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Introduction to Cairo

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Introduction to Cairo

Hello all! I have been to Egypt 2X in 1995 so I am in need of new advice.

I plan to bring my husband and his 2 teens (12 and 14) for 2 night stay in Cairo. We are airline people, so the air is almost free--we only have a short visit to see the most important things.

We arrive 10am and are considering staying at either Le Meridien or Sofitel Pyramids.

We have the first day to start our mini-tour and the next day is a full day--departing the third day noon.

Here are some things to know--the kids are not very worldly and will be instructed about clothing and behavior in an Islamic country. They seldom go to museums but I understand the importance of the Cairo Museum and would hope they would want to go see just the highlights--perhaps by getting them tkts to the mummy room?

Given our short schedule, I'd like advice on:

Itinerary Order (hotel around noon first day, one full day, departure noon last day)

Guide referrals--from TA members please--do we need guide on arrival or just for the full day?

No carpet factory or sound/light show, but Khan Khahili (spices for sure!!) pyramids/sphinx/camel ride, what else, please! I need to keep them intrigued.

I'm no stranger to tripadvisor, but this is a bit daunting to start foraging in a new forum. Thanks to all who can enlighten me with your travel wisdom and courtesy! Shakran!

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1. Re: Introduction to Cairo

Hi there,

It is indeed a short trip, and if you are arriving from US you may find yourself too jetlagged to do much on your first day.

However, if you only have those days, then of course it is best to make the most of it.

I suggest you have a light lunch at the hotel after check in. Then you head to the Giza Plateau to see the pyramids. I suggest you arrange transport and guide before your arrival as you will waste time otherwise. There are guides recommended here on TA Cairo forum. You can click the FAQ-sticky and find their contact details. Be sure to state clearly that you are not interested in shopping, otherwise you'll be taken to various shops. I haven't used any of the guides recommended so cannot recommend them personally. Many people also use an agency called Real Life Egypt, which is run from Luxor, but they can also arrange trips in Cairo. I haven't used them either, so cannot recommend them personally. Their website is www.reallifeegypt.com. You can find lots of TA-members recommendations for both the guides in the FAQ-section and for Real Life Egypt. Spend an hour or two sending out some e-mails and check prices etc. Again, you should state clearly already from your initial mail that you say no to shopping.

The Giza-plateu with Sphinx will be all you can do on your first day considering that it will be dark rather early this time of year. If you are not too tired at night, you could take a cab and go to Khan al-Khalili for your spice-shopping and for a cup of tea or coffee and for a look at Cairo-life. You can easily do this without a guide, just be prepared to haggle for cab-fare. You could ask the hotel to provide a cab for you. This will make it a little more expensive, but you will not have to haggle. Prices should be stated clearly somewhere in the reception-area. Ask the front desk for help if you want to save yourself a haggling headache ;o)

For your full day I suggest you go to the Egyptian Museum, then on to the Citadel and perhaps a stroll through parts of Islamic Cairo where you can visit Khan al-Khalili (again). You can then have dinner in Felfela in the down town area or head out to the hotel for dinner.

For the last day you could consider an early morning trip to the pyramids and tombs of Saqqara. Sites open early, so if you are in Saqqara by 7 AM and stay there for a couple of hours, this gives you enough time to be back at the hotel before noon-checkout.


Manchester, United...
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2. Re: Introduction to Cairo

I just recommend a little change to the above plan, since the musuem stays open til 6:45, you can start with the Citadel and then go to the musuem and maybe do Islamic Cairo later in the day.

And since Khan El Khalili is already in Islamic Cairo, you can use the first day's evening to have a Nile Dinner cruise or at least a dinner out in Central Cairo. There are many nice restauarants with nice Nile views there. If you don't want the dinner cruise, you can have dinner anywhere and take a Feluca ride (close to Grand Hyatt, 40 LE per hour).

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3. Re: Introduction to Cairo

Thank you all for the great advice. Our flight departs Cairo at noon on the 3rd day, so we will have to complete our touring in 2. Good thing is we get to fly business class and may be well-rested. I'm pleased that we can take a felucca in Cairo--it was one of my favorite things to do in Aswan!

Time to search the forum for more info/guides etc.

Please continue to tell me more as you thing of things of importance!!

San Francisco...
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4. Re: Introduction to Cairo

Good suggestions, and I know you'll love the Khan!

I can recommend a really good book for your family to read together before you go. It's a little bit different then the usual "glossy travel book with the pretty pictures", LOL! It's called "Culture Shock."

The covers are black and it really goes over the "Nitty-Gritty" of the country in question. Very interesting and informative reading on the culture of Egypt, it's customs, religion and people. You'll be less apt to make a social faux-pas after reading it. Good Luck and Happy Travels!

5. Re: Introduction to Cairo

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