Abu Simbel is the second most important tourist attraction in Egypt, after the Pyramids of Giza. It´s a must visit if you are in Egypt, so don´t even doubt about visiting it. In our case, we were staying in Aswan, so it was a one-day trip from Aswan to Abu Simbel. Although it took us about three hours to go and another three to come back…it was totally worth it. It´s true that it´s a beautiful building, but it normally gets very crowded. Luckily, we got to see it all empty for ourselves, and that´s what we are going to be talking about…the best time to visit, it´s opening hours, its price and many other fun and interesting facts about Abu Simbel. Don´t miss any of them!
Abu Simbel world heritage site
Before we start with the most interesting facts about Abu Simbel, let us tell you what you will find there.
There are basically two temples at the site. The Great Temple, known as “Temple of Ramses II”, which is the famous one, the one everyone wants to see. And the Small Temple, which was made in honour of his favourite wife, Nefertari.
Best time to visit Abu Simbel
We can guarantee you that no matter what time you visit this site, you will love it, but… We also advise you to learn a little bit about the best time to visit Abu Simbel. It´s not the same seeing it with a magic light and no people than seeing it with a bunch of tourists posing in front of your camera.
Seeing Abu Simbel at sunrise
Seeing the sunrise in Abu Simbel was an amazing experience, but we must admit that it was a hard journey. Our alarm was at 2 Am (no sleep) and then we spent three hours at the bus until we made it.
We made it to Abu Simbel at 05:30 Am and at 6 we were already inside. We got to see the whole process of the sunrise and the golden light of the morning. It was the best for photo opportunities, but what we enjoyed the most was seeing it all for ourselves.
The best option to see the sunrise in Abu Simbel is spending a night in its surroundings, as you will be able to spend more time and not leave in a hurry to spend another three hours at the bus.
We didn´t have much time as we had to go all the way back to Aswan. We couldn´t stay much longer and at 10/11 Am we were already leaving. What we realised is that since 9 Am, the temple of Ramesses II was starting to get packed. Many tourists started to arrive, plus the light stopped being so good. For those reasons, we wouldn´t recommend you going during the day. If you don´t have more options, don´t worry because it will still be worth it
Abu Simbel sunset
Another good option is to go at the last hours of the day, right before it closes. Visiting Abu Simbel at sunset time is also beautiful, the only problem is that you will find more tourists than early in the morning. If you are not the kind of person who likes to wake up early, sunset time is the best option for you.
Abu Simbel at night
Last of all, you can visit the temples of Abu Simbel at night. Some people like it, others not that much. Unfortunately, we were not able to make it, but we have heard is amazing. There is even a light show where they tell you the history of Ramesses II. We are sure is something interesting and if you are staying overnight, there is probably not much more to do…
Abu Simbel opening hours
Of all the information about Abu Simbel, it´s important that you know it´s opening hours.
In many places you will read that the opening time is at 09:00 Am, but we can tell you that the real hours to visit Abu Simbel are from 06-.00 Am to 17:00 Pm.
Abu Simbel ticket price
The Abu Simbel entrance fee is 215 Egyptian Pounds. An important fact about Abu Simbel, is that you the price will go up to 300 if you want to take photos inside the temples.
The price for the Abu Simbel light show at night is 180 Egyptian Pounds (about 10€)
How to get to Abu Simbel
There are different options to get to Abu Simbel.
If you are travelling from Aswan to Abu Simbel, you can either go by minibus (tour) or by public buses. There are two public buses one is at 4Am and the other one at 11Am, but the last one to come back is at 4PM, do not miss it! The other option is to contact your hotel in Aswan or the Aswan tourist office to get a seat for the minibus tours. These ones cost from 150 to 350 Egyptian pounds (try to negotiate it). Another option is to take a flight from Aswan to Abu Simbel, there are around 4 flights per day.
Last of all, you can also travel to Abu Simbel by car, buy you will need to go with a driver, since there is only access to local drivers.
Abu Simbel location map
Next you can find the exact location of Abu Simbel on the map:
Facts about the history of Abu Simbel
Although both temples are beautiful and just admiring them makes the trip worth it, one of the best things of this site is learning about its history.
Who built Abu Simbel?
Ramses II is the one who ordered to build his own temple and the one for his wife. Ramses II was an important pharaoh about 3200 years ago (1279- 1213 BC). What you should know about him, is that he was one of the most important kings of the Ancient Egypt. You will find his legacy everywhere you go!
When and how was Abu Simbel discovered?
How was discovered is probably one of the most intriguing and interesting facts about Ramses II´s statue.
In the early 1800´s a small boy called Abu Simbel, used to play near his house in the desert. Because of the wind, a piece of the monument was revealed each day. One day a Swiss explorer known as Jean-Louis Burckhardt was passing near the region, and the boy told him about the monument. At the end, the temple that was covered under the sand turned out to be one of the greatest temples of Ancient Egypt.
Abu Simbel relocation
If the history of Abu Simbel temple was not interesting enough, in 1960 the temples were moved. The new Aswan Dam was going to create a lake, and this one would have covered the monument. That´s why through a very complicated process, they were able to move it to an area were the water would never reach.
Enjoy your visit to the temples of Abu Simbel
These are all the interesting facts about the temples of Abu Simbel, hope they are useful and if you are visiting the famous monument any time soon, enjoy it! If you have any question or suggestion, let us know in the comments!!