I have promised to share this after my trip but i have postponed till now....hope i can still share with those who are going to Egypt soon!
We have two weeks in Egypt and travelled to different parts of it. The post is focus on the white desert one because i think this is more interesting and may help many traveller on budget to decide the tour.
Here we go...our white desert trip:
We booked a night stay with a budget hostel called (AH) and they offered us the tour with two options -
1) 2days 1 night in white desert - 500 EGP
2) 3 days 2 nights - 1 night in bahariya, 1 night in white desert - 600 EGP
We took the 2nd option which was 3D2N and there was a staff from the hotel took us to the main station, and we took a public bus to bahariya, which was around 5 hours. When we reached the town, there were many many tour guides waiting there with the sign boards or some even with the names on. So you can easily find your tour guide. Our agent was some-one called (XXX).
After XXX took us from the bus station, he passed us to another local tour guide, it was a shame that we were promised to have a English speaking guide but end up the local guide only can speak less than 10 single English vocabs throughout the tour etc 'Hello', 'Picture', 'Morning', 'Mushroom'.....It was an awful experience because on our itineries we will visit few places like hot spring, cold spring, crystal mountains but everytime he just dropped us somewhere in the middle of desert and used the 'body language' to tell us to 'TAKE PICTURE', he cant even explained where we were and what was that.
The agent changed our schedule on the last minute in order to do the white desert overnight with another group of person. So initially we're supposed to stay in Bahariya on the first night and white desert the second night, but we ended up rushing to the white desert on our first night.
When we reached white desert,it was already late and the sky was completely dark. We met another 3 american guys and 1 italian guy, the 3 american guys were with one tour guide that speak good english, whereas the italian guy was with another tour guide who speak moderate english. On that night we had the 'best meal' throughout the trip which was a BBQ chicken with rice and some vegies. And we had a chat among us, and the truth revealed.
Both of me and my friend paid 600 EGP each for the 3D2N trip, about the same as the 3 american guys paid BUT, the italian paid USD 300 for the EXACTLY SAME THINGS! bear in mind, they were the EXCATLY SAME THINGS but for a HUGE different in price!
Our trip details are As below-
We took 5 hours bus from Cairo to Bahariya in the morning, reached at 1.30pm. We had a meal in the local guide house with some bums and onion salad and some chips. And then we went to those hot spring, cold spring on our way to white desert. (there's nothing to shout about when it comes to the hot spring. Basically it was just a small pool of hot water... off the side of the road... where hot water runs into the pool by pipes. You can see that every where in bahariya, as the local bathe and wash their clothes in the various pools in which the called "hot spring" They are nothing near the hot spring as you would see in Iceland! Far from it!)
And the other guys said their tour guides did dropped them somewhere middle of the desert too but without telling them where was it, and what's so special about it, so basically they didn't know where they had been too. Only when we reached white desert and you can easily recognise it is white desert with all the mushroom-like white stones everywhere.
When we reached , they built an open air camp and two 4x4 surrounded it. and we had the BBQ dinner. The 4 guys and the 2 guides slept outside and me and my friends stayed inside a small two men dorms, because we were the only two girls on that tour. At night it was really cold but they did provided some thick blanket and sleeping bag. The guys slept outside said the stars on the sky were something worth for it. Haha!
The next morning we woke up early and saw the beautiful sunrise, and had a really rush tour around white desert. We went separate way with the guys because they had the white desert tour on the first night. Our tour guide only gave us like 5 mins for each point to take picture or else he kept horning and rushing us. We were very upset about this! We didnt even have time to explore the white desert and NO ONE tell us why and how the stones were formed. I mean throughout the trip i can only took as many as possible photos and came back to do my own research on the website.What a shame! But still, white desert is stunning and amazing!
And on our way back to Bahariya, we visited Crystal mountain and Black desert. That night we stayed in a 'so-called' 3 stars hotel without any heater at night, it was freezing!!! we can't even slept! and the meals that they said were included were only like a baby portion! if you required more then they charged you with a very unreasonable price! The hotel has no one stayed in only us with a family that came in later.
On the second days we met the italian guy again! And guess what, the italian guy who paid USD 300 dollar had the EXACTLY same thing except he was in a better hotel in bahariya, perhaps? with a heater at night? We didnt asked about this anyway but he did mentioned his hotel was a bit better than us--- a 4 stars one. But bear in mind, bahariya is a rural area and you can basically ignore the star-rate, they are something near the hostels in Europe. I have been to quite a lot of Europe countries and stayed in budget hostels all the time, and honestly some of the budget hostels in Europe are far more better than the 3 or 4 stars rate hotels in Bahariya!
And finally, came to an end to our trip, we took another 5 hours public bus back to Cairo, the italian guy was just beside us!! The bus was full with local people who didnt had a seat and they just stand or simply sit on the floor throughout the 5 hours journey! We were quite annoyed when there was one local guy sit next to us and he kept staring at our feets all the time!!!!! Arrg!
After that we have the chance to talk to some other travelers along our trip and those who booked online got charged more than 200% higher than us and they all had the same trip itinerary with us.
ok....this is my awful white desert experience, i was very very upset with this! But guess what, even if you pay more than this you will still have the same thing, see the same thing! so why dont you go for a low cost one? Just my opinion because i was on budget, the return flight tickets to Egypt was too expensive!
BUT STILL, the white desert is worth to see! So actually I still see this as a good special experience, i still had fun with my friend and we're so amazed by the natural landscape! But i really wanna share this with all other people! Especially those on a budget!
After we went back to Cairo, we stayed in another 3-star hotel and i guess the owner was the only one 'good egyptian' that we met throughout our 15days Egypt trip! (Maybe we were a bit no luck) and he told us he can do the same tour with only 500EGP for the 3D2N trip! he did helped us alot afterward so i believe he is a good guy! i dont mean that egyptians are not good, but they are just trying to rip your money ALL THE TIME!! so beware and negotiate ALL THE TIME! You will know the truth, when you are there!
Search Cairo New Moon hotel, the owner Mohamad will give you all the useful and correct information! he is indeed a good guy! And his hotel has a good reviews on trip advisor too!
Let me know if you still need other information for Sharm, Cairo, Aswan, Abu Simbel, Luxor and Hurghada! or any other things!
This is my first post to share so i am not sure i should mention the name. But PM me i will tell you!
Hope this helps!