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7 Days in Egypt - Cairo, Luxor and Diving

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Dec 10th, 2012, 04:37 AM
  #1
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7 Days in Egypt - Cairo, Luxor and Diving

Hi,

Fodor's was great at helping me plan my trip to Capri so I thought it would be good to get advice on my trip to Egypt in January.

To give some context, I'll be travelling with my boyfriend, we're both 22, he's very very relaxed but I'm quite OCD about holidays and tend to go overboard while trying to pack everything in. We both live in different countries, so would like to spend some time relaxing together along with seeing what Egypt has to offer. I also scuba dive, but he doesnt, hence would like to spend some time on a beach where I can dive once but we can generally relax as well.

Our budget is mid-range - I'd like to not go too crazy, maybe 5000-7500E?

We will be arriving at Cairo on Jan 19th - Saturday evening, and departing from Cairo on Jan 26th - Saturday afternoon. That's 7 night and 7 days.

I have been doing a bit of research and am thinking along the following lines.

Day 0. (19th)- Arrive and Relax in the evening - Any restaurant recommendations and night activites would be welcome - whirling dervishes/Riverboat restaurant?

Day 1. (20th) Pyramids - Casual_Cairo's website had an interesting full day tour starting at Sakkara?

Day 2. (21st) Archaeological museum (with a tour guide). - leave the rest of the day free

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Day 3: (22nd) Karnak in the morning, and Luxor Temple, with a Fellucia ride in the evening

Day 4: (23rd) West Bank - Hot Air Balloon, Valley of the Kings, etc (I'll start posting more details on this once i have it sorted out - might need some help!!)

Now this is where im *STUCK* I would like to spend Day 5 and 6 at a beach, which is not too far away from Cairo, good for diving but with a decent beach and good restaurants. I was thinking of Marsa Alam or Hurghada maybe? Any suggestions would be welcome. I usually shy away from toursity spots, but wont mind spending some time in a resort even.

Day 6 night or Day 7 morning: Travel back to Cairo - spend the day relaxing and visit Khan

Flight back!

Comments would be welcome. I would like to start booking hotels soon, and hence need to finish a skeletal itenrary asap!!

Thanks a ton
RP
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Dec 10th, 2012, 10:55 AM
  #2
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Update -> If i pick Hurghada, and choose to fly straight from Cairo to Hurghada and then take a 2 day trip down to Luxor, would that work out? Flights seem reasonably cheap, @130 EUR for a round trip.
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Dec 11th, 2012, 02:52 AM
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I think your schedule is pretty good. The best of Luxor will take 1.5 days so you can do the 1/2 day on day 2 there, if you want and get the road trip to Hurghada done that afternoon (in daylight hours), giving you 2 full days in Hurghada, which you won't regret, PLUS, don't you have to have something like 24 hours after diving before you fly? So you'd need to dive that first full day there, then fly out of Hurghada back to Cairo late in the day on day 2.
If the cost of flying directly to Luxor, then road trip it to Hurghada, then fly to Cairo is not out of your budget, that is how I recommend it. The highway from Luxor to Hurghada is one of the worst highways in Egypt, and you don't really want to do that road twice if you can avoid it. By all means do it in daylight hours. You can do the hot air balloon in the early early morning and then come back to your hotel, have breakfast and check out - go see the two temples on the East Bank then head over to Hurghada.

I'm happy you saw our site. Email me if you are interested to learn more about anything we do. THX. Otherwise I can answer your basic questions here.
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Dec 11th, 2012, 08:01 AM
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Hi,
Thanks a lot for your advice!
How does this sound:

Day 0. (19th)- Arrive and Relax in the evening - Any restaurant recommendations and night activites would be welcome - whirling dervishes/Riverboat restaurant?

Day 1. (20th) Pyramids - Casual_Cairo's website had an interesting full day tour starting at Sakkara?

Day 2: (21st) Archaeological museum (with a tour guide).

Flight to Luxor at 3:30 pm (@~70GBP each)- i checked the egyptair schedule for this.

Day 2 half: Evening in Luxor

Day 3 in Luxor --> Casual_Cairo, would be great if you could help me with your thoughts on an itenerary

Day 4 morning: hot air balloon, 2 temples in East bank and head to Hurghada (or do you think we could finish luxor in Day 2 Half + Day 3 morning/noon and in the afternoon move to Hurghada??)

Day 4 morning/Day 3 night: Arrive at Hurghada

Day 5 and 6 in Hurghada

Day 7: Fly back to Cairo, early morning (depart at 8:30, arrive at 9:40)

spend the morning in Cairo - Khan etc


One concern : how dependable is the air transport in Cairo at the moment? do you think it makes sense to return to Cairo on day 6 evening just to be safe, in case flight delays occur on day 7?

Thanks!

PS: i will get in touch with you about arranging a tour of the pyramids, and some advice on the museum as well!




Spend evening in Luxor
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Dec 11th, 2012, 09:34 AM
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Update, here is what looks like a close to final itenerary. I might be spending a bit more time than i would like in Cairo and Luxor, but i think it will be more comfortable for the flight timings etc.

• Day 0. (19th)- Arrive and Relax in the evening - whirling dervishes and boat restaurant

Day 0 Night in Cairo

•Day 1. (20th) Pyramids - Casual_Cairo's pyramids tour
Day 1 Night: Cairo
•Day 2. (21st) Egypt Museum
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Day 2 Continued in Luxor. Fellucia ride and Karnak temple at night

Day 2 Night: Luxor

•Day 3. (22nd) West Bank + Hot air balloon

Day 3 Night: Luxor

•Day 4 (23rd). Luxor temple / Karnak again if wanted/ Hot air balloon if not possible before

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Day 4 continued in Hurghada. Relax.

Day 4 Night: Hurghada

•Day 5 (24th). Hurghada, Dive and sleep and relax
Day 5 Night: Hurghada

•Day 6(25th). Hurghada, Snorkel and sleep and relax

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Day 6 Night: Cairo

•Day 7(26th). Cairo. Relax. Flight back in the afternoon.
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Dec 11th, 2012, 11:24 PM
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I see you've decided not to go diving now, and snorkel instead. Probably a good move, and something your boyfriend can join you on.

Lastly, you are wise to get back to Cairo early. In fact it might not be a bad idea to wait and do the Museum tour on your last day so you are here for certain in time for your outbound flight in the event that your return flight is delayed, postponed or cancelled outright. Flights that are not full have been cancelled and combined with later flights. Hope that won't happen to you, but it's best now to plan that it might and organize yourself and your schedule so it won't be a big panic situation if it does.

The only real comment I have for you about your plans now is that it seems you are planning nearly every REALLY touristy event on offer. If that is the sort of thing you enjoy, that is great and you should go for it. If not so much, there are other things you might enjoy doing instead of the Nile Dinner Cruise on day 0 and the Karnak Sound and Light Show on day 2. The Ministry of Culture's Whirling Dervish Show in downtown Cairo is fabulous and free, but only on 2 nights a week. Saturday is one of those nights, so if your hotel is NOT out in Giza, it would be easy enough to get to on your first night. It is SO much more worth while seeing than a Nile Dinner Cruise, unless you boyfriend has some fantasy about seeing the belly dancer too. You should be able to find a belly dancer to see in Hurghada one of your nights there.

Come back with more questions if you want to.
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Dec 11th, 2012, 11:26 PM
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Sorry about the inconsistencies in that post above - "Lastly",and "The only real comment"..... sorry. I was watching my Soap Opera while answering that and obviously didn't have my full attention on it. I hope it made sense anyway.
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Dec 12th, 2012, 12:11 AM
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Thanks for pointing that out! You are right in assuming that I would love to try more than just the typical touristy events. Im thinking of probably staying at Zamalek, and with more time in Cairo, would love to explore more it has to offer. Belly dancing is not really a requirement (he isnt planning this, i am )
The Whirling Dervishes sound great, we will definitely check them out. Do you have any other suggestions on places?
I think I will go ahead and begin booking now! Just one question -> the situation doesnt seem to improving in Cairo (atleast on the news), how much impact is it having on places other than downtown Cairo? and in other cities?
Thanks!
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Dec 14th, 2012, 03:36 AM
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Practically none from what I can see - but then I haven't been out to Giza recently, but I can't imagine if I live 1 mile from the action and I'm not seeing much happening that Giza which is closer to 20 miles away is affected adversly because of it - OTHER than everyone there is hungry and hunger makes them aggressive when it comes to sales. You will have more camels to choose from and new head gear tossed at you than you can shake a stick at. Going on your own to Giza is not advised unless you feel very confident to tell people NO or are comfortable with the whole IN YOUR FACE sales attack.
Best ask AFTER tomorrows vote though - tomorrow could be a game changer.
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Dec 14th, 2012, 05:34 AM
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If you are diving fanatics I would head to something like Sharm el Sheikh rather than Hurghada where diving is quite poor with little to see underwater. Then again with only one day you're not going to get to anything interesting anywhere.
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Jan 2nd, 2013, 08:08 AM
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No sure if you still need some input about your time in Cairo or Luxor. I was in Egypt May, 2012 and have some excellent recommendations for restaurants, fellucahs and even an off the beaten track Camel rides at a fraction of the 'touristy' one if needed. (I should do a trip report)Let me know.

I like going off the beaten track while staying safe so we twice hired a driver for $40 for the whole day and evening from our hotel in Giza, who drove us everywhere which I wouldn't do on my own there. Traffic is so crazy in Cairo plus he waited for us and there was no stress getting from point A to B.
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Jan 2nd, 2013, 11:02 AM
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FYI - MsLizzy - love your post, but be VERY careful about quoting prices for cars and drivers. In your case you were good about saying exactly when you were here, but I want to add that since our new president has taken office taxes went up January 1st and the cost of gasoline is scheduled to jump WAY UP, so future travelers should not probably expect to get someone to drive them all day for $40 pretty soon....depending on how much actual driving you really want them to do for you.
Please just keep it in mind. Drivers with cars need to feed their families too.
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Jan 2nd, 2013, 03:55 PM
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Noted, C_C. The price was set by the hotel in Giza so I can only assume it was a fair price at that time and would be adjusted as economic times change. The young man who was our driver was excellent and he did not suffer since we made sure to give him his tip personally that reflected how pleased we were.
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Jan 7th, 2013, 06:14 AM
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Problem with Sharm in January is that the water is really really cold. And it is also windy. I was in Sharm last February, the dive master wore a dry suit it was that cold. So be prepared with a suitable wetsuit for snorkelling or diving as it is difficult to stay in the water very long. The Thistlegorm wreck dive was magnificent however.
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Jan 17th, 2013, 05:39 AM
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Hi MsLizzy,
Just saw your message, would love to get some tips on restaurants!

Debbie - Im Indian, so I'll be good with touts, don't worry

NoFlyZone - I like to dive, but my boyfriend doesnt, so it wont be central to our trip. Hurghada made the most sense time-wise, and i think for a couple of novice dives it should be fine?

Also, i will be reaching Cairo about 3-4 hours before my boyfriend, and was wondering if there is anything minor exploring i can do near our hotel.

I reach at around 4 pm, and am staying at the Golden Tulip Flamenco hotel, (02 El Gezira El Wosta Street, Cairo)

Thanks!
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