"Egypt" Egypt by Robmj
Egypt Travel Guide: 16,110 reviews and 41,008 photos
Egypt has a history that compels you to visit. It is a truely fascinating country, it can be exhausting to visit as well, the heat, the hassle of street vendors, the presence of military and police, the uncertainty of things not working or times of buses etc changing without notice, the noise of Cairo, but the Pharonic splendors make all this a trival side show, the stars of the show being the Pyramids, the Temples at Luxor, the Valley of the Kings and Queens in Luxor. The Sinai Pennisula is another highlight. Unfortunately our trip didn't include going down to Aswan, I believe this is quite spectacular with the nearby Ramses monuments at Abu Simbel, never mind you can't do it all.
Even when we travelled in May, it was hot, mostly ranging in the low forties (centigrade). No humidity this time of year, so it makes it more managable.
We came in via a ferry from Jordan (Aqaba) landing in Nuweiba, which is a place you want to leave immediately and head down the Sinai Pennisula to Dahab. Dahab used to be a completely laid back little town but is now attracting more tourist traffic. It is still excellent and a far cry from the real tourist trap of Sharm-El-Shiekh further down the coast. Dahab is well worth spending some time in and be sure to snorkel or dive at the blue hole - fantastic!, nearly on a par with the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
We did end up in Sharm-El-shiekh for a night and the Na'ama Bay is actually very nice, great swimming. From here we got a ferry over to Hurguada which is on the eastern coast of mainland Egypt. This allows you you get directly into Luxor via bus (5 hours or so). Hurguada is another place you will want to put in your rear vision mirror ASAP in my view.
Luxor is entirely a different matter, absolutely stunning. Luxor, in Upper Egypt (even though its in the South) is on the opposite bank to the ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes. All some 4,000 years old and awesome. This area is where you notice the increase in heat, pharonic splendors and street hassle. Luxor temple is great but is surpassed by the amazing and much larger Karnak temple a few km's down the road. You can spend hours and hours in each. A bit of a Nile "cruise" on a local felucca is a must when you're here.
The West bank which is the site of ancient Thebes is where the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens are. Amazing tombs and many still have colours, although many have been restored over the years. Its a bit of pot luck as to which tombs are open when you visit, but we managed to visit some of the Ramses tombs and these were just superb. Also nearby is the temple of Hatshepsut, well worth a look, this site is a little notorious for the tourist massacre by extremists in 1997.
The museum in Luxor is another must do, this has the amazing mummy of Ramses I and many other great treasures.
Cairo was reached from Luxor following an overnight train trip. Get a sleeping carriage!. Journey leaves at 9.30pm and get in at 7am, its a fairly long way and a relatively slow train.
Cairo is a big mad city, full of noise, people and traffic!. However it is well worth visiting, the nearby Pyramids and Sphinx are a must do and of course, in Cairo itself, the Museum and Islamic areas are other compulsory visits. The main bazaar, the Khan al Khalili is another Cairo must-do and while you are in Cairo, head up the Cairo tower for spectacular views of the huge expanse that is Cairo.
- Pros:Pharonic Sights and Splendors. The people are friendly and helpful even though they will try and sell you something.
- Cons:Hassle from Street vendors, its part of the experience however!
- In a nutshell:Amazing, must do!
This 187m high tower is Cairo's tallest building and is a must do to get a different and high up perspective on the... more travel advice
The area of Cairo known as Islamic Cairo is well worth seeing. The Citadel gives you great views over parts of Cairo and... more travel advice
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