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Putting my own tour of Egypt together--any advice appreciated!

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Feb 13th, 2004, 08:24 PM
  #1
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Putting my own tour of Egypt together--any advice appreciated!

I am trying to pout together an "independent" tour of Egypt. Most prepackaged tours just don't seem to be suited to what we really want to do in the time we ant to do them.

OK, so all we want to do is go to Cairo, visit the pyramids and antiquities museums, and then go to Luxor and see the Valley of the Kings. It's such a narrow list because we have 7 days MAX and don't want to be exhausted (although jet lag won't be much of an issue for us, other than weird time we arrive--we're American but live un Europe, so we arrive at like 2 am or something). There's plenty of other stuff we'd love to do, I just don't want to miss out on these main things.

So for those of you who have planned independently, which resources did you use?? How did you book a wagon-lit train to Luxor? Is there a website for the train service? What about booking cruises only? I can't find any that are not associated with a prepackaged tour group.

Amy help would be much appreciated. We have a good idea about hotels, it's all the sightseeing and transport logistics that are really making planning difficult.

Thanks!
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Feb 14th, 2004, 04:38 AM
  #2
sandi
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The visit to the Pyramids & Sphinx and the Cairo Museum should take you 1-day (unless you want to do the Museum, in depth, which can take forever). The Wagonlit train is an overnight to Luxor.

Once in Luxor, the VofK&Q has to be done early in the day (depending on time of year) because of the heat as most tourists are gone from the area by 12N, latest. Then later in the day (4pm as it starts to cool down) you can visit Luxor and Karnak Temples - so figure 2-days in that area.

That covers what's on your "must see" lists - Cairo 2-days, Luxor 2-days. Of course, you can spend additional time in Cairo - there's Memphis and Sakkara nearby, also the Khan el Khalili Bazaar.

No knowing where you are in Europe you can stop into any travel agency and find brochures from companies that do "mini-paks" that break up the standard 9-10/day trips into "segments" - see what they offer and prices.

Or contact in-country Egyptian tour operators - state what your schedule is, what you want to see/do/visit, and see what they can put together for your short visit; they may even be able to get in a 3-day cruise.

Do a search* for web addresses for these Egyptian Tour Operators:

MISR
Egyptian Connections

*you might even find other in-country tour operators to whom you can state your needs and see what they too can offer.

Lots of luck!

 
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Feb 14th, 2004, 06:53 AM
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it WOULD BE A SHAME TO GO AND NOT CRUISE THE NILE.WE ARE NOT USUALLY CRUISERS BUT 4 NIGHT CRUISE FROM ASWAN TO LUXOR INCLUDING 2 NIGHTS DOCKED AT LUXOR WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE. WE WENT APRIL 02. 3 NIGHTS CAIRO AND SURRONDING AREA INC MEMPHIS,SAQUORRO WAS GREAT, 4NIGHT NILE ON SONESTA BOAT, WE SHOULD OF GONE ON A BETTER BOAT. WE OPTED TO CALL FROM BOAT AND BOOK 2 NIGHTS AT LUXOR OLD WINTER PALACE. WE ADDED ON 3 NIGHTS IN PETRA,JORDAN AND WADI RUM AREA.WE LEFT THE BOAT EARLY BECAUSE I COULNOT SLEEP WITH ALL BOATS DOCKED CLOSE TOGETHER WITH GENERATORS RUNNING ALL NIGHT.WE BOOKED THIS INDEPENDANTLY.PRICES WERE VERY GOOD AND PEOPLE WERE VERY NICE EXCEPT SOUVENIER SELLERS,THEY WERE THE MOST AGGRESIVE WE HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED.
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Feb 16th, 2004, 04:05 PM
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Thansk for the advice! We finally booked our airfare, and we do have more time than we previously thought, so we can do a cruise (YAY!).

After pricing an independent itinerary, it looks like we may as well just do a prepackaged tour (with an in-country tour group). It's not any more expensive and we won't have to worry about transport--which is usually a major stressor for me.

Which brings me to my next question--has anybody used Experience Egypt (Bourak Tours) before? They seem to have everything we want at the right price; I just like to hear good things before I book.
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Feb 17th, 2004, 03:04 AM
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IF POSSIBLE CRUISE FROM ASWAN- LUXOR(THEBES),SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST.
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Feb 17th, 2004, 12:47 PM
  #6
 
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Hi allovereurope:

My husband and I are leaving from the U.S. Feb 26 for 2 weeks in Egypt. We are booked with Experience Egypt and I will be glad to give you a report when we get back. I did a lot of research and they do offer very competitive prices. My advice at this point would be to not even touch a US/UK/Canadian travel company as they charge 2-3 times as much for the same product (what a profit margin!) I have corresponded with a woman on Fodors.com and another one on virtualtourist.com and they were very happy with EE. We get back Mar 13. You can email me at [email protected] if you'd like and I'll answer any questions.
Happy planning!
Lori
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Feb 21st, 2004, 11:16 PM
  #7
 
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Hi
I just returned from 3 weeks in Egypt. I, too, am an american expat (in China) and wanted to do it myself rather than a tour. I ended up doing half and half, and regret the time I was with a guide. Like you, I did it b/c it was cheaper to do it through the tour (even though there was NO ONE else but my family of 4).

We did the wagon-lit train to Aswan from Cairo. We always travel by train in China and I found thei "super train" to be lower in standard (except for the private sink in your compartment)and there was always some conductor coming into the cabin to "help". UGH.

I'd recommend doing as much as you can by yourself. get a rough guide book...indispensable, and utilize the resources at your concierge desk. I recommend the Nile hilton for location and atmosphere. Walk to the Museum. Taxi to Pyramids is 15 E. pounds. if you are more comfortable, rent a car for the day from the hotel and not only see the 3 big pyramids, but Dashur, sakkara as well.

We stayed at le Meridien in Luxor and it was decent. We took a caleche to temples and musueums 5 E Pounds in the city each way and did alot of walking around.

We did a cruise and I don't recommend it. We felt "processed" and like we were thrown back into the "family camps in the catskills"-- a la dirty dancing. Even though we weren't on a tour, everyone else was. It was cheesey and 4 days for a 14 hour ride (if you did it non-stop) was excessive. Especially when the boats were docked and the only views you have are of the decks of the other boats. Temples visited are at really early times and we passed through the lock in the middle of the night.

Instead, I would take as many fellucca rides locally as I could. SO much more relaxing, more fun.

Bottom line advice: book hotels yourself and get an agency to book intercity flights or trains (they need to be reconfirmed again and again) and airport trainstation transfers...

Enjoy your trip,
it is amazing
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Feb 26th, 2004, 05:41 AM
  #8
 
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Coincidentally, I'm also an American expat, also living in China, like Bchen!

You can definitely do the whole thing yourself without a tour group. We used an in-country travel agency to handle in-country travel and create a package for us including cruise, the hotels WE specified, and a few 1/2 day tours and excursions (like pyramids, Abu Simbel, etc.). This worked really well for us.

My advice is to first do some research into which cruise ship(s) you're interested in, which hotels, which excursions and tours, etc., then submit your requirements here:

http://ww3.interoz.com/tourgroups/submit.ihtml

This sends your request to multiple tour agencies, who will reply with a quotation. You can then check out the best ones to see if the tour agency is reliable (many will provide references if you want).

While I found the service immensely useful, I sent my request before doing all of my research, then had to go back to each of the 5 or 6 best replying agencies to ask them to re-quote with my new request. If you can do your research first it will be easier for you.

Have a great trip!!
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