Egypt

Reply

Nov 12th, 1999, 12:47 PM
  #1
Anne Braham
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Egypt

I am a 69 year old female independent traveler - to such as Indonesia, Sicily and Istanbul by myself. Now I want to go to Egypt by myself and set the pace as I go along. In other words, no advance reservations. Does anybody see any compelling reason why I shouldn't? (Planning for January.)
 
Reply With Quote
Nov 12th, 1999, 09:50 PM
  #2
Steve
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I'm too going to Egypt for two weeks by myself beginning on Nov. 23 and "winging-it" too. I would appreciate any tips you've come upon as to travelling within Egypt (air/train/bus from Cairo to Aswan, Luxor, Sinai, etc.) as well as how much US$ (not traveler's checks) to take and in what denominations. Thanks!
 
Reply With Quote
Nov 13th, 1999, 04:40 AM
  #3
Anne
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I'm afraid I have little information other than from guide books. I have learned from a man who goes to Cairo on business that travel from the airport into town requires that you begin haggling right then and there. Also not to be shocked if someone else just plunges into the taxi along with you...group travel is the norm apparently.
Please do let me know your adventures when you get back. I am presently inclined to go from Cairo to Luxor on overnight train and also later back from Aswan by train.I like to sleep in places that cost not more than $60-$70 and was interested in a posting re the Windsor hotel in Cairo. I assume there are plenty of others.
Apparently risk of personal theft is not unusually great, but anyplace with plenty of Amex offices will be able to provide us with cash. I will probably take more than $500 and less than $1000. (just guessing!)
Let me know if you see any other old ladies wandering around by themselves over there!
 
Reply With Quote
Nov 13th, 1999, 11:39 AM
  #4
Luis
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Of course you should do it!!! Also, you'll be there at the best time, the weather is perfect, even cool.
Getting around is easy, but don't plan a tight itinerary because you will not be able to enjoy the place, go with the flow...Usually no timetables, use the trains as well, Cairo to Luxor is an overnight, very comfy ride and it will cost you like US14. Buses to the Sinai are pretty expensive by Egyptian Standards, about 20US. But it is a long ride.
The middle East is a great place, if only for the fact that you can experience the thrill of chaos without being worried about being mugged or attacked. Very safe, although touts are prevalent and the hassle is there all the time. But you will learn to wave them off politely.
Good Luck and enjoy!!!
 
Reply With Quote
Nov 13th, 1999, 06:37 PM
  #5
Alice
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi Anne,
I'm not much younger - 53 in December. I'm doing the first part of my trip solo, then joining up with a tour. I travel a lot in the States and I love to wing it, but in the case of Cairo with it being such a large city and so foreign to me, I decided to research guide books and the internet.

It was probably on of my post on the Windsor Hotel that you read. The guide books (I've been studying about 6 of them) give it a very good rating, but the really neat thing about this hotel is how many times I have seen it featured in a travel show or in a movie. The rooms are so reasonable. I have a single with a private bath reserved with breakfast for US$38 (this includes tax). If your first stop is Cairo you might consider reserving a room here and then winging it the rest of your trip. The Windsor does offer to provide transportation from the airport for US$5 thus elimanating all those hassles we've read and heard about. I'll be sure to post my experience with this hotel on my return (Jan. 8).

Best Regards, Alice
 
Reply With Quote
Nov 15th, 1999, 05:44 AM
  #6
Sandy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
My friend and I (both mid-50s) visited Egypt without reservations in June and had a great time. Well, we did make advance reservations at the Windsor via the internet. We received a 25% discount for having the Let's Go book. Great hotel and very helpful staff. We did have them pick us up at airport, as we were coming off of a very long flight and didn't want to have to deal with anything until we could get to our room and get a shower!

We didn't take much US cash, ATMs were everyplace. We too, took the night trains (Cairo-Luxor, Aswan-Cairo) and found them clean, safe.

Have a great trip!
Sandy
 
Reply With Quote
Nov 15th, 1999, 11:50 AM
  #7
Electra
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Just returned from a 10 tour of Egypt with American Express-- highly recommed.

I to am an independent traveler but am 36 years old and was glad every thing was planned for me and well as being escorted..

The bazaars were a problem for me-a simple no was not enough. I would have men grab my arm and luckily my guide (a man) kept me from being draged around. I did my best not to make eye contact with men which for the most part worked.

you will have a great time but if you are limited with time and need to do things it is better to book in advance since scheduled in egypt (trains, buses, museams) can change daily.
Good luck and bring plenty of bug replellant if you are going to Luxor, Aswan or Abu Simbel
 
Reply With Quote
Nov 16th, 1999, 03:34 AM
  #8
Steve
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks for the suggestions. The Windsor Hotel, Cairo looks like a great choice. For others interested, their web site is www.windsorcairo.com.

I'm still confused as to how to get to Mt. Sinai and snorkel in the Red Sea. Anyone know if you can get there easily from Luxor/Aswan or is it better to go back to Cairo take a flight/train from there?
 
Reply With Quote
Nov 16th, 1999, 07:40 AM
  #9
Tarek
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Steve,
There is a bus from Luxor to Hurghada, on the Red Sea. From there you can either take the ferry to Sharm El Sheikh in the Sinai, or take the bus to Suez, and another bus down to Sharm El Sheikh or Dahab. A great place to stay is Dahab (much more relaxed than the rest of Egypt, and cheap, and not too far from Mt Sinai). Sharm el Sheikh is more of a built up, expensive, touristy place, but the diving and snorkeling are pretty good, particularly at Ras Mohamed National Park. If you stay in Sharm, check out Na'ma bay. not cheap, but pretty lively (somehow artificial). You can also do some good snorkeling around Hurghada, particularly to the South of it (safaga...). The town of Hurghada itself is ugly, but a little further to the north is the resort of El Gouna, which, even if it is also an artificial and touristy place, is pretty nice for what it is. Actually, it is very nice.
 
Reply With Quote
Nov 16th, 1999, 12:02 PM
  #10
cb
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Steve,
You can also fly from Luxor to the Sharm area.
 
Reply With Quote
Nov 19th, 1999, 05:44 PM
  #11
Paula
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I usually recommend that the first time traveler to Egypt have some structure to their plans. Egypt is a rather daunting place for the first time traveler to the area and the Let's Go books may make it seem like a picnic but it really isn't. These guides cater to what I like to think of as the younger on the go set and mature travelers should not use them as the ultimate guide to travel.

It is much better to have your hotels booked as this is the season of the millennium and the spaces are booking up or are already booked. Sure the less expensive places may not be booked but less expensive also does not mean desirable in safety or hygiene.

You should be aware of where you are at all times - remember that you have traveled at least 6000 miles (from NYC) and will be tired and in a very strange
land. The heat, the noise (Egypt is noisy!) the language difference all contribute to making you less than alert.

I would recommend reputable hotels where you can ask the advice of the staff for tours away from the hotel and perhaps get a very inexpensive guide.

The train is a bit hectic - I would recommend the standard fly to Luxor and then take the boat to Aswan - the Nile cruise is delighful and comes in a variety of price ranges.

As for women alone - OK - BUT you must respect the Moslem culture and dress modestly - no tight slacks, uncovered shoulders, etc. Men are men regardless of where they are and they will ALL take liberties if they think you are offering them!!

Haggling is the rule of thum b here - it is not over till it is over. It is enchanting at first but after a bit is wearing. You know what you would pay for a comparable item in the US - don't expect to get this tremendous deal in Egypt. It doesn't happen - the Egyptians have been at the retail game for thousands of years and you are not about to "win" the game. They check the price of gold and silver everyday and you can too and they know exactly to the dollar what anything is worth to them. You have to know the same - would you pay $100 for that bracelet in the US - if so, then buy it. If it is worth more in your eyes, then there is something wrong. No one gives away anything. Just keep your head in haggling and you will OK.

Let me know how you do in your travels - try other guidebooks - Let's Go is fine but limited in its range.
 
Reply With Quote
Nov 19th, 1999, 06:24 PM
  #12
kathy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
My husband and I like to do our own planning and travel independently, but we took a tour to Egypt last March and on balance I'm glad we did. It was great to have someone make the travel arrangements in Egypt, to facilitate the crowds - particularly in Cairo - and to explain the history, archaeology. We did make a point to do some things on our own. For example, we skipped the bus trip to Alexandria. Although I'd love to see it, 6 hours on a bus for 2.5 inAlexandria didn;t make any sense. Instead we went to the tentmaker's bazaar in Cairo and generally wandered. For hours, we did'nt see any westerners. We usually did not eat dinner in our hotel, but walked somewhere. Some of our group couldn't imagine that we would do such things,. We found the Egyptian people to be very friendly, and helpful. The food was great and we were never anywhere where we felt threatened.

We ran into no beggars except a few in Aswan posing (I think) as pregnant women - I've been harassed more by beggars in Rome than Egypt.

 
Reply With Quote
Nov 27th, 1999, 06:28 PM
  #13
leslie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I just returned a week ago from Egypt and loved it. However, we did take a tour and I was thankful for that. Mostly, because we had a guide who could explain the meanings behind all the sights. I did feel safe, but I was conservative in dress and also was traveling with my husband. We too took time to explore on our own and it was enjoyable -- with egyptians always offering help. The nile cruise I would recommend, simply because you can see the sights most efficiently this way -- and also because it is really helpful to have a guide explain the temples on the way. One bit of advice, whenever we looked like we didnt know where we were going a friendly egyptian would offer to help. They were genuine in this offer of help, however most egyptians seem to have a connection to a perfume, leather, gold or papyrus business and they will usually try to persuade you to stop by their recommended spot on the way to your destination. We simply told them that we had already bought all of the above items in order to avoid the sales pitch. We didnt have time to brush up on Arabic, so I think we would have become frustrated traveling independently on a limited time vacation, but judging from where you have independently traveled, you should have a great time.
 
Reply With Quote
Nov 29th, 1999, 08:13 AM
  #14
AJ
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Both times I've been to Egypt (1994 and 1998) was without any advance booking and had no trouble. Stayed at the Cosmopolitan in Cairo and liked it. With many of the hotels, if you walk up to the desk alone- don't let the taxi driver or a local accompany you- and ask for the best price, you can get a good deal. We got great deals this way!
 
Reply With Quote
Dec 4th, 1999, 05:33 PM
  #15
Jodi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Why arn't you planning on Abu Simbel for the AM of February 22? I actually combined going alone, with a tour, which I met in Egypt. I am 65 and my husband, who is an artist, did not go, "I have no beige paint was his answer to my suggestion that we go." As it turned out I was a tour of one, and it was fabulous! Peace tours in Cairo helped me with my independant portion, 4 days, and I was with Gate One the rest of the time. You should be fine! It will be wonderful, and be sure and fit in a Nile cruise.
 
Reply With Quote
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:42 PM.