Egypt Trip Advice

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Sep 2nd, 2004, 12:54 AM
  #1
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Egypt Trip Advice

Hello everyone, I have been reading your posts and replies with great enthusiasm and it has helped me plan for our trip.
We are going independently to Cairo and Luxor. And would like to take a day trip to Abu Simbel. Would anyone know if this is possible from either city (just a day trip and no overnights)? I know it is possible from Aswan but have not seen much info. on from Cairo or Luxor.
Also, I have read many posts about not drinking the water etc. but is it really necessary to brush your teeth with bottled water? And why can you not drink the milk?

Also in both Cairo and Luxor, what are the bathrooms like while you are out touring? Are they easy to find? not very nice? In particular the Valley of Kings, Temple of Karnak, the souk in Cairo, the museums etc.
Thank you in advance for your help!
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Sep 2nd, 2004, 02:24 AM
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We used bottled water for everything, including teeth. Also did not drink juices because of possibility they were reconstituted with unsafe water. (or unsafe for us - we saw people filling water bottles directly from the Nile and drinking it - it has to do with what bacteria your body is accustomed to).

Pasteurization of dairy products is the issue with milk - in many countries this is not done to standards our stomachs are accustomed to. We were admittedly over-cautious about food/water, but that was our choice since we preferred to take no chance of getting sick. Had planned too long for this trip and did not want to miss anything.

Public bathrooms at historic sites are usually not pristine - but I used them. Often in makeshift buildings or at VoK in a fixed trailer. Generally you tip an attendant to get a small amount of toilet paper upon entry - good idea to bring your own. As it is a hot region, lots of flying bugs. However, we often saw people sweeping, etc. in bathrooms.

While "not so nice" bathrooms are not attractive, with proper hygiene (I brought antiseptic hand gel), it is really difficult to catch anything from a bathroom, despite what our mothers told us.
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Sep 2nd, 2004, 02:44 AM
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Gail,
Thanks for your reply. The antiseptic gel is a good idea, I will go looking for it this weekend!
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Sep 2nd, 2004, 03:56 AM
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sandi
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Gail pretty much answered the toilette and water situation, but re Abu Simbel, you can do a trip from either Luxor or Aswan. From Luxor you'd have to arrange flight to Abu Simbel and return air to wherever you are heading back. The same can be done from Aswan, but from Aswan there is also a road transfer. You can read about this in some recent threads that have been posted. Do a search on this board for "egypt" or "abu simbel" - the treads will appear in left column where they give the information how these land transfers work.

Basically, when you arrive in Aswan, there is a bus to take you to the site, you find an English speaking guide, do the tour which is probably about 2 to 2-1/2 hrs. return on bus to airport and fly back. You should be back to Aswan or Luxor somewhere between 12-2pm depending on which destination, longer if returning to Cairo.
 
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Sep 2nd, 2004, 08:50 AM
  #5
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Thanks Sandi,
I did a search and read that several people did the Cairo-Abu Simbel-Cairo flight. I also checked on EgyptAir but my travel agent told me that the direct flight was booked up and that via Aswan would cost an extra $800 (for two plane tickets no guide or transfer included) !!
Is that a reasonable price?! If that is the price I have to pay to see it, then so be it but it seems high.
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Sep 2nd, 2004, 09:23 AM
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sandi
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Wow! Way too high.
I would suggest you find the Egypt Air site and see what the airfare is. Of course, time of year, day of week, may have some impact, but the air from Aswan/AbuSimbel/Aswan or back to Luxor or Cairo shouldn't be that high.

Even though you are traveling independently, it sometimes pay to have some relationship with a tour operator in Egypt who can likely get better prices for you on something like this. Suggest you contact one of the Egyptian firms by email and get a price from them - the price should cover the bus transfer to/from the site/airport once in AbuSimbel and the tour itself.

 
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Sep 3rd, 2004, 12:18 AM
  #7
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I looked on touregypt.net and wrote to several Egypt based agents whether they could quote me prices for day trips to Abu Simbel. Keeping my fingers crossed!

For those of you who did not get sick while travelling in Egypt, had you visited other countries prior to Egypt where the water was not so good? (maybe you can build up immunity or something??) Can you eat tomatos and cucumbers? Or would that make you sick as well?
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Sep 3rd, 2004, 03:25 AM
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sandi
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Basically you are advised not to eat items that contain water - watermelon, lettuce, tomato, etc. We found all but lettuce was available, and we ate everything. This even included drinking the Mango and Guava juices (poured over ice) made in Egyptian plants. In fact, this same juice is sold in the supermarkets here in NYC.

We never had any problem with anything we ate. However, we were resolute when it came to water. Always used bottled water for drinking and brushing teeth. At hotels, if there were bottles of water provided for free (not in the mini-bars) these were for our use, meaning the hotels' water wasn't potable for drinking; though other hotels had their own purification systems, so water was fine for teeth brushing. But you should always ask when checking-in.

Likewise on our cruise boat, we had purchased a sufficient supply of bottled water for our use throughout the five-days.

Prior to arriving in Egypt, we had been in Jordan, where the water seems to be of better quality, but we weren't taking any chances and used bottled water throughout. Here too we ate all kinds of foods including those containing water, as noted above. In fact, the vegetables were absolutely outstanding here - some of the best we've eaten anywhere. We had no tummy problems in Jordan.

Bottled water is available at inexpensive prices. And if not sure about certain foods or ice cubes, don't eat or use - for your own piece of mind.
 
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Sep 3rd, 2004, 08:12 AM
  #9
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You are right, better to play it safe and be at peace rather than wondering when Mummy Tummy is going to hit me!

Can anyone recommend the best hotel to stay in? I was trying to book Grand Hyatt through a travel agent but she tells me the standard rooms are booked up and the next category of rooms is quite expensive. Wondering if there are other hotels in the area, I know there are many posts on here regarding hotels and there is Nile Hilton et Sheraton and Inter-Continental but if anyone had specific comparisons with Grand hyatt...
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