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Is this Egypt plan crazy?

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Aug 17th, 2012, 08:42 AM
  #1
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Is this Egypt plan crazy?

I'm working around some FF flights:

Into CAI at 1503 Saturday. 4 days (4 nights) in Egypt, depart to Jordan (AMM), 2 nights Jordan to see Petra. Depart AMM 9FEB.

Too much?
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Aug 17th, 2012, 08:53 AM
  #2
 
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Where are you coming from? From the West Coast of the US, yes, in my opinion, that would be too much. From London, maybe not.
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Aug 17th, 2012, 09:01 AM
  #3
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East Coast US. Land, sleep in Cairo, Giza/Pyramids, train to Luxor, Luxor with 1 night, Flight from Luxor to AMM??
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Aug 17th, 2012, 09:15 AM
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Doable, but I'm already tired.

Are you overnighting in Petra? Or a daytrip only?
If daytrip, depending on departure time from AMM, there's sightseeing that can be done there.
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Aug 17th, 2012, 11:15 AM
  #5
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Ive read the reviews and petra in a day with early am out and later return to amman is doable. 2 nites in jordan 5 in egypt?

Or skip jordan and 7 nites in egypt. The guides advised here are suggesting a 4 nite river cruise which to me seems very boring. We are more the flashpacker type!!
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Aug 17th, 2012, 05:26 PM
  #6
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Here's something I put together after a day of research. Comments would be appreciated on how I can streamline this plan:

Day 1: arrival to Cairo, evening in city.

Day 2: pyramids and Egyptian museum, evening train to Aswan

Day 3: arrive into Aswan, and tour to visit high dam and Philae temple,

Day 4: abu simbel by road, overnight at hotel in aswan,

Day 5: morning drive to Luxor (how long/far???), visit kom ombo and edfu temples en route, afternoon visit east bank of luxor.

Day 6: full day west bank visit. and flight to Cairo then Amman (late flight) and overnight.
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Aug 17th, 2012, 07:10 PM
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When we went, we had one more full day in Cairo, so one day was Giza, pyramids, etc., and the other was Cairo including the Khan Al Khalili market and the museum.

There's nothing to see at the High Dam (we went - pretty much a waste of time). Philae is good, Aswan is a very pleasant town, but there's much more to see in Luxor. I think the drive between the two is about 3 hours.
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Aug 18th, 2012, 01:39 AM
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I think you are planning much too much time in Upper Egypt. You have no less than 7 temples you will be seeing. I think unless you have an undieing love for Temples, you will feel "templed out" long before the last one. Yes, they are nice, but you are cramming a lot of temples into too few days, and sacrificing seeing so much else for that. I would figure a way to spend two days in Luxor and one day to see Abu Simbal and Aswan (both). Probably give Komombo and Edfu/Esna a miss this time. And give Cairo at least one more day. You only are visiting Giza which if you take the time to see the other pyramid fields, is by far the least interesting and most annoying with too many tourists and touts at every pyramid corner. If your interest is in the ancient history only, add at minimum a 1/2 day more in Cairo to see Sakkara and Dashure too. If you have interest in more modern history, add another day to see Coptic and Islamic Cairo, which includes the markets. Even then, if you have any interest in current culture, you will be missing all of that by not giving another day to something off the beaten path that allows for a cultural experience.

AT LEAST try to come in to Cairo from JFK on Egypt Air. It arrives in the morning and gives you most of the afternoon to fit something into your schedule that day.
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Aug 18th, 2012, 08:57 AM
  #9
 
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Oh C_C, miss Edfu, it's one of my fav temples! But that probably makes sense, especially if the OP is to add an extra day in Cairo. I'd certainly go to Saqquara & Dashur, a completely different experience from Giza. Coptic Cairo too is certainly worth a visit.

Taking the night train to Luxor/Aswan is a good idea, cuts daytime travel and I personally found it to be very comfortable. There's really nothing much to see in the High Dam but Abu Simbel and Philae are must-sees.
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Aug 18th, 2012, 10:20 AM
  #10
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Here is the traditional plan, I'm leaving out Jordan. Maybe another trip--OK with that:

Day 1: Arrive CAI 1230PM (on Egypt from JFK). Half day to see something in Cairo?
Day 2: Giza/Saqquara/Dashur. Overnight to Aswan.
Day 3: Abu Simbel/Aswan.
Day 4: Board cruise (only 3 nights) to Luxor
Day 5: cruise
Day 6: cruise
Day 7: cruise, to cairo
Day 8: Depart cairo 1030 AM.

I've read the books and boards. I guess the cruise is the "thing to do", but honestly it just seems so drawn out. So how to cut it out?
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Aug 18th, 2012, 10:51 AM
  #11
 
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You can take transport from Luxor to Aswan - your cruise will spend one night at the dock in Aswan and one night in Luxor......it's really just a floating hotel.
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Aug 18th, 2012, 11:43 AM
  #12
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I think I've got it. I'll connect directly on arrival at CAI to LXR, so:

1. Arrive CAIR, immediate flight to LXR.
2. Luxor, sleep luxor
3. Luxor, check out, late flight to CAI, sleep cairo
4. Full day Giza/Saqquara/Dashur, sleep Cairo
5. Full day Cairo, out to Amman on 11PM flight, sleep amman
6. Petra full day, sleep amman.
7. Depart amman 1045 to JFK.

Whew! The way I may be (naively) seeing it. I can hire a guide/driver for luxor. Hire a guide/driver for Cairo.

If I forget Petra, I'd figure a land trip to Aswan on Day 3 with Abu Simbel but that would be a lot of driving.
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Aug 18th, 2012, 11:49 AM
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If you forget Petra I'd fly to Aswan immmediately and fly in/out of Abu Simbel the next day, seeing Philae in the afternoon/evening. Then transport to Luxor the next day/stay Luxor....etc etc

Do you want guide/driver recos for Cairo and Amman?
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Aug 18th, 2012, 03:53 PM
  #14
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I think I may do that Elizabeth, flying into Abu Simbel and staying there for the night. The flight into CAI arrives early enough, but how much time should I allow for immigration and to get to the domestic departures?

I have been thinking about contacting some of the egypt based operators recommended here (Lady Egypt, etc.) but I think the air transport and plan is set. Would they add any value in terms of ground transport and guides, or could I just figure this out on the ground?
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Aug 18th, 2012, 09:18 PM
  #15
MD
 
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After Cairo, we flew to Aswan, then on to Abu Simbel the same day. Arrive about 10 depart about 12, back to Aswan.

The drive to Aswan stopping at Kom Ombo and Edfu took most of a day. According to my notes, we left after breakfast (8am or so) and got to Luxor at 3:30. Driving we got to see the countryside. We managed to time it so we were at the temples when the boats were not. There was a small bus 10 or 15 passengers at Kom Ombo. Both places had locals visiting, but no crowds. We were traveling against the tide of horse carriages - they were going to the museum from the cruise ships as we were leaving. We had the afternoon to wander downtown Luxor, and enjoy to 38C heat and listen endlessly to "you want carriage ride? Only 2 pound... ", "Felucca? Felucca?"

Also watch out for disruptions. We were told that Egypt Air was frequently cancelling or merging flights if they were too empty. This happened to at least two of our flights. Our tour organizer (Ahmed Hamed Yousif) booked the flight to Abu Simbel the same day all the cruise ships were boarding, since we would be going with a full plane load of cruise passengers, less likely to be cancelled. Our flight direct Luxor to Sharm was changed to a via-Cairo flight a few days before we left, and then the time was changed again.

The day before we drove to Luxor from Aswan, the cruise boats were supposed to leave but were delayed by a sandstorm and very high winds. That did not stop our van...

Other interesting things - we were planning to go to the Luxor museum one late afternoon, only to find the staff had decided, due to low attendance, to start closing early - 2PM instead of 9PM. Fortunately, Luxor Temple was open for sundown.

We had everything pre-arranged, tours and transportation; all arranged by one tour organizer. We found this to be the most relaxing arrangement. We had the same guide in the Cairo area, one guide for Abu Simbel through Luxor. We didn't have to worry about transportation, etc. everything was there when we needed, no trying to arrange guides or airport transfers last minute. Having our own private transport means we arrived and left on our own schedule, rather than waiting for a bus full of other people.

By all means see Sakarra and if you have time and like the idea, there's also the Red Pyramid and the Bent. pyramid at Darshur. Getting tickets for the Giza Pyramid interior can apparently be difficult, there's a limited number and you get them at specific times - but for the Red Pyramid, there was only one other group there, walk right in as long as you can climb and are not clausttrophobic...

There is also the tomb of Ka Gmni at Sakarra - hard to believe these wall reliefs are 4000 years old. Also there, Teti's pyramid. Small and just a pile of rubble, but you can go down inside.

I think in total we saw 12 temples, 13 if you count Ramses Cenotaph next door to Abydos. Every one is different in its own way.

Try to see some of the other Luxor West Bank sights. The grapevine tomb (one of the nobles) was open this April. Another suggestion, we took a balloon flight if that's what cranks you engine. We got up early, 4:30am, and the flight was over by 8am before the tourist sights opened. They launch not far from Hapshetsup's Temple. Staying low, you drift NW toward Valley of the Kings. When we were almost about to hit the ridge, we climbed and the higher winds pushed us SE. We went over several temples - Ramsesseum, Ramses temple (he gets around) and landed near our first visit, the colossi of Mnemmon.

Whatever you do, I'm sure you will enjoy it.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 07:58 AM
  #16
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Thanks MD. I think we will follow a similar trek as you. I've contacted several agents recommended on these boards. If you don't mind, what was the total cost (excluding international flights) for your on-ground trip?
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Aug 19th, 2012, 08:56 PM
  #17
MD
 
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Hi.

I don't want to mention the amount on a public forum. There's so much that goes into the price- the season, the level of tourism (many of the hotels seemed deserted this April and likely ready to do deals); all internal flights, Cairo-Abu Simblel-Aswan, Luxor-Sharm el Sheik, Sharm-Amman, Amman-Cairo were included. All our hotels were "breakfast included" (an excellent idea there!); all site admissions; plus all transport, guide and driver costs, airport transfers, etc. Our trip was 17 days, all 5-star hotels, and go-go-go every day. Everything was included except dinner, tips, and any drinks. We didn't ask for a breakdown. At the Mena Oberoi, for example, Hotels.com listed about a $100 premium for pyramid view rooms.

If I give you a cost, it might seem too high and scare you off. If ours was low compared to quotes for this fall, some here might take our number and use it to demand a lower price from their tour arranger. My best advice is see what price you are quoted. We used Mr. Ahmed Hamed Yousif ([email protected], same as ElizabethS above) and we were quite pleased. keep in mind, a full-tour organizer will watch for things like when our 8PM flight to Sharm was switched to 6;30 (via Cairo) and not only warned us, but also warned our pickup service in Sharm el Sheik.

Normally we do all planning ourselves - in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, even China. We would rather figure out the subway to the Summer Palace, or arrange a car to the Terracotta Warriors in X'ian that morning. Only in Tibet did we hire a full-time guide, because it was a legal requirement. We were advised in Egypt we should not do it ourselves, and we are very glad and lucky we followed this advice. You do need someone knowledgeable to navigate Egypt, especially on a tight schedule. Having your own private vehicle and guide means you can go at the pace you want.

One final point - don't underestimate tips. Our bank cards did not work in Egypt ATMs but our credit cards did if you need more. Almost everyone expects a tip, it is how their economy works. We probably over-tipped because it seemed the tourist business was way down. (I hope we didn't undertip!) For example, the bedouin who guided us up Mt. Sinai - we were told 50Le to 100LE was a good tip, but he was so friendly and so helpful, he even carried my wife's backpack when she was struggling the last 300 feet - we gave him 200LE. He mentioned that normally he would do this every other night, but since tourism fell off, maybe only once every two weeks.

See my attempt to document this trip, still under construction, at http://bloggage.me

Regardless, have a good trip and enjoy!!
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Aug 20th, 2012, 10:43 AM
  #18
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Thanks MD, you are exactly right. It is tough to compare apples to apples on this stuff! I appreciate your input!
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Aug 21st, 2012, 12:15 AM
  #19
 
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Why do you think it's too much?? For Egipt even 10 days will be not enough
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Aug 21st, 2012, 09:45 PM
  #20
MD
 
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We spent 17 days there (3 of them going to Petra and back via Amman) and that was still not enough.

You go for as long as you can manage, and then you know what you want to come back and see more of - next time.
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