Our one week in Egypt

One week in Egypt?! Our guide can help you!

Lisa here and I will be writing this post on our one week plan in Egypt!
Egypt was our first stop on our escape round the world (see what I did there? 😏) trip and we only had one week here. We actually tried to cram in alot of things during this week whilst also trying to keep it low budget so here's what we did in Egypt!

Day one: Half day in Cairo

We arrived in Cairo midday on Nov 30th and it was really hot the weather! Since we didn't have the whole day here we decided to just go to the Egyptian Museum (after we checked into our hostel of course). We headed straight to the museum from our hostel and to take in what Egypt has to offer...mummies and ancient history!

One ticket was 200EGP to enter the museum.

When you enter the grounds of the museum you are literally swarmed by people who say they are guides and offer a discounted price for 1 hour to take you around. 

We obviously did not take a guide but I did regret it as there was not much information inside the museum about the artefacts...but who knows if those guides are real guides too...

NOTE: The Egyptian museum will be closing for the new museum that will be opening end of this year! We sadly missed it but I heard it will be better than the old one!

*WARNING* Unfortunately because you are a tourist you will be flagged down by people who are either locals or people from out of town (like Aswan) trying to "help" you. For example while Sang and I were on our way to the museum, a local walked next to us while we were crossing and started small talk with us. He then advised us that the museum was closed for prayer now and that that we should go to this shop that sold authentic papyruses and other items (because we told him we were planning to go to Khan El-Khalili). I already knew it was a red flag when he just randomly spoke to us but I wanted to see what he wanted us to do. We politely declined and went to the museum anyway knowing that it was still open to the public.

If you're a student I reccomend you bring your student card for a discount!

So this place is really big (there are two levels here) but we managed to finish the museum in 2.5-3hrs! You can also view the original mask of King Tutankhamun. No photos are allowed in there and if you're planning to do a sneaky shot of it be careful as there are un-uniformed security guards patrolling the area.

This was King Tuts viewing room of his mask and his sarcophagus

Other masks on display at the museum
We then headed off to try some Kushari (click here to see what we ate in Egypt) and then to our escape room called Placebo (a blogpost to be posted soon!).
After the escape room we caught an uber to downtown Cairo to go to our home for the next 3 nights.

Downtown Cairo at night
Day Two: The Great Pyramids of Giza

For this day it was a relaxing day at Giza! Sang wrote a thorough post on what we did right here! We bought additional tickets to go into the pyramids and spent 4hrs here walking to all the sites.

Note: I wanted to write that Uber is used in Egypt and we always used an uber throughout our trip here (except Luxor as they did not have it yet). We wanted our transportation to be hassle free! If we went with a taxi driver we would have to negotiate the price everytime which could get tiresome.

After this day we were so tired (and it was unbelievably hot) we went to El Gomhoureya for Kofta and Pigeon stuffed with rice and then called it a night.

Day Three: Exploring Cairo City

Today was a big day for us! We were going to see the Citadel, Mosque of Muhammad Ali, Al-Azhar Park and the grand markets of Khan el-Khalili but first coffee!

Sang was in dire need of a good cup of coffee so he researched a place the night before so off we called our uber to our next destination... Brown Nose specialty coffee!

Sang will also write a more thorough post about this but when we arrived it was like we never left Australia. The place was set up like something you would have seen in Newtown! Thomas was lovely and even made us his pourover coffee. One of the owners Omar kindly greeted us and gave us more coffee to quench our coffee thirst. Note* We thought this place was a cafe but it was just a roastery however, Omar and Thomas kindly treated us to coffee anyway!

Left in the photo is Omar and Thomas is on the right side.
After our much needed coffee we called an uber to our next destination, the Citadel and Mosque of Muhammad Ali.
The plan of this mosque was made after the famous mosque Sultan Ahmed in Turkey so this is a taster for us before we see the big one!

Tickets for mosque and citadel were 180EGP.

The view of the Citadel and Mosque from our car ride there
From the gate you have to walk to the ticket office 
Map of the area
We stayed for a good 2.5hrs exploring the grounds and also the mosque. When you walk through the entrance you keep walking until you see a path that has a barricade in front of it, just go pass it and you will see some stairs.

Keep walking and behold...you will be amazed as you then can see the whole city of Cairo here! You can also see the pyramids in the distance. It was definitely great to be up there!

Now if you go to this side it's actually the exit side of the mosque, so you will need to walk around to find the entrance to the mosque ground. No shoes allowed inside so take them off here and carry them around with you. My goodness the mosque was beautiful to look at.

Inside the mosque grounds
Inside the Mosque building
The detailing in the ceiling is amazing!
Everyone just sitting down and relaxing
After hanging around and marvelling at the mosque we walked the grounds of the citadel and decided to stop to also have a lunch snack break.

Trying out local snacks
After our snack break we then headed off and walked to our next place, Al-Azhar Park.

Outside of the Citadel, mosque can be seen in the distance
We arrived at Al-Azhar Park! We purchased our tickets for 15EGP each and then walked into the park.
So...the moment we stepped I was swarmed by children to take photos of me and this isn't the first time this has happened to me in Egypt! I'm going to get abit side tracked from Al-Azhar Park but I wanted to talk about this photo opportunity that kids have in Egypt.

I thought wearing sunnies would make me blend in but he caught me.
So as I said this swarm of children occured on my first day in Cairo at the Egyptian museum! I did not think too much of it at the time (and did check my pockets and bag to see if anything was taken from me 😅) but it kept happening to me so I had to research why this was happening! 

Swarmed at Egyptian Museum
The search results were that children are apparently happy to see tourists again in Egypt so they have to snap one as a "tourist badge". So I guess it isn't a bad thing but oh man did it happen alot to me!

Swarmed at Giza
Swarmed at the Citadel
Swarmed at Luxor
Now back to Al-Azhar Park, I got swarmed, mobbed or whatever you called it by children wanting to take a photo of me! It was already a long day and I just wasn't feeling it! (Sang just stood there and took photos of me being swarmed by kids 😒) Luckily a nice local man told the kids to leave me alone. We then started our venture into the park.

The view out to Cairo city
It was actually really refreshing to see some greenery again and to also be away from the busy roads of Cairo. I would recommend this place if you like to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city and just to sit back and relax at a park.

We then slowly made our way out to the exit to start our next trek to the Khan el-Khalili markets.

Note: So just a heads up that while we were walking to the markets from Al-azhar park, the area it was not tourist friendly and I had an incident happen to me. Just becareful where you go because some Egyptians do not like the presence of tourists.

After our stroll we finally made it to the markets! This place was busy with locals and tourists and it also opens till late at night! Want to know what we ate at the markets? Click here for more info!

There were so many alleyways with so many merchants!
We actually spent alot of time here! May be because we did get lost as this place is gigantic but this place has alot of alleyways which you can wander in to! My main goal was to find this one spot that you can take really good photos at (YOU GOTTA GRAM IT!) and we finally found it...

Google map this road if you want the same photo as below!
The lights are just so pretty.
Only this area had the lights and it was gorgeous in the evening...it was hella busy as well so we had to take our time till there was an opening for a photo.

We then headed to the exit for our booking of an escape room Hinthunt. *all escape rooms will have our own review!

We then ended the day with an uber ride back home to sleep and get ready for our day train to Luxor.

Day Four: Day Train to Luxor
For this day we just sat on a train for from 8am to 7:30pm...so that was 11½ hours of our life gone...so there wasn't much we did on the train. After the train ride we went to Sofra to eat and then checked into our hostel.

Early start at Ramses station!

Day Five: Bicycle ride to the west bank temples

Today was a big day for us so we woke up bright an early to cycle to all the sites we have chosen on the west bank. Sang has written a detailed guide on our self guided bike tour so click here!

Day Six: Walkabout on the East bank

Today we met up with a fellow backpacker Erik from Wisconsin (we met him at the Temple of Hatshepsut yesterday) to go to Karnak Temple and Luxor temple. We woke up at 8:30am, had breakfast at the hostel and made our way to the public ferry terminal which costed us 10EGP together to cross to the east bank.

Our hostel breakie!
This little kitten is called Nugget aka Nugs! A hightlight of the hostel stay for me
The public ferry terminal
We arrived at East bank and met up with Erik who was waiting for us at the terminal. Together we walked to Karnak Temple while exchanging our travel stories along the way.

The walk to Karnak was vey flat so can easily be done!
We bought our tickets to Karnak which was 160EGP each and pretty much immediately we were getting asked by people who say they are guides and will take us around the temple for 1hr for a cheap rate ~150EGP. We just told them that we are not interested but you always get some that keep trying to pitch it to us...we eventually got inside the temple and my goodness this place is HUGE.

One of the guides trying to get us to purchase his tour service for an hour.
Happy to be at Karnak Temple!

Lots and lots of pillars

Erik with our panorama view of one side of Karnak Temple

As you can see this is a big place to explore! It was really nice to see how well kept is it but the bad side of this was there were sooooo many people here so it was hard to walk around.

Ceiling shot!
When we realised the time it was already 2:30pm! So we quickly walked back to the exit and made our way to Luxor Temple. Luxor temple tickets are 160EGP per person.

Note: Luxor Museum closes at 2pm and reopens at 5pm. We originally wanted to go after Karnak but missed the opportunity so went to Luxor temple instead.

To be honest I actually enjoyed this temple more than Karnak because it was smaller, there wasnt much broken pieces around and I felt the buildings were preserved better.

Entrance to the ticket office for Luxor Temple

Pillars again!
As this was a much smaller temple we finished the day around 4:30pm and left Erik as he had a 7pm train to catch back to Cairo. (Thanks for hanging out with us Erik!)

We then had dinner at Al-Sahaby Lane and watched the sunset over Luxor temple and the Nile River. We headed home afterwards so we could pack and take another day train back to Cairo.

Day Seven: Another Day train to Cairo

I would have to say this felt like the longest train I have taken (even more than the first train!). Our train from Luxor to Cairo was leaving at 10:55am, so we just took our time to pack, played with the kittens and then checked out. We ate MacDonalds for breakfast and then headed to board our train. I don't know what happened but the train finally arrived at Cairo station at 9:50pm! We were definitely tired from that so we just checked in and slept until we checked out the next morning to catch our flight to Jordan.

Goodbye Nugs and Orange!
On the public ferry to go east bank
Our day train
Sleep is much needed
So there you have it! Our one week itinerary for Egypt. For this trip I had to cut Aswan and Abu Simbel out because of our time constraint but when I'm back in Egypt I will be definitely staying longer so I can visit there and other places in Egypt! I would only reccomend the trains if you have more time on your hands (as they take up 1 whole day) but if you only have a week like we did, I would reccomend booking a flight instead (only takes 1-2hrs flying depending on where you are going).

Egypt summarised for me in my opinion has been great! The food has been awesome and I got to mark that I have seen the ancient structures of egypt off my checklist.
I would be wary of some of the egyptians who try to scam tourists, of course it had happened to us but it wasn't something that would deter me away from travelling to Egypt again. 

Thanks for reading guys and leave a comment on your thoughts!

Happy travelling!



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