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trip report

Boston...
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51 posts
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trip report

Salaam to all. I read this forum for months while planning our trip to Egypt, and thought I would share a few thoughts on how it went (Sept 17-Oct 4). It was truly amazing, beyond my wildest expectations. We did Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel, a Nile Cruise, and ended with a few days of beach time in Sharm el Sheikh. A lot of people have asked me what was the best part and it's hard to pick out one thing, though cruising up the Nile was spectacular. You can hear the donkeys braying by the sides of the river, and you watch Nile life go by - fishermen, kids doing cannonballs into the water, cattle grazing, Minarets lighted up in green for Allah. Probably you see the same things they've been doing on the Nile for thousands of years. Other highlights: climbing the Great Pyramid, the sound and light show at Philae, dinner and stargazing with the Bedouins, walking through the bazaars with our guides, the Al Moudira hotel in Luxor (magic), Felucca trips in Cairo and Aswan, snorkeling in Sharm. It really was the trip of a lifetime. You obviously have your fill of great of advice here but I'll share a few things we learned for what it's worth. 1. We brought US$150 in $1s, $5s and $10s for tips and we went through it very quickly. I would bring double that, and more in $1s. We found it was hard to hang onto small bills and every day we were looking to make change. 2. What to wear. Huge topic obviously but in a nutshell, I would just use common sense and don't worry about going out and buying a whole new wardrobe before you go. In the hotels if you're having dinner you can pretty much wear what you want - sundress with a shawl, for example. If you're walking through Islamic Cairo I would wear long sleeves and capris or pants. I did wear longer shorts, but mostly around the hotels and when we were in Sharm. 3. Sun: It did get very hot at the sites during the day. Two of our guides carried umbrellas - I was wishing I had brought one. 4. On our Nile Cruise, they told us on the very last day that we could leave a tip that would go into a joint tip pool. We had tipped the staff very liberally along the way and were surprised nobody had mentioned this communal tip at the start. 5. Be prepared to be tired. You're up early every day and it's very hot and you surely will have a packed agenda. (If you go to Abu Simbel you have to get up around 3:30 to make the 6 a.m. flight). We were wiped out. We planned 2-1/2 days of beach time in Sharm and then went back for two last nights in Cairo. We wish we had scheduled more R&R time to unwind, maybe 4 days of beach. Other travelers from the states we met broke up the trip home by stopping somewhere (Corsica, Greece, for example). 6. Just say no. Your travel company and/or your guides will try to show you everything (as they should - it's all amazing). But resist the urge to do it all and build in some down time. Maybe the Pyramids in the a.m., and some pool time after lunch. 7. At the bazaars, try to go with a guide if you can. They can help you bargain. Just assume the first price they give you is double what they would settle for. If you want to play hardball, be prepared to walk away if they won't budge on the price (they will!!). 8. Try to learn a little Arabic before you go. I took a short course and had a few phrases to use - nothing fancy, Arabic is hard!! But it's incredible how much Egyptians appreciated it, and it really broke the ice and opened the door to some wonderful conversations. Plus, if you get hassled for money you can say firmly "la shokran" - no thank you. They'll be so surprised to hear you say it in their language it may just stop them in their tracks. :-) Anyway good luck to all planning a trip - you are in for something special. As mentioned, it's truly amazing!

Vancouver, Canada
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70 posts
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1. Re: trip report

Thanks for your trip report. We are heading off to Egypt in less than 8 weeks! Glad to hear you had such a wonderful experience. Thanks for your tips!

Liverpool, United...
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2. Re: trip report

mcb9,

Thankyou for your trip report, I really appreciae it when members do, as after all the communication I like to know how it went in reality !

You tips are good, about the Nile Cruise, our guide told us at the end of the trip to leave an envelope at the reception and suggested an approximate amount, which suited me well as I had not done any tripping while on board.

Being a tourist is quite hard work with all the early starts and each guide wanting to show you as much as possible, so I agree with your idea of adding in some down time, it is needed !

I don't really thing you need a guide for shopping, but the tactics of bring the price down and walking away etc are the right ones.

A few words of Arabic do help.

Anyway, again thanks for the report glad that you enoyed it so much.

Regards

Wendy

Copenhagen
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2,043 posts
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3. Re: trip report

Hi mbc,

Like Wendy said, it is great that you have taken the time to write a detailed report from your trip. It sounds like you had a great trip to Egypt and managed to see quite a lot of things.

Welcome back to the forums :o)

Louise

Mandurah, Australia
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41 posts
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4. Re: trip report

Thanks for that trip report mcb- we are off to Egypt in January and all advice is greatly appreciated- how did you manage to climb the great pyramid?

E

Boston...
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51 posts
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5. Re: trip report

Believe they sell about 100 tickets a day to go inside the Great Pyramid - it's a separate ticket to what you pay to get into the complex. You have to get their early because they sell out. Totally worth it!

Liverpool, United...
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6. Re: trip report

Hello again,

I understand the question of E_in_Tasmania as you said :

"climbing the Great Pyramid"

Which is not allowed, but I see now that your entered the Great Pyramids, so the climbing was all internal !!

I noticed it in the report and though, oh no not another one climbing the Great Pryamid !!

Glad that you cleared it up for me and for others.

Regards

Wendy

Liverpool, United...
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4,146 posts
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7. Re: trip report

Correction :

"and thought"

Raleigh, NC
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321 posts
7 reviews
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8. Re: trip report

Thanks so much for the detailed report. My mom and I will be doing a 10 organized tour, and then I have a friend meeting me for 7 days in Sharm.

I have kept a few days free just to relax, and I'm glad I did that now. I was very tempted to fill them up with other excursions, but I'm glad I'll have a few days R&R throughout our journey.

Thanks for your help.

Christine

Jefferson City...
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333 posts
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9. Re: trip report

Thanks mbc9 for your great trrip report! You gave some great tips for those of us who have yet to go!

Where did you take your lessons to learn Arabic? My father spoke fluent Arabic but when I was a teenager i didn't want anything to do with learning the language. Now I so regret that and my Dad is deceased along with all of his brothers and sister, who also spoke Arabic fluently--they were Lebanese. I would love to take some lessons but we live in a small town and I don't think it is offered here. Any suggestions???

Thanks for the great report.

micked10

Manchester, United...
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2,251 posts
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10. Re: trip report

you don't need to "prepare to be tired". It is all up to you, when you visit egypy or anywhere else, you are the one who decides on what you want to do and how long you want to spend doing it.

Egypt has a lot to offer and it is impossible to do it all in one trip. So, just be realistic and make choices. After all, a holiday is made to be enjoyed and to have you return from it fresh enough to restart your job or study or whatever you do in your oridinary life. So, there is no point in keeping yourself under presure of a very demanding check list.

I always say: one must leave something for the next time

I am glad you had an amazing time :)