Top 10 Things to Do in Egypt
1. Visit the Pyramids of Giza
A visit to Egypt without appreciation of the Pyramids of Giza is not complete. The Pyramids of Giza, the representative of Egyptian pyramids, consists of Khufu Pyramid, Khafra Pyramid, and Menkaura pyramid. All three pyramids were named after the kings who built them. Among them, Khufu Pyramid is the biggest and best preserved. Visitors are only allowed to climb the bottom layers for safety reasons and relics preservation. Moreover, no photos are allowed while visiting inside the pyramid.
2. Appreciate the Great Sphinx
Close to the Pyramids of Giza stands the Great Sphinx, one of the most representative relics of ancient Egyptian civilization. Just as its name implies, it is a statue of a man with the body of a lion, whose front paws lie in the desert. The whole statue is 22 meters (72 ft) high and 57 meters (62 yd) long. Except for the front paws, the rest parts of this grand statue are all carved from a natural rock. After four thousand years of natural erosion, the original crown, the long beard, and the embossment have slowly disappeared.
3. Cruise the Nile River at Night
The Nile River is the mother river of Egypt. During the cruise, tourists can not only enjoy the urban night scenes of Cairo, but also watch the wonderful belly dance or sufi dancing performance. On the Banks of the Nile, different types of boats are available, ranging in price from 10 Egyptian pounds to 200 Egyptian pounds. The Pharaoh Cruise, Maxim Dinner Cruise and Felucca Cruise are some of the best known. Most of the time, you can get a big discount if you book the Nile River night cruise at your hotel ahead of time.
4. Dive in Red Sea in Hurghada
Despite the hot and dry desert, Egypt has also been blessed with beautiful coastal scenery, like Hurghada, a beautiful city on the Red Sea coast. Even in winter, the water temperature is around 0°C (68°F), making it an excellent diving and snorkeling resort at any time. The water of the Red Sea here is very clear and its color varies according to the depth of the water. Since the Red Sea is rich in marine life, you are expected to encounter dolphin and other species of fish that you cannot see at any other places in the world.
5. Overlook Valley of the Kings in Hot-balloon
There is no more magical way to start a day than to get out before dawn and enjoy the sunrise of the Valley of the Kings in a hot air balloon, with the entire ruins of Thebes at your feet and the longing for the sky at the same time. The Valley of the Kings is located on the west bank of the Nile, 7 kilometers (4 miles) from the shore. There are 63 imperial tombs for pharaohs from the 17th to the 20th dynasties.
6. Visit Egyptian Museum
If you are curious about ancient Egyptian culture, Egyptian Museum, situated in the central Cairo, must be on your visit list. The museum displays relics from ancient Egypt to the reign of ancient Rome (5100 BC - 509 BC). Here you can see the golden mask of Tutankhamen, the treasure of the museum. You can also see the mummies of many pharaohs and royal families in the exhibition hall. What's more, the entrance to the museum showcases the highlights of ancient Egyptian art. When visiting the Egyptian Museum, visitors had better follow the travel rules, such as no touch and no photos.
7. Temple of Karnak
The Temple of Karnak, 700 kilometers (435 miles) south of Cairo on the east bank of the Nile River, is the largest temple complex in ancient Egypt. Its construction lasted from 2,000BC to 3th century BC. This majestic temple is well-known for the two rows of Criosphinx on either side of the holy road leading to the gate of the Karnak Temple. Inside the temple, there are many murals, statues and pillars, many of which are glued together from the broken pieces. Moreover, the fascinating light and music show at night in Karnak Temple is highly recommended; it tells visitors the life of the ancient Egyptians.
8. Luxor Temple
Luxor Temple, located in the city center of Luxor, once was served as a small holy palace to celebrate New Year. Later, it was gradually expanded and known as the Southern Palace of Amun, where the god Amun Ra, the goddess Muth and the God Kongsu are worshiped. Here you can see the largest collection of Sphinx statues. Moreover, Obelisks (See also Unfinished Obelisk in Aswan) and colonnades with delicate carving patterns can also be seen here. Every May to June, grand sacrificial ceremony is held here. When night falls, the Luxor Temple under the light effects brings a different sense of mystery to visitors.
9. Hike Mount Sinai
With the elevation of 2,285 meters (7,497 ft), Mount Sinai, aka Mount Mosse, is located in the central part of Sinai Island. It is the holy mountain of Christianity, and its believers reverently call it "The Holy Peak". The pilgrimage to Mount Sinai has its unique form that began in the 6th century: firstly start from Dahab in dawn, then hike 1.5-hour to St. Catherine Monastery, which is at the foot of Mount Sinai, next climb the Mount Sinai through 3,750 steps in total. Upon arrival at the peak, worship the holy temple and watch the sunrise.
10. Stroll in Khan EI-Khalili Market
If you would like to experience a prosperous Cairo, Khan EI-Khalili Market, been in business since the 14th century, should not be missed. It is also the most-visited outdoor market in Egypt. This market is a must-see for a vintage Arab experience, and almost all of the souvenirs can be found here as well. After experiencing the passion of the traders in the Arab style market and the noise of bargaining, the smell of various spices and a wide range of gadgets, you will definitely linger. From the entrance to the interior of the market, on either side of the road are historic Arab buildings. Even if you don't buy anything, it's a great place to experience the locals' daily lives and take photos.
Top Egyptian Cuisines to Taste
1. Kofta: minced beef and mutton, seasoned with spices, then skewered and roasted
2. Hamam Mahshi: first fill the pigeon's body with rice and spices, add some chopped liver, and then roast it over charcoal
3. Koshari: the main ingredients include rice, macaroni, onion and tomato sauce; cook the ingredients separately and mix them together before you eat
4. Umm ali: a local dessert, like western pudding
5. Ta'amiya: pound the beans into paste, then add the spices and fry them until they turn into brown-yellow
6. Mouloukhiya: vegetable leaves from the mallow plant, which abounds on both sides of the Nile, cooked with lamb, chicken, butter and garlic