Egypt is well-known for its prehistoric civilization and possesses some of the world’s most famous monuments, including the Giza pyramids, the Great Sphinx and the ancient temples of Luxor dating back to thousands of years ago. Some visitors might just want to settle with a tour of the Pyramids of Giza, but I kid you not that this country offers so much more. If it is ancient ruins that draw your undivided attention to Egypt’s capital, then spare some time to visit the Saqqara too. If you are into gathering further insight into ancient Egypt, you can go and visit the Egyptian Antiquities Museum. Strolling around the winding streets of Islamic Cairo will undoubtedly whisk you back to the ancient world. And as dusk sets in over Cairo’s sandy terrain, witness the monuments glow in the orange light of the setting sun as you enjoy a felucca ride on the Nile and be mesmerized by the stunning view ahead of you! Listed below are 15 incredible experiences you can get traveling to Egypt. Be prepared as these aren’t the ordinary travel experiences you commonly encounter, it encompasses riding a camel on a desert, kite-surfing in the Red Sea and also go cruising on the Nile River. Let’s go!
1.Visit the Karnak Temple
Karnak Temple, situated in Luxor which is only a few kilometers away from Luxor temple has been said to be one of the most amazing and largest temples of its kind in the world. The temple is so huge that you can find plenty of places to sneak off where you may not stumble on another tourist for hours. This place will give you amazing photo opportunities for your remembrance.
2.Cruising on the Nile River
I guess everyone knows the infamous Nile River, right? Thus, when visiting Egypt, do NOT miss the chance go for a cruise down the Nile. You can either do this on a traditional Felucca boat or a cruise ship. If you are seeking for a more traditional Egyptian experience, sign up for the Felucca cruise. Nevertheless, if you are looking for something that is more detailed like a full room with air conditioning and a pool, you can opt to sign up for the Nile River cruise ships.
3.Hike up to Mount Sinai
Muslim travelers can also hike up Mount Sinai, a fine-looking group of peaks, which also holds religious significance. Good for Muslim travelers who would love to get more knowledge about Islam in Egypt. According to some scholars, this is the mountain which is referred in the Qur’an in the Surah At-Tin (surah 95). Travelers can reach the top of this peak by climbing the stairs, which pass through the Great Fountain of Moses.
4. Visit the Valley of the Kings and Queens
Did you know that there are more than 60 Pharaohs buried in the Valley of the Kings and well over 100 Queens and royal children buried in the Valley of the Queens? If you don’t, now you do! When you visit the Valley of the Kings and Queens, you are only allowed to enter a total of 7 tombs between the two areas. That is quite a disappointment, especially when you travel from far just to witness this, BUT, the ones they allow you to enter are incredibly well preserved. So that is a definite plus! I have to stay that, be ready to witness stunning artwork. P/s: Photo taking is not allowed here, but hey, the experience is what matters right?
5. Explore the Egyptian Museum of Cairo
A quick WOW fact for you. The Egyptian Museum has the largest number of antiquities on display in the world! It is filled with over 100,000 ancient artifacts dating back to 3500 BC. Let me warn you that you could spend days in a maze of relics. However, you have to be a little bit more aware that it can be quite hot in this place, so a good tip for you, bring that portable small fan! It’ll do the trick.
6. Visit the Sakkara (Saqqara)
This was one of my favorite places to visit in the Cairo area. I am quite surprised by the fact that it is less visited by tourists even though it provides so many activities to do and see! In case you didn’t know, the pyramids here have been dated to be older than the Great Pyramids of Giza. Superb! My favorite part was when we had to crawl into the two of the oldest pyramids, it just makes the whole Egyptian escapade so surreal!
7. Take amazing photos at the Sphinx- Giza, Egypt
The Great Sphinx of Giza, literally meaning ‘the terrifying one’. It lies on the west bank of the Nile and is directly in front of the Khafre Pyramid. Don’t forget to snap that famous photo with the Sphinx and TADA, that’s a proof Egypt has been checked off your bucket list!
8. Explore the Great Pyramids of Giza
The classic Egyptian landmark. Visiting Egypt won’t be complete if you missed this one out. At over 4,600 years old, they are one of the only remaining 7 wonders of the ancient world. An incredible sight, especially during sunset. To get a worthwhile experience here, don’t forget to ride on a camel or horse and hike up to the top of the hill so you can view the pyramids from high up! I promise you, the views are just picturesque, especially when you can see all three pyramids aligned.
9. Go kite surfing at the Coast of Red Sea, Sharm El Sheikh, Sinai
Surfing, yes common. But Kite surfing in Egypt? Oh, this place is like a magnet for kitesurfers worldwide. Especially knowing its advantage upon the windy condition daily. The towns on the Red Sea coast are all prime kite spots – from Marsa Alam on the west side to Matarma Bay on the east. If you haven’t tried this activity yet, this is the best chance to try it out!
Muslim Travel Tip #1: The city is known for its ancient Mosques with the Al Salam Masjid being one of the main Mosque in Sharm El Sheikh. The Jummah Salaath (Friday Prayer) is conducted between 12:15 PM and 1:15 PM. The sermon is delivered in Arabic and there are prayer rooms available for women. Sharm El Sheikh has numerous Halal dining restaurants where travelers can taste delicious Lebanese, Arabic and even Syrian cuisine. Although this is quite a popular tourist destination, travelers should be aware that many cafes and restaurants in the city serve alcohol, thus, be extra cautious with your choices.
10. Go to Al-Fayoum
Visit the Al-Fayoum as it possesses plenty of gobsmacking natural beauty and a handful of excellent historic sites all within a two-hour drive from the city. Lake Qarun is the main sight for those who love wildlife as it possesses plentiful birdlife on display, including flamingos while the artist village of Tunis (where some of Egypt’s best pottery can be bought) and the nearby ruins of Medinet Madi are just the tickets for more cultured satisfaction. If you have hired a driver for the day, you could also see Fayoum’s clutch of pyramids all on a one-day trip. The Pyramid of Meidum and Pyramid of Hawara are the perfect pick of the bunch.
11. Stroll around Downtown Cairo
If you want to capture a sense of late 19th-century Cairo when the city was nicknamed the “Paris of the East”, you can wander aimlessly through the beautiful downtown. The whole area is chock-a-block stuffed with gorgeous, but crumbling Belle Époque buildings that must have looked staggeringly glamorous when they were first built. Some of the best remnants are around Midan Talaat Harb. On the western edge of Downtown, on Al-Gumhuriya Street is 19th-century Abdin Palace, once the home of Egypt’s last khedives. Today, the former private apartments of the king are open as a museum and contain a bizarre collection of pictures, tapestries, and gifts that have been given to Egypt’s presidents by visiting dignitaries. Downtown Cairo can easily be explored on foot, the best way to explore a city, my humble opinion! After a tiring day of getting to know the city, you can opt to try two highly recommended Halal Restaurant named Feteera and Chinese Muslim Restaurant Cairo.
Muslim Travel Tip #2: Local food is a must-try when traveling in the city. Genuine Egyptian cuisine is readily available across Cairo, Egypt with Halal food being served everywhere. Typical Egyptian dishes include Ful Medames consisting of mashed fava beans, Koshari – a mixture of lentils, rice, pasta, and other ingredients, Molokheyya – chopped and cooked bush okra with garlic and coriander sauce, and Fetir Meshaltet – a traditional Egyptian short crust pastry.
Muslim Travel Tip #3: Cairo has numerous mosques and locating one is never an issue. Some of the mosques in Cairo include the Al-Azhar Mosque, Al-Hakim Mosque, Al-Rifa’i Mosque, Masjid Al Sayeda Safeya, etc. There are several historic mosques all around Cairo that date to different eras and dynasties.
12. Check out Monastirli Palace in Roda Island
The lovely Roda Island is located in the south of Gezira Island. It is home to Monastirli Palace which is once the residence of an Ottoman pasha. Inside the palace gardens, right at the island’s southern tip, is Cairo’s Nilometer. It was formerly used to measure the ebb and flow of the Nile and predict the annual flood heights. How interesting right? Outside the palace, Roda Island’s streets are enjoyable to wander and you can still see some derelict mansion architecture of the early 20th century. The north end of the island holds the gorgeously ornate Manyal Palace, built in 1805-18 in the time of Mohammed Ali. Unfortunately, it has been closed for many years due to restoration work
13.Engaged in Outdoor activities in Dahab
Dahab is located approximately 85 km (53 miles) north of Sharm el-Sheikh on the Gulf of Aqaba, near the southern tip of Sinai. It was once an isolated coastal village, Dahab has been turned into a hippie hangout place in the 1980’s and became something of an “alternative resort”, mixing affordable accommodation with a laid back lifestyle. Activities such as windsurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving and camel and jeep trips make it one of the most widespread spots along the Red Sea.
14.Experience Desert in the Siwa Oasis
Located in the Libyan Desert, Siwa Oasis is one of Egypt’s secluded settlements, with 23,000 people, mostly ethnic Berbers. Located on an old date trade route, Siwa was an oasis important as a trade route this is due to the natural springs and shade-giving palm trees that gave travelers the respite from the desert. With the collapse of the Roman Empire, Siwa began its decline. In recent decades, tourism has become a vital source of income. Much attention has been given to creating hotels that use local materials and play with local styles. A place worth a visit once you set your foot in Egypt!
15.Go fishing on Lake Nasser
It might not be the most common thing to do while traveling, but never underestimate other people’s interest. So yes, if you love fishing, this might be your favorite part of the experiences in Egypt. Some fishermen travel from the other side of the world just to come fish at Lake Nasser!
Muslim Travel Fact: The rise of Islamists in Egypt had doubters consider if the Tourism industry would be hit in Egypt. But halal-friendly tourism has managed to make its way into Egypt. Egypt anticipates its halal tourists turning to family oriented activities, halal food, dry hotels, separate female recreational facilities and hotel rooms with prayer directions. During the month of Ramadan, Muslim travelers may ask for special facilities during ‘Suhoor’. Guess what? Egypt is considered one of the top destinations for halal tourism.