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Friday, April 15, 2011

Cairo

The Pyramids Photo - Cairo, Egypt
Quote:
The first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions Cairo is the Pyramids of Giza. These are of course Cairo's major attraction, and duly so, as they are truly amazing monuments. Any trip to Cairo must include a visit to the Pyramids. However Cairo has much more to offer. There are the lesser known pyramids at Sakkara, Islamic Cairo, the Citadel, Coptic Cairo, as well as numerous other neighborhoods worth visiting, places where you can experience a truer Cairo than the one most tourists see. As this journal is being written by a student and a resident of Cairo, it will provide not only suggestions on the main attractions, but suggestions on how to experience the Cario of the Cairenes.

Quick Tips:

Almost all of the major hotels are located in downtown. This is a good place to stay as it is centrally located and allows easy access to most of Cairo. Try not to stay in Heliopolis or Giza, as you will be far away from many sights and will spend a good amount on taxis. The island of Gezira also has some good hotels, most notably the Marriott, a platial hotel, which actually has some surprisingly cheap rooms. Also, do not come in August, the heat is unbearable, best times to come are mid-fall and spring. Also be warned that if you come in December/January it does get a little chilly, especially at night. Days will be mid 60s, but because it is a desert, once the sun goes down it gets much cooler. Another quick word of advice, most people are aware of this, but you need to dress appropriately in Cario. Generally shorts or tank tops are not worn on men and women, and skirts should go at least mid-thigh. This will be discussed later.

Best Way To Get Around:

Taxis are the best, but also most frustrating, This will be discussed inside. Cairo has a very nice subway system that can be handy to tourists. It can get crowded during rush hours, but the front car is always women only, and much less crowded. The subway is cheap and great for getting to places like Coptic Cairo. Cairo also has a bus system, which is very cheap and goes anywhere. If you have a sense of adventure, and want to travel as budget as possible, buses are great, but beware. They get crowded, do not come to full stops, and it can be hard to find out where a bus is going. I have heard a few bad stories of foreigners on buses, especially women, but I personally have had some great experiences when travelling on buses, even with women. So I really only suggest the bus for the young, budget-minded traveler, and I suggest that women do not go alone

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