Backpack to Ancient World Wonder - Chennai to Cairo

Tripoto
26th Jan 2018

The Great Pyramids, Giza

Photo of Backpack to Ancient World Wonder - Chennai to Cairo by Kishore Ravichandran

***Caution: Long Post(much needed tips)***

Day 1

So, the plan for this trip started way back in June 2017, when we decided to book a flight to Egypt(Always on top of our bucket list). As we are budget backpackers, we always want a cheap and convenient flight. For any trip plan, we decide the cities we wish to see and the number of days we have to take off from office. Finally we fixed the date Jan 26-31 ,2018 and the flight rate came to 26000 INR per head in July after Yatra Offers. So flight Ticket- Done!.

After few months, The next big thing for the travel plan came to Hotel Accommodation,Visa and Forex. In December, we used Hostelworld to book accommodation in Cairo(Reserved) and Luxor(Reserved) for Visa Purposes. Our Egypt tourist Visa were processed by musafir.com. The Visa fees along with processing fees and tax came to 4350 INR per per head.

Started our plan for itinerary in Jan first week, decided to stay 3 days in Cairo and 2 days in Luxor. Our Final plan looked like this:

Day-1

26Jan 250AM chennai - 550AM Kuwait

26Jan 10:00AM kuwait - 12:10Noon - cairo.. Take Metro to Rameses Station - Walk to New Palace Hostel - Check IN by 1pm..Take rest..Start at 3pm..visit Al-Azhar Mosque,Citadel of Salah El Din,Mosque of Md Ali and back to room by 8.

Day-2 - Jan27

Check Out - Leave Bags - Start by 7 and reach Pyramid Giza complex((khufu & Khafre) & Great Sphinx)..spend till 1pm. Reach Museum(Must visit rooms 3,4,9,35,46,56) by 2pm..spend till 5pm..back to hotel and take the bags..Get to Ramses Station by 8..get train ticket or board train 86 at 910PM

Day-3 - Jan28

Reach Luxor 610AM..Reach New Everest hotel at 8AM Check-In get settled and start at 9AM..Reach West Bank (All places 6AM-5PM). Ramesseum,Temples of NoblesValley of the Kings - KV62-tutakhamen,Temple of Medinat Habu,Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahari. Return back to Hotel by 8

Day-4 - Jan29

Check Our and Leave the bags. Start by 8..visit Temple of Karnak 6AM-5PM and 4PM-9PM in the morning and Luxor Temple - 6AM-9PM - 60LE by noon..Back to Hotel by 8 and take the bags..Reach Luxor station and board train to cairo at 940PM

Day-5 - Jan30

Reach Cairo Rameses Station..Check In New Palace Hotel. Visit hanging church,coptic museum and saqqara pyramid, Khan el khaili if time permits in evening and return back to hotel

Day-6 - Jan31

Start at 8AM..visit Baron Empain Palace(must-see) Reach airport by 11AM and then back to Chennai on Feb 1, 1:30 AM.

A week before our trip, we went to Maharaja Forex to get Egyptian pounds we needed. But due to limited stock and higher conversion rate(1LE=4INR) we exchanged 15000 INR to 250 USD, so that we can change it to EGP in Cairo Airport which eventually came to 4500 EGP. We also had our International credit cards covered.

Its the D-day,we got into our flight enjoyed 8 hours flight travel with additional 5 hours layover at Kuwait and reached Cairo at 2 PM local time. After immigration process, we exchanged 150 USD to get 2600 EGP at the Cairo airport.

Took this pic from the bank slot where we exchanged USD to EGP (1 USD = 17.64 EGP)

Photo of Cairo International Airport, Cairo Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

We took the blue bus which is a free shuttle from Airport to the nearest Bus Depot.From there we took Bus 111 which gets to Ramsis Station, paid 5 LE for 2, and got down near Oraby Metro and walked down to Emad el-din street. Most of the people barely speak English,mostly Arabic; So they tried to help us by explaining through signs. Finally by 4PM, we reached New Palace Hotel, paid the remaining fees for the room. Got into the room, took rest and decided that we cant go Cairo Citadel as it gets closed by 4:30 pm.

New Palace Hotel Reception

Photo of New Palace Hotel, Oraby, Al Azbakeyah, Cairo Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

So we decided to roam nearby places and had dinner . Even though our Hotel had WiFi we needed SIM to use maps. We got Orange SIM(1000 mins local, 3.5 GB, 30 days) for 80 LE in the market. You can also buy Vodafone SIM(1000 mins local, 1 GB, 30 days) for 60 from the shop at Ramsis Railway station. As it is Winter season in Egypt, the temperature was around 16 degree Celsius. We couldn't adapt to the climate change easily.We walked from Market till Tahrir Square - Sadat Metro.Bought a water bottle for 5 LE and came back to Room.

Ramsis Railway Station

Photo of Ramsis Railways Station, Al Fagalah, Al Azbakeyah, Cairo Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

View of Nile River and Cairo Tower

Photo of El-Sadat Road, Cairo Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

people in Cairo have ice creams at night, by looking at this big queue, this one must be the famous one.

Photo of El Abd Pastry, Talaat Harb, Bab Al Louq, Qasr an Nile, Cairo Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran
Day 2

Next Morning, we woke at 8AM, refreshed and Checked out of the room and kept our bags at the Hotel. Took Coolers, Camera, Selfie Stick in small bag and reached Al Shohaada Metro and took a train to Giza station. It was not rush hour and cost 4 LE for 2.

Left: To Pyramids - Right: To Museum

Photo of Cairo, Cairo Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

On the way to the Pyramids, we were accompanied by a native Egyptian with his kids. He worked in Alexandria and came here to visit Pyramids as his kids were in Holiday. He spoke fluently in English. He guided us to the Pyramid complex. We reached Pyramids Road through Bus and from the Train Station for which we paid 10 LE for 2. By 11 AM, we reached a shop which provided Camel and Horse rides. We took camel and instead of getting ticket from Entrance office he offered 600 LE for ticket and camel ride for 4 hours. For getting some great views, we opted it even though the ticket cost was 120 LE. The Native Egyptian left us because he booked horse. We along with a guide took a longest route and started seeing the Pyramids one by one with a good view. Our guide took photos for us, we climbed Pyramids and enjoyed taking pics.

Our Camel Ride

Photo of Giza Necropolis, Al Haram, Giza Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

That Mandatory pose taken by our guide

Photo of Pyramid of Khufu, Nazlet El-Semman, Al Haram, Giza Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Climbing Pyramids - pic by our guide Hussein

Photo of Pyramid of Khufu, Nazlet El-Semman, Al Haram, Giza Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Boat Pit

Photo of Boat pit, Khafraa, Nazlet El-Semman, Al Haram, Giza Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

We didn't pay the additional 300 LE to enter inside the great Pyramid. There was a long queue. Most of them told that it is not worth as it has a small pathway and nothing can be seen clearly, so we skipped it.

Photo of Backpack to Ancient World Wonder - Chennai to Cairo by Kishore Ravichandran

Took few pics in front of Sphinx and reached the end of Pyramid road and took a bus to reach Giza Train station for 10 LE for 2 and again paid 4 LE for 2 and took the train to Sadat station. We had lunch and reached Egyptian Museum at 3 PM.

My tickets

Photo of Egyptian Museum, Meret Basha, Ismailia, Qasr an Nile, Cairo Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Egyptian Museum

Photo of Egyptian Museum, Meret Basha, Ismailia, Qasr an Nile, Cairo Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran
Photo of Egyptian Museum, Meret Basha, Ismailia, Qasr an Nile, Cairo Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran
Photo of Egyptian Museum, Meret Basha, Ismailia, Qasr an Nile, Cairo Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Painted Wooden head of Tutankhamun

Photo of Egyptian Museum, Meret Basha, Ismailia, Qasr an Nile, Cairo Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Inside Egyptian Museum

Photo of Egyptian Museum, Meret Basha, Ismailia, Qasr an Nile, Cairo Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Tahrir Square Panaroma

Photo of Tahrir Square Egypt, El-Tahrir Square, Qasr Ad Dobarah, Qasr an Nile, Cairo Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

With 2 hours left for closing, we didn't pay for the Mummy rooms. We took the base ticket of 120 LE which covered everything except mummy rooms. By 5 PM security guards started closing the sections one by one. We came out and took the train from Sadat to Al Shohadaa and reached the room by 7 PM. We rushed to Ramsis station to get the tickets to Luxor. They told all the tickets were sold out for next 2 days. We planned to get the ticket on-board from the checker by paying the fine. We took the 9 PM train to Aswan unreserved. We paid 115 LE including the fine to the checker and got the ticket which is a bad idea. We should have taken the Bus. We didn't get a proper seat to take rest as all of them were reserved. We needed to switch often. We reached Luxor at 7:30 AM.

Day 3

From the Luxor station we walked to our Hotel Accommodation - New Everst Hotel using maps.

Luxor Railway Station

Photo of Luxor Railway Station, Luxor City, Luxor, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Our Hotel Accommodation

Photo of New Everest Hotel, Luxor City, Luxor, Luxor Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

We kept our bag in the Hotel, took camera and started walking towards the East Bank ferry point. We were approached by many taxi drivers(Scams) coming up with different rates to visit all the places in west bank ranging from 300 LE to 500 LE only for the Taxi ride. We avoided the scammers. We paid 2 LE for each and took the ferry to west bank.

View from ferry

Photo of West Bank Luxor Boat Ramp, Al Qarna Road, Al Bairat, Luxor, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

We started walking towards the ticket office skipping all taxi drivers.

After walking 3km, we reached Colossi of Memnon. Took some pics and started walking towards ticket office.

Photo of Colossi of Memnon, Al Bairat, Luxor, Luxor Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Map of West Bank

Photo of Colossi of Memnon, Al Bairat, Luxor, Luxor Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran
Photo of Colossi of Memnon, Al Bairat, Luxor, Luxor Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

What an apt saying..We covered almost our entire west bank by walking. We reached ticket office and bought ticket for Habu Temple.

Ticket Office - Bought tickets for Habu and Ramesseum

Photo of Backpack to Ancient World Wonder - Chennai to Cairo by Kishore Ravichandran

Had breakfast at nearby Pharoh Hotel. Reached Habu Temple and discussed its history with fellow travelers, took pics and returned to ticket office and bought ticket for Ramesseum.

Entrance to Habu Temple

Photo of Medinet Habu, Al Bairat, Luxor, Luxor Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Habu Temple

Photo of Medinet Habu, Al Bairat, Luxor, Luxor Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Walked 2 km to Ramesseum. There weren't much people there. Took pics and discussed some details with amiable security guards.

Photo of Ramesseum, Qesm Al Wahat Al Khargah, New Valley Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Ramesseum Temple

Photo of Ramesseum, Qesm Al Wahat Al Khargah, New Valley Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Finally walked 3.5 km to reach Hatsheput Temple at Dier el-Bahari and paid 160 LE for 2 for the tickets. Helped the fellow tourist to take some photos. We were tired after walking 8 km. For our last spot, we bargained with a cab driver and finally agreed to a good deal to pay 100 LE to take us to Valley of the Kings and back to west bank ferry point.

Hatsheput Temple

Photo of Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, Qesm Al Wahat Al Khargah, New Valley Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Welcome Room of valley of Kings

Photo of Valley of the Kings, Qesm Al Wahat Al Khargah, New Valley Governorate, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

We came here only to visit the world famous Tomb of Tutankhamun KV62. But here came the twist, we needed to pay additional 200 LE to visit it. The normal Entrance ticket covers 3 Tombs for 160 LE. We paid 720 LE for 2 and went to our First Tomb, Ramses III. We didn't pay the additional 300 LE for taking photos inside the 3 tombs. Then we reached KV62. We were awestruck after seeing the original mummy and cascade of Tutankhamun. Felt worth the money.

Photo of Backpack to Ancient World Wonder - Chennai to Cairo by Kishore Ravichandran

Security Guard/ Guide in the Tomb

Photo of Tomb of Tut Ankh Amun, Kings Valley Road, Qesm Al Wahat Al Khargah, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

After seeing other 2 tombs (Merenptah and Seti II) we took our Taxi and returned to Ferry point. Then checked into Hotel and took some rest.

West Bank Tickets

Photo of Backpack to Ancient World Wonder - Chennai to Cairo by Kishore Ravichandran

At Al Haref, we had dinner at 8 PM. Then went to a nearby private bus agency and enquired about Bus to Cairo. They had services at 8,9&11 PM to Cairo for 100 LE the next day.We decided to reserve ticket the next day morning.

Day 4

Next day, we refreshed and started at 10 AM. Checked out of the Hotel. Our plan for the day was to visit Karnak Temple in the Morning and Luxor Temple in the evening. We reserved our bus tickets as mentioned earlier and walked along the banks of Nile River to reach Karnak Temple.

Nile River from East Bank

Photo of Luxor, Luxor City, Luxor, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

We reached Karnak Ticket Office at 11 AM and paid 120 LE for each and spent the entire day exploring and taking photos in the temple.

prototype of Karnak Temple at welcome room, Karnak

Photo of El-Karnak, Luxor, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

El-Karnak, Luxor

Photo of El-Karnak, Luxor, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Obelisk of Sun God Amun Ra

Photo of El-Karnak, Luxor, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

By 4 PM we came out and had some snack and went to banks of Nile. We started to Luxor Temple at 5:30 PM to see the beautiful light effects.

East Bank Tickets

Photo of Luxor Temple, Luxor City, Luxor, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Had some street food and reached Luxor temple at 5:45 PM and paid 100 LE each for the ticket.Had chat with fellow travelers and took pics and left the temple at 6:40 PM.

Entrance to the temple

Photo of Backpack to Ancient World Wonder - Chennai to Cairo by Kishore Ravichandran

Luxor temple under Moonlight

Photo of Backpack to Ancient World Wonder - Chennai to Cairo by Kishore Ravichandran

Reached the Hotel at 7 PM and had some casual conversation with the Hotel staff and had dinner. Also bought some sweets and pastries at 8 PM and reached the bus agency and waited till 9 PM for the bus. We arrived at the Ramsis station around 9 AM.

Sweets for 30 LE

Photo of Backpack to Ancient World Wonder - Chennai to Cairo by Kishore Ravichandran
Photo of Backpack to Ancient World Wonder - Chennai to Cairo by Kishore Ravichandran
Day 5

We checked into New Palace Hostel at 10 AM. Instead of Saqqara Necropolis we decided to visit Al-Azhar Mosque,Mosque of Md Ali and Citadel of Saladin which we missed on our Day-1 plan. And also covered Khan Al-khilili Market to buy souvenirs. We visited Al-Alzhar Mosque first and then went to Market. After bargaining, we got 3 papyrus for 30 LE and 2 Alabaster Statues for 30 LE. Took a sharing ride to Cairo Citadel for 10 LE.

Al Azhar Mosque

Photo of Al-Azhar Mosque, El-Darb El-Ahmar, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Spices Shop

Photo of Khan Al Khalili, El-Gamaleya, Qism El-Gamaleya, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Souvenir Shop

Photo of Khan Al Khalili, El-Gamaleya, Qism El-Gamaleya, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Paid 100 LE for Cairo Citadel and explored the grandeur of the citadel .We can get a clear view of Islamic Cairo from here and can even see the Pyramids with naked eyes. We took a bus nearby and reached our Hotel.

Cairo Citadel

Photo of Salah El Din Al Ayouby Citadel, Al Abageyah, Qesm Al Khalifah، Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Inside Cairo Citadel

Photo of Salah El Din Al Ayouby Citadel, Al Abageyah, Qesm Al Khalifah، Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Mosque of Md Ali

Photo of Mosque of Muhammad Ali, Al Abageyah, Qism El-Khalifa, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Spent rest of the day taking rest. At 7 PM, we went to Tahrir Square to have some sweets. Had Zelabiya dipped in Nutella and returned to hotel.

Photo of Tahrir Square, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran
Day 6

Next Morning, we refreshed and checked out of our Hotel at 10 AM to reach our final destination, Indian inspired mansion - Baron Empain Palace. We took Metro from Attaba and reached Koleyet El Banat and walked to the destination. Unfortunately, the site was under renovation. We managed to take some good snaps and had breakfast in a nearby shop.

Baron Empain Palace

Photo of Baron Empain Palace, El-Orouba, El-Montaza, Heliopolis, Egypt by Kishore Ravichandran

Took the Metro to Al-Ahram (nearest station to the Airport) from Koleyet el-Banat which was a bad idea. THE METRO DOES NOT CONNECT AIRPORT. We paid 70 LE to reach Airport. With 10 minutes left to gate closing, we did immigration check and rushed to the Gate at 1:30 PM. We came back to Chennai to 1:30 AM(local time) on Feb 1, 2018.

This is one of our awesome trips filled with great memories. Even though we missed Saqqara Necropolis, Valley of Queens and Mummification Museum, we enjoyed a lot.

This is my first write -up, Feel free to post your queries,suggestions and feedback in the comments.

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