Community_discussions_small  

Comment

Just Returned from Egypt: Info on Hotel, Visa, Optionals, Money, and More

14 Nov 2010 gator717 said

Default_avatar
I took the Egypt & the Nile tour from Oct. 29th to Nov. 8th so feel free to ask any questions you may have. I have posted some of this information on the various threads but I decided to compile it to one thread. I am currently working on my travel blog since I had no time to work on it during the trip! I have just completed the blog on day 1 and I still have 9 more days to write about.

I absolutely loved this tour and I think Contiki did a wonderful job in organizing the trip. I am someone who studies Ancient Egyptian history as well as the culture and religion of Egypt so I am rather familiar with the country. I think Contiki covered the main sites rather well and kept everyone, from the history buffs to those just going to get a glimpse of the main sites, quite happy and content. Since I am so obsessed about Egypt, a fellow tour mate and I are already planning a return trip but we plan on doing an indepth and extensive 2 week trip! Regarding your tour guide/manager Sherif, he is extremely knowledgeable and he did such a great job organizing the trip and making sure everyone was having a great time and making the most of their journey in Egypt. Sherif also went out of his way in helping you organize things like if you were interested in taking a trip to downtown Cairo for the evening or if you were interested in visiting sites not included on the tour.

Please let me know if you have any questions!!! Smiler

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Visas:

The visa was very easy to get at the airport and it cost $15 USD (you must pay in dollars not Egyptian pounds). When you arrive, first go to the two visa stations and then make the line for the passport verification station. After getting your passport verified and stamped, you'll move to the baggage claim area where the Contiki rep will be waiting for you. Just look for the bright Contiki sign and the rep should be wearing a suit. If you get the same guy, he is very sweet and he'll answer any questions you have on the ride to the hotel. There were a few tour mates in the airport transfer so I wasn't by myself.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Victoria Hotel:

I found the Victoria Hotel to be a very decent, clean hotel! I spent two nights at the Victoria hotel and every thing I saw was clean. My sheets and the bath towels were super clean. The bathroom was stocked with plenty of toilet paper. The rooms were rather large and the beds were quite comfortable. The first night I had plenty of hot water but the other two days I had to wait a few minute for the water to heat up. The bathroom has a hair blow dryer which works really well. Actually, both the hotel and the cruise had blow dryers so I won't waste luggage space packing one. On this trip, I never used my power converter, just the plug adapter. My laptop, my phone charger, my camera charger, and my straightening iron are all set to be used between 110V and 240V therefore no need for the converter. If you check your chargers and a few of your electronics, you'll notice they can be used overseas without a converter. The hotel had two outlets and the cruise I believe had three. The hotel had a large lobby and a garden area where you can hang out with people.

Now the area around the hotel is not the best in Cairo but my tour mates and I did a lot of walking around the neighborhood and we never had any problems. We even took a long walk at night! There is a Mobil Gas Station with a convenience store, called On The Run, where you can buy all sorts of American snacks, water bottles, and other items you might need for the trip. I didn't stock up on water bottles because every morning Contiki gave us a large bottle (The week I was there, 10/29 to 11/7, it was rather cool in Egypt. We only had one warm day!). Across from the gas station was a great falafel shop were a bunch of my tour mates and I feasted on really inexpensive but delicious falafel sandwiches. Also, grabbing a taxi from the hotel to downtown Cairo was pretty easy and a few of my tour mates headed there to go bowling, shopping, and to eat at "American" restaurants.

There is no WiFi in the hotel or cruise but they do have computers and you could purchase internet access for thirty minutes at a time. I don't remember the rates since I had my BlackBerry with an international plan and used that to access the internet and contact my family and friends. I did bring my mini laptop but I just used that to upload and back up my pictures every night.

As for the breakfast provided at the hotel, it was a pretty good breakfast. They had a selection of breads, cheeses, eggs, and juice. They also had coffee and tea.


Another note, you can exchange currency at the hotel for a very good rate!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Optional Tours:


Below is a list of the optional tours and I am sorry if I can't remember the prices at the moment. I have the prices listed on a paper that is somewhere in my luggage (yes I arrived a week ago and I still haven't unpacked!!). Also, a few of the optional tours were paid together so I don't have the individual prices.

On the first night, you pay for the Abu Simbel tour, the Light & Sound Show, and the mandatory $25 tip. I paid for this in US dollars and it totaled $317 with the Abu Simbel being the most expensive at $260 something dollars. Everyone on the tour did Abu Simbel and it was worth every penny. As someone who studies Ancient Egyptian history and plans on traveling to Egypt a few more times, this is a definite highlight and one of the most amazing sites in Egypt. In my humble opinion, I find the Temple of Ramses II and Queen Nefertari at Abu Simbel to be more impressive than the pyramids. It is just not the temples themselves but the story of how they were moved to higher ground when the Aswan High Dam was built and Lake Nasser was created. One of the reasons the tour is a bit expensive is that you need to fly from Aswan to Abu Simbel so the price includes the round trip airfare. Regarding the Light & Sound Show, 29 out of 36 tour mates did this optional show. I found the light portion of the show to be amazing since it was definitely great to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx all lit up in different colors. The narration is a bit cheesy but we all got a good laugh and it provides for some good memories. Everyone who went did not have any regrets since again, seeing the Pyramids all lit up is amazing. The $25 tip covers the tip given to the bus drivers, Nile Cruise managers, those who handle our luggage, etc. This does not cover the tip for the tour manager (please see note below regarding this).

On the second day, the optional tours were the Mummy Room at the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities (100 LE), the camel caravan by the pyramids, the official group picture, and an Egyptian lunch. I'm not quite sure how many visited the mummy room but those that did enjoyed the visit and at times got a good scare. You get to see the mummies of various pharaohs (Ramses II, Ramses III, Amenhotep III and a lot more) but these mummies are not wrapped up!! You can see their hair, eye lashes, nails, and with one mummy you can see his eyes!!! The ticket also covers the mummy animal room where you'll see various animals like dogs, cats, and goats mummified. This optional tour you pay it at the museum if you are interested in visiting the mummy room. I paid $31 US dollars for the camel caravan, the group photo, and the Egyptian lunch. For the camel caravan, you get to ride a camel out to the dessert and take some amazing, unobstructed pictures of the pyramids including a picture of when the three pyramids line up. Everyone did this tour and while a few were a bit scared, no one fell off! As for the group picture, I purchased it because I thought it was a nice memory but not everyone purchased it. I look at it now and I laugh at how happy and well rested we all looked that first day!! (You don't sleep much on this trip!!) As for the Egyptian lunch, we all paid for it because that night was the train ride and the food on the train is not edible (Sherif your tour manager will advice you not to eat the train dinner, the train breakfast is ok to eat). Actually, the lunch was more like dinner since we ate at around 5:30pm. That first day, you are just go go go to make the most of your day and no one complained!! We were all so excited about the museum, pyramids, camels, and Sphinx that we didn't care about food. We munched on our snacks as the day went on and a few, like myself, forgot about food all together. Trust me, when you see the pyramids the last thing on your mind is food!!! The lunch/dinner was great with a lot of variety and great quantities: rice, pita bread (Egyptian pita bread is the best ever), veggies, falafel, fries, different meats (not sure what they were because I sat in the vegetarian people table), hummus, and a few other items.

Towards the end of the trip, another optional tour was the visit to a West Nile Village. Quite a few tour mates did this tour and we all found it to be very interesting. You have the option of riding a camel, donkey, or donkey cart through a village and you get to see first hand how people live. I found the visit to be a total eye opener at the poverty in Egypt and the condition people live in. Towards the end of the tour, we stopped at the house of one of the villagers where we were offered tea and bread while the owner of the house talked about life in Egypt. It was hard to believe the owner was a lawyer but had to work two jobs to make ends meet and his house was falling apart. We walked through the house and I was speechless. This tour was $20 US dollars.

A few other extras we paid for:

Inside a pyramid: You can pay 30 LE to enter the pyramid of Khafre, the second largest pyramid. None of the pyramids have anything inside but just being able to climb the interior ramp and be inside one of the burial chambers is quite amazing!!!

Pictures of the belly dancing night. I didn't purchase these pictures since so many of my tour mates took pictures of the group and throughout the night. You can find the pictures available for purchase at the cruise gift shop the morning after.

Picture of you on the camel/donkey/donkey cart for those that do the West Nile Village Tour. I bought this picture (I think I paid 10 LE which is about $1.74) because I did the donkey cart with two other tour mates and it was a nice memory.

Valley of the Kings, extra tombs. The tour includes a visit to three of the tombs at the Valley of the Kings. The tomb of Ramses VI is 50 LE extra and the tomb of King Tutankhamen is 100 LE extra. Being the Egypt freak I am, I purchased both and I was not disappointed. The tomb of Ramses VI was amazing because of the vaulted ceiling that resembled the Sistine Chapel. The ceiling was covered in beautiful paintings as was the whole tomb. It is amazing that the colors have survived for so many years!!! The interesting thing about King Tut's tomb is that you are amazed at how small it is (especially after you visit the museum in Cairo and you see everything they found in there) plus you can see the mummy of King Tut! A lot of tour mates did the King Tut but hardly any did Ramses VI. I highly suggest you visit it because the paintings and colors are amazing.

I think these are all the optional tours and optional things available! The hot air balloon rides are no longer available after a few accidents, i.e. balloons dropping to the ground. Sherif, the tour manager, said he can arrange the tours if interested but they are not offered or covered by Contiki. No one in my tour bothered or was interested in such a tour.

After your trip, if you have an extra day, Spring Tours, the parent company of Contiki in Egypt, arranges a day trip to Alexandria for $99 US dollars. There were 10 of us that had the extra day so we took this tour! The price included the round trip bus ride to Alexandria and the tickets for 5 sites. We left Cairo at around 6:30am and returned at around 6pm. The morning of the trip, breakfast is included, since the Contiki tour officially ends Saturday morning. The hotel prepared breakfast boxes with breads, cheeses, and an egg for us and we ate on the bus. Make sure you talk to Sherif about this because he will arrange the trip.

On another note, regarding the tip for Sherif, the tour guide/manager. Nothing was officially organized but we individually gave him tips. There is no set amount but you give what you feel is right. Some gave him $20 while others gave him $50, it depends on your personal preference. Sherif is beyond amazing in so many ways and he is what makes this trip. He goes out of his way to make sure everyone is enjoying the trip and everyone is making the most of their time in Egypt. If you are interested in seeing something or in doing something, he will arrange it so you can have the best time possible. He has an amazing personality and his love for Egypt is very contagious!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Train:

I had heard so many horror stories of the train that quite honestly I was a tad worried. All I can say is that a lot of the stories are greatly exaggerated! While the rooms/cabins are small, I found the beds and room to be clean. I found no bugs, rats, etc in the room or anywhere in the train. It is a bit difficult to sleep in the train with all the rocking and braking but I managed to get a few hours of sleep on the two nights we were on the train. The bathrooms start of clean and get progressively worse throughout the night but I think that depends on who you have in your car. The bathrooms require some balancing because of the training rocking and moving around but if you have to go, you have to go! Just remember to bring your own toilet paper because sometimes there wasn't any. Also, the train has a club car and we had a great time partying there on both nights.

As for the food, Sherif warns you not to eat the dinner and no one from my group did! Before the first night on the train, you have a huge late lunch so that fills you up for the a while and then you can just munch on some snacks. Same for the second night on the train. The breakfast is not too bad; an assortment of breads, butter, cheese, and jam. Sherif told us not to eat the butter but I ate the breads without a problem.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Cruise:

Ah the good life! The rooms and the boat overall were very, very nice. Comfortable, clean beds and hot water for the showers!! Also, the food on the cruise is plentiful with all meals being all you can eat. And there was a lot of variety!!! The cruise also has a pool but few used it on my tour since the water was rather cold. We actually had a lot of cool days during our tour and some mornings it was cold! If you are going to Egypt in November and December, pack some long sleeve shirts and a jacket. The cruise also has a gift shop with set prices so no haggling and a jewelry shop where you can buy a cartouche with your name written in hieroglyphs. I purchased a cartouche for myself, some scarves for my mom, an ankh for my brother, and some scarab beetles for my dad. They had tons of items in the gift shop which is where I purchased a lot of my souvenirs because I really didn't care for the haggling.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
During the tour, you stop at a perfume shop and a papyrus museum. At the perfume shop, you can purchase perfumes, essential oils, and handblown glass bottles. The owner of the shop gave us a talk and then we could purchase some items. I was quite annoyed because the sales people were really pushy and will not back away!! The papyrus museum was amazing and you can walk around at your own pace without have anyone bother you. A lot of us purchased a painting or two since they had a good selection and some beautiful works of art. Being the Egypt freak I am, I bought these two amazing papyrus paintings for a total of $115. Of course, one of the paintings I purchased was a rather large, limited edition work of Ramses II offering the goddess Hathor some lotus flowers. Both the perfume shop and the papyrus museum accept credit cards.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

That's all for now! Let me know if you have any questions!! Smiler
  • 15 Nov 2010 Explorer1212572 said

    Default_avatar

    Thank you so much for writing all of this!
    I had a question about your blackberry international plan. How much did it cost? I have a blackberry and so does my friend who is coming with me and we have been debating about what international phone we will rent while we are there.

  • 15 Nov 2010 MimiTheFrenchie said

    MimiTheFrenchie

    Thanks so much for posting this – this is really helpful Smiler<!--graemlin::)--> I’m going in Jan 7, 2011. Do you think it will be cold enough in January to wear knee high boots?

  • 16 Nov 2010 gator717 said

    Default_avatar
    quote:
    Originally posted by Explorer1212572:
    Thank you so much for writing all of this!
    I had a question about your blackberry international plan. How much did it cost? I have a blackberry and so does my friend who is coming with me and we have been debating about what international phone we will rent while we are there.



    I live in the US and my mobile carrier is T-Mobile. I activated international calling for free and with that all calls were $2.50 a minute. I made 20 minutes in call mostly on the last day because I had to call to my parents regarding some questions I had on my flight. As for emailing, they have a $19.99 unlimited send/receive email plan which is what I used to keep in touch with my family friends. I am not sure if other providers have this plan. The $19.99 is a monthly charge so I added it two days before the trip and then removed when I returned to the states. I didn’t send/receive text message but I believe the charge is $.35 per text sent and $.20 per text received. You also get charged, I believe, $10 per 15MB of data used. I can’t access my account to check my bill because for some reason, I can’t log into my account online. While in Egypt, I had “all connections off” and just turned on the “mobile network connection” not the WI-FI when I wanted to check my emails or read the news. I also used my phone’s GPS mapping app to see where I was sometimes because I am such an Egypt nerd! I never reached the 15 MB but I came close, I used 13MB. That is why it is important to keep all connections off because some apps send/receive data when the internet is turned on.

    I hope this helps!!

  • 16 Nov 2010 gator717 said

    Default_avatar
    quote:
    Originally posted by MimiTheFrenchie:
    Thanks so much for posting this – this is really helpful Smiler<!--graemlin::)--> I’m going in Jan 7, 2011. Do you think it will be cold enough in January to wear knee high boots?




    When I was there, we had some rather cool mornings and then it warmed up during the day. I had read the weather forecasts before I left but the Egyptian gods blessed us with better weather! Our first day in Cairo it was actually a bit cloudy and in the low 70s (about 73F). This was one of the few days where we did tours all day long. Monday through Wednesday, we did the temples early in the morning and late afternoon/evening. Don’t forget that when you head to the airport for Abu Simbel, you’ll be heading out sometime between 2:30am and 3:30am. Thursday was one of the warmer days but that was also one of the days were we did most of the walking, Valley of the Kings and the Karnak Temple, during the morning, early afternoon. The late afternoon tour of the West Village was mostly in the shade so it was rather cool. Your last Friday in Cairo you visit a Mosque, where shoes need to be taken off, and then the Step Pyramid all in the morning/early afternoon.

    With that said, my tour mates had all sorts of shoes! I always wore sneakers because they provided the best protection and traction. Cairo is a very dusty city and while you are out in the pyramids and temples, the ground is very rocky and uneven. To me, and a few I spoke to, were glad they bought sneakers because of all the walking, climbing, and rough surfaces. Those that wore flip flops (those beach sandals), a few complained about the dirtiness and another complained about stubbing her toes on rocks. I did have one tour mate wear little boots for some of the late afternoon/early evening temple visits. I personally won’t take knee high boots because of the amount of luggage space they require and especially I won’t take the boots if they are not flat. I know January is one of the colder months so just keep an eye on the weather reports but definitely take long sleeve shirts and a jacket or two. We were all pretty cold leaving the boat at 3:30am to head out to the airport for the trip to Abu Simbel but by the time we got there and we started walking around things warmed up. But I wouldn’t take anything too bulky that might weight down your luggage since you do move your luggage around quite a bit on this trip!!

    I hope this helped!!

  • 16 Nov 2010 MissRITraveler said

    MissRITraveler

    Great blog Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->
    This will be usefull

  • 16 Nov 2010 gator717 said

    Default_avatar
    quote:
    Originally posted by MissRITraveler:
    Great blog Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->
    This will be usefull



    Thanks but this is not my official blog! I haven’t published my blog since I have about 5 more days to write about.

    This is just general information and tips/hints for those that will be traveling to Egypt in the coming weeks!!! Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 16 Nov 2010 MimiTheFrenchie said

    MimiTheFrenchie

    thanks so much, you’re wonderful Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

    so would you say that the weather in Egypt was rather humid or dry?
    I’m from the Bay Area, California, I’m trying to get the idea of how the weather is.

    Also, I’m glad to hear that the train rides were not bad because i read many horror stories.

  • 17 Nov 2010 gator717 said

    Default_avatar
    quote:
    Originally posted by MimiTheFrenchie:
    thanks so much, you’re wonderful Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

    so would you say that the weather in Egypt was rather humid or dry?
    I’m from the Bay Area, California, I’m trying to get the idea of how the weather is.

    Also, I’m glad to hear that the train rides were not bad because i read many horror stories.



    The weather was definitely dry! I come from Miami, Fl and right away I noticed the difference. While Cairo is dusty and a tad polluted, I found the towns of Aswan, Edfu, and Luxor to be a lot cleaner and the air quality is better. Since the weather could be unpredictable, I suggest packing a few layers in case you do get cold but don’t pack anything too bulky. I took some long sleeve shirts and a jacket and I was ok (and I am not a cold weather fan!). At the hotel and in the cruise, I would open the window in the mornings to get a sense of the temperature. Regarding what is appropriate to wear on what day, your tour manager Sherif will let you know. For example, he’ll tell you the night before if you are visiting a particular site that requires you cover up a bit more, i.e. no tank tops or a tank top if covered by a sweater or shawl.

    Quite a few tour mates and I found the train stories to be a tad exaggerated. Yes the train is not a 5 star hotel on wheels but I did not find it to be the thing of nightmares. Both nights on the train, my roommate and I found the room to be clean, the beds decent, and there was no evidence of bugs or rodents. The bathrooms start off great and get worse throughout the night because it is difficult to make it inside the toilet when you are trying to balance in a rocking, braking train. But you do get a good leg workout trying to squat over the toilet while trying to hold your balance! Smiler<!--graemlin::)--> Only thing I suggest is definitely bring toilet paper/tissue because there usually wasn’t any and when there was toilet paper, I wouldn’t recommend using it. As for the food, don’t eat the dinner (Sherif will warn you about this) but the breakfast is ok. You’ll get a tray with 3 different styles of bread (croissant, some sort of French toast, and I forgot the third) and some butter, jam, and cheese. Sherif will warn you not to eat the butter but I did eat the jam and I survived. Sleeping could be a challenge because of all the movement but some folks slept like a baby; the second night I was so tired I slept a good 5 hrs on the train.

    Let me know if you have any other questions! Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 17 Nov 2010 MissRITraveler said

    MissRITraveler

    I am going on this tour next week and have been trying to think of all the possible things I might need.

    Was there anything you wished you brought that you did not think of at the time.

    thank you

  • 17 Nov 2010 gator717 said

    Default_avatar
    quote:
    Originally posted by MissRITraveler:
    I am going on this tour next week and have been trying to think of all the possible things I might need.

    Was there anything you wished you brought that you did not think of at the time.

    thank you



    More socks and more shirts! I had planned on washing some socks and shirts while on the cruise since we were on board the boat for three days but that never happened. Also, I just took one long sleeve shirt but two might come in handy. There were some cool mornings and evenings.

    Like I said, I still haven’t finished my blog but this is a part of it, the portion I wrote on packing but I need to add a bit more. I’ll have the blog typed up and published by this weekend!

    I read a bunch of travel websites, blogs, books etc that I thought I had the packing list down to a science. Boy was I wrong and I noticed it by the second day of the trip. I took a first aid kit with more items than a local drug store; more than 80% of the items I did not use. Not once did I use my bug spray or sunscreen. I took enough wipes and toilet wipes to last me a year. Then there were the boxes of snacks. My first night in Cairo we stopped at a Mobil Gas Station convenience store, On the Run, that had a bunch of snacks. Throughout my trip, we stopped at little stores which had a bunch of the items I had over packed. Basically, I could have stocked up as I needed while in Egypt. Clothing was what I had under packed! I took with me two pair of jeans and two bermuda shorts but since the weather was rather cool, all I wore was the two jeans. Yeah by the end of the trip, they smelled like camel! I took a handful of shirts with the idea I will hand wash a few during our days in the cruise. Hmm, that didn’t happen. Next time I go to Egypt, I’m packing more pants, more shirts (including more long sleeve shirts), and more socks and a lot less wipes. Smiler<!--graemlin::)--> As for my snacks, I gave the left over boxes to my tour guide/manager who actually loved my Ritz Crackerfuls!! (A more detailed packing blog to come later for those interested in traveling to Egypt).

    Another thing I will not take on my next trip to Egypt (I plan to return February 2012!!) is a blow dryer! The hotel and cruise had one and it worked great. The straightening iron did come in handy and all it required was a power adapter, no power converter. A few of my tour mates actually borrowed my straightening iron because they did not bring theirs so I kind off became popular with the girls on the trip.

    Also take extra zip lock bags to store dirty clothes and opened snacks. A few took zip lock bags to collect Saharan sand on the last day but I actually just grabbed an empty water bottle that I had with me that day. I found sand in a bottle to be more secure than sand in a bag especially in a luggage that was going to be tumbling its way through the airport conveyor belt system.

    Let me know if you have any other questions!!

  • 19 Nov 2010 gator717 said

    Default_avatar
    quote:
    Originally posted by MissRITraveler:
    I am going on this tour next week and have been trying to think of all the possible things I might need.

    Was there anything you wished you brought that you did not think of at the time.

    thank you



    I just remembered something else….extra memory cards for the camera! I actually purchased an extra camera battery which really came in handy but for some reason I didn’t purchase the extra memory card. My memory card holds about 800 pictures but the videos I took ate up a lot of memory. Since I had my mini laptop with me, I was able to upload some pics/vids to free up some memory but when I go to Egypt in 2012 I’m definitely take at least two extra memory cards!

  • 19 Nov 2010 ams_174 said

    ams_174

    Now the only thing I’d like to add even though the Club car on the train was a fun time you do end up on top of each other when it suddenly stops since they give you no notification.

    It was a good way to get to know your fellow tour members and a few bruises to remember it by Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 21 Nov 2010 Andie said

    Default_avatar

    Hi Gator,

    Just wondering what currency i should take with me to egypt… I am doing the england/ scotland tour and then winter wanderer (all contiki) tours before i get to egypt… at the moment i have only changed my money into pounds and euros… do you suggest that before i get to egypt i get some egyptian money (no idea what the name of their currency is)… should I get some US money aswell? I have USD$25 on me at the moment for the arrival visa

    Thanks, Andie Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 22 Nov 2010 anthea.rebeca said

    anthea.rebeca

    Hey I was just wondering what kind of luggage you took with you?
    I want to bring a suitcase but i’m guessing it’d be too bulky? what would be the best thing to take?

  • 22 Nov 2010 gator717 said

    Default_avatar
    quote:
    Originally posted by Andie:
    Hi Gator,

    Just wondering what currency i should take with me to egypt… I am doing the england/ scotland tour and then winter wanderer (all contiki) tours before i get to egypt… at the moment i have only changed my money into pounds and euros… do you suggest that before i get to egypt i get some egyptian money (no idea what the name of their currency is)… should I get some US money aswell? I have USD$25 on me at the moment for the arrival visa

    Thanks, Andie Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->



    Hello Andie.

    When I went to Egypt, I took $600 in American Dollars and 1000 Egyptian Pounds (the Egyptian currency…1000 pounds is about $200 American Dollars). I exchanged my money in the US before traveling but a few tour mates exchanged it at the airport. You could ask your airport transfer rep (a very nice man from Spring Tours, Contiki’s parent company in Egypt) and he will help you figure out how to exchange the money. Also, the hotel and the Nile Cruise ship all exchange American Dollars and Euros for Egyptian Pounds. I did that on the last day because I was running low on pounds and the exchange rate was excellent. I know a few tour mates visited ATMs throughout Egypt.

    If you read through my first post, the section on the optional tours, I have listed the price of a lot of the tours including some extras. This will give you a sense of how much money you will be needing. The Abu Simbel tour, the Sound and Light Show, and the $25 mandatory tip money I paid in American Dollars. I believe you also have the option of paying this in credit card. The West Village tour towards the end of the trip, I also paid in cash American Dollars. You do have the option at times to pay with either Egyptian Pounds or American Dollars such as the optional lunch/dinner the first day and the camel caravan and group picture.

    Some stores accept credit cards. I paid with credit card at the Aswan Book Store (awesome books, everything a fixed price), the perfume shop you stop at in Aswan, and the Papyrus Museum in Luxor. These are all credible places to use your credit card. I also used my credit card at the gift shop on the cruise. Everything in the gift shop is priced in terms of American Dollars but the jewelry store is based on Egyptian Pounds. Quite a few of us bought cartouches (our names written in hieroglyphs just like the pharaohs)and the chain and this is purchased in pounds. I paid about 250 pounds for my cartouche and chain; mine was pure silver (250 Egyptian Pounds is about $44 American Dollars, Egypt is very inexpensive).

    Also, if you are staying an extra day in Egypt, Spring Tours can arrange a day trip to Alexandria for $99. You can discuss this with Sherif, your tour guide/manager, and he would help arrange the trip with other tour mates that are staying the extra day. I paid for this tour with credit card and it includes the round trip bus fare, an English speaking tour guide for the day, and tickets to 5 sites.

    As of 11/22/2010 here are some exchange rates:

    $1 American Dollar equals 5.749 Egyptian Pounds
    1 Euro equals 7.8269 Egyptian Pounds
    1 British Pound equals 9.1669 Egyptian Pounds

    Hope this helps!

  • 22 Nov 2010 gator717 said

    Default_avatar
    quote:
    Originally posted by anthea.rebeca:
    Hey I was just wondering what kind of luggage you took with you?
    I want to bring a suitcase but i’m guessing it’d be too bulky? what would be the best thing to take?



    Hello.

    On my trip, I took a regular sized luggage on wheels and a small messenger style bag (similar to a laptop case but smaller) for my day bag. Every where we went, we had someone carry our luggage to the hotel room or the cruise cabin. Only time I really had to deal with my luggage was moving it from the train station platform to my cabin on the train which is is nothing. The service on this tour was amazing! My roommate and I always tipped the guy that handled our luggage but others did not. We would give them 5 Egyptian Pounds each which 5 Egyptian Pounds is about 87 cents in American Dollar terms. It might not seem that much but to them it is a lot.

    I took a small messenger style back as my day bag so I could fit in my wallet, camera, wipes, hand sanitizer, water bottle, etc and it was great. Some people took regular purses and others took backpack style bags. For your day bag, just take something comfortable!

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • 22 Nov 2010 MissRITraveler said

    MissRITraveler
    quote:
    Originally posted by gator717:
    quote:
    Originally posted by MissRITraveler:
    I am going on this tour next week and have been trying to think of all the possible things I might need.

    Was there anything you wished you brought that you did not think of at the time.

    thank you



    I just remembered something else….extra memory cards for the camera! I actually purchased an extra camera battery which really came in handy but for some reason I didn’t purchase the extra memory card. My memory card holds about 800 pictures but the videos I took ate up a lot of memory. Since I had my mini laptop with me, I was able to upload some pics/vids to free up some memory but when I go to Egypt in 2012 I’m definitely take at least two extra memory cards!


    Good to know’ thank you

  • 22 Nov 2010 Chintan said

    Default_avatar

    Hey Gator, Just a question…are there any bars in the cruize ?
    Regards

  • 22 Nov 2010 JimBrayFan said

    Default_avatar
    quote:
    Originally posted by Chintan:
    Hey Gator, Just a question…are there any bars in the cruize ?
    Regards


    Yes there is a lounge area

  • 22 Nov 2010 gator717 said

    Default_avatar
    quote:
    Originally posted by Chintan:
    Hey Gator, Just a question…are there any bars in the cruize ?
    Regards



    Yes, there is a bar in the cruise and you will have the opportunity to purchase alcohol if you wish to party in the club car in the train. In my group, we had about 5 serious party animals and they stocked up on liquor, beer, and some mixers (soda, juice, etc) before we boarded the train. Your tour guide/manager, Sherif, will let you know where to purchase the items.

More Discussions

Follow this Discussion

Related Discussions

Discussions Details

Last response over 1 year

This comment was posted about almost 4 years ago. It has been discussed 68 times and liked 6 times.

40 people are following this discussion.

  • MimiTheFrenchie
  • Default_avatar
  • Default_avatar
  • Default_avatar
  • MissRITraveler
  • Default_avatar
  • Default_avatar
  • Hayley
  • Default_avatar
  • ams_174
  • anthea.rebeca
  • Christina Z
  • Default_avatar
  • Kim
  • Default_avatar
  • Astrid90
  • Default_avatar
  • Reading_Lover
  • Default_avatar
  • Pete
  • Rachel_Davis
  • catherine
  • Default_avatar
  • Default_avatar
  • Default_avatar
  • Default_avatar
  • Big Dave
  • Airrie
  • Marlene
  • Default_avatar
  • Nazreen21
  • JackieNZ
  • Sara
  • Default_avatar
  • coffeeloverholla
  • anita
  • jessicaellen
  • Emily!
  • Smarie_85
  • Vicki

Questions?

x

Visas? Money? Where to go? Chat to us about travel.