Budget fast track trip to Egypt.
Total cost for 2: INR 1,30,000 excluding flight charges.
Major activities included:
- Visit to Pyramids and Museums
- Visit to Egyptian temples / tombs
- Hot air Balloon trip
- Fluka ride in river Nile
- 4 Scuba dives
- 2 Snorkeling trips with Dolphins and sea cow (Dudong)
- Sea side resorts
- Walk in the desert
Being an engineer, it is a little tough to block 2 week long holiday if you don’t have enough visibility of the project. And booking International flight tickets based on the plan you made 6 months in advance is no less than a gamble. I was sailing in the same boat. It was just two weeks before my first wedding anniversary, I could see that I can manage a leave for two weeks. That is when my husband and I sat scanning the skyscanner. We spent the whole night deciding where to go and zeroed upon Tokyo. Checked the weather, places to visit, possible itineraries, it looked great. So next day, the first thing I did was talked to my manager about the vacation. It got approved. It happened the same with my husband too. Happily I came back home but sadly by now, the tickets had gone up. So we had to think of Plan B. That is when we decided to go to Egypt. The flight tickets were nominal and the place looked amazing. We booked the flight tickets immediately. And this is how our Egypt trip started.
We always keep the itinerary open so that we can spend as much time at a place as much we want. And it is always easy to get a hostel if you travel in off season. The following next few days we spent posting queries on tripadvisor, reading itineraries, talking to people on couchsurfing. We were super excited for all the right reasons.
Day 1: Cairo
- We Reached Cairo at noon (2pm) and took a local bus to the main city. Beware of taxi drivers that will try to convince that there is no local transport.
- We straightway with our luggage went to the Egyptian museum and explored the museum with the help of a guide. The guide gave us the local currency in exchange of dollars at a reasonable rate. It took us 3 hours inside the museum. It is huge and mesmerizing. My favourite part of the museum was Tutan Khamun’s Mask. It is extremely shiny and is made of 11Kg gold!!!
- Checked in a budget hotel – Pension Roma.
- Explored the city around 26th July street.
Day 2: Cairo
- 8am: Started for Giza pyramids early in the morning.
- Visited Pyramids/sphinx till 12 noon. The Pyramids are huge and you can take the pass to enter the highest pyramid. Though there is nothing inside the pyramid, just a room, but it takes you back in time. We were Sitting inside the pyramid, gazing at the walls and thinking of where to go next when we met another tourist couple through which we got to know about the Marsa Alam dive spot and huge Dudongs. We immediately decided that we have to visit Marsa Alam in this trip.
- We climbed the Pyramids from outside half way till top. It was a nice feeling.
- We then took a camel ride for both of us. The trip to Giza is incomplete without the colourful camel ride.
- We had thought of visiting Coptic Cairo in the second half of the day, but then our tour guide invited us home and we spent the rest of the day with him and his family getting to know Egyptian culture better.
- Took a night train to Aswan at 8pm. There are 2 ways of reaching Aswan- by flight or by sleeper train. Though both of them are equally expensive, we chose the night train because:
- We wanted to experience the train travel in Egypt.
- It saved us from booking a hotel for that night and from buying the meals.
- The moment we entered the train, we realized it was the right decision. The train has got private compartments for 2 people with small table, washbasin and hooks for hanging clothes. The seats were foldable. Being vegetarian, we were mostly concerned about the food, but then the food turned out to be amazing too.
Day 3: Aswan
- Reached Aswan by 10am.
- Checked in in a budget hotel – Nuba Nile.
- Visited the Philae temple, High dam, Aswan Museum. (Avoid going to Philae temple in the noon, probably the best view would be there during dusk/dawn. If possible, go in a big group, the cost of the boat to the temple is fixed irrespective of the No. of people). High dam is famous for its history, but really nothing much to see.
- Crossed the Nile in a fluka. A lovely scene as the dusk proceeded towards the night.
- Walked in the desert (Alternatively you can take a camel ride). There is a desert opposite to the main town of Aswan where you reach by renting a fluka. The walk in the desert is absolutely free and don’t be surprised if people call you for a shai (the local tea) or hukkah (smoke). The people are really nice and hospitable.
The beautiful desert in the evening
Day 4: Abu Simbel & Luxor temple
- Started early morning at 4am with the tour bus. The breakfast was packed by the hotel and we kept our luggage with the hotel only. The tour can be booked through the hotel also but we chose to find out an agent ourself. So it was cheaper for us.
- Visited Abu Simbel temple. Explored its beauty. The entry fee includes the guide fee as well , so dont forget to ask for your guide. You will be mesmerized by certain codes and scriptings on the wall which you might not even notice much otherwise.
- Spent time around the side facing ocean. Out of the 2 hours given to us to visit the temple , we spent most of the time within the temple and watching it from outside, unaware of the fact that there was an amazing ocean side view on the left of the temple. We could manage to spend some 10-15mins there in the end, but wish we had more time.
- Reached Aswan by 1pm. We did our lunch at a place called Makka Restaurant. It was extremely yummy and the portion size was too big. They had some complementary dishes too which made it even more beautiful.
- Took a train till luxor. The train was an average train with AC and sleeper car.
- Arrived in Luxor by 7pm.
- Check in in a budget hotel- bob marley. There are many other better places, but it is easy to locate Bob Marley hotel because the owner has put signboards everywhere. Also, it is very close to luxor temple.
- In the night, after checking in the hotel, we explored the Luxor temple with a guide. The temple looked amazing in the night with all the lights on. This was the first temple in Egypt that we visited in the night.
- Post visiting the temple we took a horse cart and took a trip around that area. The cart also (though forcibly) took us to an “Egyptian Bazaar”, which was a shop which sold papyrus painting and we ending up buying few. No regrets though 🙂
The beautiful writings inside Abu Simbel temple
Day 5: Luxor
- This was our wedding anniversary day. Early morning at around 4am we started for a balloon ride for watching sunrise with a tour guide. It was still dark when we left from our hotel. They took us in a boat where they served the breakfast. With lovely breeze blowing, it was a perfectly romantic trip. At The other end of the boat there was a minibus waiting for us to take us to the hot air balloon launch area. Contrary to my imagination, this place was a launch area for multiple balloons. We saw them filling air in the balloon. The sun was about the rise. We all boarded the balloon and saw the sunrise. The balloon took us around the Luxor showing many monuments from the top. But what i was mesmerized about the most was seeing the other colourful balloons in the air.
- We returned to hotel by 7am.
- At 8:30am we left to visit Valley of kings, Valley of Queens with the tour bus which we booked at the hotel the previous night.
- In the valley of kings, using the ticket you can visit any 3 tombs. Our guide helped us in with the selection of the tombs. It was pleasantly surprising to see such old tombs that are so beautifully painted with bright colours from the old times.Note that a special ticket is needed for visiting the Tutan Khaman’s tomb. As we had visited too many temples already, we skipped visiting the Queen’s temple and instead roamed about outside the temple in the ongoing exploration sites till the group returned. Post that we just left the bus and hitchhiked to the Nile river.
- We crossed the river Nile to reach Karnak temple. Explored its beauty with the help of a guide. You can take a horse cart to ride around the city if you want. We preferred walking.
- At 5pm, we took a bus till Qift. Reached Qift by 5:30pm. From there we took a bus till Marsa Alam at 6:00pm and reached Marsa Alam by 11pm.
- We checked in at an average hotel Red sea hotel but then moved in to a better resort the very next day- Elphistone resort.
The hot air balloon ride-1
The hot air balloon ride-2
Valley of the Kings
Valley of Queens (Queen Hatshepsut temple)
The Pillar made of a single rock #karnaktemple
The Karnak temple (the largest religious building ever constructed in Egypt)
Day 6: Marsa Alam
- Woke up early morning to admire the beautiful sunrise from the beach of our resort.
- Left at around 7:30am with the dive center of Elphistone resort to dive with Dudong , the sea cow. We had never heard of the sea cow before but it was amazing. It was atleast twice of my size and I am 5’2”
- Enjoyed the yatch ride, dive at 2 spots, one near the corals and one where the sea cow is there.
- Snorkelled with the huge turtles and amazing aqua life.
- In the evening, enjoyed the resort, took a spa (off season can help you in getting huge discount in all such services), saw the sunset and then took a bus till Hurghada.
- Arrived in Hurghada late in the night and checked in in a budget hotel (royal hotel) on the Sheraton street.
- Walked around the Sheraton street.
Day 7: Hurghada
- At 8am, we left for a dolphin excursion to the dolphin house.
- The excursion included snorkeling/swimming with dolphins, snorkeling at one more place and banana/sofa ride along with delicious lunch.
- We traveled with Alibaba tours and our boat’s name was hero. We found the excursion really nice. They had many activities on the boat which kept all of us engaged. Initially when he asked us to jump with the snorkels first we all jumped in the sea but couldn’t see anything. After some time he asked us to go back to the ship. We thought that it was just a hype and there is no dolphin in the water. But then next time when he asked, we could find the dophin and we spent like half an hour swimming with it.
- Explored the Hughada city in the evening. Alternatively you can go for shows like Arabian nights.
Day 8: Hurghada desert safari / El Gouna
- There is a very nice desert safari with quad drive, camel , horse and donkey ride and the most amazing galaxy trip in the desert (check out http://www.t-online.de/reisen/aegypten/id_68641812/-desert-breath-in-el-gouna.html). Alternatively you can keep the day relaxed and spend time in a resort. We preferred the later one 🙂
- We moved to El Gouna the prev night and stayed there at Sheraton, the room also got upgraded to a suite, so we really enjoyed it.
- We left in the evening for Cairo by gobus.
- Reached Cairo in the night. Checked in in a budget hotel and left for exploring Khan el Khalil Market for some local music, hukka or shisha as they call it and beautiful souvenirs to take back home.
Day 9: Cairo
- Strolled in the streets in the morning.
- Took the flight back home.
This was our fast track trip to Egpyt. We loved it lot more than what we expected. Made some awesome friends and brought back memories for lifetime. Hope this helped you in deciding your itinerary or atleast motivated you to take a trip to Egypt.
- Trip to mount senai for a midnight trek.
- scuba dive in the big blue hole in Dahab.
- Alexandria trip for more temple visits.
- White desert trip.
Local vegeterian food to be tried:
- falafel (different types of falafel like fool falafel (falafel with beans), egg falafel, eggplant falafel, mixed veg falafel).
- Koshari (rice and macaroni with crispy onion rings)
- baba ghonous
- hummus with peta bread
- fried vegetable with rice
- Lentil soup with crispy crackers
- sugarcane juice 🙂
Yummy Koshari with crispy onion
For a break up of our expenses, click on continue
Break up of expenses:
|Visa fees for two||INR||7000|
|Cairo airport to tahrir square||EGP||5|
|Food at gad restaurant||EGP||45|
|Hotel Pension Roma||EGP||170|
|Sleeper train ticket to Aswan||USD||200|
|Pyramids visit + guide||EGP||500|
|Sim card+ juice||EGP||69|
|Tea/water/tip in train||EGP||25|
|Aswan cab+ Abu Simbel jeep||EGP||300|
|Hotel Nuba Nile acco||EGP||160|
|Sugarcane juice+ water||EGP||12|
|Philae temple+ entrance+ boat||EGP||235|
|Falafal + Lokma||EGP||18|
|Aswan to luxor train ticket||EGP||60|
|Water + sugarcane juice||EGP||10|
|Abu simbel ticket + guide||EGP||125|
|Lunch at makka restaurant+ tip||EGP||125|
|Bob marley hotel luxor||EGP||134|
|Hot air balloon+ luxor trip||EGP||560|
|Dinner at new om restaurant+ horse ride||EGP||40|
|Luxor temple+ guide + juice||EGP||141.5|
|Valley of Kings entrance||EGP||104|
|Ferry to luxor from valley of Kings||EGP||2|
|Karnark temple entrance+guide||EGP||180|
|Lunch + juice at Luxor||EGP||51|
|Snacks +water at luxor||EGP||16|
|Bus to kift||EGP||20|
|Bus to mersa alam||EGP||100|
|Red sea hotel at mersa alam||EGP||240|
|Scuba dive day 1||USD||115|
|Scuba dive day2||USD||180|
|Elpstone hotel rates||EGP||400|
|Bus to Hurghada||EGP||100|
|Royal hotel Hurghada||EGP||120|
|Photo CD at dolphin||USD||20|
|Tip at excursion||EGP||10|
|Lunch at Hurghada + juice + dates||EGP||69|
|Bus to dahar||EGP||5|
|Bus to el gouna||EGP||16|
|Tip in spa at mersa alam||EGP||20|
|Bus to cairo from El Gouna||EGP||180|
|Hotel at Cairo||EGP||200|
|Dinner at Cairo||EGP||75|
|Souvenir+ cab to Khan el Khalil||EGP||100|
22 thoughts on “Egypt in 9 days”
This looks fantastic! I’ve always wanted to visit Egypt, but I have been put off recently as I think I would feel unsafe?
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I am glad that you liked it. The blog is still in its elementary stage, but hope it gives you a rough idea of the Egypt itinerary.
Yes Egypt is absolutely safe. No need to worry about anything. We had a gala time in Egypt with a flavour of both history and adventure. Let me know if you need any help on planning your itinerary.
That’s great, I enjoyed reading anyway and I will follow your updates closely! I found it very interesting. I am also in the very early stages of setting up my own blog and would appreciate you following!
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What a great way of sharing your experience Shainky, I enjoyed each and every bit of it, felt myself a part of your travel. The way you have put up even the smallest of detail is fantastic. Pics are fabulous, Piyush with stretched hands you with unkempt hair locks :-)….keep writing…I typed the link on laptop for good view.
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Thanks a lot Dii for your kind words 🙂
Hi thanks for sharing this itinerary. We are planning to cover Egypt trip. It would be great if u can help me with some more details.
Hi, this is exactly what we needed !!!! Planning a trip in Sept 2016. Have a few more queries. Would be really helpful if you answered them :
1. I saw you didn’t choose for Nile River cruise (Any particular reason , other than it being very slow.. 3- 4 days ?) Is it possible to cover all temples and spots without it ?
2. Did you guys catch any light and sound program in any of the temples/ pyramids? : E.g Giza or Phillae, Karnak
3. Please let me know which website/travel agency for Hot air balloon in Luxor
4. Any local taxi operator we can hire in Cairo? Is Uber functional ?
5. Is metro railways functional in Cairo to Giza and back?
6. Booking trains: Which website or how many days in advance we can do?
Too many questions… i know 😦 but it would really help me in hammering down all details of my trip 🙂
Looking forward to hearing from you !
Please find my reply inline.
Hope it helps
1. “I saw you didn’t choose for Nile River cruise (Any particular reason , other than it being very slow.. 3- 4 days ?) Is it possible to cover all temples and spots without it ?”
[shainky]: Yes, you can do all the temples without the cruise. Cruise might be a nice experience if you have more time in hand, which wasn’t the case with us. We could have probably done a dinner at the cruise at best, but we chose to skip that as well.
2.” Did you guys catch any light and sound program in any of the temples/ pyramids? : E.g Giza or Phillae, Karnak”
[shainky]: No, we didn’t do the light and sound show. Philae I personally felt that wasn’t worth it. Giza could have been a very good place for light and sound, but we couldnt do it again due to time cruch. We could have done it on the last day, but we preferred Khan el Khalil over it.
3. “Please let me know which website/travel agency for Hot air balloon in Luxor”
[shainky]: I think we did the Sindbad ones.
4.” Any local taxi operator we can hire in Cairo? Is Uber functional ?”
[shainky]: Uber is functional, infact we used it once as well (for going to airport). But otherwise, most of the things are at walkable distance. And our tour guide to Giza gave us a free pick and drop to the hotel and showed us the city, so we didnt need it much. There is public transport (tuk tuk sort of) with a capacity of 8-10 people, which you can take for very cheap price.
5. “Is metro railways functional in Cairo to Giza and back?”
[shainky]: We never took Metro in Egypt, so no idea.
6. “Booking trains: Which website or how many days in advance we can do?”
[shainky]: You need to do it at the station. We booked the trains on the same day itself. At times the guys at the train station refuse to give tickets to the foreigners, but the local people are very nice and eager to help, so the taxi drivers outside or our tour guide himself helped us in booking the train tickets without charging anything extra.
Thanks a lot for patiently answering all my questions. Just a few more (Promise !)
1. Please let us know which tour operator you used for : Giza and pyramids tour, Aswan to Abu Simbel tour, Marsa Alam and Hurghada diving trip?
2. Is it mandatory to be is Aswan 1 day before Abu Simbel trip for Passport check or any other validations?
Due to tight schedule we are planning to reach Aswan by flight on 24th September night around 11 pm and then take either 25th Sept 3 am or 10 am tour from Aswan to Abu Simbel
That’s why wanted information about tour operators which we can connect beforehand
We are following almost similar itinerary , so your blog is the biggest source of information for us.
Please keep up the good work !
1. “Please let us know which tour operator you used for : Giza and pyramids tour, Aswan to Abu Simbel tour, Marsa Alam and Hurghada diving trip?”
[Shainky]: We went with the local guys rather than any tour operator per say.
For Giza tour, we hired – Khalid (+201111955266/ +201091035552),
Aswan to Abu Simbel , some random guy whom we met near the railway station itself.
Marsa Alam and Hurghada – Mondi (+201111214996)
2. “Is it mandatory to be is Aswan 1 day before Abu Simbel trip for Passport check or any other validations?”
[Shainky]: No. It is not mandatory to be in Aswan one day before. But I would recommend you to take the early morning tour bus for visiting Abu Sumbel. The security checks happen only when you take the tour bus on the way to Abu Simbel
Hey was just a little concerned about the safety aspect, as most Embassies have issued a red warning against travelling to Sinai and the areas close to the red sea? Did you face any issues of security or threat and would you recommend going in december 2016? Safety wise, the political scenario is fine?
We didn’t cover Mt. Sinai area. But the areas that we covered (as mentioned in the blog) were definitely peaceful. While we were travelling, that time also the warnings from the Embassies were there, but we didn’t face any issue anywhere. The locals are very nice and warm. I don’t think it should be an issue to travel. It is safe.
Me and my wife are interested to join this trip to Egypt. Kindly let me know how to book and reserve .
Thank you very much for posting this. I travel, but can never remember such details to post later.
In any case, I’m thinking of going this December. How did you guys get the visa done? The consulate is in Mumbai, and I see private sites that charge 5k per person to get the visa done.
I hope your Egypt trip went well. Incase if you are still planning it, you can hire an agent to get the Visa done from the Delhi Embassy. For some mysterious reasons, the Delhi Embassy rates are cheaper than the Mumbai one. You need to explicitly ask for this.
Good Information. To Add..I can say avoid Sinai and Sharm el seikh area. Rest is excellent. People are helpful. Much Much better than the Indian touts that you come across in tourist places in India. Uber is very widely used in Cairo & Alex. Even they hv women drivers working in reputed companies. No safety issues at all. Today the Dollar is 13EGP in the black market. Govt. rate is 8.8. Be careful while doing the exchange because it is illegal. But like in India you can get good rate from sources. Like India try to negotiate but be reasonable. Do not talk politics with anyone about anybody. Metro is operational. trains are good and in time. In Cairo and area Uber is the best. Hope this helps.
I live in New Cairo. Cheers
Hi Shainky, your trip was amazing. We would like to cover Marsa Alam from Luxor as well. Would like to know how to purchase bus ticket from Luxor to Kift and Marsa Alam. Thanks.
Hi MW Lew,
The buses are very ordinary and the tickets can be easily purchased from the bus station itself. I don’t remember seeing any luxurious bus and neither did I try any online service.
Thank you for your reply, Shainky. How do you go to hotel from bus station in Marsa Alam ? We are 2 ladies travel on ourselves, we are a bit worried due to the arrival time is close to mid-night.
hi MW Lew,
You can ask for hotel for a pick up from the bus stop. The hotel that we booked on day 1 in Marsa alam was very close to the bus drop point. But the resort that we booked the next day also provided free pick up.
Thank you Very much 🙂
This is amazing, I am truly impressed not only with the planning you did but also on how you presented and shared your experience. You got professional looking photos too. I think we want to copy your itinerary except for the scuba diving and swimming with dolphins. I hope you can help us, I have a few questions. My husband’s vacation leave got approved today, flying from US we plan to arrive in Cairo on Sept. 3 early AM then return flight to US on Sept.10 that’s why when I googled 9-days in Egypt I saw your blog.
1. Where did you buy the train ticket from Cairo to Aswan? We want to get this too, my husband love trains. Do we need to prebook?
2. How long was your train from Aswan to Luxor? You only mentioned the time you arrived but not the time you left Aswan.
3. I saw some of your local tour contact numbers, was your experience from them all good? How was their level if knowledge on the places you saw?
4. Do you have any place you’ve been that you think was not worth the time?
5. Was there a place you wished you had more time? I saw one of your post about the ocean/beach view you missed and saw only for a few minutes (other than this), can you think of a place?
6. What Guide Book did you use to be able to know what bus to take?
7. Lastly, (for now) was there something you thought you could have done differently? or thought next time you will do another way? I understand your post about seeing too many temples already that you skipped some.
Thank you very much in advance for any help you can provide. Again, I really enjoyed reading and looking at your photos…very nice.