Luxor West Bank Guide: What to Do, See, Eat & Sleep
When we began looking at accommodation options for during our time in Egypt’s history-rich city of Luxor, we had no idea that we’d need to make a decision on which side of the Nile River to stay. When booking our previous Cairo accommodation, Downtown Cairo on the East side seemed the obvious choice, but in Luxor, we didn’t find an explicit area for tourists. So we had to think about whether to stay on Luxor West Bank or East Bank.
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We tried to find relevant information online to help in our decision, but Google failed to provide us with any thorough guides of any kind. From our accommodation research, it was clear that Luxor West Bank provided the cheapest options, but what eating options are there? How can you get across the river and how much does it cost? And how does the West side compare to the main city side to the East?
So if you’re in the same situation as we were, we hope this Luxor West Bank guide makes things a little easier for you.
Related article – CLICK HERE for our guide on catching the train from Cairo to Luxor.
The Luxor West Bank Vibe
It makes sense for us to start by comparing the vibe between the two sides of the Nile in Luxor. Luxor West Bank and East Bank might be separated by only a single river, but the difference is quite a contrast. The East side of the Nile is the city centre, although much smaller than the capital of Cairo, it’s still busy, noisy and dirty in places.
Everything is open late, car horns continually blow and like most cities, everyone seems in a hurry. We can deal with all this, it’s all a part of travelling this fascinating country, but what we could not deal with is the frustrating amount of men hassling you with their services.
Every few minutes we were approached by men offering us a horse and carriage ride, a taxi, a boat, a tour……everything! We’ve travelled India, Southeast Asia and other parts of Northern Africa so we are used to a bit of hassle, but we found the hassle on Luxor East Bank to be on another level. No matter how many times we said “no thank you”, they would keep on trying while following us for an uncomfortable amount of time.
This is the main reason why we’re pleased we booked accommodation on Luxor West Bank. Compared to the East side, the vibe is totally different. The landscape at Luxor West Bank is quite rural, with traffic-free dirt roads, herds of goats and some shack-like houses.
It’s peaceful, calm and friendly, with an almost village-like atmosphere. The locals got to know our faces and we were made to feel very welcome by their smiles and hellos each day. And we enjoyed conversations with the local shop and restaurant owners, a couple of which we would say became our friends.
Of course, we were occasionally approached by a tour guide or boatman, but they politely accepted our no thank yous immediately, often followed with a “have a nice day”.
Things to See in Luxor West Bank
Another advantage to Luxor West Bank is that most of the things to see in Luxor are close by. The East Bank’s highlights include only Luxor Museum, Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple while Luxor West Bank offers all the following attractions and more:
*click for entrance fees, hours and location.
- Valley of the Kings
- Valley of the Queens
- The Colossi of Memnon
- Temple of Hatshepsut
- Medinet Habu (Temple)
- Assasif Tombs
- Tombs of the Nobles
- Deir al-Medina (Valley of the Workers)
If you’re looking for experienced guides to show you the best of what Luxor has to offer, we can recommend Get Your Guide. CLICK HERE to see all the Luxor tours they offer.
Getting Around Luxor West Bank
If you’re staying close to the river then you can get around Luxor West Bank on foot to seek restaurants, hotels, coffee shops and convenience stores. The best options line the bank of the Nile, while the small village centre with a few more local options is just north of the ferry pier.
Getting to & from West and East Banks
There are two options to get from Luxor West Bank to the East Bank. The cheapest option is to take the government-run ferry that departs each side every 15 minutes or so. It costs just 1 LE per person and takes 5 minutes to cross the Nile.
Or you can hire a private boat that will take you across without having to wait. There are dozens of boatmen on the West Bank waiting to take tourists to the other side. We paid 20 LE on most trips for the entire boat but they may charge more if in a larger group.
These guys can also take you on sunset cruises and to Karnak Temple which sits near the bank of the river’s East side further north. We paid 200 LE for a return trip to Karnak Temple, where the boatman waited two hours while we were inside.
Getting to the Sights of Luxor West Bank
It’s not possible to walk to any of the historical sites scattered around the West Bank, so you’re going to need some wheels to get you around. We paid a local guide 250 LE who drove us to several sights over the period of 5 hours in an air-conditioned car. But he did not come inside any of the sights with us. The other option is to negotiate a cost with a local taxi driver who will ferry you around Luxor West Bank and wait for you at each sight.
Places to Eat & Drink on Luxor West Bank
There are plenty of options for places to eat and drink on Luxor West Bank but if you’re looking for extremely low-budget meals such as koshari or kofta sandwiches, then the East side of the river is better. However, the prices on the West side are hardly going to dent your wallet. Most of the restaurants consist of set menus where you choose the main dish which is accompanied with a variety of side dishes such as salad, vegetables, bread and tahini.
Our favourite place to eat is Blue Sky. Owned by the friendliest man we met in Egypt, Blue Sky offers the previously mentioned set menu with main dish choices (35 LE) such as fish tagine, chicken kebab and Egyptian curry. His rooftop terrace restaurant looks out across the Nile River so we ate here on many occasions. The owner would often give us extra free dishes and help us with any information we needed. He even went into town to buy our bus tickets to Hurghada for us.
Another great place to eat is Fayrouz Restuarant and Hotel. Not on the banks of the Nile River but tucked away down a small road, this restaurant has a huge relaxing garden and an extensive menu of local and international dishes. The garden is also home to at least seven friendly but hungry cats!
Click here for a full list of Luxor West Bank restaurants.
Luxor West Bank Accommodation
So as we mentioned in the introduction, Luxor West Bank seemed to offer the cheapest accommodation options, which is surprising considering we found it to be the most desirable area to stay. Accommodation consists of guest houses, hotels and plenty of clean apartments to rent. We stayed at the below top two budget options.
Villa Diletta – Two lovely apartments inside a beautiful traditional house. The smaller top floor apartment includes a private terrace while the larger ground level includes a spacious garden. Extremely clean, nicely decorated, good working wifi and staggeringly cheap price make this villa our top recommendation on Luxor West Bank.
Lotus House – Several clean and modern apartments/studios with balconies and a rooftop terrace overlooking the Nile River. The two guys that run this place will do anything for you and the location is extremely peaceful. Great value for money.
Luxor Star Apartments – With a current 9.9 out of 10 rating on Booking.com and unbeatable prices, Luxor Star Apartments are a top choice. Large apartments in a clean and modern building with lots of outside space including a garden, roof terrace and balconies!
Apartments at Ramla Nile Street – This building offers some of the most stylish looking apartments on Luxor West Bank. L-shaped sofas, flat screen TVs and coffee machines in the fully-equipt kitchens make these apartments a great choice if you’re looking for home comforts.
Stay on a Boat
Flower of Life Dahabiya – Anchored on the shores of the West Bank, Flower of Life Dahabiya is a tastefully decorated small cruise boat that offers spacious cabin rooms and a bright and airy terrace restaurant. You can’t get better accommodation views that this.
Round-Up of Why Luxor West Bank is Better Than the East Bank
So as you can probably tell, we prefer the West Bank of Luxor to the East Bank. To round-up our experience of why we recommend Luxor West Bank, here’s a handy list!
- Village atmosphere instead of city
- Friendlier locals
- Less hassle
- Closer to the main Luxor attractions
- Great places to eat
- Cheaper but good quality accommodation
- Relaxing Nile River views
- Easy and cheap to get to the East Bank when needed
Check out these Luxor tours from Get Your Guide