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fate_golfman Jan 4th, 2004 05:30 AM

Cairo and Nile Cruise 6/2004 Trip
 
Is it preferable to do Cairo first then the cruise or should it be the other way around? We only plan to spend 3 days in Cairo - is that enough to whet ones appetite? Any recommendations on 'must sees' and 'must dos' for 3 days? Please also advise (recommended tour companies, what to watch out for,etc)on the Nile cruise - we only want to do 3 nights/4 days. I believe one has to fly down to either Aswan or Luxor to do the cruise - is this correct?

sandi Jan 4th, 2004 08:05 AM

fate_golfman -

Welcome back - been away awhile! If you want to work with a US Tour Operators, ISRAM and GATE 1 do very good tours, and have a side trip to Petra. Both companies have websites, which I don't have handy, but a "search" will find them.

Or you can try working with an Egyptian tour operator: Egyptian Connection or MISR are good, and likewise they have websites.

However, when we did our trip, we booked through our African tour operator Africa Tours at

www.africasafaris.com

for our Egypt portion and because we flew via Royal Jordanian airlines (best airfare when we went) they offered a 2-day layover offer with a full-day Petra tour, and second day tour of Jerash and Amman, both days included lunch, staying at the airport hotel, which wasn't anything to write home about, but clean and we had breakfast there. The price was about $240/person and well worth it.

We had a private car and driver both days in Jordan. So you might want to check with Royal Jordanian airlines but do believe this deal is available only if you fly RJ.

The extension with ISRAM or GATE 1 will be for more days and cost more, about $500/person.

The basic 9-10 day Egypt itinerary consists of:
Day 1 - Pyramids, Sphinx, Memphis, Sakarra
Day 2 - Museum, Old Cairo, Bazaar
Day 3 - Fly to Aswan, optional trip to Abu Simbel (about $200/$300 incl air and tour) return to Aswan, board ship; afternoon felluca cruise, Aga Khan Mausoleum, maybe Nubian Museum
Day 4 - High Dam, Unfinished Obelisk, tour to Philea Island/Temples - cruise
Day 5 - Cruise to Kom Ombo, cruise
Day 6 - Edfu Temple in morning; afternoon cruise to Esna visit Temple, then pass thru locks, cruise to Luxor
Day 7 - Visit Valley of Kings & Queens
in late afternoon, Karnak and Luxor Temples
Day 8 - leisure morning, disembark afternoon and fly back to Cairo for an overnight
Day 9 - Fly home

Do note, that the cruise can also be from Luxor to Aswan depending on the boat schedule, but either way, you can get all the sites.

Our cruise was 5nts which covers all the temples between Aswan/Luxor - any less nights, might be 1-nt less on boat, but that 1-nt might be in Luxor (or Aswan) at a hotel to get in the sites.

We stayed an extra day to catch-up on shopping (Day 9) and went back to museum on own, then flew to Amman for overnight and departed next morning for home.

Take a look at the sites mentioned above and see what they have to offer and then ask specific questions.

Bye the way - weather in June is very hot.

fate_golfman Jan 5th, 2004 04:31 AM

Thanks very much Sandi. Have we exchanged postings before?
Best regards.

sandi Jan 5th, 2004 05:12 AM

fate_golfman -

Yes, we did, back in June you were interested in other info re Middle East countries.

Hope the information I provided above gets you started.

fate_golfman Jan 5th, 2004 05:40 AM

Sandi,
Now I remember - that's the time when my daughter was doing a Middle East research for her class project. Your information was very helpful. Thanks so much again.
Regards.

Grcxx3 Jan 5th, 2004 11:59 PM

Glad to hear you're planning a trip to Egypt!

Some people suggest doing the cruise first to help get over the jet lag. The cruises usually involve sightseeing in the morning, then back to the boat for lunch and cruising in the afternoon. It is very relaxing and would help you to be "fresh" for your 3 days in Cairo. But people do it both ways.

If given a choice of starting places, I would fly to Aswan and sail to Luxor. Although all the temples are wonderful, the ones in Luxor are spectacular - a great way to end the trip. It would also give you a chance to spend an extra day in Luxor (if time permitted) to see more things, such as Nefertari's tomb, Valley of the Nobles, Valley of the Artisans, etc. YOu could also take a felucca (flat-bottomed boat) ride along the Nile. You can do this in Cairo as well.

Please check with whatever travel company you use to make sure the locks are open. They usually close for maintenance sometime in June (and also in December), which can cause some problems with the cruise schedules.

As for things to see - the pyramid and Sphynx complex, Saqqara (the step pyramid), the Egypian Museum, the Khan el Khalili shopping bazaar, Coptic (Christian) Cairo, the Citadel (add in the nearby El-Hussein and El-Rafai mosques), and the City of the Dead.

I would skip the Pharonic Village (as mentioned in another reply) unless you have small kids. My kids found it rather baby-ish.

Note - check your travel days because I don't suggest visiting the Citadel, mosques, or the Khan el Khalili (which is adjacent to a huge mosque) on Fridays. Also, some of the shops in the Khan are closed on Sundays.

NOTE - don't be talked into visiting papyrus shops, perfume shops, alabaster shops, etc, with guides or others. Unless you are a master bargainer and have a good idea what prices are really reasonable - you will spend MUCH MORE than necessary! When bargaining, always start out with 1/2 the price quoted to you and go from there.

Hope this helps.

sandi Jan 6th, 2004 05:02 AM

Yes, some shops in the Khan el Khalili Bazaar are closed on Sunday - the Jewelry shops. That's it, otherwise, everything else was open.

We arrived first in the morning about 10am and practically had the place to ourselves (shops were first opening) for 2-hrs before crowds arrived. It was much easier shopping on Sunday, then when we had been at the Bazaar earlier in our trip with our guide; though guides are good to have around if you're bargaining for "higher" priced items (even if they do get a cut of the price).


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