You hear this word all the time. BAKSHEESH is tip in arabic. Every where you go there is someone asking you for baksheesh.
So if you let a local take your picture, let them get in the picture with you, take a picture with them ~Baksheesh~
If they put your suitcase on the belt going through airport security, let you go through the fast lane - Take a guess -- baksheesh
Unique Suggestions: It's not really something you can get away from. So have small notes (Egyptian LE) or change on hand with you to give to them.
Remember not to tip to much. In my hotels stays I only left at the very most 5LE on my pillow for the staff.
When you use the public washrooms there is a woman standing/sitting at the door waiting for you to give her 1LE to get into the washroom and then she will hand you 1, yes you read that correctly ONE sheet of toilet paper.
This is not limited to the washrooms around the tourist sites. Sometimes when you are in a restaurant washroom - there is no toilet paper!
Unique Suggestions: Always have some extra Kleenex or toilet paper with you.
Save your 1LE notes because if you hand them a 5LE they will still just give you one sheet and let you in. You don't get any change!
The price of bottled water in Luxor, especially at the tourist sites, can be many times more expensive than it is in Egypt generally. A 1.5 liter bottle of water that goes for less than 2 LE in a Cairo grocery will cost 10 to 20 LE in Luxor.
Unique Suggestions: After hard bargaining, I managed to drive a vendor down to 4 LE per bottle--still a ripoff, but I guess they won't sell for less as long as there are people too gullible or desperate to be paying the exorbitant asking price.
Fun Alternatives: If you're coming to Luxor from another city, especially by road, it might be worth your while to bring some water!
There is a guy from Luxor who apparently picks his potential "victims" at airports. He´s handsome, will be very helpful with your bag, will be coincidently going to the same place as you. He´ll invite you for dinner in a nice restaurant. After it he´ll take you to some shop, where you´ll get a gold cartouche with your name, with chain and all. Even if you refuse it, he´ll seem completed charmed by you, even proposing, lol. It doesn´t matter how much you say that you are only friends and absolutely nothing will happen between you, he´ll try to see you again. So he´ll mention that he´s a tourist guide and wants to help you. He may try to charge up to ten times the right price for something. So girls, if you have suddenly turned hotter than Marilyn, be suspicious, lol.
Baksheesh is part of the culture of Egypt and is something that generates much discussion among people not used to the culture. Baksheesh is basically tipping. In Egypt you are expected to tip anyone and everyone who helps you (or not in many cases) no matter how small the help.
When visiting temples, museums, at the airport, asking the way, hailing a taxi etc someone will appear and give you some "help" whether you want it or not.
My advice is to just go with the flow. Keep a pocket full of small change or notes and dispense them everytime someone assists you in any way. Sometimes they will complain you haven't tipped them enough but generally a tip is expected and so you should give one.
Don't forget, its part of the culture and we are the visitors.
Unique Suggestions: As stated above always carry small notes and coins otherwise a larger tip will be expected.
Fun Alternatives: You can refuse to tip if you really want to appear to be a cheapskate.
make sure that you understood clearly the english of your taxi driver when he tells you the price of a taxi fare, because he may tell you in soft english a price you agree to pay, but at the end of the ride he will pretend a completely different summ, claiming that it was what you had accepted in the beginning.
This tourist trap is waiting for you if you have only one-day excursion in Luxor. After visiting Karnak Temple you will go to the West Bank and see Hatshepsut Temple and the Valley of the Kings. After that guides usually take you to the numerous shops. And that’s all! You may miss the Luxor Temple, because the excursion time is over and you have to go to the boat!
Ask your guide to stop shopping and to make a stop at the Luxor Temple before the embarkation onboard. An hour would be enough!
Beware caleche drivers who offer a cheap trip for only 1-2 L.E. We fell for this one - we said we didnt want a caleche as we were only walking up the road to the bank - he said "I will take you to the bank and back to the hotel fro 2 L.E." This seemed OK so we got in - Big Mistake. After we finished at the bank, we got back into the caleche, which promptly went in the opposite direction to the hotel - hold on, where are we going? Reply "I like you so I am taking you round the city, you can pay what you like at the end". We should have bailed out then! But no, we wanted to see round the city so we stayed in the caleche - and were promptly taken for a ride for 4hours (yes really - through outlying villages etc - we had to stay put as we had no idea where we were!) This included a visit to an alabaster shop called St Marie Stones next to a renault garage where we were totally ripped off when we bought alabaster figures that we could have got at a tenth of the price at the airport, and a silver ring - it even had a silver mark 925 - my finger was green the same evening! When the trip was over, he carefully asked for the money well away from the hotel and rather than the "pay what you like" we ended up paying far more because we didnt know where the hotel was!
Unique Suggestions: Dont use the caleche drivers - other people at our hotel had the same experiences. Its much cheaper (whatever tips tell you) to use the hotel's taxi - and its air conditioned. Just bear in mind that if you do use them, only ask for one way as they charge waiting time.
Fun Alternatives: Hotel taxis are air-conditioned.
Use a reputable travel co for local trips - they are cheaper than the travel agents from the UK. We used Karnak Travel who were brilliant but Jolleys next door is equally as good.
Before booking any trips, check with the local Tourist Travel Agents. Sometimes you will find they are a lot cheaper.
Change youre Travel cheques etc in local banks. Better exchange rate.
Unique Suggestions: If you find a good Taxi, try and keep him for all youre trips out. He will often give you a good service providing you stick with "What you want NOT what he would like you to do".
Fun Alternatives: Buy bottled water outside youre Hotel. A lot cheaper.
Luxor's souk is as touristy as it could get - a BIG tourist trap. The whole place has been prettied up for tourists, and gone is the authentic souk experience. It's cleaner and more clinical than your regular Middle Eastern souks.
Unique Suggestions: It's worth a visit only if you are after some photo opportunities. But be warned, you will be hassled to death by merchants - which is just fair since you are in their territory.
Fun Alternatives: Aswan and even Cairo's Khan el-Khalili offer more authentic souk experience, although the one in Aswan is undergoing a massive facelift that when completed, would make it as clinical as the one in Luxor. So hurry up before the authentic souk atmosphere in Aswan dissipates. In Khan el-Khalili, sure there are many touristy areas, but the sheer size and chaos of the place provide the more adventurous tourists with lots of surprises and hidden gems within its labyrinthine alleys.
Excuse me sir ! Excuse me sir ! I wondered, did I loose something, did I forget something, did I do something ???
Where are you from ?
Holland, prachtig allemachtig (that's about the only thing they can say in Dutch)
Would you like a ride in an Egyptian Ferrari ? One hour, only five Egyptian pounds.
Well, the Egyptian Ferrari is carriage (fleas and lices included in the price). The guy takes you to shops (where he gets his commission if you buy and get pissed off if you don't buy). Anyway, at the end of the ride he asked us for 10 pounds, the ride lasted more than an hour (because of the shops) and asked 5 pounds bakshish for the mule. I paid him with a smile
If you hire taxi to take you round the sites of the West Bank, you are bound to get dropped off at Albaster factories with their own shop and Papyrus shops. This is fine to see how they are made, but the pressure to buy can be overwhelming, especially when you are the only ones in the shop as we were! Prices in here are high compared to on the East Bank and they will try to tell you that their shop is the only genuine one around! In the Alabaster shop the shop keeper was trying his best to sell me an item for 150 LE, and when I told him I did not have that sort of money on me, he said that they could collect it from my hotel later! Papyrus in one of these shop was 4 or 5 times as much as on the East Bank, as we bought some genuine papyrus for 10LE (with certificate) from a shop on the West Bank, compared to 40-60 LE in these factories/shops.
Unique Suggestions: If you don’t want to visit these places, be sure to tell your taxi driver this before you begin your journey!
well, maybe it was the weather or i was blur, i was 'short-changed' about 2 times in Egypt.
Look carefully at the egyptian dollar notes you are holding. The word Piastres means Cents, not dollars nor pounds. So look carefully when someone returns you your change, dun mistake a 50 Piastres or a 25 Piastres as 50 or 25 egyptian pound. (Although there are no 25 EP. =) ..., yes i was blur...=(
Fun Alternatives: Try to give or bargain til the exact amount that you can give.
If you want to go somewhere using a caleshe, be vey specific about where you want to go. If you want to go shopping you should state where you want to shop or you will be taken all round luxor to the drivers brothers, uncles, cousins or friends shops. Then you will be talked into buying payrus, alabaster or gallabayas that you didn't really want. The line when he stops outside a shop may be that it's very hot and the horse needs a rest for ten minutes so why don't you go in this shop while you're waiting.
In a place like this, how can it not be? I never came across the 'got any change' scam, the 'you have to pay the tourist rate' scam or any other. I DID get the offer of a piece of granite off of a Karnak temple wall. PLEASE refuse - however tempting it is to take a piece of ancient history home. Yeah, people have been taking chippings for thousands of years and the temple's still standing, but it's the principle....isn't it? You can also take as many flash photos as you want - even where it says you can't. Again, try to resist the temptation. It's hard. But afterwards you have the right to be self-righteous and proud!
Unique Suggestions: Enjoy it. Yes, there are lots of other people there. But you can easily disappear behind a pillar in the Hippostolic Hall in Karnak for a couple of seconds before someone comes round the corner. And the expanse of the tomb valleys and Karnak are so great that you can find a quiet corner if you look. Otherwise go in June - the tourist traps weren't empty, but they were no-where near full, either.
Fun Alternatives: You can see Luxor temple from the corniche - so if you want to skip a temple skip that one.
Alternatively, go to the stables on the west bank, hire a horse, and get them to take you along the Nile, away from the township and into the villages. You'll pass sheep, ducks, egrets, palm trees, open fields, donkeys pulling carts and whitewashed, box-like houses with skinny chickens rushing around - which can't look much different from the time the tombs were being carved....so you get a sense of history without the crowds.
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