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Off to Egypt in April,need advice pleeeeeze!!!!!

Cape Town Central...
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Off to Egypt in April,need advice pleeeeeze!!!!!

I finally booked my plane ticket,we are two woman in our thirties travelling together and this is our perlim plan

.We arrive Cairo on the 22nd of April 09 @ 0645hrs and leaving Cairo for Italy on the 30th April @ 1100am,the following is my proposed itinirery,please advise and suggest! I will use your suggestions to request tours from the travel agents.

2 days in Cairo to explore the sights(or 2night 3 days)

The pyramids

Coptic Cairo

Khan el Khalili Bazaar

Egyptian Musuem

3 Night Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor ( 5 star or 4 star). What can we expect to pay on average just for the cruise?

1 Day in either Luxor or Aswan to explore on our own

I want to do the hot air ballon ride in Luxor.

We are also considering a trip to the Oases

A day or two to the Sinai peninsula and the red sea ( Sharm or Hurghada....whichever one is feasable to do with in our time constraints)

We want to go to Aswan on the night train(how long is this journey,or should we just cough up and pay

extra and fly to Aswan?)

We are trying to have as much experiences as we can without exhausting ourselves

Please Help! We should propably start doing our reservations ASAP.

We are looking at a budget of about 500 USD...600USD if we must.( Rand dollar excahnge not too favourable for South Africans)

We would really appreciate any advise.

Thanks in Advance

1. Re: Off to Egypt in April,need advice pleeeeeze!!!!!

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2. Re: Off to Egypt in April,need advice pleeeeeze!!!!!

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Knoxville, Tennessee
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3. Re: Off to Egypt in April,need advice pleeeeeze!!!!!

2 days in Cairo/Giza will be enough to see the sites you've listed but when you set up the visit to Giza consider this. If it is your intention to enter one of the pyramids or to visit the amazing solar boat musuem the cost of these additional tickets are usually not included in tours. Just check to make sure it is spelled out when you negotiate the cost.

Most cruise based visits (and land for that matter) will take you to visit the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens. If you plan to visit there make sure the tour includes them. My suggestion is to drop the VOQ if you can and instead see the tomb of the nobles instead. There is very little to see in the VOQs but the relatively small couple of noble tombs offer very very good color and no crowds.

If you have the extra day in Luxor consider taking a ride in the convoy to visit the amazing temmples of Abydos and Dendera. They are the best preserved temples in Egypt and yet as they are 1 1/2 hours from Luxor are visited far less than most of the places you will visit in the country.

Since you mention Sinai I will recommend a trip to Mt Sinai although the time limits you seem to have may prevent it. Visiting St Catherines and making the climb for a sunset was an amazing experience. It is approximately 2 hours from Sharm by car.

The best advice I can give you is to make sure to read every word of any proposed tour very closely. Do not assume anything is included if it is not specifically writen down. Nothing is a 'given' here.

Have a great trip and say hello to Rome for me. We also returned there after our long trip to Egypt in Feb/March of this year.

Chris

Cape Town Central...
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4. Re: Off to Egypt in April,need advice pleeeeeze!!!!!

Thanks for your response Chris.Do you think it is really nescessary to have a guide assist us at the airport with customs etc, or should we just get our own cab from the airport for the hotel transfer.

Considering the fact that we arrive in Cairo at 0645...would it be too much of a hassle to us, to do it ourself and just arrange a transfer with the hotel we are booking? I wish to book the first 2 nights in Cairo independantly of the tours(should I just sit back and let a travel agent take care of things for us?)

About the cruise...is it absolutely nescessary to have a private guide on excursions, or is the tours with the cruise boat sufficient?

I just dont want to have to pay for things I dont absolutely have to! I will be making use of private guides in Cairo and Luxor!

ps....can you recommend any guides or travel agencies in Cairo I can use?

I will say CIAO to Roma for you!

Stockholm, Sweden
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5. Re: Off to Egypt in April,need advice pleeeeeze!!!!!

Hi L,

Your itinerary doesn't sound doable.

It's hectic to visit 5 places in Egypt in 8 days.

If I were you I would do the following:

- Start in Cairo

2 days are enough. By the way, try to squeeze Islamic Cairo in your itinerary. It's worth it.

- Train to Aswan

3 days on Nile cruise to Luxor.

- 1 extra day in Luxor.

- Fly to Sharm.

2 days in Sharm.

- Fly back home via Cairo.

Forget about the oases.

CHEERS

Bedfordshire
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6. Re: Off to Egypt in April,need advice pleeeeeze!!!!!

You are going to be very tight on that budget, We spent more than that last week and only did half what you intend.

If you want an idea of cruise cost look at

aswan-individual.com/html/nilecruises.html

Phil

Northumberland, UK
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7. Re: Off to Egypt in April,need advice pleeeeeze!!!!!

Hi

Definitely recommend that in Luxor you find time for both temples, Luxor & Karnak which should be manageable on your extra day, when you could also fit in places like the Ramasseum and Hatsheshup. On balloon rides, read all the old posts on this subject - but my advice always (& I speak as a British balloon pilot who flies in Luxor regularly with friends there), don't pay the rock bottom price - aim to pay at least 500 LE (Egyptian pounds) & that way you'll get a company that has full insurance, decent equipment & will have trained their pilots properly. if you want any more detailed advice on this subject, just send me a private message as I'm happy to pass on any info you may need.

Jan

San Francisco...
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8. Re: Off to Egypt in April,need advice pleeeeeze!!!!!

Hi Ladysoul, wow, looks like you aze going to have a fantastic trip. I would make another recommendztion to the ones above. One of the best decisions we made was hiring a guide for the Khan el Khalili Bazaar. We were going it alone but the hotel recommended we hire a car and guide.

He took us inside the Khan, went to the stores that sold exactly what we wanted, gold, silver, mosiac Mother-of-Pearl boxs, Backgammon boards, cotton shirts and woven "throws". He helped us "bargain" with the shop owners so that everyone was happy and then drove us back to the hotel in the air conditioned car.

It was a very rewarding experience. Just talk to the drivers at the hotel, tell them what you want to do and negotiate for a few hours, you'll be glad you did. Virtually hassle free!

Happy Travels!

Knoxville, Tennessee
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9. Re: Off to Egypt in April,need advice pleeeeeze!!!!!

We've have always traveled independently. So far we've visited 22 countries on 5 continents but we found Egypt to be the most confusing place we've been to. Even the planning phase was difficult as you probably have found.

Part of it is the vastly differenct cultural aspects, some of it is the language barriers but a loarge part of it I believe is caused by the chaos you see when you are there which seems completely expected by anyone who lives or works there.

By chaos I mean everything from the traffic, to the constant barage you are under by those seeking money from you from every direction at once to the lack of basic infastructure. All surrounded by some of the most amazing ancient treasures and some of the most friendly and hard working people you will ever see.

If one could somehow introduce organization to day to day life there one would think the place would almost explode overnight into a modern 1st world country and the quality of life of the Egyptians would improve so much.

Enough of the philosophy of the world right? Sorry.

As for me if I could afford to do so I utilize a transfer agent and guide for every destination in the country. Our tour was a completely guided and private tour prepared by Travel in Style in San Francisco. The owner Omar is an Egyptian who is amazing. He uses local guides and tour agencies when he needs to but knows the people he uses personally and helped us have an amazing trip. In Cairo Sakara Tours took care of us from the time we stepped off our plane. On many occassions tourists traveling alone asked our Sakara reps for help navigating through the confusion for us. Even after a month in the country I would probably not return without using Travel in Style again to help us.

Arriving at the airport is not as bad as trying to navigate the mass of people we saw each time we were leaving for trips to Luxor, Amman and other cities. I would still have the hotel arrange for a pickup to assist you as it shouldn't cost that much and it will keep the stress level down on your first day. It will make the 1 hour ride to your hotel more enjoyable.

Most taxis are really old and in really bad condition. Many appear to be the old russian style small 4 door sedans from the 60's and 70's that should not still be on the road. Tour companys usually have nice air conditioned late model cars.

On our cruise we did have a private guide and a private car when we needed one and we really liked teh flexibility it gave us. However the tourists we saw from our ship that were using the guided larger group version of the shore excursion seemed to be having a good time and I believe it worked fine.

Don't hesitate to message me if you have any questions or comments.

Have a great trip to this confusing but still amazing destination,

Chris

Cape Town Central...
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10. Re: Off to Egypt in April,need advice pleeeeeze!!!!!

Hi Everyone

Thank you very much for all the responses,it was all very helpfull.I am getting very excited about my trip now. I cant believe I am finally going to make it to Egypt.

I will drop a line when...and I wll....need some more help.

Cheers from a sunny Cape Town

Wendy

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