stupid egypt questions...
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Dec 4, 2012 6:19 PM Last Post By: stokesne
Dec 4, 2012 12:37 AM
stupid egypt questions...hi y'all,
so, not to sound like a first-timer, I swear I've travelled a lot, really, even to terribly scary places, but I'm heading to egypt shortly for about 5 weeks and am just full of dumb questions! I'd hoped a local or someone currently in the country might be able to shed some light for me...
I'm female and really don't want to offend, but I also don't own a 1-piece bathing suit and am not going shopping. Are bikinis ok along the sinai coast (dohab etc) and / or in hotel pools? Shall I cover every bit of skin when in public, or are elbows and knees acceptable?
also we'll be landing in cairo next sat and I'm not really concerned concerned about the political situation, but I'd def like to avoid any trouble. Any thoughts on things to avoid in cairo other than (obviously) tahrir square during demonstrations?
speaking of danger, is the road to sharm el sheik actually all that sketchy? the australian govt is saying to 'reconsider the need to travel' for the southern sinai (we're going anyway), do people think this is excessive, as long as one isn't being overtly stupid? I'd consider flying over if it's really that bad, I just can't tell...
and also we'll be spending xmas in cairo. personally i'm quite excited to escape all the santas and good cheer, but it might be nice to do something fancy that evening, does anyone know of anything going on?
finally, we want to leave cairo for siwa and then the western desert loop, and I really just don't see why I have to go back to Cairo and can't do both at once, then end up in luxor. Are there any 4x4 / camping type tours that offer the both together? alternatively, a tour from siwa through the oases to luxor?
thanks! all opinions welcome :)
Dec 4, 2012 1:58 AM
Dec 4, 2012 2:53 AM
2Hi Stokesne, I am looking for a desert tour leaving in Cairo (or Bahariya) and ending in Luxor too.
When are you planning to do the western desert tour? In case our dates match, would you like to join me and my girlfriend so maybe we can get a better deal?
We're looking for a 5 days tour including black and white desert and the oases, and basic camping accomodation, starting on 26 or 27 December.
Dec 4, 2012 4:48 AM
- Bikinis are fine on the Red Sea (Sinai and Hurghada area) as long as you wear them on the beach or seafront. Locals will be offended if you wear them inside the town. Same in hotels - no problem as long as you stick to the pool.
- When on the street, it is advisable to cover all of your legs and your shoulders. Short sleeves are acceptable. Better avoid tight tops, or cover them with a scarf. In the richest neighbourhoods wearing a skirt down the knee is ok. Once inside bars ands nightclubs you can show more skin. There's a very strict border between public and 'private' spaces in Egypt.
Avoid Tahrir and surrounding streets during demonstrations and you'll be perfectly fine.
I think Sinai is fine as long as you stick to the major roads, but that's your call.
Christmas is not really celebrated in Cairo as most Egyptian Christians are Coptic (orthodox), so only Western expats and Catholic Copts will hold masses. However a number of high-end restaurants may have Christmas dinners, including for Muslim customers, it's kind of fancy for them.
Dec 4, 2012 5:43 AM
4Re your Siwa/Western Desert query. I know it looks logical to go to Siwa and then on to Bahariya and on round the loop but the link between Siwa and Bahariya is relatively difficult to arrange. They are building a road through the dunes but last year at least it was still accessible by 4x4 only. You need a permit to transit this stretch. I'm sure all this is perfectly possible to arrange for a price but you're probably looking at a tailor made trip ie expensive.
We drove this stretch (Bahariya to Siwa) in our own car and it took some time and effort to set everything up. We went through an agent to get the permit and had to pay a guide for 3 days (1 day to Siwa, 2 days for him to get back to Bahariya alone on the tar ie via Cairo). They dropped the requirement for a military escort to travel with us when they saw how little space there was in the back of the car but did check we had a SAT phone and took the number.
Assuming you don't have your own transport I would be inclined to do a trip Cairo/Siwa/Cairo (you can also stop over at Alex). Then book a camping trip to the White Desert, get dropped in Farafra or Bahariya and then get public transport from there round to Luxor. I'd allow a minimum of 10 days to visit Siwa and then get to Luxor. I would say a night in the White Desert is a must (ideally more). Otherwise it is nice to spend a day visiting the Golden Mummies and tombs in Bahariya. Dakhla is also interesting, Farafra and Kharga less so in my view. Allow plenty of time for meeting the locals - you will have mint tea coming out of your ears by the time you get to Luxor.
Dec 4, 2012 6:19 PM
5thanks! that was all very helpful :) after 2 weeks in Morocco I think I actually did have mint tea coming out my eyeballs...
permiche, would def love to split something, as yes, I think we're going to have to go the ridic expensive route and hire a 4x4 w/ guide :( neither of us has an international license, so we can't rent a car, and arranging permits and routes ourselves sounds horrific. so that's exactly the tour we want as well, just to also add Siwa. the hubby and I are planning to leave cairo around the 17th-19th of dec though, not sure that would work for y'all...
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