This is my first posting to this website, but I have read it for tips and recommendations many times in the past and wanted to contribute myself to give back to the community and to say thank you for all of the valuable information I have gathered here in the past.
I am an American expat living in Suzhou China with my wife and 2 children (son 7 and daughter 3).
From June 4 to June 9 I visited Cairo, Egypt with my son who has been studying Ancient Egypt in school and wanted to visit the Pyramids. I easily purchased our flights from Shanghai to Cairo but then had no idea how to proceed from that point.
I found quite a lot of extremely useful information from this website that was extremely helpful in my planning for the trip, including the list of recommended guides that I believe compiled by Cairo Wendy, but contributed to by many. From that list I made contact with Emad Abuhadeda via email, and over the course of the next 2~3 months we corresponded back and forth and he helped me to work out a detailed itinerary that included seeing the sights in Cairo, as well as a 2 day trip to Luxor in the middle.
I was apprehensive I could get our whole trip organized simply via email, but went forward with some trust and also guidance from this website and in the end, I could not have been taken care of any better. The guide we chose was Emad Abuhadeda, and he did more than just guide us, but also helped to coordinate and schedule some of the other items we had on our list to do in Luxor, even though he lives in Cairo.
We returned this past Tuesday, June 10 and I can say that we had a wonderful time and Emad did a fantastic job to help coordinate the trip for us. I had expected Emad to be our private guide for the trip in Cairo and then he agreed to arrange a hot air balloon flight and local guide for us in Luxor. About 1 week prior to our trip Emad notified me he may have some business with the government to attend to on the first 2 days I arrived, and asked if it would be OK if his neice Amira could meet us, who was an Egyptologist as well. That was fine with me, but you can imagine my apprehension that I thought for sure Emad had doubled booked his time and would possibly just push us off to someone else. I can 100% honestly say that did not happen, and my son and I could not have beem more happy with Emad's niece (also an excellent Egyptologist), Amira that met us at our hotel.
On the first day of our trip Amira met us in the lobby of Sheraton Cairo Hotel and Towers and we toured the 3 great pyramids and also went to the Egyptian Museum. At the end of the day we were dropped off at the LeMeridian Hotel near the pyramids. That evening Emad came personally to the hotel to greet us and apologized for his unavailability that day and made sure we were satisfied with Amira, which we could not have been happier with. Emad personally drove us to the sound and light show in his own car and waited for us during the show and then took us back to our hotel LeMeridian Giza afterwards. Emad offered to guide us the second day, but my son liked Amira so much that we told Emad we would prefer to keep Amira as we had already arranged our second day activity with her. He was happy that we were happy.
On the second day Amira met us just as planned and we went to Sakkara, Mephis, and Daschur and then to the airport for a 5pm flight to Luxor.
All travel was arranged by private air conditioned van and driver and was on time, clean, safe, and extremely helpful.
In Luxor we arrived in the evening and the balloon company representative called us about 30 minutes after we checked into our hotel and told us they would pick us up at 4:45am in the lobby of our hotel -- the Sheraton Luxor.
As planned they did so, and we enjoyed a great balloon ride and then the guide Emad had arranged for us met us at the designated place on the West side of the Nile river. We enjoyed the rest of the day touring Luxor including Valley of the Kings and Queens, the temple for Queen Hatchupsut, Karnak, and a special trip to a Banana Island because my son wanted to take a boat ride on the Nile. The guide there was also great and highly recommended.
The following morning we flew back to Cairo and were met at the airport by the same driver Emad had arranged and he took us to our hotel - Le Meridian Giza. By the way, this isn't related to the recommendation for Emad, but for Starwood members the LeMeridian Giza is absolutely the better choice than the Sheraton Cario which is downdown, which is where we stayed our first night in Cairo. That evening after returning from Cairo we spent the rest of the day relaxing at the pool at LeMeridian.
The next day was our last day in Cairo and we wanted to do some souvenier shopping and take it easy before our 7pm flight back to Shanghai through Dubai on Emirates Air. Emad met us right on time and took us to the Khan Khalil sp? market where we spent about an hour getting some shopping done for our ladies back home and then Emad took us to visit the 2nd largest mosque in Cairo. During the drive he gave us a very discriptive history of the 30 dynasties in ancient Egypt and was willing to show us more places, however my 7 year old son had seen enough of the historical sites and was ready to go back to the hotel for some swimming before our flight.
At 4pm Emad arranged the driver again to pick us up at the hotel and deliver us to the airport and everything was just as planned.
I realize this is a long review just to make recommendation of a good and reliable travel guide, but as I said I wanted to make it clear that I am a real traveller and really do feel you can be comfortable in trusting Emad -- and I believe the same would be true for all guides on the list Cairo Wendy compiled.
Cairo Wendy -- Thank you very, very much for your hard work and dedicated effort to answer all of the questions on this board, and for making the recommended guide list. Without that, my trip would have been nearly impossible to do without a personal travel agent. I in fact never asked any questions or made any posts before to this website -- only read other's posts -- and in doing that was able to get every question or concern that I had answered.
Thank you to all who have contributed.