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Help with Egypt trip?!!???

Texas
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Help with Egypt trip?!!???

My husband and I are planning a trip to Egypt probably around March or April 09.

Is this a good time to visit?

What are some musts?

My #1 must is to ride a camel at the pyramids. We would like to travel to several different cities and will probably stay between 12-15 days.

Which cities beside Cairo? I have been told Alexandria, Luxor, and Aswan....are those the main ones?

We prefer to travel on the Nile and also use trains as a form of transportation b/c we want to see as much as possible.

It seems like there is so much to do and I want to see as much as possible but also want to relax (or at least my husband does). So I thought train and Nile river cruise would be the best of both worlds.

Please help!

Kristin

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Help with Egypt trip?!!???

Hi Kristin, wow, you have an ambitious schedule planned out! If you haven't been to Egypt before may I suaggest you go on a tour. You will see EVERYTHING, camel rides, Nile cruises and great hotels. I am taking my second Insightvacations tour in 4 monthe-Splendours of Egypt. I took this 8 years ago and it was fantastic! Go on line to their website and also Globus or Trafalgars and compare. March/April should be good, mid summer would NOT be! (even if you are used to the Texas heat, LOL!) Happy Travels

london
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2. Re: Help with Egypt trip?!!???

Yes, March/April is a very good time, before the heat gets too much. Try to avoid Easter itself, as it is school holiday time in Europe so Egypt will be crowded then.

The main historic cities are in the Nile Valley - Cairo, where the pyramids are, Alexandria with its Greek and Roman remains, Luxor, with the Valley of the KIngs and numerous ancient temples, and Aswan, which has plenty to see and is the base for Abu Simbel. There are also numerous beach resorts on the coast with scuba diving and water sports.

The cruises run both ways between Luxor and Aswan and typically take 3/4 days, though some are longer. You can see things from the cruise that are difficult to access by land.

If you fly to Cairo you should spend at least 3 full days there, including a day trip to Alex if you want, then you can get the overnight train to Luxor or Aswan and take a cruise from there. Luxor demands several days, and Aswan could take a few as well. You can relax in a nice hotel in either of these or on the coast.

I suggest you get a reliable guidebook and read it carefully, as well as checking the package tours to see the sort of itinerary they offer for the time you have in mind. You will need two weeks to do this in any sort of comfort, especially if flying from Texas.

NSW
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3. Re: Help with Egypt trip?!!???

March-April is a good time of the year for a first visit to Egypt. April is when it starts to warm up nicely again. I think the time frame you have suggested is plenty of time to see just about everything. I did Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, a 3day felucca trip and Dahab in 2wks my first trip.

I have caught the train from Cairo down to Aswan and found it not a bad journey. Some usefule sights for you are the Egyptian National Rail site at www.egyptrail.gov.eg and the private sleeper trains you can find at www.sleepingtrains.com

I think it is possible to organise and do much of this trip independantly. If you did decide that you wanted a guide for certain parts, such as in Cairo, it is possible to book a private guide for these areas. Many people on here will have suggestions for good guides if you ask.

I would recommened doing all the cities and sites such as Luxor, Aswan etc and then relaxing for a couple of days at the end by the Red Sea in a place like Sharm or Dahab. A nice relaxing way to end the trip.

Stafford, United...
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4. Re: Help with Egypt trip?!!???

That sounds a lovely way of seeing Egypt, if it was just the two of us, we would do something similar but we are taking my f-i-l with us - we are going at the back end of April and we are doing a 3 centre - 4 nights in Luxor, 3 nights Cairo, then 4 nights relaxing on the Red Sea.

It's a lot of flights - I just hope Egypt air don't let us down.

We are all really looking forward to it - although I would rather eat my own head than get on a camel!

NSW
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5. Re: Help with Egypt trip?!!???

Oh I am sure that you will have a lovely trip! I have flown lots with Egypt Air when I lived there, and they are fine for the most part. They have a pretty good record, and I have only ever had one delayed flight.

I'm with you on the camel thing. I did it once, just to say I had, and then avoided the stubborn beasts. My mum did guilt me into riding one again when she was visiting...and I ripped my skirt. I think it could feel my dislike lol.

ireland
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6. Re: Help with Egypt trip?!!???

Hello Kristin

March/April is a good time to vist as it wont be too hot, i was there 2 years ago so things might have changed a bit but myself and my partener started in Cairo, here we spent 3 days just to see the Pyramids get over the flight and see a bit of the city, Cairo is a very busy city so we decided to move on.

We got the Night train to Aswan which we found to be great, we Loved Aswan, so much to see so we stayed for 5 days, we then got the train to Luxor which was good as we could see plenty of the country side on that trip, stayed a few days did our sight seeing and headed to Hurgada for the beach,

we bought the lonely planet book and worked off that, we just had our backpacks and traveled around and saw as much as we could.

for a relaxation holiday i wouldnt recommend you staying to long in Cairo as it is very busy.

hopefully you might find this helpfull, enjoy your holiday

Regards ,

Karen

Knoxville, Tennessee
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for Pigeon Forge
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7. Re: Help with Egypt trip?!!???

Kristin,

You are in for a wonderful experience. We made our first trip in Feb/March of this year and just loved it.

If you can I would lean towards Feb/March vs extending into April if you can. Sand storms begin in mid/late March and can interupt you trip. Also Feb is just a bit cooler.

Cairo: If you main focus when you visit here is the Giza then stay in a hotel in Giza if possible. The ride from anywhere in central Cairo to Giza or visa versa will take a full hour each way unless you travel before 6 am. The traffic is horrible. You will pay extra but try to enter a pyramid and you must see the solar boat museum. I would stay in Giza for first visit to Cairo as you enter Egypt and then stay in Cairo for the return before you leave Egypt. Perhaps visit the Cairo sites on the final day if you can afford the time. Good hotels here are the Mena House and Le Meridian Pyramids.

Luxor is a must. You'll need one day to visit the Valley of the kings across the river and on this day also see the wonderful colors in the tomb(s) in the workers village and skip the valley of the queens. Another day to see Karnak and Luxor temples.

Please try to take a third day to take the convoy trip to Abydos and Dendera. These two temples are the best perserved in Egypt and are amazing. You will have small crowds compared to anywhere almost anywhere else you'll visit and you will see some of the real Egyptian countryside and small villages. Best hotel here is the Old Winter Palace.

Usually the VOK is seen area seen on day one of a nile cruise that begins here. Then you'll pull out in the evening.

If possible cruise from Luxor to Aswan and not visa versa. The trip from Aswan is much more rushed and the timing of the two stops you make is changed for the worse by traveling downstream (flow is south to north). If you stay in a hotel the Old Cataract is part of history and wonderful though it may be closed for renovation.

Aswan is a wonderful city. Very beautiful around the river area. One day is enough here. On some cruises you dock here for the last 2 nights allowing you to visit the sights on the final day so check the trip schedules.

From Aswan fly to Abu Simbel for a quick trip. No need to spend the night as most visit the temples here in 3-4 hours. It's not far from the airport. You will probably fly back to Cairo to save time getting to Sharm.

Fly to Sharm el Sheikh for a nice relaxing stopover in the beach resort. A visit to Mt Sinai and St Catherines Monastary is something you will never forget and can only be done from your base here. You will see the 'burning bush' and the well where Moses is believed to have first met his wife. If you can, climb to the summit of Mt Sinai for a sunrise or sunset. You will be touched somewhere deep inside if you do. You can ride a camel up the mountain if you like and don't get to in Giza.

We spent 27 days on our trip but included 4 days in Petra Jordan and trips into central Egypt to Minya and also worked in Alexandria and el Fayuum.

If you are able to do all of this and still have time to spare try to work in a side trip to Petra Jordan while you are in the neigborhood. It was great.

Have a great trip,

Gottagocit

Texas
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8. Re: Help with Egypt trip?!!???

Thanks for the fantastic info! This all really helps me start the real planning of the trip...one I have been looking forward to since I was a little girl.

Knoxville, Tennessee
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for Pigeon Forge
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9. Re: Help with Egypt trip?!!???

Glad you found the info helpful.

Like you I had dreamed of traveling to Egypt since a young age. If I can answer any more questions do not hesitate to contact me with a message through trip advisor.

We took a custom private tour with Travel in Style Tours out of San Francisco and loved our experience with them. They use only local guides and each was great. I highly recommend them.

Gottagocit

NSW
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10. Re: Help with Egypt trip?!!???

The info that Gottgocit wrote was a pretty good idea of all the sights that are good to touch on. I also had my trusty Lonely Planet and used it a lot. I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned, but just one thing to remember with the trains. They don't let foreigners travel on every train. I know there is a late night one we can go on, but sorry i can't remember all the exact details. But something to check into anyway.