Egypt travel guide
The Egypt Ultimate Travel Guide
Fabled for its old-world charm - miles of barren deserts, towering pyramids, and ancient monuments, Egypt is a wonderland, especially for history geeks.
But beyond the dumbfounding antiquities, this magical country swirls with stunning scenery, pearly beaches, and authentic architecture that beckon any kind of traveler.
Here is a travel guide to help you plan your next trip to Egypt;
Best Things to do in Egypt
Abu Simbel Temple
Commissioned by the late Pharaoh Ramesses II in 1244 BC, Abu Simbel Temple is among the most impressive structures in the world.
The sight of the colossal statues (approximately 69 feet high) at the entrance of the temple is a phenomenon but what’s even more fascinating is the fact that where Abu Simbel Temples sits today wasn’t their original location.
For over 3000 years, the temples were nestled between two cataracts along the west bank of the Nile.
However, in the 1960s threatened by the floodwater from the Aswan High Dam, the temple complex was disassembled, moved, and reassembled on higher grounds.
Today, decades later, the majestic statues still evoke admiration from anyone who sets their eyes on them.
In addition, in an exceptional feat of engineering, the temples were designed such that, on two days of the years (February 22 and October 22) the sun rays penetrate through the entry into the sanctuary, lighting up the seated statues!
Valley of the Kings
Although the pyramid-style tombs were used as a resting place for dynasties during the Old Kingdom, that changed at the commencement of the New Kingdom.
Hidden on valleys, the new burial grounds would either be carved into a rock or underground protecting them from both grave-robbers and weather elements.
Situated along the west bank of Nile, Luxor, Valley of Kings is one of the New Kingdom graveyards with over 63 tombs and among the most visited attractions in Egypt.
At first glance, the valley’s landscape is bare, with nothing extraordinary to see.
However, underneath its dry barren surface, you’ll find the most magnificent rock-cut tombs where the ancient Pharaohs were laid to rest.
Some tombs are pharaohs’ life-size paintings while others boast stunning hieroglyphic carvings. The most popular of them all is the tomb of Tutankhamun, the mighty cursed Pharaoh.
While this UNESCO World Heritage site is open throughout the year, not all tombs are accessible at any given time. The tombs are closed in phases to give room for renovations.
The Pyramids of Giza
On the western part of the Nile lies this trio of engineering wonder and emblem of the Egyptian monuments.
The Pyramids of Gaza are undeniably the most iconic relics from the ancient Egyptians’ world and their mysteries have intrigued humankind for centuries.
The degree of craftsmanship apparent in these mammoth structures that have withstood the test of time (over 4500 years) is astonishing.
Although there are other smaller tombs spread across the Giza Plateau the three gigantic pyramids – Menkaure, Khafre, and Khufu dominate the extensive landscape.
Although, the Great Pyramid of Giza is a famed destination it’s rare for it to ever feel touristy because the pyramids are actually far apart albeit seeming closer from pictures.
A sassy way to take in the view is on horseback or a camel ride across the plateau.
The Egyptian Museum
Probably the greatest treasure on the globe, this museum is unmissable.
Established in the 19th century, the Egyptian Museum is Middle East’s oldest archaeological museum and it boasts the greatest collection of Pharaonic artifacts in the world.
From King Tutankhamen's golden death mask to sarcophagi, pottery, and jewelry the Neoclassical-style building in Cairo has impressively housed thousands of pieces that tell the tales of ancient Egypt.
Given its vastness, you might need a guide if you want to make sense of what you see!
Located in Old Cairo, Khan El-Khalili market is the best place to stop and have a glimpse into the cultural and economic activities in Egypt. It’s also a great place to mingle and interact with local vendors.
In addition to souvenirs, jewelry, and antique sellers you’ll also come across a lot of street-food vendors so it’s also an incredible location for foodies to sample the local cuisine.
Major cities in Egypt
Cairo – Cairo is the capital of Egypt.
Sharm El Sheikh
The best places to stay in Egypt
These five-star hotels offer utmost luxury and the prices range between $200 and $300 per night.
· The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo
· Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza
· Sonesta St. George Hotel, Luxor
Overlooking the stunning Nile, this upmarket hotel is situated less than 5km from both the Luxor Temple and Luxor Museum.
The price starts at $65 per night.
· Anakato Kiki
Located at the Southern Nile Valley, opposite the Aswan town this traditional Nubian hub offers bed and breakfast at affordable rates.
The prices start at $70 per night (breakfast included).
· Valencia Hotel
Located at the heart of Cairo city center, this hotel offers the most affordable stay in the city and sets you close to all attractions in the downtown. Not to mention the iconic Khan Al Khalili bazaar is just a stone throw away.
The hotel room prices start from as low as $13 per night.
Travel packing list and Tips
· Prepare for hot temperatures
Typically, Egypt boasts a desert climate – this means it can be scorching hot by day and fairly chilly at night but there are variations depending on which part of the county you visit.
October through April is considered the best time to visit Egypt because the temperatures are pretty bearable. However, it might get cold at night so consider packing a sweater.
· Dress conservatively
With the weather conditions in mind, you might also want to consider the local customs and dress conservatively. So you want to balance between breathable light-clothes and decency.
Islam is the official religion in Egypt which means most local women dress super modestly.
Although the upscale neighborhoods such as Cairo are a bit relaxed you should still try to cover up a bit. Ideally, for women, you should wear knee-length clothes with covered shoulders.
This is especially necessary if you’re planning to visit religious attractions. The rules are even more relaxed if you’re aiming for a resort getaway.
How to get around
Generally, public transport in Egypt is superb so you can get around stress-free. There is a rail network spread across the country which connects Delta, Canal Zone, and Nile Valley.
Alternatively, you can use a bus or shared taxis.
Must-try food in Egypt
· Koshary/Kushari/ koshari – this dish is regarded as Egypt’s national dish
· Fish Sayadiya
· Kabab wa kofta