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Day and a half in Cairo-how to make the best out of it?

Day and a half in Cairo-how to make the best out of it?

Apr 14th, 2008, 12:20 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 13
Day and a half in Cairo-how to make the best out of it?

We are four adults traveling to Cairo and Sharm el Sheikh in mid-May. I've been to Cairo before so I'm sort of in charge of planning the trip, but I'm not sure if we can fit all the most important sights in 36 hours. I'd love to hear your opinion and advice. Here's my plan:

Day 1: We arrive around 8 p.m. so that night we can only squeeze in a couple of drinks at the wonderful Marriott garden (we will be staying at the Marriott on Zamalek).

Day 2: Early start, taxi to pyramids, after that taxi to Old/coptic Cairo, than taxi to Citadel and end up at Khan el Khalili. Back to hotel from where we would catch the Nile Maxime dinner show at 1930.

Day 3: Early morning to Egyptian Museum and after that to the airport to catch the 1300 flight to Sharm.

What do you think, can we do all this? How long is the ride to the airport, I was there in 2003 and honestly don't remember. How long before the flight (to Sharm) do we have to be at the airport?

Does anyone know if there is a decent cafe in Coptic Cairo for quick sandwich for lunch?

Also, what are the current taxi rates for the above mentioned trips?

Thanks for the help!!!
Traveling_frog is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 11:54 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,601
Day 3 - 1300 flight to Sharm- How long will it take to get to the airport?

What day of the week is it? You need to be at the airport 1 hour early for domestic flights. On Friday it will take 30 minutes to get there at that time of day. On Saturday it might take 60 minutes. Any other day it could take 90 or more.

Instead of hiring different taxis for each trek, why not hire one for the whole day? It will be much easier and you'll have him with you to leave stuff in the car. Pay him maybe 300LE for the day (75LE each) and he should probably be OK with that. Up it to *100LE each and you might not even have to fight him about taking you shopping.

*I think if you can afford rooms at the Marriott you can afford $20 each to get a pleasant driver to work with you all day.

Have a good trip.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 08:09 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 94
Better yet, nab a yellow cab. I swear they're the best kept secret in Cairo. They're metered, and air-conditioned, and the drivers speak an adequate amount of English. Their rates are also ridiculously reasonable.

Although they'll keep the meter running while waiting for you, it's about 1-2 dollars an hour. They usually (correct me if I'm wrong, Debbie or Sunshine) hang around Midan Tahrir. Or the Marriott should be able to call one for you.

huladolphin is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 08:38 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,601
They are good if you can get one SOMETIMES. The kids working them are turning into little theives themselves though by turning off the meters and saying they don't work and wanting to negotiate the fee before you go for more than the meter would ask for. I suspect they aren't paid very well by the company and people weren't tipping them to their satisfaction so one or two tried this, it worked and word spread that you can give this a go and some people will fall for it.

Having said that, it hasn't happened to me yet, but more than once it's been reported happening wiht the yellow cabs near City Stars. But it hasn't happened to me because I find them impossible to get. Ordering one is very difficult... you can wait forever and they want to charge you from where the cab has to come from to pick you up. I'd rather go black and white.

If you guys want a private driver to haul you around for the day, I can set that up for you. I think he will be happy with the LE400 I suggested and has a pretty new 4 dr car. Or here is his name and number, you can call him yourself -
Raafat Khella 010-105-7081

He does drive fast though - be ready for that....but he's a lovely nice old guy.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 11:26 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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Thank you both very much for the advice, I'll talk to my husband and other two girls and probably go with your suggestion. Maybe we can even arrange with the driver to pick us up on the morning of day 3 and take us together with the luggage to the museum so we leave straight from there to the airport, that should save us some time. BTW, it will be Tuesday when we leave for Sharm, so I guess we should count on bad traffic and longer transfer to the airport.Since you seem like Egypt experts, do you have any restaurants in Naama Bay to recommend for dinners?

Thanks again
Traveling_frog is offline  
Apr 15th, 2008, 11:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,823
There are lots of restaurants in the boardwalk area of Na'ama Bay - even a Hard Rock Cafe. There are lots of cafes in the main "pedestrian" area where you can sit outside and people watch.

We always seemed to end up at a little seafood restaurant......hard to explain where.....at the end of the main pedestrian walking/cafe "street"....you kind of hit a dead end and to the left and upstairs is a seafood place that my boys and DH really liked (I don't eat seafood). My younger son really liked the BBQ crabs.

If you want to venture out of Na'ama Bay, the Hyatt Regency hotel (toward the airport) has a wonderful Thai restaurant. ALso one of our favs.
Grcxx3 is offline  
Apr 16th, 2008, 02:34 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 409
I agree with the idea of hiring a driver. It'll save you a lot of hassle and you could, as you suggest, check out and take your luggage with you to the museum. If there are 4 of you with lots of luggage you might need something bigger than a taxi. We hired a guide/driver from a reputable travel agency (long time ago so I can't remember the name) but they turned up in an air-conditioned people carrier. Very comfortable and plenty of room.

I think you're trying to do quite a lot on day 2 especially if it's very hot but you can play it by ear on the day.

Traffic can be dreadful at any time so leave plenty of time to get to the airport.
Lynneb is offline  
Apr 16th, 2008, 12:12 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 867

I agree that Day 2 is awfully packed. I'd take one thing out so you don't have to worry about getting to the next place instead of enjoying where you are. It's hard to tell you which one to drop.

Getting your own larger sized car & driver is the best option, I think, with 4 people. You can rent a car & driver at the Marriott. I'm sure they could provide you with a larger car.

I used a car & driver from there when I was here on vacation and the driver was very nice and helpful and spoke retty good English. The cost is higher, but you'll get exactly what you want.

sunshine007 is offline  
Apr 16th, 2008, 01:24 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,601
Yes, don't expect Rafaat to be able to haul 4 of you and a large suitcase each. 4 of you and 2 suitcases is probably all that Nubira can handle.
You might need two cars, or one van or one black and white stationwagon taxi with a roof rack. Rafaat might be able to organize that for you too though as he used to be a taxi driver.

Good luck.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Apr 16th, 2008, 01:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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See that is why I hire Debbie and if you can get a hold of her for those days , then hire her.!!

Percy is offline  
Apr 16th, 2008, 11:33 PM
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Thanks again for all the tips and help. We might not have much luggage as we will be coming for only 5 nights, out of Cyprus.

Casual Cairo, since you know the guy and offered to help, would you please set it up for us, 400LE is fine? We can give him a call a day before just to confirm. We would need him at 0800 a.m. on Monday, 19 May in front of the Marriott. Then we can see with him for the next day and airport ride. My first name is Amra. And, driving fast is not a problem, I think that's one of the things visitors to Cairo have to experience as well

Grcxx3, thanks for the seafood restaurant tip in Naama Bay, my DH loves seafood, we'll try to find it.
Traveling_frog is offline  
Apr 17th, 2008, 05:07 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 94
That sucks about the yellow cabs; I used to use them for my longer trips- to Giza, City Stars,the airport because they were actually cheaper than the black and whities. But they were rather challenging to obtain.

Private drivers work just as well
huladolphin is offline  
Apr 17th, 2008, 12:28 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 867
I've had mostly bad luck with the Yellow Cabs when I've ordered them up by telephone. It's been a lot better when I've caught them on the street. The last guy I had didn't speak English.
sunshine007 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2008, 12:00 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,601
TF - Remind me a lot closer to the day that you need him and I'll give him a call for you. I'm not making anything off of this, so all I'm going to do is tell him to save the day. You will need to call him and work out the details of meeting him. I think you will be best off to meet him out back of the Marriott next to the church. When you get here, check it out and see where the people park out on the street next to the kiosk where you can buy water cheap (which reminds me Percy - I showed your friends the kiosk yesterday - they hadn't found it yet before that). That is the best place for him to park and wait for you, and he can wear his red shirt that says Rafaat on it so you can ID him easy.

Remind me about the 2nd week of May to call him.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Apr 18th, 2008, 06:07 AM
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Thanks, Debie, I'll send you an email in a few weeks. The kiosk with cheap water will come in handy too!

Traveling_frog is offline  
Apr 18th, 2008, 06:39 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 244
Having been to Cairo a few times now, I think also that Day 2 is really packed. I also think IMO that you should see Egyptian Museum, but really can't before a 13:00 flight. When it opens there are very long lines and several security points. Another idea, on day 2, go to pyramids early and have quick lunch near there. Then go to Egyptian Museum (go straight to 2nd floor for Tut rooms), then go the Khan Khalili before or after dinner (you can have dinner there). On the next day, taxi with your luggage to Old/coptic and then to airport.

have fun either way,

BonnieN is offline  
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