Travel Talk Tours Egypt review: Luxor’s ancient ruins! Karnak Temple, Nubian village dinner, Dahab beach resort.

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“All the old paintings on the tombs
They do the sand dance don’t you know
If they move too quick (oh whey oh)
They’re falling down like a domino…”

Walking like an Egyptian, while in Egypt: goal unlocked, thanks to Travel Talk Tours!

ram headed row sphinx karnak

Yukiro and I were invited to join their Felucca and Red Sea Odyssey tour, which took us to Egypt’s major archaeological sites. In our first review, we saw Giza’s pyramids and the Great Sphinx (the mythological creature with the head of a man, and body of a lion).

On the second day, we encountered more sphinxes… but this time, they had ram-heads and were sitting in a row!

ancient egyptian cult occult weird

At the end of Day 1 in Cairo, we boarded the Travel Talk Tours bus along with about 30 millennial travelers. We drove to Luxor, and spent the night in a nice hotel. The next morning, our tour group got up early to see the magnificent Karnak Temple.

Read on to see this fabulous cult complex dedicated to ancient Egyptian gods. We’ll also take you to a Nubian culture dinner, and hang with Bedouins in the beach town of Dahab.

luxor stone carvings statues

Karnak Temple Complex sits on the east bank of the Nile, in Luxor (the city formerly known as Thebes). This spiritual site was dedicated to the god Amun-Re, but you’ll find tributes to other Egyptian gods and goddesses throughout.

A succession of pharoahs built the temple from the Middle to Late Kingdom (around 2055 BC to 100 AD).

ancient egyptian pillars luxor

There’s so much about Egypt that simply can’t be conveyed in photographs. The immensity of Karnak, for one: I was overwhelmed by the size and scale of these ancient monuments.

I learned from my guide that Karnak is the largest religious site ever constructed, spanning 200 acres. (We didn’t even get to see it in full, as travelers can only access the Precinct of Amun-Ra; the other portions are closed to the public).

egypt ankh carvings hieroglyphs

Thankfully, we had our Travel Talk Tours guide to show us the most fascinating parts of Karnak.

It doesn’t get much Gother than this: a wall of carved Ankhs! The Egyptian hieroglyphic is the symbol of life, and much-loved by Goths.

(I kept my face shaded from the sun with this Tenth Street Hats wide brimmed hat.)

egypt giant statue holding ankhs

This headless mummy-statue is extra Goth, clutching a double-ankh in his arms as he crosses into the land of the dead.

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I felt like I was in a fantasy, standing beneath hieroglyphics and obelisks dating back thousands of years.

The tallest obelisk in Egypt once stood at Karnak, erected to honor Queen Hatshepsut. (My white halter resort dress is by UK Swimwear.)

egypt young group guided tour

There can be quite a lot of tourists at Karnak. We recommend going to the back areas, where there are fewer people and fascinating ruins like these.

hieroglyphic jewelry egypt ring designs

The complex is filled with a diversity of artistic styles and architectural features. Hieroglyphs are carved all over. (Incredible how we didn’t know how to decipher the ancient writing until the discovery of the Rosetta stone.)

I hailed the hieroglyphics with my Alex Streeter Marquise scorpion ring, a design inspired by the Egyptians. My nail art is from Glam Nail Studio.

karnak temple obelisks architecture

Our Travel Talk Tours guide struck a great balance between sharing historical information with us, and then giving everyone free time to explore and take photos. I let my imagination run free as we wandered.

karnak temple complex hieroglyphics stone carvings

These friezes in the Precinct of Amun Re have withstood centuries.

egyptian gods goddesses statues luxor

With primitive tools, the ancient Egyptians had the capacity to build structures that remain impressive today. Karnak features the first pylon, or giant gateway, and a wide variety of sandstone statues, pillars, and bas reliefs.

karnak temple amun ra rams

Feeling tiny next to this row of statues, honoring Pharoah Ramses II as Osiris, god of the underworld.

ancient egypt hieroglyphic art luxor karnak

The song “Walk like an Egyptian” by the Bangles ran through my head, as I admired these carvings (they show people bringing offerings to the gods).

karnak temple ram statues sphinxes

Karnak stands out for its Avenue of Sphinxes, which dates back to the era of Ramses II. This line of ram-headed sphinxes represents the god Amun. Each holds a small pharoah between their paws, symbolizing their protection.

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One of my favorite areas was the Hypostyle Hall in the Precinct of Amun-Re. There are 134 of these gigantic columns, each intricately carved and arranged in a 50,000 square foot hall.

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Yukiro and I took a million photos at Karnak Temple: it was one of the most impressive sites we visited on our journey. It’s not possible to grasp the full experience unless you come here for yourself — and I hope you do!

nile boat cruise tour night

Throughout all of their tours, Travel Talk gives you the opportunity to join optional excursions, which span a variety of interests (food, culture, outdoors). Yukiro and I opted to do most of them, which we recommend. Who knows when you’ll be in Egypt again; best to make the most of it.

When we were in Aswan, we were excited to join a homestyle dinner in a Nubian village. We rode an Egyptian boat to get to Soheil Island, where the community is based.

spooky haunted egypt ghosts

At night, the weather drops — so pack a light jacket and layers for Egypt. We sailed on the Nile and passed this lit-up mound. It’s the Tombs of the Nobles, a burial site in Aswan from the Old and Middle Kingdoms that is still being excavated.

luxor nubian culture village dinner

After walking though the village, we received a warm welcome from the Nubians. They’re descended from the ancient Nubians that lived along the Nile, in what is southern Egypt and Sudan today.

ankh kohl eyes mural

Nubia was one of the oldest civilizations in Africa, and they had an important trading role with the ancient Egyptians.

In the early 1960s, close to 50,000 Nubians suffered displacement due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam. They were forced to leave their traditional villages, which would be flooded, and resettle north.

nubian egypt children kids

However, the Nubians have proudly rebuilt their community here, and hold tight to their heritage. At the dinner, we got to meet the local children, and hear about the village’s lifestyle and traditions.

nubian dinner luxor

As you can see in this house, the Nubian colors, buildings, and handicrafts are distinct from the Egyptians.

nubian food cooking nubia

Everyone eagerly awaited the signal for us to help ourselves to the spread of food, home-cooked by the Nubian family. The harira soup, with lentils a fresh lemon slice, was outstanding. We devoured the mixed rice, vegetable curries with okra and herbs, salads, and mandazi.

egyptian cat cats

The Nubian feast was the best meal we had during our time in Egypt. The village cats certainly agreed, and gathered around in hope of food.

travel talk tours bedouin dinner dahab

At the end of our tour, we joined a Bedouin cultural dining experience. At Dahab, we piled into the back of a four wheel drive, and drove through the desert to an area surrounded by sandy hills and stars.

egypt bedouin culture dinner fire

We sat around the fire, and drank hibiscus tea. Then, we helped ourselves to a spread of food from the back of a truck. The Bedouin people then played music on traditional instruments, and showed us how to play games (such as lying down with a cup of water on your forehead, and standing up without spilling it).

dahab egypt beaches sea

As you can see, we enjoyed a variety of places and activities through Travel Talk Tours. A typical tour simply takes you to the ancient ruins. However, our journey also included a relaxing stop in Dahab, a southern Egyptian beach town.

dahab paradise hotel review pool

After a lot of time on the bus, it was a relief to unwind at Dahab Paradise resort. I had never heard of this part of Egypt, and wouldn’t have made it here without the tour.

I felt like Cleopatra as I lay poolside, with palm trees and looming hills in the distance. (Under multiple layers of mineral sunscreen, a giant hat, and an umbrella of course!)

dahab paradise resort egypt beach hotels

Dahab is known for its excellent diving and snorkeling, especially at Blue Hole. The other members of our tour group took part in optional activities like a Jeep safari, quad biking, camel rides, and snorkeling in the coral reefs. We Goths were to happy to relax at the hotel, and watch 1980s horror movies in our room!

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Cheers (with a glass of Egyptian wine) to Travel Talk Tours for opening our eyes to the many wonders of Egypt.

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“Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh
Walk like an Egyptian…”

Did this photo diary make you keen to visit Egypt? More from our journey to come soon, including the Valley of the Kings and Abu Simbel! If you have questions about anything at all, feel free to leave a comment in this post and I’ll let you know my thoughts right away.


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