Short Egypt new year trip report

Jan 6th, 2008, 03:11 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 28
Short Egypt new year trip report

We live in Spain, Travel agency Spain ( ASADE, Paisajes del Mundo, Carisma tours), travel agency in Egypt Golden Nile tours. Private tour with private guide and transportation for family of five (2 adults, 3 teenagers)

8 nights, 9 full days, hotel Le Meridien Pyramids Cairo (4 nights, in 27th dec, out31st dec) Nile boat Tower Prestige (4 nights, in 31st dec, out 4th jan 2008), very good rooms and service.

Cairo visits included: Giza (with camel ride), Memphis, Sakara, Dashur, Alabaster Mosque, Copt neighborhood, Citadel,Khan el Kalili, Egypt Archeological museum. We also hired a taxi for one day and saw Islamic Cairo (w/Ibn Tulum and Hassan mosques, market near Ibn Tulum, Gayer Anderson museum, city center and boat ride in the Nile)

During the cruise we saw: in Luxor: Karnak and Luxor temples, Valley of the Kings, valley of the artisans, Medin Habu temple, Hatshepsut temple, Luxor museum, Luxor corniche. Also Edfu temple, Esna temple, Kom Ombo temple. In Aswan: Philae, Obelisk, the damm, Nubian village (with camel ride and boat trip), plus Abu Simbel by car.

Veredict: Golden Nile is an excellent choice, they deliver what they promise (VIP treatmet, private tour).Nevertheles, we did not like the guide during the cruise visits (Mamoud)as he did not explain much about art or history, only very basic mithology stories (good that we brought Fodors and Michelin guides w/ us to fill in gaps) But the Golden Nile guide in Tower boat(Esham) was excellent, and he helped us a lot.
Female guide in Cairo (Asma) was excellent.

So, we did the usual Egypt basic pack sold in Spain with some added extras.

What we liked most: private tour and transportation, flexibility and best use of time, Giza pyramids (also sound and light show), landscape from Giza to Memphis, Hassan mosque in Cairo, islamic market street near Ibn Tulum, Archeological museum in Cairo, Karnak temple, Luxor temple, Luxor museum, Ramses II tomb in the Valley the Kings, valley of the Artisans (Deir el Medir and Semerden tomb), caleche ride in Edfu, Abu Simbel, the nubian village (also because of the boat trip from Aswan, wonderful lanscape near Elephantine island) and cruise between Luxor and Aswan in itself as Nile banks are a miracle of life and a delight to watch.

Hotel Le Meridien Pyramids is very good, convenient for pyramids, Memphis ans Sakara, but not for Cairo center neither airport. Traffic in Cairo is horrible. Before chosing hotel zone (Nile bank or Giza) make your plan: if you plan to visit also Memphis, Sakara, Dashur and night light and sound at pyramids, it could be good satying in Giza. If you plan to spend more time in Cairo center, Nile Hilton and Intercontinental are very well located. We did not have the choice to stay in Nile bank (Intercontinental was our first choice) because New Year is very high season and most hotels was fully booked. All Europe (mostly spaniards and italians) seemed to be there.

You have to be very cautious with water, fruits and salads. In fact, four of us fell sick (diarrhea) There is a very good remedy in Egypt: Antinal (nifuroxacide) The Golden Nile guide in the Tower Prestige boat (Esham) bought the remedy for us. We did not go to the doctor as we thought it was the common diarrhea ( we were right)

Food has been very good. In Cairo, good standard hotel buffet breakfast, also excellent, fast service and cheap restaurants by the hotel (Felfela, excellent egyptian food and terrific fillet steak with home made fries, Christos for egyptian food and seafood) Service in hotel restaurants was very slow, so it was faster eating in Felfela or Christos. In the Tower Pretige boat, food was also excellent. Egyptian beer (Stella and Sakara) widely available and very good.
Shopping is not a pleasant experience (a lot of hassle)if (as me)you do not like bargaining. Nice necklaces and collars (i.e. turqoise, bone w/ native design), cartouches in gold and silver, tablecloths in cotton with nice prints. I would have bought more things with fix prices.
This is a somewhat disorganised trip report as I do not have much time to write, but I felt the need to contribute to this forum that has given me so much valuable info and insight for preparing this and previous trips. Please ask what else you would like to know and I will be very please to answer.
nica is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 06:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 78
Thank you for the report.

Quick question regarding the restaurants in Cairo (Felfelo and Christos): you say they were close to the Le Meridian hotel - within walking distance? If so, could you give directions?

Kay5 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 06:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,344
Thanks for this trip report - we leave in a week - how cool was it at night on the boat? My planned "English Patient" wardrobe may not be warm enough!
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 10:01 AM
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Felfela is a three minute walk from Le Meridien (same side to the left) Christos is approximately a seven minute walk (same direction but further away)

Take a light jacket for nights, Cairo is a bit cooler than Nile Valley. Weather and peace during cruise was absolutely perfect. Incredible sunsets, 18 C degrees at evenings(donīt know in Farenheit)
nica is offline  
Jan 7th, 2008, 04:04 AM
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Both Felfela and Christos are on the Pyramids road (same as Meridien) You cannot get lost, you will see them when arriving.
There are other restaurants between Felfela and Christos. There were tourist buses parked in front of them but we did not try them.

You will be approached by taxi drivers when going out of hotel. Just say "No, thank you" or "sucran" (thank you in arab) and they will cease the hassle. If you want to hire a taxi there (as we did in our free, not guided, day) there are some that speak some english (and spanish) Just negotiate the price and tell them whether you want or not to visit shops (perfumes, papiros, cotton clothes) Nevertheless, they will try to drive you to some place where they can make extra money. In our case, the driver (Sami) was good and not as dangerous as others we saw, but he managed to take us to an ugly and expensive boat ride.

The rest was OK, we did not lose any time visiting shops and he found an alternative route to the hotel when main road was blocked with cars. The car was old and bad (same as other cars) but big. We paid 40€ for the whole day. Taxi drivers keep a notebook with comments from customers. Sami has a big one full of positive comments (most in spanish as it seems we, spaniards, are the most inclined to hiring taxis in the street) If you hire a taxi, ask him for his notebook of customers.
nica is offline  
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