A few felucca boats on the River Nile - an unforgettable ride!

Is A Felucca Boat Ride In Luxor Worth It? A Travel Expert Review

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What to expect on a felucca boat ride in Luxor? Read on for all the info!

Travelling across the River Nile – the most iconic river in the world – on a traditional Egyptian felucca sailing boat is a dream come true for many, and a not to be missed activity when visiting Luxor.

I was fortunate enough to spend half a day travelling on a felucca boat during my recent trip to Luxor in January 2024.

It was without doubt one of the most memorable experiences during my trip and one that I fully recommend you doing too.

It’s not easy to find out what to expect on a felucca ride, so I’ve curated this blog post to give you all the details and everything you need to know about this once in a lifetime experience!

In a rush? My recommendations for Felucca Boat Rides in Luxor:

Luxor Half Day Felucca Boat Ride with Banana Island Visit
Sunset Felucca Ride on The Nile in Luxor
Amazing Sunset sailing by Felucca in Luxor

🏨 My Luxor Hotel Recommendations:

Cleopatra Hotel
Pyramisa Hotel Luxor
Jolie Ville Hotel & Spa Kings Island Luxor

Is A Felucca Boat Ride In Luxor Worth It?

Yes, a felucca boat ride in Luxor is most definitely worth it! I didn’t know exactly what to expect for my boat ride and it wasn’t at the top of my list of things to do when in Luxor, but I’m so glad I didn’t miss this incredible trip.

There are so many must do activities in Luxor, from exploring ancient tombs at the Valley of the Kings to museums and taking a hot air balloon ride, but you should definitely not overlook going on a felucca ride.

Sailing on the River Nile is such an enriching, incredible experience that I really can’t recommend it enough.

It makes a change from the top touristic historical tours in Luxor, it’s a lot cheaper than a cruise and is a very relaxing, peaceful way to spend a few hours in this amazing place.

Views from the River Nile in Luxor.
Views from the River Nile in Luxor.

What To Expect On A Felucca Boat Ride In Luxor

Here’s the lowdown on everything you can expect on a felucca boat ride on the River Nile:

Sights:

You can expect to see some iconic sights of Luxor during your felucca boat ride, including passing by Luxor Temple on the East Bank and famous mountain ranges on the West Bank which is home to the Valley of the Kings.

You’ll also see lots of diverse wildlife on the west bank side of the river, and you’ll pass by multiple river boats and other felucca boats too.

Wildlife and nature seen on the East Bank of the Nile on my felucca ride.
Wildlife and nature seen on the East Bank of the Nile on my felucca ride.

Duration:

A felucca boat ride in Luxor lasts anywhere from 2 hours to up to half a day, depending on which tour company you book with. Most tours include pick up and drop off from your hotel.

My boat ride lasted for half a day and I felt it was excellent value for money. You’ll be escorted to your boat on the East Bank of the River Nile and once on board, the boat will head southwards towards Banana Island.

How long this takes all depends on the wind conditions on the day of your trip. During my boat ride there was absolutely no wind whatsoever, meaning it took my sailing boat longer than usual to reach Banana Island.

Views of the River Nile from my felucca boat.
Views of the River Nile from my felucca boat.

This was a bit frustrating at times as my boat sailed along at an absolute snail’s pace! But my boat captain and crew members (3 in total) were very friendly, hard working and reassuring.

All you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the journey and the views! You’ll have time to explore Banana Island (more on which below) before getting back on your boat and heading back up river to your original point of departure.

When to go on a Felucca Boat Ride:

Most felucca boat rides take place during the afternoon in time to see a stunning sunset during the boat ride.

This was really spectacularly beautiful to see while sailing on the River Nile and made my experience all the more magical and memorable.

A stunning sunset on the River Nile.
A stunning sunset on the River Nile.

It is possible to take a felucca boat ride earlier during the day in the morning or early afternoon if you wish as well.

👉 Pro Tip: I would definitely recommend taking your boat ride during the afternoon, after visiting some other sites in Luxor.

This will ensure enough time to visit Banana Island and then see a stunning sunset while sailing on the River Nile.

Keep in mind that felucca boat rides are all private tours as opposed to group tours, which makes for a more personalised experience.

What else is included:

  • Pick up and drop off from your hotel.
  • Complimentary drinks (coffee/tea/water).
  • Snacks.

Other info:

  • Felucca rides are not accessible for wheelchair users.
  • They are not recommended for anybody with back problems,
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Strollers are allowed on the boat.

Check out this top review from Sidra:
“Lovely guide and cool stories about the island. Beautiful and relaxing view. Flexible that you can ask them to pick you up from your hotel.”

➡️ Book your ticket for Luxor Half Day Felucca Boat Ride with Banana Island Visit here


What To Expect At Banana Island

Banana Island is a banana plantation site on an island a few miles south of Luxor city on the West Bank of the River Nile.

Although famous for bananas (which you can eat), there is also a zoo at the island where you can see everything from crocodiles, emus, monkeys, birds and more.

A caged crocodile on Banana Island.
A caged crocodile on Banana Island.

I was somewhat concerned about the quality of life these caged animals have at the zoo, but they were nice to see.

There were quite a lot of tourists during my visit to the island and it was slightly overcrowded at times, especially when it came to taking photos of the various animals.

I would recommend spending around 30 minutes to 1 hour at the island; it’s an interesting place but doesn’t require you spending any longer there and it was slightly disappointing after the amazing felucca ride there.


Best Places To Stay In Luxor

Finding the perfect place to stay in Luxor is not easy as there are a lot of options! First you have to decide whether to stay on the East Bank; which is the busy city centre or the West Bank, which is much quieter and peaceful.

I stayed on the West Bank and really preferred it to the East Bank, which is quite a busy place. Here are 3 hotel recommendations to consider for your stay in Luxor:

Cleopatra Hotel

This is where I stayed during my trip to Luxor. It’s based on the West Bank in a really quiet area. The staff are incredibly kind, the rooftop views are incredible and the breakfasts are outstanding too! It’s very good value for money and I highly recommend a stay here.

➡️ Book your stay at the Cleopatra Hotel here

Pyramisa Hotel Luxor

This is a fantastic 4 star hotel based in the centre of Luxor, just 1km away from Luxor Temple.

It features really top quality facilities such as a huge outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre and 3 restaurants specialising in different types of international cuisines.

Check out Taylor’s top review of Pyramisa Hotel Luxor:
“Great views of the Nile, staff very friendly and everything you could need in and around the area. Great stay.”

➡️ Book your stay at Pyramisa Hotel Luxor here

Jolie Ville Hotel & Spa Kings Island

If you’re looking for a luxurious stay in Luxor then your best option is Jolie Ville Hotel & Spa Kings Island.

This is a 5 star resort based on an actual island on the River Nile in Luxor and has amazing facilities.

It is surrounded by lush gardens, has a total of 4 restaurants, leisure facilities including 4 tennis courts, a fitness centre, a spa and wellness centre and 3 different swimming pools featuring an infinity pool.

Check out Giovanni’s top review of Jolie Ville Hotel & Spa Kings Island:
“Perfect location at high standard services where you can relax peacefully. Services, staff, cleaning and food at high level. Strongly recommended!”

➡️ Book your stay at Jolie Ville Hotel & Spa Kings Island here


Transportation In Luxor

When it comes to getting around in Luxor, your only real choice are taxis which are quite inexpensive.

👉 Pro Tip: Make sure you negotiate with your driver before your trip and agree on a price, otherwise you may be overcharged, which happened to me.

There is no Uber available in Luxor however, despite it being common in Cairo. There are plenty of motorboats available if you need to cross from one side of the Nile River to the other.

These motorboats are very quick and cheap – and there is also a cheap ferry available too.

Luxor does have a train station and I actually caught a train from Cairo to Luxor, which took around 9 hours. I love train rides abroad so enjoyed the experience, though it is a very long and slow journey.


Is Luxor A Safe Place For Tourists?

Yes, overall Luxor is considered a safe place for tourists to visit. As a solo traveller I picked up a lot of unwanted attention from locals trying to sell me all manner of things, but this is to be expected in Egypt and you do get used to it after a while.

I never felt in any danger in Luxor, but I did have a negative experience with an aggressive shop owner in El-Souk, the popular market place in the city.

The shop owner pretty much forced me into his shop to buy tacky souvenirs which I didn’t want to buy, but ended up doing so just so I could leave.

He had a really aggressive manner towards me when I refused to buy anything which was quite unsavoury.

I would advise avoiding the El-Souk market unless you want to experience countless interactions with shop owners trying to invite you into their store and trying to sell you things you don’t want.


Map Of Luxor

Check out this interactive map of Luxor to help you plan your stay in this fantastic city:

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    Felucca Boat Rides In Luxor FAQs

    Still unsure about going on a felucca boat ride when in Luxor? Let’s answer some of the most commonly asked questions about this topic:

    What exactly is a felucca boat?

    So a felucca boat is a traditional Egyptian wooden sailing boat that dates back all the way to ancient times and were used for trading as well as general transportation.

    The fact that you’re riding on a similar boat that has been used all the way back to ancient Egyptian times makes your ride all the more magical, unique and unforgettable!

    They are mostly small, triangular shaped boats with no engines; they rely completely on the wind. So if there’s not much wind on the day of your boat ride then you can expect a slow, long ride!

    This was the case for my boat ride and to be honest I didn’t mind the slow pace at all; it makes for a very relaxing, peaceful and all the more special experience, especially compared to all the faster motorboats that pass you by.

    How long does a felucca boat ride in Luxor last?

    As stated above, felucca boat rides typically last between 2 hours to half a day, all depending on how windy the weather is and which tour company you book with.

    Can you sleep on a felucca?

    There are no bedrooms or cabins on a felucca boat – it is very basic compared to a river boat or cruise boat. It is possible to take a felucca ride from Luxor all the way down south to Aswan, though these rides aren’t advertised online.

    This will take several days on a felucca boat, meaning you’ll have to sleep on a mattress in the communal area of the boat, exposed to the elements. This would be an amazing trip, but maybe not the most comfortable!

    Is there a toilet on a felucca?

    No, on my felucca boat there were no toilet facilities – keep in mind that felucca boats are very basic. My felucca boat was quite small with just seating space but there are bigger sized feluccas that feature bathroom facilities.

    Not much space on my felucca boat.
    Not much space on my felucca boat.

    Is a felucca ride comfortable?

    My felucca boat came with padded cushions but you are sitting on a wooden boat so no, I can’t say that my ride was particularly comfortable – but it’s a small price to pay for the stunning views!

    Why choose a felucca boat instead of a river boat or cruise ride?

    Well the answer to that question is quite easy – a felucca boat ride is much cheaper than going on a river boat or cruise ride!

    Yes, river boats have a lot more to offer in terms of facilities, and a cruise along the Nile is exceptional – but these are very costly tours, whereas a felucca boat ride is very cheap, with pricing starting from as little as just £10.

    Trying to get comfortable on my felucca boat ride.
    Trying to get comfortable on my felucca boat ride.

    Conclusion: Is A Felucca Boat Ride In Luxor Worth It?

    So that concludes my post on whether a felucca boat ride in Luxor is worth it or not! I absolutely loved my felucca boat ride; it was one of the most unique experiences I had in Luxor.

    It totally exceeded my expectations as I really wasn’t expecting it to be such a memorable ride.

    Yes, the boat ride can be slow at times, but the views – especially during sunset – are absolutely worth it! It’s a relaxing and very enjoyable ride and also very cheap as well.

    So now you know everything there is to know about felucca boat rides in Luxor, when will you take a trip down the River Nile?

    You may also enjoy these blog posts about North Africa:

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    ➡️ Planning your trip? Here are my favourite resources:

    🏨 Accommodation: I recommend using Booking.com
    🚙 Rental Car: Use Discover Cars for the best car rental prices
    ❤️ Travel Insurance: I recommend using Visitors Coverage
    ✈️ Flights: Use Kiwi.com for the best prices on flights

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