Travel to Alexandria + Cairo shopping

Apr 23rd, 2001, 04:34 PM
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Travel to Alexandria + Cairo shopping

I'm making my first visit to Egypt, mostly with a group, but a few days on my own or with another woman. We want to shop in Cairo and possibly journey to Alexandria. Does anyone have any pointers on either of these two topics.
Blessings and Thanks,
Apr 23rd, 2001, 08:54 PM
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I found shopping in Egypt to be a big pain. They sell anything and everything on the street and in small shops. If you like to negotiate, this is for you. However, if you show even the slightest interest in an item or shop you are hounded and do not have actual time to consider your purchase. Not a whole lot of traditional Egyptian things/crafts. Lots of questionable authenticity and country of origin. Nice Egyptian cottons. Cairo is smelly, crowded, dirty, hot, terrifying for pedestrians, drivers and passengers but totally fascinating.
Apr 26th, 2001, 01:39 PM
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Gail is 100% correct. Browsing is almost impossible AND I had a shopkeeper chase me down the street when I didn't buy anything in his store.
Hassle is the word and most of the stuff is shabby.
Apr 26th, 2001, 02:11 PM
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Gate 1 travel has a package with a day trip to Alexandria.

Go to and look under the Egypt Flings section.

Apr 28th, 2001, 07:53 PM
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Patricia, I have experienced the exact same encounters with shop keepers in Cairo, and it is exhausting to make the smallest of purchases. Try the Mall next to the Nile Hilton by the Egyptian Museum in downtown Cairo. Incredibly, the prices are as good as or better than what is offered even in the Khan Al-Khalili bazaar. And no hassle with "negotiating". The prices are set. There is a great shop that sells glassware of every kind expecially the beautiful perfume bottles. The quality far exceeds merchandise from many other "bargain 'til you drop" shops! The lowest level of the Mall has a wonderful food court that offers dishes from different countries. The Egyptian (Middle Eastern) foods were particularly wonderful. And a few steps away is the Internet Cafe where you can touch base with friends and family back home for very reasonable prices. If you do make a visit to the Mall look for this bookstore located in the passageway between the Hotel and the Mall. It has lots of wonderful gift items. I especially liked the papyrus calendars and the antique looking postcards, and they have so many neat gifts for children (as do the shops in the Mall).

May 7th, 2001, 06:01 AM
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Dear Patricia,

I'm an expat in a suburb of Cairo, and there are days when I think that shopping is more of a pain that what it is worth. But, there are great buys if you know where to look and from whom to buy. You have to be very careful with "antiques" as the Egyptians are very clever at forging most anything. A great trick is to say that you are from Ma'adi or Heliopolis, because then they know you expect fair prices and hope that you will return. Please, please dress modestly, with lighweight pants or long skirt and a blouse with short sleeves. I find the best defense against over-agressive shop keepers is a firm, but polite "la shokron" no, thank you, repeated several times if necessary. Many will back right off and say "afwan", your welcome. Tell them right up front you want to browse and be left alone. Most have good English skills.

Here are a list of shops that the expats regularly frequent in the Khan al Khalili. Ask any of the shopkeepers for directions. Many times, some of the best shops are up narrow flights of stairs. If they send some small boy to show you the way, give him a pound for his trouble:

Nashat Hassan Co, for perfume bottles, exceptionally beautiful Christmas ornaments and silver.

El Safa Bazaar for Egyptian dresses (galabeyas), super prices on t-shirts and nice cotton tablecloths with matching napkins)

Gouzlan for gold jewelry--the jewelry is priced at essentially the daily per-gram price for gold--more if it is imported from Italy.

Arafa & Ayman CO. for brass and copper
Hamdi: Copper and Brass

Saad of Egypt Silversmith: he has some great golf-related doo-dads.

Mohamed Rahmy for carpets

Abas Hegazi: Galabeyas

Bakr El Soudani: Leather

Have a good time, and keep smiling. When the touts quote me ridiculously high prices, I tell that just because I am old, does not mean I'm stupid. They laugh and are more ready to be realistic. Pam


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