Being in love with Ancient history at school, I always wanted to visit this magical place. Later on, while obtaining my bachelor in tourism and hospitality, this feeling of mine started vanishing from my mind. I think I was more of adventure type rather than one of million mass tourism visitors. Anyway, finally, I am holding tickets to Cairo and waiting for the flight which means we are ready to start our unforgettable vacation!
Important to know about Egypt:
- Currency in Egypt – Egyptian Pound, 1 US dollar = 17,5 EGP
- Capital of Egypt – Cairo, with an estimated population of 22 million and approximately 500 square km, Cairo is the largest city in Africa and one of the biggest in the Middle East.
- Religions recognized in Egypt – Islam (main one), Christianity, Judaism
- Egyptians believed in more than 14,000 Gods and Goddesses (Read more: https://www.seriousfacts.com/egypt-facts/#ixzz5gcoS5hFb)
- Ancient Egyptians loved cats. Believe or not but if one killed a cat accidentally, it resulted in a death penalty. However, nowadays cats are free to walk almost everywhere.
- The Ancient Egyptians invented lots of things we still use today, such as paper, pens, locks and keys and – believe it or not – toothpaste! (https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/discover/history/egypt/ten-facts-about-ancient-egypt/) Egyptians are proud of being descendant of Ancient World or so-called “Mother of the World”
Whenever you fly to Egypt by yourself, it is very beneficial to get to know which terminal you will arrive to. The system is almost the same as in Dubai (read Sri Lanka, part I) where the international terminals 2 and 3 are rather clean and more or less calm in comparison to terminal 1. Unfortunately, I had to move to T1 straight after landing and get almost harassed while waiting 🙁 That’s why better to plan your stay in the terminals in advance.
What to see next Cairo:
Egyptian Pyramids in Giza
This place no one should skip. Three bigger pyramids along with three smaller ones create a line of “power” of the Ancient Egyptian civilization. Every visitor has a few options of how to see pyramids:
- organized tour bought ( usually through the hotel) or local travel agency in Cairo
- get there by Uber ( which is super cheap) and negotiate price of the tour on the spot
- live in Giza and explore places around
In regards to the last item, I would not recommend unless you book a luxurious safe hotel with the view on pyramids and Sphinx. Giza itself didn’t seem to be secured and clean. Rather than that, Egyptian Pyramids are worth a visit.
Khan Al-Khalili bazaar – the biggest market in Cairo. If you are in the mood to feel local extreme when literally there is no other option than follow a huge crowd, then welcome! A shining, loud mix of kids running around, people praying, sounds from mosques, locals selling sweets and nuts, shops with the traditional clothes. That’s how bazaar lives its life.
Walking by the Nile river or taking a boat.
Cairo historical museum – my dream from the very childhood, from the very moment when I imagined myself as Indiana Jones 😀 Hot and humid inside, the museum has seen better times. However, it still remains full of guests interested in Ancient history and archeology. Ticket Price(s): Regular: 60 EGP Student: 30 EGP Mummies Room: Regular: 100 EGP Student: 60 EGP. More information is on the official website.
Al-Azhar Park – beautiful green full of palms oasis in Cairo. It’s considered as a public space located next to the Islamic corner of the capital. That’s why its hilly site which surrounded by the historical remainings offers a stunning view of the city. More information -> here.
What to be aware of before the trip to Egypt.
- visa which is issued right after the landing, in the airport. No option to pay by a card, only cash, ATMs are available. Better in USD, if not exchange spot is next to the passport control.
- it’s a Muslim country, therefore women should follow certain rules esp during the religious holiday (e.g. Ramadan)
- be ready to negotiate the price almost everywhere except hotels, museums, places of interest
- Islamic Cairo is beautiful and colorful
- Pickpocketing is a very common issue in Cairo, better to carry a copy of docs rather than original copies + contacts on the embassy
- Cairo is safe, although pay attention to traffic. For sake of your life, better not to drive. We’ve experienced such outrageous traffic only in Sri Lanka and Turkey. Uber is very cheap!