Do I need a private guide in Cairo?

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Nov 4th, 2004, 05:28 PM
  #1
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Do I need a private guide in Cairo?

I know the attractions and can get around but I've heard some bad stories about tourists being mistreated by locals (shops, taxi, transport, money exchange etc).

Is that a good idea to get a "decent" private guide to take care of those mishaps?

Anybody has a good friend in Cairo or Alex?

coming Nov17th- 3days in Cairo

Thanks
ernest is offline  
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Nov 6th, 2004, 09:14 PM
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I don't know any private guides, although your hotel may be able to arrange something. They can be useful, but since you know the sites and feel comfortable getting around - to avoid getting "taken", try the following....

Shops - don't let anyone pressure you into buying something you don't and when it comes to bargaining - take their opening price and cut it in half. Then bargain back up from there. Pay only what you are comfortable paying. ANd if that means you end up paying a higher price than someone else - live with it. If you don't really care if you get the item or not - just walk away and see what kind of price the seller offers!

Taxi - you can arrange to have a taxi stay with you while you tour sites, so get one from your hotel - preferably one that speaks some English. Have the concierge help you negotiate with the driver for a per hour price (around 25-30 LE per hour is common - $4-5 USD). At the end of the day, round up the payment to a convenient number or tip the driver more if you feel he has been extra halepful.

Money exchange - stick to the hotel of official exchange offices.

Have fun!

Grcxx3 is offline  
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Nov 7th, 2004, 05:14 AM
  #3
rfb
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I'm curious what you mean by 'mistreated'. Do you mean abused or do you mean outsmarted. I've been to Egypt many times and never been abused. If you mean outsmarted, even the guides will do that sometimes.

If you search Egypt in this forum, you'll find many recommendations for guides if you feel one is necessary.

You can hear bad stories about any place, the best thing to do with most of them is ignore them.
 
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Nov 7th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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"Outsmarted" is relative and I found it an amusing part of the culture. There was a kid selling stuffed camels at the Pyramids - "3 American dollars for one or 3 camels for $10". He was so adorable and convincing that you almost forgot to do the math and figure out the scam there.

Bartering over price, acting insulted at offer, taking you to "My uncle's perfume shop" - it's all part of the culture of tourist business and I do not consider it mistreatment. Buyer beware. Certainly was no worse than trying to get a straight answer for the price of a car in the US!
gail is offline  
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Nov 7th, 2004, 11:49 AM
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I would reccomend getting a guide and a driver from your hotel. We're not the tour guide kind of people but given the lengthy lines at almost every place, it was useful to have that luxury. Also, it was a great way to familiarize ourselves with the customs and traditions. WE had a guide for the first 2 days, and just a driver for the last 3 days. Our driver was fantastic and a better guide than the earlier one! As for shopping, if something interests you, start at half price and stick to that!
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