Egypt, one of the most historical countries in the world, known for its majestic seven wonder of the world, The Great Pyramids of Giza. Standing tall for the past 5000 years, the Pyramids attract millions of tourists all year around to the country of Egypt, in northern part of Africa. But Egypt is not just about the Pyramids, but also home to spectacular natural resources like the river Nile and amazing monuments spread across the country line. If you are wondering how to navigate to the worlds. This 8 day Egypt guide will help you with all the details on your next trip to Egypt
Flights to Egypt from India
There are many flights from India to Cairo (Egypt) including both low cost carriers including Jazeera Airways, Air Arabia and full service carriers like Emirates, Etihad, Turkish Airlines etc. Egypt Air flies direct non-stop from Delhi to Cairo as well.
You can get an Egypt Visa online for $25 . But most times they require a travel agent’s letter and the proof of booking. If you are going through a travel agent, then you can book your visa , through the below link
Official Government Link for Egypt E-Visa : https://visa2egypt.gov.eg/eVisa/Home
Budget of Egypt Trip
1 EGP = 2.8 INR
Despite the slightly cheaper currency (as compared to USD / EUR) , things can be pretty expensive and can come to 150,000 per person for a 8 day trip. Find below a breakdown of costs and entry prices
|Flights from Chennai to Cairo (Jazeera / Etihad)
|Domestic Flights ( Cairo to Luxor / Aswan) – Egypt Air
|6000-7500 INR ($90-100 USD)
|3Nights Nile Cruise (Luxor to Aswan) including Tours
|$400 – $500
|240 EGP- Main Entrance to Grounds
440 EGP – Entry inside Great Pyramid (Khufu)
300 EGP – Sound & Light Show
|Egyptian Museum (Tahrir Square, Cairo)
|National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC)
|Pompeii’s Pillar (Alexandria)
|Karnak Temple (Luxor)
|Luxor Temple ( Luxor)
|Hatshepsut Temple (Luxor) + Electric Van
|Valley of the Kings + Electric Van (Luxor)
|Luxor Museum (Luxor)
|Aswan – Philae Temple
|Aswan – High Dam
|Abu Simbel Temple (200kms from Aswan)
|Kom Ombo Temple
|Hot Air Balloon
|T-Shirt / Tracks (Non Branded)
|Souvenirs – Pyramids
|Uber Cab Rides
|20KMs = 130 EGP (400 INR)
|Tips for Assistants / Guides
|50 EGP – 100 EGP (>4-6 hours)
Egpyt 9 Day Itinerary
Day 1 – Cairo – Arrival
Arrive in Cairo , check in to a hotel (Preferably in downtown Cairo) and explore the Downtown markets , Zamalek Area for some food & shopping
Must try : Sugarcane Juice at Sindbad, Roadside Shobbing, Baklavas at El Abd, Falafels at Gad restaurant
Indian Restaurant in Zamalek area near Downtown Cairo – Maharaja Restaurant
Note : Carry Egyptian Pounds (EGP) as all roadside shops dont accept credit cards / Forex Cards
Stay in Downtown Cairo area overnight.
Day 2 – Alexandria one day Tour
Alexandria, the city built by Alexander the Great named after him is a coastal Mediterranean town in Egypt. With a driving time of 3hours per way, you can explore Library of Alexandria, Montazah
Gardens ,Qaitebey forte & visit the famous Pompey’s Pillar. Al Morsi Abu Alabas Mosque and St. Mark church are also two beautiful architectual buildings, worth a visit.
While in Alexandria, do try to have the famous Koshary at the famous Koshary Mashrawy restaurant.
Stay in Downtown Cairo area overnight.
Day 3 – Museums , Shopping and other landmarks
On Day 3 in Cairo , explore the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. This is where all the mummies are kept (more than 50+ Mummies). . From here , visit the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square ( just ahead of the Nile river). You can get to see many artefacts , easily dating back to 5000 years old and learn about the Egyptian culture
Head to Khan el Khalili market for some shopping of souvenirs. You can also buy jewellery with your name inscribed in hierogyplics.
Day 4 – Cairo – Great Pyramids & Museums
8AM : The Great Pyramids of Giza
Visit the sole surviving Wonder of the Ancient World, Giza’s Pyramids and the surrounding area. Arrive early (by 8-9am) if you want to get one of the limited tickets to visit their interiors. The Giza plateau is huge; The Sphinx can be visited from outside once you exit the Great Pyramid after a short ride
Shop in the Mall of Arabia : If you are in the mood for some shopping in a mall, visit the grand Mall of Arabia
6PM : Sound & Light Pyramids Show
Watching the pyramids at night is totally a different experience . You can do this through the Sound & Light show every day evening at scheduled times . Head to the entrance near the Sphinx for this show. Some days there are Arabic commentary (but you can choose English Audio headphones).
You can book your tickets through this website : https://soundandlight.show/en
Note : There are many hotels that offer this show (minus the Audio) atop a balcony, where you can get to see all 3 pyramids, but you have to make a minimum food purchase per person to secure your table.
Day 5 – Luxor – 3 Night Nile Cruise
Nile Cruise package usually covers pickup-drop from Airport, sightseeing tours in Luxor,Edfu, Kom Ombo and Aswana. You can also do the same without the Nile cruise package, on land
Fly from Cairo to Luxor to catch the Nile Cruise. Sailing starts on specific dates from Luxor to Aswan and vice versa. So ensure you fly out to Luxor (or Aswan) based on the schedule mentioned in the cruise page.
Trains are also available from Cairo to Luxor (as an overnight sleeper), but these are usually expensive than flights and takes longer time. You can book train tickets through the official site : https://abelatrains.com/
Visit the famous Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple , Valley of Kings , Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, famed Colossi of Memnon ( known in Ancient Greek times for their haunting voices at dawn)
Valley of Kings
Temple of Queen Hatshepsut
Overnight in Nile Cruise
Day 6- Luxor – Hot Air Balloon – Edfu – Kom Ombo
Begin the day with a glorious ride on a hot air balloon ,flying over the Nile river and glide upon the valley of the Kings. Hot air balloons can be booked online and generally costs 5-6K INR per person.
Once back to the cruise after the ride, the ship sails to the two beautiful towns of Edfu and Kom Ombo as short 1-2 hour stops. The Temple of Kom Ombo is dedicated to the crocodile-god Sobek & Haerories while the temple of Edfu is dedicated to Horus.
Reach Aswan by Late evening. Overnight in Nile Cruise
Explore the markets of Aswan, just behind the train station and shop for some souvenirs.
Day 7 – Abu Simbel
Drive down from Aswan to Abu Simbel (290 kms) to experience the two majestic temples of Abu Simbel, dedicated to Ramesses II. With a 3 hour drive each way, this is definitely worth a memorable visit and a must in your itinerary. If you are taking a private car, head out much earlier, so that you can go there before the big buses come with lots of crowd.
Explore Philae Dam and the Aswan Dam on your way back. Overnight in Nile Cruise
Day 8 – Aswan to Cairo
Fly back to Cairo from Aswan to catch your flight. back to your country
If you have an extra day or two, you can also visit the beach resort towns of Hurgada or Shaam El Shaikh from Luxor for some scuba diving
Scams in Egypt
Egypt has quite a number of scams going around, and if you are not careful, you might end up being a victim of it. So know about these scams , before you go on a trip
- Papyrus : People will invite you to their shops to sell Pryamid Hiereloglypihcs designs made of papyrus, but most of them are not the original Papyrus and mostly fake
- Perfumery : There are quite a number of perfumeries , trying to sell the replicas of famous perfume brands. But none of them would even last 5 mins. So rather get yourself branded one at the Airport Duty Free
- Workers at Historical Sites : You might find assistants , gatekeepers at many historical places like Luxor temple, Edfu temple etc who might invite you to click pictures of the place. They will even offer to click pictures. But once done, they’ll demand a lot of money and not let you leave until you pay. So strictly avoid them
- Tipping : Tipping is widely prevalent in Egypt, in any place. Offer them a modest tip, that’s neither too low or high , if you feel like it.
- Bargaining : Price of souvenirs itself can be a scam. What would have been a 50EGP (150 RS) key chain would be quoted at 500 EGP. So always bargain at 80% price or even lower if possible.
Places to Stay in Cairo
I had chosen two different hotels in Cairo in my recent trip.
- One was in Downtown Cairo for easier access to shopping centres called Cleopatra Hotel
- Second one was Steigenberger Pyramids Hotel, with a pyramid facing room (1.5kms from Great Pyramids of Giza) in the Giza Region
There are however cheaper AirBnb’s offering better views of the pyramid in Giza, so you might want to check there as well
Shopping in Cairo
Cairo has plenty of shopping to do , esp for souvenirs and of course Cotton. Egyptian cotton is world famous and of the highest quality too. So don’t forget to pick up a nice tshirt sporting the pyramids or the Nile.
The top things to buy in Cairo are :
- Dry Fruits and Nuts
- Cotton Dresses
- Souvenirs / Magnets / Key chains
- Papyrus Wall hangings (Only from a reputed licensed store)
- Small silver jewellery in Egyptian / Arabic design
Places to shop include : Downtown Cairo , Mall of Arabia are two highly recommended places to shop
Khan el khalili is another famous street market to explore for souvenirs but do bargain deeply.
Vegetarian food in Egypt
Surprisingly, there are quite a few vegetarian options you can try out . Many hotels including the Nile cruises has the following veg options
- Egyptian Rice
- Egyptian sides that’s primarily made of Tomato, Brinjal , Carrot and Potatoes
- Lentil soup
For street food and desserts , must try include
- Egyptian Baklavas
- Alexandrian Falafels & Humus