With over 5,000 years worth of fabulous historical sites, Egypt is a land of contrasts filled with religion, architecture, monuments, visual and spiritual richness waiting to be explored.
From London to Sharm el Sheikh
Now, if you are staying only in Sharm you don’t need a Visa, but if you want to travel in other parts of the country then a visa is required. I paid 25 $ for it. And went directly to the terminal to catch a flight to Cairo. It takes 1 hour from Sharm to Cairo by plane.
The driver from the hotel was waiting for us at the airport (I highly recommend to use the transfer service from your hotel. It’s not safe to use the public transport and the taxis will rip you off).
We arrived at the so-called ISIS hotel which was actually a top floor hostel within a building of apartments. You must be very very open when you’re in Cairo. Nothing is how you expect to be. I travelled with my partner and we stayed in a huge room with 5 beds and a bathroom which I was afraid to use. But, the view from our room was STUNNING.
The city of Cairo is the largest city in Africa and the eighth largest in the world. After we freshened up we wanted to go down-town by foot. It was around 9 pm. After walking 100 m I wanted to go back. People were starring, hustling for money, the traffic was insane. We went to grab some food and then we hurried back to the hotel because I wasn’t feeling safe.
Next day, we wanted to go to the pyramids. That was the main reason for visiting Cairo and we realized that in no way, we’ll get there by ourselves with the public transport. We did our research before, but when we got here the rules changed. The owner told us that we could book a tour that includes a visit to the Pyramids, a trip on the Nile river, Papyrus museum, Egyptian museum and something else which I don’t recall now, but we only had time for these and we said yes instantly.
The plateau of Giza
The next morning we left the hotel early. The driver was very friendly and we had a nice chat with him all day. When we arrived at the pyramids we had to pay for the entrance. The driver and the “agent” from the pyramids bargained and in the end we paid 700 EGP i.e 60 GBP for 2 persons ( which was too much – told me a native after 😐 )
We had another guide on the plateau who was there at our service. The Pyramids and the Sphynx look so unreal and you feel like you’re in an ancient time, but I instantly felt sad. Because they have so many amazing sites and don’t conserve them at all. Nobody searched our bags at the entrance, the guide even said that we can climb the pyramids if we want (which is stupid ), and the experience turned into frustration and sadness. And at the end we tipped 10 $ to the guide and he was asking for more…but this is what everybody does over there, because their wages are very low.
I never heard of a Felucca before. Felucca is a traditional open wooden sail boat of Egypt’s Nile. We didn’t pay anything else for this ride (because it was included in the tour). I highly recommend going down the Nile river by felucca. It’s very relaxing and you have a great view of the city.
Papyrus and Egyptian Museum
The entrance at the Papyrus Museum was included in the tour. We’ve been offered free drinks and the museum guide showed us how the paper was manufactured thousands of years ago. It was amazing to see how the paper is made. The staff from the museum also gives you a tour around to see papyrus paintings and to buy them if you want.
Egyptian museum was our last stop. The driver advised us not to have valuable things with us because we might end without having them. At the museum you are not allowed with your photo camera and there’s a place where you can leave your bag.
If you want to see the mummies room pay another 200 EGP inside.
After 1 day in Cairo, here’s what I remember most:
1. The driving is one of the worst I have ever seen. Same as in India. There are signs, traffic lights on the roads, but people ignore them completely, cars just drift all over the road. And as a pedestrian, you cross whenever you feel like it’s safe. Total chaos.
2. The Egyptians are in two categories: either they are nice, friendly and happy that you visit their land either they are the opposite.
3. What a native told me: Never take a bus in Cairo, use the metro or the uber.
4. I don’t recommend you travel alone in Cairo. Having a native with you it’s the best idea.
5. Stay safe. Check with your embassy before going there.
My photos: Cairo and Sharm el-Sheikh