Hello, folks, I am back with Cairo travel guide for first-time visitors 2020. In this article I am going to share with you all, what I have done? and what I have visited while I was in Cairo. First let me tell you little bit about Cairo so you can have an idea what kind of city Cairo is? Cairo is the capital of Egypt and, with a total population of over 16 million people, one of the largest cities in both Africa and the Middle east. It is also the 19th largest city in the world, and among the world’s most densely populated cities.
On the Nile River, Cairo is famous for its history, preserved in the fabulous medieval Islamic city and Coptic sites in Old Cairo. The Egyptian Museum in the centre of town is a must-see, with its countless ancient Egyptian artefacts, as is shopping at the Khan al-Khalili bazaar. No trip to Cairo would be complete, for example, without a visit to the Giza pyramids and to the nearby Saqqara Pyramid Complex, where visitors can see Egypt’s first step pyramid built by the architect Imhotep for the third dynasty Pharaoh, Djoser.
What to visit?
- Giza pyramid necropolis
- Great Sphinx
- Cairo museum
- Khan-e-Khali-li Market
- Islamic Cairo
- Cairo paper Museum
Giza pyramid necropolis
Cairo’s most popular attraction, the Pyramids of Giza, draw thousands of visitors every year. As one of the original Seven Wonders of the World, these pyramids have stood the test of time, remaining intact for roughly 4,500 years. You’ll find three primary pyramids, the best known to be the Great Pyramid – affiliated with Khufu, the Fourth Dynasty pharaoh buried there. Khafre, Khufu’s son, lies entombed in the nearby Pyramid of Khafre. The third structure, the Pyramid of Menkaure, stood as the smallest of the Pyramids of Giza and was constructed by Khafre’s successor to the throne, Menkaure.
Explore the pyramids and the adjacent Great Sphinx after purchasing a Giza Plateau ticket. However, keep in mind that only 300 tickets are sold per day, and additional fees apply for entering the pyramids if you are planning to visit in the winter or want to beat Cairo’s notorious heat. Consider arriving early in the morning when plenty of tickets are still available, and temperatures are a bit more comfortable. There is always a light show in the evening at Sphinx one can enjoy the pyramids in the light effect. I loved it. I am sure you will also enjoy. So keep it your list if can make it.
One of Cairo’s must-see attractions is the Great Sphinx, the world’s oldest monumental sculpture. The Pyramid of Giza situates it. The Great Sphinx impresses with its size – it measures 66 feet high and 234 feet long – and unique appearance. The monument depicts half part of the pharaoh and half lion. Archaeologists are not sure whom the figure is modelled after or when it was built. Two temples, one from the Old Kingdom and another from the New Kingdom, sit next to the sphinx.
The best way to see the Great Sphinx is to sign up for a bus tour. Some prearranged tours will give you special access to select areas of the site. Plus admissions fees are included in tour rates. You’ll also gain more insight about the monument than you would without a guide. If you’d rather have a quintessential Egyptian experience, pay extra to explore the area by camel.
The best way to follow up your trip to the pyramids is by visiting the Egyptian Museum. This massive facility contains more than 100,000 artefacts from ancient Egypt, including sarcophagi, jewellery and pottery. It would take almost a year to explore the museum in its entirety. To save you some time, I recommend sticking to a few notable galleries. The main attraction here is the Tutankhamun exhibit, which features treasures from King Tut’s tomb, including his golden funeral mask. And although it costs an additional 100 Egyptian pounds to enter. The Mummy Room should be high on your list of museum must-sees.
The Egyptian Museum fees are a bit steep. If you want to take photos inside, bring extra cash. Travellers with cameras are charged an additional 50 Egyptian pounds. Also, this museum does not have air conditioning, so plan to visit early in the morning.
Khan El-Khalili Market
For the best taste of Cairo’s vibrant, chaotic personality, make a beeline to Khan El-Khalili. Overflowing into the narrow streets of Islamic Cairo, this bustling market serves as the go-to place for authentic Egyptian souvenirs. Its labyrinth of alleyways houses a treasure trove of Egyptian jewellery, hookah pipes and spices.
A visit to Khan El-Khalili will undoubtedly test your bargaining skills. Prepare for vendors to bombard at you, and always assume that prices will be up. Aim to knock the starting price down by at least 30%. If you’re facing a stubborn opponent, don’t hesitate to walk away. Also, it’s easy to lose track of young children at this market, so it’s best to come without kids. And if you’re on a tight schedule or aren’t the best with directions. Consider visiting Khan El-Khalili via a bus tour. Tours start at $60.
This sprawling neighbourhood in eastern Cairo encompasses a labyrinth of twisting alleyways and a spattering of awe-inspiring architecture. The atmosphere here will take some getting used to: The streets are crowded, noisy and littered with animal droppings. But if you take the time to adjust to Islamic Cairo’s chaotic environment, you won’t regret making the trek.
You’ll find several top attractions here, including Khan El-Khalili’s bazaar and the Salah El-Din Citadel. No matter where you wander in the area, you’ll stumble upon archaeological treasures and architectural gems. To see Islamic Cairo’s sights, get out and walk or tag along on an organised bus tour.
Cairo Paper Museum
The English word Papyrus is derived via Latin, from the Greek, papuros. The Arabic word is Bardy or also Warak Bardy, meaning Papyrus paper. It is often claimed that Egyptians referred to Papyrus as pa-per-aa. Literary meaning, that which is of Pharaoh, apparently indicating that the Egyptian crown owned a monopoly on papyrus production. Though no actual ancient text using this term is known. The paper played a vital role in ancient Egypt and was one of the biggest capital of the kingdom.
Inside the paper museum, you can see a demo, how ancient Egyptian use to make paper from a tree with hand. They have a vast collection of Egyptian paintings also inside the museum. It was worthwhile to buy some. Don’t forget your bargaining skills as they do consider heavy bargaining. I promise you; you will not regret to see this place. So please include it in your Cairo travel guide 2020.
Cairo travel guide: Food
Cairo is fantastic in terms of food and history. There are some food items which you must try while you are in Cairo. They are Falafel, Fuul, Koshary, Taameya, Kofta Kebabs, Hawawshi and many more.
Cairo travel guide: How to Reach?
Cairo and Luxor are the two main airports in Egypt, with Aswan, Alexandria and Sharm el-Sheikh as close runner-ups. However, Cairo Airport boasts most of the airlines operating flights to and from India. All the major Indian cities with airports have frequent flights to Cairo. The fastest and non-stop flight to Egypt is from Mumbai. It runs three days a week– Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday.