So how do you travel in Egypt? With a guide. Doesn’t have to be a group. Egypt is safe given the information I’m going to give you, but you need a reputable guide. And there-in lies the key. Reputable. See the photo below? I thought these were nice security guards trying to be friendly to the tourists. But no - after I took my not-so-good selfie, they wanted cash - and were offended that they didn’t get it. For me, I was offended that they asked for it! So you can say we had an offensive standoff. I won. I walked away. But I also had a guide - and in this case - a security guy. With a weapon. I’d show you pictures of him, but I’m sure that would be some kind of security breach and I’d like to go back to Egypt someday so I’m not showing you.
The hotel we stayed at -the Cairo Marriott -was on the #RiverNile and was just beautiful. The golden arches and pillars were once the gateway to El Gezira palace and it is filled with promenade statues and antique fountains. The entrance is guarded by four marble lions, which are armed with shields bearing the name of palace founder Khedive Ismail pasha. For other reputable hotels, follow the travel corner link.
And our cruise ship? Absolutely the best ship ever. I’m not kidding. My friend asked me about any problems and I could think of none. She said there HAS to be something and I still couldn’t think of anything. Ok - maybe one thing. The Nubian dancers were a bit boring. But when you consider that’s actually how they dance, well, then, there you have it. The. Best. Nile. Ship. Ever. The Sonesta St. George.
And anywhere else other than a reputable hotel, please don’t flush the toilet paper down the toilet and rinse your toothbrush with the tap water…….
Bring your credit card and ATM card. For the most part, American dollars will work, but not ones since their banks will not take them. And since most things are pretty cheap, you’ll want Egyptian pounds.
Haggle everywhere. Never, ever, pay the first price. Try to go down to a quarter of what they start out with but keep in mind to be fair, too.
Other advice? It’s probably going to be hot. Dress as you would at home but keep the short shorts and sexy tops at home. It’s (mostly) a Muslim country and being respectful of that is appropriate. T-shirts are great and I even went sleeveless a few times at the tourist sites where no one cares and I was too hot to care, too. But be sure to bring a bathing suit for the cruise ship, that’s just tourists, too and they won't care!
Below is my itinerary - along with a note occasionally on what NOT to do:
-Great Pyramids (of course! And did you know the largest one is perfectly aligned with the constellation of Orion?)
-Sakkara for Step Pyramid of Zoser (Djoser)
-Memphis Statue of Ramses II
-Coptic Christian Church of St. Virgin Mary “The Hanging Church”(One of the oldest Christian churches in the world and is carved inside the mountain of Al Muqattam.)
-Citadel of Salah Eldin
-Mohamed Ali Mosque (where Mohammed Ali is buried)
-Cairo Market (Khan el-Khalil)
-Light show at Pyramids (meh - hard to call on this one. Show definitely needs updating but it is cool to see them lit up with lights)
Fly to Luxor
-Visit East bank of Nile
-Luxor Temple (Amenhotep III and Ramesses II the Great)
-West Bank, Valley of the Kings (Tutankhamun, Seti I, Ramses II are a must see) & Queens
-Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at El-Deir-Bahari
-Temple of Horus at Edfu
-Osiris Temple Aswan
-Felucca cruise on the Nile to visit the botanical garden (don’t do this - not worth your time. The garden is not that great anymore and you'll get stuck on the sailboat since there is no wind!)
-Fly to Abu Simbel-Aswan
-Temple of Ramses II & wife Nefertiti (World Heritage Site)
Traditional Nubian village & schoolchildren