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What is your favorite off the beaten track place in Egypt?

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Jul 18th, 2004, 01:22 PM
  #1
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What is your favorite off the beaten track place in Egypt?

We are going for a two week - once in a lifetime - trip to Egypt for our 20th anniversary. Probably in Feb 2005.

We want to hit the main sights but also like the off the beaten track ones...

So what is your favorite off the beaten track place in Egypt? and why...


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Jul 18th, 2004, 05:31 PM
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If you really have time - try seeing Cairo, not as a tourist, but as a resident. Well, an ex-pat resident.

Get a reliable taxi to take you to Maadi, one of the main Cairo suburbs for ex-pats (especially Americans). Cruise Road 9 between the flyover (bridge over the subway tracks) and the McDonald's. This is the closet Cairo has to Walmart - spread over 6 or more blocks. Buy Egyptian souvenirs (a little pricier than the Khan el Khalili but more convenient), pick out brass accessories or silver jewelry, check out the flower shops, stroll through Massoud's market to see what Western products are - and aren't - available. Have lunch at Mediterrano or Lucille's and strike up a conversation with some of the patrons. Look at the beautiful work by the carpenters who display their mashrabeya furniture on the sidewalks near Cafe Greco. Buy some of the fresh breads or pastries - but avoid the wonderful looking fruits and vegetables unless you have some disinfecting tablets. There are also pharmacies, stationery stores, key makers, shoe repair shops, and shops for electric lights.

Drive by Victory College - now a ballfield and Egyptian school - but once a British school where Omar Sharif attended.

For more "buying opportunities" - try a trip to the Asfour Crystal factory, the fabric market (Boulac), or the tentmakers street near the Khan.

At Asfour, you can get everything from crystal souvenirs to jewelry to chandeliers. The tentmakers street is walkable from the Khan - but is a bit stressful - and is a great place for buying appliqued pillows and quilts. At Boulac, look at the main upholstery shops on the main street then venture down the side alleys. Here you'll find lovely fabric for clothing, curtains, and upholstery. You may also find some neat embroidered Egyptian cotton beach towels.

I assume you will be going to Luxor, so get a guide to take you to the Valley of the Nobles and Valley of the Artisans. ALso be sure to see Nefertari's tomb.

You've got 2 weeks - have fun!
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Jul 19th, 2004, 06:47 AM
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sandi
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Believe the Tomb of Queen Nefretari has been closed again, but if has reopened you buy tickets the day you wish to tour at 6am. They only allow 150 people per day to enter for 15-minutes only, but no cameras are permitted inside. The price for entry here is about $30, way higher than any of the other tombs at about $2 or $3 each.

For things to do in Cairo, contact Debbie an American woman, living many years in Cairo at:
www.casualcairoonline.com or www.casualcairo.com

She can arrange for things to do/see in Cairo and Luxor (and believe Aswan). Check her out.
 
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Jul 19th, 2004, 07:55 AM
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In April, Queen Nefertari's tomb was closed and as far as our guide new was permanent. Too bad but the rest was wonderful.
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Jul 20th, 2004, 05:17 AM
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When in Luxor, I highly recommend staying on the West Bank. It's away from the hectic Luxor hustlers, rural, very quiet, and striking distance from many sights.
When there last April we stay here:

http://www.luxor-westbank.com/amenophis_e.htm

Clean. Absurdly cheap. Great staff. It is described as "Very close to the temple of Medinet Habu." The temple is, in fact, about a fifty yards away, and comprises the view from your room. Better still, while Habu rivels the Luxor temples, it is only lightly visited. If you go in the afternoon you will have the place to yourself.
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Jul 20th, 2004, 07:11 PM
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Thanks for the tip on Medinet Habu. We will have to check it out. I'm also trying to decide if we should go to Abydos and Dendara... looks like another day trip but are they worth taking a day for? I've also heard Dashur has reopened. Does anyone know for sure?
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Jul 21st, 2004, 04:57 AM
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If you have the time both Abydos and Dendara are well worth the visit. While many try to do both in one day, it would really not do justice to either site.

If you only have one day available, Abydos has some of the most spectacular bas reliefs I have ever seen, plus very old remains in an adjoining temple outside; however, if you can only choose between one, Dendara would probably be more satisfying.

There used to be morning and afternoon convoys to Dendara; you will probably find fewer tourists if you go in the afternoon.

These are both exceptional.
 
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Jul 21st, 2004, 05:04 AM
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Barolo - I understand that one of the hotels in Luxor has a boat that goes to either Abydos or Dendera vs. the convey. Check with Debbie at Casual Cairo (my post above) who has the information on this - for the schedule, details and price.
 
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Jul 21st, 2004, 06:28 AM
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I'm not sure what you mean about Dashur reopening. I was there in April, and one could certainly walk all around the area. We were allowed in The Red Pyramid, but as far as I know, there is no tourist entrance in to The Bent pyramid.
Elsewhere, the Tomb of Queen Nefretari was closed - slated for reopening this month (July).
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Jul 21st, 2004, 06:34 AM
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I forgot to mention - Egypt also has some of the best scuba diving sites in the world. Awed by the experience of my single resort dive in April, I'm currently getting my certification, and will return to the Red Sea (Sharm)in October.
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Jul 21st, 2004, 02:05 PM
  #11
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I had read somewhere that Dashur as a sight was closed for a while. No one allowed in... perhaps old information. Thanks for all the tips. I'll have to try to make both abydos and dendara now!
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Jul 21st, 2004, 04:05 PM
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Dashur was open mid-April.
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Jul 23rd, 2004, 08:22 AM
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I've lived in Egypt for about a year now, and I really can't say that "off the beaten path" in Maadi (where I live) is all that much fun. I would most definitely recommend you take a Nile Cruise - several tour companies offer them (Abernathy, for one.) We flew from Cairo to Aswan on a Thursday, took a daytrip to Abu Simbul (absolutely fabulous) on Friday, and got on our cruise ship on Saturday. It was the most relaxing vacation I've ever had, except for the actual sightseeing, which got a little crazy at times - but still a lot of fun! Our cruise ship was the Oberoi, and we had a private deck (all the rooms did) so it was wonderful sitting on our little deck, watching Egypt float by - this isn't an ocean cruise; you are never out of sight of land. Anyway, the cruise included sightseeing all from Aswan (Kitchener Botanical Gardens) to Luxor (two awesome temples on the eastern shore, the Colossus of Memnon and the Valley of the Kings and Queens on the western shore.) We spent additional time on our own in Luxor and went to the Valley of the Nobles, which offers a very interesting look at how non-royalty lived in Pharonic times. After that, you might want to fly to either Hurgahda or Sharm El Sheik. They're both on the Red Sea (Sharm El Sheik in on the Sinai Penisula) and are both nice little beach towns. But I would definitely recommend the cruise - especially for a once-in-a-lifetime trip!

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Jul 23rd, 2004, 08:26 AM
  #14
 
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Oh geez, I forgot the "obvious" places to visit, like the pyramids and the National Museum of Egypt. The King Tut display is magnificent, and the mummy room (where they keep the royal mummies) is a little extra, not much more, but definitely very interesting. You can take all the pics you like in the museum, but not in the mummy room.
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