Hawkers and hassle, Cairo
Annoying, aggressive hawkers and "guides" at Egypt's tourist sites are well known, but one stupid scam really annoyed me. At the Pyramid, Saqqara and other sites we were often approached by officious acting people who would sternly demand to see our entry tickets so they could "check" them. Upon seeing that they were valid, their expressions would soften and they would act apologetic before launching into "guide" mode (and then of course want a "tip"). These guys are not official and there are no ticket "checks" after you enter. If someone approaches you and asks (demands) to see your ticket, ask to see THEIR ID. When they can't produce one, tell them to go away or you will report them -- that's what I always did. One of these guys actually had a police whistle that he used to enhance his official site police act. I didn't show him my ticket either and told him to have me thrown out if he had these official powers. He just kind of walked away.
The locals selling souvenirs near the Pyramids are very importunate, they try to deceive you now and then - they have all necessary skills and extensive practice, believe me!
Although overall the people of Egypt are wonderful, warm hearted people, there are definitely those who put the "gyp" into Egypt! You need to be on alert at all times and aware during your trip. This is not to suggest that it is unsafe in Egypt but rather hawkers and vendors will do everything they can to trick and pressure you out of your money. The following is a list of scams:
TAXI SCAMS: Cab drivers will almost always over charge tourists so be prepared to negotiate your fare before you get in the cab. If you are taking a cab to the Pyramids they will try and drop you off by the stables near the pyramids where hawkers will pressure into a horse or camel ride. Tell the driver you want to be dropped off at the entrance.
PYRAMID SCAMS: No I don't mean a pyramid scam like Amway but rather scams at the Pyramids. After you buy your ticket and enter the site, hawkers will come up to you and either ask for your ticket or try and take it out of your hand. Do not give them your ticket...they do not work there...they are simply trying to trick you into paying them for a "official" tour. Hawkers will also come up to you and welcome you to Egypt and then try and give you a "gift". Do not accept the "gift" under any circumstance. If you have to, put your hands in your pockets, because they will literally force the item into your hands. If you accept the "gift" they will then hit you up for a big tip and believe me when I say they are persistent. Save yourself the trouble and simply keep on walking. Often times the security guards at the Pyramids will motion for you to follow them and they will take you to a place with a nice view and offer to take your picture. Then of course they ask you for a big tip. If you say no (as I did several times) they get really mad. The viewpoints were okay but I would have found them on my own. So be advised the security guards are harder to say no to then the hawkers...the guards after all have guns.
EGYPTIAN MUSEUM SCAMS: If you are walking to the Museum there is a very good chance you will get stopped by someone telling you that the museum is closed for a "special event" for an hour. They will then invite you into their shop to have tea and or say hello to their wife. They will then proceed to pressure you into buying their worthless souvenirs for the next hour. So accept the invitation at your own risk. As far fetched as this scam seems it happened to me (I said no) and three other people I talked with (they didn't say no and ended up buying crap they didn't want) so don't be surprised if you get the pitch.
I personally didn't get picked, but I saw at least 2 instances where locals were following / scouting subjects and then attempted to pick their pockets. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially in the market areas!
If you're not going there with travel agents (i.e. on your own), chances are that you'll be approached by people who want to offer camel ride to move around in the area of pyramids. They're so persistent. Fortunately, we were warned by friends about this, that they were agreed a price but after a distance, were asked for additional money. You can just ignore them if not interested.
In our case, we actually took a cab from the hotel to the pyramids. Some two kilometers before, a man stopped the car and joined us. We thought the taxi driver simply allowed a ride for the local. They had a chat and suddenly we were brought to the camel agent's place quite close to the entrance - it was kind of the HQ for the camels. They tried to persuade us, but we just refused. We had to walk some 500 m to get to the entrance area. Even to reach to that point, a man approached us on his camel with his offers.
as in any big city you need to be careful. i know its a bit nerdy, but i have a money belt in which i keep passport and money under my clothes, and a small amount in my pocket. It makes for greater peace of mind. Be especially careful in crowded areas, especially if your attention is diverted to an attraction or incident. Some pickpockets work in groups to distract tourists whilst another pickpockets you when you're busy looking !
At one of the main tourists sites, a really big one, I had to pay 70 pounds for the two tickets. I asked for two tickets and gave a 100 pounds note. I have these in a special section. With a flick of the hand, the 100 pounds note was changed into one of 50 pounds, that was placed on the teller as if I had given 50. I was amazed at the speed. The cashier gave me the tickets, said '70 pounds please' and waited for me to add 20 pounds. I said nothing, still wondering about the amazing speed the biljets were interchanged and looked the guy in the eye. Without blinking he asked me 'do you want your change?' 'Yes please' and I got my 30 pounds. But be aware!
Cairo is a bigger city than most so you must be very cautious in crowded places such as Khalili Souq or on the main subway as this is an excellent way for thiefs and young folks to snag some valuables off you, be especially careful in the souq and on the subway from 5pm to 7pm as rush hour poses problems due to a crushing amount of people.
You visit Cairo and inevitably see the mighty Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx. But somehow you'll be led to the perfume shop nearby. It seems to be a bargain (something like half the price of the original French version) but somehow when you are back home the smell of your perfume is gone. Must have been left behind with the genie. If you must still buy suggest you just get the bottle and fill in your favourite perfume yourself. Pictured here is the man making a perfume bottle at the factory. But the beauty of the pyramid lingers on - a truly ancient monument wonder!
passed a week in cairo had no pbs what so ever from people or taxis or whatsoever , just beware of the tour company you chose , the only crooks i encountered are the company i hired to guide me trhu cairo , it is "guide tours " in maadi , stay away of it . real unprofessional and crooks
Tourists are an easy target for hawkers. Hawkers seem to speak all languages and want to become your best friend. 'No hassle' is their favourite phrase, but I don't think they know exactly what it means...
Just ignoring them doesn't work, they're die-hards! Try to get rid of them by telling them firmly that their hassle is not appreciated.
There are some shops around Cairo that will over charge you for your product that you want to buy so remember to hagel with them and you could get for half the price. Below is 20 in Egyptian money.
Pyramids Guides - I would not suggest using their services. Most of them can hardly speak English at all, they will not be able to tell you more than a good guidebook could and will charge quite a sume for their services
probabely you'd meet with very handsome egyptian guys,those will be waiting for you at the historic&touristic sites..they'll try to approach you,''oh god u look different,i want to be yourfriend,i want to take a photo of you to show it to my family.blablabla''''..
well..,if u wrote me now i'd tell you about all the tricks ,we can be friends u know,, do you wanna see the pyramids with me?..special prices because you are my friend...do you like my smile..don't you?..hehehe..i know you do..my sunglasses is 'police' by the way..it costed me 50$ but since we are friends now ,you can only pay 60$ ,:))))
What I did find a lot more irritating in Egypt was being constantly badgered to pay small sums of money for things or services that I didn't ask for or wouldn't think of paying for. For instance: the man who leads the way to a taxi in the airport wants money. The little kid in the mosque who watches the shoes wants money. And so on. The sums are not large, and you don't ever actually have to pay if you just say no, but the cumulative effect of being treated like a cow waiting to be milked is mighty annoying.