Luxor is an incredible city full of ancient history and amazing sites. The first time that I visited Egypt I didn’t get the chance to visit Egypt but when I came back in 2019, it was high on my list of places to see. A lot of people told me that I could visit most everything in Luxor in just 2 days, but I knew that I would need longer than that. I wanted to really get to know Luxor and get off the beaten path to see what this city had to offer. I ended up spending 5 days in Luxor on the West Bank, so I really got the chance to dive deep and do a lot.
Whenever people ask me about my solo trip to Egypt, the first thing that I tell them is to get out of Cairo as soon as possible. Yes there are things to do and there is plenty to see in Cairo but see it and then leave. Cairo is overwhelming, exhausting and very full on. I found that as soon as I explored other parts of the country, like Luxor, I had a much better, safer experience.
This famous city is in the south of Egypt (which is actually called Upper Egypt) and it can be reached a number of ways from all around the country.
Getting to Luxor
You can get to Luxor a number of ways and as a solo female traveler in Egypt, I wanted to make sure that I traveled in the safest way possible. That came with a lot of research and one thing that I quickly realized is that the majority of the research I was finding, was from years ago. I hope that if you decided to travel solo to Egypt, you find this information much more helpful.
Flying to Luxor
You can fly to Luxor from Cairo with Egyptair. It takes just over an hour and you can find really affordable flights if you plan plenty in advance. A quick search showed that if you were to book a last minute flight it would cost you around $100 (USD)
Buses to Luxor
There are a LOT of options for getting to Luxor by bus. While I was in Egypt I chose to travel with Go Bus (not sponsored, I actually just really like and trust them as a company). There are plenty of options for your trip to Luxor but the most common is starting in Cairo. You can take the Go Bus starting in Cairo and it will take you all night to Luxor. Don’t worry, the overnight buses are very safe and Go Bus will take good care of you. You can book a ‘luxury’ bus for about $30 that will have movies, snacks and even a meal for your journey.
If you are starting your journey from Hurghada instead of Cairo, you can take a bus journey to Luxor which only takes about 4 hours.
Cruising to Luxor
A fun and unique way to get to Luxor is by taking a cruise up the Nile. However, if you are a solo traveler in Egypt (male of female), I don’t recommend this option mainly because it’s lonely. Of course you can meet people on the cruise but I’ll be honest, the majority of the people on a cruise to are going to be elderly and chances are, they are there with a group. I know several people that took the cruise by themselves and recommended against it. If you are traveling with a friend, take the cruise for sure! When I go back with a friend, I will take the cruise. It’s relaxing and fun, plus who gets to say that they took a cruise down the Nile? Not many people!
Taking the Train to Luxor
If you want to take the Train to Luxor it can be a little bit more difficult and expensive but it is doable (the overnight bus was actually faster than the train though just fyi)
Why is taking the overnight train so hard? Basically Egypt likes to make things hard for tourists and the train is a great example of this. Difficult does not begin to describe how hard it is for tourists to get train tickets. Yes, you can get train tickets from your hotel or almost any tour agency but an overnight train ticket costs $18 USD as of 2019 and the tour company or hotel won’t sell you a ticket for less than $100 USD. I don’t appreciate being ripped off to that extreme so I immediately began looking for other options. If you try to buy a train ticket yourself, there’s a chance that you will still end up paying that much at the train station but more likely they will tell you that the train is sold out.
So how do you get affordable tickets to ride the overnight train to Luxor? Here’s my insider’s secret.
The people at the Dahab Hostel in Cairo are your best bet. Stay with them while you are in Cairo (they have private rooms for around $10 USD a night and a great vibe on the rooftop). When you are there, you can talk with the guys at reception and they have a guy that will buy a train ticket for you. Sounds sketchy? It’s not I promise. It’s honestly your best option when it comes to the train. The reception are amazing, they won’t mind at all and you aren’t the first person they’ve helped so don’t stress about it. Just let them know what train you want to go on. You can choose between the normal train and the 1st class train and tell them the date (book at least one day in advance) and they will get the ticket for you.
My Recommendation for Solo Female Journeys
That was a lot of information about trains, planes and automobiles but what do I actually recommend as a solo female traveler in Egypt? I recommend that you take the overnight bus. You won’t get ripped off, it’s extremely safe and like I said, it’s actually faster than the train. The overnight bus to Luxor will drop you off directly outside the train station in Luxor.
Planning for your overnight journey
Lastly, I wanted to share a few tips with you, to really help you prepare for your overnight journey. The tips apply whether you take the bus or the train. I promise you'll want to keep these things in mind.
- Dress very very warm. The overnight bus was freezing and the train was even colder. No matter what time of year it is, they blast the air-conditioning. I recommend taking a coat, scarf and something for your head. You also need to make sure to have on long pants and shoes with socks.
- Bring an additional scarf to lay your head on so that you can get some sleep.
- Take a power bank with you so that you can have a charged phone when you arrive at your destination.
- Download some movies, music and books for entertainment because they generally won't have wi-fi and if it says they have wi-fi, it's not going to be the most amazing. I always recommend getting a sim card with plenty of data as soon as you arrive in Egypt.
- Make sure that you bring snacks. Some of the buses offer a box lunch but it still won't be a full meal. I grabbed sweets from the bakery, fruits and brought Koshari.
- Take PLENTY of water. I took a huge bottle of water and my small bottle that I take everywhere.
- If you are a solo traveler in Egypt, the Go Bus has an option to book a luxury bus where you can have a seat to yourself, so you don't have to sit by a stranger. I recommend doing this because you will have a better experience.