Help with upcoming Egypt trip

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Sep 29th, 2005, 08:23 PM
  #1
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Help with upcoming Egypt trip

I apologize for asking for what is a repetitive question, but I'm hoping to get some specific advice to make my first trip to Egypt everything it should be.

I leave for this trip on Oct. 21.

I will be spending 2 days in Cairo, then taking a 4 night Nile River Cruise with Abercrombie & Kent, a short trip to Abu Simbel, and then 4 more days in Cairo before I head back to the states.

Now here come the questions:

What are some must see attractions in Cairo?

So far, I have planned the Egyptian Museum, Mahmoud Khalil Museum (?), Khan al-Khalili, 1-2 mosques (any suggestions?), The Citadel, and the Hanging Church? And the pyramids (and camels)!

Does anyone have feedback on these attractions or have other attractions that they wouldn't miss?

For women, are capri pants appropriate in Cairo?

Regarding the cruise:

Do the excursions usually last all day? I am guessing there will be an early morning session and a late afternoon session. If there is a break, what should you do during the day? Are there additional places to see, or should we plan on relaxing on the boat? Recommendations?

I have gotten such mixed messages for clothing on the cruise? Are shorts acceptable? What about sport sandals.

Random Question--we will be staying with relatives while in Cairo. I would like to take them out for a nice meal--any recommendations. What about evening entertainment?

Last thing--does anyone know of a shop to buy authentic decorated papryus?

THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU for all your help.
Egypt_in_October is offline  
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Sep 30th, 2005, 03:05 AM
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Dear "Egypt In October"

You have listed some good attractions for Cairo... with the number of days you have allocated for it, you could actually see a bit more. You may consider:
* Sakkara (the older pyramids)...
* Sound & Light at the pyramids..
* Coptic Museum http://www.copticmuseum.gov.eg
* The Gayer-Anderson Museum
Not often on tourist itineraries;
http://www.skill-link.com/Docs/IZ/gayer.htm
http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/cretan.htm

* Al Azhar Park
A nice place for lunch & stroll with great views of old Cairo .... this is not far from both Khan El Khalily and the Citadel... so can be done before or after visiting any of these places.. they have two reasonably good restaurants there. Check it out on the following link....
http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/azharpark.htm

* Off the beaten path
You could consider Haraneya and Kerdassa, villages at the outskits of greater Cairo (25 to 30 km from central Cairo). Kerdassa is noted for its embroidered cotton and silk dresses and Haraneyya is well known for hand-made carpets.
... would be interesting to see life there and maybe buy some reasonably priced items.
Check the following sites for more info./highlights about these places:
http://www.marlamallett.com/wissawas2.htm
http://www.yallabina.com/Featured/weave_away.aspx

I am not sure how high Mahmoud Khalil Museum should be on your priority list... will not be as exotic as other places...
http://www.mkhalilmuseum.gov.eg/work_links.asp

Mosques: when visiting the Citadel you will get to the Mohamed Aly Mosque.. very impressive... also the Mosque of Ibn Tulun is Cairo's oldest.

With regards to Capris they would be suitable for women... bring a scarf for when you enter mosques.

To the best of my knowledge when cruising between Luxor and Aswan the visits (Edfu, Kom Ombo etc..) are for a few hours.. the rest of the time is R & R on the boat. On the other hand, when the boat is moored in Luxor or Aswan, you can go strolling / shopping into town.

You can wear sandals and shorts... I would avoid the sandals during site visits due to the sand/dust you would be walking in...

For taking your relatives out for dinner here are a few suggestions:

Le Pacha ...
it is a boat moored near the Zamalek island (the other side of the Nile from Tahrir Square) very close to the Marriott Hotel... it has numerous outlets (French, Italian, ... and Egyptian "Akl Zaman"). Le Pacha is very popular with upper middle class Egyptians and the expatriate community here... obviously you would enjoy great views of the Nile also.
http://lepacha.com/docs/tarbouch.htm
I would say a good meal per person would be in the range of USD 20 - 25.

El Kababgy
(Arabic word for the maker of oriental grills)
It is adjacent to the Guezira Sheraton (southern tip of Zamalek island... actually a 30 minute walk from Tahrir Square).... the restaurant is basically open air and at the Nile level... you could touch the water with your hands. In my opinion the best Nile/Cairo views for any restaurant and extremely popular... many oriental grills (kebab, kofta, bonless chicken) and lots of side dishes....

Christo
If you are into sea food, this is a good place... it is located at the end of the Pyramids Road.... before reaching the Pyramids...so only practical if you go there after your visit to the Pyramids.


Sherif is offline  
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Sep 30th, 2005, 04:26 AM
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regarding excursions from cruise - we usually left very early AM (to avoid heat), were greeted with refrigerated towels back on boat around lunchtime. Had lunch, rested or napped, or, best of all, went to top deck and watched banks of Nile roll by. Later afternoon excursion and return for dinner.

One day we had lunch out someplace and returned for tea/martinis before dinner.

Favorite day on boat was at locks where while our boat was waiting its turn - a herd of leaky rowboats approached boats with kids offering items for sale. They tossed item up to top deck, you inspected item, haggled about price, and then threw either item back or cash to pay for item (often in plastic film cannister). We bought some likely non-authentic blanket that makes us smile whenever we look at it since we remember the experience.
gail is offline  
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Sep 30th, 2005, 09:14 AM
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I would second (and third and fourth)Sherif's suggestion of the Gayer-Anderson house. It was last owned by a British Dr. who was the King's personal physician (or something like that.) He maintained the Oriental design & feeling and filled it up with beautiful arts and crafts from around the Moslem world. It's next to the Ibn-Toulun Mosque.

Reactions to the Pyramids Light & Sound Shows (and those at other sights in Egypt) are varied. You might check past posts here to make your decision.

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Sep 30th, 2005, 02:54 PM
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Sherif - are reservations usually needed (in November) at the restaurants you listed? I have also heard of a great Indian restaurant at the Mena House - any comments?
Thanks.
Conlet is offline  
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Sep 30th, 2005, 05:58 PM
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Yes, it is excellent. And I don't normally like Indian food. You will need reservations. It's called The Moghul Room. It's the place where you will need that one good outfit that you packed.

Beware! The out of country wine is terribly expensive there.
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Oct 1st, 2005, 12:49 AM
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Conlet;

As sunshine said it is the Mogul... I also do not like Indian food but have heard good things about the place. When I go to the Mena House I enjoy eating at the Pool restaurant since it is open air, adjacent to the pool and garden and you get a clear view of the pyramids while eating.

With regards to reservations (for El Kababgy always advisable... Le Pacha also advisable for any evening and for Friday lunches)
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Oct 15th, 2005, 04:24 AM
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Regarding what women should wear in Cairo. I was amazed at how skimpy some of the outfits were at all the sites! I went in August and I kept reading no tank tops and no shorts. Well, I've never seen such short shorts in my life @ the Egyptian Museum or the temples! It was unbearably hot during the day and boy did I wish I had more tank tops! The only time I felt different was walking the streets in Cairo. Only because the locals kept looking at me and all I had on was a skirt above the knee? Capri's are perfect for walking around. I did get lots of looks at my legs at the airport. I guess there were more locals there than the tourist sites.
Cruise - we would have breakfast around 7 each morning unless we had a very early trip to Abu Simbel. The crowds only get worse later in the day. We'd be on the road by 8 or so then back for lunch on boat. Would relax by pool for a while or shop in port then another tour in the afternoon and then back for dinner. We had a private guide, but it seemed like most of the tour package guests were doing the same, unless they missed a flight and had to pack a lot more in a day. We had one whole day of leisurely cruising down the Nile on our first day of the 4 day cruise from Luxor to Aswan. Truly needed that after 5 days in Cairo. Everyone was in shorts, light weight clothes and bathing suits. There is usually lots of shopping in front of the docked boats. You might like to try renting a Faluca (spelling?) in Aswan. Our last day in Aswan we rented one of these small sailboats and peacefully sailed for 2 hours and just truly truly enjoyed the experience. Much needed peace after all the temples and heat! What a pleasant experience and ending to our Nile Cruise. I also truly loved the light and sound show in El Giza. We did the 7:30 show, there was a mad scramble for seats for the 2nd show and I was glad we weren't part of that!
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