If you’re like me, you might not have considered Egypt on your vacation destinations list. For some, it might be fear of the unknown, for others, it could be that it seems so exotic that it just has to be expensive, right? — boy was I wrong!!! Egypt has it all and it’s surprisingly affordable, too! For those of you who might otherwise fly to the Caribbean or the Pacific, have another look at Egypt. What is it you want – fun in the sun? It’s hard to beat Soma Bay and the Red Sea. How about city life? Rich history? Great shopping? Egypt has it all
Having just spent over a week touring Egypt, I must say that it was definitely a trip of a lifetime!
When most people think of Egypt, the first thing they will think of is typically the history, the pyramids, the temples and ruins. Those are all very important and awesome things to discover while visiting Egypt, there is no doubt, but what people neglect to think about are the bustling cities, five star resorts and hotels, the beaches, the people and the amazing market places. Egypt is a beautiful and safe place to visit. I did not want to leave, there is just so much to do and see.
I was lucky enough to have the chance to experience so many different places and things during my visit. I am still in disbelief that I was actually there! During my visit, I had the chance to explore many places, including Aswan, Luxor, Kom Ombo, Hurghada, Memphis, Saqqara, Cairo and Old Cairo; at each of our stops, taking time to explore the wonders that they have to offer. Also, the first part of the trip was spent cruising the Nile on the Sonesta Star Goddess, a very relaxing way to travel.
The People: One of the things that makes Egypt such a wonderful place to visit, is the people. Everyone is so friendly, warm and genuine. I was always greeted with a smile. I felt welcomed wherever we went. The staff of the hotels was remarkable, not only always friendly and helpful; they also personalized each person’s visit. Getting to know your name, where you were from and always making a point of greeting you accordingly. I have never had an experience where every member of staff knew me by name. Everyone I had the pleasure of encountering during my visit, left a lasting and positive impression on me.
Transportation: I will suggest that you do not drive yourself while in Egypt, the traffic is impossible to navigate if you do not have the skill and knowledge of how to get around there. Hire a driver! You can hire a car for the day through companies such as Escapade Travel, or if you just need a ride from your hotel into the city, you can hire a taxi. For a nominal fee, the driver will stay with you while you visit the venues you wish to see. Be sure to negotiate prices, you’d be amazed at how affordable it can be. 150 EGP (approx.. $22 CDN) to hire a taxi for a couple of hours, is nothing! Go out and explore, just act as you would in any strange city, it is no different there than anywhere else.
A few of us spent a bit of time in Hurghada City. We walked along, chatting and seeing the city at night. Shopped a bit, then went to the New Marina, where we found a café, l’Imperatore, where we relaxed, had a snack, a few drinks and shisha. This was a nice, quiet time for us, to soak in everything we had already seen.
Shopping: Shopping in Egypt is fantastic! There really is nothing you can’t find there. The prices are phenomenal too, and if you are good at haggling, you will get a great deal. Keep in mind that haggling over prices is the norm and is expected. There are of course, in the cities, the stores that will sell any and all goods, some no different than what you might find in Toronto or NYC. Then you have all of the merchants; selling local souvenirs, crafts and produce. They can be persistent! Keep your budget in mind, consider how badly you want the item, haggle and stand firm. Don’t be rude or cheap though! People are trying to make a living. I brought home some wonderful souvenirs without breaking the bank. There are also some wonderful shops filled with jewelry, antiquities and other goods, some so beautiful it was very hard to resist buying it all!
Leisure: If beaches are what you are looking for, and the opportunity to enjoy the water and the activities associated with it, visit places like Soma Bay and Hurghada on the Red Sea. The beaches are the most beautiful that I have seen to date. The activities available are fantastic! Kite surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving etc… the reefs are so beautiful, if you don’t snorkel or scuba dive, take a glass bottom boat tour, you will not regret it! You will also find beautiful golf courses if that is your leisure sport of choice.
Of course the spa experience at many of the resorts and hotels can be considered second to none. If all you want to do is relax, you can!
Food: The food on this trip is something I myself, will never forget. Being a self-proclaimed foodie, I was in heaven, everywhere we ate. The local dishes were just wonderful and so beautifully prepared. Of course at any of the venues, they also had some selections for those who are not ready to experiment with foods they are not used to. I tried as much as I possibly could and loved every bite!
Ancient Heritage: Now, for the sights that everyone thinks about when they think about Egypt. Yes, they are awe inspiring! Visit as many as you can fit into your trip, and if you can, find yourself a knowledgeable guide. This is everyone’s history! To actually stand where civilization began, leaves me speechless. The Temples, Pyramids, Sphinx, Churches etc…. breathtaking. Soak it all in, learn what you hadn’t known before. They are always finding new things. Take time to talk to the locals, everyone is more than happy to help you.
Come back to read more….I will be talking about the specific places that I enjoyed the hospitality of. There is just so much to say about this great and beautiful place. I thought this might be the best way to begin.
I can tell you this. Without a doubt. If you visit Egypt, you WILL want to return after you’ve gone home.