Egypt: The Land of Civilizations
Egypt has been on my bucket list for as long as I can even remember- and I can't believe I actually got to go here! Egypt is home to the only remaining ancient wonder of the world- The Great Pyramids of Giza, but don't miss out on this- there are SO many ancient wonders and things to uncover in Cairo and the country of Egypt. Did you know that the ancient Egyptians invented the 365-Day a Year Calendar? Cairo is one of the main regions for Ancient Egyptian history and there is so much to uncover here. In this Egypt Travel Guide, I am going to go over everything you need to know- from the culture, where to stay, and things you must do and see! I hope you enjoy this travel guide! For VLOG content, please see below and be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more video vlogs!
Things to Know Before Traveling to Egypt
I received a TON of questions about how in the world I was able to travel to Egypt. Is it safe? Did you go alone? How did you get around? I will answer everything here! The first and most important thing to know is to ALWAYS check the U.S. Embassy website on the civil climate and the degree of caution to exercise of any foreign country that you travel to. Now to answer the question, Is Egypt Safe to Travel To? Yes and no. There is crime in Egypt and lots of scams, but as you would travel anywhere- even in the US, be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. You MUST go with a tour group/security or locals when roaming around Egypt. I do not recommend wandering about alone, especially if you are female. We did not go anywhere without our Tour Group (we went with Egypt Eye) or a local that we knew. As a blonde female, I got a lot of attention- everywhere we went full on crowds would start to gather to get photos with me. I did not mind, it was all very innocent, but after while our security had to start telling people no because it would get out of hand. As a disclaimer, this does happen to me often in foreign countries where they do not have many blonde women, it is all very innocent but in Egypt they were a little more forward and aggressive about it. However, I never did feel unsafe. Just make sure you don't give people here you don't know your attention- because they might not leave you alone after that, especially if they are trying to sell you something.
Do you need to dress conservative in Egypt? Yes! Egypt is an Islamic nation and you must cover in public places. When you are at the hotel, at the pyramids (far from everyone) or in less public areas it is fine to wear regular clothes, just make sure to bring a cover up when you are in public! I just used this one from Amazon and if I had midriff showing in my outfit, I would tie it in the front so that no skin was showing. Just make sure your shoulders and midriff are covered!
Always Haggle! People in Egypt will always be trying to sell you something. ALWAYS haggle!!! Whether it is on the street or in a shop, always ask for a much lower price. For example, when we got our Gold Cartouche's they originally quoted us at $450 and we got it down to $250! They might try to intimidate you, but play around while you haggle so that they know you are serious, but lighthearted!
Do you need a visa to enter Egypt? Yes! If you are a U.S. Citizen (my peeps in other countries make sure to google what your requirements are) you can get a visa upon arrival at the airport. Make sure you have $25 USD cash so that you are ready to go and can clear customs quickly.
And last but not least you guys- for the love of goodness sake please don't drink or brush your teeth with the tap water. Always exercise this with caution in any foreign country- drink bottled water only and use water bottles to brush your teeth!
If you have any other questions about visiting Egypt, please ask in the comments below!
View from Mamlouk Pyramids Hotel, Pink Passport Holder
Where We Stayed
I had seen numerous videos on TikTok of people waking up in Egypt, opening the curtains in their hotel room, and revealing the magnificent view of the Pyramids. A lot of people stay in hotels and resorts along the Nile River in New Cairo when visiting Cairo, but I really wanted the Pyramid view instead of the city and river. Staying in Giza is more low key than staying in the city, and I actually preferred it!
Mamlouk Pyramids Hotel
I am so happy I found Mamlouk Pyramids Hotel. Our room was spacious, and the prices are extremely low! I realized that staying in Giza is a much cheaper option than staying on the Nile, and it was so much better in my opinion! We stayed in the suite and had spacious room, a pyramid view in the window and also a whole balcony with the pyramid view. I think every few seconds I had to say, "I can't believe the pyramids are just right there!" LOL. I think growing up and learning about ancient Egyptian history in school for so many years really just made it seem unreal that I was there, let alone I could see them from my bed! The staff and service at the hotel was amazing. They cleaned the room daily and would always bring us water bottles and whatever we needed. The staff is also great at helping you book excursions! My favorite part about staying here was the breakfast in the morning. You can get a tradition Egyptian breakfast (which is amazing by the way) inside or outside with a view of the pyramids. It was one of the highlight's of our entire trip. They also serve lunch/dinner at the rooftop restaraunt which was very convenient on days where we were at the hotel. Every night there is a Pyramid light show, and we would get dinner, watch the amazing sun set behind the Pyramids, and then watch the light show as it got dark. It was really amazing when we were there (Early February) we could see Mars, Jupiter, and Venus at night above the Pyramids. You can book Mamlouk Pyramids Hotel Here!
Top 10 Things to do in Cairo
In Cairo, there is endless history to discover. It's hard to know where to even start! Below I have put together a list of the top things to do when in Cairo! I HIGHLY recommend you go with a tour group. We used Egypt Eye , and this was the best decision! We bought a package for the 5 days we were there (the price depends on what you want to include) and this saved us SO much money plus it was convenient. The tour comes with airport pick up and drop off, all transportation, security, travel guides, tickets to all museums/excursions, and even included food. They are also really great at getting content for you. They took professional shots at the pyramids and made us Instagram reels and photos the entire trip. It helped me be able to enjoy everything more because I didn't have to worry as much about capturing content myself. Booking Egypt Eye as our travel guide made planning the trip so seamless and easy. We told our guides what we wanted to do and they booked it all! If I had to choose only 3 things that were my ABSOLUTE favorite, it would for sure be the camel ride at the Pyramids of Giza, going on a boat in the Nile River, and going to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization and seeing the mummies of Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs!
1. The Great Pyramids of Giza
The Great Pyramids of Giza is the #1 reason people travel to Cairo, and a sight to see as the only remaining Ancient Wonder of the World. Seeing the Pyramids IRL was incredible, but did you know there is so much to do around them?
Tour Inside the Pyramids
Of course if you're going to be at the Pyramids of Giza you have to go inside!! *warning* the Pyramid tombs are extremely claustrophobic. I quite literally saw some people absolutely lose their shiz. However it is very short; yes you will be uncomfortable (and HOT) crawling through the narrow tunnels but you will make it inside in about 15 minutes (depending how crowded it is). People will be climbing down and you crawl up- its a hot mess. There really isn't much to see inside but it is cool to say you did! The Great Pyramid of Giza entrance is only the false tomb, because supposedly they can't find the entrance to the real tomb. If you're into conspiracies and ancient history like I am- do you think this is true? However, you CAN go inside the real tomb of Khafre and Menkaure. Below is a photo of Victoria and I standing at the sarcophagus of Khafre!
Inside the claustrophobic tomb tunnels of the pyramids. You can better see this in my Egypt: Ep. 3 vlog!
Great Sphinx of Giza
Make sure when visiting the Pyramids don't forget to walk down to the Sphinx! The Sphinx is massive and was carved from a single piece of limestone. There are areas to explore here as well, make sure you don't miss it!
Camel Ride Around the Great Pyramids of Giza
This was the highlight of my trip!! Riding the camels is fun, but then you look up and you're just like... there's the Great Pyramids of Giza... I am casually riding around the Great Pyramids of Giza... on a CAMEL! We did a photoshoot here as well. You don't have to worry about crowds or covering up too much over here since it is more private. Check out the awesome photos we did with Egypt Eye!
Ride ATV's Around the Pyramids
Riding ATV's around the Pyramids was also a highlight of this trip! If you have extra time I highly recommend doing this also. You can ATV out to an amazing view of the Pyramids of Giza and take photos!
Eat Lunch at 9 Pyramids Lounge
This is by far one of the BEST views of the Pyramids and it is the only restaurant within the park. There are so many amazing opportunities to take content here as well as sit down and enjoy traditional Egyptian food with a view.
Take a Tomb Tour
There are dozens and dozens of Tombs around the Great Pyramids of Giza that most people don't know about when visiting! Scroll to the end for more details on Tomb Tours.
Question of the Day: How do you think the Pyramids got there?
Leave your answer in the comments down below.
2. National Museum of Egyptian Civilizations (NMEC)
The National Museum of Egyptian Civilizations is something you can't miss while in Cairo and it was certainly one of my favorites! NMEC holds the infamous Royal Mummies Hall where you can see the ACTUAL mummies of Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. I wish I had photos to show you but photos in this part of the Museum are not allowed! It was absolutely wild... freaky and awesome at the same time. Many of the mummies even still had hair! What's really cool about NMEC is that it is the only museum in Egypt and the first in the Arab world to focus on the earliest civilization in history and all of the historical periods that encompass Egypt. I also noticed the drastic significant change in the entire culture immediately in the first years of the A.D. period after the life of Jesus Christ. NMEC is located in Al-Fustat, which is near some of the largest mosques in the world! While visiting NMEC you can check out the mosques in the ancient Islamic capital of Egypt.
3. Old City of Memphis
Memphis was the first capital of Ancient Egypt and the Old Kingdom where Pharaohs were crowned 5,000 years ago. There is a lot of really neat history to see and learn about here. You can visit The Museum of Memphis to see many ancient artifacts and statues of the ancient city, and you can also visit Saqqara, which is also known as the Pyramid of Djoser. This pyramid is believed to be the first Pyramid in the world.
4. Sail the Nile River
Sailing on a Nile Felucca is an Egypt bucket list item to check off! So much biblical history has happened on the Nile River. This is where baby Moses was placed in a basket as a baby where he was discovered my Pharaoh's daughter (Exodus 2). Side note: A really great episode to watch about Moses & Egypt is Exodus.
âYou can also enjoy dinner and drinks on a Nile Dinner Cruise. We did this the second night and had a blast! They had belly dancers, a Tanoura Show and of course some cheesy singing!
Nile River Cruise
If you are planning to see more of Egypt, you can take a cruise down the largest river in the world and stop at all of Egypt's most famous cities. Most of the Egyptian population and ancient history is along the Nile River. I did not get a chance to do this but I heard it is absolutely amazing! I did some research and linked the best rated/reviewed Nile River Cruises below.
5. Have a Cartouche Made
When I shared on my Instagram Story that I would be traveling to Egypt, I got so many DM's to get a cartouche! I made sure we did that the first day so that we could wear them for the rest of our trip. You can see the entire process in Egypt Ep. 1. here. A cartouche is an oval with hieroglyphs that indicate the text is a royal name. Cartouches were formerly only worn by Pharaohs. We had ours made with gold and I wear mine all the time, it is absolutely beautiful!
6. Coptic Cairo
Coptic Cairo was one of my favorite places because we got to see the place that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus lived when they lived there for a short period of time! In Coptic Cairo, you can see several ancient churches, monasteries, and other historical sites. Coptic Cairo is home to the Babylon Fortress, the Hanging Church, and the Convent of Saint George. One thing you will see here that is prevalent in Egyptian culture is that you will see a mix of Christians, Muslims, and Jews all visiting these religious sites. It does not matter what religion you are to be able to enter and hang out at these religious centers!
7. Cave Church
The Cave Church is absolutely incredible and its origin's are even more worthy of admiration! The Cave Church is the largest church in the Middle East, carved in the heart of the Mokattam Mountain. The story behind this mountain is that during a debate between Saint Simon the Tanner and leaders of other religions; to prove that God was real he referred to Matthew 17:20, that claims if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can move mountains, and after three days of prayer and fasting the mountain was moved.
The Cave Church was completely carved and also has the most beautiful carvings depicting events and stories from the Bible.
To get to the Cave Church, you must go through Garbage City. This is the garbage district of Cairo, and it is one of the craziest things I have ever seen! If you are an Amazing Race fan like me, this would be the best detour on the show. It took us over an hour to climb up the narrow alleyways in our van with cars overflowing with garbage 3x their size and way over max capacity! The streets and buildings are overflowing with trash in which people are sorting through it and working- its a pretty crazy site to see. Everyone that lives here is a garbage collector or recycler!
8. Ibn Tulun Mosque
The mosque of Ibn Tulun is one of the oldest (and largest) mosques in all of Africa. You can also see a magnificent view of Cairo from the top!
9. Khan el Khalili Market
The Khan el Khalili Market is the most famous bazaar in Cairo! Visiting the markets is one of my favorite things to do when in a new country. You can find so much beautiful jewelry here and of course souvenirs. I would make sure to be with a tour guide/security here or you will be bombarded by the local people who recognize you as a foreigner. What is really neat about this market is that is is over 600 years old and has around 1500 shops!
10. Tomb Tours
This was one of the coolest things, ever. I didn't realize how many Tombs there are just right outside of the Pyramids of Giza. There are tombs all over Cairo, and there is so much history to be uncovered in each one. There are still dozens to be discovered under the ground. In the tombs you can see original hieroglyphics that depict ancient Egyptian stories, rituals, names and other information. We used a guide from the hotel we were staying at to do this! I even got to unlock some of the tombs that are not open to the public - I felt like a real tomb raider. (I show this in Egypt Ep. 3 on YouTube).
In the states, I had never really heard of or tried Egyptian food. I watched a few vlogs on YouTube before my trip and everyone raved about how good the food was! Here are some things you have to try:
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