Egypt is so much more than just desert. They have beaches, mountains and so much of history. If you’re planning to visit Egypt anytime soon, then look below as I have complied a complete travel guide.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- Passport, Visa and Travel Insurance.
- Egyptian pounds ( Currency of Egypt)
- Basic Arabic ( READ BELOW FOR BASIC PHRASES)
BEST TIME TO VISIT:
- Egypt witnesses some extreme temperature due to its proximity to the Desert. Therefore summers are very hot and winters are extremely chilly.
- October to March is the best times to visit Egypt.
- Avoid visiting between June – September. Due to summers and also its the holy month of Ramadan and hence it would be difficult to find food during day-time. Also most of the cafes and restaurants are closed during the day in the holy month of Ramadan.
- However one can find really cheap deals and huge discounts on almost everything during June – September.
MUST TRY FOOD:
- Kebabs and Kofta.
- Ful & Falafel
- Egptian tea (Bedouin tea).
- Negotiate with the Taxi Drivers before sitting in the Taxi. Pay only as per meter. However it’s general practice to pay them in round figure which includes the tip.
- 5% – 10% tips are expected by porters, bartender, waiters etc.
PLACES TO VISIT:
- Cairo (The capital for the culture and city vibes)
- Dahab (For beaches, Red Sea.)
- Alexandria ( For the city vibes as well as the Mediterranean Coastline & beaches)
- Luxor & Aswan (For temples & ancient Egypt)
- Black & White Desert (For a desert safari).
EXPERIENCES YOU MUST TRY:
- Scuba Diving & trekking up the highest St Catherine mountain in Dahab.
- Staying in a Nile cruise on a budget.
- Temples of Luxor & Aswan along with Hot Air balloon ride.
- Sleeping under the stars in the Black & White Desert.
- Pyramids of Giza & Saqqara.
- Visiting Old Cairo for the Khan-El-Khalili bazaar.
BASIC ARABIC :
- 1 – wahid
- 2 – ithnein
- 3 – thaleta
- 4 – arbaa
- 5 – Khamsa
- 6 – Sita
- 7 – Sabah
- 8 – thamanya
- 9 – tisa
- 10 – asra
Words & Phrases:
- Ana mesh batkalm Arabic : I don’t speak Arabic
- Bekam da – How much?
- Shukran – Thank you
- Afwan – Welcome
- mehshi – Okay
- Tamam _ Fine.
- Yes – eyewa
- No – La
- Akala – food
- Mahimanesh – I don’t care
- Maafish Mushkela – No Problem.
- The best and cheapest way to go around in Cairo is by local buses & metros.
- Cities are well connected with long distance trains, flights and Buses. However tickets should be booked in advance.
DETAILED EGYPT ITINERARY:
Day 1 – ALEXANDRIA
Arrive in Alexandria & check in to your hotel. Just relax on the first day and get over jet lag.
Day 2 – ALEXANDRIA
Today head to the Alexandria Library and take a guided tour in one of the largest libraries in the world, followed by a visit to the Citadel of Qaitbay. Make sure to catch the beautiful sunset in Montazah palace before taking the day off.
Where to stay in Alexandria:
Mid-budget: Amoun Hotel
Economical: Alexander the great
Solo traveler: Hotel Transit
Day 3 – Alexandria – Cairo
Start early morning & head to Cairo, which is just 3 hours away from Alexandria. Arrive in Cairo and get transferred into your hotel. Make sure to stay in a hotel which offers great views of the pyramids. Visit the pyramids in the afternoon and explore the history of this wonder of the world. In the evening you can head to the light & sound show if you like (I don’t recommend!).
Day 4 – Cairo – Black & White Desert – Cairo
Today take a day trip to the black & white desert of Egypt. The black desert contains the remains of inactive volcanoes, whereas the white desert contains natural chalk rock formation created due to certain mineral. Due to security reasons the government has prohibited camping in this desert and special permits are required to visit this place. Return back to your hotel in Cairo & relax (If you could not get permission, then directly jump to day 5 below)
Where to stay in Cairo:
Luxury: Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel
Economical: Barcelo Cairo Pyramids
Solo Travelers: Freedom Hostel
Day 5 to Day 9 – Cairo – Luxor & Aswan
Take a flight from Cairo to Luxor and make sure to stay in Nile cruise for the next 4 days as they take you around the old ancient temples in the most historical part of Egypt i.e from Luxor to Aswan. Book the cruise beforehand as they tend to get booked faster. Visit the temples of Luxor & Aswan on your 4 day journey and you can also opt to do the hot air balloon ride.
Day 10 – Back to Cairo
Take a flight back to Cairo & this time stay in the downtown Cairo overlooking the Nile River. Make sure to visit the Cairo tower (also known as Borg in Arabic) in the evening for overlooking the entire city of Cairo.
Day 11 – Explore Cairo
Today visit the Egyptian museum to see the mummies followed by the Mosque of Muhammad Ali for it’s beautiful architecture. This mosque is a complex consisting of several citadels and mosques. Hence, it is bound to take half the day. Later on visit the Khan-el-Khalili Market to buy souvenirs (Please Bargain). On the way back to the hotel, visit the Al-Azhar Park for beautiful sunsets. This is a huge park which houses several restaurants and cafes. An evening walk alone or with your loved one, would be an ideal choice.
Where to stay in downtown cairo:
Luxury: Ramses Hilton Hotel & Casino
mid-budget & Economical: Windsor Hotel Cairo
Solo Travelers: Freedom Hostel
Day 12 – Cairo – Dahab
Take a flight to Sharm-el-sheikh and transfer to the offbeat location Dahab for cheaper & quieter atmosphere (away from tourist!). Alternatively, you can also take a overnight bus to Dahab, but it will take 10 hours and the journey is pretty uncomfortable. In the evening, take the ATV ride along the rugged mountainous roads of Dahab and then visit the Dahab Market for a walk.
Day 13 – Dahab
Today start after breakfast and visit the Dahab blue hole for snorkeling or scuba- diving. After the water sport activities you are bound to get tired. Hence, it would be fair to rest the entire afternoon to gear up to the night trek to the highest point of Egypt. At night after dinner head over to the base village of ABU SEILA for the start point. Make sure to have a guide as it gets dark and there are no lights along the way. It is a 4-5 hour trek and you can view mesmerizing sunrise from the top.
Where to stay in Dahab:
Economical & Solo- Travelers: Neptune Hotel Dahab
Day 14 – Dahab – Cairo
After viewing the mesmerizing sunrise, come back to your hotel and rest. You can take a flight or an overnight bus back to Cairo.
Day 15 – Bye Bye Egypt!!
OTHER TIPS & INFORMATION:
- Dress modestly to avoid unwanted attention. However one can wear short clothes near the beaches.
- Avoid getting scammed by taxis. Taxi drivers have 2 different meters, one for locals and other for foreigners. It goes without saying that the latter is expensive than the former.
- If you visit any cafe/restaurant, you have to pay minimum charges even if you order nothing. So visit only when you will eat.
- Haggle at the street shops by more than half the rate.
- It’s better not to discuss political situation with the locals.
- Take care of your belongings.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY: EGYPT IS SAFE. Travel around the place with basic precautions and don’t forget to Enjoy!!
PIN IT 😉
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