Sharm-el-Sheikh is located on the Egyptian Red Sea coast, at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. It is known as The City of Peace referring to the large number of international peace conferences that have been held there.
During occupation, the Israelis opened the first tourist-oriented establishments in the area six kilometers north at Naama Bay. These included a marina hotel on the southern side of the bay, a nature field school on the northern side, diving clubs, a now well-known promenade, and the Naama Bay Hotel.
After the Sinai was restored to Egypt in 1982, the Egyptian government embarked on an initiative to encourage continued development of the city, with the help of foreign investors.
Weather in Sharm el Sheikh: Average temperatures during the winter months (November to March) range from 15 to 35 degrees Celsius and during the summer months (April to October) from 20 to 45 degrees Celsius. The temperature of the Red Sea in this region ranges from 21 to 28 degrees Celsius over the course of the year.
Sharm-el-Sheikh’s major industry is foreign and domestic tourism, owing to its dramatic landscape, year-round dry and temperate climate and long stretches of natural beaches. Its waters are clear and calm for most of the year and have become popular for various watersports, particularly recreational scuba diving and snorkeling (which many consider to be among the best in the world). Coral reefs, under water and marine life, unmatched anywhere in the world, offer a spectacular and dazzling time for divers. There is wide room for scientific tourism with diversity in marine life species; 250 different coral reefs and 1000 species of fish.
These natural resources, together with its proximity to European tourism markets, have stimulated the rapid growth of tourism that the region is currently experiencing. Highly reputable management companies have been attracted to invest in this city, among them Hyatt Regency, Accor, Marriott, Le Méridien, Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and others, with categories from three to five stars. Franchises like Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Cafe can be found in Sharm-el-Sheikh.
The night life of Sharm-El-Sheikh is also quite attractive. In 2005, Little Buddha, a sushi bar, nightclub, and bar, took the title of having the longest continuous bar in the Middle East. Other popular bars include: Camel Bar, The Tavern, Pirate’s Bar, Movenpick Beach, and The Mexican. If dancing is appealing to you, then Sharm has much to offer. Clubs such as The Bus Stop and world renowned Pascha throw parties almost every night of the year.
The colorful handicraft stands of the local Bedouin culture are a popular attraction. Ras Mohammed, at the southern-most tip of the peninsula, has been designated a national park, serving to protect the area’s wildlife as well as its natural landscape, shoreline and coral reef. A number of international hotels and noted restaurants are clustered around the center of Sharm, known as Naama Bay, with golf courses and other leisure facilities further up the coast.
A trip into the desert is an unforgettable adventure. A visit to the desert is highly recommended. The hotels offer various trips to the Bedouins, the beautiful Coloured Canyon and beyond to Mount Sinai. The Sinai Peninsula is a remote desert mountain range. The rocky mountains are parted from the deep-blue sea by a flat desert strip. This combination of desert and sea is an incredible sight and makes you believe you are on a different planet. The more adventurous should try to find a private guide, who takes them for a few days into the mountain desert with a camel. You will walk through hidden valleys, rest at secret oasis and during the night you sleep under a breathtaking firmament.
Sharm-el-Sheikh has also become a favorite spot for Scuba divers from around the world. Being situated by the warm waters of the Red Sea, it provides some of the most stunning underwater scenery, making this an ideal place to dive. The reefs of Tiran and Ras Mohammed are known as two of the best diving-spots in the world. They can be reached by boat from Sharm within two hours. Ras Mohammed is the name of the southern most point of the Sinai peninsula. There, the current of the Gulf of Aqaba meets the Gulf of Suez. Due to the increase of plankton in the water, the amount of fish is incredible. Huge schools of barracudas, sharks and murrays can be seen there every day, along some of the most beautiful coral gardens you can imagine. Beach seekers enjoy many activities such as diving, snorkeling, wind surfing, para-sailing, boating, and canoeing. Sharm’s marina has been redeveloped for private yachts and sailboats, with a passenger terminal for cruise ships and scheduled ferry service to Hurghada and Aqaba.
ARRIVAL By plane – Sharm-el-Sheikh Airport (IATA: SSH) (ICAO: HESH) is the largest in the Sinai and receives planeloads of charter tourists daily in the winter high season. The only airline for local flights is EgyptAir. Your travel agent may have trouble booking flights with them but they can also be booked via Expedia or Travelocity.
By boat – International Fast Ferries runs fast boats to Hurghada on the mainland Red Sea Coast, currently running four times weekly. The ride takes 1.5 hours and costs 250/450 LE one-way/return for foreigners. Warning: this ride is notoriously bumpy and prone to cancellations.
By car / By bus – Sharm-el-Sheikh can be reached by driving down the eastern coast from Eilat (Israel) via Nuweiba and Dahab, or via the western coast from Cairo. There are daily buses for both routes.
Taba / Eliat Border Crossing – This is the only international border between Egypt and Israel where tourists can cross. The terminal is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year except for the holidays of Eid ul-Adha and Yom Kippur.
The Israeli border terminal can be reached from within Israel via Egged bus number 15 from Eilat’s central bus station. Privately owned Israeli cars and rental cars may cross through the terminal. Rental cars from Israel may only stay in the confines of the Egyptian border terminal (this includes the parking lots of the Hilton Taba and Mövenpick Taba Resort) while privately owned Israeli cars may travel within the Sinai after a change of license plates, registration and the payment of a tax.
Services within the terminal includes drive in stations for those traveling by car, money exchange, duty free shop and a cafeteria.
Abydos is one of the most ancient cities of Upper Egypt, about 11 km (6 miles) west of the Nile. The Egyptian name was Abdju, “the hill of the symbol or reliquary,” in which the sacred head of Osiris was preserved. The Greeks named it Abydos, like the city on the Hellespont; the modern Arabic name is el-‘Araba el Madfuna.
Considered one of the most important archaeological sites of ancient Egypt, the sacred city was the site of many ancient temples, including a royal necropolis where early pharaohs were entombed. Abydos became notable for the Great Temple built by Seti I, which contains a tunnel displaying a chronological list showing cartouche names of every dynastic pharaoh of Egypt from the first, Narmer/Menes, until the pharaohs of the last dynasty.
HISTORY: The history of Abydos begins in the late prehistoric age, it having been founded by the rulers of the Predynastic period, whose town, temple and tombs have been found there. The kings of the First dynasty, and some of the Second dynasty, were also buried in Abydos, and the temple was renewed and enlarged by them. Great forts were built on the desert behind the town by three kings of the Second dynasty. The temple and town continued to be rebuilt at intervals down to the times of the 30th dynasty, and the cemetery at Abydos was used continuously. In the 12th dynasty a gigantic tomb was cut in the rock by Senusret III. Seti I, in the 19th dynasty, founded a great new temple to the south of Abydos in honor of the ancestral kings of the early dynasties; this was finished by Ramses II, who also built a lesser temple of his own. Merneptah added a great Hypogeum of Osiris to the temple of Seti. The latest building was a new temple of Nectanebo I in the 30th dynasty. From Ptolemaic times the place continued to decay and no later works are known.
The temple of Seti I – The raised reliefs in this magnificent temple are some of the finest quality in all Egypt, incredibly beautiful and detailed. Although the lighting in the interior of the temple can be somewhat gloomy in places, the reliefs still stand out as exceptional. Visitors to Abydos should note that the reliefs on the outer portions of the temple were completed during the reign of Ramses II, and are of a much lower quality than those further inside the complex. (Ramses moved the best craftsmen to work on his own temples after his father’s death). Also worth noting is that the Kings List, or Pharaohs List is somewhat selective, omitting for example Akhenaten (the heretic king), Hatshepsut (a female pharaoh), and the reigns of the kings during the Hyskos occupation. If you are interested in ancient egyptian history and art, this temple is more than worth the trip to Abydos.
A principal purpose of the temple was the adoration of the early kings, whose cemetery, to which it forms a great funerary chapel, lies behind it. The long list of the kings of the principal dynasties carved on a wall is known as the “Table of Abydos” (showing the cartouche name of every dynastic pharaoh of Egypt from the first, Narmer/Menes, until the pharaohs of the last dynasty). There were also seven chapels for the worship of the king and principal gods. At the back were large chambers connected with the Osiris worship and, probably from those chambers led out the great Hypogeum for the celebration of the Osiris mysteries. Excepting the list of kings and a panegyric on Ramses II, the subjects are not historical but mythological. The work is celebrated for its delicacy and refinement.
The temple was originally 550 ft. long, but the forecourts are scarcely recognizable, and the part in good state is about 250 ft. long and 350 ft. wide, including the wing at the side.
Ramses II temple – The adjacent temple of Ramses II was much smaller and simpler in plan, but it had a fine historical series of scenes around the outside, of which the lower parts remain. A list of kings, similar to that of Seti I, formerly stood here, but the fragments were removed by the French consul and sold to the British Museum. The outside of the temple was decorated with scenes of the Battle of Kadesh.
The Royal Tombs of the earliest dynasties were placed about a mile back on the great desert plain, in a place now known as Umm el-Qa’ab.
By train – Most travelers arrive at Abydos by train north from Luxor, alighting at the station for the town of al-Balyana. The fare is approximately LE 52, first class. From the station, either the tourist police or a police-escorted taxi will take you to the site of the Ramesside temples. Depending on local conditions and police levels of business, you should be able to spend at least a couple of hours visiting the site.
By road – You can go by taxi in the police-escorted convoy to Abydos in one day, often including Dendera as a stop-off point. Negotiated prices should be in the range of LE 200-300 for the hire of the taxi, with maybe 2-3 passengers. This manner of visiting, however, normally results in very restricted time at the sites and visiting the temples (usually less than an hour). Also available are minibus tours from agents in Luxor, usually with a local guide of variable quality. These also travel with the escorted convoy, and can be a reasonable deal for a small group if you haggle, especially in off-season. Expect to pay around LE 300 – 400 per person, dependent on size of your group, time of year and your haggling skills. The major UK, US and European holiday companies also offer escorted tours to Abydos, but these can be expensive.
Update: Since December 2008, the Egyptian government has put a stop to convoy escorted trips to Abydos and other sites in Egypt.
Luxor is the premier travel destination in Upper (southern) Egypt and the Nile Valley. In antiquity, the city, known as Thebes by the Greeks, was the dynastic and religious capital of Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom Egypt. Today, it has much to offer the traveler, from vast temples, to ancient royal tombs, via spectacular desert and river scenery and a bustling modern life.
The modern city of Luxor is on the east bank. This area has the train and bus stations, most of the hotels and restaurants, some museums, tourist shops and so on.
Visitors usually stay on the east bank and travel across to the west bank of the Nile, to the Valley of the Kings and the mortuary temples of the pharaohs.
To do in Luxor Egypt
A ballon flight is the latest tourist craze in Luxor, Egypt. It offers an unbeatable view of the city, the west bank and the Nile river. As the ballon gently rises into the dawn sky, tourists witness the beauty of the early morning Egyptian sun rising over the east bank, illuminating the city and mountains, and enjoy magnificent vistas of the Temple of Karnak, the Temple of Hatshepsut, the Colossi of Memnon and the Ramesseum. In the distance, the hidden Valley of the Queens rests peacefully in the mountains while the farming villages below wake up and begin the day.
The Karnak Sound and Light Show is another favorite tourist attraction. The show begins as visitors walk along the Avenue of the Sphinxes, passing through the towering facade into the Great Court. Walking through the complex, a booming Pharaoh’s voice narrates the history of Upper Egypt and the New Kingdom as the various additions left by rulers such as King Tutankhamun, Ramses II and Queen Hatshepsut are illuminated against the night sky. The second part of the Sound and Light Show at Karnak finds you seated overlooking the sacred lake as the temple complex is illuminated and the story of Egypt continues. Please note, while the show is suitable for all ages, younger children might be frightened by the darkness of the area and the roaring sound of the speakers. The ground in and around Karnak is uneven and sandy, so please wear comfortable, flat walking shoes.
One of the best displays of antiquities in Egypt is located at the Luxor Museum. They include a carefully selected assortment of items from the Theban temples and necropolis, including pottery, jewelry, furniture, statues and stelae.
There are a number of exhibits from Tutankhamen, including a cow-goddess head from his tomb on the first floor and his funerary boats on the second floor. A superb statue of Thutmose III (circa 1436 BC) is one of the best pieces in the entire collection. Another splendid attraction features 283 sandstone blocks arranged as a wall from the ninth pylon of the Karnak Temple.
The east bank of Luxor has two of the most impressive temples in Upper Egypt – Karnak and Luxor. Visitors walk along the magnificent Avenue of Sphinxes to enter the immense complex with its massive facade. Karnak (Ipet-isut ) was a city for the priests of Amen within the ancient city of Thebes. Various well known pharaohs, especially those of the 18th and 19th dynasties provided for the construction of pylons, collonades, obelisks, chapels, granaries and administrative buildings. The deeper you go into the complex, the further back in time you will travel, with the oldest ruins dating back over 3,000 years.
Walking through the Great Court into the Great Hypostyle Hall, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the 134 columns towering above you like an ancient forest. At the rear of the complex is the sacred lake where centuries ago pharaohs and their offerings to the gods were purified.
New entrance to Luxor Temple In the past, the site was entered from the west side, by the Nile, which created crowds of people near the Nile. Now the SCA has built a new entrance on the east side, with a new parking lot and an X-ray machine. There is also a new gift shop and café for people to relax and enjoy after visiting the temple. The buildings and police station that were located north of the temple have been removed, and for the first time everyone can see Luxor Temple as a whole from the north side.
NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN LUXOR EGYPT
* At present the new airport in Luxor receives 4500 tourists per hour and is able to absorb any increase in tourists up to the year 2018. The train station has been upgraded to receive 5 trainloads of tourists a day, and a network of highways has been established to link the city of Luxor to Cairo, Hurghada ,Aswan and Mersa Alam. * Medical facilities have been established and existing ones upgraded, as well as state of the art ambulance services on the ground and on the Nile. * An IMAX theater is currently under construction as well as other entertainment venues. * Through the Luxor portal on the internet, prospective tourists can now visit many of the historic sites on line, as well as book their hotel rooms and plan their travel itineraries. * Currently there are 50 tourist hotels, 35 local hotels, 41 restaurants, 177 travel agencies and 180 floating hotels. 18 more hotels are under construction as well as 5 resorts. * Looking to the future, the ultimate goal is increasing the hotel capacity in Luxor such that within twenty years from today there will be enough rooms to accommodate 4 million tourists a year. * A new marina is under construction that will alleviate many of the problems of the existing system for docking the floating hotels. * There are several new areas being developed around Luxor to increase the number of hotel rooms dramatically. One area is south of the Tod Plateau, this lies on 1500 feddans and will have 10,000 rooms upon completion. Another area is east of the railway station that lies on 500 feddans and will have 2000 rooms. A third area being developed is North Zinia and it is 145 feddans. * Several areas are planned for development on the West Bank, close to Hassan Fathy village and Modira village. * Another area being developed close to the Avenue of the Sphynx will house 1000 rooms, and this is a joint project between Ain Shams University and Clemson University. * There are also plans for developing safari tourism, as well as plans for building a new conference center and a new entertainment complex, complete with restaurants and new taxi services and group transportation. luxoregypt.org
Cairo is the largest city in Africa and Egypt’s most populous city. Its official name is Al-Qahira, although the name informally used by most Egyptians is “Masr” (Egyptian Arabic name for Egypt), from the original name of Egypt’s first Arab capital Fustat, Misr al-Fustat, “City of the Tents”. The capital of the Arab Republic of Egypt has a population of about 7.7 million people, while its metropolitan area encompasses about 17.285 million people, making it the sixteenth most populous metropolitan area in the world.
Cairo is located on the banks and islands of the Nile River in the north, immediately south of the point where the river leaves its desert bound valley and breaks into two branches into the low-lying Nile Delta region.
The oldest part of the city is east of the river. There, Cairo gradually spreads west, engulfing the agricultural lands next to the Nile. These western areas, built on the model of Paris by Ismail the Magnificent in the mid-19th century, are marked by wide boulevards, public gardens, and open spaces. The older eastern section of the city is very different, having grown up haphazardly over the centuries. Old Cairo is filled with small lanes and crowded tenements. While western Cairo is dominated by the government buildings and modern architecture, the eastern half is filled with hundreds of ancient mosques that act as landmarks and give the city its appellative of “City of the Thousand Minarets”.
A journey through Cairo is a virtual time travel: from the Pyramids, Saladin’s Citadel, the Virgin Mary’s Tree, the Sphinx, and Heliopolis, to Al-Azhar, the Mosque of Amr ibn al-A’as, Saqqara, the Hanging Church, and the Cairo Tower. Source: Wikipedia
Cairo is of course most famous for the majestic Pyramids and the Sphinx, located on the western edge in the Giza plateau. The Pyramids of Giza are the most visited attraction in Egypt. Standing in the shadow of their greatness, it’s easy to see why. While there are actually over one hundred pyramids in Egypt, the Pyramids of Giza are by far the most famous. Time fears the Pyramids, the only standing of the original Seven Wonders of the World. The view of the three pyramids (Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure) rising from the sands with the Cairo skyline in the background is magnificent, the photo opportunity of a lifetime. Most tours allow visitors to enter inside one pyramid, but this is not recommended for people with claustrophobia.
A short drive across the plateau finds you standing at the feet of the Sphinx, eternally facing east to the rising Sun God Re. The Sphinx has come to represent the essence of Egypt for thousands of years. With the body of a lion and the head of a king, there is much mystery and legend inspired by its symbolic nature.
Behind the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Keops) is the Solar Boat Museum, housing the reconstructed funerary boat of Khufu, whose dismantled pieces were found in 1954 buried on that very site. The visitor can walk around the breadth and length of the boat for a stunning close up view. The Solar Boat is fully capable of navigating, and ropes and not a single nail (Egyptians hadn’t invented nails yet) are used to keep the pieces together. It may have been used only once, on the pharaoh’s ceremonial final journey.
After sunset, you can see the Pyramids of Giza illuminated against the night sky as the Sphinx tells you its story during the famous Sound and Light Show at the Pyramids. The one hour show begins with the illumination of the Sphinx who narrates the history of the Pyramids and their builders. Using laser beams and light projections on the walls of the Mummification Temple, desert sands, Pyramid walls and the Sphinx itself, a condensed story of Egypt unfolds. The accompanying soundtrack complements the surroundings and the voice of the Sphinx is suitably booming and mystical!
Cairo tours also include visits to the great necropolis of Saqqara and to the ancient city of Memphis, the former capital of Lower Egypt. Saqqara is home to the world’s oldest pyramid. Built by the venerated and deified vizier Imhotep for pharaoh Djoser in 2650BC, the famous Step Pyramid is the first large scale man made structure in stone. The recently inaugurated Imhotep Museum is a modern facility with a fine collection of Old Kingdom artifacts.
Memphis, founded around 3,100 BC, is the legendary city of Menes, the King who united Upper and Lower Egypt. Tradition says that Menes founded the city by creating dykes to protect the area from Nile floods. Afterwards, this great city of the Old Kingdom became the administrative and religious center of Egypt. In fact, so dominating was the city during this era referred to as the Memphite period, it became a cosmopolitan community and was probably one of the largest and most important cities in the ancient world.
Memphis offers splendid views of the Nile with its surrounding vegetation and the Great Pyramids in the desert background. The highlight is a visit to the fallen colossus of Ramses II.
Dahshur is located at the southernmost area of Memphis and contains a number of pyramid complexes and monuments. It is noteworthy for being the site that best demonstrates the change from the “step” pyramid to the “true” pyramid that occurred during the 3rd and 4th Dynasties. You will also see Snefru’s Bent Pyramid and have the opportunity to view the interior of the Red Pyramid.
Housing 165,000 Egyptian artifacts, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo attracts millions of visitors a year. The highlights are the priceless treasures of King Tutankhamen and the Royal Mummies Room. King Tut’s 6 gold gilded coffins dominate the main hall, while his magnificent death mask is the must-see item of the day. At the Royal Mummies Room, you can see the mummies of many Egyptian rulers, including the Great Ramses II and Thuthmose III, the “Napoleon of Egypt”. Throughout the rest of the museum you will find countless ancient Egyptian artifacts dating back thousands of years. The museum was built in 1902, meant to exhibit around 10,000 antiquities. It has no air conditioner and the objects in exhibition are not properly labeled.
A brand new Grand Egyptian Museum is scheduled to be ready by 2011. It will be located next to the Great Pyramids, right on the edge of the desert and it will transform the visitor’s experience.
Islamic Cairo Tours
The Alabaster Mosque at the Citadel of Salah el-Din sits atop a limestone hill overlooking Cairo and is the most important mosque in the city. Still used a place of worship today by the Muslims of Cairo, the architectural masterpiece opens its doors to visitors of all faiths. The lower part of the Mosque is clad inside and out in translucent alabaster, while the top part is constructed from the limestone cladding removed from the Pyramids of Giza.
Legend has it that Salah ad-Din chose the site for its healthy air. The story goes that he hung pieces of meat up all around Cairo. The meat spoilt within a day everywhere except in the Citadel area, where it remained fresh for several days.
The Mosque and Madrassa (school) of Sultan Hassan was built between 1356 and 1363, and is believed to be one of the finest examples of Mamluk architecture in Cairo. The mosque is also considered one of the largest, not only in Cairo but in the whole Islamic world, measuring some 492 feet (150 meters) long and 118 feet (36 meters) high. The highest minaret is 223 feet (68 meters) tall.
At Khan el Khalili bazaar, tourists stroll through the maze of streets and try their luck bargaining with the shop owners for souvenir to bring back home.
Coptic Cairo Tours:
The Hanging Church (The Church of the Virgin Mary) is built into the walls of the Water Gate of the Roman fortress and is possibly the oldest Christian church in Egypt, dating to around the 4th-century. It was built on top of one of the old fortress gatehouses with its nave suspended over the passage. Dedicated to Virgin Mary and properly known as Sitt Mariam, or St. Mary, it is also one of Cairo’s most beautiful churches.
The Monastery and Church of St George is actually not an old church, dating only from 1909, but there has been a church in Coptic Cairo dedicated to the Martyr since the 10th-century. It is also one of the few remaining circular churches in the Middle East.
According to tradition, Abu Serga is one of the places where the Holy Family rested after fleeing to Egypt from Israel’s King Herod. At the turn of the century this little church, which dates from the 10th-century, was the most important pilgrimage spot in Old Cairo for visiting Christian tourists. There are 24 marble columns lining the central court, and a series of 12th-century icons depicting the 12 apostles.
Ben Ezra is one of the oldest synagogues in Egypt. Set in a shady garden, it was built on the site of 4th-century Christian church, which the Copts had to sell in the 9th-century to enable them to pay taxes. The synagogue was severely damaged by Arabs after the 1967 war with Israel, but it has been almost completely renovated.
The Cairo Tower (Borj al -Qahira) is the highest tower (187 meters) in Egypt and offers the best view of the city, both the ancient and modern districts. Located on Gezira Island (Zamalek), the Cairo Tower has the form of a latticework tube that fans out slightly at the top, a harmonious blend of ancient Egyptian and Islamic design elements. Like the ancient obelisks, the structure, completed in 1961, is built of granite. The Cairo Tower opens every day from 9:00 in the morning until 1:00 the next morning, but the best time to visit is at sunset, when the Nile below flows in the golden glow that bathes the entire city from the cliffs of Mokattam Hills in the east to the Great Pyramids of Giza to the west. At that time, dinner in the 360 degrees revolving restaurant is a totally relaxing and luxurious experience.
Tip from INFOHUB: Egyptians consider the Mokattam Mountain to be the only real mountain in Cairo, though many outsiders would consider it more of a hill. It is four or five hundred feet high and lays immediately to the east of the city. Although the Mokattam Mountain is not listed in most of the travel guides, it is a very interesting place to visit, and a great location to scope out Cairo. Mokattam Corniche is a unique place to walk and sit, as one can see a very large part of Cairo and all about it. It’s free to go there, and you’ll find plenty of decent cafes to relax after the ascent to the top. The Mokattam Corniche is definitely a photographer paradise.
Pharaonic Village Tour – Dr. Hassan Ragab, already famous for his rediscovery of the ancient techniques for making papyrus, created this “live museum” of ancient Egyptian life where visitors can sail on a network of canals and view the remarkably realistic recreation of the past.
Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62) – Arguably the most famous tomb in the Valley and the scene of Howard Carter’s 1922 discovery of the almost intact royal burial of the young king. Compared to most of the other royal tombs, however, the tomb of Tutankhamun is barely worth visiting, being much smaller and with limited decoration. Visitors with limited time would be best to spend their time elsewhere. Requires a separate ticket for admission from the other tombs.
Tomb of Horemheb (KV57) – the tomb of the last king of the 18th Dynasty. Rarely open for visitors, but it is large and superbly decorated.
Tomb of Thutmose III (KV34) – one of the most remote tombs in the Valley, located at the far end of the Valley and up several flights of steps to gain entry. The climb is worth it, though. The tomb has a large oval burial chamber. The decoration is unique, in a simple, pleasing style that resembles modern “stick figures” and the cursive writing of the time.
Tomb of Seti I (KV17) – also known as Belzoni’s tomb, the tomb of Apis, or the tomb of Psammis, son of Necho, is usually regarded as the finest tomb in the valley, with well executed relief work and paintings.
Tomb of Merneptah (KV8) – son of Ramses II, Merneptah’s tomb extends 160 metres and has suffered greatly from flash flooding of the Valley over the millennia. The paintings and reliefs that have survived, however, are generally in good condition.
Tomb of Ramses III (KV11) – one of the largest tombs in the valley, and often open to the public. Its location and superb decoration usually makes this one of the tombs visited by tourists.
Tomb of Ramses VI (KV9) – this tomb was originally started by Ramses V, but usurped after his death by his successor Ramses VI, who enlarged the tomb and had his own image and cartouches carved in over his predecessor’s. The tomb is one of the most interesting in the Valley, with one of the most complete and best preserved decorative schemes surviving.
Tomb of the Sons of Ramses II (KV5) – Ramses enlarged the earlier small tomb of an unknown Eighteenth Dynasty noble for his numerous sons. With 120 known rooms and excavation work still underway, it is probably the largest tomb in the valley. Originally opened and robbed in antiquity, it is a low-lying structure that has been particularly prone to the flash floods that sometimes hit the area, which washed in tones of debris and material over the centuries, ultimately concealing its vast size. It is not currently open to the public.
Since the 1980s, Hurghada has become the principal bathing resort on the Red Sea, visited by American, European and Arabs. Holiday villages and first class hotels provide excellent aquatic sport facilities.
What used to be a small fishing village is now a fully developed resort that stretches for about 40 km along the Red Sea shore, attracting package holiday tourists mostly from Europe, notably Russians, Czechs and Germans. Many restaurants, bars and shops, small pubs and internet cafes are available all over Hurghada. Mobile internet in Egypt (covered perfectly in Hurghada and all around Red Sea) is available for low rates from the three major mobile networks; Vodafone, Mobinil and Etisalat. You may need to check the coverage in your current stay.
Known as a party town, with its many clubs, life in Hurghada begins at night. Nearly every hotel has its own disco. The most famous ones at the moment are “Calypso” and “Papas Beach”. Renowned for belly dancing, Arabic and Nubian folklore, is “Alf Leila Wa Leila” (“One thousand and one nights”). It is a big open-air area, which offers a bit of everything.
Hurghada has become an international center for aquatic sports like windsurfing, sailing, deep-sea fishing, swimming and, above all, snorkeling and diving. The unique underwater gardens offshore are some of the finest in the world, justifiably famous among divers. The warm waters here are ideal for many varieties of rare fish and coral reefs, which may also be observed through glass bottom boats.
The city provides a gateway to prime diving sites throughout the Red Sea. Its central location provides favorable access to very famous dive sites. In addition, Hurghada is known for providing access to many uninhabited offshore reefs and islands. The waters around the islands are popular with divers from all over the world because of the chance to spot several kinds of sharks, including hammerheads and oceanic whitetips.
TOUR ATTRACTIONS: The main reason to visit Hurghada is for the beautiful Red Sea, excellent for diving or snorkeling. If you aren’t licensed to dive, it is often possible to snorkel and see incredible coral reefs and hundreds of varieties of tropical fish just 10 meters from the beach. Again, either your hotel will have dive escorts on site, or they can arrange a scuba diving expedition with guides. In late March, the water is still quite cold (21 Celsius), so a wet suit is necessary, and even snorkeling in a bathing suit is too cold after about 10 minutes. It is also windy in late March; sustained 20 MPH are common. Make sure your beach resort hotel provides wind screens on the Beach.
• Sharm El Naga – a village around 40 km south of Hurghada. Its beach contains possibly the most beautiful reef cliff in the region. • El Gouna – an artificially-created and privately-owned luxury hotel town, about 25 km north of Hurghada. Its beauty comes not only from its quietness and cleanliness, but also from the fact that the town consists of several islands separated by channels and connected by bridges. Besides 14 hotels and 2 marinas, there are also three hundred private villas and apartments, and some five hundred more are under construction. It is sometimes called Egypt’s Venice. • Al-Mahmya – a tourist beachfront camp on the protected Giftun island, 45 minutes by boat from Hurghada. • Soma Bey – a luxurious place, with crystal-clear water, situated 45 km south of Hurghada, with various hotels including Sheraton, Robinson Club and Hyatt Regency.
TO DO: Hurghada offers many activities not to be found anywhere else on Earth. Quad-biking hundreds of miles into the Sahara desert for tea with a Bedouin tribe, then camel-riding across Biblical plains to see remote and ancient wonders; diving and snorkeling around a vibrant and colourful coral reef; boat trips to the unpopulated Big and Little Gifton islands; swimming in the warmest and saltiest sea in the world (the Red Sea is more saline than even the Dead Sea); good shopping; excellent and varied cuisine from across the world.
Those new to Egypt will find Karkaday (a drink made from an infusion of hibiscus, served hot or cold and reputed to have many health benefits) and Chi (local version of tea, usually served in a glass) offered everywhere. Both are delicious, and will usually come replete with a smoke on a “sheesha” pipe, known in the West as a “Hookah”. Sheesha’s are used for smoking molasses tobacco in various flavours, with the smoke passing through water before inhalation through a long tube attached to the bowl. Although they may resemble a device used to smoke illicit substances in the west, (i.e, a bong), sheesha contains nothing illegal.
Visits from Hurghada to Luxor are popular, including overnight tours to the Valley of the Kings and the Sound and Light Show at Karnak. Sharm-El-Sheikh and the Sinai peninsula (containing two of the oldest Christian temples in the world, St Catherine’s and St Anthony’s) is but a short hop away.
ARRIVAL AT HURGHADA
By plane – Hurghada can be reached from Cairo in an hour by air for about $230 round trip (Egypt Air). There are also direct charters from Europe in the winter high season. From the airport in Hurghada, you will probably take a shuttle provided by your hotel.
By boat – International Fast Ferries runs fast boats to Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai peninsula, currently running four times weekly. The ride takes 1.5 hours and costs 250/450 LE one-way/return for foreigners. Warning: this ride is notoriously bumpy and prone to cancellations.
By bus – Your hotel or a travel agency associated with your hotel will be able to arrange excursions to nearby attractions, including Luxor, about 4 to 5 hours by bus, and your tour operator will be required to leave and return at designated times in order to travel in a police escorted convoy (of approximately 150 other tour buses.)
Source: Wikitravel Content available under Creative Commons
The sheer weight of history to be found in Egypt is awe inspiring; an experience that is much more significant if you are there with your life long partner. The longevity and magic of Egypt make it the perfect place for a holiday with your loved one, as well as the height of romance as a destination for your honeymoon. Egypt has the weather, the monuments and the excitement to make your trip the most amazing experience of your life, and if there’s one holiday where you want to have the best of everything, it’s this one. So we count down the top five luxury places to stay so that you can get the most from your Honeymoon in Egypt.
5. The Nile Palace, Luxor Luxor, in southern Egypt, is the doorway to the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. The city is built on the ruins of the ancient city of Thebes, and is steeped in legends and wonders. This makes Luxor a hub of activity and history, and the Nile Palace hotel is in easy walking distance of it all. Overlooking the Nile itself, the hotel provides for all of your Egypt honeymoon needs. The luxury gym and health club give you the chance to stay active while away, and the outdoor pool allows for romantic dips under the star-lit Egyptian sky at night. The restaurants are designed to pamper and delight you, the bars, to calm and relax you, and the rooms to make your luxury honeymoon in Egypt romantic and enchanting.
4. Oberoi Philae Cruise on the Nile Cruising down the Nile conjures up images of thin reed boats tacking back and forth while trailing nets or cargo, but nothing could be further from the reality if you are looking for a luxury honeymoon in Egypt. We suggest the Nile cruiser Philae, a 58 suite ship designed to take you up the Nile in style and complete luxury. The suites have private shower and bathroom facilities, balconies and sun loungers, and deliberately have adults in mind, with little or no provision for children (no screaming kids to ruin your romantic trip together). The ship also has a bar and restaurant, appointed with luxury in mind and exquisite food on offer.
3. Kasr Ibrim, Lake Nasser For those who want history and a cruising experience, but in a more out of the way setting, cruising on Lake Nasser is a must. The Kasr Ibrim is appointed in a similar way to the Philae in terms of luxury and convenience, catering to your every honeymoon need while in Egypt. It also stops at one of the lake’s recovered historical sites each day (the lake is man made, and the sites were moved stone by stone to avoid their destruction) with a launch that takes visitors who want to go to each site. Holidaying on the Kasr Ibrim gives you a different take on the idea of a honeymoon to Egypt, mixing the history of the area with fewer tourist traps for luxury that’s a little off the beaten track.
2. The Al Baben Shall, Siwa Oasis For a completely secluded and authentic luxury honeymoon in Egypt, try The Al Baben, a boutique hotel by the Siwa Oasis close to the Egyptian sand sea. The oasis has been a stop over for travellers for many thousands of years, and the hotel is tucked away in the walls of Shali, at the very heart of the area. Enjoying your honeymoon in this part of Egypt means having a truly Egyptian experience; rooms are luxurious but with a rustic feel, and the rooftop restaurant serves exquisite regional food. This hotel is for those who want to be more adventurous in their honeymoon choice and wish to immerse themselves in a luxurious, but uniquely Egyptian, trip.
1. The Mena House Oberoi, Cairo To many people, a luxury honeymoon in Egypt means only one thing: Cairo. The mystique of the city, the power of the Pyramids at Giza and the opulence available since the time of the Pharaohs make it the perfect honeymoon destination, and the Mena House Oberoi is the peak of this perfection. A luxury hotel since 1869, it has seen its fair share of royalty and heads of state, and the luxurious suites and lounges are a testament to its exclusive history. There is 24-hour room and butler service for those who want to stay in, and excellent bars and restaurants for those who don’t. The hotel also has one of the most magical views in all of Egypt; the outdoor pool is in the shadow of the Pyramids themselves – breathtaking when set against the background of an African sky. The hotel and the experience create an Egyptian luxury honeymoon that you’ll remember as the trip of a lifetime.
About the Author: Joanne Hensman is an Egypt holiday and honeymoon experts for key2holidays, an online tour operator specialising in Egypt andHoneymoons in Egypt , as well as holidays to Australia, Cuba, the Caribbean, Italy, the Far East, the Maldives, Mauritius and the Seychelles, Dubai and the Arabian Gulf. Key2holidays has a dedicated team of experienced travel consultants to share their knowledge and help you to plan and book your ideal holiday.
There are three types of Egyptian visa:
* Tourist Visa – usually valid for a period not exceeding three months and granted on either a single or multiple entry basis (visas are not chargeable when visiting the Red Sea resorts of Taba and Sharm-el-Sheik)
* Entry Visa – required for any foreigner arriving in Egypt for purposes other than tourism, e.g. work, study, etc. The possession of a valid Entry Visa is needed to complete the residence procedure in Egypt. Entry visas may be obtained from Egyptian Diplomatic and Consular Missions Abroad or from the Entry Visa Department at the Travel Documents, Immigration and Nationality Administration (TDINA).
* Transit Visa
Non-Egyptian travelers are required to have a valid passport for 6 months from date of entry and at least 1 week beyond the expected date of exit.
Citizens of many countries may obtain a visa on arrival at major points of entry. The fees for a single-entry visa are as follows: * UK citizens: £15 * US citizens: US$15 * Australian citizens: A$45 * Canadian citizens: C$25 * other countries: $15
Please check with your nearest Egyptian Consular mission for more details concerning visa regulations applying to your citizenship.
Citizens of the following countries are currently required to have a pre-arrival visa:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chechnya, Croatia, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Lebanon, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldavia, Montenegro, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Tadzhikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and all African countries.
Residents of the countries above may apply for a visa through their nearest Egyptian Consulate or Embassy.
Visas for Indian tourists are processed within two days by the Egyptian Consulate in the city and the embassy in New Delhi. Indian tourists can also avail the emergency visa on arrival in Egypt.
Visitors entering Egypt at the overland border post of Taba or at Sharm el Sheikh airport can be exempted from a visa and granted a free fourteen day residence permit to visit the Aqaba coast of the Sinai peninsula, including Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab and St. Catherine’s Monastery.
Those in possession of a residence permit in Egypt are not required to obtain an entry visa if they leave the country and return to it within the validity of their residence permit or within six months, whichever period is less.
Egypt Visa and Passport requirements for United States citizens
An Egypt visa may be obtained upon entry from the Entry Visa Department at the Travel Documents, Immigration and Nationality Administration or most major ports of entry. Entry visa is required for any foreigner arriving in Egypt for purposes other than tourism (e.g. work, study). Tourist visas (single-/multiple-entry) are valid for 90 days. HIV test required for study and work permits. Dependents are no longer exempt—spouses must also get tested, as well as any children aged 15 or older. Students are exempt from visa fees. For specific requirements, consult the:You need a valid passport and a Visa to enter Egypt.
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt 3521 International Court, NW Washington, DC 20008 Tel: (202/895-5400)
or the nearest Consulate General: CA (415/346-9700) IL (312/828-9162) NY (212/759-7120) TX (713/961-4915)
The currency exchange market can be confusing and its movement is hard to understand at times, so it’s important to do some planning before you actually exchange money for an international trip. With some help you can develop a strategy that ensures you receive a real time rate without extra fees and surcharges. Companies that exchange currencies are in business to make a profit and they have engineered a system where they can maximize profits quietly. If you understand how companies make money from exchanging currencies, you can reduce your exchange costs and increase the amount of money you can utilize on your trip. There are few useful tips that will help you exchange money like a professional.
The first tip is to contact a professional currency broker. A professional broker will offer you a real time rate that includes a small profit and will supply you with useful information about the currency pair you’re exchanging. A broker will help you average your exchanges while you’re planning the trip, which can offset any sudden value surges in your currency pair. Averaging is done by exchanging small amounts of money at different times. Once you complete a transaction, a broker will send your currency overnight using a secure service. Make sure you get a receipt, so you can compare rates in the future and exchange any remaining money back to your currency when the trip has ended.
The second tip is to avoid airport exchange merchants. Airport merchants will post an inflated daily rate, because the merchant knows he has a captive audience that needs currency for transportation costs and other minor purchases. An airport merchant may add an additional 25% to the rate to cover his expensive rent and to make a profit. Exchanging money in hotels is also expensive. The hotel knows you like the convenience of exchanging money with them and add a hefty profit for their services.
The third tip is use banks to exchange currency only when you’re forced to use them while traveling. Commercial banks that have an international presence usually offer a better rate than smaller banks, because they can get a better real time rate. Banks also add a fee to every transaction, so you could end up paying a bank 10% profit for doing almost nothing. Credit card companies add extra fees to exchange transactions and they add a surcharge to trip purchases, which means they can make over 25% on your money.
One example of how banks and credit cards can make a quiet profit is when you’re planning to travel to exciting Egypt and you want to exchange U.S. Dollars for Egyptian Pounds. The bank may post a daily rate of 1.00 USD equals 5.4956 EGP, but when the bank actually exchanges the currency they get 6.8793 EGP for every Dollar they exchange, plus they add a transaction fee on every exchange.
Other travel tips Most countries limit the amount of cash you can carry through customs, so check with your broker and stay within the limit. Carry your cash in a money belt, leg pouch or hidden pocket that’s secure and out of sight and use hotel safes and other security measures when you arrive at your destination.
ForexTraders.com provided this article to help you save money for a trip abroad. For more information on currency trading, strategies, analysis and forex broker reviews, make sure to visit the site.
When buying tickets, women should line up with other women only In Egypt there are hardly any restrictions on foreign women. Yet there is a local custom that foreign ladies are expected to follow. Besides the fact that a lady has to be dressed discretely, a woman is supposed to line up only with other women. Queues for tickets or other things are almost always segregated. It’s not a bad thing, though, inasmuch as the lines are usually shorter. It will save you time if you go and buy tickets instead of your male travel mate. It applies to the other social situations as well. On buses, the driver may want you to be seated in the front with other women. On the metro lines, the first car is usually reserved for women.
Do NOT buy papyrus from the vendors in the tourist sites Expect to be followed and surrounded by lots of men inviting you to buy their original papyrus papers when going to most tourist sites. You should be aware that most papyri sold on the streets as well as in the markets and souvenir shops are fake. Real papyrus is made from the grass “Cyperus papyrus”. Straws from the grass are soaked in water for six days and then the straws are arranged in lines to form a sheet of paper. Later the straws are pressed together for six more days to become a sheet of papyrus paper. The false papyri sold on the streets are made from banana leaves. The easiest way to check whether the papyrus is fake or not is to crumble up the paper in your hand. If it breaks – it’s fake!
How to avoid getting lost in a foreign city Pick up a business card from your hotel when you check in. Even the best pathfinders get lost in a big city. With the card, you can hop into a cab and be home in minutes.
How to easily recognize tourist police troopers in Cairo Ever since the terrorist act that resulted in 68 tourist deaths in 1997, the Egyptian government has taken steps to curb violence against tourists by establishing the Antique and Tourist Police — a body that seemingly exists EVERYWHERE in Cairo. Have a look at them. They always ride camels. They can approach you and ask to pay some amount of money if you stay at the plateau of the pyramids longer than you are allowed to. Don’t be surprised, though! It is all about money. The visiting hours for the pyramids plateau are from 7 am to 7:30 pm. Admission fee for entering the plateau of the pyramids is 20 Egyptian pounds 3,5 USD. For the museum, the pyramids, and other sights you have to pay extra.
Negotiate a price before you set foot inside the taxi In general, taxis are always more expensive than public transportation. Many taxis have meters but many meters do not work properly. Even if the taxi has a meter, you should always ask how much will it cost to drive you and your luggage to your destination. Sometimes the taxi driver will say that he has to go by whatever the meter says. Sometimes this is true, but he should have some idea as to what the price should be, so make him give you an estimate. If the driver refuses to give you an estimate, do not get in the taxi.
And the two best value/price meals to eat in Egypt are… Koshari and Fetir are considered the fastfood of Egypt. They provide excellent value for their price, even compared to the traditional meal – Foul and Falafel.
What to do when in need of a washroom in Egypt Toilets in Egyptian tourist sites can be very dirty and smelly, and the locals are used to using the “hole” (modern things that flush are new to them). Besides that, you are unlikely to find toilet paper. That’s why hotels or Western fast food restaurants are your best bet if you find yourself in need of a washroom.
How to protect your valuables from theft while you sleep If you don’t trust the place you stay, put a day bag with your valuables in a pillow case and bring it to bed with you.
Bring an inflatable neck cushion for long bus or plane trips An item that’s invaluable on long night flights is an inflatable neck cushion (pillow). It is easy and takes practically no space when collapsed, but makes it so much easier to sleep. Some people might also consider carrying eye shades and ear plugs for sleeping.
How to help ease the pressure in your child’s ears when flying If you’re traveling with a toddler, remember to give your child a drink before taking off and landing. This helps balance the inner pressure with the outer one, and should keep his/her ears more comfortable. Even sucking on sweets will do.
How to avoid travel offer scams Using a credit card gives you the option of disputing fraudulent charges via your credit card company. By the way, never give your card number to someone asking for verification of your identity. Only give the number for actual orders. You should also be careful with overly generous offers. For instance, how many times have you received an email similar to this: “You have been specially selected to receive our SPECTACULAR LUXURY DREAM VACATION offer”? Read it several times. It does NOT say you have been awarded a free vacation! Why are you special? How is the trip spectacular? What elements make it a luxury trip? These are words designed to get your attention, not necessarily to accurately describe the services. When they say the hotel is five-star quality, ask for the name and address. End the deal if you can’t get concrete details. The same is true for airlines, tours, cruise ships, and any other products. Reputable companies do not hesitate to provide specific information. Check the company’s track record too! Your local authorities should have lists of firms that attract multiple complaints. A common scam is to sell “certification” as a travel agent. This, you’ll be told, allows you to take advantage of professional discounts. The problem with this one is that professional discounts are not obligatory. Suppliers decide when and to whom they extend price breaks. Why is something being offered to you free of charge? Many times, the idea is to provide a captive audience for hours of sales presentations. Do you want to spend your precious vacation time listening to these pitches? Be careful, since many are orchestrated to make you feel obligated, and most are very high-pressure presentations. The annual take on these rip-offs runs well into billions of U.S. dollars, and travel complaints routinely top the list of most common consumer problems. Be skeptical! Don’t trust the scammers with your money. Leave them empty-handed!