help from experts on egypt itinerary

Old Mar 29th, 2007, 08:00 AM
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help from experts on egypt itinerary

We are planning an approximate 16 day November trip to Egypt and sure would like comments and suggestions on doability, hotels and cruise boats from all you experinenced hands out there. Draft ideas here:
DAY 1: DEPART JFK for CAIRO (estimate ~ 1800)

DAY 2: ARRIVE CAIRO AIRPORT (estimate ~1200 to 1800 depending upon airline)
Pick up by car and transported to hotel for overnight. Overnight in Cairo.

DAY 3: Breakfast and then drive to Memphis.
From there drive to Sakkara the necropolis of Memphis.
Visit the Step Pyramid complex of Djoser. Lunch.
In the afternoon drive to Giza for lunch and the Pyramids of Giza.
Also visit the Sphinx.
Overnight in Cairo.

Day 4: Breakfast and then visit the Egyptian Museum, the Mummy Room and the
treasures of Tut-ankh-amon.
Afternoon excursion to Old Cairo, visiting the Citadel of Saladin, Mosque of
Mohamed Ali, perhaps old Coptic Churches.
Time permitting a brief visit to the bazaars of Khan el-Khalili.
Over night in Cairo.

Day 5: Breakfast and then visit Gayer Anderson Museum and the “hanging church.”
End day with tour of Manyal Palace and gardens.
Over night in Cairo.

DAY 6: Breakfast and drive to Alexandria in morning.
Visit Fort Qaitbey and Antiquities Museum in Alexandria Library and Pompey’s
Pillar.
Over night in Alexandria.

DAY 7: Breakfast and drive to visit the Catacombs of Kom El Shouqafa and the
Roman Amphitheatre and baths.
Lunch and then depart Alexandria for Cairo.
Overnight in Cairo (near airport?).

DAY 8: Early breakfast and transport to airport for flight to Luxor.
Upon arrival in Luxor transport to hotel and then to West Bank to visit Temple of
Madinet Habu and the Ramesseum.
Return to hotel and over night in Luxor hotel.

DAY 9: Breakfast and transport to Nile River Cruise Boat (5 days-4 nts. Oberoi Philae?).
Embark boat and begin boat portion of trip.
Perhaps start with Temple of Luxor and Temple of Karnak. (Boat guides?)
Over night in Luxor (BOAT)

DAY 10: Breakfast and visit to West Bank, Colossi, Temple of Queen Hatshepsut,
and tombs in the Valley of Kings.
(Priority depending upon which are open: Tomb of Seti I, Tomb of Queen Tausert
(KV 14), Tuthmosis III, Amenhoten II, Ramesses III, IV, IX.)
If open visit Temple of Nefertari in Valley of Queens.
Overnight in. (BOAT)

DAY 11: Breakfast and visit to Temple of Horus in Edfu.
Afternoon cruise to Kom Ombo and visit Temple of Kom Ombo.
Over night. (BOAT)

DAY 12: Breakfast followed by visits to High Dam, Old Dam, Quarries and Obelisk,
Temple of Isis.
Over night in Aswan. (BOAT).
POTENTIAL TO VISIT NUBIAN MUSEUM IN EVENING?

DAY 13: Breakfast and disembark from cruise boat.
Possible to take “felucca” ride and visit Gardens on Kitchener Island as part of
cruise?
Transport to hotel for over night in Aswan.
Transport to Temple of Kalabasha for afternoon visit
NOT PART OF CRUISE BOAT PLAN.
Visit Numbian Museum if not done previous night.
Over night in Aswan at hotel.

DAY 14: Breakfast followed by transport to airport for flight to Abu Simbel.
(Doesn’t have to be for 0600 flight!).
Arrive Abu Simbel and transport to Hotel Seti for overnight.
Visit Temples in afternoon upon arrival. Light and Sound show in evening.
Over night in Abu Simbel.

DAY 15: Possibly visit Temples for “sun rise.”
Return to hotel for Breakfast followed by transport to airport for flight to Cairo.
Remainder of day for “catch up” and possible trip to Bazaar if desired.
Over night in Cairo. (Near airport)
MAY HAVE TIME AVAILABLE (AFTERNOON) FOR SOMETHING-??
RETURN TO EGYPTIAN MUSEUM FOR AFTERNOON!!

DAY 16: Breakfast and transport to airport for return to JFK.
Expect flight departure on Egyptair for about 1000 with arrival at JFK in
evening.
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Old Mar 29th, 2007, 08:46 AM
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WOW! You sure have a lot planned - but you have also given yourself lots of time. Glad you are able to spend so much time in Egypt - it's a fabulous place.

Just some thoughts and questions-

Days 4/5 - If memory serves, the "hanging church" is in Coptic Cairo, so you would be able to see that on Day 4.

Also - visiting the Khan el Khalili seems to be in the "if there is time" category. I think it would be a mistake to spend so much time in Egypt and NOT go. Yes - you can buy many of the same things in other locals - but there is so much more variety in the Khan and it's such a fun experience. I would allow at least a couple of hours to explore and have lunch at the Oberoi hotel restaurant (in the middle of the Khan). It's one of the things I miss most about living there!

Day 8 - assuming you will have a private guide to take you around Luxor, take advantage of the time to see the Valley of the Nobles and Valley of the Artisans. Cruise ship tours don't usually do those and they are well worth the time.

Day 9 - The Oberoi Philai is a great boat. Good choice. We did the Oberoi Sherharazad because the Philai was not available.

Day 10 - I think Nefertari's tomb is closed indefinitely. But others will have more up-to-date info on that. Too bad, because that was a highlight of one of our trips to Luxor.

Day 14 - Have been to Abu Simbel both in the morning and in the afternoon. I definitely preferred the afternoon since it was less crowded. Two words of advice....go to the restroom BEFORE going thru the gated entrance. My husband would not let our sons "go" because the facility was so bad. Also, there are no kiosks to buy water within the site - so get some before you go in. And I thought the sound & light show was great. Preferred it to others. However, was too lazy to get up at sunrise.........

Flights - see recent posting about Egypt Air flights, just so you know what to expect.

Hotels - what hotels are you looking at for Cairo and Luxor?

Finally - take advantage of the advice on this board. Use the Search option and type in things like "Egypt" or "Cairo" or "Luxor"....there is a wealth of information and lots of varying opinions on everything!

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Old Mar 29th, 2007, 08:56 AM
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On Days 12 or 13, don't see Philae Island. This can be visited while you're in Aswan.

 
Old Apr 1st, 2007, 12:15 PM
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My thanks to Grcxx3 for the comments, thought generating questions and suggestions.
The "hanging church" item sort of came up as part of a thought on not allowing enough time for the usual "old Coptic" Cairo sights. Others have suggested placing it in day 4 rather than day 5. Still not sure how to ensure enough time in old Cairo? Far to much to see.
Rest assurred the Khan el Khalili is not completely in the "if there is time" category. Question is more on the order of if go early in trip have all that lugging of things around. If wait until last day then thats not an issue. Of course it might be nice to visit early and "scope" things out. Was there briefly in 1987 and "lost my mind".
Not sure about "private guide" availability in Luxor. Had planned on having one for first day in Luxor as part of the trip before boarding the cruise boat. You have a good point and will keep it in mind.
Have major concerns about availability of Oberoi boats this late! Have alternatives in mind which include the other Oberoi boats. Another good point that can slip if not watched. Nay other suggestions in this area?
Trip to West Bank is one of our highlights and realize many of the larger and better known tombs are, or maybe, closed. Seti I is in that category I believe. Oh well, something is better than staying home!
Thanks for comments on Abu Simbel. Will take them to heart.
Have searched postings for Egypt Air things but haven't found anything that shakes us up. Is there something major and can you point it out?
As for hotels in Cairo, we have a list of preferences that includes some out on the plateau (Mena House, Le Meridien Pyramids; in town, 4 Seasons, Marriott Cairo, Ramses Hilton Semirames IC, and Nile Hilton. Trying to stay on plateau but costs may drive us to town along with travel times; for travel nights I guess it really doesn't make much difference out toward airport; In Luxor will be looking for the Sonesta Saint George or the New Winter Pavillon Palace; Aswan will probably be Movenpick or New Cataract (too much $$ for Old Cataract I think!)
If there is any thing else you can think of we certainly would appreciate hearing it.
Thanks again.

For Sandi.
Thanks for your comment but I'm not sure I understand it. We hope be in Aswan on day 12 as part of the Nile River cruise schedule which typically includes a trip to Philae Island and the Temple of Isis. Not sure if your suggesting we not see the island or to wait until we're off the cruise boat to visit it? Can you explain so we don't make an error in judgement.
Thanks again.

Now to finish selecting the right tour agent/guide!!
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 12:43 PM
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As I recall, we flew from CAI to Abu Simbel for the morning, then flight back to ASW. Here we boarded boat for lunch, afternoon felucca and Kitchner Is (both of which I skipped) and o/n. Next morning there was visit to High Dam, Unfinished Obelisk and Philae Island. Saw your mention of the first two, not the last, the reason I asked.

At conclusion we reboarded ship for lunch and cruise to Kom Ombo.
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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 02:49 PM
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Hi!

Sounds like a great trip! Makes me want to go back! Got a couple of questions: are you going with a tour guide or are you going to try and go without? I would completely recommend going with a guide because you feel much safer (from the hassling) and there is so much they know and can help you with. My mom and I went in February and had Ahmed Hamed Yousif as our guide and he was wonderful. He managed to show us everything we wanted and was altogether a wonderful, fun person. I couldnt imagine our trip having been so great had we not had him. I am also sure he would be flexible and could meet you in Luxor if you wanted.
Also, are you going to have a driver? This is definitely something I would recommend as well. There is just no way of describing the driving in Egypt! It is insane.

One tip- take a roll of toilet paper with you EVERYWHERE you go. Regardless of where you are (with the exception of the hotels) you are most likely to not have TP.

Let me know if you would like Ahmeds contact info!

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Old Apr 1st, 2007, 04:33 PM
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I love the feluccas and would highly recommend that you take a felucca ride in Aswan. There's little more romantic than sailing on the Nile there.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2007, 06:16 AM
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Hi to kcrotzer.
Would be interested in learning more about Ahmed and the specifics of your trip if you wish to share them. If you wish you can post them here or send directly to [email protected]. Still recall '87 traffic and the wonderful driver, and friend, that I had. Sure wish I could I knew how to find him!


For sunshine007,
Wouldn't think of trip down NIle without a felucca ride. Will do it with the Nile cruise - OR - without it especially in Aswan
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Old Apr 2nd, 2007, 07:01 AM
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No specific problems with EgyptAir - flew them a lot. Just keep in mind that the flights are often late, the food is usually lousy (luckily the flights are short), there is no alcohol (altho you can bring your own), and people can smoke in the back part of the plane.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 05:39 AM
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Would love to share more about my trip! I was very lucky because my mother had already been to Egypt 2 years before and already knew what was good to see and who to contact to be our guide. Ahmed had taken my mom and 3 of her friends on a 2 week journey all across Egypt. We pretty much did the same things they did, aside from the fact that we cut out the Nile cruise. My mom hadn't been very impressed with the cruise and said it was a waste of money. I will ask her which company they took and get back to you on that. She was, however, very intent on Ahmed's taking us around. She said that she would only go back if he could be our guide because she liked the way he handled everything. We were there for only one week and here is what we did:

Day 1- arrive mid-afternoon in Cairo. Greeted in airport by one of Ahmed's employees who helped us get our visas und told us what to do. Then greeted by Ahmed and Arafa (driver) who drove us to our Hotel (Mena House) for the evening. After relaxing and getting cleaned up- Ahmed arranged for us to have a pyramid-view at the hotel- we went to dinner at a typical Egyptian restaurant with appetizers, meat and dessert.

Day 2- Breakfast at the Mena House then visited the Egyptian Museum. Afterwards we got kebabs on the way to the pyramids (which we requested to do althought Ahmed had lunch planned at a restaurant) and saw the pyramids and the sphinx. Thereafter we went to a papyrus shop and watched them make it. That night we stayed at the Mena House again.

Day 3- Breakfast at the hotel and then day trip to Alexandria where we saw Pompey's Pillar, the fort and the library. Doesn't sound like much but at the end of the day it is enough! Everywhere we went we took the van, Arafa drove and Ahmed went with us. In Cairo we stayed at the Mena House again.

Day 4- Breakfast and check out of the Mena House. Saw Coptic Cairo, the Hanging Church, old Islamic Cairo and the Khan in the morning. Lunch was at a resort (my mom had gone there before and requested to go there again) and it was probabaly the best food I have ever eaten! Afterwards we went to Sakkara in the afternoon. In the evening we took an overnight train to Luxor.

Day 5- Luxor! Refreshed in the morning and slept a little (taking the train really is tiring!) East bank of the Nile including Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple.

Day 6- West Bank of the Nile: saw the Temple of Hatshepsut and the Valley of the Kings. Also went to the The Colossi of Memnon and Ramesseum, although they are ruins. In the evening we took the overnight train back to Cairo.

Day 7- We had the morning to relax and clean up at a hotel in a more modern area of Cairo. We were given time to do shopping and all the things we hadn't gotten done yet. We flew back in the afternoon.

It was a wonderful experience and I too was very happy with everything we did. One thing I found best was the way Ahmed was very flexible with the schedule. He let us tell him what we wanted to do, but still had a plan of what was feasible. For example, when we wanted to eat at a specific restaurant (like the resort or getting the kebabs) he made it happen. He also got us upgrades in our rooms and made sure we were always very comfortable. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him to anyone!

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. Ahmed's contact information is:
Ahmed Hamed Yousif
Egyptologist and Professional Tour Guide - Cairo - Egypt
Cell: ( 002 )0101507268
Email: [email protected]

He is very good about writing back quickly.

Good luck!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:44 PM
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kcrotzer

You have replied to 4 posts and in each one you are recommending a specific tour guide. Sound very suspicious to me.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 01:08 PM
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yes, why would that be weird if I had a wonderful experience in Egypt and would like to help others have a similar experience? I think it would be weird for me to not want to pass on any info! Isn't that why we are all in this forum anyways?
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 01:12 PM
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Have you not traveled anywhere but Egypt to either ask or give advice?
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Old Apr 3rd, 2007, 06:30 PM
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This guide has been recommended by 2 previous posters (2005, 2006). The postings were originally met with some skepticism because of the "effusive" praise of the guide.
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Old Apr 4th, 2007, 02:04 PM
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Actually I travel quite often, especially within Europe where I live. I just became aware of the forum and figured I should tell my experience like it was.
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 02:13 AM
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I read that you had taken the train to Luxor and that you thought it was very tiring - would like some more info as to the food - toilets - sleeping accomodations - am undecided as to taking the train or flying.Your first hand experience would be just great.
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 08:08 AM
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kcrotzer,

Did Ahmed go with you to Luxor, or did he arrange for another guide to meet you there, or were you on your own there? And did he pick your hotels or did you suggest them?
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Old Apr 10th, 2007, 01:53 AM
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Sorry for the delayed responses!

@ helenphi- Taking the train was quite an experience, especially if you have never taken an (overnight) train before. I was tired for several reasons: it is very difficult to sleep in the train and also because we left late and arrived early the next morning. We left Cairo around 8-9pm and were served dinner almost immediately. I was surprised how good the food was, but don't expect a gourmet meal. I was in a 2-person room with my mom (as far as I know there were only 2-person rooms. I was used to the 6-person sleeper cars we have in Europe) and we had 2 fold out bunk-beds in the room. I would not say the beds were horrible, but the comfort level wasn't the highest. The toilets, on the other hand, were disgusting. There is a sink in the room (do not drink the water!!!)but there is only one toilet for all the rooms in the train car. Bring toilet paper because there is either little or none provided! All in all it was a fun experience and although there are some drawbacks, it is worth experiencing!

@hguy57- Ahmed did go with us to Luxor. He said that he can arrange it either way- either he comes or he has someone there to pick us up. It was nice to have him go with us, though, because after spending a certain amount of time with a guide, you don't necessarily want to change. He picked out the hotel for us, but told us we can always change. If you have preferences ahead of time he will take that into consideration and organize your trip the way you want it.
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