Skip Navigation

NEED HELP TO PLAN THE PERFECT 15 DAYS TRIP TO EGYPT

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East NEED HELP TO PLAN THE PERFECT 15 DAYS TRIP TO EGYPT

Page
  • 1
  • 2

Last Post

1. Posted by nessierrpa (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y

Hi everyone,

I'm going to Egypt for 15 days with a low budget so I have to spend carefully.

I booked an hostel in Cairo for 5 nights at the beginning the KING TUT it has good comments from everyone in trip advisor and this kind of places so I hope it will be ok!!

My biggest worry is transport from one town to other, I'm thinking about visiting Luxor, Aswan, Alexandria, the desert some where, I would love a day in an oasis, a horse trip would be a dream, perhaps a cruise, all depends on what it costs.

As I'm a woman alone, I'm a bit worried about traveling arround, I will try to join groups there, also its my first trip there so I don't know about people asking for money, you can't give to every body, so what is normal??

I have no idea, I just wanted to go the egypt and there I go, nothing planed just the flights a the first 5 nights in Cairo, the rest... all ideas are wellcome.

I would be very thankfull for every recomendation!!!!

Hope to recive lots of infos.....!!!

T H A N K S I N A D V A N C E!!!!!

2. Posted by canadiank (Budding Member 29 posts) 6y

When I was there, I didn't actually see anyone asking for money in Cairo. There were a few little kids who asked for money at tourist sites in Luxor and smaller cities - even the local Egyptian people didn't like that very much though - they just told the kids to stop begging.
There will be lots of people trying to sell you different thing for very different prices - just make sure you bargain the price down! Do lots of research to see what things cost (especially taxis). Cairo doesn't have a huge metro system but it's adequate enough to get around. Very crowded metro but it's new and clean. You have to line up & fight in order to get a ticket though.
Make sure you have a very good map of the city. I didn't speak Arabic so it was hard for people to understand directions since the street names are a translation of the names from Arabic and the syllables and sounds don't always translate well (or correctly). I had such a hard time finding my hotel because even the taxi drivers didn't recognize the street. Make sure you have a map which shows exactly where your hotel is located.

Luxor and Alexandria is very easy to get to from Cairo via train. I took the overnight train between Cairo and Luxor - get a sleeping bunk if your budget permits. I know there are cruises down the Nile from Cairo to Luxor (and back). I really enjoyed Luxor - make sure you visit the Karnak Temple (it was amazing!). I'm sure you can get to Luxor and Aswan by train.

It's such an amazing place. Good luck planning your trip to Egypt!

3. Posted by PTM (Budding Member 7 posts) 6y

My girlfriend and I are also headed to Egypt for the first time. It's going to be the first stop on our RTW trip starting June 5, 2010!

When are you headed there? Just curious...

Ry

4. Posted by BedouinLeo (Inactive 698 posts) 6y

Firstly, I don't want to put you off, but you won't have a 'Perfect' 15 days trip to Egypt.
Don't get me wrong, it's a fascinating country with so much to see and your camera will be on afterburn every day. But it never goes to plan in Egypt all the time.
You may find 5 nights in Cairo a little too much. OK it's Africa's biggest city by far, but 5 days may be a bit of a strain on things to do unless you're well into endless museums and bazaars. I did Cairo for 3 days and was running out of ideas at the end of the 3rd day. It was a good period of time to stay there.
The streets and traffic in Cairo are everyone for themselves. The taxi drivers are just mad.
As far as transport from one place to another is concerned, that is the least of your worries. Although the buses and trains are dirty and overcrowded, they run pretty much on time and there is no shortage of either to get you to wherever you want to go, local or long distance. Fares are very cheap too. Don't bother booking any excursions in advance. Every hotel in Egypt with at least a 1* rating will book you what you want when you get there. Even the trips up the Nile can be boarded on the day and even if they have a sign up by the boat saying 'Full', they'll still find a space for you somewhere and it'll be so much cheaper than throwing your money at an agent. The main industry in Egypt is.. Making money ! ! You can just hop on board avoiding every agent and hotel. Be aware that just about every hotel is a travel agent in Egypt and they will charge you more than if you do your own thing. Everyone loves your money out there so don't be afraid to walk along the bank, choose your route and boat (there's so many of them) and then when they tell you the cost, start to haggle. The locals expect it from experienced travellers. If you don't do it, you'll meet people on board that have and when they tell you what they paid, it'll crack you up.
You 'Must' visit Luxor and Karnak Temple. The Valley of the Kings and the less known Valley of the Queens are just beyond all expectation. Tutankhamun's tomb is surprisingly the most disappointing out of all the tombs. It's very plain and has no build up. Oh and there's an extra charge to see it. Sure it has to be done, but it's a real let down. The best of the bunch is the tomb of Rameses III.
Karnak Temple, although in ruins (no more so than The Parthenon in Athens though), is wonderful. It's the largest temple in the world and nothing comes close. The evening light show will blow you away. Make sure you pick up the free guide, it's available in every Luxor hotel, so you attend on the night when they're doing it in your language. I went along without doing my homework and got the German show. I speak several languages, but not German. It was still awesome, but there was a small misunderstanding barrier.
Watch out for the locals talking to you, or rather you talking to them. Close to my hotel in Luxor was a giant cabbage farm. The only other place I'd ever seen these things was in Jersey at a market. They're huge. They can get up to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. I never saw them in a field, so wanted to see what they were all about. Big mistake. Had it been a giant beanstalk along with Jack, then it might have been worth it. However me being me, I wanted to go and find them. I asked the hotel receptionist about them and she guided me to the farm. That bit was free. The rest cost me dear. I simply walked to the field and asked a little about how they were grown and what they tasted like. No free sample, just an explanation and description of the taste followed by the infamous 'Bucksheesh', which means basically 'Give me money or I won't leave you alone'.
All I did was look at a cabbage plus ask 2 questions. They didn't let me go until I parted with some notes. All good fun I suppose. I never did get to taste the stuff.
If you can get into a Mosque, then do it. I'm not religious at all, but the experience was mindblowing. There were 100's if not 1000's of people in there all doing there thing, no idea what it's all about but it was fascinating.
The banks of the Nile are well worth a walk. Endless sights that you will have never seen before. I'll leave that bit there.
Be prepared for a guy dragging an animal out of his front door and slitting it's throat while saying prayers over it. It's called Halal or something, but I call it putrid. Tradition though and I'm on their patch so no dispute or argument. Nasty though.
The local beer is 'Stella'. Not Stella Artois, just Stella. It's an OK ale, but the label tends to stick to your hand as you pour it into the glass.
Don't be surprised to pass a small pick-up with a couple of cows strapped together by the throat on the back, howling in pain. There's no RSPCA in Egypt. The country would go bust if there was.
The Blue and White Nile is.... Brown.
There is a little bug that lives in the Nile between Cairo and Luxor called something like 'Kalahasi'. It's too small to be seen, but it's big enough to ruin your trip. Apparently it can get into the slightest little cut or graze, even if it's healed over and once inside you it goes on growing. See your doctor about advice on that one. Basically, my advice as a non-doctor, non-nurse, non-ward cleaner, non-medical anything, don't swim in the Nile.
If you do a Pyramid trip up in Cairo talk to the tourists before you do it. There are numerous cheap trips and as many rip-offs. You'll find tourists, they're in the city all year round.
Hope that's been of some help to you.
Enjoy your trip.

5. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

If you can get into a Mosque, then do it. I'm not religious at all, but the experience was mindblowing. There were 100's if not 1000's of people in there all doing there thing, no idea what it's all about but it was fascinating.

Sorry, I tend to disagree. People in prayer are not a tourist sight. If you stumble upon it, ok - but don't seek to see it. It is disrespectful and can get you into trouble. There are rules for ritual cleanness and how one should dress during prayer out of respect. Scantily clad tourists don't fit those rules, thus they should not be in sight when muslims are praying.

There are plenty of spectacular mosques that are not in regular use for prayer, visit those. I can especially recommend the ones in the Citadel.

Finally: Please don't try to get into Hussein Mosque, at least not on your own without being accompanied by a muslim. It is a sacred site, so please be respectful. Women have their own section for prayer at this mosque, so if you are really determined at least have the common sense to dress accordingly and go to the women's entrance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Hussein_Mosque

Be prepared for a guy dragging an animal out of his front door and slitting it's throat while saying prayers over it. It's called Halal or something, but I call it putrid. Tradition though and I'm on their patch so no dispute or argument. Nasty though.

Not putrid, not nasty, just honest. If you want to eat meat you have to face that animals are killed for it. The difference between Western Countries and Egypt is that the killing for meat is done in the street right in front of your eyes. Saying prayers calms the animal and slitting the throat with a sharp knife is done so that the animal feels no pain beyond the initial cut. Compare that to video footage of a slaughterhouse in Europe and North America and decide for yourself which way is better.

I did Cairo for 3 days and was running out of ideas at the end of the 3rd day. It was a good period of time to stay there.

I stayed for 7 days and wasn't bored at all. There is still a ton of things in Cairo that I want to see and didn't get to do when I was there. But the city really got to me, the constant noise and bustle kept me up and grated on my nerves. I hated the mad traffic and the bad air with a passion and had trouble unwinding. My recommendation would be to be flexible about the length of your stay in Cairo. Some people love Cairo and other hate it, only you can know which it will be for you.

But it never goes to plan in Egypt all the time.

So true. Which is why 15 days in Egypt with 5 days in Cairo is madness. If you spend 5 days in Cairo you'll be racing around the remaining 10 days in Luxor and Aswan with no margin for error or unforseen hiccup. I strongly advise you to adjust for the general Arab attitude of "ma fi mushkila, bukra, inshallah" - "no problem, everything will be fine, I'll take care of it immediately", followed by "tomorrow" 2 hours later when you ask why nothing has been done yet and "If god wills it" when you inquire about your problem the next day.

My biggest worry is transport from one town to other, I'm thinking about visiting Luxor, Aswan, Alexandria, the desert some where, I would love a day in an oasis, a horse trip would be a dream, perhaps a cruise, all depends on what it costs.

With 10 days aside from your time in Cairo you can realistically see Luxor and either Aswan or Alexandria.

If you go to Aswan and Luxor it will be best if you take the train. There is a luxury night train for around 60 USD that runs Cairo-Luxor-Aswan and return. You could leave Cairo in the evening and wake up in Luxor or Aswan in the morning.

If you travel on your own to Luxor note that the train is the only decent option of getting there. Tourists are not allowed to enter Luxor unless they go in a convoi or ride the train. This makes taking buses and taxis a hassle.

Prices: Prices in Egypt are very low compared to Western Standards. For the very things you pay around 80 EUR per day and person when travelling in Europe you only need around 25 EUR per day and person in Egypt. Just note that everything in Egypt has two prices: tourist prices and Egyptian prices.

As a tourist people assume you got money, thus they will quote prices at you that are similar to the prices at home to you. Many tourists only think about the prices at home and agree that the price is ok. But an Egyptian would never pay these prices. As a rule the higher up the comfort level the more likely will you encounter tourist prices. Any place or business catering to those who insist on 4-star comfort and above will most likely ask for tourist prices.

So go native and save a lot of money. A good guidebook will help.

Feel free to ask more questions.

[ Edit: Edited on 05-Dec-2009, at 14:05 by t_maia ]

6. Posted by BedouinLeo (Inactive 698 posts) 6y

[quote=t_maia]

Sorry, I tend to disagree. People in prayer are not a tourist sight. If you stumble upon it, ok - but don't seek to see it. It is disrespectful and can get you into trouble. There are rules for ritual cleanness and how one should dress during prayer out of respect. Scantily clad tourists don't fit those rules, thus they should not be in sight when muslims are praying.

Not strictly true.
We were invited into the Mosque as we walked past. There was no trouble and we were cordially invited in as long as we took our hats and shoes off and stood at the back in silence.
After prayers finished we were shown round the Mosque and invited to take photos.
Really was that easy.
We were not tourists and had been working in Luxor for six weeks. The locals had got to know us well and we had become friends with many of them.
Perhaps it's different in other regions as far as Mosque rules are concerned, but for us it was an invitation that was taken up with ease.

[ Edit: Edited on 06-Dec-2009, at 04:51 by BedouinLeo ]

7. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member 560 posts) 6y

I was invited into one in Morocco. I was on my own just strolling past and it was totally unexpected. I found myself feeling a little embarrassed and self-conscious - a bit like when you're offered an unexpected gift - so I politely refused. Feel like a bloody fool now. Next time (if there is one) I'm going in.

8. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

Quoting BedouinLeo

We were invited into the Mosque as we walked past. ....
We were not tourists and had been working in Luxor for six weeks. The locals had got to know us well and we had become friends with many of them.

That makes all the difference.

It is one thing to be invited in and quite another to seek entrance (especially during prayer time!!!!) when you don't know what you are doing.

9. Posted by fabyomama (Respected Member 560 posts) 6y

Not sure anyone would be in trouble for innocently walking in unaware of certain requirements. I've always found Muslims kinder than that.

Just my thoughts.

10. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

Not sure anyone would be in trouble for innocently walking in unaware of certain requirements. I've always found Muslims kinder than that.

It is true most muslims are kinder than that. But I have watched tourists stumble in on Friday prayer and the eyes of the men - well, I most definitely did not want to be at the end of that glare. What is more, it causes unnecessary resentment and tensions. Especially in Egypt.