The Ultimate Guide to Egypt: 10 Best Things to Do

TripBlog
Oct 30, 2019

Egypt tourism is the hippest thing to do as this diverse and incredible country offers a list of things to do in Egypt that can defy your imagination. And, it is not about just visiting the world’s best landmarks like the pyramids, the Sphinx, and the ancient tombs. Modern Egypt offers you options galore that we are going to explore below while keeping in mind that after all, you visit Egypt to learn about its culture, history, landmarks, and more. We have below a list of must-see places to ensure your trip to Egypt remains immortalized as we take you across Egypt’s famous landmarks, activities, shopping, and even a cruise all blended in with the costs and other details that can make your vacation a hassle-free experience. So, let’s begin!

Contents

1. Valley of The Kings:
2. Giza Pyramids:
3. Abu Simbel Temples:
4. Egyptian Museum:
5. Karnak Temple:
6. White Desert National Park:
7. Luxor Temple:
8. Khan El-Khalili Bazaar:
9. Mount Sinai:
10. Safaga Cruise Port:

1. Valley of The Kings:

The Valley of the Kings is an important landmark in Egypt tourism and among the favourite things to do in Egypt. Though photography is not allowed there as this is a mausoleum of tombs, there is no reason to not revel in the historical and cultural significance of the place. Keep in mind that only three tombs are open at any particular time to rest the others and which three you get to see is a matter of chance and luck. However, it is a fantastic experience to walk along the tunnel, which is full of hieroglyphics in various colors, and then right at the end stands the large tomb chamber with the massively huge tombs. From here you can also purchase a ticket to view Tutankhamen’s tomb, which lies nearby. The boy-king Tutankhamen ruled Egypt for a very short period of 10 years ascending the throne at the age of nine. But his tomb is famous as it is the only tomb found with all its treasures intact. His mummy lies in the tomb, but the treasures were shifted to the nearby Egyptian Museum to be displayed.

The Ultimate Guide to Egypt: 10 Best Things to Do

2. Giza Pyramids:

Egypt tourism cannot be imagined without visiting the great pyramids in Giza, which epitomizes the things to do in Egypt. Named as one of the wonders of the world, the pyramids are vast and remarkable. The Great Pyramid and the nearby Sphinx may cost you a bit extra to visit, but it is worth it. Though not in as pristine condition as the Sakkara Pyramid, this wonder of the world cannot be missed for a few LE more! Another of the important photo-shoots to acquire here is the kissing the Great Sphinx shot.

Lying just outside Cairo, the largest of the three Giza pyramids and their complexes is that of the Great Pyramid of Khufu built some 4,500 years ago. The other two are the Pyramid of Khafre, the Pyramid of Menkaure. One of the ancient world’s seven wonders the impeccable geometry, scientific alignment, and construction technology of the times are awe-inspiring. Equally impressive is the Great Sphinx carved from a single stone block with a human head and the body of a lion as it guards the pyramid. The entry fee is 100 LE.

The Ultimate Guide to Egypt: 10 Best Things to Do

3. Abu Simbel Temples:

Abu Simbel is another landmark of Egypt tourism that is well worth the visit. It is a 3-4-hour drive from Aswan and generally included as an important sightseeing spot among the various things to do in Egypt. View the two colossal 13th-century rock-cut temples of Abu Simbel, which overlook the Lake Naseer and were moved higher up the rock when the Aswan dam constructed at its original locale. The first temple is a monument dedicated to Queen Nefertari and King Ramesses II, whose four huge statues guard the entrance. Inside the monument, there are eight more of these huge statues portraying Rameses II as the presiding deity. The second temple is called the Temple of Hathor. The tickets to the temples of Abu Simbel cost 240 LE on the 22nd of Feb and the 22nd of Oct versus the normal charge of 120 LE.

The Ultimate Guide to Egypt: 10 Best Things to Do

4. Egyptian Museum:

Everyone agrees that the Egyptian Museum in Cairo downtown just north of Midan Tahrir, and its visit is important to understand Egypt tourism and is the normal must-do among things to do in Egypt. You can spend hours learning the history, culture, art, scientific background, music, or hieroglyphs. Besides collections of age-old artifacts, preserved animal and human mummies, carvings, and statues that can easily fill you with awe, you can also purchase a separate ticket to see the treasures found in Tutankhamun’s tomb located near the Valley of Kings.

Museum visits are always like entering time-capsule carting you backward while imagining the persons who used the many things, their lifestyles, and practices. The 1902 museum building itself is pinkish and has a highly vaulted dome structure containing the vast treasure troves from the tombs of Tanis, graves of long-forgotten pharaohs, and Tutankhamun the boy-king. As in all ancient monuments and museums, the sheer numbers of artifacts are huge and include jewelry, furniture, eating bowls, crockery bits, hieroglyphs, papyrus inscriptions, toys, jewelry, grave treasures and other relics with display cards that are currently obsolete.

The Ultimate Guide to Egypt: 10 Best Things to Do

5. Karnak Temple:

The Karnak temple complex north of Luxor makes for an interesting Egypt tourism tour of Pharaonic places of worship and is of religious importance to the ancient Thebans and a must-visit among the various things to do in Egypt. The large Amun-Ra Temple from the 18th Dynasty of Pharaohs is famed for being the earthly abode of Ra and is among the religious places known as the Theban Triad. It costs 120 LE as an entry fee. Karnal also has many more temples, sanctuaries, obelisks, kiosks, pylons, and Theban relics spread out over 2 sq km as it was once an ancient place of worship. The entire complex withstood 1500 years of repeated restorations, dismantling, reassembling, decorations, and rebuilding.

The temple complex itself has the famed hypostyle hall with giant columns resembling papyrus rolls and is surrounded by the houses of his son Khonsu, Amun's wife Mut, and two more temple complexes. The southern end has the Mut Temple entrance, and its pathway has the remains of the guarding sphinxes with the head of rams. On the northern end is the Montu or War God temple.

The Ultimate Guide to Egypt: 10 Best Things to Do

6. White Desert National Park:

The White Desert National Park is high on the itinerary of Egypt tourism, and the 300 sq km park has been named after the white chalk spires dotting the landscape. It lies just 20 km from Farafra and is rated as among the best things to do in Egypt. The spires being soft and made of chalk get eroded into various shapes by the spiraling thermals and desert winds to make the landscape appear to be a blinding white mosaic of strangely shaped inselbergs or protrusions from the ground. View them at sunrise or sunset when the light makes for an interesting play against the unfamiliar shapes of the brilliant white spires. Even better, the eerie night-view on a full moon day resembles the Arctic caves. The entire area to the left of the Bahariya-Farafra highway is full of different varieties of black iron pyrites, crystal quartz, and many fossils. And, between them runs the sandy boulevard making you wonder about nature and her strange distributions of landscapes. This is a very popular camping site for the rather obvious reasons for the sights and privacy.

The Ultimate Guide to Egypt: 10 Best Things to Do

Luxor, the present modern city, sits on the eastern bank of the Nile River and is right on top of Thebes, the ancient capital of the pharaohs, making it an important one among things to do in Egypt. Besides the many temples, monuments, and statues found here, the main draw is the late 14th century Luxor Temple of Amenhotep III with colossal statues of the deity of Ramesses II guarding the gates. Just across the river lies the Valley of Kings, the Theban necropolis dating back to 2100BC. With 63 royal tombs of the period between 1550 to 1069 BC present in just this one spot, you will need to pay 100LE extra to visit the tomb of Tutankhamun, Ramses VI, Ay, Horemheb and Seti I. Close by are stalls selling cool drinks, ice creams, snacks etc which you will need as it is hot and dry inside the valley. Though ACs, dehumidifiers, glass screens are present, the sheer number of visitors make the tombs and their hieroglyphs suffer environmental degradation. Hence only 3 of the tombs are kept open for viewing each day. Being mausoleum photography is strictly prohibited, and women are required to be dressed appropriately. The tombs have great views at sunrise, sunset and look better at night with lights. The Egypt tourism visitors center is air-conditioned, and a tuf-tuf or electric train ferries visitors to the tombs. The ride costs 4 LE.

The Ultimate Guide to Egypt: 10 Best Things to Do

8. Khan El-Khalili Bazaar:

Did you know that the smooth talkers of Khan El-Khalili have been plying their trade at this organized chaos of a marketplace since the 14th century? Or that if one merchant does not have what you want, he will find a merchant who does have it and sell it to you for a little higher? Cairo’s Khan El-Khalili marketplace is crazier than its traffic and is an exercise where you learn the skills of haggling and buying everything from clothes, gold, food, soap powder, jewelry, semi-precious stones, souvenirs like the alabaster pyramids, camel toys, spices, copperware, or handcrafted silver items. The medieval souk with narrow cobbled pavements packed full of small shops around courtyards and alcoves has narrow alleys that work 9 am to as long as customers are present or 5 pm normally. Generally, Friday mornings and Sundays are off days though the enterprising ones still find ways and means of selling their wares even on Sundays. The touts are glib talkers and can test your skills to the maximum.

It is surprising that the ancient marketplace still is considered one of the best addresses to have a retail outlet considering the paucity of space and a large number of tourist footfalls it receives right through the year.

The Ultimate Guide to Egypt: 10 Best Things to Do

9. Mount Sinai:

Mount Sinai is among the places and things to do in Egypt being a place of Egypt tourism and Christian, Jews, and Muslim pilgrimage. This is supposedly the Gebel Musa or the place where God spoke to Moses from a burning bush and gave him the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. Located in the Sinai Peninsula near Dahab, the foothills have the St. Catherine’s Monastery. You could choose to use either of the three routes to the top known as the easier Camel Trail, the steep climb via the Steps of Repentance, or the Wadi Al Arbain trail. Peek into the biblical times as you hike to the top of Mt Sinai and take in the views for free. Remember to hire your local guide from the Bedouin Monastery at the car park area as this is a strict rule and needs compliance for hiking safely.

Both the camel trail and the trail by the 750 steep and uneven steps meet about 300 m below the top of Mt Sinai at the Elijah’s Basin plateau with its mosque, 500-year old cypress tree marking the spot where Elijah supposedly spoke to God and a church, which is normally locked. Gebel Katarina is an even higher peak that can be seen at a distance.

The Ultimate Guide to Egypt: 10 Best Things to Do

10. Safaga Cruise Port:

The Safaga Cruise Port is where your ship awaits when you book a tour by sea, of the Nile, Red Sea and Luxor if sightseeing. Most shore tours also try to include some adventure activities in the form of water sports, snorkeling, swimming, etc. among the things to do in Egypt. Normally the day tour will cover the burial place of Egypt’s most powerful kings in the Valley of Kings, the Colossi of 22 temples at the Karnak and Memnon temples sites, the port city of Luxor and its famed temple and the 15th century Queen Hatsheput temple covering the tour using private AC vehicles to cross the desert and a cruise ship to cross the Nile River with an Egyptian guide fluent in English and other languages like German, Russian etc. Do check if hotel transfers are covered or the pickup is from designated places only and whether lunch and snacks are included. Water bottles normally are included as part and parcel of Egypt tourism. Snorkeling tours include a visit to Giftun Island from the Hurghada marina or the Safaga port. Overnight cruise trips provide for accommodation and cover most of the day trip sights along with the cruise experience of the Nile and its sights.

The Ultimate Guide to Egypt: 10 Best Things to Do

In parting, the sheer number of things to do in Egypt makes it an ideal vacation spot for travelers who want to explore the artefacts, cultural landmarks, adventure activities being touted as draws of Egypt tourism, the longest in the world River Nile, the ancient temples and pyramids, the Red Sea and Cairo’s wonders and more. Modern Egypt also offers the best in adventure activities like hot air ballooning, snorkeling, water sports, and more. It also has a little something for all religions with the Christians, Muslims and others tracing their ancestry back to the days of the Byzantines, Romans, Coptic Christians, Mamluks, Islamic caliphs, Ottomans, Germans, and British colonialists all having had their fair share of influence on Egyptian evolution. It is also a cradle of civilization that is perhaps the only one that is well recorded and has had an embracing effect on dating and discovering the realms of man’s knowledge and practices in earlier times.