By , April 7, 2013 10:59 am

Oh, Egypt! How I wanted to fall in love with you! And how I really, really didn’t!

I’m guessing you figured out by now that Egypt wasn’t one of our favourite countries. In fact, when attempting to rank the countries we’ve traveled, we’d start by throwing it on the bottom.  So far on the bottom that you’d need a good pair of binoculars to find it.

Despite this fact, however, I don’t regret our time there for a second.  If I had to do it all over again knowing what I know now, I probably would (though I’d strongly consider a guided tour).  When travelling, you’re going to get some great experiences and some not so great experiences. Egypt just had a disproportionate amount of the not so great ones. But the sights were amazing, we met some great people, and we learned a thing or two about dealing with touts and negotiating for, well, everything.

Honestly, I did manage to fall in love with the sights and history of Egypt… I just couldn’t get past all the hassle, harassment, and frustration of the relentless a-holes. Thus I can’t give the country as a whole a thumbs up.

Karnak Temple

Egypt Summary:

Length of Stay: 24 days
Average Cost per Day for Two People (excluding international transportation): $ 62.26 CAD  [without the 3 night White Desert Tour, this cost would drop to $39.76 CAD per day – but we’re glad we splurged!]
Cities Visited: 5
Distance Traveled: 4189 km in 9 automobiles, 5 trains and 5 boats
Days Sick: 0
Number of Items Lost: No items, just our patience and maybe our sanity
Biggest Tourist Traps: Egypt
Exchange Rate: $1 CAD = 6 Egyptian pounds

View from our Cairo hotel balcony

Our Route:

Map of Our Egypt Route

Our Egypt Route

Cairo – White Desert (Bahariya Oasis, Black Desert) – Cairo – Alexandria – Aswan (Abu Simbel, Elephantine Island) – Luxor [via the Nile] – Cairo


  • Hands down, the amazing FOOD!!!!
  • Riding camels by day, sleeping under the incredible starry sky by night in the White Desert
  • The people of Alexandria
  • Abu Simbel temples (especially the interior)
  • Gliding down the Nile on a felucca

The Nile, just outside Aswan


  • The scammers, hustlers, and pushy touts in the tourist areas
  • Dodging traffic
  • General lack of infrastructure makes identifying scams that much tougher
  • The overwhelming lack of hope about the future (most Egyptians we talked with believe the revolution was stolen, things are worse now than before, and they can’t foresee any positive change)
  • Constantly being treated as a walking ATM
  • Constantly being treated as a sexual object
  • See this previous post

Highway rest stop


  • The general apathy of the people towards the constitutional referendum that was taking place when we arrived
  • Just how overblown the media makes the situation look with their coverage of the protests
  • The scammers, hustlers, and pushy touts in the tourist areas (as in just how many and how pushy they can be)
  • How good, cheap, and healthy the food was and how easy it was to eat vegetarian
  • Having locals ask to have their picture taken with me (I would expect this in rural China, maybe, but not from a hotel maid in Alexandria)

Karnak Temple

Lessons Learned:

  • Sometimes you should just pay the little bit extra to hire a driver/guide/horse because it will give you hours of peace you won’t otherwise find
  • Tourism is not always easy and locals don’t always appreciate foreigners

Lunch before White Desert Tour

Egypt Journal – Where/How Did We Spend Our Time?

Cairo (4 nights)
National Museum, Pyramids, Tahrir Square, Islamic Cairo, Coptic Christian Cairo

White Desert (3 nights)
Camel safari with jeep escort, camping under the stars

Cairo (1 night)
This was just a stopover on our way to Alexandria

Alexandria (3 nights)
This sidetrip was originally planned because we had to wait to take the night train from Cairo to Aswan, but it became our favourite Egyptian city

Aswan (3 nights + 1 on train en route to Aswan)
Day trips to Abu Simbel temples, Philae temple, Elephantine Island

Nile (2 nights)
Sleeping, eating, and cruising on a felucca

Luxor (4 nights)
Valley of the Kings, Karnak temple, Luxor temple

Cairo (3 nights + 1 in airport en route to Bangkok)
Tired of the hassles, we mostly caught up on blogging in our hostel while waiting for our flight out

Smoking at the gas pumps

One Response to “Egypt Roundup”

  1. Sofie says:

    Nice roundup! I’m guessing this could be very useful for someone planning his or her own trip to Egypt:)

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