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Done my research - now my questions/opinions please - Cairo

Ottawa
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Done my research - now my questions/opinions please - Cairo

Well I've read all the stickys, FAQ's along with a few hundred postings in this forum to gather what I think is enough information to form a plan. So here it is. I'm looking for some suggestions from the experienced (cairowendy et al) as to what they think I could do to improve upon what I've come up with (considering my limitations)

I have a business trip to Tel Aviv in September. Instead of heading back home to Canada afterwards I'm planning a short side trip to Cairo (with my wife along) to visit the pyramids. Mainly we want to visit; a) Pyramids, b) Cairo Museum, c) The Market.

Here is the logistics; (we are bound by work completed on Wednesday evening and must be back in Canada no later then Sunday)

We would leave Tel Aviv on a Thursday at 12:noon on an Air Sinai flight ($330 USD) to Cairo. arriving Cairo noon time (I gather they are an hour behind).

We would prefer to go first to the hotel (Le Meridien Pyramid, Giza) from the airport and check-in. As I would rather have a whole day for the pyramids we would need to do the Museum that afternoon. So bluecab or cairotaxi reserved at 90 LE to the hotel we get in around 1:30 PM. Throw our bags in the room then taxi back to the museum (I understand Cairo traffic is bad, so hints needed here) and take in the exhibit till closing (6:XX PM?). Back to the hotel for the night and perhaps the pyramid night/light show.

Next day it's a walk to the pyramids as they are 10 minutes walk from the hotel (?- are they, btw, we are in decent shape and don't mind the heat).

I have opted out for the guide as I think I know enough of what I want to see and my wife is an art major so we should get what we want by touring ourselves. We plan to go early, 8:AM and buy tickets to see both the outside and inside. I want to go inside the great pyramid as well, is it worth 100 LE?. End the visit to the giza plato around 5:PM and back to the Hotel for dinner (or other recommendations?). Is there time for a nile dinner cruise?

Our flight back home is around 4:30 AM Saturday morning, so after a nap that evening we're off to the airport in the wee hours.

Questions;

1. I can book the Le Meridien Pyramids on-line for $130 USD a night. It comes to $322 (2 nights) when you factor in the taxes and service charges. Is there a better and cheaper way to reserve with them? I.E. and agent? This is a pyramid view room.

We need to use a travel agent to reserve with Air Sinai as far as I can tell. I have a quote from Mazda Tours in Israel for $330 pp Tel Aviv to Cairo. Is there another option or better way?

With the little time we have there, am I waisting it in any stupid way that I'll regret later? I.E. I miss something grand that was right next door!

You will notice I've left out the visit to the market. Any ideas?

looking forward to any/all comments and recommendations.

Greg

Assumptions; visa at airport on arrival $15 pp.

london
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for Nile River Valley
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1. Re: Done my research - now my questions/opinions please - Cairo

I might be wrong and I can't get the Egyptian Museum website to open up for me, but I thought it closed earlier than 6. I'm pretty sure it closed at 5 when I was there last, which would make sense as it gets dark around then. This would make a difference.

If you get to your hotel in Giza at 1.30 and are behind a tour group checking in it is very possible you won't get off again before 2.30 - Egyptian hotels have their own way of doing things - and it could take an hour or even more in Cairo traffic to the museum, leaving you very little time for your visit if it does close at 5. You will also be very stressed as you will have had two long taxi journeys.

One thing you could consider is to hire a car and leave your luggage in it while going straight to the museum, then on to the hotel afterwards. This way you save about two hours during the opening hours of the museum. There will be an extra cost, but not large.

Copenhagen
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2. Re: Done my research - now my questions/opinions please - Cairo

According to the first newsletter from The Egyptian Museum in Cairo (published May 2008) the opening hours are 9AM to 6.30PM. If you are travelling in September, there is a chance that you will travel during Ramadan, and openings hours will change, change back and change again pretty much through the month of Ramadan, so checking up on opening hoursright before leaving, for instance here on TA is necessary.

The newletter also states that the website is no longer running, and that a new one is under construction.

But I agree with verity and also suggest that you head for the museum before checking in at your hotel, you will save hours doing it this way.

Louise

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3. Re: Done my research - now my questions/opinions please - Cairo

Well I just Google'd Ramadan and yes, it looks like we'll be there then.

>>clip>>

Ramadan in 2008 will start on Monday, the 1st of September and will continue for 30 days until Tuesday, the 30th of September.

>>

So my next question is how will this effect my visit? Opening hours for Pyramids? Museum? I understand you need to be a bit more sensitive regarding eating and drinking...

As for the suggestions regarding going directly to the museum from the airport first I thought of that but was wondering what to do with our baggage. I'm not keen on leaving it in a car, even one for hire as I will have a laptop with work papers on it. BTW, what car for hire service would provide this? I know of two that you can pre-book trips with cairotaxi and bluecab, but I don't think they would wait around while I tour a museum.

Does anyone know if the museum will hold bags in trust for you while you visit? I emailed them to ask about camera use using the "contact us" info from their website but it bounced back, so I don't know how to contact them.

thanks for the feedback,

Greg

London
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4. Re: Done my research - now my questions/opinions please - Cairo

Hi Greg

I don't think you would actually need a whole day at the pyramids. In my opinion 3 or 4 hours at the pyramids and sphinx is enough time to see everything.

I could however have spent the entire day at the museum as there is lots to see. Re the museum camera policy - you cannot take cameras into the museum at all, you must leave them in a hut outside the entrance.

If you would like to see some temples with wall carving painting etc you may want to take a trip to the sakkara. There would be enought time to do Giza pyramids and sakkhara in a day.

Enjoy your trip

Anna

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5. Re: Done my research - now my questions/opinions please - Cairo

anna-6,

I hear you about spending the WHOLE day on the pyramids. I figured we'd walk from the hotel, spend 4-5 hours there, I want to go inside the great pyramid as well as solar boat museum, then head back to the hotel for a cool swim. I am starting to think a visit to Mena House would be in order to splurge on a nice meal or just some drinks even. Our flight will be early morning the next day so I don't expect to make it too long a day.

I wish we had longer as there are many things I am reading about now that I would like to do. Oh well, perhaps another time...

G

Aubrey, Texas
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6. Re: Done my research - now my questions/opinions please - Cairo

It's been a long time since I visited Cairo, but thought I'd throw my two cents in. I've been prowling the forums to get up to date on Egypt in planning a trip for next year. Also been checking out hotels for latest ratings, etc.

I'd consider staying the first night at a hotel near the museum, e.g Nile Hilton. You could go directly to the hotel, check in, then walk over to the museum and spend the rest of Thursday afternoon there. Thursday evening find a place for dinner on the Nile.

Friday a.m. check out of the hotel, leave the bags there and go to the market. Friday around noon go out to Giza, check into the hotel and head over to the pyramids. The negative in that plan is that it puts you out there in the heat of the afternoon. The benefit is that it limits the amount of time you spend in traffic.

Can't wait to be making the decisions for our own trip.

Liverpool, United...
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7. Re: Done my research - now my questions/opinions please - Cairo

You should have enough time to visit Saqqara and Giza Pyramids in the same day, even if you do not want a guide you can ask one of the guides to arrange a car and driver for you, Rasha El Ashmawi is very helpful with this type of thing, a driver who knows the sights is a good thing to have and can be a great help, and good transportation is an important thing, making the most of your day.

If you arrange a car Blue cabs for example you can pay by the hour and he would keep your luggage, and you could go straight to the Museum and agree a time for him to meet you for taking you onto your hotel, this would avoid all the coming and going to Giza.

About Ramadan I believe that the sights so close slightly earlier, the other main thing is that traffic is very heavy from 3pm onwards and everyone gets very nervious and accidents are more common, sad but true. So being on the road from 3pm to sunset it stressful.

Your time is very limited so if you managed to see the Museum, and Giza and Saqqara Pyramids that should be enough for the time you have. If you had been staying in a central hotel you would have been able to do/see a bit more.

Regards

Wendy

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8. Re: Done my research - now my questions/opinions please - Cairo

Hi,

Like you we have 2 nights in Giza arriving late at night. We intend to spend the first day visiting the pyramids and relaxing etc and leave the next day on an early evening flight to Luxor. We will leave our hotel late morning and visit the cairo museum and then go onto the airport. I've booked the Cairo Airport Shuttle Bus - you get the whole mini bus to yourself (we are a party of 4) and they have said they will watch our luggage for us. They were easy to contact via email cairoshuttle@hotmail.com It may not be the cheapest way but it all seems hassle free, which is important when you have limited time.

The person we booked through has asked us to get the driver to phone him when we leave our bags in the mini bus.

I understand it is quite a new service has anyone else used them?

Liverpool, United...
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9. Re: Done my research - now my questions/opinions please - Cairo

Merryweather29,

Hello,

Yes I have used the airport shuttle bus service, I had to get my relatives to the airport early in the morining so booked a bus for them, got them to the airport and then me home again.

The buses are very new, good condition and the driver we had was good. I think they are perfect for getting from and to the airport, especially as they do belong to the airort and are allowed to load and unload at the terminals, other cars and buses are not permitted to do that.

I would just send a reminder email before you travel just to be sure. but even if there was a slip up they have more than enough vehicles and drivers.

Regards

Wendy

Manchester, United...
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10. Re: Done my research - now my questions/opinions please - Cairo

you may check this thread on Ramadan

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294201-i9404-k580…