Have you been thinking of visiting Egypt but been afraid because of what you hear on the news? Well, that’s definitely understandable. I’ve been fascinated with the wonders of ancient Egypt for at least 10+ years now. I was even planning a trip back in 2008 but then I lost my job and turmoil erupted in the area. I had to scrap the idea and I’ve been upset about it ever since. Such a shame to put your once in a lifetime plans on hold.
When I saw my friend Leslie’s amazing Instagram photos last December of her trip to Egypt I almost didn’t believe it. So I was beyond thrilled when she suggested writing an article all about her trip for my blog. I’m so excited to share her 8 best reasons why you should visit Egypt now. My hope is that you read it and take it all in before you make a decision to go or not to go. Don’t be swayed by all negative press Egypt receives in the media. Make up your own mind.
Leslie Marciniak is a writer, wanderluster, recovering web designer and retro pop culture geek. She rediscovered her long lost travel addiction in 2015 and has since ventured to Cuba, England, Iceland (twice!), Egypt, and her first travel crush: NYC (sooo many times). Her favourite part of traveling, aside from the locations themselves, are all the interesting and amazing people she always meets.
If you too want to guest post on The Savvy Dreamer blog please don’t hesitate to contact us using the contact form here! We’d love to hear from you.Beginning of Guest Post
8 Best Reasons Why You Should Visit Egypt Now!
One of the many responses I got from people when I told them I was going to Egypt alone in November 2017 was, “Why Egypt?”
I wish I could give a clear answer. It was a culmination of things. A fascination I had with Egypt in a segment of an Ancient History class in high school. It was the mystique and wonder of the pyramids. And a genuine curiosity. But why now? In 2017? Life pushes you in unexpected directions at times. Egypt was calling me in the same way Iceland called me a couple years ago. It was all I talked about all year, long before I booked the ticket. 2017 was coming to an end. I had to do it and I had to do it now.
So, that’s my intentionally vague backstory: How I ended up on a plane to Egypt all by myself!
Now here are 8 reasons why you should do it too, because it was one of the most memorable and bewildering experiences of my life.
No, really. There is so much here to see that it honestly can’t all be done in one short trip. No two cities are alike and it’s very easy to feel like you are traveling through different countries at times. The warm Mediterranean sea air and relaxed vibe of Alexandria is almost a culture shock after spending time just a few hours south in busy hectic Cairo. The drive to Abu Simbel from Aswan takes you through the vast desert planes of the Sahara, where there is absolutely nothing on the horizon for miles. Luxor is a modern and lush tourist town packed with rich history and incredible sites. All of this rests along the Nile, where the majority of Egypt’s population resides. I never made it to any of the popular Red Sea resort towns, but if diving and beautiful beaches are your thing, Egypt has that waiting for you too.
You can’t go to Egypt and not see the Pyramids of Giza. It was so important to me that I booked a room at a bed and breakfast across the street from the pyramids for my first two nights before joining with my tour group. I hadn’t even checked into my room yet and ran to the rooftop patio and – boom – there they were. Right in front of me. One of the coolest moments ever and the best way to really let it settle in as to where on this planet I am right now. They are stunning to see in person and writing about them or taking pictures doesn’t do any of it justice. You really need to just go. And pay the small extra fee to walk inside the Great Pyramid. It’s an intense journey that you will be happy you accomplished.
Oh-em-gee I will miss Egyptian food most of all. I quickly grew to love everything I tried and had less and less desire for Western fare the longer I was there. The Egyptian falafel is not like the falafels you’re getting at the supermarket at home. They make them very differently in Egypt with fava beans instead of chickpeas and it is sooo good. Whether it be for breakfast or lunch, I think I somehow worked falafels in to my meal at least once a day. The other winner for me was Feteer. Which is like an Egyptian pizza. However, you can also have it as a dessert. It’s essentially layers of flaky pastry crust with all your various ingredients cooked in the middle, minus the tomato sauce. The desert version involved powdered sugar and custard and I’m still craving it horribly. It’s served on a big platter and cut into small squares and it is so good, you will cry eating that stale pizza slice on your lunch break when you get back home.
I heart Egyptians. Guess what? They heart us too. I read beforehand that being stopped to have your picture taken may be a usual occurrence as a foreigner. At almost every tourist site I went to, it was inevitable that a gaggle of school kids, or an excited family, would shyly approach me and ask for a picture. It was cute and bewildering and I said yes every time. At every hotel, a mere mention that I was Canadian would ignite a cheerful and often shocked response. The level of warmth and hospitality from hotel staff and locals was something I hadn’t experienced since I visited Cuba a few years ago. Egyptians know why tourism is down and they are genuinely happy to see you. Show them some kindness in return.
Your Money is Going to go FAR
I’m Canadian. I’m used to traveling and watching my dollar evaporate before I get off the plane. It makes me stingier than others and little less eager to spend. Right now in Egypt our dollar goes so far, I couldn’t even understand it at times. Seriously. It was only in my last 3 days that I finally wrapped my head around the conversion rate. If you met me in my last days in Egypt, I probably tipped you quite well. I went on a tea-shopping spree at a local grocery store. I went back to Khan El-Khalili and finally spent money and bought things. Don’t be stingy here. There is no need. I ate well, saw every site I wanted to see and didn’t come close to going over my budget. Their tourism industry is needlessly suffering. Come to Egypt, live like a Queen, accidentally spend less than you would elsewhere, while receiving so much more in return. This is one of the best reasons why you should visit Egypt now.
I think along with the pyramids, a sail on the Nile is something you really must experience if you find yourself in Egypt. There is something very special about it and just knowing that this is where you are right now on this planet is just… ahh. Words can’t properly describe it. A felucca is a traditional wooden sailboat still widely used in Egypt. Spending 24 hours on one was definitely a highlight of the trip for me. If you are lucky to go at night, take a look up at the stars. I totally geeked out as I noticed the constellation Orion, in a different position than I’m used to seeing at home. It’s the little things like this, that would remind me how I really was on an entirely different part of the globe. Enjoy those moments and don’t always feel like you need to take pictures. Some things really are best when just experienced in the moment.
Having Shish Tawouk overlooking the Nile and the Sahara desert
The best time to visit Egypt is November-April. The summer months can be brutally hot, averaging 35-40C with no clouds in sight. In the winter you’ll find perfect, dry, mid-20s weather that will have your friends and family drooling (it will also make you not want to go home if you were originally escaping the icy winter blahs). The sun is always shining and it almost never rains. It’s a desert climate, so humidity won’t be an issue for you either. Leave your jacket and umbrella at home. But do remember to pack a sweater, as the nights can get chilly during these months.
Last but not least, are all the incredible historic ancient sites to see in Egypt. While the main draw for most people are the pyramids, by the end of our group tour, I found new places to love and miss once I returned home. Abu Simbel and Karnak Temple were the two biggest hits for me and places I would love to return to. Wandering alone around the massive columns in Karnak at sunset, after most of the other tour groups had left, was a special moment I will take with me for a very long time. It is truly an incredible place and an absolute must if you are visiting Egypt. Having an expert guide show you these places and explain in detail what you’re seeing adds so much to the experience too. Especially when a slew of dumb questions come to mind. If this doesn’t convince you to visit Egypt now I don’t know what will.
(All of the above and then some)
Egypt is a wild and often intense place, with a rich and astounding history. The scenery, the sites, the food, the people… You will see things you’ve never seen before and learn more than your sun-soaked brain can handle at times. But it is all worth it. When I think about how nervous I was to go at first, it makes me sad because I know this is how a lot of people feel right now. This is why tourism is down over there. This is another great reason to visit Egypt now. If you’re hesitant, book with a reputable tour company (I went with Intrepid and have no complaints) and let them handle all the fine details so you can just simply enjoy your vacation and have one of the best experiences of your life.
Giza Pyramids Inn – Where I stayed for two days prior to joining up with my group tour. The hospitality here was next-level wonderful. They picked me up from the airport for free, breakfast was beyond filling and the rooftop view of the pyramids is insane.
Shukran! Happy Travels!!!End of Guest Post
Oh wow, thank you so much Leslie for this amazing recap of your trip to Egypt. Reading this article has definitely revived my desire to plan my dream trip there. Your 8 best reasons why you should visit Egypt now make complete sense to me. I’ve been talking about it to my friends and family constantly and I don’t want to stop!!! All the sites look so amazing and the food is fabulous too? I know I want to go as soon as I can.
What do you think of the idea of visiting Egypt? Would you go? Would you feel safe? Have you been recently? What has been your experience? I’m very curious to hear other opinions so please share in the comments below.
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