Food and drink
Go to the food shopping page for information on shopping for water and groceries.
Luxor is not a place to go for large, glamorous shops. There aren't any. There are, however, bargains to be had, as well as souvenirs.
Prices gathered from fixed-price shops. Where there is a range, the price depends mostly on size.
Shisha pipe LE25 - 100
Postcards 25 - 50 pstr
T-shirt adult LE30
T-shirt child LE15
Perfume bottles LE5-25
Inlaid boxes from LE20
e.g. 3"x2" LE25
Cotton bag LE15
Leather bags LE100
Resin figures LE5-25
Typical souvenir items include carvings and mouldings of gods, pharaohs and queens, papyrus illustrations and glass scent bottles. The bargains include Egyptian cotton, leather, gold and silver (but in all cases be careful about manufacturing quality).
Prices in hotel shops will normally be beatable, but they are worth checking if only to give you a benchmark for when you go to town.
It is also worth visiting non-tourist shops in town, where prices are marked and where, as far as we can tell, the tourist pays the same as local people. Most of these shops are in and around Station Street and Television Street. Station Street is the wide road that leads from behind Luxor Temple towards the railway station. Here you will find shops selling shoes, clothing, small electrical items and an optician. Television Street (see the map) is a long road that leads from behind the Old Winter palace and runs more-or-less east (away from the Nile).
It helps to have a note of Arabic numbers because although prices are often displayed, they are usually only written in Arabic.
Haggling - the price you have to pay
You don't have to haggle in normal shops, such as the ones along Television Street and Station Street.
Elsewhere, you haggle for most things, especially in the market and in the tourist shops. Once upon a time the general advice (which is still given by some tour reps) is that you start to haggle at half the price asked for by the merchant and meet somewhere in the middle. The shop and market people are wise to that, so they up the starting price. It is not at all unusual for a seller to start the haggling process six, eight or even ten times higher than the price they would accept.
The best bet is to become familiar with value of things by checking the price charged in the government shop, other fixed price shops, non-tourist shops used by local people and hotel shops. There is no magic formula. Do your homework and with that background information decide what you are prepared to pay, then barter. If you buy for that or a lower amount you have a bargain. If you want to know the lowest price, just show interest, barter a bit, then walk away. The price he shouts after you as you begin to disappear back into the crowd is probably as low as he will go.
Fruit & Veg shopping
There used to be plenty of fruit and veg stalls in the tourist market, but most of these have now gone. However, go beyond the tourist market to the local market and there are fruit and veg stalls there. There is also a new fruit and veg market just across the railway line, behind the station (see this map). Look for a stall with the prices marked and go armed with the arabic number list (above).
There are also lots of fruit and veg shops and stalls in Medina Street, which turns off Television street at the Vodaphone shop (see this map) and more scattered around town, especially close to the railway crossing near the station and between Station Street and Television Street.
There used to be a big and dusty Government Shop in the maze behind Luxor Temple. There is now a new Government shop at the southern end of town. To get to it, go down the road opposite the Lotus hotel, past Joan's, Snobs, Casablanca etc to the end of the road. The Government shop is on the corner of that road and the busy main road. On the ground floor are clothing and linens, such as sheets, table cloths etc. Downstairs there are fabrics and domestic machines. This is not the same as a duty free shop. It is simply owned by a government company.
It helps to know the procedure for buying here. The shop is similar to a British corner draper from the 1950s. There are counters and each member of staff has their own territory and specialty. Prices are marked in arabic. Staff speak English. They will willingly show you what you want to see and tell you the price. Prices are fixed but seem to come with an automatic discount.
When you have chosen your purchase(s) you are given a chitty. Take the chitty to the cash kiosk opposite the main entrance. Give the chitty and your payment to the cashier. He will receipt the chitty and return it. Now take the receipted chitty to the dispatcher who has his own counter to the right of the cashier. If the goods have not already arrived at the dispatcher's desk he will go to the place where you started, to collect your purchase. He then wraps it and gives it to you with your receipted chitty. If you buy things from more than one counter, collect your chitties as you go round and take them all to the cashier together.
Many of the people involved may ask for tips, but this is out of habit. Tips are not really expected or normally given.
Tourist shops in town tend to be clustered and they all sell similar things, especially alabaster, resin mouldings, leather, t-shirts, other cotton and jewellery.
The goods in tourist shops are rarely priced. Hassle and bartering are the order of the day. Some may have a few prices displayed, but but in practice many items will not be priced, so unless you want something with a tag on it, you will probably be no better off than in the market or a shop with nothing priced.
One cluster of tourist shops is along the main Corniche either side of the Winter Palace. There used to be more around the Horus hotel, between the market and Luxor Temple, but these have been cleared as part of the town improvements. For a while they were relocated along the main road on the town side of the El Luxor hotel. They are now in a new purpose-built shopping centre, called Savoy Market (see below). At the other end of town there are plenty of shops along the main road from the Nile Palace hotel all the way through to the Sheraton and down several of the side streets along the way.
The Savoy Market has replaced many of the tourist shops that used to be clustered close to the Luxor Temple. This is part of the thrust to improve facilities for tourists, but it was also necessary as part of the clearance of a tract of land between Luxor and Karnak temples to reintroduce the ancient avenue of sphinxes.
The Savoy Market is on the town side of the El Luxor (previously the Mercure) hotel. It has an arcade at ground level, which goes through to the road at the back, and two further floors. There are dozens of shops, selling the full range of tourist souvenir things. There are also several toilets, which were once quite acceptable by local public toilet standards but have not aged well. Some of the better known local low-cost restaurants also relocated to the Savoy market with the shops but only Amoun has survived.
Updated April 2013
There is a separate page about Luxor Market
Babies and children
Look at the Children page for information about buying things for babies and children
Gold and silver are normally sold by weight. Go to any jewellery shop, ask the weight of the item you are interested in and their price per gramme. With this information it is easier to compare prices between jewellers. There is not a huge variation in the styles of silver and gold items, so you will normally be able to find the same thing in another of the very many jewellers and compare prices.
Fruit and veg
You can get fruit and veg in the tourist market, but prices are rarely shown and there may be a tendency to charge special tourist prices.
There are many fruit and veg stalls slightly off the tourist trail, especially around Medina Street, Television Street and between Television Street and the station (see map). Expect to pay around LE3 per kilo for oranges and bananas but up to LE15 for the best imported apples. See the food shopping page for more detail.
Leather bags can be a bargain. Forget 'western prices'. These bags are inexpensively made and are not Italian designer quality despite the name that might appear on the inside. Expect to pay around LE100 for most leather handbags - many will be less if you haggle well.