Several months ago, I have decided to spend my last days of 2016 and new years eve in the mysterious land -Egypt. Voilà, with two friends, we quickly booked our hotels and flight tickets. Egyptian pounds depreciated 50% during November, we hoped we could benefit from some of the unchanged site price. Some key elements you should know while you are preparing for the trip :
¤ Student Card – Remember to bring if you have one, for discount.
¤ Sunscreen & Sunglasses – The sun is bright and shiny during the days
¤ Lotion– Weather is quite dry
¤ Scarf – It is quite windy in most of the open air museums
¤ Selfie Stick -If you want to get the gigantic monuments and yourself in the same picture
¤ Sneakers – easy to walk around and climb inside the pyramid
¤ Swimming suit – if you plan to stop by cities around red sea
There is no need to exchange currency in advance. There are banks or currency exchange shops in all these cities. The rates are all quite okay.
Through Cairo, we flew into Aswan directly to begin our 10 days journey- from the South all the way to the North. From Aswan, we booked a car to Abu Simbel, then Luxor,and to the red sea- Hurghada. And finally we took another flight from Hurghada back to Cairo to celebrate New years eve, visit Giza pyramids and sites in the city.
Aswan ( Duration: 1 Day )
Four main things to see : High Dam, Unfinished Obelisk, Philae Temple & Nubian Village .
Never book your day tours ahead online. The prices are extremely high and non-sense. I would suggest to pay things in local currency, it is then easier to compare and estimate the “true” price. My travel crew even memorized Arabic numbers during the trip. They have their own way of writing numbers and actually used it frequently in daily life. “0.1.2…8,9” these numbers that we used are actually called Indian numbers by the Arabs.
Our trip planning was kind of spontaneous. We knew where we will be going, but no tours, guide, car are booked even until the moment we landed in Egypt. Big thanks goes to our airport cab driver at Aswan – Ahmad ( which we picked randomly), through him and his brother, cousin & friends, we booked all our guide and cars in reasonable prices( We asked more than 10+ people for the price of Abu Simbel day trip) from Aswan to Cairo.
P.M me if you will be visiting Egypt soon and would like to arrange guides and cars through them.
A Facade of Philae Temple
On the way to Philae Temple
The giant unfinished obelisk
Our room view from Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan
Abu Simbel ( Duration: 1 Day)
You would need an entire morning for Abu Simbel. We departed at 4:30am and returned back to Aswan around 1:30pm. We brought a pack of bottled water, yogurt and snacks to munch on. Danced in the car along with the driver’s Arabic R&B, watched the rise of the sun, ran around the hollow road. When you saw the gigantic statues of Rameses II , it all worth being an early bird.
6 am in the morning with my crew ( including the camera lady)
Abu Simbel Temple of Ramese II
Luxor ( Duration: 2 Days)
Luxor is divided by East and West. The first day, we went to visit the Valley of the Kings, (with different tombs of the New kingdom Kings),Temple of Hatshepsut and Temple of Medinat Habu. The second day, we went to Luxor Temple, Luxor museum and Temple of Karnak.
At the entrance of the valley of the kings which buried pharaohs during the new kingdom dated from 16th-11th century B.C., including the great Ramese II and the famous Tutankhamon. To avoid tomb raiders and better prepared from the after-live journey, the new kingdom’s pharaohs no longer build pyramids, they instead chose a hidden valley for the start of their eternal life. As seen in the center of the picture, the peak of Al-Qurn act as a huge pyramids for the entier valley.
Colorful and deep Carvings on the wall telling stories
Avenue of Sphinxes supposed to go all the way to the Nile river
The two men symbolized the unification of upper and lower Egypt. One represents by papyrus and the other by reed tying closer to each other.
The obelisk in Luxor temple. It is the twin of the one in place de la concorde in Paris.
Walking to Luxor museum
El-souk in Luxor
Sunset on our way to Hurghada
*If you are not in a rush, highly recommend to stop by some of the temples along the way from Luxor to Hurghada, for instance the Temple of Edfu.
Hurghada ( Duration: 3 Days)
Mercure’s resort beach
Chilling under the sun with layers of clothes haha
The water temperature is not as warm as I thought. Therefore I didn’t had a chance to either snorkel or dive in the red sea. What a pity ! Will definitely come back another time to do it. Instead, we spent our 3 days relaxing on the beach, exploring the town, and rest. If you would like to dive under the water, I would advise to come between late Feb – Mid November, unless you have a dry suit or you are prone to cold.
Waiting the restaurants to open for lunch ( people all went to mosque for Friday prayers)
One of my favorite meal during the Egypt trip ! Tons of seafood in this appetizer soup . The name of the restaurant is El halaka Fish house !
Cairo (Duration : 3 Days)
We spent the first day at Cairo Museum and Khan el-Khalili Market. Had a wonderful Egyptian feast at Amr’s place. Thanks for the warmth welcome. The food was amazing. I felt like I was in paradise the whole time. Your dad and the entire family are super lovely as well ! Shukraan !
Cairo Museum !! Spent my last day of 2016 here.
At Khan el-Khalili Market, I want to bring all of them home!
Sweet potatoes, yum ! We were too full by the time, thus we shared 2 among 3 of us. Normally each of us could eat 2 big ones alone.
The BEST meal during our trip! Name of the dishes ( from right to left, down to up): Mahshi, mixed rice with chicken liver, rokak, koosa, kofta, steak and tomato salad
The second day ( first day of 2017), we went to see the Giza pyramids and the sphinx. After dinner, we went on a private boat to tour along the Nile river.
The 9 pyramids ! Can’t believe I took this postcard style picture.
Dining at Kebabgy- Oriental Grill. Quite delicious ! According to our guide, lots of local people would also come and dine here, one of the popular restaurants.
Our “private” boat with light decoration
The last day, we visited different mosque, cathedral and synagogue in the city of Cairo.
The Mosque of Muhammad Ali in the citadel
The same mosque from another angle
Mosque and Madrasa of Sultan Hassan
Mosaic paintings on the way to Saint Virgin Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church
I’m glad to spend my christmas, the last bit of 2016 and the first few days of 2017 in Egypt. We have met so many lovely and kind people along the way. Special thanks to my two travel crew members for all the laughters.
Can’t wait for the next adventure.
To a better 2017,