The East Bank is probably where your hotel is going to be located. It’s on the east side of the Nile (of course) and it’s where the airport and the city of Luxor are situated. This side is also where a lot of the boats are docked for those taking a Nile cruise.
The East Banki is where you’ll visit Luxor and Karnak Temple. Both sites can be done collectively in half a day but you could easily spend a few hours at Karnak just wandering around because the site is so large. Luxor Temple is just down the road from Karnak and is much smaller so it won’t take as long to visit.
I took a tour with Far and Beyond Travel (this is not an ad, I pay for all my tours and trips) and I was extremely satisfied. I took in the afternoon and had them drop me off at the airport for my flight back to Cairo.
The site itself is massive and covers over 60 acres. However, most people won’t walk around the entire perimeter of the site. A lot of the site is roped off as an active archaeological site so the bulk of the visit is going to center around the main halls and columns.
You will encounter the occasional overzealous “guide” here who is looking for a tip. To be honest, they’ll even offer to take you up some of the ruins for a panoramic view (this was offered by one of the tourist police to me). The thing is this site is relatively flat so there isn’t much to see in terms of a view and NONE of the ruins you could climb would get you high enough to see anything noteworthy. Finally, it’s also an active site so if you’re approached, just decline and walk away…that’s my advice.
A much smaller site but very interesting indeed. My guide explained that in Egypt, anything over 100 years old is considered historical (I hope I got the rule right). So, you’ll see an old mosque with the main door seeming out of place as you walk in because it’s about 30 feet in the air. But, since the mosque is over 100 years old, it can’t be touched.
Walking through the temple further, you’ll see signs of Christinity as paintings on a wall that covers an older wall with hieroglyphics. However, walk into the inner sanctum and look at the writings on the wall. If you’re with a guide, have him show you the cartouche of Alexander the Great. Yes, a cartouche of Alexander the Great. The history behind it is fascinating.
I took this tour as a final activity before my flight from Luxor to Cairo. It took about 4.5 hours total which seemed like the perfect amount of time. I think if I had just done a regular tour at a normal hour, I would have had more time for pictures and whatnot but it fit my time frame perfectly. Both temples are worth a visit and if you go in the morning, you should have a relatively peaceful time there.