Recently I was asked if I would like to experience Egypt by a Travel Talk Tour. Of course I said yes! Egypt has been one of the places on my bucket list after all. When I was younger I always used to play the Luxor-themed computer games and I loved learning about the pyramids, so there was no way I was going to say no! The country’s history fascinates me incredibly, and it’s funny because usually history bores the heck out of me but not Egyptian history.
Our 9-day tour starts in Cairo then proceeds by travelling to Luxor, and lastly to Aswan before departing back to Cairo. This itinerary had nearly everything I wanted to see in Egypt: the Giza pyramids, a hot air balloon ride over Luxor, the Valley of the Kings, a ride on the Nile, and much more.
As you know I love travelling solo and in fact most of the time I travel alone, but I do really love tours too. Personally, I think Egypt is safe to travel around alone if you really want to and are confident enough. But, the reason I really wanted to do a tour through Egypt is because of the guide. I feel like there is so much to learn, especially in Egypt, so having a guide travelling with you was important to me. This way I could ask questions, which helped me gain a lot more knowledge and hear fascinating stories that I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy unless there was a guide to assist me.
Speaking of the guide, we had an incredible guy Sameh, nickname Sam. I think he deserves a special mention because honestly, he made the trip as fun as it was. He is incredibly knowledgeable, helpful and an all-round good guy. Also, he was always open to answering questions and help us with anything that we needed help with. Spending 9 days with a bunch of strangers from around the world (especially New Zealand and Australia) requires a sense of humour and a bit of banter! Luckily for Sameh, he totally got our crude jokes and sarcasm.
Here is a little more about the tour:
Day 1 is when people from the tour start arriving. Travel Talk will pick you up from the airport with a sign so there is no need to stress that no one will be there to meet you. There is a welcome meeting at around 6pm but I missed it as my flight came in about 9pm. It’s not essential you have to be there for the meeting though.
Day 2 is when you could say the tour officially starts! It definitely started with a bang as it was the day we visited the Great Pyramids, one of the seven wonders of the world. We also visited Sakkara beforehand, which is an ancient burial ground and the first capital of Egypt. At Sakkara, we were also allowed to walk into a pyramid – it was extremely fascinating to be able to see what a Pyramid would have looked like in the interior. It was great to be able to see the ancient carving up close and personal. The great thing was that we visited early, getting the chance to enjoy the view as it should be.
Afterwards when we arrived at the Great Pyramids we had time to look around and the option to purchase a ticket to go inside the Great Pyramid. After our free time, we then hopped on the bus and headed to a fantastic view point of the pyramids to get those great Instagram shots. You also had the option to go for a camel ride across the desert in front of the pyramids.
Then we visited the famous Great Sphinx of Giza to get that all-time kissing photo before going to have lunch just down the road, which consisted of Falafel, chicken, salad, rice, hummus and pita of course! One thing I must say is I could never get bored of the Egyptian food! After lunch we then departed for Luxor, which is a long bus ride so be sure to stock up on snacks before leaving. Unfortunately, our bus broke down. After a couple of hours’ delay and many funny stories later, we were back on the road and to our hotel early in the morning. Because of the delay out Sameh kindly changed out itinerary around so we wouldn’t have to get up so early the next day.
- Sakkara = 80 Egyptian Pounds
- Giza Pyramids= 80 Egyptian Pounds
- If you would like to go inside it’s extra
On Day 3, we had a short stay at our hotel in Luxor. We then visited the famous Luxor Temple to learn more about Egypt’s fascinating ancient history. It’s so incredible that we can still walk around and be so close to ancient temples and buildings. Often at times I felt like I needed to pinch myself to remind me that this was real life! After the temple, we made our way to Aswan to a hotel that was getting ready for the president to come stay with them. How amazing is that?!
We had time to freshen up before we went on a boat ride for a Nubian Dinner (which is optional but just a cool experience that everyone opted in). The Nubians are an ethnic tribe indigenous to Egypt and Sudan. The dinner was held in one of their homes and cooked by them. By the way, the food was absolutely delicious! Sameh, our guide, talked more about the Nubians and we learnt a lot about their way of life, cultures and values. It was a great experience and on the way back, we even had a little impromptu dance party! Although it was an optional activity, if you go on this tour, I highly recommend you try this experience.
- Luxor temple = 60 Egyptian Pounds
- Nubian Dinner = 260 (Egyptian Pounds roughly)
Day 4 started with a very optional activity that I signed up for. As it was three hours’ drive away we had to get up VERY early but it was totally worth it. Abu Simbel is located less than 80km from the Sudanese border and is about 3-hour drive from Aswan. The site holds two massive rock temples cut into the mountain. It’s seriously impressive and worth the long drive!
On the way back to the hotel we stopped off at a temple called Philae Temple. It is located on an island and has a pretty interesting and gruesome story that comes along with it. After heading back to the hotel to quickly pack our things, we departed on our next form of transport for what would be the next two days, a felucca! We set sail until sunset and then had a fab dinner on the water drinking beer and chilling out.
- Trip to Abu Simbel = (1200 Egyptian Pounds roughly)
- Philae Temple = 72 Egyptian Pounds
Day 5 is all about relaxing in the sun and bonding while sailing down the Nile, the longest river in the world. We played card games, some of us had a nap, some of us read our books or caught up in our travel diary. This day was all about enjoying the scenery from the river.
Once we docked for the night, we sat by the campfire before heading to a local’s house to watch a football game. While this is not usually included in the tour, the football game could not be missed as it was Egypt playing of course! It was an experience to be invited into a local’s home and witness their passion for the sport. Back at the camp we had a compulsory dance around the fire dance session. I must say, Egyptians can dance! I don’t think I have seen a men’s hips ever move as much as the Egyptians did!
- Nothing! All meals are also included while in the Felucca. Just bring any snacks you would like.
Day 6 unfortunately meant the felucca ride was over but our bus problems were not… so we were a couple of hours late from departing. This was the day we drove North back to Luxor. It was a long bus ride but on the way we stopped at Edfu Temple, which is located on the West Bank of the Nile. I think personally driving back to Luxor was a great experience because we drove through the countryside and got to see the local way of life while waving to them out the bus window.
Once we finally arrived into Luxor we could chill for a bit before heading back to Luxor Temple to see it by night. You may think, why do I need to go see it again if I have already seen it during the day. Trust me it’s amazing! It’s like a completely different place when seeing it at night time.
- Edu Temple = 60 Egyptian Pounds
- Luxor Temple = 60 Egyptian Pounds
On Day 7 I opted for the early morning Balloon ride over Luxor. This was my first time experiencing a balloon ride. We got up early and head to the pier where we got a boat and helped ourselves to an early morning tea or coffee. Once we reached the other side a van came and picked us up and took us to the site of the balloons. We watched the sunset and waited for our balloon to inflate, then we quickly jumped into the basket. As we lifted off we got the most amazing view of the sunrise and the farm plantation below. Our driver told us a little about the region and what we were looking at. We also flew over Karnack temple too, which was great to see from a height along with the caves and tombs built into the side of the mountain. Overall it was a great experience and an optional extra I can highly recommend.
Day 7 was definitely my favourite day from the whole tour. After the balloon ride we visited the Valley of the Kings, which I was super excited to see. The tombs were incredibly colourful and I have to say it was one of the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Although you are not allowed to take photos inside the tombs I found it was actually for the best as you were forced to put the phone down and take in what is sounding you. When you purchase a ticket it gives you entry to three temples. There are only three temples open at a time to give the others a break from tourists. You can purchase an extra ticket to see the mummy and tomb of King Tutankhamun who reigned Egypt for 10 years from the age of 9. Yes, 9 years old! I purchased a ticket because I really wanted to see his mummy, which was tiny by the way. Tutankhamun was the only King found with all his possessions, which is why he is such a popular king these days because you can view all his possessions in the museum. I think the extra ticket was totally worth it!
Afterwards we visited Hatshepsut temple which was also fascinating but the Valley of the Kings definitely took the win for me! It was then time to hop on the bus again and make our way to Cairo for our last full day in this incredible country
- Optional extra Balloon ride = 1500 Egyptian pounds, roughly
- The Valley of the Kings = 104 Egyptian Pounds
- Hatshepsut Temple = 52 Egyptian Pounds
Day 8 is Cairo exploring day! First we went to the hanging church and the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As, which was the first mosque to ever been built in Egypt.
After learning more about the different religions, we then visited the famous Egyptian Museum which is just incredible. There are so many artefacts and interesting things to see that you couldn’t see everything – even in an entire day. I highly recommend purchasing the extra ticket to see the mummies of all the kings. There also all Tutankhamun’s possessions that were found in his tomb, which is so amazing to see! After the museum we had the opportunity to walk through the manic Cairo markets to purchase any last-minute souvenirs. I should warn you it’s chaos, but it’s totally worth it. Just remember to haggle! We also stopped off an Egyptian cotton shop, which was the perfect opportunity to buy some proper Egyptian sheets! You can also opt for another optional extra, which is the sound and light show that is held at the pyramids in Giza. Otherwise you head back to the hotel to eat, get some sleep and pack if you are leaving early in the morning.
- Egyptian Museum = 85 Egyptian Pounds
- Sound and light show = 300 Egyptian Pounds
Day 9 is when I head off very early in the morning so there was no chill by the pool time for me. Day 9 is when you say goodbye to your travelling friends. Honestly, it felt like I had known these people for weeks after this tour.
All in all, I had an incredible time. As you have read, we saw so much within the short time frame. It was highly educational and I learnt so much more than I would have by travelling alone. You can book your tour here or read more about their Egyptian tours here.
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This tour was sponsored by Travel Talk Tours but as always, my opinions are my own and I would never recommend something I don’t love or believe in.