Exploring Egypt – A dream come true!
Visiting Egypt has been my biggest dream since forever, but even though I travel quite a lot, it took me a while to finally make the decision to go there. The reason for this delay was mainly concerning safety, and when I told my friends and family that I was finally going to Egypt this was their main concern as well.
Now that I’ve been there I wanted to write this post to tell you about the amazing experience I had in this beautiful country and inspire you to not be held back by your fears, most of them usually caused by what’s portrait in the media and most likely not accurate.
I’m not going to lie, I was very apprehensive about going to Egypt. Just after I decided to purchase my tickets and booked the hotel, some news came out about another attack on a touristic bus…so on top of all the things I had already heard that made me pretty nervous.
But on the other hand, I’ve heard from other people that had been there before what an amazing experience had been, so that made me feel better and calmer.
So, before I share with you all the things that I did and saw in Egypt, let me share some insight about safety:
Feeling unsafe and feeling uncomfortable is not the same thing…
This is actually not my insight, but it is something I heard from another travel blogger that really clicked on my head and I truly experienced in Egypt.
People often ask me if Egypt is safe, and honestly, I think it is. Obviously, like in any other part of the world, you need to be sensible and aware of your surroundings, make sure you’re not reckless when it comes to your safety. But honestly, there wasn’t one moment during the whole trip when I felt unsafe or scared.
But there were moments when I felt uncomfortable! I mean, we are still talking about a very different culture, different ways of approaching and dealing with people. I guess how uncomfortable you are, depends on your own personality and how open you are to things.
As an introverted who doesn’t enjoy talking to strangers and who is very aware of personal space, I often felt uncomfortable! But I also have to say, that as I got to understand their way better and became more open to the experience, I realised just how friendly and welcoming Egyptians are.
So, my advice to you if you are going to visit Egypt, is to go with confidence and an open mind, be nice and friendly, and just politely decline anything you’re not interested in.
Ok, so now that’s out of the way, let’s move on to the good stuff!
What to see and do in Egypt:
Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx – Giza
I almost feel silly for putting this on the list because it seems so obvious but you would be surprised how many people visit Egypt and don’t even see the Pyramids! I mean…c’mon!! This is the most important thing!
Seeing the Pyramids was my top priority for this trip and they didn’t disappoint! I swear I would just stare at them without blinking and still be unsure if I was seeing them for real, haha!
I’m not going to go into Historical facts because there are so many different theories around the Pyramids, and if you want to know the “official” facts you will find a ton of information around the internet.
What I will say is that the Pyramids are in fact the most impressive thing I have ever seen, it’s unbelievable how grand they are!
We stayed at the Marriot Mena House Hotel which is at a walking distance from the Pyramids, so we didn’t go on a tour or anything like that, we just walked there by ourselves with the intention to also explore everything by ourselves.
If you do this, be aware of the many “wannabe” guides around you! There will be people trying to tell you how to get there, how to purchase the entry tickets, etc. just so you will follow them and tip them at the end. You don’t need this, getting to the pyramids and buying your ticket once you get there is pretty straight forward.
Also, once you are inside the area of the pyramids, there will more people offering to guide you “for free”. It is never for free because at the end they will ask for a not so modest tip, but it is really up to you if you want this guidance or not.
We went to see the pyramids twice, and on the first one we fell for this…but, to be honest it was a good thing because our guide was actually pretty cool and showed us a lot of cool spots, took amazing pictures of us (he knew all the best places for pictures and the best angles) and even got me a camel when I said I wanted a picture with one! But again, in the end, he did really pushed for a generous tip even though he told us at first that it was for free because he worked for the government…
The second time we were determined to explore by ourselves and we did, and honestly, I really enjoyed having both experiences.
Another must-see is the light show at night. If I remember correctly it’s every day at 7:30pm. I loved this show, it was so beautifully made and somehow the pyramids look even greater at night! Also, they explain a lot of history and that is always very interesting.
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities – Cairo
You will hardly find so much history in one place like you will at this museum! And if you are interested in seeing all the artefacts found all over the historical sites than you have to visit the Museum.
I believe that next year the new Museum will open, so I still visited the “old” one, wish is a bit disorganised at the moment but I believe is because a lot of the pieces are already being moved to the new one.
Here are some facts about the Museum:
- It has one of the best collections of antiquities and artefacts in the world;
- The museum collection exceeds 120 000 objects which range from the historic era to the Greco-Roman period;
- A hall for the royal mummies is also found in the museum which houses eleven kings and queens;
- It stores the contents of the royal tombs of Tuthmosis III, Tuthmosis IV, Amenhotep III and Horemheb and the tomb of Yuya and Thuya. Artefacts from the tomb of Tutankhamun, consisting of more than 3500 Pieces;
- Most of these items on display belong to Egypt and are over 5000 years old;
- It has 7 sections which are 1 – Tutankhamon’s Treasures, 2 – Pre Dynasty and Old Kingdom Monuments, 3 – The first intermediate period and the Middle Kingdom monuments, 4 – Monuments of the Modern Kingdom, 5 – monuments of the late period and the Greek and Roman periods , 6 – Coins and Papyrus, 7 – Sarcophagi and Scarabs.
Karnak Temple – Luxor
The Karnak Temple Complex is a series of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings constructed during the Ptolemic Era reign of Senusret I.
Karnak is an open-air museum and the largest ancient religious site in the world. Consists of huge pillars, towering columns, massive avenues of sphinxes, and an obelisk that stands 97-feet tall and weighs 323-tons.
Karnak is the second most visited place in Egypt after the Pyramids of Giza.
Valley of The Kings – Luxor
The Valley of the Kings lies on the Nile’s west bank near Luxor, and from far away it looks like a regular valley within a huge formation of mountains.
During Egypt’s New Kingdom the valley became a royal burial ground for pharaohs such as Tutankhamun, Seti I, and Ramses II, as well as queens, high priests, and other elites of the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties. The tombs evidence elaborate preparations for the next world, in which humans were promised continuing life and pharaohs were expected to become one with the gods.
This place is simply out of this world! The Tombs were built inside the mountains and some of them still have all the colours and carvings beautifully preserved!
The regular entrance ticket allows you to enter three different Tombs but the Tomb of Tutankhamun is not one of them – you need to pay extra. But apparently the Tutankhamun tomb is not even the most beautiful or interesting one, it is just the most famous.
Queen Hatshepsut Temple – Luxor
Queen Hatshepsut temple is located in Upper Egypt beneath the cliffs of “Deir El-Bahari”, about 17 miles northwest of Luxor. It is sited next to the Mortuary Temple of Mentuhotep II and it marks the entrance of the Valley of the Kings.
Although some elements of this superb historic structure were damaged from vandalism, this site is well-preserved and worthy of a visit. This astonishing temple rises on three enormous terraces connected by ramps. Inside this temple, you can see the Birth colonnade & the Punt colonnade, Hathor chapel & Anubis chapel, and the sanctuary of Amun.
Hurghada is the perfect destination if you are looking to include some “beach fun” onto your trip to Egypt.
The town itself is quite small and not a whole lot to see, but it has a beautiful Mosque and Marina, perfect to visit at sunset. But the great thing about Hurghada (and the reason why we decided to have our base there) is that is somewhat in the middle between Cairo and Luxor, and it has the most amazing beaches.
Hurghada is the perfect place for swimming in the Red Sea, and there is a ton of activities you can do there like visiting Paradise Island, snorkelling, swimming with the dolphins, and all your typical beach resort activities.
There is also a huge selection of stores and shopping centres for all your souvenir shopping!
So, these are some of the things I saw in Egypt, but there is so much more to see! It all depends on how much time you have!
Here are some other honourable mentions:
Khan el-Khalili Bazaar – Cairo
Al-Azhar Park – Cairo
Luxor Temple – Luxor
Colossi of Memnon – Luxor
Temple of Ramesses II – Abu Simbel
Al Sahaba Mosque – Sharm El Sheikh
A few extra tips:
- Always have cash. They also accept Euros but having Egyptian Pounds is the best thing.
- Make sure to download the Uber app as in my opinion in the best way to move around, as it’s super easy and cheap.
- Always carry a hat or a scarf and some SPF to protect yourself from the Sun, as well as a bottle of water.
- If you want to have an affordable meal with a view to the Pyramids make sure to check out Pizza Hut in Giza.
Sentido Mamlouk Palace Resort
In Hurghada I recommend Sentido Mamlouk Palace Resort, as it was beautiful, the food was amazing, the staff was super friendly and helpful, and the rooms very spacious and comfortable.
Marriott Mena House
Same thing for Marriott Mena House located in Giza, that has everything I said before plus an amazing view to the Pyramids!!
Alright, I hope you enjoyed this post and that you are now ready to explore Egypt!
Thanks for reading!
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