Favorite thing: Cairo, being the Capital of Egypt, has the largest number of Population withing the City and the Greater Suburbs, Including Giza, and since this is an ancient city built in the desert, many areas of old Cairo and Giza have a mish mash of old and downtrodden buildings and dusty roads and traffic. the government built elevated Ring Roads to Decongest traffic around the Area but still, it can be congested during the day and also very dusty and there will be trash piles around some old sections of the City. the Newer Districts of 6th of October City, Maadi, Nasr City and Heliopolis are much cleaner and less congested.
If you are the shopping type or the AVID SHOPPER like me and you are going to Cairo, then I would Strongly recommend you taking Emirates Airlines for your trip as Emirates Airlines has one of the most generous free baggage allowance policy among the Airlines In the World. Free Baggage Allowance for Economy Class Passengers are at 30 kilos (68 pounds), business class passengers at 40 kilos (90 pounds) and first class passengers at 50 kilos (115 pounds) and you can check two or more luggage for free as long as you don't reach the allowable limit for each classes.
you are also allowed the standard 7 kilos (15 pounds) hand carry bag plus another lap top or personal back pack or small bag as extra (standard with other airlines too).
according to their website:
Emirates has one of the world’s most generous baggage policies. When flying with Emirates you can enjoy the following checked baggage allowances:
30kg in Economy Class
40kg in Business Class
50kg in First Class
If you are an Emirates Skywards Platinum, Gold or Silver member, you may also be entitled to additional allowances.
Note: for itineraries including any destinations in North or South America, different baggage rules apply: for North America, customers are allowed two bags of up to 23kg each in Economy Class, and two bags of up to 32kg each in First Class or Business Class. For South America, customers are allowed two bags of up to 32kg each in all classes.
It is alleged that the oldest beer that was brewed was in egypt 5,000 years ago and that at present, egyptians like beer more than wine and that egypt has lots of beer brands available around the country both locally brewed by local brewing companies and the international brewing companies. There are various Beers sold in egypt, ranging from the pilsner type to the dark ale and dry kinds and the brands are Sakkara, Meister, Rex and the most popular local brand of beer, Stella. Among the imported ones being brewed in egypt are Heineken, Amstel, Carlsberg and more. Prices of the beers in aluminum cans and at bottle at convenience stores start at 10 to 16 LE and goes up to 20 to 30 LE at the nightclubs, bars and restaurants.
Fondest memory: Stella Local is the number one beer in Egypt
you must remember that the middle east is the bastion of smoking as they have been smoking nicotine via the waterpipe (shisha or hookah) for a thousand years and hence many locals are smokers and egypt has a vibrant local cigarette industry and also foreign brands such as Marlboro Cigarettes, Winston, Camel, Luck Strike and local brands like Cleopatra are flourishing. you can buy them everywhere at stores, souks, supermarkets, convenience stores and hotels and international brands such as Marlboros cost LE 14 to 16 a pack, Camel at 12 to 14 LE a pack and local cleopatra cigarettes at LE 8 to 10 a pack.
Fondest memory: egypt is a smoker's paradise
Although most tourist friendly establishments accept US Dollars and Euros, many of the establishments in Old Cairo and at the Malls like City Stars don't accept them. If you don't have enough cash to change into Egyptian Pound (LE) in your wallet and you don't want to use your credit card that much when in Egpyt, then your next option will be to withdraw money from International ATM machines in and around Cairo. Cairo has thousands of ATM's that mostly accept international ATM consortiums like Cirrus, Plus, Discover, Maestro, etc.
However, every withdrawal you make carries a surcharge of LE 20 per transaction charged to your ATM Card, whatever the amount you withdraw so be sure to withdraw one time and make it a large withdrawal (as a 1000 LE withdrawal and a 2,000 LE withdrawal carries the same 20 LE surcharge). The local Egyptian ATM surcharge is on top of your local bank in your country charges as a surcharge when using International ATM's.
Fondest memory: there are thousands of ATM machines in and Around Cairo where you can withdraw money.
Favorite thing: having a large population and not much potable water available due to the mostly desert terrain, egypt has a large soft drinks and flavored drinks industry and all the mulitnational companies like Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola and assorted local companies have a variety of sodas (softdrinks) all around cairo as both locals and tourists like softdrinks. you can buy them everywhere like in restaurants, bars, souks, souvenir stores, convenience stores, hotels and a lot more and are available in 330 ml aluminum cans and even large 1 and 2 liter PET Bottles and regular glass bottles. prices range from LE 7 for one can of softdrinks to LE 20 to 30 for the large PET Bottles.
in this day and age of the internet, where you can download maps and guides and even use gps to know if the direction you are travelling to your destination is correct on your laptop or smart phone or phablet or tablet, there are still many who use the old fashioned maps and guides and one good thing in travelling in egypt is that many tour companies give free pull up maps to tourists like us that contain the various areas and attractions not only around cairo but also around egypt and these maps are quite informative and even a good souvenir item and the best deal is that they are given free!
Fondest memory: the maps are available in different languages for tourists from around the world
The Egyptian Pound (EGP or LE) is the main currency of Egypt and the current exchange rate of 1 Egyptian Pound is 0,14 US Dollar (1 US Dollar is rougly 7 Egyptian Pounds). Althoug many tourism and tourist related commercial establishments in Cairo and Egpyt Accept International Currencies like the US Dollar or the Euro, most of the establishments in Cairo and Egpyt only accept the Egyptian Pound as legan tender and even if the establishments accept the major currencies of the world, they will give loose change in Egyptian pounds.
The Egyptian Pound is divided into 100 piastres and Locally, the abbreviation LE or L.E., which stands for livre égyptienne (French for Egyptian pound) is frequently used. E£ and £E are rarely used. The Egyptian Pound is made of 25pt, 50pt, £1 Coins and £5, £10, £20, £50, £100, £200 Banknotes. You can exhange your Native Currency in Egyptian Pounds at the many money exchange shops, banks and Cash to Cash ATM's in Cairo.
Fondest memory: you must have egpytian pounds in your pocket as even if you pay in US Dollars at the tourism establishments, they give loose change in Egyptian Pounds and Coins.
Favorite thing: If wasn't the River of Nile Cairo would probably never excisted, Nile is its heart and soul. Cosmopolitane city is concentrated along the banks of the river which gave life to this town of a very huge proportions. Quarters and houses where working class live are pretty distant from the Nile.
Favorite thing: My visit was far too short to make any final conclusions about Cairo but it is notable huge contrast in between the city area along both banks of the River Nile and its outskirts. City area looks cosmopolitan and smell on money while outskirts looking chaotic in a way as any other small town or even village. People wear more traditional cloths and using other type of transportation.
Favorite thing: Cairo is definatelly a very huge place, the biggest I have ever seen and visited so far. My first impression was, chaos all around! There are millions of people out on the streets, no matter if the heat is big and almost burning. I got impression this people spending the whole day out, eating, sleeping, making business or just drifting out on the streets....
The Ancient Seven Wonders of the World reflected the ability of the men to change the
nature in order to build wonderful and beautiful structures which amaze and inspire the
people. It believes that these constructions of classical antiquity were constructed since
2700 B.C. but, unfortunately, only one of the wonders mentioned by Herodotus has survived
Fondest memory: Ancient Seven Wonders list included:
Great Pyramid of Giza - Egypt
Hanging Gardens of Babylon -
Statue of Zeus at Olympia - Greece.
The Colossus of Rhodes - Greece
The Lighthouse of Alexandria - Egypt
The Mausoleum of Maussollos - Turkey
The Temple of Artemis - Turkey
The following tips are in fact tribute to the hard working Egyptian people. All these pictures were taken during the 45 kms bus journey from Giza city to the modern Cairo Airport. We were told by our guide that the the 40 kms stretch via the Ring Road of Cairo was in fact a desert even three years back, but now they have built a beautiful city with all amenities. This must be seen to appreciate the hard work and zeal of the Egyptian enterprise.
The same thing in India would have taken more than 20 years and in between associated with many labour unrest, communist demonstrations, blockades, criticism etc. And in Kolkata, West Bengal, it would never finish as it is run by a Communist Government!
Favorite thing? Budgeting is a task?
What are your needs and expectations?
All amounts in Egyptian pounds (LE) unless stated. 2007/8 prices.
The necessities: food and drink.
Eating like an Egyptian with a proper income, you can lunch well for 10le or less. Drinks in most Cairo cafes are cheap: maybe 1 for tea (black) i.50 for a small black coffee & the juice bars the same: or not much more.
You can get by on very little, 10 will buy you a good lunch.
Taxis I avoid like the plague. How long is a piece of string. 5-10 for most trips within the main Cairo area.
And there's your events & entertainments. Museums are 10 LE upwards,
And being Egypt, there is baksheesh.
More important is the kind of money you want to carry and where you carry it. Accumulating enough small denominations so you have 1 le notes for small baksheesh and some fives/tens so you can give taxi drivers the money you want them to have as opposed to the money they want.
I'd go out with fifty, and could well get back to my hotel in the evening with change, having dined well.
Lots of my tips are about mosques & so on, so for those unacquainted with the termshere are afew terms
Hypostyle: A general architectural term, not specific to islamic or mosque architedture. It means any structure in which a flat roof is held up by rows of supporting pillars.
Mihrab: the niche that indicates the direction to face for prayer. The ritual focus of a mosque, often very beautifully decorated..
Minaret: the tower from which the muezzin used to perform the call to prayer.
Minbar: the pulpit. found to right of the mihrab.
Quibla wall: the wall containing the mihrab indicating the direction in which mecca lies.
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