The overall travel tour of Egypt. I arrived in Cairo November 13th 2007. Departed Egypt for Jordan April 22nd 2008. Upon the arrival I stayed at the Richmond hotel for six nights. Due to the change in cultures, the smog, and the noise in the largest city in Africa – I took the train to Alex and stayed at the Union hotel, although declined their breakfast; I stayed in Alex for three nights. At this time I was a little banged up and challenged from culture shock. From Alex I took the 8 hour bus to Siwa. I stayed in Siwa for two in half weeks, three nights at the Yousif hotel, seven nights at the Palm Trees hotel, one night in the Great Sand Sea Desert, and seven nights renting a house through the locals. I enjoyed hanging out at the Tanta Waa Cafe. In Siwa I recovered from the initial blast of culture shock – renting the house was the trick to recovery.
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From Siwa I backed-tracked to Alex and stayed four nights at the Union hotel again. From Alex I took the train back to Cairo and went back to the Richmond hotel for six nights. The Richmond was OK, the staff are very helpful, honest, and kind. At this time I couch-surfed in the Maadi area of Cairo for two weeks for free. The Maadi area is the nicest area of Cairo.
From Cairo I took the bus to Bahariyyra on January 2nd, spent one night in the White desert and seven nights at the Desert Safari Home, one of the best hotels I stayed at in Egypt. Then from Bwaiti I took the bus to Mut and stayed at the Forsan hotel for six nights – I declined the breakfast. From Mut I took a micro bus to Al Qasr 35Km away from Mut and stayed two weeks. At the Al Qasr rest house I got the best deal. A very good breakfast, a full dinner, and sleeping in my own room for 30LE a day. The friendly Muhammad is a wonderful host, I nicked named him “Mr Hospitality”.
February first I headed toward Luxor. Leaving Al Qasr, I took a micro truck to Mut, Walked to the bus stop, and took a micro van, after waiting one hour, to Al Kharga. In Al Kharga I transferred into another micro van to Asyut. I stayed in Asyut one night, I had to bargin for the room at the Hussein hotel, although they were very friendly people, they respected me for my bargaining skills. The next morning the police were looking forward to escorting me around, nevertheless, I was ready to head to Luxor. The police were happy to escort me to the micro bus station. I took a micro station wagon to Qena, then transferred on to a micro van to Luxor.
The arrival to the hassle capital of Egypt was mellow, the problem is if you stay an extended time. I stayed on the east bank for nine nights. I did bounce around trying to find a good hotel. The Sherief is the best budget hotel, although the staff are shifty and ruin the nice atmosphere. After staying on the east bank I moved over to the west bank and stayed with a Traditional Islamic family. Staying with the family was an experience – the food was the very best in Egypt. After the nine days I went on a felucca trip from Edfu to Aswan with the brother of the family and his cousin. Arriving in Aswan I stayed at the Yassin hotel four nights, although I declined the breakfast. Every time I declined the breakfast I would get a discount – all they serve is bread for the most part. Saying in Aswan was more relaxed then Luxor, although I had to bargain for everything, even tea.
From Awsan I took the regular bus to Abu Simbel and stayed at the Nubian Ramses hotel for two nights. Visited the Great Temple of Ramses II, saving the best for last. Heading out of Abu Simbel I took a micro van to Aswan. The driver was supper cool person, Nubian, a good hearted person; I sat in the front and we had a very good conversation regarding spirituality, and culture.
Back in Aswan I took another felucca trip from Aswan to Edfu and back to Aswan. I stayed one night at the Noorhan hotel a major competitor of the Yassin. Early the next morning I took the train for 14 hours to Cairo. Suffering from a slight case of Pharaonic temple fatigue, and battered from the hassle of Upper Egypt I was happy to be in Cairo again.
I stayed one night at the New Regent Hotel which was not worth the money. I moved over to the Samar Palace hotel, although no palace in itself, I did have a nice semi-quite, cozy room, which I got some needed rest. I stayed five nights at the Samar. While I was in Abu Simbel I knew I needed to leave Upper Egypt after the felucca trip – I was tired of it. I started to look a the map and contemplated the idea of where to go before I head to Sinai. Hurghada was out of the question – another Luxor. The Red Sea coast is also filled with expensive resorts. The energy pointed to Port Said which I didn’t even plan on visiting in my original plan. From Cairo I took the regular bus to Port Said and stayed for seven nights at the Mereland hotel. A basic hotel, although only 22LE a night – shared bathroom.
Port Said is not only a duty free zone, it’s a hassle free zone. A wonderful place to visit for the long term traveler, although very little to see for the tourist. Port Said is a place where I fully recovered from the slight case of Pharaonic temple and tomb fatigue. Port Said was wonderful to the point that people did mind their own business and don’t bother the traveler. I met some very nice people during my stay in Port Said. A complete contrast from Upper Egypt.
From Port Said I took a micro station wagon to Ismillia, which is one of the nicest towns I visited. Very honest-hearted people live in Ismillia. I stayed at the Youth Hostel for only 13LE a night with a private bathroom. I stayed four nights.
From Ismillia I took the bus all the way to Dahab which took all day. I stayed at Bish Bishi for six nights. A very nice hotel, although very slimy staff, bored out of their mind. The staff at Bish Bishi ruins the hotel and nice atmosphere. From there I house sit/couch-surfed in Dahab for one week. From Dahab I took a micro bus to St. Katherines and stayed at the Desert of the Fox Camp which is a wonderful place to stay, although two single young women showed up, and since the male staff was not the center of attention, the male staff ended bent out of shape. I stayed in St Katherines for nine nights. All three of us left for Dahab because of the staff at the Fox camp.
Back in Dahab I stayed for five nights and went back to the Sinbad camp facing the sea.
I took the bus to Nuweiba (the air-con was broke), I decided to stay at the Petra camp in Tarabin, nice, ghost town of a resort strip. Petra camp is a very nice place to stay, the staff are very nice and the food is good. Their huts have air conditioning. I stayed six nights then I took the ferry to Jordan.
My favorite places were Siwa, Alex, Port Said, and Ismillia. In Sinai, Nuweiba is a very nice place for a long term traveler. St Katherines is special in its own way.
The best Tomb to visit is Ramses the sixth, which is an extra fee at the Valley of the Kings.
The best temple by far, is the Temple of Ramses the Second. Seeing the Karnak temple is also a must.
The best landscape is the White Desert, although Sinai is amazing also, and the Nile River Valley.
Taking a felucca trip is not to be missed.
Throughout the five months I didn’t go on any tours, except for a desert safari. I traveled by myself using the Lonely Planet travel guide book.
Egypt is extremely safe, I never felt I was in danger, nor experienced any type of danger. All the Egyptians want is money.