Must See Places in Egypt
Egypt is a vast land filled with many adventures waiting to be taken in. The rich sense of history and mesmerizing sites are enough to entice the traveler in all of us. From the top of Mt. Sinia to the rolling waves of the Red Sea, the ancient tombs of Luxor and the Siwa Oasis and everything in between. Egypt has something to satisfy the tastes of every explorer.
Luxor’s West Bank
Visit the tombs of beloved and despised kings and queens on a trip to Luxor’s West Bank. Beat the heat and the crowds in the early morning. All tombs, including the Deir al Bahri (Temple of Hatshepsus), are open and waiting at 6a.m.
The Dahab of the desert, better known as Siwa, is a great place to let life’s worries melt away. Cool off in one of Siwa’s cold springs or relax in the shade of a palm grove. Don’t let the long drive or promise of relaxation fool you. The Western Desert is home to some of Egypt’s best cafes and a hopping night scene.
Take a step back in time by visiting the pyramids. For travelers weary of street vendors and camel drivers, it’s time to take a step off the beaten path. While the Pyramids of Giza are a must see, there is another side of Egypt waiting to be seen. The monuments at Saqqara and Dahshur and the Step Pyramid of Zoser, which according to archeologists is the oldest pyramid in the world, will not be a let down. The Red Pyramid, another great destination, has two outstanding attributes. It’s the inspiration for the Great Pyramid of Giza and thought to be the first true pyramid.
Attention all scuba divers! The Red Sea has is known as one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world. Everyone’s heard of Jacques Cousteau and now everyone can visit one of his finds. The underwater wreck known as Thistlegorm lies 30m below the Red Sea. Divers are lucky enough to enter through its cargo hold and see a glimpse of the past. Motorcycles, jeeps, tanks and armory from World War II litter the floor.
Mt. Sinai beckons mountain climbers and athletes from around the world. Taking in the sunrise from atop the mountain is breathtaking but you must endure a climb through the night in order to do so.
Side step the crowds and venture down the road less traveled between Cairo and Luxor to some of the less popular ancient temples. There is so much to see and do in Luxor that more than a day or two is needed to really take everything in. Amongst visits to the Valley of the Kings and the Karnak Temple, stop at the funerary Temple of Seti and the Ramesseum, the memorial temple of Ramses 2. Both see little crowds but have much to offer.
While seeing all Egypt has to offer, don’t forget to take time to stop and take in the little things. Watch the sunset over the Nile winding its way through the desert with the burial places of the Aga Khan and Egypt’s shy princes as a backdrop.
Some of Egypt’s churches, convents and monasteries are housed in Coptic sites as much as 1600 years old. Many Coptic sites dot the Egyptian Nile and tend to be busier on feast days as thousands of people flock to them to pray. Deir al Maharraq, north of Asyut, is one of busiest during feast days but like the others, calms down during the rest of the year.
Dahab, once known as one of the premier places to be for hippies, is still a prime place to visit for free spirited tourists. Dahab is a great place to be for the outdoorsy type. Spend the day Scuba-diving in the Red Sea, going on a walking tour or smoking sheesha while gazing over the open water.
Relax in a Mosque
Visiting the Al-Azhar Mosque or any of the number of medieval mosques in Egypt is a foreign treat to many travelers. Remember to remove those shoes before drinking in the tranquility they have to offer.
Pyramids of Giza
Visiting the Pyramids of Giza is a tried and true Egyptian adventure. To help fight the crowds tote along plenty of water and a camera to capture the pristine sense of wonderment you’ll be sure to feel.
One of Egypt’s intense souqs is a great place to test one’s haggling skills. To the Egyptians, buying everything from donkeys to used clothing, old sunglasses and antiques, is part of everyday life.
Jordan, a small step from Sinai, is home to well known Petra derived from rose colored rock. Indiana Jones made Treasury, the place of the Holy Grail, famous and also worth visiting. Travelers can look down on it all from the top of Petra’s mountaintop Monastery.
Get tucked in for the night in Abu Simbel. Musician FirkyKachif’s hotel, Eskaleh, is based on the Nubian culture. Then spend the day touring the Great Temple of Ramses 2. This town is steadily growing and has lots to offer.