Two weeks in Egypt

Old Jan 10th, 2008, 04:51 AM
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Two weeks in Egypt

We are just back from an amazing 2 wks in Egypt. Highlights were Abu Simbel and the White Desert. Quick recap.

We ditched the Nile Cruise in favour of a shorter 3 day trip to Abu Simbel, Aswan & Luxor. I could not have been happier with the decision as we booked with SeeEgypt and enjoyed the personal attention of a car,driver & guide for 4 of us compared to the full bus load of tourists from the cruise liners we saw at every stop. At places like the Unfinished Obelisk & Aswan High Dam we appreciated the flexibility to tell our driver we wanted to depart early and at the Temple of Philae we waited for the setting sun to get some of our best pics.

We stayed at Move'n'Pick in Aswan which was nice and at Maritime in Luxor which was great. We went to the Old Cataract in Aswan for high tea and were disgusted by the attitude of the serving staff. After charging an 82LE cover charge we were still treated badly.

Don't miss the hot air balloon ride over Luxor - call 2-3 operators and bargain. I got an initial quote of $100 per head and finally we did it for $60 per head.

In Luxor don't miss the tombs of the commoners. This was our last stop at 4:30 and we were the only ones there - a lovely change after the crowds at the Valley of Kings. Well worth a dekko.

Cairo highlights over 6 days - Coptic Cairo, The Citadel, wandering the Khan el Khalili including Egyptian Pancakes for lunch, Naguib Mahfouz for dinner (don't miss the kobeba kebabs) and El Fishway for a tea break at the Khan, the Pyramids which we saw with a guide then about half a dozen times while passing including late evening from the Mena House, buying jewelry at Azza Fahmy (see her website - stunning), traditional food at Abou El Cid, the museum with the Tut exhibits

We used the time we saved from the cruise to go to the White Desert. We left around noon, got to the Baharia Oasis around 5, overnighted then left the next morning around 11 for the desert. We got to the desert at 2, broke for lunch, then drove further into the desert where our Bedouin guide and driver set up camp. The desert is bizarrely beautiful with almost white sand and snow white limestone formations. It feels like a different planet. Don't miss it. We saw sunset and sunrise here and also spent the night under a canopy of more stars then I have ever seen in my life. This trip could be done at a more hurried pace over 1 night with no oasis stop. The oasis is a bit of a dump so worth missing but it would mean leaving Cairo around 9, getting to the desert around 3, camping then leaving the next day around 10 to get back to Cairo around 5.

We had an amazing trip and I loved Egypt - for me it was the second time but more memorable then my first.
hobbes is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2008, 06:45 AM
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Thanks for the trip report. I am planning a similar trip for 2009. What month were you traveling and how was the temp. in the White Desert? I tried searching on See Egpyt and didn't find any tour company. Could you please print your exact itinery? I have 2 weeks and would like to do Cairo, White Desert, Aswan-Luxor and the Red Sea. I don't think I want to spend too much time in Cairo though other then to see the highlights. Any thoughts? Thanks for any advice.
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Old Jan 10th, 2008, 04:15 PM
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We did our trip in Dec and the White Desert was cold - around 3 degrees. The upside was weather down south in Aswan & Luxor was amazing. Our itinerary:

Reached Cairo Sat morning - afternoon Coptic Cairo
Sun 6Am departure Abu Simbel
Sun 12 transfer Abu Simbel-Aswan
Aswan sights Sun afternoon & market Sun evening
Mon early AM departure Luxor
Check into hotel and 12 onwards sightseeing Temple of Karnak & Luxor
Tues 5:30AM hot air balloon ride
Back to hotel, morning at leisure, 12-5 Valley of Kings, Hapteshut Temple, Tombs of Commoners
Luxor market
9PM flight Luxor-Cairo
Wed-Sat Cairo - Pyramids, Museum, Khan el Khalili, Citadel, shopping, eating!
Sun 12 depart oasis, reach oasis 5, overnight
Mon 9:30 departure White Desert
Overnight White Desert
Tues 9AM departure back to Cairo
Reach Cairo 4PM

SeeEgypt is a local travel agency located where the expats live in Maadi so familiar with requirements of foreigners. Our friends based in Cairo recoed them. 26 Road 87;23 Road 15 Maadi, Cairo: Egypt e-mail : [email protected]

What we did not do this trip was either Sharm el Shaikh (given xmas season was too expensive) and Alexandria - we took a call that we would rather enjoy Cairo at leisure rather than pack in another city for an overnight.

Also, we planned our itinerary to include down time so after a long flight to Cairo on Sat we did not do much so we were fresh for early Am start Sunday. We got back to Cairo midnight on Tuesday and Wednedsay chilled out again to recover for the Pyramids and Museum on Thursday. We also went to the Khan 3 times, as we all enjoyed it.
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Old Jan 14th, 2008, 08:56 AM
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What was your opinion of the hot air balloon ride in Luxor?

BonnieN is offline  
Old Jan 19th, 2008, 10:27 PM
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Hi, Bonnie, we enjoyed the balloon ride tho the day we went up the wind direction kep us completely on the west Bank. Our guide told us she did the ride on a day when the winds took them over the Temple of Karnak - that was my hope too as with an aerial view one would get a much better perspective on size. All the balloons which went up with us stayed over the valley of kings and the fields. I thought it was reasonable VFM but not outstanding or unmissable.
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