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Cairo/Luxor for a week

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the big blue marble
posts: 13,666
reviews: 35
Cairo/Luxor for a week

Hello Sherif...

I am going to be in Cairo for four days and then was thinking of taking a trip down to Luxor for three days in the Valley of the Kings. What do you think? Is the train a convenient mode of travel for this route? Is this too short of a time in Cairo? And mostimportantly, do you have any great off the beaten track visits that you'd recommend? Thank you for your help.

Cairo, Egypt
posts: 1,060
reviews: 42
1. Re: Cairo/Luxor for a week

Phread;

we are all from "the big blue marble"... but what part of it are you from ? :)

Your suggested schedule is obviously very feasible, however if you want to see more, I would allocate the following:

- Cairo: 3 full days, leaving at the end of the 3rd day to upper Egypt (Luxor & Aswan)

- Luxor: 2 full days would be OK... unless you are an Egyptologist. You would visit the Valley of the Kings & tombs, Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple, Museum.

The remaining 2 days: could extend your trip from Luxor to Aswan (spending a day in Aswan itself and the second visiting Abu Simbel...the Temple of Philae)...

[obviously there are very pleasent Nile Cruises between Luxor and Aswan - and vice versa - however you need to throw in 3 days for the cruise... they have stops every day for interesting land visits at Edfu, Kom Ombo etc... the Nile there is much more impressive than in Cairo]

Alternative for the remaining days: would be to get away from the Nile and ancient Egypt, and get to the Red Beach (Sea, Sand and Sun) ... you could get to Hurghada, El Quseir, Safaga... three resort towns with very good hotels... reachable from Luxor by bus (in convoys across the desert) or by plane (Luxor to Hurghada... but check the flight days).

The real "off the beaten track" in my opinion for Egypt would be the oasis: Siwa, Dakhla, Kharga etc... in the vast western desert between the Nile Valley and Libya.

On the map (link below) you can click on the various destinations I mentioned to get more info. / photos about them.

http://lexicorient.com/egypt/map.htm

and finally, Alexandria (where I was born and raised) should be mentionned. It is not off the beaten track, and gets a lower priority to Cairo / Upper Egypt... however I had to include it :) ... It is a nice one day visit from Cairo (through an organized tour door-to-door from Cairo) if you are staying 10 days or more.

Transportation:

Luxor could be reached by overnight sleeping train... they are safe and reasonably comfrotable. And obviously by plane (Egypt Air). You could consider both: go by train and return by plane. If you decide to go to Aswan you can fly back to Cairo from there.

If you go to Hurghada, Safaga or Quseir... you can return from Hurghada Airport to Cairo directly by plane (Egypt Air).

When are you planning to visit Egypt ?

Cairo, Egypt
posts: 1,060
reviews: 42
2. Re: Cairo/Luxor for a week

... meant Red Sea ... not Red Beach

the big blue marble
posts: 13,666
reviews: 35
3. Re: Cairo/Luxor for a week

Thanks Sherif. We can't shorten the Cairo stay, because my husband is there on business. I'll look into two days Luxor one day Aswan for the other end of the trip, but I am hoping that this is just a first visit and we'll get to go back for others to see an oasis or two.

Do you have any ideas for off the tourist trail within Cairo? Cool restaurants, nice areas to explore?

(I live in Paris).

Cairo, Egypt
posts: 1,060
reviews: 42
4. Re: Cairo/Luxor for a week

Places to go to near Cairo:

*I would consider Haraneya and Kerdassa, villages at the outskits of greater Cairo (25 to 30 km from central Cairo). Kerdassa is noted for its embroidered cotton and silk dresses and Haraneyya is well known for hand-made carpets.

... would be interesting to see life there and maybe buy some reasonably priced items.

Check the following sites for more info./highlights about these places:

http://www.marlamallett.com/wissawas2.htm

www.yallabina.com/Featured/weave_away.aspx

* Within Cairo - while not off the beaten track - as they say would be old Coptic Cairo (Copt is the name for Egypt's Orthodox Christians)... you could visit the Hanging Church and the Coptic Museum.

copticmuseum.gov.eg/English/…

* The Gayer-Anderson Museum

Not often on tourist itineraries;

http://www.skill-link.com/Docs/IZ/gayer.htm

www.touregypt.net/featurestories/cretan.htm

* Al Azhar Park

A nice place for lunch & stroll with great views of old cairo would be Al Azhar park .... this is not far from both Khan El Khalil (old cairo bazar) and the Citadel... so can be done before or after visiting any of these places.. they have two reasonably good restaurants there

Check it out on the following link.... I take my family there several times a year.

touregypt.net/featurestories/azharpark.htm

** Some places to eat:

Le Pacha ...

it is a boat moored near the Zamalek island (the other side of the Nile from Tahrir Square) very close to the Marriott Hotel... it has numerous outlets (French, Italian, ... and Egyptian "Akl Zaman"). Le Pacha is very popular with upper middle class Egyptians and the expatriate community here... obviously you would enjoy great views of the Nile also.

http://lepacha.com/docs/tarbouch.htm

I would say a good meal for a single person would be in the range of Euro 20.

El Kababgy

(Arabic word for the maker of oriental grills)

It is adjacent to the Guezira Sheraton (southern tip of Zamalek island... actually a 30 minute walk from Tahrir Square).... the restaurant is basically open air and at the Nile level... you could touch the water with your hands. In my opinion the best Nile/Cairo views for any restaurant and extremely popular... many oriental grills (kebab, kofta, bonless chicken) and lots of side dishes....

Khan El Khalili

If you go (and you must go) to the Bazaar (Khan El Khalili area) there is a Khan El Khalili Restaurant & Naguib Mahfouz Cafe managed by the Oberoi Hotel Chain... safe bet for eating in this area in a very traditional Old Cairo surrounding. Again, when there if you do not stumble upon it, everyone will know where it is and point it out for you.

Christo

If you are into sea food, this is a good place... it is located at the end of the Pyramids Road.... before reaching the Pyramids...so only practical if you go there after your visit to the Pyramids.

By the way, what hotel are you staying in in Cairo ?

Cairo, Egypt
posts: 1,060
reviews: 42
5. Re: Cairo/Luxor for a week

The above visits/sites did not address the most obvious: Giza Pyramids & Sphinx, Sound & Light in the evening, Egyptian Museum, the Citadel, Sakkara (older pyramids), Nile Cruise....

the big blue marble
posts: 13,666
reviews: 35
6. Re: Cairo/Luxor for a week

Thank you Sherif! I have a guidebook for all the usual suspects and was really looking for advice from a local, and now I have it!

We will be staying at one of the Four Seasons, not sure which one. Not my usual style, but it is a business trip and we have to stay where they put us.

Cairo, Egypt
posts: 1,060
reviews: 42
7. Re: Cairo/Luxor for a week

Both Four Seasons are good... in Cairo it is important to be in classy hotel (in my opinion at least)...

The Four Seasons Nile Plaza (Cairo) has better views of the Nile from its rooms and more restaurants... the Four Seasons First Residence has an adjacent up scale mall with a light meal / coffee shop place in the atrium.... interesting for people watching.... lots of the rooms have a "Zoo" view :)