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Where can we go in Egypt to get away from the tourist crowd?

Where can we go in Egypt to get away from the tourist crowd?

Old Jan 15th, 2010, 07:48 AM
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Where can we go in Egypt to get away from the tourist crowd?

My husband and I are going to Egypt in April 2011 with another couple. We all want to see the usual sites, but also experience the Egypt most tourists don't see. Any ideas for day trips from Cairo? Luxor? Aswan? Abu Simbel? Areas in any of those that tourists usually don't wander through? We'd consider staying in hotels that are in villages or even a couple of nights somewhere away from the tourist crowd. Any ideas? They are much appreciated.
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Old Jan 15th, 2010, 07:54 AM
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Maybe in one of the oasis-Egypt is a tourist mecca.
Luxor,Aswan and Abu Simbel are NOT daytrips from Cairo.
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Old Jan 15th, 2010, 08:12 AM
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Luxor can be done as a day trip - but it's exhausting (up before dawn, returning quite late).

You might look into going to Siwa. I never made it but it was always on my list!

http://siwa.com/AboutSiwa.html
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Old Jan 15th, 2010, 08:21 AM
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You can visit El Fayoum oasis, it is only one hour away from cairo .it can be done as a day trip.

visit also the old market like El khyamia ( tent maker street), el nahaseen (the copper maker street), El Ghoria a local market for the Egyptian.
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Old Jan 15th, 2010, 08:54 AM
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As nadia25 said, we were able to get away from the tourists by visiting the old markets (we did this in Cairo and Luxor and to a lesser extent in Aswan) and local fruit/vegetable market areas and by walking through random residential areas. On our next visit, I think it would be fun to go somewhere like Siwa or a small village somewhere that is not on the usual tourist circuit.
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Old Jan 15th, 2010, 10:24 AM
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Oh, forgive my writing style duytfree and Grcxx3. My question was misunderstood. I know Luxor, Aswan and Abu Simbel are not day trips from Cairo. What I meant was does anyone know of day trips from ANY of those cities? nadia25, that's exactly what I'm looking for in Cairo. Yes, abby97 you've hit the nail on the head - villages off the tourist circuit. Any specific ideas out there? We can either stay overnight if a hotel exists (with air -might be hard to come by) or a day trip from any of the aforementioned cities.
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Old Jan 15th, 2010, 10:41 AM
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jahlie, I don't know what counts as "the usual sights" for you, so some of this may be redundant; and I have not been there yet myself so please take what I say with a grain of salt!

Possible daytrips from Cairo might include taking the public ferry to the Nile Barrages at Qanater; visiting the ancient site of Memphis; or seeing the archaeological sites at Dashhur, Saqqara, and/or Abusir; and the oasis at Fayoum as someone mentioned. The sights at Wadi Natrun and its ancient (and still inhabited) monasteries are also accessible from Cairo. Again, I've not been there yet so I can't say from experience how heavily touristed those places are. But they do sound quite interesting!
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Old Jan 15th, 2010, 11:16 AM
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We found that the tourists tend to clump in very tight groups. In general all we had to do was to walk a few blocks away from any tourist area (especially the tourist souks) and it was just us and the locals. It was shocking how often this was the case. One of my favorite times was at the Luxor sound and light show (a classic tourist activity). While in the Hypostyle Hall the audience was clumped in a crowd in the middle of the hall. We walked 20 feet away and were alone in the columns. Only a handful of other people followed suit.

We also found that many (if not most) of the tourist are in group tours which follow rigid schedules. It seemed like they all headed off at lunchtime to eat. At all the classic tourist places we found that the crowds thinned considerably at lunchtime.
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Old Jan 15th, 2010, 01:02 PM
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Mr_Abby97, thank you for that information as well. I'll keep it in mind. Although the four of us have taken the occasional group tour, we always managed to split off from the group and even forgo the "already paid for' schedule to venture off on our own. Perhaps Egypt is one of those countries where most people feel more comfortable with the group and that can only be a good thing for us. Thanks
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Old Jan 15th, 2010, 01:13 PM
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Jahlie... I don't feel comfortable in a group! I like to do my own thing, take my own time, ponder the sights without a group of 20 huddled around me. I will have my own guide though.
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Old Jan 15th, 2010, 01:19 PM
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Would be very interested in people's views of a visit to the Northern Cemetery in Cairo (aka the city of the dead)
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Old Jan 15th, 2010, 01:24 PM
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On our trip in 2006, while in Cairo, we went to Dashur to see the Red and Bent Pyramids. We were the only people there but for the guards. Quite cool to be in the Red Pyramid by ourselves.
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Old Jan 15th, 2010, 02:26 PM
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I'm with cougfan.

We went to Saqarra... On the way down drop in on where Memphis was and see the incredible GIGANTIC statue of Ramses II (lying down -- its lower legs are gone but it is Beautiful).

There is a courtyard with many other sculptures, including a small but 80-ton alabaster sphinx with a blissful expression on it.

Besides the Red and Bent Pyramids, there is the GRAND original large pyramid, the Step Pyramid - Zoser's.

While there do not miss the tomb or mastaba of Mereruka, with beautiful daily life scenes done with more depth and more energy and detail than in later tombs.

http://www.philae.nu/akhet/Saqqara9.html

I have not put up my photos of the day we spent there but there is one of the Bent pyramid as I was just giving friends a preview of what we saw in Egypt, but it is really a scant offering.
However, Seneferu's Bent and Red pyramids (which you will see me coming out of) are definitly off the beaten path but a SHORT trip from Cairo and without a crowd.

- http://bit.ly/egyptprev

Look up history on this on the web and you'll be amazed at how rich it is.

- Andrys
http://www.pbase.com/andrys
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Old Jan 16th, 2010, 07:17 AM
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I thought City of the Dead was fascinating. Our guide reluctantly took us for a quick drive through it. I understood his reluctance. It is basically a big cemetary and otherwise homeless people are living there. I can see how taking us to confront a big social problem is not what most guides think we want to see on our 5*-super-delux trip. But if I had it to do over again I would have insisted on a longer visit and would have got out of the car to walk around. At the same time, I cannot articulate what is so interesting to me about it. It is really just a cemetary (but then again, so are the pyramids and Valley of the Kings and Queens).
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Old Jan 16th, 2010, 08:01 AM
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I'm going to Egypt for the first time in March.. We are doing the typical tourist things, pyramids, nile cruise etc... but we are trying to also do what you are doing, get away from the crowds for a few days.. We are planning a trip to Bahariyah Oasis for a few days, with 3 day camel trip into the desert.. hopefully that will do it.. You could consider doing it.. ask me after March if it was a good idea or not!!
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Old Jan 16th, 2010, 08:11 AM
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Just a sidenote-our guide in Petra had told us that he had a client who had ridden a camel in Wadi Rum(beautiful desert area in Jordan) the whole day before he came to Petra. By the time he got to Petra he couldn't walk. Sometimes long hours on camels,horses,etc. can be difficult?
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Old Jan 16th, 2010, 07:17 PM
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I would agree with John61

I did the Bahariya Oasis a year past in November and i tell you I felt like I was the only tourist there. Particularly the white desert - outstanding. and not another person for miles, just me, my guide and driver. Wonderful experience.

Of course there were other tourists at my hotel, but it wasnt the feeling of a tourism place, it was more the feeling of an experience that you should do in your lifetime, if that makes sense

So, I would add the Bahariya and white desert if it were me Jahlie, and take plenty of memory cards for your camera.

Scotsgirl
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Old Jan 18th, 2010, 09:09 AM
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Thanks so much everyone. I love the idea of going out to the desert and if I can find a camel ride that is just an hour or two (not at the Pyramids) I think that would be fun. I rode a camel in India, for a couple of hours, and thought it was great fun - my husband didn't. I am sure however, that three days would have been far too long for even me. Good luck john61, I can't wait to read your trip report.

We're going to to wander into the parts of whatever town or city we're visiting that locals shop, eat, work, etc. Again, the Cairo info is invaluable. Initially I wanted to visit a camel market - I've been to the Pushkar Fair - but descriptions of how the animals are treated in Birqash suggest that might be too gruesome for us. I know the camel markets in Egypt don't resemble a fair at all, so I don't think that would leave us with the kind of memories we want to take home. Ditto City of the Dead. I'm just not comfortable with that. I want to see average lifestyles, not misery.

I'm not sure about Petra - that might just have to wait for another time. But this is just the beginning stages of our planning, so who knows where it will lead?

Thanks again.
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 07:54 AM
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The people that live in the City of the Dead are in their home, their neighborhood. They aren't "miserable".
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Old Jan 19th, 2010, 08:10 AM
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>

I agree. It may not be the way we would choose to live - but to those people the City of the Dead IS their home. They are not homeless. It is not a social problem. They are not miserable.
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