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“2 Day Trip to Cairo by Plane”
Review of Sharm Excursions

Sharm Excursions
Ranked #16 of 261 Tours in Sharm El Sheikh
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Explore Egypt with Sharm' s favourite tour operator. We've been operating since 1998 and over the years have taken thousands of customers to see the amazing sights of Egypt.
Reviewed February 16, 2013

My partner and I booked a 2 day trip to Cairo with Sharm excursions, although the overall trip was a positive experience, I would like the reader to read the whole review as it certainly wasn't perfect.

We went on this trip in February 2013.

The trip started well, we were collected from our hotel at 0525 which was only about 10 minutes later than advertised and still left us plenty of time for the flight to Cairo.

We set out in a minibus, there were a total of 3 of us on the trip so we felt we were getting a very personal service from our guide Maya. She provided commentary throughout the drive, although she did stop to take phone calls (which were not brief), so I am not sure whether we missed anything important.

When we got to Cairo centre, Maya got the driver to stop the bus and she went to get us all breakfast, it was a delicious falafel in some flat bread.

We continued our journey to our first destination the Egyptian museum. Maya really knew her stuff here and rushed us to important pieces and described them well to us. We were then told that if we wanted to see the mummies we would need to pay an extra 100 Egyptian pounds (£10). Which we did, and it was money well spent.

We then returned to the bus, for our next destination a Nile 'cruise'. We had been told this would cost us an extra £10, but when we got there Maya said we had to pay an extra £5 because there was so few of us. All 3 of us paid this, and that's all I can say is that it was a total waste of money, we were told about all the hotels that we were passing and how many stars each of them had, we were told about the poor who lived on rowing boats, but other than that there was little of interest or excitement.

The boat took us to our next stop, which was a buffet lunch, the food was good but not special.

Our next trip was to the papyrus museum, where we had an excellent demonstration of how papyrus was made and it’s history. We were then asked to have a look around the gallery. We had intentionally taken only £200 with us on this trip and left our cards in our hotel so that we would not be tempted to overspend, had we travelled with more we would have been tempted to spend a fortune. Whilst at the papyrus museum, Mohamed of Sharm Excursions appeared and we discussed organising another trip this time to Jerusalem and Petra, he quoted us £460 and we asked him to email us the full trip itinerary. He also said that if we wanted some pieces from the Papyrus he would collect the money from us from our hotel and that he would meet us at Cairo airport to review this trip and to discuss the next.

We went from the Papyrus museum to the Pyramids which were breath taking, but then we told that if we wanted to take good photos we needed to pay £15 for a camel ride, I told Maya our guide that I didn’t want the ride as I was concerned for the animal’s welfare. I was told that I wouldn’t be able to walk the route and that the camels were government run and that their welfare was looked after much better than other camels in the city reluctantly I took the ride and was then asked by the camel ride operator for more money. We finished off at the sphinx with Maya insisting we pose for some stupid pictures.

Next stop was the perfume factory / store and more opportunity to spend money, it was a very interesting talk but we had now reached the point of the day where we were totally fed up with being parted of our cash so we told them that we wanted to do our own thing in the evening rather than pay the £30 for the pyramids light show.

We were then taken to our hotel, which is in an amazing location but was basic to say the least and incredibly noisy. (See my review of the Tiba Pyramid Hotel)

Maya told us to be at the hotel reception at 8am ready to start day 2. We started our journey to the Citadel without our guide, a driver who spoke no English and a crazy German woman who asked us to take her teddy bear back to Sharm on the plane whilst she caught the bus. The bus stopped at the Egyptian museum, we tried to explain that we supposed to be going to the Citadel and then the Crazy German woman told us she was supposed to be going there but had changed her mind and decided to spend the day with us. The driver went berserk (we later found out because he had wasted an hour driving her to the museum). We then continued our journey to the Citadel when we arrived there and there was still no guide and we had to hang around a car park. The driver then came looking for us, handed us a mobile phone, it was Maya telling us she would be 5 minutes. 20 minutes later we were told to get back on the bus we were taken to a mosque, still no guide, and of course no explanation about why we were there. After 15 minutes the guide showed up (by this point 2 hours late). We expressed our anger and she tried bluffing us by saying she wasn’t late, we then said that we should go into the mosque and she told us weren’t going in and that we were only there to take photo’s. We expressed more anger and she told us that it was always on the plan to take photo’s at this mosque and that we were then to return to the Citadel. By this point we had lost all confidence in Maya and wanted to cancel our second day. We decided against it and continued reluctantly.

The Citadel was great and Maya really redeemed herself, she knew her stuff answering all our questions, she took us into the mosque and spent about an hour being a very good guide.

Next we stopped for lunch, we were taken to a traditional café where they served the Egyptian dish of Kushari followed by Rice Pudding, although I was concerned about the appearance of the café, the food was absolutely delicious, and it was good to have some local dishes.

Our next excursion was to the Coptic church and to a synagogue, again Maya was very knowledgeable and spent a lot of time explaining their roles in modern and historic Egypt.

The last destination of the trip was the Khan El Khalili Bazaar, this is an exciting market where you could buy literally anything and get a good price if you are prepared to haggle.

We were then taken back to the airport for another delayed flight, we were supposed to be met by Mohammed but there was no sign of him, nor explanation for his non-show. He did send an email providing details of the Jerusalem and Petra trip but he had put the price up to £475.
He did contact us a day or two later without mentioning the problems we had had, so we replied stating that we wouldn’t be booking because, of the problems we had on the tour, the fact he had increased the price in his email. He said that he wanted to reduce the price to £445 as way of apology.

I don’t want to grade this trip because overall it is very good. If we hadn’t had the delays and the attitude to the delays there is no doubt we would be giving it 5 stars. I totally understand that things go wrong but it is the way that problems are dealt with.

Maya is an excellent knowledgeable guide. If she had apologized for her delay instead of trying to cover her mistakes there would be no problem.

Sharm Excursions offered a good trip, more expensive than most but it covered a lot. I suspect a lot of the visits were organized on a commission basis, but I imagine most of the tour operators work in a similar manner.

The trip cost £480 with a discount making it £456 extras were £20 for Mummy Exhibition, £30 for river trip, £50 in Papyrus Shop, £40 Camel Ride. Making it a total of £596 for two people. Plus they wanted us to spend more in Perfume shops, Laser Shows and some village.

2  Thank MarkR68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 14, 2013

This is the first time we have been to Egypt and we booked 3 excursions with sharm excursions. We had a wonderful time. We were very well looked after, they picked us up on time and the guides were excellent, especially Maya and Sami. Will def book again with these!

Thank J0M0rris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2013

where can i start ...this has to be the best excursion ever... we were picked up at 5.30am and taken to airport for the 50min flight to cairo,and met at the other side by our tour guide Will. he has to be the most knowledgable person regarding egypt. we went to the museum ,it was fab had plenty of time to see all,headed off to the boat which took us down the nile then had a buffet lunch in a restuarant on the nile (spectacular) will then took us on a trip where we could see what normality is really like in some parts ..a real eye opener.the highlight of the trip was the pyramids and the sphyinx that was awesome .will ensured we were kept safe at all times and to be honest we had heard that we would be hounded by the locals but it wasnt too bad at all.the only bit i thought should be left out was the perfume shop at the end ,but other than that we had a brill day with a great tour guide ...thank you Will for a magical day out.sharm excursions is well recommended and we will be booking with them for all trips next time we are in sharm .this trip is for a whole day and remember girls no wedges flat shoes recommended

1  Thank pammij
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2013

We are a well traveled couple from UK in our late 20's; booked 5 excursions through Sharm Excursions in Feb 2013. Here's how it went.

Quick summary:
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They do try to please. Whilst their administration seems organized enough they have little control of how their excursion partners do things in the field. This could be improved on. As for the prices, yes, you can get cheaper excursions whilst there if you cut out the middle man but then you don't have any guarantees either. We had a slight problem with 1 of 5 excursions and Sharm Excursions, although it wasn't their own fault, made some calls and offered us compensation with no hassle.

Booking experience
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The site is nice but there is no phone number on the site. I made contact through their online form and got their local phone number and a reply from a yahoo email address. I also got a callback in a few hours which made me feel better. After some telephone and later email based negotiation we got a fair quote for 5 trips and we paid 10% up front just the Cairo trip. So far, so good and we were happy with the bookings.

Big tip:
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When you arrive, if like us you haven't paid for all the excursions yet then a rep will enthusiastically visit you very early in the morning. Don't mistake this for being at your service. They try to get to you BEFORE your actual holiday operator (ours was MTS) gets to you at 10:30am or before you go out and meet sellers on the street. Don't buy. Wait until you've spoken to EVERYONE and THEN make a decision on who you want to go with. Haggle. They are keen to close a deal with you before MTS get there. Where possible and if you can afford it, get private tours. I would say go with an operator for round trip excursion days but book things like diving directly with those centers.

Cairo by Plane
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Tip: DO THE PRIVATE TOUR and do the plane, not bus; well worth it; you'll get looked after very well. Be prepared for an early start and late finish. You'll need an Egyptian visa from the airport. Be prepared for some soft selling and some hard selling.

The Good: Our pickup was on time and escorted to AND IN the airport with zero queuing. We queue jumped everything including security check as the escort knew the guards. Our Cairo tour guide was punctual, waiting for us. Comfortable private mini bus. He was knowledgeable, friendly, funny, lively and honest. They took us around Cairo and then Giza Pyramids.

The bad: In every stop you make there is an opportunity to be sold something: oils, souvenirs or hand painted art. Prices in Cairo are more expensive than in Sharm so negotiate hard if you're buying. Don't give in to the guilt trips. When it comes to the Pyramids keep personal belongings close. Owing to economic problems you'll find literally a hundred street vendors hard pushing anything you can imagine - mostly photo ops. Shake your head with a single firm "Shukran" - in other words thanks but no thanks. They get it. If you say "no" in English you'll never be left alone. They are like flies. Keep smiling. Don't be rude. Don't get angry. You'll need to repeat this procedure every 10 steps.

Rhino Safari
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Tip: Wear clothes you don't mind getting dirty. Bring a head scarf and sun glasses.

The good: Excellent transfer to and from. Good equipment. Excellent value for money. Nice length of time and range. Beautiful scenery. Bedouin tea included at stopping point.

The bad: Don't buy the "HD Video". It's not HD and the recording is not that great. If you do want it, don't pay more than a fiver English. Make sure you speak up if you have booked the Rhino Safari because we got given Quads. They won't ask you or check what you actually booked. You're not allowed to ride in pairs, have to be one behind the other. That sucks a little. There is no free riding allowed. Have to follow the guide.


Scuba Diving
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Tip: You need a passport for ID if you're diving but people who forgot their passports get to pick a copy of someone else's passport from a book full of photocopies. Kind of glad I forgot my passport! I should have booked this directly with the diving school than through an operator as the operator added little benefit for the markup.

The good: Excellent diving instructor, knowledgeable and clear. Lovely boat; great lunch; great photos underwater (negotiate the price); Great transfer to and from. Stop at 3 locations. Nice scenery.

The bad: Chaos registering in the morning. People yelling in different languages; crowded registration area. Stick to your guide and make sure you get onto the right boat! There are about 10 boats. Snorkel is EXTRA to rent even though it's a diving trip.

Star gazing
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Tip: It gets cold at night in the desert so bring something warm! Camel rides are NOT comfortable for men! Need your passport. Be prepared for photo guys and "hd video" guys to sell you their stuff. Be prepared for small kids to ask you for tips.

The good: Great transfers, great tour guide. Awesome scenery. Awesome dinner. Nice relaxing vibe. Overall, a great experience. Got to make our own bread and sample the local tea. Belly dancer show was ok too.

The bad: The actual star gazing bit was poor. There was 1 telescope between many people so we only got to see a close up for about 10 seconds each, and on just one star, before going home. The astronomer was nice though and explained the constellations.


Abu Galum
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Tip: Be prepared to rent snorkel gear extra for the blue hole. Will cost around £10 per person. Be prepared for a long ride into the desert. Bring water. Be prepared to be sold oils and essences in the last stop.

Good: Great transfer, lovely scenery. Tour guide was great and the driver was a character! Beautiful canyon in the desert. Some fun desert off-roading in the land rover.

Bad: Land rover was not all that comfortable and with 8 people in the back there is no relaxing to be done! It's a bumpy ride for a long time, even on the better roads. They drive like crazy there!

Overall
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If you can get a good price for several excursions, it's worth it and especially if you do private tours. Be informed and look around before you decide what to book. They try to please - in whatever way they can - and in our experience they tried o compensate if something goes wrong.

Enjoy!

3  Thank Maz L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2013 via mobile

Have visited sharm twice over the last 5 years....we used shark excursions the first time we visited and had no problems whatsoever.But this visit in January was a major let down.......no issues with Cairo trip and Sammi was ace.The quad biking no issues also.But the boat trip was a different matter....we booked to go to Ras Mohammed which from experience and from other who have been to Tiran island was way better.On the booking it was clearly explained that we didn't want to go to Tiran island but low and behold when we arrived at the harbour we were told we were going to Tiran island .....after a heated debate we were told that we were going Tiran and that's that...to say I was furious is an understatement.Contacted sharm excursions when I came back home with numerous emails but no reply(strange that !)...because communication with the company has always been good apart from when you have issues....so not happy and won't recommend them to anyone from now on!.......word of warning I noticed that there prices are very high compared to other local vendors at namma bay who do exactly the same packages.......!!!!!!......so unless you are feeling fritaless just use the vendors as you'll save money and have the same experience or better!

1  Thank Castlerankie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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