days, Mar - Apr 2010
Kind of travel:
me and my girlfriend Elisa in an independent travel
27th Mar- 3rd Apr 2010
I need a visa?
flying in you get the visa at the airport for 15$. However,
overlanding if you enter from Taba (Israeli border), you get
a visa valid only for the Sinai region (ie not for Cairo), unless
you don't apply for it beforehand (ie in Eilat)
domestic flights are amazingly cheap (Sharm-Cairo: 50€),
then buses getting in most of the places and taxis in the towns
April is a hot month since there's the hot wind blowing, but
still it was very bearable. On the opposite, when snorkeling,
I was felling chilly in the water
in Sharm one night on the beach, on an overnight bus and then
in one of the nice guesthouses of Dahab
Snorkeling in the reef is breathtaking
the outnumbering touts didn't help me to enjoy the Egyptian
hospitality (on the promenade in Dahab there's one restaurant-
tout every 30m) and, even if it may seem obvious, I found the
country more arid then I expected.
Egypt isn't expensive itself, but at the end, considering all
the extras (Giza tickets, renting snorkeling equip, excursions,...),
we left in the country 55 €/day: luckily for few days
we poked around in Cairo also in the night without any problem,
but it's well known the country abounds of touts, sellers, ....
they can be very boring
you do need:
if you want to enter the country with an ID (and not a passport),
you'll need two photos
THE TRAVEL IN EYGPT
Landed in Sharm in the heat of the night we got
on a taxi looking for an accommodation to lay down for the 5
hours before our next flight to the final destination: Cairo.
He dropped us off in the darkness where two guys showed us a
small wooden bungalow, but they didn't want to negotiate the
full night price. So we settled down on the 'massage benches'
of the resorts few meters from the water. At the dawn the guys
came to kick us away to avoid the customer to see gypsies in
the resort, and we get back to the airport.
Cairo, one of the biggest city in the world, is a chaotic place,
but expecting it, we weren't that surprised. Our aim was nothing
but the famous Giza Pyramids: the site is in the Giza quarter,
easily reachable in a 45 min trip by minibus from the centre.
Although the site is a shitty place with any kind of hassler
(corrupted policemen, touts, sellers, camel riders,...), the
feeling walking around, is quite impressive and makes the trip
worth anyway. If you don't want to enter the Cheope Pyramid
(the big one, for which you have to queue far in advance), but
you get satisfied with only in the small one (that is free and
queue-less), consider 3 hours as enough for the whole visit.
In the same evening at 10.30 pm, we took a comfortable night
bus to the Israeli border town of Taba, where we pulled in at
6.00 am. The purpose was to reach Jordan, crossing the 10km
wide Israeli tongue stretched to the Red Sea coast; we discarded
the option of the direct boat from Egypt (Nuweiba) to Jordan
(Aquaba) since from the traveler reports it seems to be unreliable
and more expensive, with the only advantage to keep your passport
Israeli stamp free.
On the way back from Jordan we entered Egypt again in Taba,
where at the border you'll be granted of a Sinai-restricted
visa, not allowing you to travel outside the region. It hasn't
been a problem for us, since our final destination was Sharm
that belongs to the Sinai region.
Hence in 3.5h by bus, passing an endless number of check- points,
we were in Dahab. For our 2 days leisure on the Red Sea, we
chose to stay here instead of the well known Sharm, due to its
backpacker-vibe while the former is more for package-tourists.
We settled down in one of the many nice guesthouses (double:
25€) with their restaurant along the promenade.
For two days we enjoyed having breakfast and dinner laying on
the mattresses on the sea-side, and snorkeling in the reef.
It's possible to rent the snorkeling gear everywhere for 5€
per day, enjoying the reef few meters from the guesthouses or,
by a daytrip excursion, hitting the best snorkeling place of
Dahab called 'The Blue Hole'. You won't regret it.
The same day of our flight we got to Sharm in 1.5h by bus from
where we flew back home.