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Cairo, Egypt August 7-13 2009

Cairo, Egypt August 7-13 2009

Trip Plan Tags: 
design + architecture
Africa + Middle East,

In August 7th I leave from New York City and will arrive in Cairo Sunday morning at 2am. My stay in Cairo will be at the Sara Inn Hostel,21 Yousef Elgendy St.- cnr. Hoda Sharawy Street in Cairo. I plan on visiting the pyramids at Giza and the sights in and near Cairo. I would like to visit Luxor and Im currently researching other things to do on my 5 day excursion to al Gypt!



Golden Pharaoh, Egypt

138 Nile Street
Giza 11211, Egypt
Tel: 20 2 570 1000

Yes, the whole dinner cruise idea is a bit cheesy, but it's a classic Cairo experience—for both locals and tourists—and it's actually fun. And if you're going to spend a small fortune to have dinner on one of the most mystical rivers in the world, it should be on this gilded barge, tarted up to look as if it sailed right out of King Tut's tomb, complete with live Nubian guardians decked out in white loincloths, spears, and golden headdresses. The buffet mixes Egyptian classics with plenty of international choices, while the floor show mingles musicians, Sufi dervishes, and Russian belly dancers. The best part is hanging out after dinner on the upper deck, feeling cool Nile breezes, as Cairo, in all its magnificence, slowly slips past.

See + Do

Valley of the Kings, Egypt

West Bank
Luxor, Egypt

These tombs tucked into the canyons of the west bank open at 6 am, which is a fine time to arrive, as the crowds and the oppressive heat (even in winter) only grow as the morning wears on. If crowds make you feel claustrophobic, and if you can take the heat, go at the midday lull when the tour groups are sitting down to lunch. Be prepared to stand in long lines to visit the most popular tombs, such as King Tut, Horemheb and Amenophis II. If you can't stand the wait or the crowds, it's best to head to the far end of the valley, where the tombs—such as the unusually deep tomb of Thutmosis III—attract fewer people, even though they are no less interesting. King Tut's tomb, uncompleted at his premature death, still contains the boy king's mummy lying in its gold casket (be aware that only 200 morning and 200 afternoon tickets are sold each day, and the government plans to close the tomb indefinitely for restoration in May 2008). Ramses VI (also an extra ticket) is worth it for the painted ceiling of the Goddess Nut swallowing the sun in the burial chamber. Of the valley's 31 major tombs, 18 are open to tourists on a rotational basis to shield fragile paintings and carvings from the impact of 7,000 daily visitors.

See + Do

Egyptian Museum, Egypt

Midan El-Tahrir
Cairo 11557, Egypt
Tel: 20 2 579 6974

Built between 1897 and 1900, this museum is filled with the golden treasures of pharaohs, and archaeological finds tracing Egyptian civilization over more than 5,000 years. The crowds tend to beeline for the golden, lapis-encrusted mask of Tutankhamen and his other sumptuous funerary objects, which made such a splash when they were discovered by Howard Carter in 1922 in the Valley of the Kings. It would take weeks to see the museum's 120,000 objects, but don't miss the Palette of Narmer, a ceremonial tablet that symbolizes the original unification of Egypt more than five millennia ago; the royal mummies; and the Fayum portraits, hauntingly realistic depictions of the deceased discovered in Greco-Roman gravesites. The best time to visit is in the afternoon, after the crowds thin. Alternatively, go at opening time and head straight for the small room containing King Tut's mask, on the second floor. You'll have the space to yourself for a good 15 minutes because the tour groups will be stuck on the ground floor listening to their guides' orientation spiel.

Open daily 9 am to 7 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.