Travel to Egypt and you are guaranteed an experience which will both astonish and entertain you. Once of the most fascinating aspects of travel in Egypt, and there are plenty of Egypt travel tours who organize this for you, is the amazing number of places of interest relating to Egypt’s ancient civilization. There never seems to be enough time to see all the special areas of interest, and chances are you will leave wanting to return as soon as possible so you can continue exploring and learning new facts about ancient Egypt as you go.
Many archaeologists have studied the tombs, monuments, ruins and treasures found in this beautiful country, but there are still no firm conclusions about the exact dates relating to ancient Egypt. Studies of hieroglyphics have helped to provide estimated dates of around 3000 years BC, but this is still a country of mystery as far as its ancient civilisation is concerned. The Old Kingdom was when many of the monuments, such as the first Pyramids, devoted to the god like Pharaohs, were built, and these are dated at approximately 5000 years old.
Many first time visitors do not realize the enormous size of this country and will arrange a visit to Upper Egypt, for example, to see the monuments at Luxor and Aswan, thinking that they can just get on a bus or a train to take in the Pyramids at Giza, not realizing that they will have nearly 500 miles to travel to Cairo if they want to tick that one off their list aswell. So it is certainly worth doing your research before you travel and look at maps of Egypt, to see what you can realistically expect to visit within the bounds of your time and budget. There is always the next time, if you want to come back and explore another part of the country.
As well as the Pyramids, some incredible monuments were built during the period of ancient Egyptians, celebrating one of the greatest civilisations in the history of mankind, who achieved many astonishing things, including inventing the 356 day solar calendar we take for granted. For another 2000 years before Christ was born Egyptian architects and scientists continued to innovate in ways which still affect the way we run our lives today. Most westerners know something of ancient Egypt civilisation, for example the finding of the treasure filled tomb of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings in the 20th century, around 3000 years after he was actually entombed. Others have heard of Cleopatra, a wonderful example of ancient Egypt’s liberated attitude towards females in power, who committed suicide in 30 BC.
Planning before you go will ensure you get the most out of your trip to Egypt and help you see as many Egypt tourist attractions as possible. Have an itinerary and research the places you want to see so you don’t have to waste time making too many arrangements when you actually get there. Pay attention to advice given by the US State department and also the British Foreign Office on their websites; both are used to advising tourists on areas to avoid visiting, for example, and in giving information on all kinds of topics related to the safety and wellbeing of visitors experiencing Egypt travel tours.
When planning your itinerary, depending on whether you have seen much of ancient Egypt before, you might like to consider some of these sites for your initial list. Memphis was the original capital of Egypt and the ancient city is worth visiting. Clearly the Pyramids at Giza are a must, but there are also Pyramids in other areas of the country which are very special, such as Sakkara, Abu Sir and Mydoum. The Egyptian Museum in Cairo has all the information you will ever need about ancient Egypt and some astonishing exhibits. Travel to Luxor, remembering the vast distances between these places, and you can visit Luxor Temple. Most travellers have heard about the Valley of the Kings. The Colossi of Memnon will leave you reeling. These are only a fraction of the amazing places that will give you a sense of the enormity of the civilisation which was ancient Egypt.
Egypt is a welcoming place and really values its visitors, so you will be well treated while you are there. It is always courteous to respect the religious beliefs of this Islamic nation and to understand that at certain times of year, such as Ramadan, priorities will change from looking after tourists to observing certain religious practices, so visiting ancient Egyptian sites might be more difficult then, but not impossible. Since the ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011 it is true that tourism has been affected, but life has returned to normal for the vast majority of Egyptians. Consequently if you are planning to visit the sites of ancient Egypt, you will still experience the hospitality for which Egyptians are famous.
If you are traveling independently, without being part of the many Egypt travel tours that operate throughout the country, you are able to travel more freely than if you are associated with a large group of people. Observe the same common sense rules that would apply to individual travel in any country where you are a foreigner, by keeping your possessions protected and dressing appropriately for an Islamic country. If you are seeking ancient Egypt off the beaten tourist track you can go safely to the monastery of Asyut, the Temple of Abydos and visit the site of the ancient city not far from Minya, but be sure to ask permission before you take photographs of local people, out of politeness. It is still better to see ancient Egypt tourist attractions by using a travel agent, as they can advise on travel etiquette and help with all arrangements.
There are quite a few things you can do beforehand to get the best out of your trip to ancient Egypt. Learning even a little of the history will help you understand the reasons for the way the monuments are built and the locations for them. It can be very interesting to research an area of interest first and then go to see the real thing, after seeing pictures in books or on the internet. It also does your street cred a lot of good to be able to explain the history behind your photographs when you get back home!
You may like to do some reading up on the names of the gods and the Pharaohs, for instance, and the times when the different Pharaohs ruled. It is also interesting to research the amazing jewelry and costumes people wore in ancient Egypt, the foods they ate and the customs they followed, so you can make connections when you see tourist attractions in real life. In ancient Egypt people were very particular about clean clothing and their personal hygiene, and it is information like this which shows how advanced the culture was for its time.
If you can get round to learning some Arabic, such as greetings, please and thank you, your hosts and guides will appreciate it, even if they then answer you in English. Learning some of the language also contributes to your enjoyment of the visits you participate in, as you may well feel more immersed in the culture of the areas you go to. Getting to know more about the cultural beliefs of Egyptians will help to explain the history behind the ancient Egypt tourist attractions you go to.
As with any kind of foreign travel remember to tell someone your itinerary and where you will be staying, for how long and with whom. Travel agents and tour guides offer invaluable assistance and with a huge country like Egypt. They can save you lots of time and money if you plan using their services for flights and accommodation, as well as deciding which sites of ancient Egypt you want to see, and they can advise on dates of religious festivals which might hamper your travel plans or make them more expensive. Egypt travel tours can be very good value if you trust the experts to help you out.
Egypt has been the subject of much unfair media coverage, and to some extent set up by journalists determined to find a negative story. The truth is that Egypt is a country with very strong family values and is populated by a community which understands the value of tourism, and therefore welcomes foreign visitors with open arms. They want to share their culture and heritage, and this includes the beautiful sites of ancient Egypt.
There is simply no need to worry about Egypt being any more dangerous or inhospitable than anywhere else and like most populations, Egyptian people respond in kind if they are treated with respect and good manners. That includes giving decent tips to drivers and guides who have worked hard to ensure your visits to ancient Egyptian attractions are enjoyable. Most Egyptians who assist tourists in whatever way have to work hard for their money.
They have a minimal income at the best of times. Every cent they earn from foreign visitors is essential to them for feeding their families and it would be much appreciated to be rewarded appropriately for their attention to detail on your behalf, especially when taking into account that things are all so much cheaper in Egypt than in the States so your dollars will go a lot further. So when planning the financial aspects of your trip to ancient Egypt it is a good idea to take into account the tips you will give to those who help you out.
If you are planning local travel to ancient Egyptian sites, it is worthwhile getting a local travel agent or tour guide to help you, rather than relying on taxis, which may not be too reliable, or show such attention to detail as someone who knows a lot more about the history and culture of the sites you choose. There is only so much you can learn from guide books, even if they have been really well written. It is better to have the local knowledge of someone who genuinely cares about where you travel and what you learn about the ancient heritage of the area, than someone who is simply carting you about and just wants the fare.
You can get the historical background and a proper feel of the attractions you have chosen to see by choosing an agent, paid escort of guide. It is possible to book these in advance when you are at home, or in many cases sort things out when you are in Egypt, but the advice would be to plan as much ahead as you can to ensure your trip goes without a hitch.
If you decide that a taxi will do the job just as well and get you to the site of historical interest you have set your heart on, and that is your choice, then the advice is to get your hotel to book it for you. They know the local cab companies and who offers the best prices, so you can agree a fare in advance. This will limited your chances of being ripped off, which let’s face it is the job of taxi drive
rs all over the world and not just Egypt, when dealing with their favorite kind of fare, the foreign tourist.