don't ever pose in front of camels around the giza necropolis area as eventhough you are not riding them and you are just in front of them and taking pictures, the camel herders wil pester you, rather aggressively to pay them for the picture! they will ask 40 LE (about 5 US Dollars) as payment, even though they are not the ones who took the shot and even if the camels are sitting far from them. If you are with a large group and a burly tour guides, then they would back off but if you are just a pair travelling, then they would pester you.
Unique Suggestions: take pictures of the camels far away using your zoom camera and a little bit of photo magic to make it appear that you are near the camel, this way you would not get any problem.
During our stay in Cairo, we were often stopped in the street by helpful people offering advice. About 20% of these are genuine. The remaining 80% will have a warm conversation with you, invite you for tea at their workplace or home, which inevitably turns out to be a shop. Either their own or that of a close relative. After some polite conversation you will be shown the typical junk people buy in Egypt - resin statues, fake papyrus, perfume essences, scarves, "Bedouin" jewelry, sand in a bottle, alabaster jars etc etc. They make it hard to leave as they are masters of the hard sell. Just don't go with them and refuse offers to go with anyone unless you genuinely need one more ugly curio for your mantelpiece. Many people who offer advice will ask for a tip after directing you or pointing out something of interest. Amusing at first, but sickening after a few days!
Before you even set foot inside the pyramids area, you are set upon a myriad vultures. All friendly, asking where you are from etc and saying don't worry they work for the pyramids co. THEY ARE ALL 'GUIDES' and they all want money and they do not add value. The stickiest bull dusters you've ever encountered. This is a filthy, disgusting place. If sustainably developed as a tourist destination, it could truly be a national asset. Currently a national disgrace. This place runs on kickbacks, tips and corruption.
Unique Suggestions: Ignore simply anyone approaching you for anything. Read your tourist guides, go educated and find your own way.
Fun Alternatives: Buy a book with pictures of the pyramids. They're not worth visiting.
The Vendors at Giza were just over the top aggressive and had a few tricks up their sleeves to make sure you bought from them. If you are going to buy, learn to barter, if you don't know how to barter, watch someone else do it or bring a friend who know's how.
I'm surprised the vendors didn't charge us for the air we breathed! I was taking a picture of a pyramid when a vendor walked into my shot then demanded a $1 for taking his picture; just walk away.
They will give you things like a head wrap and when you try to give it back they won't take it back, they want your money. One elderly woman just walked away with it which turned the tables on the vendor who now had to get it back or lose a sale; quite funny to watch.
Unique Suggestions: Learn to Barter, I can't emphasize this enough.
Women, read up on what to wear while in Egypt. The more skin you show, the more attention you will attract. Basically, keep your arms and legs covered, bring a scarf to cover your hair if you like but not mandatory.
Fun Alternatives: You've come so far to see the Pyramids but be prepared.
Especially when you are travelling with children, tell them not to take anything that's been offered by the sellers. They literally push stuff into kids hands. Once your child take it, then there is no giving back.
AFTER WAITING MY ENTIRE LIFE TO VISIT THE PYRAMIDS, I WAS HOPING TO JUST BE ABLE TO WANDER AR0UND AND TAKE IT ALL IN. UNFORTUNATELY, THIS DIDN'T HAPPEN FOR ME AND IT WON'T HAPPEN FOR YOU. FROM THE TIME WE GOT THERE UNTIL THE TIME WE LEFT, WE WERE CONSTANTLY HARASSED AND CHASED AROUND BY ANNOYING PEOPLE TRYING TO SELL US CHEAP CRAP. I FELT AS IF I SPENT MOST OF MY TIME DODGING THEM AND VERY LITTLE TIME DOING WHAT I WANTED TO DO WHICH WAS TAKE IN THIS AMAZING PLACE IN PEACE. THE EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT REALLY NEEDS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS AS I WOULD NEVER GO BACK AGAIN JUST BECAUSE OF THIS ISSUE. I ALSO FELT AS IF EGYPT REALLY EXCELLED AT EXTRACTING THE MOST MONEY OUT OF US ON THIS TRIP.
Unique Suggestions: DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT AND DON'T EVEN SAY "NO".......I FELT THAT "NO" WAS AN OPENING TO THESE PEOPLE TO JUST HARASS YOU EVEN MORE. ALSO, BEWARE THE VENDOR WHO TRIES TO SHOVE THINGS INTO YOUR HAND OR UNDER YOUR ARM....IF YOU TOUCH IT.....YOU BUY IT.
Just assume these 2 things. 1) The souvenir books they sell you are poor quality and will fall apart and 2) The water sellers will short change you or refuse to give you any change. Especially if your tour bus is leaving. That's why I like my picture of a Policeman beating some seller for being in the wrong area.
Have small coins or single Egyptian dollars. 1 Egyptian dollar is fine for a bottle of water. Walk away if they will not accept that. Alternatively grab the bottle from them and throw the money at them, then jump on the bus. These guys are THIEVES. Do not think otherwise
When the sellers tell you they give you the stuff as a gift, it is not true cos once you accept one they keep giving you more and keeps saying it is gift. but no...
Unique Suggestions: Bergain and offer the half of the price if you are about to buy.
Fun Alternatives: Don't touch anything if you are not really going to buy. Cause when it once comes into your hand they don't let you give it back untill you buy it.
It's strictly forbidden to climb up the Pyramids in Giza. But everybody want to make a photo at the Pyramid background with oneself in front of it. So did I! As it appeared it was very simple! It costed only 1LE and a person who allowed me and my friend to climb up the Pyramid made several photos (though he asked $1 at first!).
I was very glad that I managed to solve this problem but while I was walking around the Pyramid several policemen asked to allow me to climb up the Pyramid! Very kind men!
stay away from the tout's. they will gouge you as much as posible. a firm " no " should help. if this does'nt work ask them firmly to show some respect.
Unique Suggestions: if you must buy a souviner, go to the village of nazlet el-samman. located in front of the sphinx. do not pay requested price, haggle over the price and save yourself some money.
You are sure to encounter the Pyramid touts as you make your way down the road leading to the monuments. They apparently sell different sorts of trinkets... and also rides on camels and horses.
If you really want to ride a camel or a horse its good to know a few things.
Unique Suggestions: First, find out the current price for riding a camel/horse before you head to the pyramids. You can inquire at the hotel or with an up to date travel book so you will know where you'll stand.
I asked what the average price was when I got back to the hotel and I was told the price should be around 10 dollars. I will raise my hand and admit that I paid about 20 dollars for a horse ride. I am sure others have paid twice that, so I don't feel so bad... but I learned a lesson.
Second, be very clear to the camel/horse guy that you want to see the pyramids. I say that because they might try to give you a quick little tour and then quickly usher you to a papyrus shop nearby. If you dont want to go to a papyrus shop be clear that you have no interest and that you want to see the Pyramids.
Lastly, if you are a woman do not allow the camel guy to climb on behind you. When I rode the horse my guide was a man and a young boy. They helped me get on the horse, but I managed to trot along on my own. It was fine.
But I have read accounts where some women have been groped because they allowed the camel guy to ride with them, so if you don't want to ruin your Pyramids experience then follow this tip.
In 1960, tourists wearing leather soled shoes probably found it easier to tour the Great Pyramids from the back of a camel, as my Aunt and Uncle did. At that time the camel vendors waited patiently in an organized line for the next tourist to arrive. However, at the time we visited in 1997, we had simply three hours to survey the area, and I didn't want to do it from the back of a camel. So, we had to dodge the camel vendors.
Unique Suggestions: I'm pretty certain that the authorities are aware of this problem, but in all reality, I don't blame the locals for wanting to make a fast buck. This area is large and for those not fit to hike, a camel ride might be just the thing. I would certainly bargain hard though as there are plenty of camel ride vendors hanging around. If you don't want a ride tell the vendor "La ShooKron", which means "no thankyou". Besides camels, there are also plenty of donkeys and horses around.
Fun Alternatives: In general, I recommend walking around the pyramids. Bring good walking or hiking shoes, and prepare for the possibility of a sand storm.
When You get to the "other" side of the Pyramids from where the best view can be seen, and You go up on top of the small hill to look out, there will be people selling all sorts of little merchandise. This is clear, but there also will be people hanging out right where You want to take Your photos. They either offer their help to take a picture of You or put a hat on Your so that You can have a picture taken like the one here. And then in the end of course they request money and You are already in the position to not be able to chase them away...
Unique Suggestions: Be absolutely harsh to these people and have some other tourist take pictures of You. But if You feel like such a picture with a hat is worth a few pennies, than just go ahead, but I think it's a waste of money.
This particular guy came to us and tried to give us a hat as a "free gift". We knew it was a trap and as Sting sings in one song: "There's no such thing as a meal for free", but still we couldn't avoid it. He sticked to us and was talking to us continously. Of course I said "No" like 20 times, but he was insisting that it's a gift. When I decided to take the God-damm hat in my hands, there was no way back, he opened his hand for some money. Of course I wanted to give back the hat, but there was no way he would take it back. So we ended up paying some (the smallest money I had was USD 5). At least we ended up with two hats by that time (my girlfriend had one as well).
Unique Suggestions: 1. Be very strong when saying "NO"!
2. NEVER take anything in your hands!
3. Never accept that he puts the hat on Your head, even if "only for a photo"!
It might be high on your wihslist to get inside the Pyramid where you pay more than you pay at the entrance. But when you get inside, there's absolutely nothing to see except a mummy-holder inside a big chamber.
Though they take your camera at the way inside as photography is not allowed. I wondered what kind a picture I could take.
The temperature inside is greater than outside. Having said all that, it might be just an experience with good exercise to the least.