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12 day Private Egypt tour - Best trip ever!!!! And, INEXPENSIVE!!!!!!!

12 day Private Egypt tour - Best trip ever!!!! And, INEXPENSIVE!!!!!!!

Dec 21st, 2009, 11:19 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 12
12 day Private Egypt tour - Best trip ever!!!! And, INEXPENSIVE!!!!!!!

Ok, here was the dilema. Four ladies wanted to travel SAFELY to Egypt to see the sights but not be stymied by doing a group tour. Thankfully, a friend who has been in the US from Egypt over 25 years recommended an itinerary and the services of his friend's business, Traveline. Traveline is an Eqyptian tour company with huge busses, transport services, and four new cruise ships on the NIle. They were the key to our wonderful, and inexpensive, trip! I highly recommend their services.

We were met in Cairo and whisked through customs and baggage claim. They were waiting for us with their 9 passenger new van and gave us an introduction to Cairo on the way to Le Meridian Pyramids Hotel, right across from the pyramids. Next day we toured the pyramids, rode camels, and saw the Sphynx in Giza. Be prepared - Giza is a city (like part of Cairo) and the pyramids are right across a busy street from a KFC! In any case, they were astounding and we loved them. We went into the second pyramid. Our guide said they only let 150 in the Great Pyramid per day, and he feels spooked when there.

Next stop - Aswan. What a pretty civilized city compared to Cairo. We did the early morning flight to Abu Simbel. I was dismayed that we had only a little more than two hours there, but it is long enough. Again, Traveline picked us up and introduced us to our own Egyptologist there. It was our favorite sight in Egypt, so be sure not to miss this. The tour is expensive, but the flight is only slightly more than the four hour bus trip, so do this option. We returned to the Movenpick Hotel in Aswan. To get here, you take a ferry to Elephantine Island. It is lovely. We did a felucca ride and the Aswan market. Remember to say "La" you don't want something. (That is "no"). Be prepared to baragain. Start at one tenth their price, according to several of our guides. After two nights in Aswan, we flew to Luxor and boarded the MS Darakum. This is one of the newer ships on the Nile, and is lovely. We were the only Americans on board, as mostly Brits frequent this ship. We had a lovely Egyptologist guide us to Philae, Edfu, Kom Ombo, Karnak and Luxor Temples. Her name is Hannan. If you can get her, you will be amazed by her knowledge, her excitement, and her love of her country.

While in Luxor we opted to do a hot air balloon ride. It was my first, and I enjoyed it. The winds were calm, so we didn't go far, but it was still fun. We also toured the Valley of the Kings and Queens. After getting up at 4, I was exhasted so opted out of the tomb which was the furthest one up. (Sorry, I can't remember which one it was.) I wish I had endured, for the colors in the tomb were the richest ones to be seen.

Being a scuba instructor, I have always wanted to go diving in the Red Sea. So, we were off to Sharm el Sheik for three days. Unforunately, our trip to the Luxor airport was delayed because President Mubarek was in town. There were thousands of guards lining the streets and no one was allowed the roads. Fearing we were going to miss our plane, we were whisked into a taxi and taken on backroads to the airport, only to be stopped ten feet from the airport wall. Come to find out, no lights were leaving until he was safely home, so we did make our flight.

Sharm is like Cancun in the desert with casinos. Our hotel, the Hyatt Regency, was astounding though. Beautiful pools, great flower gardens, and views of the Red Sea from every spot. It was a wonderful haven to relax and unwind in. We were not able to dive the best spot, Ras Mohamed, as they make eveyone do a basic dive the first day.
It was still lovely. We spent the final day laying by the pool, enjoying the spa facilities and going into the city.

Our final flight took us back to Cairo, where we saw the highlights of the museum, went to the souk, Khan el-Khalili, and went into a Mosque. Our final night was at the Iberotel by the airport, as we had an early morning flight. The Italian restaurant here was actually the least expensive and best food we ate the entire trip.

We flew Air France to and from Cairo as we were able to do a free stopover in Paris. The food, drinks, service and in-flight entertainment were wonderful.

I highly recommend Traveline. They recommended great hotels, were very accommodating in their service and transport, and could not have more gracious in introducing us to their wonderful country. We felt like pampered queens! Plus, their price was even less than we could have done on a tour!

Please let me know if I may help in any way. We felt totally safe and loved every minute of this beautiful country. I can't wait to go back!
j9dive is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2009, 08:06 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
Thanks for your trip report. I'm looking forward to going to Egypt in March. Did you use Egyptian money for your purchases?
raelond is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2009, 07:49 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,491
Thanks for your report. Sounds like you had an amazing time.
julia1 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2010, 09:52 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1
We had a wonderful trip through Egypt with Hannan, but it may not be the same person. Our Hannan had long reddish-brown hair and was probably in her 40s. If it is the same Hannan I would love to have an email address so that I can thank her for the trip.
John_Anselmi is offline  
Jan 27th, 2010, 07:43 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 524
j9dive:

Which company in Luxor did you balloon with? Any tips for a better balloon flight?

You mentioned the Iberotel at the Cairo airport. If you really meant Novotel, what did you think of it? I'm not expecting luxurious accomodations, but I'm hoping it's acceptable.

Thanks in advance.
fluffnfold is offline  
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