This should have been my first entry, I figured but I was in the mood to write my first post about Egypt a few days ago (see here). Anyway, before I go on mentioning the sights everyone should not miss when in Egypt (Cairo / Giza in particular), let me do a rundown on a few tips for you guys.
1. Two most important things I always pray for, every single night, are safety and good health. As Egypt currently is suffering from political unrest, it would be wise to check with the news and your own country’s bulletin regarding travel advice. I haven’t been able to follow the news about Egypt lately, so I do not quite understand why they just had an election because, if I remember it correctly, an election also happened late last year. Our tour had to be adjusted according to the schedule of the protests as these tend to get violent and unsafe. So, before travel, make sure to check on the safety for tourists.
2. As mentioned, my other constant concern is health. With this, just like in Manila, it would be safe to purchase bottled water instead of drinking from the tap. Local brands are said to be safe just check that the bottle is sealed before drinking from it. Take caution in eating street food as well. Pack medicine necessary just in case.
3. If you have a choice, choose to travel during winter. I was in Egypt during mid November and the weather in Cairo and Giza was great, somewhere between 18-23c. Perfect for a light jacket. I heard the summer months can be quite cruel so I suggest going during winter. Also make sure to pack a good amount of sunscreen as there are parts of Egypt where the sun shines the whole year
4. About what to wear, especially for women, avoid revealing clothes. As much as possible, avoid shorts or sleeveless tops. Beside the fact that Egypt is predominantly a Muslim country (which means dressing modestly is prevalently practiced), doing away with the stares and glares from the local will provide a smooth travel experience. I also recommend bringing a scarf that can cover the nose for when there might be a strong wind that will create a little bit of sand storm. Personally, I did not experience this, but it is always better to be ready.
5. I will advise against doing a tour on your own when in Egypt. I do not know how reliable the public transportation is in Cairo although I read that it’s quite efficient. Still, I think it would be safer to go with an escorted tour. I will put emphasis on this especially for women traveler. Make sure to book to a reputable tour company and your guide should be an Egyptologist.
6. As in my case, we booked a tour from Manila which took care of the visa required in entering Egypt. From what I read, travel visa can be obtained upon entering Egypt and paying a certain fee. So I don’t think it’s difficult to secure one at all. Other purpose of visit to the country such as business or study will require the visa to be obtained before travel.
7. Be wary in crossing roads. I did not see a single traffic light in Cairo which up until now is such a mystery for me on how the locals are able to drive. And because of this, it is important that everyone is careful when crossing the roads.
After taking these tips into consideration, enjoy the land of one of the oldest civilizations in the world. The sights are amazing and I’m going to blog about that next. I hope you watch out for that.