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Old 06-18-2013, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Poshawa, Ontario
2,986 posts, read 3,336,763 times
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Hello,

My wife and I have been entertaining various destinations for travel next year and we were thinking about Egypt. However, outside of the Giza Plateau, I have little knowledge of where to travel to and what would give the best bang for your buck. Additionally, we are a little wary of visiting there following the political turmoil that has gripped the country since the Arab Spring. Can anyone give us any tips on what to expect there? Additionally, should we look at spending the vacation in Cairo, or should we travel elsewhere in the country as well? Safety and health tips would be appreciated as well.

Thanks!
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:20 AM
 
Location: North Idaho
22,852 posts, read 29,013,740 times
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Just be sure to check for travel advisories before booking and again before leaving on your vacation.

A vacation in a region filled with political turmoil doesn't appeal to me. There are many wonderful places in the world to see that don't involve the possibility of getting caught in a riot or bombing.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:22 AM
 
Location: St. Louis
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The best thing we did was to book a riverboat cruise on the Nile and it drops you off at various points for sightseeing. Unfortunately I spent my time on the boat suffering from the pharoahs revenge. Also, I am not a fan of guided trips but Egypt is one where I might consider it. I've traveled a lot and found it to be a huge pia at times--too many people trying to sell you stuff and the harangue is nearly constant.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Miami/NYC
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are the vendors/scammers aggressive like the ones in Paris? I want to visit Egypt at the pyramids but hated those people are aggressive towards you. I want to look in decent tour groups (I normally go by myself but seems like being part of a tour group is good in Egypt)
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, QC, Canada
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I just got back from Egypt. There are many nice places you can visit for cheap, but I found interacting with the locals almost completely intolerable. You will be approached and followed everywhere by people wanting to take you to their cousin's perfume store or whatever. Never agree to anything as many of the business-owning Egyptians really know how to work and guilt you. I don't recall paying the same price for anything twice in a row except for bottled water. If you ever "meet" someone going to the exact location as you, and they toss the idea of going together since they know the area...don't even think about it. You will likely be stinged hard.

Cairo is kind of dirty and chaotic. Overwhelming at times. I also hung out in Hurghada, a resort town that wasn't my thing either. I did like Alexandria a lot, which I daytripped to from Cairo for cheap. A bunch of people in a hostel I stayed at all gloated about some Bedouin camps in the western Sahara, but it was too expensive for me to go.

However, I never felt unsafe or anything. Worst that happened was I almost walked straight in to a lit firecracker a kid threw down the stairs while coming out of a metro station.
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Old 06-19-2013, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Poshawa, Ontario
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Thanks for all the info/tips! I'll definitely take all of this into consideration (especially travel advisories).

Cheers.
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Old 06-23-2013, 05:31 AM
 
Location: Earth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ace587 View Post
are the vendors/scammers aggressive like the ones in Paris? I want to visit Egypt at the pyramids but hated those people are aggressive towards you. I want to look in decent tour groups (I normally go by myself but seems like being part of a tour group is good in Egypt)
Paris is not aggressive at all, to me.
I found Egypt to be pretty aggressive.
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:57 AM
 
Location: St. Louis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chielgirl View Post
Paris is not aggressive at all, to me.
I found Egypt to be pretty aggressive.
Right, Paris was nothing compared to Egypt. I did the climb up mt Sinai one night after getting over that stomach bug and I swear the only way I made it was because of the constant nagging of a man with a camel--"lady, you want to ride ze camel?" I got so mad I stomped my foot and yelled at him at one point, and that is very much unlike me and I hate when people force you to be rude. I didn't take it because I was with the family and I'd heard they charge you twice--once to get on and once to get off the camel. For the first time in my life I was approached by a male prostitute and one man wanted a tip for pointing out a fish in the Nile river. Oh yeah, and add to that the couple of taxi drivers who tried to attack us getting out even though we had agreed on a price beforehand and then tipped them! And the woman in the restroom who started yelling at me that I should tip her a whole euro for a piece of tp. It just wore us down and 1-1/2 weeks was plenty. I've heard that the majority of Egyptian people are wonderful but those who deal with the tourist trade are grasping and aggressive. If its any consolation, mark twain made many of the same complaints when he went.
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:30 AM
 
Location: NH Lakes Region
352 posts, read 1,420,338 times
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Default Maybe I'd wait a bit to visit Egypt...

Things are really still unsettled in the country, and it's difficult to know if/when/where things could flare up. If you do go visit, get with a reputable company and it will be your tour guide's job to keep the worst of the aggressive hawkers and vendors away. Alexandria is a great counterweight to the crowds and grime in Cairo. For Cairo, you've got the (dusty) museum, the Giza pyramids and Sphinx, maybe Sakhara and the pyramids out that way, Coptic Cairo, and the Khan al-Khalili souq. (It can be fun poking through some of the generic craft shops tucked away - lots of really neat stuff!!!) The boat trip on the Nile is a must (Aswan to Luxor or vice versa, with maybe a day trip to Abu Simbel), and several days in Luxor/Karnak to see all the sights there. I'd avoid the Sinai until things settle down there... and fly between your far destinations - not sure the trains would be too safe. Several folks have enjoyed either day or overnight trips out to the White Desert, etc., but again, you want to go with a reputable company. I'd not be adventurous enough to wander too far on my own. Sharm al-Sheikh has some good snorkeling, diving, and swimming.

You also want to find out when Ramadan is (the Muslim Holy Month). This is NOT a good time to visit some Muslim countries - the locals are not allowed any food, water, etc., between sunup and sundown. It can be hard to find restaurants that are even open, and it's not very good form to be eating and drinking in front of those abstaining. (This year it is from about 8 July till 7 August or thereabouts, which will make for some long, uncomfortable days - making for some short-tempered people). You also want to visit in the cooler months... avoiding May through September.

All things being equal, I'd probably be looking for another vacation spot for the next year or so.
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:18 AM
Status: "Send HIM back- to Queens!" (set 18 days ago)
 
Location: Eureka CA
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Agree this is not the best time to visit Egypt.
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