Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Caleche (Hantour)

Caleche, or hantour is a carriage pulled by horse or horses. The Nubian Museum is located at a bit southern corner of Aswan, so you took a caleche to went back to the train station at the northern end of Aswan, mainly due to tiredness.

The Caleche, horse and its rider. Most people recommends it for travel at Luxor to or from Karnak Temple. But we took it in Aswan, and it's a good experience too. The Caleche in Aswan is almost the same with those in Luxor too.

Nubian Museum

Nubian Museum, which loosely based on traditional Nubian architecture (here is the entrance), showcases a great selections of Nubian antiquities from 4500 BC to present day. Most importantly is the relics are properly arranged, displayed and with clearly written explanation. Opening time is a bit odd, from 9 am - 1 pm and then from 5 pm to 9 pm. But that's good too, as we chose to visit it after evening, when all other sights had closed. Admission is EGP 20 (EGP 10 for ISIC).

Mummy of a ram with a gilded cartonnage mask.

Two statue of a hawk, which also is the symbol of god Horus.

The building of Aswan High Dam caused a lot of monuments to submerge under water, prompted massive UNESCO project to relocate them. Here you can see the relocation process, including those of Abu Simbel. In photo is Abu Simbel at its original location.

You can get a feel of Nubian folk culture here, with a model of Nubian house.


Feluccas are traditional canvas-sailed boats of the Nile. As said before, the Nile is at its most picturesque in Aswan, and everybody is recommended to take a felucca to enjoy the scenery. Some people even uses the felucca to travel from Aswan to Luxor or Edfu, which may lasts from 2 or 3 days.

We took the felucca to crossed the Nile from Elephantine Island to Aswan East Bank. Initially we thought of take the felucca to travel around Kitchener's Island first, but called it off after unable to get our price despite bargained hard. Ended up we paid about EGP 10 for the felucca to sailed just 2 of us to East Bank. However, the felucca sailed slowly, enabled us to enjoy the scenic view.

The sailor controlled to sail of felucca so that felucca wouldn't sail too fast.

On board a felucca.

Old Cataract Hotel

Old Cataract Hotel is one of the most famous and historic hotel in Aswan, with Moorish-style building perched atop a granite hill at the Nile River's edge. Here the Old Cataract Hotel was seen from Elephantine Island.

Ruins of Abu

Hiding after the lush garden beside Aswan Museum is Ruins of Abu. Excavations still going on and it has several reconstructed buildings that spanned from around 3000 BC to the 14th century AD. I had to commended that most of the structures here are clearly labeled.


Nilometer was used to record the level of the river, and it's the main attraction at the corner of Ruins of Abu and Elephantine Island. Indeed they're 2 nilometers there. We nearly missed out on the Nilometer, because we didn't know how Nilometer should looked like at all. So it was a bit of surprise when we found out that Nilometer was actually a series of staircase and its linkway to the Nile River.

Nilometer of Temple of Khnum is below the southern balustrade of the Khnum temple terrace, with a dried up sacred lake but was more likely a basin for measuring the Nile's maximum level.

Nilometer of Satet Temple, located just a short walk from Nilometer of Khnum Temple.

Aswan Museum

Yes, museum again. I guess you should more surprise if a country with at least 5000 years of history doesn't have much museum. But I still felt that I had a bit burnt 0ut with so many museum. Obviously in such a short span of time, I wouldn't be able to slowly appreciate the priceless treasures in so many museums. Anyway, we still came to Aswan Museum, which charges admission fee of EGP 10 (EGP 5 for ISIC). The museum doesn't have too much things to see, but Ruins of Abu is definitely worth a visit.

A small sarcophagus of pottery contains a mummy of child wrapped in layers of linen.

An ancient granite. The Egyptian believe that the gift displayed on its flat surface would be magically transformed into real food and drink that could be enjoyed in perpetuity of the god.

Aswan Museum

Elephantine Island Nubian Village

To get to Elephantine Village, we went back to Aswan East Bank from Tombs of Nobles and walked to next landing point for public ferry, south of landing point for public ferry to Tombs of Nobles. The ferry took us straight to the Nubian Villages Siou and Koti.

This shady path runs from north to south across Elephantine Island, and links Siou and Koti Nubian Villages. There were numerous alleys in Nubian Villages, which made us nearly got lost. Luckily got a Western tourist who came to find his friend in the Nubian village (in the front), and they took us along and showed us the way to Aswan Museum.

Kubbet al-Hawa

The only reason that you gonna climb to the hill top to Kubbet al-Hawa is for the fantastic and picturesque view of the Nile and Aswan. Seen here is Elephantine Island in the Nile River.

Nile River is at its most picturesque in Aswan. Looked towards East Bank of Aswan.

Tombs of Nobles

Tombs of Nobles on the high cliff at West Bank of Aswan, are honeycombed with the tombs of princes, governors (nomarchs), keepers of the Gate of the South and other dignitaries of ancient Elaphantine. The easiet way up is to use the stairs that cut across the hill diagonally. On the hilltop is Kubbet al-Hawa, which is further hike away from Tombs of Nobles.

Painting reliefs decoration in one of the tomb at Tombs of Nobles

Crossing Nile River

Public ferry in Aswan carried us across Nile River to West Bank for just EGP 1. It was embarassed that initially I sat with Wei Heng, and the front of the boat, which were all women. Only later when I felt weird that I noticed front of the boat is for women, so I moved to the back.

There were 3 boarding point for public ferry. 2 of them will carry you to Elephantine Island, from where you can board another ferry to West Bank. The one we took carried us straight away to West Bank, right next to the Tombs of Nobles.

Lunch at Aswan Restaurant Derwash

We had our lunch at Restaurant Derwash, just a short walk from Marwa Hotel. The restaurant is listed in Lonely Planet, so I guess we were paying tourist price for it. But it's the cheapest among several restaurants listed in Lonely Planet.

Basic typical Egyptian dishes for lunch at EGP 16 for Wei Heng and me. The food was delicious anyway.

Later in the night we came back to Derwash Restaurant again for dinner, partly due to laziness to find other restaurant, and partly due to it's still the cheapest among several we asked around. This time costs us EGP 18 for slightly better dinner.

Marwa Hotel

We reached Aswan at about 10.30 am. Once there, we headed straight to the hotel we intended to stay, Marwa Hotel, because it supposed to be the cheapest in Aswan. We're a bit surprise that the Marwa Hotel was actually quite good in service, and the room was very clean, and it's only for EGP 10 per room per night. But hotel didn't provide any cooked water, so I had to drink water straight out of the tap.

It was in Marwa Hotel that we met a Chinese guy which we travelled to Luxor together, and a Korean girl that we met again in Luxor, with her boyfriend.

Narrow alley off Sharia Abtal at-Tahrir leads to Marwa Hotel