5000 years later...a journey along the river Nile

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Dec 20th, 2004, 11:54 AM
  #1
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5000 years later...a journey along the river Nile

Just came back from an amazing trip to Egypt. Thank you forum for making this happen. We have posted the pics and story at
http://www.idiap.ch/~sivadas/Egypt/index.html

A few observations that may be useful.

Shopping:
If you are buying papyrus, alabaster, etc. it is a good idea to visit a Ministry of tourism shop yourself. This works out a lot cheaper than going with a guide to his recommended shop. Beware of prices quoted in pounds, it could be British.

Photography:
No problem in carrying a tripod inside temples. No photography allowed inside tombs.
Egyptian museum is not allowing any cameras inside. Only in Citadel and Egyptian museum there is X-ray scanning of baggage.

Travel:
We travelled by sleeper train between Cairo and Aswan. The service is good. It can be a bit noisy at night, but not more than the night trains in Europe.

In Luxor, the best way to get around is on bicycle. There are many rental points along Corniche el-nil and right next to motor boat landing in West bank. You can hire motorbikes also.

Accomodation:
We were on budget, so we stayed in Egyptian 3 star. Hotel Arabesque in Luxor, Orchida St. George in Aswan and Siag pyramids in Cairo. All are just basic . Arabesque and Orchida are centrally located and are very close to ferry landing. Siag is near Giza pyramids. Taxi to Cairo downtown will cost between 30 to 40 EP.

Food:
We didn't take any precautions before going. In Cairo we even ate a felafel sandwich from a shop in the street. It was the tastiest food we had, but not recommended In Luxor, we tried Africa restaurant in West bank , Taste of India, Buffet in Novotel and Isis pyramisa. Generally we felt that the food in five star restaurants is not very tasty. In Aswan Panorama and Aswan moon, the barge restaurants are good. The best pizza in the town is Bity Pizza opposite to the railiway station.

Tour guide:
The best tour guide we had is Ahmed Shalaby in Cairo. He is a freelance guide. Very knowledgeable guy. Highly recommended.
In Luxor and Aswan we were given guides who are not good in English. It may be a good idea to make sure that who your guide is upfront.

Tour operator:
Egypt online was our tour operator. Everything went smooth, except for the guides in Luxor and Aswan.

What we will do different next time:
We will travel independently. Egypt is an easy country to travel. People are very friendly. Carry some small gifts with you, for example pens. They love receiving gifts from tourists. Guided tour is not the best way to experience the life and culture of Egypt.
We will stay with Ali's in Luxor, their house is close to Nile on the West bank and is great place to enjoy Egyptian hospitality.If anyone is interested:
Gahlan Hassan Ahmed, Taxi driver 480, West side El Boirat, 1 Hove Guest House, Luxor Egypt. Phone: (+2) 0952310887.
sunil_sivadas is offline  
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Dec 20th, 2004, 03:58 PM
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Thank you for the tips and photos, Sunil. It looks as if you had a marvellous time.

The map is very helpful for someone like me who has not been to Egypt but wants a brief orientation to the famous sites.
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Dec 21st, 2004, 01:46 AM
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Great pictures !
Make me want to go back asap.....
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Dec 21st, 2004, 08:26 AM
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Thank you for sharing! What a great way to spend my lunch break! Brought back memories of trip there in 2000. I welcome learning about the camera (s)and settings particularly for the nite shots. Dick
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Dec 23rd, 2004, 10:33 PM
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Dick, I used a Canon A60 for all the shots. It is a basic camera. Used a tripod for night shots. Bracketed the shots +1/3 to -1/3.
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Dec 27th, 2004, 06:55 PM
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gac1yahoo
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Hello Sunil..
the pictures are awesome.

How did you travel between Aswan and Luxor..? and Aswan and Abu Simbel..?

We are planning to go there with two kids ( 10 & 8 ) and planning to do independent..What is your advise..?

The view from the Nile is different from the view of the Indian roadside (I am from India)..

Nile cruise is the most expense part of the trip...
 
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Dec 28th, 2004, 02:33 AM
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Hi gac1,
Thanks for the compliments.
We travelled by train between Luxor and Aswan. It is about 3hrs. We took the 7.30AM train from Luxor.

We didn't go to Abusimbel. It was in the original itinerary. There are only two ways to travel to Abusimbel from Aswan. Either go in car/minibus as part of a convoy at 3.30AM or fly. The land route takes about 3hrs each way and you spend about 2 hours in the temple. You will be back in Aswan by lunchtime. We found it too tiring for our short trip, instead we explored Aswan a bit more. It is a beautiful town to spend a little more time. There are many posts in this forum that advice you not to m iss Abusimbel, but we feel we came back more memories than what we missed by not visiting Abusimbel.

Independent travel with kids maybe a bit tricky. If you can book hotels prior to your trip rest can be taken careoff in Egypt. You need to book all the train tickets IMMEDIATELY after landing there. Having a good Egyptologist to narrate the story behind a tomb or a painting makes the trip certainly enjoyable.

We didn't go on a cruise, because our idea of "experiencing" Egyptian culture and life was not by "watching" it from the deck of a cruise, but by visiting the villages and talking to people at our own pace.

Don't forget to carry some small gifts. If possible memorise some dialogues from Amitabh Bachan movies
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Dec 28th, 2004, 07:03 AM
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gac1yahoo
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Thank you very much Sunil...

If you have not taken the cruise how did you managed to visit, Esna, Edfu and Ombu temples..?

How did you arrange the Feluca in Aswan..? Is it part of the Egypt highlights package..?

I will surely contact Gahlan in Luxor. Also, in your other postings you mentioned that you visited Isrel part of your trip, I have a few days left to spend (3 days). Is it enough for Isrel..? Is travelling between Egypt and Isrel, expensive...?

Thank you in advance for your advise.

My email address: [email protected]
 
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Jan 3rd, 2005, 12:42 AM
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You can visit Edfu Kom Ombo by train OR go by car with a convoy from Luxor or Aswan.

Arranging a Felucca on your own is easy. Just stand on the banks of Nile, a felucca captain will nab you .Felucca ride was part of our itinerary but we did a tour ourselves also.

We didn't visit Israel.
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