Don't be so ready to take that helping hand
When getting in and out of a felucca, you'll be met by a group of young boys or men ready to extend their hands and help you out of the wobbly little boat you've just been riding on.
To the novice, they may appear employees or members of the crew...
Guess what?!? They've jumped in at the last moment, with the knowledge and even blessing of the boat captain and for their "trouble" of helping you out - something you can manage on your own - they'll demand money! Quite brazenly in fact!
They may chase you down, repeatedly jumping in front of you, reminding you they just helped you out and all the while waving their greedy little hands in front of your face while rubbing two fingers together. The universal sign for "Give me money"!
People want a free ride - for nothing!
One of the customs we found odd in Egypt was that more than any place else we've traveled to, people in Egypt seem to have gotten accustomed to automatically asking (often demanding) a hand out for practically no service rendered.
For us westerns who may not think twice about offering gratuitous advice, we may find this behaviour rather confictive.
Example: If you ask for directions from someone, although readily given, their next action may be to extend their hand and rub fingers together indicating desire to get paid for their "trouble".
In a restroom, although the person (doorman) may just stand there - even outside the actual restroom - they'll readily extend their hand for a tip when you exit.
Under clear view of a "NO TIPPING SIGN" at the airport, while following the clearly marked signs indicating restrooms, our women had 1st one gentleman, then another jump in front of them, point out the obviously labeled door with the universal sillouhette symbol indicating that it was a woman's bathroom then demand payment for pointing it out!
Only after I stepped in, asked in a stern voice if anything was the matter did he leave them alone.
Another time, while confirming my plane reservations between Aswan and Cairo (I'm a travel agent mind you and quite able to perform this simple task), a representative from our ship jumped in, grabbed up my tickets, continued the confirmation process for me and then demanded payment first from me, then later that night, from my women friends!
DO NOT ENCOURAGE BEGGING OR FREE RIDES! Tell them to pound sand up the galabeas and continue walking!
The Touts of Giza
There are many tips devoted to this subject, but of course I must add my two cents :) Yes, they are there. Yet, there are ways to ensure that they will not bother you to the point where you cannot enjoy a visit here. First and foremost, they generally hang out where most of the tourists are likely to be. Such places would be the Sphinx or directly in front of the pyramids. They will be on camels, on horses, or on foot. If you do not wish to buy anything and do not want to ride a camel or a horse, there are several people that you are going to have to ignore. It is highly advisable to not make eye contact. If you look at one of them, they are likely to approach you. Of course, many will come to you no matter what. Therefore, you must ignore them no matter how rude it may seem to you. I did not make eye contact and ignored them for the most part, and they all gave up. The best time to be out on the pyramids seems to be first thing in the morning. There will be some touts there, but not nearly as many as later. Most touts had approached already by the first 10-20 minutes after the gate opened. After that, I was considered "tapped out" and was left alone to enjoy the place on my own for a couple of memorable hours. When I walked to some viewpoints, no one followed me to them.
If you do want to ride a horse or camel, then be prepared to negotiate and rejoice in the plentiful supply of such animals.
Being with a tour guide can help too, because they will often quickly recognize that the guide has your attention rather than they do.
In all honesty, it is not really too bad. If for some reason, you believe a tout is harassing you, there are plenty of tourist police around. They wear the white uniforms as in the photo.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Buy the tickets for the tomb EARLY!
The tomb within the Pyramid of Kheops, which is the most interesting is only open to a limited number of visitors. It opens for a few hours in the morning, than closes during lunchtime and reopens at 1. However, the opening hours of the two periods depends on the number of people, as they limit the maximum number of tickets sold for each period. (We didn't get in the first round so we had to hang around 'til 1 o'clock).
Buy it in the morning, or right at 1, as the ticket counter opens at the same time as the tomb. No advanced purchase is available, the price is EGP 100.
The ticket booth is located on the Eastern side of the Pyramid of Kheops (the side facing the city, and where the central parking lot is located).
- Historical Travel
It is not allowed to climb up the pyramids.
The blocks are very large, and although in the past it was permitted, there were accidents when people fell to their death.
Go up close, climb to the entry, but no further
- Historical Travel
The Heat !
The heat is so punishing around The Giza Plateau ! It also depends on what time of the year you are here. I was there in end of April ! So bloody hot !
Wear a hat, bring lots of mineral waters !
watch your money as well !
- Budget Travel
Entering The Tombs...
Sure, we can enter the tombs around Giza; Ask where to purchase the tickets or maybe from other tourists walking around the area.
You can't bring in a camera or a camcorder but that mobile phone which can take photos, well they don't seem to know about this !
Importantly, if you carry a backpack on your back, that also couldn't be permitted inside the tombs.
So, where do you want to leave it ? Maybe at the ticket counter ? Maybe with the guy who collects the ticket as you want to enter the tombs ? Maybe with other tourists that you trust ? Maybe with a policeman ?
The answer, well if you trust ANY of these people, why not ?
- Budget Travel
The Police !
Guess what ? Even the police would ask for baksheeh ! Ask them to take a photo of yourself near the pyramids, they'll ask for a baksheeh !
You ask for a direction to a spot, they'll ask for baksheeh !
It seems that make a big habit of this !
I trust more the kids selling souvenirs around Giza ! Well, maybe I don't buy anything but at least they didn't a baksheeh from me !
- Budget Travel
The Camel Guys !
Be very careful when you take a ride on a camel or a horse !
Please put your money in your front pocket or the best is put your money in the pouch inside your shirt !
Agree on how much that you want to pay for the ride, whether it's for 15 minutes or 30 minutes or even 1 whole day !
Sure, there are police all over the place but seriously, I doubt that these police could help you anyway if you lose any money !
- Budget Travel
Hustlers and annoyances 3
Once you are inside the site, you would find yourself regularly encountered by mobile-vendors. What they sell range from sample souvenir, t-shirts and so on and they always keen on conversation. That is, if you say 'no' or utter something you actually enter the conversation! Just shake your head gently! I guess when visitors enter such a prominent and ancient site, all they want is to forget everything and look at it. No problem with the vendors, but why they should be around inside a ticket-area?
Hustlers and annoyances 4
You are not interested in camel ride because you are just looking at and taking photos of the Pyramids. But the camle-owners would approach you and in fact move you around (because when they come to you sitting on their camel-backs you have to take yourself far from the camel!) for having a ride. The catchy starter I heard was 'Camel-ride is free today!'
Hustlers and annoyances 2
Once you buy your ticket and try to enter the area, there is a security check and you should remember not to carry any sharp items into your day-pack. The scanning is necessary I guess to deter any terrorist threat.
Hustlers and annoyances 1
I try to list the tips as you go to the Pyramid site.
Just a while before arriving at the site, some would try to talk to you through taxi / car window. They talk to the chauffor and make a deal and give him a percentage for taking you to the horse / camel trip to the site. Once you get off, I presume you lose all your bergain! To avoid this you should ask your chauffor not to stop anywhere before the site and that you want to get off right at the main entrance!
Surroundings of the Pyramids
Some people in Egypt are really friendly, while others sees to think that tourists/visitors are live target practice. There's lots of police all over - for a reason. Be careful not to move to far away from the group your with when visiting.
Warning: the concept of baksheesh has simply gone too far in Giza! It's now so widespread that you can no longer enjoy an archaeological site like the pyramids because you won't have a single minute of peace.
The camel people are the less annoying, in a way; at least they provide a service. Policemen on camelback couldn't care less if anything happened to a visitor, but they keep themselvs very busy... while you're trying to snap a picture, in they jump - and then it's your money that they want. Worse again are the so-called "cleaners": they will walk past you, dustbin empty but trash all around, and ask you for money. What for, I still have to figure... And then there's are the souvenir sellers, the kids, the beggars.
Heaven turned into hell.