These Best Experiences in Egypt (and my worst) is based on my 16 day vacation in the country during October. Despite some bad experiences, Egypt is one of the top countries that I have visited, that I can truly recommend to everyone. It has amazing history, beautiful tombs and temples, fun experiences and opens your eyes to a beautiful culture.
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Best Experiences In Egypt
Climbing The Great Pyramids Of Giza
When you arrive, forget about all the other tourists around you and take your time to truly enjoy seeing the Great Pyramids of Giza in person. A true wonder before your eyes! The size of each level is much bigger than you expect, such as shown in my photo. I am just above 5ft 5 and it was nearly the same size for one level!
This is definitely one of the best experiences to do, is climbing the inside of the Great Pyramid of Giza. It is a hot, sweaty and a long climb inside, but worth it!
Exploring Inside The Tombs
Inside at least 6 tombs in Valley of the Kings was something everyone needs to experience once. Please plan a whole day here to walk around, explore the tombs that you have tickets for (check our recommendations here!) and respect those that work there. If i could go back, I would make sure to spend more time inside these beautiful tombs, as they truly are amazing to see in person.
We have a full post about the 6 tombs we could visit, information, prices and photoblog here!
Exploring All The Temples
It sure is a once-in-a-lifetime to walk through the beautiful temples in Egypt. Some are so brilliantly restored to truly experience what they were once like. It must have been amazing to live life back then. We highly recommend getting a guide to show you around and share the history. Many temples are now just the same sandy colour, but keep your eyes peeled to find the colourful sections that have not been damaged over the years or faded in the sun.
As we were with a guide for our whole Nile River cruise, this gave us a good opportunity to have the same guide for every temple.
Snorkelling In The Red Sea (however also on the worst experience list)
I have had the pleasure to already snorkel and dive in a few locations during family vacations, so to snorkel in the Red Sea again was an exciting day. However what really was stunning this time was seeing a wild sea turtle swim closely past us! Absolutely remarkable and even majestic to see one with our own eyes. I wasn’t expecting it so it really took me by surprise.
Read more on our separate post about Snorkelling in the Red Sea (and spotting dolphins!)!
A Felucca Ride During Sunset
At first we didn’t think of taking a felucca ride on the Nile river, at least not at the top of our list. It was rather peaceful walking back from our dinner location to the hotel that we decided to join one for the sunset. We approached the guy, which was different from them approaching us instantly, and he happily offered us a 30min boat ride for a standard price. Which we were also surprised since they all of course push for a higher price with tourists. This was such a nice approach that we took his offer and relaxed with him around Aswan. In the end we actually tipped him more with the standard price for the kindness and non-pushy attitude he had. Making it also a beautiful relaxing evening for us as well.
Plus the sunset was absolutely gorgeous with a warm glow to the evening!
The Nile Cruise
From how everything was organised from the first step we took on the boat, to the last step when leaving. The staff were the most welcoming and warm hearted people we have ever met. We absolutely loved their company and have the best memories from especially those who we saw during breakfast, lunches and dinners. As for the boat itself, what an amazing experience to cruise the Nile river for 5 days!
TIP: For your visit to Egypt, we can highly recommend the Lonely Planet Egypt Travel Guide! We used it before the trip for research to the end of our trip daily. It was highly valuable to have along the way of our full vacation. A must buy for all who are wanting to travel to Egypt!
Our Tour Guide Eid
Linking with the Nile Cruise experience, our tour guide stayed on the boat with us for the full duration from Luxor to Aswan. He provided the best tour guide experience we had received in Egypt. From the well organised travel and explanations of the temples, to the personal conversations about his beautiful wife and children in Aswan. If you ever find yourself on the same Nile cruise with Eid as your guide, you will have an amazing time!
Shopping In Aswan
The best place we found that you could shop from the locals was in Aswan. There is one main street that you can walk down freely. A lovely place where locals are chatting with locals, sellers do not reach out to you first and a wide range of local products.
Worst Experiences In Egypt
Now since I call this the worst experiences, it is more like disliked, bad experiences that I would have personally preferred to skip or do differently. But can already say that even with these less nice experiences listed below, I would still 100% recommend Egypt as country you should visit.
Having To Walk Through A Full Shopping Area When Leaving Temples
After visiting some of the most beautiful temples with our guide, you must of course leave the area back to your hotel or cruise boat. In some locations such as the Temple of Edfu, you must leave through a small alleyway of sellers and shops trying to pull you in. This is something we had gotten used to since Cairo at the start of our vacation, but it was still somewhat unpleasant for us. Personally we don’t like the approach of locals bringing us things to our face and trying to get us to touch things, when we were clearly not interested at that time. However when we did want to shop from the locals we of course paid the right price with plenty of respect for the seller.
We hope this changes in time as I think people in general would spend actually more time in buying some of the beautiful items they had if they were not pushed into the situation.
Riding A Horse And Carriage
Before I had even left my home in Europe I was worried about what I had read online regarding the horses. The thought of taking a horse and carriage with a horse that looked like it was going to collapse from hunger was not what I would be interested in paying for.
For example, in all places in Egypt you can get a ride to the touristic locations from the cities and from your hotel. It’s their way of a taxi which works well as they even get around faster than some of the cars! However in places like Cairo we had chosen and organised a two day tour with a private car, where also water was provided.We much preferred this to a horse and carriage.
Being Asked If We Needed A Taxi Lift, A Horse Carriage, A Camel Ride, A Felucca Ride Or Even A Nile Cruise Right Outside Our Hotel Entrance
That’s right, within less than 5 seconds of us leaving our hotel entrance in Luxor we were approached by a guy wanting to offer us everything to get somewhere. As Europeans we love to walk. Especially in new places to truly experience the views. We wanted to walk along the edge of the River Nile to the Luxor Museum (highly worth going in evening too to avoid all tour groups!). It was ONLY a 10 minute walk which is nothing really, but it was less relaxing having to say no thank you to those offering us a ride.
Snorkelling In The Red Sea
Unfortunately the beautiful coral and underwater life footage that you see on national discovery is no longer the same in person. Coral areas are becoming destroyed and damaged. It was clear on our snorkelling trip in Hurghada that there was a lot less beautiful fish than expected.
On A Guided Tour, You Cannot Always Skip Things
This is based on some tours I had in Cairo. I had a 2 day tour booked with the hotel and it was actually a really good deal. The tour would include all the top places I wanted to visit, as well as 2 custom temples that I wanted which were not on the initial tour. This was organised by the hotel the night before (super last minute but good!). We had a private driver, tour guide and unlimited supply of free water.
But getting to the point of the guided tours, sometimes they want to take you somewhere else on the way to a touristic location. This can be a shop such as for perfume, statues and souvenirs. This is not for everyone of course and I personally wasn’t interested. So keep this in mind when joining a tour and be polite and respectful regardless of the situation.
Read more of our Egypt posts!
Summary Best Experiences in Egypt (And Worst)
This post is based on my own experience in Egypt during a 16 day vacation that I fully planned myself. Like mentioned above, despite the less nice experiences, I totally recommend that Egypt is on your travel list. The country has so many beautiful experiences that outweigh the negative experiences. Which is worth seeing and experiencing with your own eyes!
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