Egypt trip report

Jul 7th, 2002, 05:29 PM
Elliott Goldstein
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Egypt trip report

We just returned from a 2 week vacation in Egypt. Since a few people had expressed concernes, I just wanted to post this. We had a fantastic time. Everyone we came into contact with was so friendly, especially when they discovered that we were Americans. We booked the first week touring the Nile with Delta tours in Cairo (from the Egyptian tourism site). We had a great guide just for the 2 of us for the whole week. Her name was Sheema and she was great. We did 3 nights in Cairo at a 5 star hotel and did the usual- the museum and king Tut exhibit, the Pyramids (and climed inside one) the citadel, Coptic Church and Ben Ezra Synagog, and Sakhara where the step pyramid is located along with several other monuments.
Then the three of us flew to Luxor for a 2 day tour Luxor, Karnak and the west bank and out cruise to Aswan. We stopped at Edfu and Kom Ombo. At Aswan we went to Philae Island and then Abu Simbel.
Our second week we went to the Sinai for a week of scuba and a day trip to St Katherines monestary.
All in all, the food was great and the people were great. If anyone is thinking about doing this, now is the time. The prices will never be better.
Jul 8th, 2002, 04:17 PM
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Thanks for posting your report Elliott. I am not planning a trip of Egypt has long been a dream destination. Bravo for going forward with your plans.
Jul 9th, 2002, 04:52 AM
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Glad your trip to Egypt was great. We went in April 2001 - not sure if I would go today, but I often wonder about all the decent Egyptians making a living off tourism who now are most likely struggling.

You must not be claustrophobic if you could make the climb into the burial chamber at Giza - I made it part way, and then let my husband and kids finsih without me.
Jul 9th, 2002, 05:21 AM
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I am glad that you had a great time. I realized my lifetime goal, in Nov 2000. I had the best time, the bummer part of the trip was the tour group stuff. I didn't let my 49 new best friends ruin my dream trip. I just politely told them I came to Egypt to experience the culture and atmosphere, not to listen to their inane, banal drivel, this was at 7am and I had not had coffee yet, they did leave me alone the rest of the trip. I would love to hear more about doing this country with out a large tour group. As my new hubby has expressed his interest in going. He has a college degree in technical photography and would like to take a ton of pictures.I am currently living and working in Germany and it is relatively easy to do this trip as a flight from Frankfurt to Cairo is 31/2 hours. We are thinking of going in the April 03 time frame. BTW what was the apr. cost of the trip, excluding the sinai stuff. I spent 1200 and less than 200 in ten days of traveling. This country is very reasonably priced, at least I thought so. ONce again, I am happy that you had a great time. I love this country and I would glady live in Cairo as I find this to be the most amazing city I have ever been in
Jul 10th, 2002, 11:12 AM
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I, too, have just returned from a 10 day trip to Cairo and Sharm el Sheik. As a first time visitor, I found the Egyptian people to be very gentle and truly concerned about my comfort while I was in their country. Many times I heard, "You are most welcome here." Some were concerned and wanted to know if I was afraid to travel to their country. I assured them that I had no fear. (There is lots of security everywhere.) I was with a group and participated in many of the "touristy" things, which I did really enjoy. Fortunately, I was traveling with a physician friend of mine who was raised in Cairo and has all of his family still there. The best times I had was being in the mother's home and then his sister's home for meals and family get-togethers. The food and the company were fabulous!! I felt truly blessed to have had the opportunity to make this trip and I surely hope that I will get to return.
Jul 11th, 2002, 08:03 AM
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Elliot and Sylvia - Thanks so much for your reports. My husband and I are going to Egypt in December '02. Can't wait!
Jul 11th, 2002, 07:34 PM
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I vacationed in Egypt years ago and had a fantastic trip. I always wanted to see the pyramids and I did! Went the end of November and the weather was perfect and the sights unbelieveable. Even the unfortunate tour bus flat tire on own drive to Edfu did not dampen our spirits, considering the temperature was way up in the 90's and very sandy. The people could not have be friendlier. Go, see the sights and have the time of your life. Bring plenty of film. Life is too short....go!
Jul 18th, 2002, 06:52 AM
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have always wanted to visit Egypt and after reading these stories , want to go even more. The only thing is I am female and will be travelling on my own. Does anyone have any tips for me?
Jul 18th, 2002, 10:11 AM
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To Jackie - Go to Egypt. While no personal experience traveling alone (we went on tour), if on own, I would suggest you go well-prepared with hotel, transportation, etc. research and/or reservations. Navigating in a totally different culture and language - although most people spoke far more English than I speak Arabic - can be a little intimidating. More important, though, is the fact that for every "helpful" person you encounter, many will be trying to scam you into visitng their "uncle's perfume shop" etc. Consider it a culturally different form of advertising - not dangerous, just not a real reliable way of getting info.

Do a search here and you will find more opinions than you need on how to dress. I am of the at-least-short-sleeves and no-shorts philosophy for both sun protection, respect of culture, and way to avoid unwanted attention. Sure, they will know you are not Egyptian even if you wear long pants, but it just reduces a layer of annoyance.

Traveling female in Egypt did not strike me as dangerous, just annoying at times. The teenage girls in our group received much attention when they dressed in shorts and tank tops, and were required to put on long shawls when we went to mosque. My very blond pre-teen daughter received attention that I did not find predatory, and some young school girls we encountered just pointed to her hair. There is far less street crime in most Arab countries than in most US cities.

Also be careful where and what you eat to avoid intestinal woes.

We found Egypt magical and every dollar we spent on our trip was worth it.
Jul 21st, 2002, 12:24 PM
David Creekman
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Like Elliott, we (my wife, 17 year old son and I) also just returned from two weeks in Egypt (July 3rd through July 18th). As we were travelling as independent travellers, we approached the trip with some apprehension (caused mostly by nervous friends and relatives) which melted away upon our arrival and we had a fabulous time. Found fantastic and unbelievably low rates at the Cairo Marriott, Luxor Sheraton and Hyatt Regency Sharm el Sheikh over their respective internet sites and arranged, booked and paid for a full four-night Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan (same routing as Elliott described) through Travcotels, an Egyptian cruise ship operator ( Travcotels also made our Abu Simbel excursion arrangements for us. I made the cruise and Abu Simbel arrangements before we left the United States through the Travcotels web site. Cruise was fabulous, cabins were nearly as large as hotel rooms, and we were treated like royalty throughout both the cruise and the entire trip. Guides were consistently knowledgable and efficient, food was excellent throughout the trip and, as Elliott mentioned, the prices were incredibly low for such a trip. In fact, we spent nearly 15% less in Egypt than I anticipated we would spend. Had no problems with taxi drivers (most only asking that I pay them "as you wish") and arranged multi-day private tours through the Cairo mosques (including detailed descriptions of the Koran and the pillars of Islam), Cairo Citadel, pyramids in Giza and Sakhara and Egyptian museum with a young woman Egyptologist we met in Cairo (named Ghada) who absolutly begged us to advise Americans to once again plan on visiting Egypt. During our two weeks in the country, we only encountered eight other Americans. The Hyatt Regency in Sharm el Sheikh defines luxury and provided a great four-night break after ten days of intensive touring. From what we discovered, the Egyptians both need us and want us there. It is a wonderful destination which provided experiences and memories to last a lifetime. If you are considering a visit to Egypt, do not hesitate. Now is the time to go.
Jul 22nd, 2002, 12:03 PM
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It's wonderful that everyone had great things to report on their trips. Given the political climate, it's very encouraging to hear that safety isn't a concern.

For those who visited Abu Simbel, do you recommend that we fly or go via bus. Would you have more time to visit by plane or bus? Thanks & happy travels.
Jul 22nd, 2002, 12:57 PM
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Thank you for the encouraging reviews of your trip to Egypt. I am planning a cruise to Egypt from Cyprus and many of my friends and family members are concerned but your posting has helped put my mind at ease.

Jul 22nd, 2002, 03:56 PM
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Why did you choose Delta? How did they perform? Tks,
Jul 23rd, 2002, 02:39 AM
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Abud Simbel - we flew - flight takes about an hour. Egyptair has it well organized - you book a flight and return time, when you get off plane there are buses to take you to Abu Simbel (10-20 minutes, if that). Walk past the usual vendors, who usually only bother you on the way out. It will be hotter than you can imagine at site, with very little shade. Most people find a few hours at site enough, then reverse process and take plane back.

When we did it as part of tour, we left early AM and were back by mid-afternoon.

You didn't ask, but we were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of EgyptAir. Very new planes, ultra-efficient service. We had to pass through 3 security points to get on each flight, but all ran well and the screeners were actually looking at the monitors! We flew them nonstop from JFK - comfortable flight, odd food, but we got socks and eye shields with EgyptAir logo.
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