The Pyramid Views
Yes, the Pryamids are really that spectacular in person. I've heard from other travelers that they seemed smaller in person or that they weren't that big a deal once they arrived in Egypt. And to that I say "HOW?!?!?!". I really do think they are one of the coolest things I have seen in my life. I mean, they are literally the only remaining wonder of the ancient world.
If you’ve read any of my other articles on Cairo I’m about to sound like a broken record. But, again I just want to point out that I really enjoyed staying at the Marriott Mena House because it was directly across from the Pyramids and Sphinx. I think it made my time in Cairo exponentially better. Cairo is known for its awful traffic so being right across the street from the structure that was my entire reason for being in Cairo was perfect. It also meant I could watch the sunrise and set every morning with them in view - with a coffee or wine in my hand. I was even able to arrange with Marriott a morning yoga class on the connecting golf course that directly overlooked the pyramids.
King Tut and Other Amazing Relics
So, let me start off by saying that King Tut is not that influential in Egyptian history. Like at all..... But, he is super well known in modern society and coming face to face with Tut's golden funerary mask — and other treasures from his tomb — was fascinating for me. The Egyptian Museum had many other objects that were equally fascinating and I could have spent double the time I actually did wandering the museum hallways.
Let me be super honest though: I visited Cairo in November 2018 and toured the older museum. It is stunning from the outside, with its towering pink facade, but on the inside, it is dusty, old, and devoid of air conditioning. That being said, a brand new huge museum - with an opening date sometime in 2020 - is currently being built and I will definitely be returning to tour it.
Call to Prayer and Being Surrounded by Culture
Standing in Islamic Cairo at sunset and enjoy the muezzins calling from hundreds of minarets in the district is an experience that is beyond words. Sorry for the cliche phrase, but it really is.
Bring Home Amazing Objects at Low Prices
There are many must-have treasures at Cairo's famous Khan al-Khalili bazaar and shopping there is a thrilling experience. You'll have to make sure your bargaining skills are up to par - it is expected here. When I went to Khan al-Khalili our guide ensured us that it wasn't rude - AT ALL - to barter with any shopkeeper. "Whatever his starting price is, offer him a third. And don't pay more than half what he initially offered" he said! While this may seem strange, and rude, again - it is not.
I went home with too many things to count and needed to buy more luggage for the flight back. My favorite two items I got in Khan al-Khalili were a gorgeous full sized living room rug - purchased for only $30 US. And twinkling lantern that was only $8 US. There are now both sitting in my living room and looking at them every day reminds me how much I loved Khan al-Khalili Market.
Read on: Not sure what to wear in Cairo? I have a full packing list for Cairo and suggestions for proper attire inside the ancient city here.
The Incredible Nightlife
Enjoy a cocktail while chilling out to cool vibes at Buddha Bar, one of Cairo's trendiest night spots in the Sofitel El Gezirah Hotel. Or start the night with a boat ride on the Nile - a truly bucket list experience.
One last thing... even though researching ahead of time is great, I definitely recommend bringing a travel guide for Egypt along with you. Here are some books I recommend...
One of the most common questions I get: What is the best camera for travel photography? I personally love my Nikon D5600. I use the kit lens and a Sigma wide-angle lens (for Nikon) which I am genuinely obsessed with.
And of course, if you have any questions DO NOT hesitate to reach out to me via Instagram, Twitter, or just shoot me an email (tessajuliette at gmail dot com).