EGYPT TRAVEL DIARIES: CAIRO, LUXOR & SHARM

This is my first travel post and as I am not a travel blogger, please don’t expect it to be amazing! I have done my best to highlight all the best places you can visit in Egypt!

In September 2015, I finally achieved one of my childhood dreams. I traveled to Egypt to discover all the wonders of Egyptian history! As a kid, I always loved Egypt & it made me so curious, so I promised myself that if I went, I would do it all!

I booked a 2 week all inclusive stay in a resort in Sharm which was amazing in itself. The holiday was a good balance between relaxing, and going out to discover the wonders the country has to offer!

 

DAYS 1 & 2 – CHECKING IN & CHILLING

We got to our hotel late on the first day, so spent the time to sort out the room, hang up our clothes and just relax into the fact we were on holiday! We found that in Egypt / Sharm, you are quite isolated to your hotel as you cannot just leave and go for a stroll if you fancy it.

That being said, the hotel complexes are usually HUGE! For example, it took us a good 10 minutes (no exaggeration) to get to the reception of the hotel, so you were never short on things to do at the resort itself.

We stayed at the Maritim Royal Peninsula in Sharm El Sheikh which was amazing! Very affordable, the food was great and the staff were all very helpful when required!

 

 

DAY 3 – DIVING IN THE RED SEA

Before I went to Egypt, I got my PADI certification and learnt how to scuba dive. This was mainly in preparation for the fact that I wanted to go diving in the Red Sea.

We drove to the harbour and got all of our diving gear before boarding a boat that took us to Tiran Island. Whilst we were travelling there we could lay down on the top of the boat and top up our tan, so it was pretty fab!

The view and the experience was absolutely breathtaking. The water is so clear and the marine life is truly so beautiful! We were lucky enough to be able to see turtles, rays and so many different types of fish. We then stopped off at 2 further points where we did a bit of snorkelling.

Although an amazing day, it was terrifying as my travel partner nearly drowned. Luckily I grew up going swimming regularly so I am a very strong swimmer, which meant I could handle swimming far out to explore and coming back safe and sound. My friend struggled however, and so all of the hench Egyptian men had to dive in and swim to save them! Thankfully they were okay, but very shaken (unsurprisingly)!

My friend is currently trying to recover the pictures we took of the marine life underwater from when their computer crashed so if we recover them – I will update this post. In the meantime, I managed to get a cheeky selfie, cause you know, why not!

The whole day of diving cost £45 each, but that really isn’t bad for what you get to see and experience!

 

egypt travel diaries

 

DAY 4 – ABU GALUM & BLUE HOLE SAFARI

 

egypt travel diaries

 

Abu Galum is a Managed Resource Protected Area which is in South Sinai. We were picked up by a (4×4) and driven to Abu Galum to see the famous blue hole!

The blue hole is a part of the sea of which the coastline drops off rapidly, creating a deep blue circle from a bird’s-eye view. We had to climb down a load of rocks to get into the sea, but then we were free to go swimming to explore what marine life lived on the corals! The good thing is the reef is mostly undisturbed, and a lot of care is taken to preserve this even whilst humans dive in and ogle at the fish!

I actually find snorkelling a lot harder than scuba diving for some reason. I always get water in the pipe and end up swallowing too much sea water. That isn’t fun when you are spluttering and trying not to drown! On top of that, one of my contact lenses kept playing up this day, which isn’t good when you basically cannot take your mask off, but nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

On the lead up to the blue hole, we were given the opportunity to ride a camel. It was the most uncomfortable thing ever, and I have decided I do not like camel riding. But, as always, I like to try everything once!

The trip to Abu Galum lasts the whole day and costs £35.

 

egypt travel diaries

 

DAY 5 – MORE CHILLING

We were supposed to go swimming with dolphins on one of these days but sadly, they didn’t do that excursion on that day. So, we had to reschedule it to another day and based on our itinerary, we couldn’t fit it in! I will do it one day though!

 

DAY 6 – HORSE RIDING IN THE DESERT

 

egypt travel diaries

 

I LOVE horse riding and used to go as a kid, so whenever I go on holiday where they have landscape permitting terrain I will make the effort to explore on the back of a horse. As I had experience riding horses before, I was deliberately given the naughtiest one so that I could handle her (my god, she was a pain in my arse)!

We went for an hour trek through the desert and then stopped to take some pictures. Apologies on the quality of that one, something weird happened to it! We were then taken to an authentic Bedouin tent for a rest and refreshing tea, in true Egyptian fashion. This was an interesting experience to say the least, and one I highly recommend. Seeing how Egyptian people live day to day really highlights how different our lives are back home.

The whole horse riding experience cost £26, so not bad for a cheeky day out! The horses were well fed, well trained and clearly happy, so I would definitely recommend going here if you would want to do this!

 

DAY 7 – TOUR OF LUXOR

We were up at 4am ready for a 4:30am pick up from our hotel to drive to the airport. We boarded a rickety little plane and flew over to Luxor, arriving around 7:30am!

 

VALLEY OF THE KINGS

Upon landing, we were first driven to the place where I was most excited to visit – The Valley of the Kings. I have no personal photos from here as it is strictly forbidden. This is because the constant flash from camera lights has a long term impact on the tombs. That being said, I was fine with that! The fact they are making every effort in preserving such an amazing place is something I completely admire them for.

To date, I think this experience was the best I have had travel-wise. It isn’t for the fainthearted though, as you have to climb in and out of each tomb in a small space. It is also VERY hot and so tiring. But oh my god, isn’t it worth it.

The thing that had me in awe the most was the engineering and thought process that went into how to structure these incredible tombs. How the Egyptians built these in the dying heat for their Kings (and Queens, who were laid to rest in the Valley of the Queens) I will never fathom. The artwork inside was simply stunning, thoughtful and just amazing. The Egyptians were so ahead of their time considering the ancient civilisation and to me, thats what makes Egyptian history so interesting!

The best part? We got to visit King Tutankhamamun and the Sons of Ramsesses II’s tombs! They had been emptied for their contents as Tutankhamamun’s bits and bobs are on show in a museum in Cairo (more on that later), but the tomb itself was incredible. Essentially, if you were a decent king, you got a decent tomb! Here is a photo inside one of the tombs taken for the purposes of promoting the trip on their site:

 

 

TEMPLE OF QUEEN HATSHEPSUT

After the morning exploring the Valley of the Kings, our next stop was to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. This temple was HUGE. The steps seemed to go on forever and the walk up to it felt like ages in the scorching heat.

Due to modern renovation this temple was in excellent condition, showing us the true & close to original beauty of Egyptian architecture. I liked how eerily placed the temple was; in the middle of nowhere beneath the cliffs on the west bank of the Nile.

Here is a cheeky pic of me in front of the temple:

 

egypt travel diaries

 

KARNAK TEMPLE

Following some lunch, our last stop of the day was to the Karnak Temples, being one of the six great ancient Egyptian Temples.

This place reminded me exactly of the Tomb Raider games that were set in Egypt, and I absolutely loved it! It has some amazing architecture with very high structures, which left our whole group wondering how on earth they built it all!

There is so much history behind everything as well making these structures even more interesting. If you like fun facts and enjoy history, then this is a place you must visit!

 

 

FLY HOME!

This is where the day went to shit. We got to the airport around 5pm, but due to sandstorms no planes were allowed to take off or land at Luxor airport. We were stuck in the airport to until around 3am, and I was bored out of my brains, irritable and bloody knackered. Finally, we got back to the hotel around 5am, and crashed SO hard. Definitely worse than any nights out I have ever had!

Overall, the day was incredible and I will never forget it. I highly recommend you go if you are even the smallest bit interested, because you will not regret it! Although the Luxor tour costs £140, this does include the cost of the flights, so it’s well worth the money!

 

DAY 8 – RECOVERY

I was basically dead to the world, as you could imagine. We did sod all that day, and believe me it was needed!

 

DAY 9 – PARASAILING OVER THE SEA

We decided to take a few hours out of the day to go parasailing, just cause I had never done it before! I am not someone who is scared of heights at all and love doing adrenaline sports (although this one is quite mild), but for some reason this scared me more than skydiving or scuba diving did!

I think it is down to the very basic equipment that holds you in which in my mind, was easily breakable. Although I would’ve just fallen into the sea safe and sound, the thought still scared me! But it was amazing to experience this in such a beautiful country none the less.

 

DAY 10 – TOUR OF CAIRO

Exactly the same as the Luxor tour, we were up at 4am ready for a 4:30am pick up from our hotel. We jumped on a plane and again, landed around 7:30am.

 

THE GREAT PYRAMIDS OF GIZA

We were finally going to visit something I had wanted to see for so long; the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The pyramids were the tallest man-made structure for over 3,800 years, and to this day no one knows for sure how they were physically built. The mystery surrounding it is what makes these so remarkable!

Seeing these was something I could safely say exceeded my expectations and I loved that I could tick this off of my bucket list!

 

 

THE SPHINX

The Sphinx is something I feel is quite famous and a lot of people have heard of it. A huge structure made up of the body of a lion, and the head of a human. No one still knows for sure when it was built and who by, but it is definitely one of the largest and oldest statues in the world.

Again, I was in awe and wonder as to how and why the incredible statue was built. I loved being able to walk around and have a think about the purpose of the statue and the train of thought the Egyptians had back in ancient times.

I have a picture of me kissing the Sphinx somewhere that I cannot find for the life of me. But, if I find it I will update this post accordingly!

 

LUNCH ON THE NILE & BANANA ISLAND

 

Being the longest river in the world, it didn’t surprise me that the width of the Nile was huge! Being able to sit down, recuperate and eat some lunch on a boat on the Nile was an incredible experience with some amazing views!

We actually went on the Nile twice, but I only got a picture from when we went to Luxor. So if you are wondering, that is why my clothes have changed!

On this boat tour, we made a quick stop to Banana Island. As the name suggests, the place had SO many banana trees, and it was interesting to see how the fruit is harvested after growing.

 

 

MUSEUM OF EGYPTIAN ANTIQUITIES

Last but not least, we stopped off at the biggest museum in Cairo to learn a bit more about ancient Egyptian history. Usually, museums are not my thing but this visit was so interesting.

As mentioned earlier, we got to see all of Tutankhamun’s possessions that were in his tomb, including the famous mask made for him. We were not allowed to take any pictures of the inside, but the museum had so much to offer that it is a place you cannot miss.

We learnt about their beliefs in reincarnation, mummification and canopic jars, and even about the conspiracy theories around giants existing back in ancient times.

 

FLY HOME!

This time, we managed to get back to the hotel at a reasonable time of 7pm after a long day.

The price for the Cairo tour is £135 per person, so well worth the money as this includes flights to and from Sharm!

 

DAY 11 – RECOVERY 

Again, we had an incredibly long day and the rest was needed!

 

DAY 12 – QUAD BIKING & VISITING A BEDOUIN TENT

I love doing “adventure tours”, and have recently become obsessed with quad biking. It just makes me feel like a bad arse and I don’t know why!

We decided to visit the desert in the dark this time so we could see the stars in the night. I have a thing about the stars, and I get goosebumps looking at them (feel free to call me weird). So, I always love to take the time to see them wherever I go in the world.

This night was so fun. It was pitch black other than the lights of the quad bikes and it felt so open and free! They stopped the group off near some rocks which echoed a reply when we shouted at them. I was pulled out of the group to give my name to shout out collectively, but Charlie is a name a lot of Egyptian people are not aware of so it took a while to get them to understand it!

This costs £19 per person, and the experience is a fun activity to pack out your holiday!

Also, can we just appreciate the tan in this photo please?!

 

 

DAY 13 – CHILLING & PACKING

It was the day before flying home, so we wanted to fit in some extra relaxation. We wanted to be well rested before going back to work on the Monday!

 

DAY 14 – HOME TIME!

After a tiring but amazing 2 weeks with the immense heat, stunning views and interesting history, I flew home with a killer tan and some amazing memories. It is by far my favourite trip so far and would fully recommend that everyone should go do it!

 

To finish, I have listed a few tips that I would have found helpful before I went:

  • You need a visa to fly over and visit Cairo and Luxor, so be sure to get this sorted before you go.
  • You also need a visa if you want to stay in Sharm and go diving. So again, make sure you have this sorted!
  • Men in Egypt can pressurise you so badly. The trick is to say “no thank you” in a firm but fair manner.
  • Do NOT let anyone take your picture other than a fellow tourist, as the Egyptian people will expect a payment for any help they give. They can become aggressive if you refuse!
  • Do NOT under any circumstances accept anyones offer to sit on their camel for a picture. We met a couple of girls on the trip who fell foul to this. Lets just say it is a situation you want to avoid!
  • The paper money is not very clean. Not a major issue, but is something to be aware of.
  • I got called Shakira, and my male friend was told many times that he was a ‘very lucky man’. Its flattering at first but does get tiring – just remain calm and ignore it!
  • I booked flights and accommodation separately; using Booking.com for the hotel booking, and flights with Monarch

 

I really hoped you enjoyed this summary of my trip to Egypt. It truly is a one of a kind experience and something I feel people don’t explore enough! Feel free to ask me any questions you might have!

 

Have you ever been to Egypt? Do you want to visit one day?

 

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7 Comments

  1. 05/02/2017 / 1:44 PM

    It looks like you had an amazing time! I bet seeing the pyramids etc in real life is pretty incredible x

    LuxeStyle

    • charliefriend
      06/02/2017 / 1:34 PM

      Thanks for reading Jenny! They really were, such an incredible experience!

  2. 05/02/2017 / 6:22 PM

    Luxor looks SO amazing! I went a few years ago and had to choose between Cairo or Luxor. One day I hope to go back and visit The Valley of the Kings – your pictures look incredible!

    Claudia | https://itsclaudiasaffron.blogspot.co.uk

    • charliefriend
      06/02/2017 / 1:33 PM

      Thanks so much Claudia!! Yes you should defo go – Luxor was beautiful!!

  3. 05/02/2017 / 6:26 PM

    This is such an amazing post! I loved reading it and love your photos, especially the under water ones. I tried snorkling for the first time about 2-3 years ago in the Caribbean and I struggled a few times cos I was so scared lol but I did come to love it by the 4th try lol x

    http://www.lifewithcarlyc.com

    • charliefriend
      06/02/2017 / 1:32 PM

      Thank you so much for reading Carly and so pleased you enjoyed my post! Yes I agree!! Snorkelling is quite difficult, but glad to hear you like it now! 🙂 xx

  4. 07/02/2017 / 3:56 PM

    This looks like an amazing trip, I’ve always wanted to go to Egypt! Hopefully before too long! x

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