Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ruime accomodatie in rustige omgeving aan westkant - Review of Flats in Luxor, Luxor, Egypt - TripAdvisor

Great review in Dutch this time!! Ruime accomodatie in rustige omgeving aan westkant - Review of Flats in Luxor, Luxor, Egypt - TripAdvisor: Als je rust zoekt en niet per se me je neus op één van de hotspots wil zitten, is dit een prima plek.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Flats in Luxor in the Press

Flats in Luxor in the Press: - Sent using Google Toolbar

A new interview in EXPAT Info Expatriate Interviews: From the UK to Egypt

In the latest in our expat interview series we meet Jane Akshar, a UK-born expatriate who now lives in Egypt. Here she tells us what took her to Egypt and shares information about the highs and lows of life in this part of the world.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Peter Greenberg: The Travel Detective: Is Egypt Safe?

Peter Greenberg: The Travel Detective: Is Egypt Safe?

The Travel Detective is never one to lead people into danger, nor is he willing to buy into fear-mongering. A frequent traveler to Egypt, Peter reports on travel safety on the ground in Cairo and throughout the country.

I've been traveling to Egypt since I was 24 and I can never get enough of it. One thing is consistent: Every time I tell friends I'm going to Egypt, they always say: "Be careful," "Be safe" or, quite recently, "Are you nuts?"

I am not crazy. I've always said that the best time to visit a destination is immediately after a civil disturbance or a natural disaster. The worst four-letter word starting with "f" is "fear," and Americans know no shortage of it when it comes to making their travel choices. They are directly motivated by it. I put my money where my mouth is...and I go.

From the moment most Americans land at the airport in Cairo, there is a certain anxious feeling that surrounds visitors. For the few American travelers visiting the Egyptian capital, the questions are somewhat obvious: Is it safe? Will the streets be occupied by Army troops?

But, it's the first question that YOU are asked that sets the tone: "Where are you from?" Guess what, when you say America, a smile emerges from the person who asked you. "We are honored that you are here. Thank you so much for coming to our country. Thank you...we NEED you!"

Within minutes, it becomes clear that Egypt is, indeed, safe. That the streets are only dangerous because of the usual chaotic Cairo traffic and you're in for a treat. Since the revolution started January 25, 2011, not a single American tourist has been killed.

What does that tell you? That when the going gets tough, the smart travelers get traveling. And they then have an amazing, affordable, life-changing experience. It's more than just being the beneficiary of a buyers' market. It's seeing a place the way it was meant to be seen, with no crowds, better deals and better service.

People are truly happy to see you and they show it. And from the moment I arrived, I knew I had made the right decision to come.

I flew in Cairo stayed at the Four Seasons hotel on the Nile. Occupancy was about 40 percent in high season. I went to the Pyramids. Nearly deserted. I went to the Khalili bazaar, one of my favorite shopping destinations, which was empty so storekeepers were more eager than ever to make me a deal on anything. Then I flew to Luxor and boarded Uniworld's MS Tosca for a cruise on the Nile.

There are about 400 ships set up for cruising the Nile, but only about 40 are currently operating. That's how much tourism has dropped since the Arab Spring began about a year ago.

"We have dropped 85 percent," Akram, my guide on the ship told me. "And in a country where so many of my fellow citizens depend on travel and tourism to feed their families, this has been a disaster."

At one point a few months ago, the MS Tosca left the dock in Luxor with only six paying passengers. "We decided to operate anyway," said one of the ship's officers, "because we needed to get the message out that we were in business, that Egypt was safe." The passenger numbers have slowly come back up, but the number of Americans cruising is still hardly registering.

Slowly but surely that word is getting out (emphasis on the word slowly). Not once during my trip on the ship did i feel in any danger. Not once did I feel threatened or compromised. Instead, I, and my other passengers (mostly German, Swiss and French) were showered with service and legendary Egyptian hospitality.

My guides on the ship -- Akram and Mohamed -- were more than mere tourist guides. They were cutting edge egyptologists who didn't just point things out at the iconic sites like the temples at Karnak, but took me deep inside to explain the granite etchings and the nuances of color still visible on the columns.

The cabins on the 3-year-old ship were surprisingly spacious (and even featured real bathtubs), satellite television and the Internet (connectivity is always a necessity for me). The food was excellent, and there's even a spa on board (and the top deck features great sun areas and a sizeable pool. And for the moment, plenty of space and no crowds.

The bottom line here: now is the time to go to Egypt. Take that Nile cruise. Bookend your trip with a stay in Cairo. Visit the Egyptian museum on Tahrir square. Get out to Giza, and, while you're at it, try the Japanese restaurant at the Four Seasons. Excellent.

And if you're friends think you're crazy for going, look at it this way: Pack some common sense, be willing to immerse yourself in the culture then realize that you'd be crazy not to go.

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Thursday, January 05, 2012

just back from a week with Flats in Luxor - Review of Flats in Luxor, Luxor, Egypt - TripAdvisor

Another great review on Trip Advisor, we now have 82 reviews. if you have stayed at the flats and haven't made a review then please do :)

just back from a week with Flats in Luxor - Review of Flats in Luxor, Luxor, Egypt - TripAdvisor: We stayed with Flats in Luxor for one week starting Boxing Day 2011, trying out both the Al Gezera and Goubli appartments. We'd been to Luxor before about 11 years previous and had stayed on the East bank (ie main city) but now with 3 kids wanted a self-catering option somewhere more low key. The hassle factor on the West bank is definitely much less and once a few hundred meters from the port you can basically do what you want with people saying hello, welcome etc rather than try to sell you stuff. The regular ferry across to Luxor Temple is 1 LE per person, so does not break the bank. Al Gezera is more central a couple of hundred meters from the river, whereas Goubli is quieter amidst fields of bananas and sugar cane about a mile down a dusty road next to one of the many irrigation canals. Perfectly straightforward and safe to walk even at night. Both have great views though swimming only for the brave / kids in winter! Easy to buy local bread, fruit and other staples to eat at the appartment, but the West bank has good restaurants too.

Jane was very friendly and helpful and fixed us up with great local guides/ cars/ donkeys/ boats/ camels/ cooks for hassle free trips around the sites and local colour.

All in all a great trip, kids healthy and happy throughout and expectations exceeded.

Stayed December 2011, traveled with family

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