Egypt: The dream destination

Tripoto
19th Feb 2019
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Tell me one country where the Sea touches the desert, where the river makes the way for life in the middle of nowhere, where Greek, Roman and Arabic influence shape it's ancient history, where you can wonder at the deeds of a civilisation which existed way before any other.
The answer we all know, the place we all seek to visit, the mystery we all want to imbibe: Egypt.

So when my parents wanted to choose me a country with a moderate budget, I had no hesitation. It is a place for both the explorer and the tourist. We planned, or rather had a tour agency plan our trip. It was good, it was hectic but lively. Came back with a thousand memories.

Red Sea@suez: dividing Africa and Asia

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Kuwait City

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Day 1

We had early morning ( or late night) flight from Chatrapati Shivaji Airport to Kuwait City 🇰🇼, from there to Cairo. Both the journeys by Kuwait Airways, must say a good airline.
I enjoyed a beautiful sunset mid air, which I hadn't earlier. And the Suez and Red Sea were treat to watch from above.

We reached Cairo at 11:30 am local time.
After completing the immigration and ForEx hassle, we jumped on our A/C coach and start our way to the restaurant. We passed the beuatiful and large Cairo City on the way and saw the magnanimous Citadel of Salah Ed-Din.

Citadel of Salah Ed-din

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Then we crossed the Nile, a river not so wide but showering crystal blue color from itself, and entered the city of Giza.
You can differentiate the sky scraper dominant modern Cairo with the brick laden walls of old buildings of Giza just by a glimpse. Our restaurant and the hotel was well inside the Giza, just a mile from the famed structures, the ancient wonders of the world.

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The Nile

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

After we've done our lunch, we checked in our hotel, which I must say is very Luxury, and after some rest, headed to the Pyramid for Sound and Light program.

Our hotel in Cairo

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The Swimming pool

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The S&L program was great. It was a windy evening, the hour-long program consists of Sir Anthony Hopkins' voice and a brilliant light show on the three pyamids and the sphinx. After that we had our dinner on the pyramid complex itself and went to bed after that.

Sound and Light program

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Day 2

We headed early morning to the north coast of the country. The highway from Cairo to Alexandria was very smooth. We covered the distance in 3 hours with a tea break in between.
The reached the city, and much to our astonishment it was nothing short of an European city. The Mediterranean weather coupled with the buildings, and the marine drive. Just awesome! The tram-tracks and the narrow lanes resemble much with North Kolkata.
And, the road beside the Mediterranean was just wonderful. I lost my words when I saw the sea. The colour of the water is what I've never seen before.
Have a look to the pictures where I tried to snap Alexandria's daily life.

A church

Photo of Alexandria, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The Pompey's Pillar

Photo of Alexandria, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The Yellow Taxi

Photo of Alexandria, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The Marine Drive

Photo of Alexandria, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Just another view

Photo of Alexandria, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Trams of Alexandria

Photo of Alexandria, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

European tint of Africa

Photo of Alexandria, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Tomb of The Unknown Soldier

Photo of Alexandria, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Alexandria, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Alexandria

Photo of Alexandria, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The tram tracks

Photo of Alexandria, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

We visited four places in Alexandria:
The famous Catacomb, Bibliotheca Alexandrina ( the largest library in the world when it weren't yet destructed), The Citadel of Quiatbay, also known as Alexandria Fort and last but not least, The San Stephano mall, largest on in the city to do lunch.
Out of these The Catacomb is the place where the ancient Egyptians and the people in Greek and Roman period kept their dead bodies. Photograph was not allowed inside it, still I am guilty of not controlling my hankering, henceworth you guys can see what I saw.

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Hieroglyphics

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The coffin

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The bones of horses

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina, or the library, on the other hand was large, and advanced as well. We had a 30 minute guided tour inside of it. There is a giant reading room, a couple of museums, one of those is of the life of great Egyptian Film Director Shadi Abdel Salam.

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The glowy corridors

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Art Museum

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The gigantic reading room

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

After lunch, we visited the Citadel of Qaitbay. It is a fortress situated just on the brink of the sea, basically a land's end. The panoramic view of the city from the terrace is breathtaking. The fort was originally meant to protect the city from any attacks coming from north; thus also called the lighthouse fort.

Citadel of Qaitbay

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Mediterranean sea with Alexandria fort

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

San stefano mall

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Day 3

Our third day entailed the reasons for which probably the people from all over the globe come to Egypt. The Pyramids.
We started early morning around 8 o' clock. First, we visited the Pyramid of Khufu, largest of the pyramids in Giza Plateau. And, as expected, I entered inside of it, brilliant experience, there is nothing inside but the 10 minute journey in itself is a thrill.

Family infront of Khufu

Photo of Cairo, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Inside the Khufu Pyramid

Photo of Cairo, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Cairo, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Cairo, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Cairo, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

After that, we went to the panoramic view point from where you can see all three of the great pyramids, from left to right: Kufu, Khafre and Menaukure. You can opt for a camel ride here if you want.

The Pyramid panorama

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Bengali in front of Pyramid

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Kufu Pyramid from our bus

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

From the highest point of the plateau, we go to the lowest point, ie, Sphinx. It is a statue carved from single stone, which has a shape of Lion as it's body and a human head. It is also termed as "Guardian protector". We ended our Pyramid complex tour with it and had our lunch here.

Family in front of Sphinx

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Me. With my travel gears

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Afterwards, we went to Perfume house and Papyrus institute in Giza, where we did some shopping. And then headed to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. In the way, we stopped by the famous Tahrir Square where the revolution took place in 2011.

@perfume house

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Papyrus institute

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Tahrir Square

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The Egyptian Museum is one of the biggest and most popular museums in the world. It has nearly 2,50,000 ancient egyptian antiques including the Sarcophagi, TutanKhamun's Tomb's treasures, even the Royal Mummies! ( Ramesses II, Queen Hatshepshut, Tuthmoses all are there). You will be astonished to see the corpse of the great legends not decomposing even after 3000 years of death. A magical feat indeed. Photography inside Mummies room was not permitted.

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Embalming table

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Coffin of Tutankhamun

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

TutanKhamun's Throne

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Crown of Tutankhamun

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

After the enriching museum tour we went straight to the old part of city to the Khan El-Khalili market for shopping and bought quite a few souvenirs for friends and family.

Khan El Khalili Market

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The Cairo City

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Day 4

Early morning today we got on a NileAir flight to Aswan in southern Egypt. We checked in our Cruise M/S Liberty, and after lunch we started our tour to the Unfinished Obelisk, the place from where the Granite stones had been taken to Cairo to build the pyramids.
After that, we visited the Philae Temple in philae Island. We reached the temple complex via a 10 minute boat journey through Nile. The temple features mainly Godess Isis and Godess H'athor.

Flight to Aswan

Photo of Aswan, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Unfinished Obelisk

Photo of Aswan, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Philae Temple

Photo of Aswan, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Nile River boat

Photo of Aswan, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Day 5

We hopped on our bus to get to Abu Simbel. It was 4-hour journey to the temple through Sahara Desert. We stopped for a toilet break and captured the beautiful sunrise in desert.
And in the way back, we saw at least ten mirage. And, it was surreal. I couldn't possibly emphasize how real it seemed. But unfortunately I dont have any photograph of it as it can't be captured.

Sunrise from Sahara

Photo of Abu Simbel, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The desert road

Photo of Abu Simbel, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Now for the temple, it is situated beside Nasser Lake, the largest man-made lake, and has two main part. One the main temple of Ramesses II and the other one is of his most favourite queen, Nefartari.
In my opinion, this is the best temple of Egypt and just can't be missed.

Family in front of Abu simbel

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Inside Ramesses temple

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The holy of the holies chamber. Light only falls on the three God statue. Not on the left most one of Pita'h, the God of darkness.

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Ramesses II killing his enemies both by hand and feet.

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Temple of Nefartari

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The Abu Simbel Panorama

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Nasser Lake

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

In the middle of nowhere

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

We stopped as the Aswan High Dam on our way back to the cruise. Then the Nile Cruise started, and we got off Kom-Ombo temple and visited it alongwith the Crocodile Museum. There were mummified crocodiles in the museum, and the temple was of Sobek, the Crocodile God.

Nasser lake side of the high dam

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The High Dam memorial

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Downstream Nile side of the high dam

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Nile Cruise

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The Crocodile pit

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Imhotep's surgical inscriptions in Kom Ombo Temple

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Day 6

The whole day our cruise sailed through Nile.
We started off our day at Edfu, visiting the Horus Temple. We reached the temple via horse carriage. After that, around midday we reached Esna, and witnessed the Esna Lock gate on action. As the water levels of Nile is different on the two sides, it has to be same to get a smooth flow. The water downing process was a treat to watch.

And, as an interesting sight, there were many street ( or may be riverside in this case ) vendors who came up in their boat and tried to sell stuff by throwing up bags in the cruise deck and taking the money that we threw in river.
In the evening, our cruise stopped at Luxor, it's final destination, and we visited the Luxor Temple. Brilliant Parthenon-isque temple with a long obelisk and a mosque in it.
We slept overnight on cruise after enjoying a belly dance program.

Horus Temple, Edfu

Photo of Nile by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The falcon God

Photo of Nile by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Pharaonic Gods with their Cartouse

Photo of Nile by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Nile by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Nile by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Ancient colours still preserved

Photo of Nile by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Scene from Cruise deck

Photo of Nile by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Nile by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Esna main lock Dam

Photo of Nile by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Esna town

Photo of Nile by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The lock gate

Photo of Nile by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

After water leveling

Photo of Nile by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Egypt: gift of Nile

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Obelisk in Luxor Temple

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Statue of Ramses II, Luxor Temple

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Day 7

I ticked one thing off my personal bucket list this day, ie, Hot Air Balloon ride. We started before sunrise, got to the west bank, and did the 45 minute ride. Anybody can and should do this, the experience is out of the world. It's nothing of an adventure sports, but the thrill to view the desert, and the green fields by Nile from 2000 feet above is unmatched.
Certainly one of the best highlights of the whole trip!

Preparing to fly

Photo of Luxor City, Luxor, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The desert, you can spot the Hatshepshut Temple in the right side

Photo of Luxor City, Luxor, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Mid air

Photo of Luxor City, Luxor, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Luxor City, Luxor, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Sunrise

Photo of Luxor City, Luxor, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Luxor City, Luxor, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Luxor City, Luxor, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Luxor City, Luxor, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Sahara from Balloon

Photo of Luxor City, Luxor, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Hot air balloon selfie

Photo of Luxor City, Luxor, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Certified!

Photo of Luxor City, Luxor, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

After landing

Photo of Luxor City, Luxor, Egypt by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

After the riveting experience, we spent the day mostly visiting the temples and valley of Kings.
First we went to the Colossi of Memnon.
From there, we visited Valley of Kings.  62 tombs of Pharaohs, their queens and noble persons are there, including the famed tomb of Tutankhamun. Howard Carter discovered the tomb in 1921 from here.
The Queen Hatshepshup temple was also very picturesque with the backdrop of the mountain.
Karnak Temple was our last stop today, a grand temple conglomerate mainly in ruins now. There is the Hypostyle hall with 138 pillars and the special Sphinx row with the head of Ram, instead of human.

Colossi of Memnon

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The Cart ride in Valley of Kings

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Valley of Kings panorama

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Queen Hatshepshut's Temple

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

The Ram Sphinx in Karnak

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Hypostyle hall

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Obelisk, Karnak temple

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Day 8

After staying overnight in a riverside 5 star hotel in Luxor. We headed back to Cairo, then Kuwait, then Mumbai. All in one day. So we reached India, tired, at 3-10 am IST next day. Full of memories and experiences.

*ACCOMMODATIONS*

As we went with Coxs&Kings, a travel agency, they put us in great hotels ( might be more than necessary if you are planning to travel solo or with friends)
The Cairo Pyramids, where we stayed 3N at Cairo was good.
The hotel in Luxor, Sonesta St. George, just by the Nile, again a 5-star experience.

And the Cruise ( where we spent 3N) is also worthy of recommendation. The sunbathing of the high deck with the breeze of Nile, one could think to spend his/her rest of the live there, you can't blame.

*FOOD*

You will get varieties of food here, the sea fish is good, dates are good. They have a special kind of bread. We got continental foods in buffet manner in both cruise and hotel with never ending items on salads and dessert.

In our cruise room balcony

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Cruise corridor

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Cruise lobby

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay
Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Turkey

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Egypt tourism map

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Our AC coach

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Salmon fish in Alexandria

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

English breakfast with beef salami

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Hibiscus juice

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Our tour manager Cheryl and guide for first three days Ahmet

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Sea fish

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Pasta delight

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

Our guide for last three days, Mahmood

Photo of Egypt: The dream destination by Biswadip Chattopadhyay

*COST*

It depends on how you spend. Without personal expenses and Hot Air Balloon ride, the expenditure was per head 1,10,000 INR approx.
Now, in Egypt, especially in southern area, you have to buy drinking water as there is scarcity.
But, if you wanna go by your own, I think for this itinerary 80,000-90,000 will be the range.
They accept EGP( Egyptian pound) everywhere, which is 4.36 times our currency. In majority of the places, they also accept USD.
I am writing down the entry fees in EGP for the main attractions in Egypt:-

Kom-Al-Shoqafa( catacomb) : 80
Bibliotheca Alexandrina: 70
Giza Plateau: 160
Inside Khufu Pyramid* : 360
Egyptian Museum: 160
Royal mummies room, Egyptian Museum*: 180
Unfinished Obelisk: 80
Philae Temple: 140
Abu Simbel: 200
Aswan High Dam: 30
Kom Ombo: 100
Edfu Temple: 140
Luxor Temple: 140
Valley of Kings( for 3 tombs) : 200
For TutanKhamun's tomb*: 250
Al-Deir Al-Bahari Temple( Hatshepshut) : 100
Karnak Temple: 150

Asterix(*) means that amount is not included in the itinerary package.

Overall a good experience, in a group tour, there is pros and cons, but the place itself is magical, just like what I've read in the books.
Must visit!

1 Comment(s)
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Very nicely written
Tue 03 12 19, 11:56 · Reply · Report