A felucca ride is a beautiful experience and I highly recommend doing it during your stay in Cairo. Be sure to seek out a reputable company and boat captain beforehand. I recommend booking a ride through your hotel or hostel. That way you know what price you’ll be paying ahead of time and that the company is a legitimate one. If you don’t want to book through your hotel, be sure to agree on a price before you get on the boat. Bring cash. On a warm day a felucca ride at sunset is the best.
- Khan el Khalili
The “Khalili” as it is sometimes called is an amazing sprawling marketplace with everything from grilled corn to silver and gold. This bazaar truly showcases the culture of Egypt. The best time to go is at night when the soft lights cast a golden glow on the streets. You can hear the haggling over goods in Egyptian Arabic while sipping tea or having some hookah at a café. You can see the beautiful colors of the woven tapestries and dresses. You can smell the wide range of bulk spices. Although it is certainly something to be experienced, you should know 3 things. 1) Keep your money and belongings close to your body (we never had an issue but locals can spot a tourist easily) 2) Know what you’re willing to pay for an item and be ready to haggle the price down. 3) Don’t stray too far from the main area especially if you’re alone.
The oldest coffee shop in Cairo (over two centuries old). It is an open air café in the Khan el Khalili. I must say that most people stumble upon this place by sheer dumb luck while getting lost in the maze that is the bazaar. But, boy is it worth it. A beautiful epicenter of laughter, tin lanterns and tea. Definitely try some mint tea and apricot hookah while you’re there for the “complete experience”.
- Camel ride
Obviously if you’re going to Cairo you will be seeing the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. Surprisingly the two are not right next to each other. Most people drive or go on their tour bus from the Pyramids to the Sphinx. However, I recommend that instead you take a camel ride from the Pyramids to the Sphinx. Here’s why: 1) you can ride a camel anywhere but can you do it with the Pyramids of Giza in the background? Probably not. 2) It’s not very expensive. It was about 15 US dollars per person. 3) You will get the best photos OF YOUR LIFE. I’m serious. You always get someone to guide you down to the Sphinx (in our case it was a ten-year-old boy). He took the best photo of me that I’ve ever seen. There are few places where you can get multiple pyramids in one shot and this particular camel ride allows you to do that. If you’re a photo obsessed traveler like me, this is a MUST.
- Cairo Tower
Labelled as one of the tallest buildings in North Africa, Cairo Tower is one of the best places to get a view of the city. I highly recommend to go up just before sunset and get some photos. While waiting for the sun to go down head inside to the restaurant for a snack. Try the strawberry milkshake (seriously I don’t know what it is but Egypt has the BEST dairy). Take in the view from a window seat. As night falls, head back outside to experience a completely different view of Cairo. The hustle and bustle of Cairo continues through the night so this is the perfect spot to see the vibrant colorful lights and hear the chaotic brilliance of the city.