I was fortunate enough to travel to Egypt with my job for a long weekend. Even though I had to work, I still had the opportunity to see some amazing things here.
The Great Pyramids are one of the first things that come to mind when you think of Egypt. No matter how cool the pictures are, it is just even more amazing to see the real thing. We were lucky enough to go and see a night-time light show at the pyramids and see them by day.
By day, the Pyramids are very busy. Any taxi driver will know where to go and as always, hotels can organise tours. Just be prepared for crazy drivers on the road! It is free entry into the pyramids, but locals will try guide you and then expect a tip. If you want to avoid that hassle, just say no thanks or, ‘la shukran’ in Arabic. (La meaning no and shukran meaning thank you)
At the Pyramids, you can get your picture taken with a camel, get a horse-drawn carriage ride and even climb up the outside of the pyramid. If you’re not claustrophobic, you can go inside the pyramids and explore too. It is a narrow tunnel so be prepared. The Sphinx is next to the Pyramids so you can get some cool pictures here too.
By night, there is a Sound and Light Show and the Pyramids. The Pyramids and Sphinx are lit up to tell a story and there are characters on the walls telling a story too. It is short, but if time is on your side and you can afford it, it was cool to see but the best view is during the day at the pyramids themselves. You can watch clips of this on Youtube if you want to check it out before you go. You can get your dinner included too with your ticket as an extra. The tickets are $50 but because we were with a group, we got a cheaper deal. Check out the website here. It was nice to see, if you have money and time, but they’re better by day for sure.
If you’re interested in shopping, the markets, Khan el-Khalili is a place to visit. It is an old fashioned souq where all sorts of things are sold, from jewellery to food to clothes. Some vendors will let you haggle, others won’t and some will come up to you to try and sell to you. If you’re not interested, just say no thanks or, ‘la shukran’ in Arabic.
While in Cairo, you’re also going to want to see The Nile. We went on a dinner cruise down the river and got to see different part of the city lit up at night. There was lovely food, drinks and entertainment on the boat. The cruise took around 2 hours in total. There are loads of different companies that run this so you can find one easily online that caters to your needs and is closeby. Your hotel should be able to arrange this trip for you too if doing it online is not an option. Here is the Tripadvisor link to the best rated dinner cruises.
If you have more time to spare, Memphis and Saqqara are two other areas that often get missed by tourists. Memphis is around 20 km outside of Giza. Here, you will find ancient statues from Egypt’s first capital city, along with some temples you can explore. They even have ancient carvings on the walls inside that are over 5000 years old! There is also a statue of Ramses II there. It was made from one block and has never been moved. It’s too heavy!
Saqqara is an area that has some of the oldest pyramids in Egypt and the world. There is an ancient burial ground too. Here, you have the opportunity to walk explore the inside some of the tombs. You can stop in Saqqara on your way back to Cairo from Memphis.
Accommodation wise, we were fortunate enough to stay in The Fairmont for 3 nights because it was a work trip. It was expensive, but it had so many restaurants and amenities and I also felt very safe there. There are 3 different Fairmont Hotels in Cairo and they range from €95 – €125 per night. With Cairo, I would recommend staying in a hotel that has been recommended or else make sure to look up the reviews before you book anything. There are a lot of guesthouses available as well as hotels.
Here are some I have looked up for you with good reviews, but always double check incase they have changed since I have done my research:
- Novotel Cairo Airport – €60 – 20 mins to center, free shuttle
- Hotel Golden Tulip Flamenco – €50 – Central, Nile View
- Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa
- Mena House Hotel – €170 – amazing views of the Pyramids
- Best View Pyramids Hotel – €32 – 5 min walk from Pyramids
If you’re not keen on tours and/or getting taxis around Egypt, you can get a driver for your time there. They will advise you on where to go and stay. If you tell them what you would like to see and how long you have, they will organise your itinerary for you. If this interests you, you can contact Mahmoud. We contacted him via WhatsApp and he was so helpful. His number is +20 100 155 5212.
- Get the The Pyramids as early as you can to avoid the crowds
- If you ask some locals to help or take your picture at the Pyramid or Sphinx, they will expect a tip.
- Make sure you have read the reviews on the accommodation before you go.
- Having a driver is very helpful, especially if you are trying to see a lot in a short number of days.
Top Tip Traveller 🙂