We arrive in Cairo on March 25th and leave April 5th. We only have ten full days to visit Cairo, Luxor and Petra.
We're planning to go to Luxor but it looks like I will only have time to spend two full days there, maybe three. We plan to take the overnight train from Cairo arriving very early in the morning (on a Monday). We would return to Cairo again taking the night train (on Tuesday night).
Considering our time limit, what sights are a must? What should be our itinerary?
What's the best way to get around? What mode of transportation should we use to visit these sights? How much should it cost?
We really want to visit Petra. What is the quickest way to get there? Is one full day enough to visit the place?
Thank you very much,
Petra. I am not sure the best wat to get there from Cairo but you can do it in one long day, and I mean long. There is a lot to see and there is ton of walking. Not sure how you would get there from Cairo, but if you can, arrive at the Petra gate before the open. Yes, it is early but the experience of being the first one there and avoiding all the crowds is unbelievable.
2 full days in Luxor is more than enough time to do the West Bank (Valley of Kings/Queens/Workers + Hapshetsut + Mnemnon + Ramesseum etc). You can organise a 'mini-tour' through the hotel (best idea) or pick up a taxi driver and make a deal with him. You can also go down to the river and take a water taxi across to the west side and pick up a taxi there but keep in mind there is no guarantee that a taxi will be waiting when you arrive. Leave very early in the morning so to get around all the sites while it is cool. Most organised larger tour groups allow a half day for the above.
On the East Bank (in town itself) Luxor Temple is worth a visit but Karnak Temple is a must! Allow half a day for that too and you can take a taxi or caleche (horse + buggy) there and back.
Entry fees for each site are set and posted on a board at the entrance to each place and average around EG100 per adult on the West Bank and about EG60 for the temples - although it has been 2 years since I was there last so allow for a bit more. All taxi's are VERY negotiable. Get a rough idea of what it should cost from the hotel staff or fellow travellers before you go and agree with the driver that that is what you will pay before you get in the car. I have found that having a bit of a laugh with the drivers will get you a better price than grumpily being determined to save a few cents here or there.
Petra is a different kettle of fish. The fast way by land is from Sinai by ferry to Aqaba (Jordan) and then have a private driver, hire a car, or use a local tour operator. Allow half a day to get there, a full day at Petra and a half day to get back to Aqaba if you can. I really don't think you can do Petra justice in less than a full day.
Hope that helps!
Thanks so much Overlandin. Your info is very useful!
I would allow 2 days at least for Petra. We spent 2 full days there and there was still more left to explore - it's a massive place.