Since a lot of readers and followers have been asking me for itineraries of places I’ve been to, I’ve decided to make this one for you guys. I’m also sharing with you some Instagram-worthy spots in my recent tour in Egypt.
Of course, we chose the more economical option. Instead of taking a direct flight from Manila to Egypt, we decided to visit Greece first and then take a plane ride there to Cairo. Since we only planned to stay in Egypt for a week, I only chose those spots that I truly wanted to visit based on people’s recommendations and posts that I’ve been seeing in Instagram.
So if you’re planning to take a tour in Egypt, I suggest that you bring 80k to 100k worth of pocket money, just to be sure. You have to take note of your budget for transportation, food, and other souvenirs you might buy along the way. This trip is truly a dream come true for me. From just seeing these spots in postcards and from photos in the internet. Anyway, here’s my 7-day itinerary in Egypt:
Day 1: Cairo to Aswan
First tip. If you are planning to bring a drone, hold your horses and immediately abandon that plan. Don’t be like me. Unfortunately, my drone was confiscated by the airport management in Cairo. But anyway, we understood that the security in Egypt was really tight. Since there is always the threat from terrorism, they don’t allow tourists to bring drones in the country.
Nonetheless, our first day consisted of travel, more travel, and a long rest. BTW! I got my travel pocket wifi from @flytpack check them out for more details on Instagram and use my code ( FPDEEGEE ) for discount when you book! Going back.. From Cairo Airport, we travelled to Aswan where we stayed in the Old Cataract Hotel. That day, we had two options. Either we visit the Nubian Village immediately after our arrival or we stay in the hotel to recharge and reserve our energy for the next day. We chose to stay in the hotel instead and spent our little energy left to unpack and fix our things. We were set to leave early the next day.
Location : Sofitel Old Cataract Aswan, Egypt
Day 2: Aswan to Luxor
It was 4 AM in the morning when we left the hotel in Aswan. We had a 6-hour drive before we arrive in the Karnak Temple. Interestingly, that long drive was the only route we could take to reach our first destination. Since security in Egypt was so tight, even though there was a short cut, tourists were advised to endure the long journey. There are actually a lot of checkpoints in the area. It is a strict rule that all tourists should have a tourist guide with them. Honestly, the experience was quite eerie. The atmosphere was heavy and tight. Most of the time that we were staying in Egypt, there was a total feeling of unrest due to a lot of possibilities. But despite that, it did not hinder us from exploring the marvelous tourist sites in Egypt.
First stop: Karnak Temple. It has witnessed Egypt’s thousand years’ worth of history. It also used to be a sacred place where coronations of kings were done. Today, historians use the inscriptions on the temple’s walls to learn more about Egyptian history and culture. For me, the experience was surreal. I realized that the structure I was in was thousand years older than me, that it still stands despite extreme weathering.
We also went in the Luxor Temple. We spent around 2 to 3 hours to take photos. I advise that you visit there at around 8 to 9 AM to maximize the experience. The temple is branded as the World’s Largest Outdoor Museum. In the entrance, there stood an obelisk with Egyptian inscriptions. I also found it fascinating that an avenue of Sphinxes connects Karnak and Luxor. Originally, there are 6 colossal statues of Ramesses II in the temple. But now only the 2 seated ones placed in the entrance survives.
At around 5PM, we arrived in the Nubian Village of Nag`Gharb Siheil. Here, we found the most colorful houses in Egypt. Nubians are known to have started agriculture and farming in that area of the Nile. It’s interesting because when you visit them now, you can still see remnants of their past history.
They also have developed their own language and culture which are still well-preserved until now. You can also find a lot of herbs, spices, and tea leaves in the Nubian village. My overall advice to you is that you bring enough snacks to endure the 12-hour drive (back and forth).
Day 3: Abu Simbel
We drove to Abu Simbel for 3 hours. The long drive was so worth it because we stayed in Seti Abu Simbel where we spent 3 days and 2 nights. It is the best hotel in Abu Simbel. Heads up! If you’re planning to visit Abu Simbel, note that their peak season is from October to January. We’re lucky that the influx of tourists was not that heavy during our stay there.
Seti Abu Simbel is a paradise amidst the dessert. It houses 6 suites and 136 cozy rooms where you can really feel the ancient Egypt vibes. The famous Abu Simbel Temple is only 5 minutes away from the hotel which is adorned with trees and bushes that complements the brown surrounding the area. From their beautiful infinity pool, you can see the Lake Nasser and marvel the beauty of the golden sunset. Rooms are fashioned Nubian-style matching with the luscious gardens ornamenting the whole hotel. From lounging area to the pool side, you can see mud bricks that are used to build the walls and structures. The pool area is a relaxing view where you’ll see the line of trees as you lay on the rest benches.
They also serve breakfast and dinner buffets in the hotel. Most of the food are Halal food and there were no pork-based cuisines. Still, they offer some oriental and international dishes in their main restaurant. More than the usual facilities, they also have a sound and light show which both informs and entertains about the pharaohs of Egypt. For me, it’s the closest you can get to being with the pharaohs since Seti Abu Simbel is in the heart of Abu Simbel and only a few meters away from the temple.
Also, it was a crazy experience! The temperature during our stay there ranged from 38 to 46 degrees Celsius. Fun fact: Egypt experiences rain only once in a year. They say that there are times when there’s no rain at all.
Day 4: Abu Simbel Temple
The best time to visit the Abu Simbel Temple is during the morning especially if you want to take solo shots around the vicinity without other tourists photobombing your pictures. We went there at around 5 to 6 AM, so we can heighten our chances of getting great shots of and with the temple’s facade. We’re honored and thankful that it was very kind of Seti Abu Simbel’s hotel manager to accompany us early in the morning and accommodate us for our visit to the temple.
The Abu Simbel Temple of Ramesses II is dedicated to the Egyptian gods Amon, Ptah, and Ra. There are 2 main temples: The Grand Temple where, at its entrance, King Ramesses II sits on his throne; and The Small Temple which was built for Queen Nefertari, his wife. What makes this temple more interesting precedes its historical relevance. Some believes that the solar alignment of the temple coincides with agriculture and flooding season in Egypt which until now is an astrological mystery for humankind.
After spending 2 to 3 hours there, we decided to experience the Sunset Cruise where we rode a boat. From our point of view, we could still get a glimpse of the majestic Abu Simbel Temple.
Day 5: Aswan Airport
At 8 AM in the morning, we decided to leave to catch our flight from Aswan airport to Cairo where we were bound to see the famous Pyramids of Giza. Our flight to Cairo set off at around 2 PM, and we checked in the luxurious Dusit Thani Lakeview in Cairo at around 3 to 4 in the afternoon.
Since we were bound to have more activities the next day, we decided to explore the hotel first. The Dusit Thani Lakeview hotel is the top Asian hotel in the area. Coming from Southeast Asia, we thought that we should have a taste of “home” in Egypt. And the Dusit Thani didn’t disappoint. If you want to have the Asian experience while also exploring the desserts and temples of Egypt, Dusit Thani offers flavorful Thai food which we really enjoyed.
The hotel is an oasis in the heart of Egypt’s capital. It’s a perfect hotel for escapades, solo adventures, and family trips. As someone based in Asia, I really appreciated the Thai hospitality and Asian vibes exuded by the hotel. If you don’t want to miss the Orient that much, stay in Dusit Thani.
Day 6: Cairo Camel Ride
We started our day at around 5 to 6 AM to catch the mesmerizing sunrise in Egypt. To maximize our time, we coordinated with Dusit Thani Lakeview to book a camel ride for our tour. I costed us around 50 US Dollars. For me, it’s a bit expensive but the experience is worthwhile.
At 8 AM, we went straight to the most popular tourist spot in Egypt, the Pyramids of Giza. Only 3 of pyramids are most known but there are 130 pyramids scattered around the area. The largest pyramid is called Cheops. Actually, it was the only surviving treasure belonging in the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. The experience was really a dream come true. Some of my preformed notions and myths about the Egyptian culture and stereotypes were busted. For me, travel is always a learning experience. I realized that I used to see all these in books or documentaries. But seeing them first-hand… words really can’t describe their thousands’ years worh of culture and history.
To end the day, we visited their bazaars to buy some souvenirs. I bought some ref magnets and small memorabilia like the pharaoh’s sarcophagus and mini figurines of the pyramids to remind me of a momentous experience in my life. More than seeing marvelous sights, the learning experience is what I treasure the most during my travels.
Day 7: Pyramids of Giza
Our flight from Cairo to Manila was scheduled that day. But before that, we went to see the Pyramids of Giza again during the morning. If you want to take some photos with the 3 prominent pyramids visible, you have to do it on the other side. Since had only gone to one side, we decided to visit the other side to get better shots that morning. To get to the other side, we chose to book a horse ride since we were a bit in a hurry.
At around 3 in the afternoon, we left our hotel in Cairo to catch out 5 PM flight to Manila. I would say that it was an exhilarating experience. Being in Egypt was a thrilling and for some times, nerve-wracking. There were always threats to security. But to assure you, security was tight during our stay there. I still recommend that you see the beauty of Egypt.
Those 7 days passed in a blur. It was as if we stayed in Egypt for only a day. As a general tip, you must always be ready to take the heat (literally!). If I’ll compare the heat in the tropics to that of Egypt, I think that in the tropics, the weather is humid and hot. In Egypt, it is hot and dry. So ready your lip balms and sunblock.
Anyway, I also want to share that we avoided to do video blogs since, personally, I tend to become more culture sensitive now. I might say something unnecessary in the vlog or take a video of a relic that might disrespect the Egyptian culture. Well, as tourists, we must always be responsible of our actions.
And we’re done! If you want to visit more sites and not only the ones I’ve been into, I recommend that you stay in Egypt for a longer time.