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Plane or coach to Abu Simbel - which is best?

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London, United...
posts: 4
reviews: 37
Plane or coach to Abu Simbel - which is best?

While on our Nile cruise we're planning to book the extra excursion to Abu Simbel and understand we have the option of flying or going by coach.

We've heard varying reports. Some friends have told us that coach travel was preferable as so much time was wasted at the airport that they didn't get very long at Abu Simbel. Others said that they flew and got far longer at the site.

In view of so much conflicting advice we're now wondering whether it'll be worth paying the extra to fly, as we were originally intending to do as it saves a 3 hour road journey each way.

I suppose it all depends on whether the flight is delayed for some reason but any further advice would be appreciated.

England, United...
posts: 5,571
reviews: 42
1. Re: Plane or coach to Abu Simbel - which is best?

As with everything, there advantages and disadvantages in both. I went once in a group of 5 - 4 of us took the bus one of us flew.

On the coach many people slept the whole journey but I loved the dawn breaking on the desert and the gradual changes of light and shadow on the scenery. We arrived at Abu Simble - again it was a year when world problems had put many people off visiting - and although there were a few coaches of people there was never any queueing or feeling of crowds.

Our friend who flew there from Aswan got a lie in and was treated royally - car provided from boat to airport, a personal meeter/greeter, met at the other end by a personal guide and own car etc. He really enjoyed the views from the air and when he got to Abu Simble he had the place pretty much to himself and thoroughly enjoyed his visit. He returned to the boat in time for a late lunch full of his 'exclusive' experience.

The drawback to the coach option (for some) is the very early start.

The drawback to the flight option is that, if there is a delay your day is pretty much ruined because you do end up wasting so much of it at the airport.

posts: 534
2. Re: Plane or coach to Abu Simbel - which is best?

The first time i did it i flew and got back after the coach trippers having spent the same time at the site! The next time i went by coach and as Boring states the views are great but its a very early start. I suppose i would go by coach again if i was staying in Egypt for two weeks and could schedule in some rest days, if you are doing the trip from a cruise boat and are only there a week then the very early start (3am) means you dont get a single lye in (on all the cruises ive done) which is fine if that does not bother you, otherwise i would fly, having said that you will probably still be getting up at 6 or 7 am like all the other days and of course its about twice the cost (ish) to fly than it is for the coach for obvious reasons.

Edited: 2:05 pm, January 29, 2013
Calgary, Canada
posts: 4
reviews: 94
3. Re: Plane or coach to Abu Simbel - which is best?

If given the option, I would take the coach. I was in Egypt several months ago and flew from Aswan to Abu Simbel. We had to be up at 4 a.m. as we had to be at the airport early, where we sat around for a couple of hours until our plane left. Once we got to the site, we had a lovely time looking around, but we probably had less than 2 hours before we had to get back to the airport, so there was no time to just sit and soak it in.

Unfortunately, our return flight was a nightmare, with 2 aborted take-offs (scariest experience I've ever been through in my life, black smoke pouring out of the fuselage), then a 5 1/2 hr delay as they "fixed" the plane. They would not bring in another plane and we were not able - they said - to take a coach or train. We were told to get back on the plane whether we wanted to or not. There was no security, no one to help us (about 60 of us), no town, as this is a very small site literally in the middle of nowhere, 300 km from the nearest town (we were told) and on the Sudanese border.

As we were in the middle of nowhere, without our luggage (because this is a day trip, your luggage doesn't go with you), we had no choice but to get back on the plane. I kid you not, we all thought we were going to die on that plane and we all wept and hugged when we actually made it back to Luxor safe and sound.

My daughter and I had to take 2 more flights that day, so needless to say we missed all our connecting flights (someone else on the plane missed their cruise ship leaving Aswan, so they were going to have to make arrangements to have someone drive them to meet up with their boat up the Nile somewhere!). The guide we had at Abu Simbel did get in touch with our travel agency, so alternate flights were arranged and we arrived at our destination (Sharm el Sheik, in the Sinai Peninsula) at 11 p.m., exhausted.

Obviously not everyone has these problems, I'm sure lots of flights go to Abu Simbel without incident, but given the state of the airplanes in Egypt (i.e., falling apart, old), I would suggest a lovely, restful coach ride through the desert watching the sun come up sounds like heaven to me!

North Lincolnshire
posts: 10
reviews: 4
4. Re: Plane or coach to Abu Simbel - which is best?

Can anyone tell me how much it will cost to do this trip by plane from a cruise boat from Aswan?

Edited: 2:24 am, January 30, 2013
East Grinstead...
posts: 36
reviews: 3
5. Re: Plane or coach to Abu Simbel - which is best?

As a bench mark figure around £185.00 pp is what we tell our clients

posts: 534
6. Re: Plane or coach to Abu Simbel - which is best?

£185 pp? Is that correct? is the plane Air Force One?

North Lincolnshire
posts: 10
reviews: 4
7. Re: Plane or coach to Abu Simbel - which is best?

Thanks for the info Phil - is the amount you are charged set by the travel guide or the tour company (which in our case is Thomas Cook)? Is is open to negotiation - in other words, can I haggle? I don't want to book it independantly as I don't know which day we will be in Aswan, and I have a fear of returning late and missing the boat!

posts: 534
8. Re: Plane or coach to Abu Simbel - which is best?

Alby, you may well find that if you booked it independantly you could well end up on the same flight as those who have booked it through the tour company! Its been a while since i did this trip but i would be surprised if you could not get at least 50% off or more by booking it independantly.

I very much doubt that you would secure a discount off the tout company but you never know! ( i guess ).

Cambridge, United...
posts: 1,627
reviews: 130
9. Re: Plane or coach to Abu Simbel - which is best?

I havent done it by plane but really enjoyed the coach , gave you a great perspective of how big the place really is .

I think the people who chose to go by plane had some problems and we arrived a long time before them

North Lincolnshire
posts: 10
reviews: 4
10. Re: Plane or coach to Abu Simbel - which is best?

Thanks for the advice Julian - I guess I'll just have to see what happens when we get there - 6 days and counting!