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“Wonderful experience at the Rock hewn Churches of Lalibela”

Lalibela World Cultural Centre
Ranked #5 of 24 things to do in Lalibela
Attraction details
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Wonderful experience at the Rock hewn Churches of Lalibela”
Reviewed May 23, 2014

I recently returned from a trip visiting a wonderful place Lalibela with Maz Ethiopia Tour Operation. It was very fascinating experience visiting the rock hewn churches of Lalibela. The price was fair which worth the experience also loved the driver guide who is very friendly and knowledgeable. The tour organizers were also very professional they were responding to my email very quickly with detail information. It was my first travel experience to east Africa and Maz Ethiopia Tour Operation made it perfect.

Incredible trip.......................

Visited April 2014
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1 Thank Jeniffer210
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Lalibela, Ethiopia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Beautiful churches of lalibela”
Reviewed April 14, 2014

lalibela is wonders of the world. The rock hewn churches are incredibly clearly breathtaking. and all are architecturally unique and beautiful!

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Mikias G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
51 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Beautiful churches, terrible town full of touts”
Reviewed March 1, 2014

I have mixed reivews about Lalibela. The churches themselves are beautiful and worth the steep entrance fee. Its a full day of visiting churches (there are several and all are architecturally unique).

The guide is also definitely worth it. No need to hire a company for this, there are licensed official guides you can hire at the church entrance (where you pay the exorbitant entrance fee). We paid 350 birr for the guide for the day. They will ask for more, but just insist that that is the price listed in the guidebook. It was the best, most comprehensive guide we've had in five weeks in Ethiopia, so definitely worth it.

If you are a backpacker traveling by public transport, its difficult to reach Lalibela, but here is what we did:

From Mekele we took a 5am bus and arrived in Weldiya (nice town with lots of helpful locals). Then we took a bus to Gashena (this is the junction to Lalibela), but if you can't find a bus to Lalibela, I would recommend staying in Weldiya overnight to get a morning bus straight to Lalibela. Once you are in Gashena, there are no public buses going to Lalibela in the late afternoon, so they will try to rip you off for a ride. We were VERY lucky and saw a land cruiser in a hotel. We asked the driver if they could take us and we got a rate of 100 birr per person (for four people), but we really got lucky and staying in Gashena would have been horrible. Mostly because the attitude there is not so much to help anyone as it is to rip the tourists off.

Once we were in Lalibela, it was more of the same. Touts were constantly approaching us, kids were always being pests. It was the worst town for touts in all of Ethiopia, and it really puts a damper on the experience. I would get in and out of the town as quickly as possible, unless you are doing a trek or you can afford to stay in one of the more upmarket lodgings.

For the bus out of Lalibela, the bus station is an inconvenient 2km away from the town center. You can ask your hotel to send someone to buy your bus ticket for you the day before you plan to leave (the tickets are available at 3pm when you will likely be taking your tour of the churches), so for a small fee and the cost of the bus ticket, they will reserve the seats for you.

All in all, I thought the entire experience was worth it.

Visited February 2014
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1 Thank Esther P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, New York
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Ancient monuments”
Reviewed February 4, 2014

Lalibela was by far the most fascinating site of our two week trip across Northern Ethiopia. The world organizations including UNESCO, European Community along with the local community have done a superb job of preserving presenting one of the wonders of the world. The rock hewn churches are clearly breathtaking. It was a pleasant surprise for us to discover such rich and ancient history in a country that rest of the world knows the least about, other than poverty and economic under development. These cultural, spiritual and architectural excellence is a clear testimony to what was clearly one of the more advanced and superior cultures of our ancient times.

The other highlight of our trip was our stay at the Tukul village hotel. It clearly stood out to us as exceptional in quality, service and location. We highly recommend Lalibella, the Cultural Centre and the Tukul village to all those who plan to visit Ethiopia.

Puru

Visited January 2014
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Thank Puru121
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Best guide (Aboushew) and fixer (Aboush) in Lalibela”
Reviewed January 19, 2014

The high point of our 18 day visit to Ethiopia was our time spent in Lalibela. This was made so incredibly enjoyable thanks to Aboush and his brother Aboushew. I had been recommended them by an Israeli i met in Addis Abeba. Aboush met us at the airport and despite it being the busy Christmas season, found us a hotel and negotiated $10 off the $35 asking price for the room in Seven Olives. Without asking, he lent me an Ethiopian sim card, an old pair of sunglasses when i mentioned i'd lost mine, and organised taxis at good rates. He also showed us around and was very thoughtful. He is a real fixer, he knows everyone and is fair.
The trek he organised was out of this world and was done by Aboush's brother, Aboushew. Aboushew was wonderful company, incredibly kind and fun. I was trekking, just me and my 9 year old daughter (on a mule) and we couldn't have felt safer or had a better guide. Besides taking us on an incredible 3 day trek, he took us to a local school in the mountains and i ended up giving an English to 3 different classes. Aboushew then went on to help me buy books, pens and paper for the school and was exceptionally fair about it, we spent hours back in the market in Lalibela and he wouldn't let me spend my money until we had found the best deal. He would make me hide so the shop keepers wouldn't overcharge me. He accompanied us to the fabulous dancing bar, Torpido, and also to the stunning rock churches late at night.
Trekking in Lalibela is more interesting than the Simien mountains, the views are as spectacular but you also see village life (whereas the Simien mountains are empty of people), passsing villagers on their way to market, carrying eggs, honey or hay, stopping at the local 'shack' for some beer or coffee.
Aboushew's number is 00251 (0) 921 525 596. His email is haftamu_2007@yahoo.com.
Aboush's number is 00251 (0) 911 771 759. His email is aboush.wale12@gmail.com.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Rachael B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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