Egypt in March, 9 days, some practical questions and help
Replies: 15 - Last Post: May 13, 2013 11:59 AM Last Post By: artico1
Jan 16, 2013 6:27 AM
Egypt in March, 9 days, some practical questions and helpHi travellers!
In March, I'm going to tavel to Egypt and I'm staying there for nine days. I'm a little worried because it's known that Egypt is a country for Nile cruises and organised tours. I want to do it as a solo and independent traveller and my friends are telling me that I'm wrong to do it this way. What do you think about it? I have read a lot of information at this point and I'm confused so I'm posting here to know about your opinion, information and recommendations.
A questions for the travellers who have been in Egypt lately. How is the situation for solo travellers according to political situation in Egypt at this moment? Did you feel safe at any time?
My itinerary is the following.
Asuan ( 2days)
Luxor (3 days)
Cairo ( 4 days)
I don't want to take a tour to Abu Simbel. I would like to travel there by public transportation and spend a night there. What are the options I have to go to Abu Simbel by my own? I would like to spend a night in Abu Simbel to watch the sound and light show. Any low budget, nice and clean hotel in Abu Simbel that I could book through internet?
What's the price for a faluca in Aswan or Luxor to cross to the islands or to see the sunset from it?
Can I go from Aswan to Luxor by train? Where could I get timetables? Could I get on any train? ( I've read that there are some trains that are not used for tourists. It's forbidden or they don't sell the tickets.) There are temples from Aswan to Luxor, can I reach them by train?
5 days for Aswan and Luxor are enough for Aswan and Luxor? 4 days are enough for Cairo? I was thinking to do a tour in White and Black Desert from Cairo? What's a good price for a tour of 2d/1n?
Thanks in advance
Jan 16, 2013 6:57 AM
I was there this time last year and travelled independently, so no worries there. I felt safe at all times, but it would probably be best to avoid Tahrir Square any time there are demonstrations, to be on the safe side.
Your itinerary looks fine to me. It's difficult, if not impossible (I think it might be) to do Abu Simbel by public transport. Most hotels do tours, which start crazy early, about 3 a.m.
Train is the way to go and is easy enough. Timetables are available at the stations, possibly online too. It is simple enough getting from Aswan to Luxor, quite a few go a day. It is possible to visit Kom Ombo temple, by stopping at Kom Ombo and walking down towards the river. It's about a half hour walk from memory, especially with your bag and if you aren't certain where you are going. There are also loads of tuk tuks around. You can do Edfu too by this method I think. We opted against it, because we were fairly wrecked after Kom Ombo.
3 days is fine for Luxor, hire a bike when you are over the west side to visit the Valley of Kings etc. 2 days fine for Aswan too, I think. You might consider a felucca ride up the Nile as far as Kom Ombo. You can do this in 2 nights, arriving on the 3rd morning as long as the weather is ok. I can get back to you with what I paid sharing it one other guy, I have it written down at home.
I looked into a tour to Black/White desert from Cairo too, but all the quotes were way out of my budget. Unless you find a group, I don''t think it is doable on a budget.
In Luxor, make sure you stay in Boomerang Hostel. This was the best place I stayed in Egypt. In Cairo I stayed at the Canadian Hostel, which was fine. In Aswan, I stayed at Horus. It gets bad reviews for a reason, but there isn't any budget options that aren't of a similar standard from what I heard, except there is a youth hostel in town.
My blog is www.travelblog.org/pinchy85 where there is probably more info that I cant think of right now and some pics.
Jan 16, 2013 6:59 AM
2Sorry wrong link its: http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/pinchy85/
Jan 16, 2013 7:24 AM
3Hi, we are just back from a one month guidebook research trip to Egypt. Don't worry about the political situation; you will not feel it in Upper Egypt. There might be demonstrations in Cairo, especially on Fridays, but these are usually restricted to Tahrir Square and the area around the presidential palace. Egypt is perfectly doable independently, and your itinerary sounds fine. You could go to Alexandria for a day trip from Cairo.
Abu Simbel: You can take the public bus from the Aswan Qadim Bus station at 8 am (30 LE, about five hours, depending on break-downs). You will arrive well after the tour groups. Buses back leave Abu Simbel around noon.
There are only three hotels in Abu Simbel and the cheap one, Nobaleh Ramses Hotel, 097-3401118, 120 LE, is (as far as we know) not bookable online, but they will have a bed for you, not many people stay overnight.
If you have a little more money to spend go for the Nubian style Eskaleh Hotel, www.eskaleh.net, it is really nice.
Felucca rides: Around 40 LE per hour, do it in Aswan, much nicer than Luxor.
Hope that helps,
This time, we did some hotel reports, too:
Jan 16, 2013 8:21 AM
4Two of us have just been in Egypt during the XMas holidays independently and I would encourage you to do it.
Abu Simbel: we stayed at a hotel that offered 70EGP/person transport only "tour", 85EGP/person to stop by at Philae, the High Dam and the Unfinished Obelisk.
Hotel: the one we stayed was 44USD/room but normally it's 34USD. They were fully booked during the holidays.
Felucca, we did it with 40EGP + 10EGP tip (probably could have done cheaper) in Aswan around sunset. Note that if there is no wind, then they can't sail.
Aswan - Luxor. The same hotel offered transport for 75EGP/person, stopping at Kom Ombo and Edfu.
I think 5 days is enough unless you are a fanatic Egyptologist. Our itinerary was something like this:
- day 1 arrive in Aswan
- day 2 Abu Simbel
- day 3 Aswan - Luxor
- day 4 Karnak & West Bank (Seti I, VOK, Hatshepsut)
- day 5 Luxor Temple & West Bank (tomb of workers, nobles, Ramesseum, Medinat Habou)
- day 6 Abydos - Dendera
At the end, we were a bit templed out. So you can cut down a bit and it will fit to 5 days.
White/Black Desert: we got various offers.
- 800EGP/car for sunset/sunrise trip
- 1200EGP/car for full day trip + sunrise
- 1400EGP/car for 1.5 day trip (we took this one)
- 95USD per person for overnight (not sure for what)
- 140USD per person from Cairo
A travel mate did a full day trip for 900/car.
Prices above doesn't include tip, but everything else. We did Cairo - Bawiti bus independently too, which was a bit adventure to find out Mouneib bus station.
Safety: 99% safe except:
- when we hiked from VOK to Hatshepsut, there were some bedouins trying to "guide" us
Jan 17, 2013 7:44 AM
for trains, i found thisseat61. Hope it helps :)
Jan 17, 2013 8:25 AM
Jan 17, 2013 9:00 AM
7YOu might want to look into the Abu Simbel thing when you are on the ground there in Aswan. There are a number of people that can help and you'll find much better rates than anything published online.
As far as the train, you absolutely can take it no problem. I don't recall the cost of the tickets, but it is good to get them a day or two in advance. I want to say that it was maybe 60LE per person from Luxor to Aswan? I was there for about 5 weeks this summer but can double check the cost when I am home.
Haggle HARD for everything. SOmeone offers a feluca ride for 40LE, tell them the guy down the block said he would do it for 20. The best feluca operators live on Elephantine, and you can go to the island and just ask around and definitely find a good one for cheap. We also ended up staying on the island for over a month in a newly built house. There cost was 200 Euro per week, but we got a lower price due to the time we were there. We had 5 individuals staying in the house, so the price worked out quite well. We had the Nile at our back steps, AC, new kitchen, nice bathroom with hot water. It was a fantastic experience.
Jan 18, 2013 4:19 AM
8this is useful tips. i might use these for my egypt trip next month :)
Jan 18, 2013 5:43 AM
Jan 21, 2013 6:41 PM
10Very interested in what you find out because I am going to Egypt in May! I am going for 7 days and already reserved my airfare, hotels and have my itinerary all mapped out. Having trouble getting train tickets online...don't trust the online link, so I'll have to get the Cairo to Aswan overnight sleeper train tickets when I am there. I also heard that hotels will set up Abu Simbel day trip. Is that better than booking in advance? I am also looking for reputable private transportation from Aswan to Luxor. Any suggestions? I do have a question about Cairo's Egyptian Museum.....in addition to checking your camera, do they also check small backpacks? Thanks for any info. My itinerary is: Cairo 2 nights/3 days, sleeper train to Aswan, Aswan 2 nights/2 days and Luxor 2nights/2 days. Please post after your return from Egypt. Thank you. Georgette
Jan 21, 2013 9:05 PM
Jan 23, 2013 1:50 PM
I'll post after my trip to Egypt. It's recommended to organize the journey from Aswan to Luxor by train and stopping at every interesting place in the way and then taking a taxi. I'll do it this way. For the valley of the kings, it's recommended to rent a bicycle if I get new information I'll share it here.
Jan 24, 2013 7:51 AM
13we bought the train ticket online (extra 7USD compared buying on the spot), they sent a PDF which we printed. Using that we could board the train, no problem.
Abu Simbel, Egyptian Museum: agree with #11.
Aswan - Luxor: if you don't stop at Kom Ombo / Edfu - why not just take the train. If you want to stop at Kom Ombo & Edfu, hotels organizes vans. We paid 75EGP per person. Started out from Aswan two of us, but picked up a few felucca riders along the way.
Valley of the Kings is quite far from the entrance and the road goes up. I would pay a taxi to get me there. If you want to hike from VoK to Hatshepsut (or Deir el Medina), then what do you do with the bike? I would recommend the hike for the views, especially when you start seeing Hatshepsut's temple.
Mar 13, 2013 5:35 AM
I plan to take a trip this year to Egypt too. I do not believe that going as a solo traveler should be a problem. I admire your enthusiasm. As I wanted more information about traveling to Egypt, I found a few descriptions and things to do which might help you too. Try http://www.somewheredifferent.com/egypt.html. It was helpful to me as they answered to all my questions and helped me make a better plan for my trip. Have fun and take lots of pictures!
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