So hey guys! As you all know, I recently went to Egypt on a social volunteering program with AIESEC. Read more to find out the tips that every traveler and tourists ought to know about Egypt, from how much should you bring to places you don't want to miss.
So yes ! I daresay I went to Egypt and came back - alive, breathing, better than ever.
You should never be surprise with the amount of con-artist that is in Egypt, but you know with how the economy is like, I don't really blame them, I mean at least they're not stealing or committing petty crimes right?
So funny story about this guy here (above), he actually PROMISED to let me go on his camel for FREE. I know I should never trust free things but he absolutely swore that it's for free ( still, I ought to know better). Anyways, after a short 5-10 min ride on his camel and 10,000 pictures later, he wanted me to pay. And well, I obviously got annoyed and said that he swore on his whatever's grave and he literally went like "Nothing for me as promised BUT for my camel. My camel needs food and drink" his words, not mine.
Can say no without blinking to beggars but cannot say no to Camels right? Because... logic.
Well played... using the animal against me.
So you see the things about tips, is that it should be the amount I want to give (unless you're US and be like tips 18% = xxx on receipt) so anyway, out of the goodness of a financially broke girl's heart I gave him 10 L.E and man you should have seen his face. He went all, 10 L.E is nothing... other people usually give about 50 L.E bla bla bla... anyways, my friend, Sena came by explained to him I kinda lose my wallet (not true), but I really didnt have much money on me (showed him my very empty purse) and in the end he took the 10 L.E
So I guess all in all, it was a pretty worth it camel ride for that price and also always put money separately, keep a minimum amount of money in your wallet.
DO NOT BE SURPRISE, if random strangers come up to you asking for a picture.
Is it because they have never seen foreigners? Chinese, European, Caucasian, Indian?
The only assumption I can come up with tho is that after their revolution which lands them into some pretty deep camel poop for their tourism industry, seeing foreigners probably makes them feel like things are gonna get better. You still can say no to pictures (that'll be "la" in Arabic) but hey, it's a really new experience feeling like you're Taylor Swift when you're just... you.
Well there are lots of black market in terms of foreign exchange. So bring enough of USD and Euro (other currencies they accept are middle eastern currencies). What I mean by black market here is, instead of the standard bank rate they are changing for you, instead of USD 1 = EGP 8 --- it'll be USD 1 = EGP 10 , the highest i ever got was USD 1 = EGP 13.50 and that is a pretty good deal.
TRAFFIC is crazy.
Jam, Jam EVERYWHERE. And there's no such thing as a traffic police, or a traffic light for this matter.
I will never forget... the first day I was here, and a fellow AISECer pick me and Achuu up, she literally parked like how Mr. Bean parks.
Cost of Food
Cafes & Restaurants is about 30-50 L.E
Street food, Egyptian food: Below 20 L.E (but usually you need car to get to these places)
Malls (fast food): about 20-40 L.E
JUICE: I have been to a lot of countries but no where is as cheap and as good as the juice in Egypt.
Uber, be prepared for surge price sometimes it can go up to 2x the normal rate. Still better than white taxi. Possible to pay by cash.
Careem, local uber, never used it before but apparently the price is almost like uber
Public transportation. Metro, very cheap, to most places it cost about 1 pound per ride.
Don’t take pictures in the Egypt subway. Honestly I don’t know why we cant, but just don’t. Security will come after you if you do.
Cities in Egypt
Hands down one of my most favorite place to be at. It's a no wonder that neighboring countries are always trying to get their hands on this piece of land. Dahab, that's where the blue hole is at, is freakin' amazing!
Mount Sinai, where the St. Katherine monastery is pretty close to what we have in Mt. K, beautiful night sky, breathtaking sunrise minus camels, more bearable weather condition and a 3 hour hike up and down instead of 6-8 hours. Nuweiba, never had i ever went to a freshwater lake surrounded by canyon.
The capital city of Egypt. Though in all honesty, I prefer every other city but Cairo. But I think it’s a personal thing, never been too fond of cities but there are tons of things to see there like Manyal Palace, Giza Pyramids, Nile River well just every names you can find associated with Egypt when you go to the cinemas.
Malaysian Embassy is NOT in Zamalek Island, in fact it's in Nasr City where I lived in. Why? Because there is like a whole community of Malaysian (students) there. And apparently I heard the hostel is only 5 L.E/night (but I'm not sure, and I can't find any news on this, but my friend who went recently told me about this).
The Country is NOT at war, in fact it's as lively as Hong Kong even at 2am... especially at 2am.
2 sides of a coin: Undeniably, right now Egypt's tourism is not how it used to be and there's 2 ways to look at it. I see it as an opportunity, half of the place I went is not crowded, in fact I know for sure that if the tourism was in a better shape it would be close to impossible for me to get so many amazing shots.
#Advise For those who're STILL worried, I would recommend to get some local guides, but do your research properly cause some company out there just wants to con the money out of you (like tripventa for our case, man they really did screw us over). I do have some recommendations for you guys, if you're interested.
Hopefully these information is enough for you to prepare going to Egypt and also put your fears at rest about the socioeconomic of Egypt.
All in all an amazing trip, and really, when on a trip the company really does matter. Hence, shout out to the awesome people who were with me during my 6 weeks adventures in Egypt.
So in our team we had Hungarian, German, Poland, Indonesian, Turkish, China, Mexican, Columbian, Russian, Greek, Indian, Belgium, Tunisian, Moroccan, Algerian and of course the Egyptians.
Trust me, take that trip cause the only thing you'll regret is not doing it and life's too short on wasting time on regrets.