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I'm leaving town Monday and will be in Egypt the following Monday for 5 days.

I'm flying into Cairo, what's the best way to see the pyramids? I hear it can be a daunting task seeing them with all the traffic and touts?

Any other must sees? I could take a day trip to Alexandria, Red Sea Coast, Sinai?

Any suggestions are appreciated!
 

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I have never been there and know very little about the entire region, so :shrug:.

Have a safe (and fun and educational) trip.
 

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Some friends of my parents went there for their anniversary a number of years ago. From their stories, it isn't a very nice place and you should be alert and take precautions. My favorite part of the story involves the tour bus dropping them off a mile from the pyramids and ends with hundreds of local "merchants" rushing up to everyone as they pass, holding out huge swords to their necks and saying "You want to to buy knife?".
 

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A girl from our office was there recently and loved it. She said that the Pyramids were the most amazing things she has ever seen. She did a boat ride down the Nile that she was raving about. She also said the safety concerns are blown way out of proportion. She went with another girl and they were fine...
 

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I was there last September for 2 weeks and I had a blast even though it was very tiring because of the touts and so many common tourist scams to avoid.
Check my blog around that time if you want details: www.luluandpascal.typepad.com
Seeing the pyramids was a great experience even though the price for going in was steep and not that impressive (but I can say I went in). We spent a few days in Cairo getting used to local culture.
Then we took the night train to Aswan to see Abu Simbel which was incredible. A felucca ride later, we made our way to Luxor and went to Valley of the Kings and all: really amazing even though after 2-3 tombs you get the idea...
Finally we went to Sinai where we went for sunrise on top of Mount Sinai and went scuba diving: amazing spots there.
It was definitely stepping into a different world.

My only regret ? I wanted to take a tour in the White desert as I heard it is an incredible place: try to go if you have a chance, I think this is one of the best things to do in Egypt (I would definitely go back just for that)

Enjoy your trip...
 

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I was there last summer. Had a blast. Here's some spew about it:
The pyramids have a fantastic ambiance. Don't take a tour to them unless the tour lets you stay as long as you want. An hour minimum. Four hours max I'd say. The sphinx is a 10 minute walk away.
If you can, I'd suggest going to the cheesy nighttime show where they light up the pyramids with lasers and tell a story for about 30 mins. It's goofy ... but sitting at the pyramids with them lit up and the black starry sky above was giving all of us goosebumps.
The negatives: The pyramids are overrun with guys who pull at your shirt and demand money for the smallest of things (postcards, bottle of Pepsi, little plastic pyramids...). I had one guy in my face demanding charity, when I told him to go away he became furious and started shouting. There's a ridge along the road separating the two big pyramids - where the penny pinchers would not hang out. We relaxed there for awhile free of annoyance.

I can't say enough good things about staying at the Conrad. Service wasn’t four seasons level but the room was cheap (< 300ish a night), the beds and bathroom were super luxurious (better than the Four Seasons Istanbul I'd say), and my view of Cairo from the 25th floor was awesome. Cairo is a great place to walk around and mix with the people and experience the culture... but at the end of the day I found myself covered in dust and sweat and it was great to come 'home' each night to a shower and a great room.

Driving around Cairo can either be frustrating if you do it yourself (lots of traffic and you won't know the quickest routes) or fun as hell. We hired a driver. It was _insane_ - nobody pays attention to lines on the road it's just go as fast as you can and try to miss pedestrians (who seem to just walk out in to the street and cause the cars to swerve around them). You can have 5 lanes of traffic speeding along and a truck will just pull out infront of all of you. The pandemonium that would ensue was better than a ride at six flags. I've driven around Rome for years ... wasn't prepared: Cairo is a notch or two above insanity wise.

We took a river cruise up and down the Nile... meh.
Spent an afternoon at the Cairo Museum. Saw King Tut's golden headdress, etc. Interesting.
Alabaster Mosque is nice. Huge crowds of people though.

We had armed guards with us for awhile. Had an interesting incident where some guys pulled their SUV up to our hotel then started walked away. The guards went after them and forced them to the ground - minutes later the cops showed up and the guards proceeded to order the cops to get their SUV out of there. SUV was gone in minutes. The _guards_ then took the guys and drove away - they didn't give them to the cops. I wonder what happend to those poor saps.

Anyway - have a fun time. I'd recommend hiring an energetic driver and a nice hotel... then spend as much time mixing with the people and seeing the sights. The pyramids are only a 30 minute drive from downtown. You head west then southwest out of the city. The city extends right up to the base of the sphinx. I think there's a pizza hut 500 yards from it. Try not to buy too much junk (papyrus, statues) at the big tourist traps since you'll find the same stuff sold in small shops around town for only 10% of the cost.

-dom

attached are two pics... one I took of the pyramids at night and the other of myself atop 'Michael Jackson' the camel.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I was there last September for 2 weeks and I had a blast even though it was very tiring because of the touts and so many common tourist scams to avoid.
Check my blog around that time if you want details: www.luluandpascal.typepad.com
Seeing the pyramids was a great experience even though the price for going in was steep and not that impressive (but I can say I went in). We spent a few days in Cairo getting used to local culture.
Then we took the night train to Aswan to see Abu Simbel which was incredible. A felucca ride later, we made our way to Luxor and went to Valley of the Kings and all: really amazing even though after 2-3 tombs you get the idea...
Finally we went to Sinai where we went for sunrise on top of Mount Sinai and went scuba diving: amazing spots there.
It was definitely stepping into a different world.

My only regret ? I wanted to take a tour in the White desert as I heard it is an incredible place: try to go if you have a chance, I think this is one of the best things to do in Egypt (I would definitely go back just for that)

Enjoy your trip...
Awesome, sent you a PM.
 

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Worked there for about 18 months in 1996-1997. Back then, it was best to hire your own car and driver through your hotel (assuming you're staying at a western hotel), so you can have your time schedule to yourselves. The sound and light show isn't bad, but skip the trip inside the pyramids at Giza.

If you have a chance, go south to Saqqara and see the step pyramid there, and then go further south to Dashur, to see the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid. ****This is where it's worth paying to go inside a pyramid - much less crowded, and if you're lucky, you might have it all to yourselves if you go early enough.

This trip, BTW, will take a morning and afternoon (except the sound and light show, duh).

ed
 

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We walked outside our hotel and hired a cab to take us to the pyramids. Driver waited around for hours for us and it was very cheap. Ended up being guided by someone who took us in thru a back entrance; i.e., not the main entrance. We climbed to the top of one of the smaller pyramids and climbed part way up one of the great pyramids. Definitely not the standard tour, but that's the way I prefer to travel. Cheaper, more exposure to the locals, less exposure to the hoards of other tourists. I felt completely safe and would definitely recommend it.

If anyone asks, you're Canadian.
+1
Sometimes we admitted to being American, sometimes we claimed Canada. The difference in how we were treated was stunning.

Edit: if you're a diver, the Red Sea can't be beat. There's also diving in Alexandria. Roman ruins, amphores from an ancient Greek shipwreck, Alexandria lighthouse (one of the 7 ancient wonders) remains, broken sphinxs and an intact Italian WWII plane.
 

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Welcome to Egypt, Have a nice day...

Stay away from any taxi driver that asks if you're an American they might deliver you to someone else. BTW take a towel, the Camels spit rotfl
 

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My wife and I are going this summer. Our daughter is working there for a one-year assignment, so we're going to see her and do some exploring. Thanks for all the advice.

--Joe
 

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We had a fabulous trip! The Egyptian people were so friendly and pro-American (really). They are also very funny--always kidding around and doing small practical jokes. We felt very comfortable there.

We saw the pyramids, the Nile, Valley of the Kings, a side trip to Petra, some diving in the Red Sea, etc. We wrote a travel blog you can peruse in case you're interested in some photos and detailed commentary.
Joe's & Kim's 2008 trip to Egypt

I highly recommend a vacation to Egypt!

Thanks,

Joe
 
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