It is the place to buy typically oriental souvenirs and handmade crafts. Atmospheres of this traditional market with the labyrinth layout of the streets gives visitors o lot of pleasure and impression what medieval markets once were like.
This is the place to train your negotiation skills, traders speak all known languages and if you are from country with some well known sportsman they will offer you "special discount".
PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A WARNING; I AM NOT ADVISING THE PURCHASE OF THIS PRODUCT.
One of the small perfume shops I visited in Cairo sold Kohl for the eyes. I had admired the way many of the local women wore this cosmetic and asked the shopkeeper about it. He showed me an inexpensive synthetic version, which was packaged with a disposable applicator and available in a good variety of colours and also a more costly natural version ground from a mineral, such as antimony, which was a shimmering dark grey colour. He explained how this should be decanted, a little at a time, into a separate clean container to use on a day to day basis, as this would avoid the possibility of eye infections.
Actually it is possible that conjunctivitis would be the least of the user's worries, as antimony, like many traditional sources of eye cosmetics, contains higher than acceptable levels of toxins e.g. lead and has been linked to lead poisoning by several studies (see website listed below.) Such products cannot be sold as cosmetics under European legislation and even importing them is not permitted under U.S.A. laws. I confess I did buy some, as it is very beautiful, but know that I should not use it around my eyes or permit children to come into contact with it.
What to buy: In fact I recently found that Guerlain make a fairly similar looking one, which, although it is many times the price, I know is safe to use, so if you are tempted, as I was, this makes a good alternative.
One of the oldest markets in the world Khan el Khalili is a great adventure......as a foreigner you stand out like a sore thumb, but not once did we feel in danger or pressured into buying anything we didn't want to. We were by ourselves not part of a tour group, and that in itself felt odd for the shop sellers who speak ENGLISH, SPANISH, GERMAN, FRENCH, ITALIAN, MADANRIN, you name it they speak it.....we had fun walking around just enjoying ourselves. My girlfriend held on to me tightly and we were OK...HIGHLY recommend it.....and when finally buying things of course bargain, but unlike China they won't cut the prices in half....and always remeber, when it gets to the point that shop keeper won't lower his price start to walk off and wow suddenly the price goes down, and when at a complete stop of prices remeber how much money your haggling for 1 LE is about .25 cents US, if you travel all the way there and start arguing over .25 US cents, then you should be traveling so far from home, let them have the 1LE and that makes everybody happy. WE HAD A BLAST !!!!!
The tour company describe this place is must visit. But we found this place is a haggling centre. All shops say almost the same thing, you are my guest, my friend and the prices quoted are 10 times more than what they settle for. We were cheated here royally, the prices quoted for a small piece of artifact was LE 170, I thought I am expert in bargaining as I am from India, so I said LE 15, ultimately settled for LE 17-20. But 4 days after at Luxor I found the same things were available for less than LE 10! We spent about LE1000 to buy the artifacts for friends and our own home. This is also where I was given a 50 Piaster note for LE50!
The place is worth visiting but not for buying anything if you are visiting other places in Egypt.
What to buy: Mostly artifact, fake & cheap Papyrus on Banana leaves, Sheesha, glass items etc.
What to pay: Anything between LE 5 to LE 100 or more!
A traditional bookbinding shop. You can have your own books bound on order.
What to buy: A good selection of handbound notebooks and albums. And a choice of picture books.
What to pay: Don't pay more than 50% of the asking price, or even less!
The last workshop where the taditional headdress (Fez, or Taboush in Egyptian) are still made.
These used to be worn by the elegant gentleman with a western suit. Nowadays, they are still worn by the religious authorities with a scarf worn around.
What to buy: You'll find cheap models and expensive pieces with a high quality finish.
What to pay: Don't pay more than 50% of the asking price, or even less!
The old Tentmakers Bazar, the only remaining piece of the taditional covered bazars.
What to buy: Nowadays, the sell mainly applique work, pilows, bedspreads etc.
The applique work used to cover the inside of the tents, a few models are stil exposed and you can have one made to order.
Each worker has a unique stitch. Thefore each piece is made by only one person.
What to pay: Don't pay more than 50% of the asking price, or even less
The last taditional candle production workshops.
Enter the passage though the gate shown and disover the workshops. The wax used has a special composition and supporte the hot climate of Egypt.
If you continue through the narrow passage around the corner, you'll discover workshops where they produce shoes by hand.
What to buy: You can buy the candles directly from the workhops. But you have a large choice at the stand opposite the gate.
These candles are mainly used for weddings.
What to pay: Don't pay more than 50% of the asking price, or even lesss.
One of the best Silver Shops in Cairo. The owner, Abdelaziz Mohamed Amin, has lived for a long time in England. He speaks perfect English and is perfectlz honest. No need to hagle for a price. And if you tells you the name of a stone, it is not glass or plastic.
When you enter the shop, go to the back and you'll find on the right some rickety stairs that will lead you in the Cavern of Ali Baba.
Ask for Abdelaziz, if he isn't there, most of the staff speaks English and will not cheat you as well.
What to buy: A large choice of silver jewelry and ancient Bedouin Jewelrz (not silver).
The shops that you first encounter on entering this area are tourist traps, blatant, pure and simple. Ask yourself the question: 'is there anything in here I cam imagine an Egyptian without an unhealthily overdeveloped sense of irony choosing to have in their home?'
It's like Gift Shops in Europe. Overpriced tat you don't need. Unlike Europe, you have to haggle for the stuff.
Okay, I'm not that pious. I did buy a few souvenirs. Let me tell a haggling story. I'd spotted some fairly good quality china bearing the basic phonetic hieroglyph set in a shop in Talaat Harb. Price labels on them so I had an idea of the price to pay. What I wanted was an ashtray with this design. They didn't have one in the shop, but there was one in one of the first bait-trays you encounter in Khan el Khalil. I reckoned it was worth LE40. Okay, you've been there, done that and might have escaped without the T-shirt: as soon as one of the vultures sense an eyeball flicker in the direction of the wares you are inside fighting for your life. The casual look, check price & move on is not really on the menu. He wanted LE100, wouldn't budge. My eyebrows disappeared down the back of my neck & I got out.
What to buy: The next day I went back & opened the conversation by saying that I was sorry about last night, I'd obviously misheard him because any fool should have realised that he meant one hundred piastres. I'd take five.
I bargained him down to a sensible price but by then the game had taken over and I really wanted best price. I got him down to about LE50, but didn't buy. I'd previously made the acquaintance of a couple of shopkeepers deeper in the market. (After they'd tried to sell me things they'd decided I was a dead loss as far as commerce went, but we had spent a pleasant afternoon drinking tea and discussing the eccentricities of the English language and life in general.) So I took myself off there. Not that they sold these objects: they dealt in silver, soapstone & glassware. But they knew a man who did, so I bought one through them, one of them popped off and got one for me.
I ended up paying them LE10 more than I would have paid at the first place, and they may even have bought it there, but I was satisfied with the transaction. I even bought a soapstone pyramisd carved with heiroglyphs. Well, I'd promised my eldest son I'd buy him a pyramid, and a proper one would not have fitted in my rucksack.
The glassware is nice, but a bit of a packing nightmare. The things that really appealed were the finials for mosques available in the copper workers section of the souk, but I don't have a mosque to put them on and they're a bit oversized for the mantlepeice.
What to pay: Probably over the odds. As a tourist I believe my function is to have my money removed by the locals, but I do like it done with grace and without surrendering my dignity.
There are lots of shops in En Khlalili selling local crafts,souvenirs, carpets, musical intruments, replica of pyramids, books etc. Name it and they almost have it here.Just remember haggle for the price..its not fixed!
What to buy: If you are put off by thinking it is too difficult to buy items at the Khan el Khalili, then head out to Heliopolis to City Stars, a very large Mall complex. There is Souk area on the upper floors where most of the same stuff can be bought in a very much more relaxed atmosphere.
Shop for all your souvenirs at Khan Al Khalili!!! Buy perfumes and oils, t-shirts, papyri, antiques, miniature sarcophagi with mummy inside, spices, pashminas, etc, etc - the list goes on and on!!
BARGAIN HARD! and don't let the hassle by the sellers get you down!
What to buy: All those tacky souvenirs for the folks back home!
What to pay: I found there was no real rule of thumb for bargaining in Egypt. For example: in Kom Ombo, I was quoted a price of 250LE for a cobra metal headband (for the galabaya party on the Nile boat!) - in the end, I got the seller down to 25LE, after lots of bargaining!! Try and have an idea of how much things are worth, ask others or your tour leader if you have one. Another trick is to offer a quarter/third of the asking price and work your way up from there. You will soon see what the cut off point is as the seller will not take any less, even when you walk away! You could also offer what you are willing to pay as a fair price and see what happens.
Best place to shop is Khan el Khalili Bazar located by al Azhar St and on the west by the Muski Market. Items for kids and men (brother's etc) would probably be t-shirts and or leather slippers. For parents probably wooden carvings, stone carvings, silver and brass goods. And for women (sisters etc.) scarves, galabeyyas (ladies'dress) or perfume oils and beautiful perfume bottles.
What to buy: Silver jewelry, Scarves, Perfume Oil, Perfume Bottles, Rugs, Wall Hangings
What to pay: Depends, varies from shop to shop. Remember to bargain.
In Egypt, whether you are buying fresh fruits, vegetables to souvenirs..you will really have to bargain because that's part of their tradition already...a bit of adventure for them... :)
I used to ask half of the real price..and that's when the fight begins... GOODLUCK..