5 Things No One Tells You About Visiting Egypt
I find Egypt extremely interesting! Although I did not include it on my travel bucket-list, I have always been intrigued about it. I think it seems to fascinate just about everybody, yet it rarely seems to make on people’s travel lists. Certainly many people want to see the pyramids at some point in their lives, but it seems as if this is typically mentioned as a sort of vague hope as opposed to a concrete desire to travel to Egypt. For those who do make the trek to this magnificent country though, there’s a lot to love. And what’s more, there are plenty of things that might just surprise you, because no one ever talks about them!
Giza image source
Also read: Top 10 Travel Experiences On My Bucket-list
The Ruins Are Spread Out
Given the fact that the three most striking pyramids in Egypt are essentially side by side, as well as that the Sphinx is more or less in the same general complex, it’s easy to have the impression that the Egyptian ruins are all in one neat little place. However, while the Giza pyramid site will get you a long way toward checking the most important ruins off your list, there are more to see spread all around Egypt. The Abu Simbel Temples, the Valley of the Kings, the Luxor Temple, and even the Museum of Antiques can all give you spectacular glimpses of Egyptian history, for example. And some would say the Karnak Temple and surrounding area are even more impressive than what you’ll see at Giza.
Also read: My Top 5 ‘Petra’ Experiences
Cairo Is A Modern City
The depictions a lot of us tend to see most of Egypt gives two impressions. One is that it’s still an ancient place, just because it has a rich history. The other is that it’s somehow gimmicky. The latter is a more pervasive impression, made through films, video games, art, and even some museums around the world that all give the impression of Egypt as a land full of gleaming treasures, relics, and palm trees. Look to some of the most popular free games in the UK’s bustling casino business and you’ll see several Egyptian themes, all working to build up this same impression. Watch any film depicting ancient Egypt, live action or animated, and you’ll see only a slightly less cartoonish version of the same. All of these interpretations come from history, and it’s true that the Egyptians focused a lot on symbols, ritual, and treasure. But modern Egypt, and modern Cairo in particular, is a modern, normal city. Don’t get that wrong, it’s still a busy, unique place with some old world elements. But suffice it to say you’ll see a luxury hotel before you run into a glittering golden statue of a god.
It’s Not Particularly Dangerous
Because of riot-related violence and government turnover earlier this decade, Egypt has a relatively new reputation as a threatening or dangerous destination. For a few years there it wasn’t advisable to travel to this country or some of its neighbours, in fact. Now, however, the danger has largely lifted, and Egypt is considered by most to be okay to visit. Now, that doesn’t mean you should throw caution away completely. Any foreign destination can be dangerous for a traveller, and a country not far removed from significant turmoil can often be considered somewhat riskier. However, while it’s still important to be careful, it’s also wrong to look at Egypt in 2018 the same way you might have in 2012.
The Food Is Excellent
Egypt doesn’t have a particular reputation for cuisine. Indeed, most travellers probably assume they’ll find traditional Middle Eastern fare, if they think about it at all. To a degree, this isn’t far off. Many of the ingredients and even preparations are similar to what you’d get at a Middle Eastern restaurant. There is also some North African influence that can be traced to Morocco. However, authentic Egyptian preparations are also somewhat unique, twisting these other cuisines into a fairly distinct hybrid of sorts. Be sure to try Kushari (a rice-based dish with lentils, hummus, tomato sauce, and sometimes pasta), Hawawshi (meat pies), and Besarah (an ancient vegetable dish) if you want an authentic taste of Egypt.
Also read: My Culinary Voyage Of Jordan
Boating & Diving Are Top Notch
Somehow, the idea of boating on the Nile rarely seems to come up, even though it’s a wonderful thing to do while in the country. Options vary from river cruises, to sailing, and even canoeing or kayaking, from the right place. If you’re interested in time out on the water however, you may want to consider some time in it as well – not in the Nile, but in the Red Sea to the east of Egypt. There are actually some outstanding dive sites in the sea, high enough in quality to qualify Egypt as a legitimate hidden gem on the world diving scene. Wrecks and wildlife alike can be seen in warm water with great visibility, and before or after your dive you can enjoy some surprisingly lovely beaches and beach town areas as well.
Also read: The Romance Of Aqaba
Is Egypt on your travel bucket-list?
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