Home » Why you should ignore the headlines and visit Egypt now

Why you should ignore the headlines and visit Egypt now

written by Hannah Logan April 3, 2018
Egypt tour pyramids

“Welcome!”

I heard this greeting more than anything else during my two week trip to Egypt. It’s a small word. A simple word. Yet every time I heard it, it was spoken with warmth, sincerity, and a smile the reached the speaker’s eyes.

But, ‘welcome’ wasn’t just a word; it was a feeling. A feeling that accompanied me from the streets of Cairo to the banks of the Nile, from the markets of Luxor to the temple of Abu Simbel. In fact, I’d go so far to say that out of the 45 countries I have been to so far, Egypt tops my list for destinations that made me feel the most welcome as a traveller. Which is strange when I consider that everyone told me not to go…

Unless you live in a box, you have no doubt heard Egypt touted by the media as a no-go destination. The words ‘dangerous’, and ‘unsafe’ have shrouded this ancient country’s image for the last several years, leaving travellers uncertain and nervous. For a while, I was one of those travellers. However, when the opportunity came to travel there, I grabbed it.

Egypt trip Aswan

Aswan

I’m not going to lie; I had second thoughts, fears, and doubts that were strengthened every time somebody questioned my decision. But, I went anyway, and I’m so glad I did because it turns out that Egypt was nothing like I imagined – in the most incredible way possible. Here’s why you should follow in my footsteps, and visit Egypt now.

Warm hospitality

While seeing the Great Pyramids in real life was a dream come true, and wandering through the towering columns of Karnak temple blew my mind, it was experiences with the local people that left me with the best memories. From welcome drinks everywhere we went to friendly conversations and small gifts, we were showered with hospitality.

When wandering the souk of Luxor, a local man approached us and became our impromptu tour guide. He took us away from the tourist market to where the locals shop so I could get some good quality, affordable tea. He didn’t want money, he didn’t push me to buy from anyone, he just wanted to practice his English and tell us about his country. He even invited us to breakfast the following morning with his family – an invitation we sadly had to turn down because of our cruise, but the offer was genuine.

READ MORE: 6 DISHES EVERYONE MUST TRY IN EGYPT

The Egyptian people were truly appreciative that we had decided to take a chance and come to their country. They did everything in their power to show us their appreciation and quickly won us over with their kindness and warmth.

Egypt trip Alexandria

Exploring Alexandria

VISIT EGYPT ON ONE OF INTREPID TRAVEL’S SMALL GROUP TRIPS

Unique experiences

Being a tourist in Egypt definitely means you will attract attention, but in a good way. The Egyptians are proud of their history and culture, and will happily take the time to show you if you express an interest.

On the Nile cruise, a local woman took me under her wing at the Egyptian buffet table and took the time to patiently explain everything to me. She told me I had to try Koshari, a dish that I was a bit skeptical about until her encouragement. She directed me to the sauces and encouraged me to take a bite. It was good, and her face lit up when I told her so. Not only did a get a little lesson on Egyptian cuisine, but I also made a new friend.

Egypt trip spice market

An Egyptian spice market

READ MORE: WHAT IT’S LIKE VISITING EGYPT AS A SOLO FEMALE TRAVELLER

In a Nubian village by Aswan, I was drawn to a vendor who had brightly coloured scarves for sale. The vivid blues, reds, and greens drew me in but it was the vendor and his craftsman uncle that made me stay.

The uncle, who went by the name of Obama, had limited English but patiently took the time to show me how he created each and every scarf on his loom sitting there in the shop. He then took my brother aside, tying a scarf on top of his head as a local would wear it. The interaction encouraged us to purchase two scarves as Christmas presents for family members back home, yet the vendor was so grateful that we left with four scarves; two as gifts for each of us because we took the time to visit, support, and learn about his trade.

Egypt trip scarf maker

The scarf maker

Few crowds

There is a big advantage for the travellers who come to explore Egypt: the lack of crowds. From the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx to the Royal Tombs and Luxor Temple – and even in Abu Simbel – the crowds are significantly smaller than what I had imagined. Not only was this great for photos, but it also meant you got to see more and get a real sense of the size and detail of these magnificent structures.

Guides had the space to point out tiny details like touches of original colour in Hatshepsut’s temple and medical instruction carvings in Kom Ombo temple. I had the space to really take in the detail of the massive battle scenes on the walls of Abu Simbel’s main temple and could take the time to examine the intricate details of hieroglyphics. Without the crowds, I was truly able to appreciate just how incredible Egypt’s ancient wonders really are.

SEE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF EGYPT ON THIS 12-DAY TOUR

Egypt trip Karnak Temple in Luxor

Karnak Temple in Luxor

Opportunities to support locals

While the lack of crowds at the sights and attractions across Egypt were amazing for our experience, it’s heartbreaking when you consider it from a local perspective. Tourism was such a massive part of the country’s economy, and the abrupt loss of it post-revolution has led to a lot of hardship and suffering. I met a couple of professional Egyptologists and tour guide who worked odd jobs whenever possible to help pay the bills because they were struggling to support their families. A sad situation for a professional in a country with some of the most incredible historical sites in the world.

In a ladies’ washroom at the airport, I tipped the attendant five Egyptian pounds (about 0.30USD) and she kissed the bill in gratitude and thanked me profusely. Knowing that your tourism dollars are making a difference, that the money is helping these people and their families, really does feel good.

SUBSCRIBE TO INTREPID’S NEWSLETTER FOR TRAVEL TIPS, COMPETITIONS, GIVEAWAYS & MORE

Egypt trip Nile

On the Nile

The price is right

Egypt is not expensive right now, especially when you consider everything you’re getting. Professional and English-speaking local guides, a cruise down the Nile, transportation, accommodation, meals, and more. Think about it: where else in the world right now can you get this much value at world-renowned historical sites for this price?

I’m not saying that Egypt is perfect, but turn on the news; nowhere is. What I am saying that if you dream of going to Egypt; of standing in front of the Great Pyramids, sailing down the Nile, or walking through the Valley of the Kings, then don’t let the media stop you.

Take a chance on Egypt. Trust me when I tell you, there is no better time than now.

Ready to embark on the trip of a lifetime? Check out Intrepid’s range of small group tours in Egypt.

(Image credits from top to bottom: Hannah Logan, Intrepid Travel, Hannah Logan, Intrepid Travel, Hannah Logan x2, Intrepid Travel.)

Feeling inspired?

You might also like

21 comments

Diana May 19, 2019 - 11:02 pm

I have been wanting to travel to Egypt for a long time. Maybe a tour is the best way to visit.

Reply
Kate Lubinski October 23, 2018 - 1:06 am

wow, I will definitely use this when going back to Egypt! I recently went there for a diving trip and I absolutely loved the house reef in front of the iDive centre in Hurghada (https://dive.site/explore/site/house-reef-ovo3), so many corals and colourful fish! I only went to Luxor this time after finishing the Open Water course, but I really want to explore more of this fascinating country.

Reply
Dolphin Tour in Hurghada October 3, 2018 - 7:45 pm

Amazing post. I always wanted to visit Egypt but after reading this post my level of excitement is doubled. Now I am planning to go there this winter. Thank you for such a great post. Keep blogging….!!!

Reply
Jacqueline July 23, 2018 - 9:49 pm

I’m so glad to read your blog…such a wonderful blog very great adventurers at my childhood i visited Egypt but from my childhood to today Egypt was too different very new places, awesome moments of shoots…u have taken and must try again a second time to visit Egypt!

Reply
Toni Parks July 12, 2018 - 9:00 am

So wonderful that you didn’t let the fear mongers scare you away. A similar experience when I went to Thailand in 2014 during demonstrations. All the tourists were staying away and I had a very quiet enjoyable, uncrowded time there. Never once did I feel endangered. Of course, one must use their head and stay away from the troubled areas but there’s still so much else to see in a country you. Thank you again . Your article has put Egypt on my radar.

Reply
Terry July 7, 2018 - 12:45 am

I spent 9 days in Egypt and literally just got back home this morning and I miss every single thing about Egypt. Just to add this was my first time travelling solo so i was extremely skeptical and scared reading everything about Egypt from the media. But i still went for it anyway and i dont regret any of it. I booked private guide tours for every day I was there and i got to experience so many amazing things in Egypt. Not for a second did i ever feel unsafe while I was in Egypt (though on my first day, on the way to the hotel from the airport i did see a guy being hit by a car for crossing recklessly ). I do agree with you, ignore all the headlines and the media and just go to Egypt, it is an amazing experience and i cannot wait to come back in the future.

Reply
Sonja July 2, 2018 - 8:12 am

It had been my dream since childhood to visit Egypt and marvel at the great PYRAMIDS. My dream came true in February 2017. I along with 7of my friends spent 6 amazing nights in Cairo. We marveled at the great Pyramids of Giza, Alexandria and the Citadel and the magnificent mosques. We enjoyed a fabulous Nile dinner cruise, a felucca ride and a once in a lifetime experience taking a camel ride. Riding an ATV in the desert around the Pyramids took my breath away. Literally brought tears to my eyes, I did not want to leave! The Egyptian people are some of the most kind and welcoming people you will ever meet! Everyone was so gracious and so glad that we chose to visit their country. We had an amazing tour guide who had a thorough knowledge of Egyptian history and answered all of our many questions. I’m going back and taking more friends with me in 2019, this time we will cruise down the Nile to Luxor and Aswan…..I’m counting down the days……I cannot wait! Egypt will steal a piece of your as it did mine. Just go! You won’t regret it.

Reply
Amber S July 1, 2018 - 1:19 pm

This is the best thing I’ve read in a long time. Thank you thank you thank you! I travelled to Egypt solo in 2010 right before the revolution and the misconception that everyone feels about it is almost overwhelming. I booked a tour before I left Canada and somehow I managed to be the only person with a tour guide and a driver, it was the best experience anyone could ask for! THANK you for telling the world that it is still awesome and worth seeing!

Reply
Zoe May 31, 2018 - 6:07 am

Loved reading this post! I’m going in October this year for the first time and travel around a bit but so many people were first worried when I told them about it. Super excited!

Reply
Jai April 13, 2018 - 12:37 pm

Thank you for writing this article! I was just in Egypt during the 2017-2018 new year! It was my first solo trip and I absolutely loved it. I was incredibly nervous, I had never been on an international flight by myself, let alone land in a different country by myself – after going through that, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I’m a 20 year old woman and there was never a moment where I felt unsafe and it was incredible to see the sights with few crowds. I had dreamed about seeing the Sahara and the Nile since I was a little kid, it is a cradle of civilization and you can feel the weight of Egypt’s history everywhere you go. Whenever I told anyone where I was going they expressed concerns about the safety and would send me news articles about Egypt’s dangers – don’t let this scare you! Abu Simbel and Karnak are stunning, take a ride on a Felucca if you can, I was also able to go on a hot air balloon ride over the Valley of Kings at sunrise and I hope that I never forget it. I love the energy at bazaars and have discovered the fun in haggling. I also went snorkeling in the Red Sea at Hurghada and it was fantastic, the crew I went out with caught and cooked fresh fish for lunch and the water is such a beautiful, clear blue. My only regret is that I didn’t stay longer and I would return in a heartbeat – don’t hesitate, book your trip!!

Reply
Sharona April 13, 2018 - 2:56 am

I lived in Egypt as an expat for 15 years, it was without a doubt the best years of my life. I was there through the uprising and during my time there I was forced to evacuate 4 times. Having said that, I have been back as a tourist and plan on doing so anytime the opportunity presents itself. There is still much more to see. The Egyptian people are very friendly, proud and eager to help.
While they are suffering tremendously due to a huge decline in tourism and Foreign Aide, they continue to push on and remain positive.
There is and always has been great poverty in Egyptian yet the Egyptians are happy, welcoming, gracious, kind and entertaining people.
Egypt is full of history and beauty.
As is the case in anywhere in the world, one must exhibited common sense and vigilance.
Depending on your method of visiting Egypt (Cruise, Couple, small group), there is so much too see and experience. Here are some of my favorites:
1) A felucca ride on the Nile (Sailboat), especially at sunset.
2) A visit to Garbage City in Mokkatum Hills across from the Citadel
3)The Khan El Khanili (sp) The Khan,
4)Alexandria
5)Luxor – Valley of the Kings and Queens (try the hot air Balloon Ride, explore, explorer, explore
6) Cairo Museum (You could spend a couple of days there)
7)See the Whirling Dervish Dancers
8) Pyramids in Giza (Ride a camel)
9) Step Pyramids
10) Aswan
11)Abu Simbal

There are endless things to do and experience in this beloved Country. Even after living there for 15 years, I cannot wait to go back and see more.
It was 4 years from the time we left until my mini vacation in Nov-Dec 2017 and the merchants from the shops I frequented, greeted me with hugs and smiles, remembering me by name and asking about my family members.
They are genuinely warm people with the occasional bad apple, just like EVERYWHERE. Go enjoy, embrace the culture and the many wonders of this beautiful country.

Reply
Sabira Hoq April 12, 2018 - 10:04 pm

We were in Egypt last month (March, 2018). It was an amazing experience. We never felt bad about our security. As others mentioned people were telling us it was not a good decision to visit Egypt. We are glad that we did.

Reply
Lois April 12, 2018 - 6:27 am

I’ve been to Egypt twice, in 2011 and 2014. It truly is an amazing place, full of wonderous sights. I had no fears for my safety either time and the most relaxing thing in the world is to sit on deck with a drink and watch the scenery slowly go by.

Reply
Trish April 12, 2018 - 12:49 am

Thank you for this post. My husband and I have each had Egypt as #1 on our bucket list and I finally went for it and booked a two week trip in Sept. I have been nervous and second guessing myself and everyone I mention it to thinks we are crazy. Your article made me feel like I made the right choice and we are so excited to go!!!

Reply
Rebecca Shapiro April 12, 2018 - 1:07 am

So happy to hear that, Trish! You’ll have an incredible time. Happy travels 🙂

Reply
Barbara.Sadhana April 12, 2018 - 5:16 am

Congrats on your upcoming trip. I took a trip to Egypt-Jordan Dec 2017 with Intrepid and it was amazing. Our guide was Ahmed Helmy and he is amazing. Informative and caring. He went abovr and beyond! Group travel is the way to go. Share experiences and make new friends. I hope you have a blast!

Reply
Anonymous July 1, 2018 - 11:07 am

My husband and I visited 2014. Go for it..it was a dream come true for us and a place we were both very interested in visiting for years and years.

Reply
Anonymous April 10, 2018 - 3:09 am

Love Egypt

Reply
Rebecca Gander April 9, 2018 - 8:21 am

I went to Egypt with intrepid last year. The trip was incredible. An adventure of a life time. Not once did i feel unsafe or un welcome.

Reply
Rachelle April 8, 2018 - 10:06 am

Love the post Hannah! Did you go to Dahab at all? 🙂

Reply
Priscilla April 3, 2018 - 5:57 pm

Hi Hannah, we’ve been wanting to travel to Egypt for such a long time. As you’ve mentioned, it’s shrouded in perceptions of ‘danger’. You’ve give me some food for thought, and I’d like to know which tour of Egypt you went on?
Thank you, Priscilla

Reply

Leave a Comment