Home to the world's oldest 7 ancient wonder, the Great Pyramid of Giza, a trip to Egypt wouldn't complete without first stopping here. I had always dreamed of visiting the pyramids ever since learning about them in school. I was surprised how close they were located to the centre of Cairo! Driving down the highway they are easily visible in the distance. Secondly on arrival the pyramids were much grander then I realised. You can actually climb about half way up the Great Pyramid before entering it which gives you a unique view of the city.
To truly grasp the culture of Egypt a trip to the Cairo Markets is a must! At first glance it is extremely overwhelming. However, with an array of colours and bargains to be found don't let the hustle and bustle overwhelm you. A hint to first timers - be sure to avoid entering stores unless you're committed to purchasing an item or else prepare to be harassed! When purchasing an item test our your bartering skills. It is best to decide on a price in your mind that you are willing to pay for something and stick to it! If the vendor won't settle on the price you're prepared to pay then it's simple, they aren't making money. You can find anything in the Cairo Markets from incredible scarfs, spices and hand painted hookahs.
One thing I noticed about Egyptians is how friendly they are. Sure there were plenty of times I got followed, hissed or yelled at by elderly men. I even received several marriage proposals. The most impressive offer I received was my hand in marriage in exchange for 30 million camels. Overall however Egyptians are gentle, caring people who seem truly fascinated by foreigners. Many simply wanted photos taken of westerners with their children. Other elderly men couldn't pass up a photo opportunity with a 20 something blonde nicknamed locally as 'Shakira', aka me. Hey, it rewarded me with bargaining power in the Cairo markets!
If history is your thing you can't skip a visit to The Egyptian Museum. This museum is the most comprehensive museum I have visited in all of my travels. The unique difference about this museum compared to several others is that it houses only Egyptian artefacts. During my recent visit in October last year I got to explore the King Tutankamun's display which was fascinating and unbelievable at the same time. I can't believe something over 3,000 years ago can be so perfectly preserved. Unfortunately photography is banned throughout the museum as well as the majority of other Egyptian monuments or tourist hot spots.
Spend the rest of your days smoking shisha to your hearts content for as little as 8 EGP. Visit the iconic Sphinx and other ancient wonders such as the world famous Step Pyramid. Located 30 kms south of Cairo, this incredible pyramid is unique in design and is the oldest pyramid discovered thus far! Shop until you drop at Cairo's 7 story shopping mall or simply enjoy a Sakara Gold larger while discovering local cuisines consisting of lots of lentils and rice.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
LANGUAGE - The primary language is Arabic. Try saying 'Salam' which is a shortened version of hello. To say thank you, you would say 'Shukran'. Luckily for me most people spoke English!
RELIGION - The primary religion in Egypt is Muslim. Around 10% are Catholic in Cairo.
CURRENCY - The currency of Egypt is the Egyptian Pound. At the moment you can expect to get close to 6 EGP per 1 AUD.
COST - For 2 weeks in Egypt including all accommodation, activities, spending money, accommodation and food I paid around $1,500 USD.
SAFETY - Egypt has a long history of internal conflict which you need to be aware of. I would advise travelling through a tour company such as Topdeck as their guides are local and are aware of any potential dangers. As a foreign female I would never travel alone in any part of Egypt.
CUSTOMS - In Cairo in particular you need to respect the Muslim culture by dressing appropriately; long pants and a long shirt for females. The same goes when visiting any temples or sacred sites throughout Egypt. Further south in Egypt I found the dress code to be more lax.