Best city for shopping in Egypt?

Aug 4th, 2002, 05:53 AM
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Best city for shopping in Egypt?

We're planning a trip in Egypt the first week in October, and I'd like some advice on which cities may have the best shopping deals/selection/specialties.

I have done a search on this forum & gained some good shopping tips within Cairo & Aswan, but didn't see anything comparing cities.

I live in China (and we've visited several third world countries), so we are "prepared" already for the haggling, pushy vendors, and offers to be taken to "my cousin's special shop" - I'd just like to know which cities might be best.

We'll be in Cairo, then on a Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor, with stops in Edfu and Kom Ombo. Any advice on which places will be best to shop? For example, I live in China, and the things you can find are pretty much the same from city to city, prices will be lower in the smaller cities.
Aug 4th, 2002, 10:15 AM
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Much of what we saw for sale at bazaars and from street vendors were tourist-type stuff, unlikely to have been made in Egypt. In fact, we bought a stuffed camel for our daughter that had a Made in China tag on it!

I am unsure for what you want to shop. Our best shopping experience had nothing to do with what we bought - on the Nile cruise at the locks a group of children in small rowboats arrived at side of ship. They would throw items up to those on top deck, yell up the price, you would haggle with them and then throw money down to them in a film cannister! We bought a cotton shawl that we did not even want, but it is a great conversation piece about how we got it.

There are also rug shops with Oriental-style rugs. They gave me the creeps because they were advertised as Rug Schools and were told that children left home, were educated and worked "one or 2 hours a day" learning a trade. It just looked like forced child labor to us. And one would have to be far more expert in rug quality than we are to have gotten a deal there.
Also some Alabaster shops - we bought a beautiful vase and when we put water in it at home discovered it was actually a clever paper-mache type process.

Our tour guide took some people to jewelery and perfume shops, but that was not our taste, so we skipped it.

Aug 5th, 2002, 08:57 AM
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I bought 18K gold jewelry in Cairo before our Nile cruise, then found better price on the ship itself. same thing with silver stuff. However, I can't tell if this is the norm or if I just did not haggle enough or if business was really bad. The nice thing about buying from the ship, is you have plenty of time to think and haggle since you're there several days.

Remember that at any shop a tour guide takes you, the price will add the guide's commission. I had assumed that you don't have to worry about fakes at the shops a tour guide takes you until at a shop in Aswan my friend bought a necklace made of semi-precious beads which are supposed to be genuine. The beads turned out to be made from dust of the real thing.
Aug 5th, 2002, 09:23 AM
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In Cairo, if you can get away on your own, walk, take a cab or the subway, then you can buy at the locals stores and get the good cottons and perfume oils. Too late I found out that the better cotton items are made by the tailor, to fit, not off a rack, The spice market in Aswan is really neat too. Just like China--avoid the traps!
Aug 7th, 2002, 11:13 AM
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You won't be shopping in Edfu or Kom Ombo. You will just stop long enough to visit the temples there. When you get to the locks on the Nile, you will encounter the boat peddlers. They will try to sell you table cloths, rugs, galabayas (Egyptian caftans). We bought most of our gold on the boat itself. We also went to a large gold shop in Luxor (courtesy of our guide). I'm not about to have any of it tested! What I don't know won't hurt me! Only one was very pricy--the rest was small stuff for gifts.
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