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What do y'all think of this 13 day Egyptian itinerary?

What do y'all think of this 13 day Egyptian itinerary?

Jul 3rd, 2008, 01:58 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 347
What do y'all think of this 13 day Egyptian itinerary?

We have a group of friends that have traveled around the world together (just returned to Texas last month from Italy).

I am in early phase of trying to put together our itinerary. We are currently planning on the week after Thanksgiving, 2009. I think 13 days, including travel. I believe should be a high moderate budget (for whatever that means).

We plan our trips early primarily because that is my compulsive personality and we use AMEX points to purchase first class tickets (thank you corporate charges).

Because of the favorable comments on fodors, we are planning on utilizing the services of Ahmed Hamed Yousif. He wants to know some details about our trip so he can give us a quote. Unfortunately, the only time my wife and I were in Egypt was part of a one day cruise excursion.

I have read fodor's postings, printed out the A&K Egypt & Beyond and the 13 perfect days... in Conde Nast. Just getting a feel so would appreciate your help in keeping me on the straight and narrow. I would appreciate your help with:

Day 1 ~ travel
Day 2 ~ arrive Cairo (Mena House) relax
Day 3 ~ Cairo (Museum)
Day 4 ~ Cairo (Memphis; Sakkara; Giza)
Day 5 ~ Cairo to Abu Simbel to Aswan
Day 6 ~ Aswan (thinking Old Cataract; is Aswan a good place to add an extra day?)(felucca; Aswan market; Nubia Museum; etc.)
Day 7 ~ Friday embarcation on Sonesta Star Goddess (I looked at Oberoi Philae but could not see if they had north bound 3 night cruise)
Day 8 ~ cruise from Aswan to Kom Ombo
Day 9 ~ cruise to Luxor
Day 10 ~ Luxor (thinking Steigenberger Nile Palace ~ what do you think?)
Day 11 ~ Luxor
Day 12 ~ Luxor to Cairo (what would you pick between Hilton or Four Seasons Nile?)(Islamic Cairo; Citadel Mohammed Ali)
Day 13 ~ Homeward bound

Would appreciate any comments on timing, must see at various locations, time of year, etc.

Thanks & hope you yanks have a Happy 4th of July!

Philip is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 07:53 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 35
Your proposed itinerary looks interesting, Philip. Actually, it is similar to one that I am currently preparing for my own travels to Egypt next year, in 2009. I too saw that article in the Conde Nast magazine.

I am sorry that I cannot give any substantive comments yet, as I have not traveled either; I would certainly look forward to others sharing their experiences though.

johnwm is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 02:21 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,601
Day 3 - Add the Khan el Khalili Market to the itinerary. The Cairo Museum in not enough for one day unless you are VERY interested in it (and my guess is that you aren't THAT interested in it, or you would be there on Day 2 instead of sitting around the hotel) Even if you want to spend 6 hours at the Museum, which I seriuously doubt, there is still time in the day to get over to the market and see it.

Day 6 - check availability of Old Cataract. Last time I looked at their web site they said they were closed for some time to remodel. Make sure they will be open.

Day 12 - Which Hilton? The Four Seasons is obviously a nicer hotel, but the Nile Hilton is in a better location for dining outside the hotel and for walking away from the hotel for anything else. Either hotel is good for the sites you suggested seeing that day. Both would require taxis or a car and driver to get you there.

I think you are wasting Day 2 by not getting out and doing something. There is so much to do around Cairo, but if you think you are happier relaxing at the hotel - OK.

Casual_Cairo is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 03:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,209
Hi - that's very similar to the itinerary we did earlier this year (with Ahmed) - I agree with Debbie that you don't really need to spend the day relaxing at the hotel but maybe everyone is coming in at different times?

I would have enjoyed another night in Aswan - we were one night in the Old Cataract and then one night on board the Philae which stayed at the dock......there really isn't any difference between a 3 or 4 night cruise as in both cases you're only "cruising" the Nile one night - the boat just becomes a hotel in Aswan and Luxor.

Have you seen our blog? Lots of pics......here's the link to the Cairo section - on the right hand margin is a link to the Nile Cruise portion


Elizabeth_S is offline  
Jul 16th, 2008, 09:40 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 237
The itnerary is great. Just a few thoughts.

Depending on how travel agrees with you I would go to the sound and light show at Giza the first night. You can see the pyramids from the Mena house and waiting to go see them is almost unbearable. I don't know how you could wait almost 2 days. I also enjoyed having dinner in the main restaurant at the Mena House. The food was fair to good, but the atmosphere was grand.

When I was in Luxor I stayed at the LaMerdian, but I think they changed owners. It was right off of the river, just south of the winter palace. They had two good restaurants and a great pool. It was a walk from the temples, but taxi's are available. If you like have dinner at the Winter Palace.

For your return, depending on when you get in, you might just want to stay out at the airport. Traveling across Cairo is a 2-3 hour event. You may want to stay at the airport and do a tour to the citadel or the old religious quarter. You could do one of these after the musuem, but you loose a lot of time commuting across Cairo. If I recall correctly those hotels also had transfer services to the airport.
Diane60030 is offline  
Jul 16th, 2008, 01:10 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 347
Thanks for very good help. Elizabeth ~ loved your pics.

As a result, I have revised original itinerary and modified as follows:

Day 2 ~ arrive Cairo (Mena House) relax; sound & light show Giza
Day 3 ~ Cairo (Memphis; Sakkara; Giza)
Day 4 ~ Cairo (Museum; Khalili Market)
Day 6 ~ Aswan (Old Cataract CLOSED; is Aswan a good place to add an extra day?)(felucca; Aswan market; Nubia Museum; etc.)
Day 10 ~ Luxor (thinking Steigenberger Nile Palace OR La Meridian ~ any suggestions?)
Day 12 ~ Luxor to Cairo (what would you pick between Hilton or Four Seasons Nile?)(Islamic Cairo; Citadel Mohammed Ali)

Any suggestions for Aswan in that Old Cataract is closed? I looked on TripAdvisor and a Moevenpick Resort looks like a possibility.

We have stayed at airport hotels in Paris and Rome for ease of home departure. Diane60030 thanks for idea. I looked at TripAdvisor and Cairo airport hotels look like they receive OK to poor reviews. It looks as if the Le Meridien Heliopolis perhaps is the nicest. Does anybody have any suggestions?

I do appreciate your sharing your experiences!
Philip is offline  
Jul 16th, 2008, 01:46 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 21
Hi Phillip,

We returned from Egypt and Jordan in late May and also booked through Ahmed. The trip was great. We did 15 in Egypt and 4 in Jordan, so spent more time than you have. I'm including a link to the lengthy post about my trip to give you some details about what we saw. http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...t=0&dirtyBit=1

Here is a link to my photos and pictures of Ahmed. http://gallery.mac.com/beth.smith#100014

We liked Aswan and thought the 3 nights we spent there were well worth the trip. We stayed at the Basma Hotel because the Cataract had closed the week before. It's decent and a very good location high on a hill. I describe it in my post above. Let me know if you want more details on anything.
AZEBS is offline  
Jul 17th, 2008, 08:25 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 18
If you're going to Sakkara, might as well go a few miles more to the Red Pyramid and Bent Pyramid at Dashur. The advantage of Dashur is that crowds are very sparse.
klg42 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2008, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 867
You really don't need to stay at the Meridien. You won't be at the hotel long and it doesn't offer a view of the pyramids or a charming 150 year old hotel.

Le Meridien is fancy in the common areas, but the room my friends were in was pretty small and nothing special. Not sure what the rest of the rooms are like. She was on a OAT trip.

I stayed in the Sheraton which is near the airport. I upgraded to the section for people who have its card --like a frequent flyer card for hotels The room was a little bigger & a little nicer than one I saw in Le Meridian.

I think there's a Movenpick (Swiss hotel) which should be fine.

Basically I'd stay at the international chain hotel with the best rates.
sunshine007 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2008, 10:04 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 867
One more thing about hotels & the airport. If you're taking a plance that leaves early in the morning, there's no traffic & it won't take 2 or 3 hours. Any other time of day it might.
sunshine007 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2008, 10:44 AM
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Several members of my family will be in Cairo on a Thursday evening. Their flight to London is Friday at 4:00. Two questions: 1) if they stay at Giza or near the airport, will they be able to spend any time in Cairo at all on Friday before their flight, and 2) if they stay downtown, what time will they need to leave for the airport? Which would you suggest?
Jul 20th, 2008, 04:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,209
Hi dmlove - re Thursday/Friday in Cairo - we did a similar transfer, arriving about 4:30 and transferring to Mena House from the airport. Traffic was very heavy that day/early evening and we were told it often is as Friday is the day of worship.

Which means Friday traffic is much lighter - our transfer to the airport was the a breeze compared to other trips around Cairo.

So I think they would be able to spend time in Cairo on Friday (is the museum open? don't know) and traffic back to the airport should be it's lightest - but can't comment on the exact time to leave for the airport.
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Jul 20th, 2008, 10:53 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 867
I'd suggest hiring a car for the day from the hotel you're staying in. The driver will be able to properly estimate the time needed to get to the airport from where ever you are. Talk to the concierge when you arrive.

For this trip You don't want to take a yellow cab or a black & white cab b/c the caliber of the drivers and cars varies greatly.

I'm not quite sure I understand the previous poster's message on Friday taxis and the Friday holy day.

Here's the thing about driving in Cairo. It's hell for the morning and afternoon rush hours.

Generally speaking, Thursday afternoons have the worst traffic because everyone is trying to get out of town, although this is worse in the summer.

Friday mornings are exceptionally light traffic. Prayer gets out at 2. Then the traffic starts. But it's never as bad on Friday afternoons as it is on Sunday to Thurs.

On Saturday some people work but not as many as Sunday to Thursday.

Saturday night people are coming back from their weekends, so it's pretty busy again.

This is all the normal traffic, but you never know. There could be a car accident or a holiday or a bigwig driving about & shutting down all traffic, so you need to rely on your driver.

Another thing about staying at an airport hotel -- you can leave your bags there & pick them up on your way to the airport. That way you won't have to go back to your airport in Giza (a long way from the airport) in traffic or try to stuff it all in the trunk of your car. You don't have to worry about it being stolen.

sunshine007 is offline  

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