Khan el Khalili, Cairo
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 biggest and most attractive bazaar in Cairo, where you can find absolutely everything you need.
People are very friendly and they do everything to make you buy their goods. You can pay in Egyptian Pounds, but also in US dollars or euros.
They all speak at least English, but often other languages, too, including mine! I was really surprised that so many people spoke Serbian, and a very good one! They say it's because Tito and Nasr were great friends :) but I think it's because many Egyptians studied in Yugoslavia, and also, many Yugoslavs come to Egypt...
What to buy: From needles to machines. :)
Absolutely everything is there! The biggest amount of goods are clothes (especially traditional gowns, lovely T-shirts, very beautiful scarfs...), shoes, souvenirs, food...
Don't forget to bargain!!! It's a must!
What to pay: Depends on what you're buying and the quantities, of course. A good bargain would do wonders.
We visited Khan el Khalili twice while in Cairo... The first time we were so tired and hot that we really didn't buy anything, we got a little lost amongst the windy streets and we hardly took notice of what was in the shops...
The second time we were much more refreshed and we were about to leave Egypt so we spent a few hours wandering around looking for some things to bring back home and we ate at one of the cafes at the entrance to the bazaar.
What to buy: You can buy all sorts of things at the bazaar...clothes, sheesha pipes, toy camels, souvineers, jewellery, t-shirts, hats, spices, antiques, cushion covers/sheet sets, musical instruments, belly dancing outfits, local foods, scarves/pashminas etc.
What to pay: Always haggle and never pay the first price they ask...you can usually get them down to 20- 40% of the original price!!! Sometimes it's really not worth the bother (for the few cents extra it might cost) but if you're in the mood then give it a go.
(Khan el Khalili souk)the city oldest shopping area,where everything is at bargain, pricesit`s specially known for it`s silver itams.
and it`s Fishawi cafe where you have the chance to experience the (Shisha) the name of water pipe in Egypt.
What to buy: Mostly silver items,plus other hand craft antiques and rugs.
What to pay: less than 1$ dollar to ?????
When you had enough of bergaining and buying perhaps you wanna relax a bit. This is the cafe you may choose to sit down for tea / coffee / shisha (water pipe). This cafe is a pretty big one and said to have never shut down since 1973! But you still have to encounter mobile sellers whom you have to say no and no again politely.
Khan el khalili, a 'very Egyptian' bazaar. This is one of my favorite places in Cairo. You see all kinds of people and things it’s fantastic. I did most of my shopping here. But be smart before buying something, bargain first.
What to buy: Souvenirs: little statues of pharaohs, coffee cups, papyrus, copperware, perfume bottles.
Clothing: Bedouin clothing, belly dancing outfits, Ottoman hats, Tshirts.
Others: Semi precious stones, perfume, jewelry, shisha (water pipe), carpet, brasswork, blanket, leather accesories, spice, fruits, live animals, they sell everything!
Be careful with obvious and non-obvious imitations especially on perfume and clothing: I saw some hilarious examples: perfumes smelling like the real Hugo Boss and Joop! but labeled Hugu Boos, Goop! =D How creative.
What to pay: Start with half the price of what the seller tells you. You have to really bargain otherwise u’ll get ripped off, big time!
one of the oldest market in cairo and this is the place you can find all kind of souvenir.
to buy, you need to bargain for the prices.
it's very interesting to see, as you go deeper the market, the prices is getting cheaper, but as getting cheaper, the seller probably can't speak english.
What to buy: all kind of souvenirs from key chain until carpet.
Apart from regular bazar shops, there are also mobile street sellers who would always try to sell you something. Don't utter your interest, like, I need papyrus'. Then half a dozen sellers would surround you at once!
This is a part of Khan al Khalil which shows a traditiona and old security measure. Notice the many different gates. During off hours they are locked separately. As a result, thieves and robbers may not organize to steal from all butiks and may not easily find out their convenient way.
This area would be a little tricky for women. If you are westerner, perhaps yo would always be touched by the people. A little nuisance, but all you should do it to ignore. Avoiding tight-fit clothes and perhaps with a cloth over your head may improve the situation.
Not quite in Khan el Khalili, if you consider it the main "souq" street, but still in the souq nonetheless: the spice souq, which is not as large as one would expect it.
What to buy: Buy all sorts of spices - and in particular buy those that:
a) you can't find at home
b) at home have ridiculous prices.
Of course the best buy is saffron (and make sure you are not sold corcuma). Break it in your hand and smell it... if the aroma is intense, the saffron is good (plus you show the salesperson that you know what you're buying)
What to pay: we paid about 2 euros for 200 grams - which is quite a large bag.
Khan al khalil is the place, where you see the widest and largest collection of souvnir items, including papyrus, and pices of phraonic idols and symbols. This is also a big bazar area with spices and stuff of daily necessaitites. And this is also the area where you buy them cheapest or at the highest price!
Tourist buses stop in this area, and its also an unlikely touristic place. When you decide to buy something give a price, usually one-fourth or one-fifth of the price th eseller asks. Don't think your price is final. There would be new prices several times until both parties reach an equilibrium. So, the price you are thinking or ready to pay for ask a price lower than that, leaving a room for negotiation. That's the bergaining process and as one of my friends say, half the fun! Bergaining with smiles and jokes would get you a cheaper buy, usually.
In the Khan el Khalili you will find several shops that will sell antiques for good prices. Always bargain that is for sure.
What to buy: I specially like the old Egyptian photo's, like the one here posted. They are genuine Egyptian and something different. I want to collect them. I got this original picture in the Khan el Khalili for only 80 LE, that is about 12 Euro. I saw a replica of it on the Internet sold for $35! I got the original for only 12!
It is a great souvenir that wont take to much space in your luggage.
What to pay: What you want to pay for it! I got it for 12 Euro and it was a bargain.
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.