology childrens books Inside the Tomb of Tutankamun valley kings egypt
     
 
Who Was King Tut?
Roberta Edwards, True Kelley

Illustrated biography of King Tutankhamun, growing up as prince in ancient Egypt, plus mummy-making and historic tomb discovery by Howard Carter. (Chapter book)

 

     

Before you visit Deir el-Bahri, read about Hatshepsut, extraordinary female pharaoh of ancient Egypt. As Pharaoh, Hatshepsut ruled Egypt for over 20 years, launched trading expeditions, and piled up wealth and treasures. (Illustrated chapter book)

 

 
hatshepsut princess who became king
     
The Pharoah's Secret adventure kids Luxor egypt
 
The Pharaoh's Secret
Marissa Moss

Travel with Talibah and her brother Adom to Luxor and step into a mystery surrounding the pharaoh Hatshepsut and her advisor Senenmut. Riddles, hieroglyphs, a villainous archaeologist, and the great monuments of Deir el-Bahri and temple of Karnak, this is the next best thing to a trip to Luxor! (Chapter book)

 

     
Sphinx's Princess
Esther Friesner

Fascinating novel of Princess Nefertiti, who comes to live at Pharaoh’s palace in Thebes. Betrothed to the crown prince, she prefers to explore the great temple at Karnak, learn to ride a chariot, and write like a scribe. But will she survive palace rivalries and a viper? (Chapter book)

In the second novel, Nefertiti is accused of treason, and flees Thebes: Sphinx's Queen

 

 
Sphinx's Princess nefertiti adventure kids ancient egypt
     
Hieroglyph Detective  
Hieroglyph Detective
Nigel Strudwick

Not a kid's book per se, this is the book to bring with you when you visit tombs in the Valley of Kings and Queens, and the temple at Karnak. Hieroglyphs on the tomb walls are identified and translated! (Chapter book)

 

(More children's books on other Egypt pages)
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