I spent about 6 days in Cairo, Egypt and can honestly say it was 3 days too many. I would recommend 3 days in Cairo at the most. Although the city is large, there is not a whole lot to do there outside of the Pyramids and a few other sites. The city is very crowded, noisy, and not the cleanest. I am very glad I went, but I won’t be planning a return trip anytime soon.
Currency: Egyptian Pound
Population: 20-30 million (2015)
-Cairo is the largest city in both Africa and the Middle East.
-Cairo is the capital of Egypt
-Whatever you do, DON’T drink the water.
-Home to the last remaining ancient wonder of the world: The Pyramids.
People – Believe it or not, the Egyptian people have a great sense of humor. They are quick witted and can find the humor in any situation. Once you get to know them, they will have your sides hurting from laughing so hard!
Culture – The Egyptians follow the Muslim religion, but are respectful to tourists beliefs. The women do cover themselves with a hijab and abaya, and when traveling there (as a female), conservative dress is encouraged.
Right now Egypt’s tourism is suffering due to past political reasons. The citizens are struggling with poverty and it shows when you are walking around. Many of the people survive off of tips from tourists so keep change handy. Tips are expected (for every little thing) but not mandatory. Tip when you feel it is appropriate.
Bartering for items is also part of the culture. Starting prices are just a suggestion. As a buyer, counter offer 50% below the asking price. After going back and forth a few times, the shopkeeper will settle on a price. Be sure to only barter if you intend to buy the item. Bartering, and then walking away empty handed, is considered wasting the shopkeepers time.
Taxis are about the only way to get around Cairo. They do have a metro system, but only the locals use it. The traffic is Cairo is horrendous and the taxis do not have meters in them. Either make sure you negotiate the price before you get in or have your hotel arrange the taxi for you.
Things to Do:
Cairo is definitely safe to navigate on your own, but I highly recommend getting a guide to certain sites. I went with a private guide that picked me up and dropped me off at my hotel. Not only did I get a nice air conditioned ride, but I also learned all about the history and fun facts of the sites I visited. Guides are budget friendly and will actually save you money. When with an Arabic speaking guide, locals will not scam you with unfair pricing. In the end, you will end up saving money and not have to be bothered with haggling prices.
Check out these links on what to do in Cairo as well as other information:
Taking the Pyramids by Storm:
One Trip, 3 Continents, and a Lot of Freaking Out:
Crazy 45 Minutes Before Luxor Takeoff:
Tips for Traveling to Countries with Unsafe Drinking Water