EGYPT & ISRAEL: URGENT TIPS NEEDED FOR A FIRST TIME TRAVELLER
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Nov 2, 2012 11:15 AM Last Post By: burcu_ozturk
Oct 31, 2012 7:11 AM
I will be travelling to Egypt and hopefully to Israel as well, in two days.
As it was kind of an improv act, I didn't get much chance to make proper plans
in terms of an itinerary. I have been to the middle east before, but it will be my first time
in Africa. All I have in mind is a rough schedule as such:
1) Sharm-el Sheikh(where my flight is bound, thus inevitable visit there both on arrival and departure)
2) Cairo: 3-4 days
3) Alexandria: 2 days
(4 - Luxor inbetween? not sure; maybe, if doable)
2) Tel Aviv
(3 - Haifa at some point? not sure; maybe, if doable)
In regard to the feeback above;
A) How would you suggest me to plan the route so that I can cover all(most) cities above in 2 weeks-time, considering * I HAVE A RETURN TICKET TO/FROM SHARM-EL SHEIKH *, which is almost in the middle of both directions(en reute to Egypt&Israel) ?
B) What transport should I prefer as a backpacker on low budget?
C) Which transport companies would be reliable for a solo female traveller,if there's any such distinction?
D) How much USD should I have at hand for such travel plan,to cover mainly the transport bit & food?
E) Can I use credit card around the area?If not, are there ATMs around if/when needed?
F) Any specific sightseeing suggestions on & off the beaten track that would fit within such budget?
G) Any specific tips/warnings for such trip (regarding health, safety issues etc)?
Thanx 4 all useful feedback in advance:)
Greetz from Turkey for now,
Oct 31, 2012 9:07 AM
1I'll address your questions in a minute, but first, why are you choosing Alex over Luxor?
Obviously, the primary driver for all your itinerary decisions should be your personal interests and travel objectives, but pretty much anyone who has ever been to, or knows anything about, Egypt would agree that Luxor is one of the world's more unique destinations. Alex not so much. In fact, after having been to Sharm and Cairo I'm not sure why you'd even go to Alex at all.
A) Sharm - bus to Taba / Eliat, bus to Jerusalem - base in Jerusalem and do day trips from there - bus back to Eilat / Taba, shared taxi or bus to Cairo, train to Luxor, bus to Sharm.
B) Mostly buses, a train here or there in Israel and the train from Cairo to Luxor.
C) No distinction.
D) Don't think in terms of bringing money. ATM's are plentiful and are the best way to access cash as you need it.
E) Credit cards are widespread in Israel, not so much in Egypt. See above.
F) There are far more things to see than you have time to see them. We need to know your interests, travel objectives and travel priorities in order to offer meaningful suggestions.
G) In Egypt stay away from large crowds and demonstrations. Other than that use normal common sense precautions that you'd use anywhere.
Have a great trip.
Oct 31, 2012 10:00 AM
2Just to flesh out C, all transport companies in Egypt are perfectly safe for a solo female traveller. Or at least, given prevailing driving standards, no more dangerous than they would be for a group of males.
The only thing to avoid is being the last/only passenger on a microbus or service taxi. But I'm sure you know that already.
The train is also good for Alexandria, though I agree with laketraveller that Luxor is by far the more unique destination. Second class air conditioned probably the best way to go.
D: you can eat very cheaply in Egypt. If you're really strict with yourself and stick to takeaway sandwiches, ful and street food, you can survive on 8TL a day for food.
Oct 31, 2012 11:27 PM
3We sure did book and pay for your whole trip without really doing any research, didn't we?
As mentioned by LT above, very few people would miss Luxor in order to visit Alexandria, unless they really like dirty beaches and leering men. Some women do so good luck if you like that!
Any major or minor city has ATMs, and both countries accept credit cards but Egypt less so. Probably better to have plenty of cash though if you are staying at more budget places in Egypt or Israel for that matter.
As for off-the-beaten-track places, do some internet research of your own, of pick up an Egypt LP book and look at the map on page 3 and see what they recommend.
Nov 1, 2012 1:29 AM
4Find any local travel agent to organize all transportation start from Sharm to Cairo
2 days in Cairo its enough to cover the most famous sights like day to visit Pyramids, Sakkara and Memphis at Evening, you can visit Khan el Khalili bazaar or Sound & Light show at giza Pyramids
Second day visit Egyptian museum and Citadel then take sleeper train to Aswan if you have more days take a Nile cruise for 3 nights to cover the sights in Aswan, Kom Ombo, Edfu and Luxor West & East banks, if you don't have time take the sleeper train to Luxor for 2 days to visit west bank sights, Valley of Kings, Queens, Hatshepsut temples and Memnon... second day visit Karnak, Luxor temples and Luxor Museum .. and second day evening, take the sleeper train to Giza then through your travel agent take the van to Sharm
For Alexandria because you have limited time. don't waste your time there
Nov 2, 2012 6:04 AM
5A) Alexandria is nice but can be seen in one day. You can spend one night if you want to enjoy the breeze on thre corniche. That said, I would definitely skip it if it allows you to spend time in Luxor, which is far more interesting.
In Israel, Haifa has little interest, if any. Better visit the beautiful crusader city of Akko / saint Jean d'Acre.
Note that West Jerusalem is in Israel, and East Jerusalem in the Palestinian territory. You will actually be visiting three countries during your trip.
B) Public buses and trains are the cheapest option
C) All ccompanies are reliable, no problem for a solo traveller. The differences are more about duration of the trip and comfort. In trains, book the first or second class. For public buses, a few Eggptian pounds more will get you aboard a faster and more comfortable bus between Sharm and Cairo.
E) Visa cards are accepted more or less evrywhere in Israel and you will find ATMs all over the country. In Egypt, cards are accepted in medium and high range hotels, restaurants and shops, though some might have a cash only policy. ATMS can be found in the main cities but there are not as many as in Israel.
F) In Cairo, do not miss the gorgeous, fascinating 'Islamic Cairo' neighborhood with its wonderful mosques, houses, fountains, fortifications... The LP has a whole section which can help you plan your visit. I recommend Al-Muizz street towards Bab El Futuh and bab El Zuweila, Ibn Tulun mosque, Beit Suleymani houses, Bab Zuweila fortified towers (climb up one of them), etc
G) There are no specific health problems in Egypt or Israel, except for an occasional upset tummy (drink bottled water). Security is very good in both countries, except for the occasionnal pickpockets. Some cases of handbag snatching have been reported in some parts of Cairo so better carry your stuff in a backpack or a messenger bag. In Egypt, it's important to dress conservatively (legs and shoulders covered, no tight top), except when going out in bars and nightclubs.
Nov 2, 2012 11:15 AM
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