Suggestions for Visiting Egypt During Ramadan

Feb 24th, 2009, 10:50 AM
  #1  
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Suggestions for Visiting Egypt During Ramadan

We're spending 5 days / 5 nights in Egypt in late August en route to East and South Africa for our honeymoon. We realize that our trip is during Ramadan, but unfortunately we don't have any flexibility in our dates.

Our initial thought is to spend a couple nights in Cairo seeing the pyramids, sphinx, Egyptian Museum, bazaars, etc. then spend fly to Luxor for a few days there seeing the big sites before flying back to Cairo for our international connection to Kenya.

We are looking a private tour guide to take us around during this time. I've reached out to Debbie (Casual Cairo) and unfortunately she isn't running tours during Ramadan. Any other suggestions on independent tour guides or tour companies who could put together a tour for us?

Any suggestions on hotels? We were thinking of the Mena House Oberoi (Pyramids View) or Cairo Marriott for Cairo, and the Sonesta St. George, Steigenberger Nile Palace, or Hilton Luxor in Luxor.

Any additional suggestions for traveling during Ramadan (outside of the cultural sensitivity suggestions mentioned on other posts)? Anything we will or won't be able to see? Should we plan to start early and take a break in our hotel from 3-5pm or so before doing something else at night?

Thanks for your thoughts!
Newlyweds08 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 12:59 PM
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newleyweds, we stayed at the Steigenberger Nile Palace in Luxor and went into the Sonesta St. George. We were originally booked at the latter, but they were adding floors to the hotel and we felt the construction would be very noisy/disruptive. This was August '08, so I'm not sure of the state of affairs currently. The hotels are almost next door to each other, and both are in good "downtown" locations. I would get a Nile view room if you have a choice (we overlooked the street, which can be interesting, too!). I'm not sure where the Hilton is, but unless it's downtown, we wouldn't have chosen it.

Regarding Cairo, the Mena House is supposed to be spectacular. We stayed at Le Meridiens Pyramid, which was a perfectly nice hotel. My problem with both is that you're far from downtown (Giza is basically a suburb, although it's within the city limits of Cairo, I think). It's a long taxi ride into town -- not terribly expensive, but takes time going back and forth. Given the choice I would again pick the downtown location (as nice as it is to have a view of the pyramids).
sf7307 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 02:28 PM
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I forgot to say that both the Steigenberger and St. George were very nice (not on the level of a Four Seasons, more like a higher-end Marriott)
sf7307 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 03:20 PM
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My husband and I visited Egypt during Ramadan this past September and did a private tour with Lady Egypt. They are an excellent company and were very professional. I can highly recommend them.

Ramadan didn't affect our trip as much as we expected. As long as you dress respectfully, Egyptians are generally very understanding of people who do not celebrate Ramadan. Sites close earlier in the day, but we had two days in Cairo and, with the help of a guide, we saw everything we had planned to see.

We spent two legs of our trip in Cairo, so we stayed at both the Mena House and the Cairo Marriott. Both are very nice hotels. As the above poster said, the Mena House is a bit more isolated. There are only a few local food options in the area (besides the restaurants in the hotel), and it's a hard to get around on foot. However, the hotel has gorgeous original decor in the palace area and it's right in the shadow of the pyramids, which I thought was incredible. If you work with a tour company for a private tour, they will arrange your transportation to sites, so it's not that inconvenient.
The Marriott is downtown and, like the Mena House, is in a converted palace. It is easy to walk around, and there are more restaurant options in the area. However, I just don't think anything can top sleeping under the pyramids at the Mena House! I would choose to stay there over the Marriott - there's nothing like it.

We stayed in the Sonesta St. George in Luxor. It was comfortable enough, had a nice pool, served a huge buffet breakfast, and was definitely convenient. I guess my only complaint was that the decor was quite kitschy. I didn't think the rooms were quite as nice as those in a Marriott, but they were comfortable.

We did a similar trip to you, combining Egypt with three weeks in Tanzania. It's the trip of a lifetime. You're going to have so much fun!
cmp6e is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 03:24 PM
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Oh, and you can see my pictures of both the Mena House and Cairo Marriott in this photo set on Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cbernic...7607887255629/

And in this set you will find some of the Sonesta St. George:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cbernic...7607913255604/
cmp6e is offline  
Feb 24th, 2009, 08:04 PM
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We also did a private tour (6 of us) arranged in advance by LadyEgypt and completely agree that they were an excellent company - we had a wonderful guide, plus their reps met us at every stop, checked us into hotels, onto our flights, etc. Our kids were coming from Ethiopia and their flight was changed from 2:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. -- no problem, LadyEgypt picked them up in the middle of the night. Part of our group flew from Luxor-Cairo-Sharm, and LadyEgypt picked them up at one terminal in Cairo and drove them to the other terminal! Great service! We worked with Mohammed Kamel at LadyEgypt, all by email (many many emails)-- the first time we talked was when I called him from Frankfurt to tell him we missed our connection. Our guide was Ahmed, but he doesn't work during Ramadan.
sf7307 is offline  

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