Sunday, April 20, 2008

Around Egypt in 12 days

This also includes a Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor. If doing this cruise, it must be kept in mind that generally the 3 nights cruises start on a Friday morning, so you need to plan your trip accordingly.

Day 1
Guided full day tour of the Giza Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum.
  • Early start to the Pyramids & Sphinx (Solar Boat optional)
  • Break for an early lunch at Mena House (This was the Khedive's Hunting Lodge and the coffee shop offers a gorgeous view of the pyramids.)
  • Museum – See the “Mummies Room” and the Tutankhamen section first, time permitting anything else
  • Be back by 5/6 p.m.

Dinner cruise down the Nile on Nile Maxim / Grand Hyatt Boat / Nile Pharaohs though my personal favourite is the Nile Maxim, I think it’s a classier, fine dining experience. You'll get to watch the Tanoura dancer and a Belly dancer - both very enjoyable! Please do not take the last sail which is around 10.0 -11.00 o'clock, the belly dancer is terrible!!

Day 2

Morning, go see Coptic Cairo

  • Coptic museum (don't miss it, its worth a see, esp. after its been recently renovated)
  • Hanging Church (its incredible to see that a building was built on top of the fortress and is still very much in use today)
  • Ben Ezra Synagogue (the Church needed money to pay taxes, so had to sell off some of its land, the only ones who could afford to buy were the Jews! Local myth has it that it is on the site of where baby Moses was found)
  • St George’s Church (the only round church in Egypt cos its built on top of one of the towers of a fortress)
  • St Sergius Church (see the crypt where the holy family rested while on the run)

Afternoon visit the Citadel (

Evening go to Khan–el-Khalili (

Day 3

Early morning to Abu Simbal. See the temple, then fly to Aswan at around 11, and board the boat.

  • visit High Dam, Unfinished Obelisk & Philae Temple
  • Sail to Kom Ombo & Visit Kom Ombo Temple – Sail to Edfu & Overnight

Day 4

  • Visit Edfu Temple
  • Sail to Luxor via Esna & Overnight Luxor

Day 5

  • Visit West Bank
  • Visit Karnak & Luxor Temples & Overnight Luxor

Day 6

Disembarkation in Luxor and fly back to Cairo in the morning.

Relax, shower, change, and drive to Saqqara & Dahsour to see the Step Pyramid, Red Pyramid (in volume this is as big as the Great Pyramid of Giza) and the Black Pyramid. If you still have the enthusiasm, go see Memphis.

Egyptian dinner at Abu el Sid in Zamalek.

Day 7

Roam around City Stars, a big shopping mall in Heliopolis. On the way, have a look at the Baron’s Hindu Palace which is inspired by the Indian Orissa temples and the Angkor Wat.

Hire a felucca for the evening and have a take away dinner while sailing on the Nile. Trust me, the experience is worth it!

Day 8

Leave for Sharm early morning (

On the way, visit the St Catherine Monastery. Just remember that the monastery is closed to the public on Fridays and Sundays.

Reach by afternoon, check in, chill, relax, have a swim, go down to the beach.

Spend a relaxed evening. If enthusiasm, at night head out to Nama Bay which is where the action is. Eat at the many open air cafes that dot the stretch of land, and browse in shops selling every thing from fake glares to fake bags to fake crocs and lots of souveniers and some really quaint stuff..

Day 9

Morning, ask your hotel, and, book a seat on the glass bottomed boat. At approx $15 is definitely worth one trip. They take you out into the sea where you can see the coral and the multi-hued fishes. Its breathtaking...Alternately, you can ask the hotel to book you on what they call a half-submarine where half the vessel is submerged in water with glass windows and you can see the marine life. Its a tad more expensive at LE 250 per head.

Come back, swim some more, chill and snooze a little.

Evening hit the night spots, and, there are plenty to chose from - Camel Bar (for a good local experience, the specialty being that you have to shell your own peanuts are allowed to throw the shells all over the ground), Little Buddha, Bus stop etc...

check with your concierge. On certain days of the week, a Bedouin night is organised in Sharm where you can stay out late, watch Bedouin dancers, and eat Bedouin food.. its quite enjoyable.

Day 10

Have breakfast and start on the drive home. You’ll reach around 4 o'clock if you leave around 10 a.m.. Shower, change, relax.

Go have dinner on one of the stationery boats. I would recommend the Le Pasha in Zamalek or the Garden Cafe boat in Giza. The latter has a restaurant called "Fish Market" which is awesome for fish lovers. Or if you've had enough of looking at boats, try out the Thai at either the Semiramis or Four Seasons. They're both highly recommended.

Day 11

Drive to Alexandria - Egypt's second largest city after, and, its main port. Go see the Roman Amphitheatre, Pompey's Pillar, The Great Library of Alexandria, the Catacombs of Kom El-Shuqqaffa and the Fort of Qayet Bai (Citadel). Drive back to reach Cairo by nightfall.

Day 12

If after 11 days of doing what you've done, you still have the energy, enthusiasm and will to explore the city further, then there is still some stuff for you to do!

Visit some of the mosques like Ibn Tulun, Al Azhar and, then climb up Bab Zuwalya, the old Fatimid city’s southern gate, and get a fabulous view of the city.

Afternoon drive to Ramses Wissa Wissaef Centre to buy some beautiful kilms and some nice pottery (

At night, go watch the Sound & Light show at the Pyramids.

Alternately, if you have kids, spend this day doing stuff for them. Take them to Fagnoon Art School, The Sun Bird Farm etc.. See the following link for things for the kids to do.

After this, board the plane back home, close your eyes and sleep, and hope to God that you have at least a couple of days of leave left to recover from a hectic but very exciting holiday!!

1 comment:

Anna said...

nice experience!