D had a few days off over National Day and we were quite excited about our first one in the UAE, until a friend mentioned that she was going to book flights to Cairo for the weekend and asked if we would like to join. Cairo is not somewhere that either of us had on our bucket list (surprisingly) but when the opportunity came up we decided why not.
We booked our flights on Etihad.com which were quite reasonably priced and then started looking at hotel options. Because we had never really thought about visiting Cairo before we had to do some investigation on things to see and do. The Giza Pyramids were first on the list of course and we found a really nice hotel overlooking them! We booked Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel on bookings.com for three nights and it did not disappoint!
Day 1: We organised (well more my friend than we!) transportation and a guide to show us around for the 3 days. None of us normally travel this way, usually opting to explore for ourselves, but we were told that it is safer to travel in Egypt this way and as we only had three days we decided it would be quicker to have someone take us to the attractions rather than wasting time trying to find them ourselves. The company we went with were called Egypt Tailor Made Tours and our tour guide was called Meeto. Our flight arrived from Abu Dhabi at 10.55am and we managed to struggle our way through immigration and meet Meeto about 12.30pm. The queues in the airport were pretty awful and one of the guys travelling with us got held back as he didn’t look like his passport photograph so beware of this if you go…..you will be held back until everyone else has gone through!!
When you first arrive at the airport you will need to queue for an entrance visa which costs $25 USD and then you need to join the queue for immigration. In hindsight we were offered airport assist by Egypt Tailor Made Tours and said no as we are all well travelled and thought we could navigate the airport ourselves…which of course we could but airport assist would have saved us time.
Anyway we got out of the airport and Meeto was waiting patiently for us to take us to our driver. He gave us water which was badly needed and they suggested we go straight to the pyramids and check into the hotel later. It took about an hour to get from the airport to the pyramids and the traffic was insane! Drivers in the UAE are bad and I thought they were the worst I’d ever seen until we arrived in Cairo!
When we got to the Pyramids there were quite strict security controls, we had to take our cases out of the car and go through airport type scanners, once we got through these we were free to sightsee. We couldn’t believe that you actually get to touch and walk on the pyramids! We spent some time here taking photos and listening to Meeto and then we left in the car to go to the viewing point and view the pyramids from there.
Next up came my favourite part of the trip! A camel ride from the viewing point down to the Sphinx. This was so surreal and so much fun, an absolute must if you ever find yourself in Cairo. The weather was windy and cold (compared to UAE) and the visibility wasn’t great but we had so much fun.
Its pretty hard to balance on a camel in the desert with a selfie stick and take photos but I tried my best and got some really fun shots!
The camel ride down to the Sphinx took about 20mins.
After the Sphinx we got back in the car and headed towards our hotel. Meeto bought us some falafel in Lebanese bread to eat on the way and these were amazing, wish I had eaten more! When we arrived at the hotel it was very strict with security also. Our van was inspected by a sniffer dog on arrival and we had to put all our cases through scanners again like at the pyramids. Check in was friendly and quick and our room was really nice. The hotel is beautiful if a little tired. You can tell that 5-10 years ago it was the place to stay in Cairo and with views over the pyramids it was absolutely perfect for us. We had just enough time to have a shower and a quick drink at the bar before we were picked up again to go on our Nile Cruise. We went on a boat called The Pharaohs which was super cheesy and touristy but so much fun! We couldn’t really see much as it was nighttime but the food was fab and we had the chance to try some Egyptian wine! There was a belly dancer, a male twirling dancer and then an Egyptian singer. The Egyptian singer was ok for the first 10-15mins and then it became unbearable as we couldn’t hear each other talk, the music was bad and it was never-ending!!! At the end of the cruise we were all tired and couldn’t wait to get off to get away from the music! It was straight home to bed after that.
Day 2: Some of our group had decided to visit Luxor for the day, I’m not a good flyer, especially on domestic flights in small planes so D and I decided to stay in Cairo. Before we left UAE we were told about a golf course that overlooks the pyramids and we were super excited once we got to the pyramids and could see it only to be told by concierge at the hotel that it had closed down :(. We looked at another golf course but it was quite far away and super expensive so we decided to have a spa day instead. I opted for the 50mins Egyptian massage with hot stones followed but a 50 minute hydrating facial and D went for a combination package of red scrub (like a Hammam) followed by a 50 minute massage and scalp and head massage. All the treatments were wonderful and I would highly recommend the spa the Le Meridien. After this we went to enjoy some time in the steam room, sauna (both ladies only) and then we went to the jacuzzi together. There was a massive jacuzzi in the middle and then two smaller ones at the side, one hot and one cold.
Feeling suitably relaxed and refreshed after our spa day we decided to stay at the hotel to have dinner and wait for our friends to return from Luxor. The pool bar and restaurant overlooks the pyramids and I find it hard to image a better view in Cairo. The food was amazing and the service was really good. The waiter could see that I was cold and plugged in a heater for me! When our friends arrived back we decided to have an early night and wake up fresh for our last day.
Day 3: We got up, went for breakfast and a quick dip in the jacuzzi and then Meeto picked us up for our last day exploring Cairo. First stop was the Egyptian Museum. This was mind blowing and according to Meeto only actually holds 10% of the total antiquities of Egypt while the remaining 90% is in storage awaiting the opening of the new museum in Cairo where it will be housed. The museum itself is old and really needs a face lift but the artefacts and antiquities are just amazing. You can pay 200EGP extra to see the Mummy exhibition in the museum which we did and it was worth it. After the museum we went for shawarma and then walked to Khan Al Khalili Bazaar. This is a bit like the souk in Marrakesh where there are hundreds of stalls and everyone is trying to get you in to take a look! We didn’t buy anything in the end as it was a little hectic but nice to see.
After this we wanted to watch the sunset over the Nile so Meeto took us to the rooftop bar at the Novotel where we got a 360 view of Cairo and an amazing view of the sunset. We smoked some shisha and ate before heading to the airport to get out flight back home to UAE.
Sorry this is so long but I tried to keep it as compact as I could! Check out my instagram for a video of Cairo and if you have any questions you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope you enjoy reading