A trip to Egypt is incomplete without a visit to the Giza plateau. We’ve been there twice, the first time with a tour group, but we weren’t able to get into the Great Pyramid, which was disappointing. The second time, there was no problem gaining entry. I simply purchased a ticket at the ticket office (200 Egyptian Pounds, or about $14 Canadian dollars).
I was “enjoying” a stomach bug at the time and was severely dehydrated but – by God – I was going to go into the pyramid and see what thousands of others had seen before me.
No cameras allowed, but the caretaker at the entrance was more than happy to snap a souvenir shot.
The pyramids are synonymous with Egypt but their history is up for debate. Tombs, say some. Houses of sacred initiation say others. And if you’re an Ancient Aliens buff, well you get the picture.
Regardless of what you think you know of them, experiencing them first hand is an awe-inspiring experience.
While on the plateau, an interesting way to experience the site is on camel back. Be sure to negotiate a price beforehand and stick with it. On our trip, the camel owners walking with us stopped half way through the trip and demanded more money. We refused and threatened a call to the tourist police who patrol the site. That was the end of that shakedown attempt.
The Khan el-Khalili Bazaar
The world-famous Khan el-Khalili in downtown Cairo offers something for everyone. This marketplace offers a glimpse into the traditional buying and selling practices that have been in place for some 700 years. The alleyways are crammed with stalls where merchants sell their goods to Egyptians and tourists.
Spices, perfumes, jewelry, pottery of varying quality and of course, the souvenirs. Bargaining is part of the experience in the bazaar. A good rule is to offer a quarter of the asking price and go from there. And if you just want to sit and enjoy the parade of people, find one of the numerous coffee shops in the market. One of the oldest is the Al-Fishawi coffee shop, which is said to date back hundreds of years.
A Cruise on the Nile
A terrific way to see many of the spectacular ruins and temples along the Nile is on a river cruise. Four to ten-day cruises are offered by a large number of tour companies. They all visit the same temples, while some offer extended activities such as hot-air balloon rides.
We started our cruise at Aswan and ended at Luxor, with a flight back to Cairo. Along the way we saw the Valley of the Kings and King Tut’s tomb, the Hatshepsut temple in the Valley of the Queens. We stopped at the Kom Ombo temple, Edfu temple, the Philae temple and the Collossi of Memnon. To be honest, all of the temples began to blend together by the end of the trip and a number of people on our ship were “templed out” and chose to spend time either on the boat or in the towns along the shore.
A Word About Our Partners
To help you on your way, we’ve partnered with several top travel and resource companies. Check them out on the right side of the page.
We’re also big fans of Uber, so if you’re new to Uber, check out the discount code on the right side of the page under the Uber logo. You’ll get a discount on your trip for signing up. To enter the code, tap the “Payment” menu item within the Uber app, and then “Add Promo/Gift Code.” After submitting, the free credit will appear on your account, and we’ll also get a discount for helping you out.
Have a look at our Cheap Flights page for some search suggestions, and check out our partners listed along the right side of the page who can help with flights, accommodation, language lessons and travel resources.
If you’d like to learn more before you go, check out books about Egypt on Amazon.