Egypt Cairo, 1870
Egypt Cairo, 1870Getty Images

Heading To Cairo In Egypt? Here Are Some Unmissable Experiences

Enjoy the best of Egypt, cruise the Nile, gaze at the pyramids and don't forget to say hello to King Tut

Travelling to Egypt is synonymous with taking a step back in time. Surrounded by pyramids and sepia-toned buildings of modern civilization, step into Cairo for its old-world charm, complimented by modern restaurants and museums housing a treasure trove of cultural history. A fan of mummies? Don't worry; there is much more to see than just pyramids and mummies in Egypt.

Mini Nile Cruise

Sunset over the Nile
Sunset over the NileShutterstock

A sunset ride on the Nile in a felucca (wooden sailboat) is a quaint and thrilling experience. Feluccas are available on the Corniche El Nil near the Hilton (hiring an entire boat for one hour costs about 35 Egyptian pounds). However, a dinner cruise, especially on a full moon night, is worth the bucks, where full course meals are served on a two-hour cruise, accompanied by musical performances and belly dancing.

The Pyramids

Panoramic view to Bent Pyramid of Sneferu Pharao at Dahsur, Cairo, Egypt
Panoramic view to Bent Pyramid of Sneferu Pharao at Dahsur, Cairo, EgyptShutterstock

You can't visit Cairo and not see the Pyramids of Giza and Sneferu. Albeit filled with tourists, a look at the massive ancient structures, a Wonder of the World, is a must-do here. Don't get conned into a photo-op on a camel. However, it is worth paying the extra charge to ascend into the Pyramids. In the evening, head to the Sound and Light Show, where you can watch the Sphinx narrate Egypt's history while swig Cleopatra beer.

Shopping

The iconic al-Muizz Street in Cairo
The iconic al-Muizz Street in CairoShutterstock

Wander through the narrow labyrinthine lanes of the Khan-e-Khalili souq opposite the Al Azhar University. The shops here sell everything from alabaster bowls and lamps to key chains, jewellery and sheeshas. Stop at the Al Fishawy Coffee Shop for delicious strawberry juice or Turkish coffee. For a more sophisticated shopping experience, visit the Walk Of Cairo near Sphinx Airport for high-street brands—a seamless modern shopping style.

Egyptian Museums

The interiors of the Grand Egyptian Museum
The interiors of the Grand Egyptian MuseumShutterstock

You could spend days seeing the vast collections of the Egyptian National Museum and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. The Tutankhamun Galleries contain a handful of artefacts - gold death masks to remains of his clothing. However, upon its anticipated full public debut around mid-2024, the brand-new Grand Egyptian Museum is poised to claim the title of the world's most extensive archaeological museum complex. Housing an impressive array of over 100,000 artefacts, this institution will offer a comprehensive journey through Egypt's rich history. Notably, visitors will have the unprecedented opportunity to marvel at the complete treasure trove of King Tutankhamun. The museum has taken almost 20 years to build.

A Midnight Stroll

Go for a midnight stroll on the Corniche El Nil. It's a carnival - anglers fish in the Nile, loud Egyptian pop blares from the boats, hawkers sell many different snacks, and groups of people sit around smoking and drinking chai. Follow it up with some heady Turkish coffee and a sheesha at one of the many roadside cafés.

Coptic Cairo

Tile art of Jesus's resurrection at the Hanging Church
Tile art of Jesus's resurrection at the Hanging ChurchChandreyi Bandyopadhyay

Coptic Cairo is a pilgrimage for the soul, a sanctuary where the spirit of Egypt's Christian community thrives amidst the bustle of the modern world. The district is a treasure trove of historic churches, each bearing witness to centuries of faith and devotion. Marvelling at the intricate architecture of landmarks like the Hanging Church and the Ben Ezra Synagogue, one can't help but feel the weight of history in every stone. Amidst the tranquil ambience, bustling markets offer glimpses of daily life, while serene courtyards invite contemplation and reflection.

The Information

Getting There

Cairo has two airports - Cairo International and the newly opened Sphinx International Airport. Jazeera Airways flies from Delhi and Mumbai to Sphinx via Kuwait, the airlines' hub, at affordable prices. The airline also operates flights connecting seven destinations in Egypt, including Abu Simbel, Luxor, Aswan and more. Other than that there are flights operated by Gulf Air, Egypt Air and Air India.

Where To Stay

The Pyramids Park Resort is a decent hotel with a very large pool, located close to the pyramids of Giza (Doubles INR 4000). Downtown Cairo has luxury options, including Hilton, Kempinski, Marriott and InterContinental.

Where To Eat

A Visit to Egypt's famous Abou Tarek for their national dish - Koshary, is a must (Vegetarian meals only). Mawlana Restaurant serves delightful hummus and kebabs, followed by Bakhlava. Shawarmas are juicy and delicious everywhere, but you should try them at Al Hamra in Sheikh Zayed. Last but not least, Capital Business Park has an array of excellent Lebanese restaurants, including Karam Beirut, which serves a delectable variety of dishes.

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