A thousand scholars, philosophers and writers have been waxing lyrical over Egypt for the last five thousand years, little has remained unsaid and what can anyone possibly add that has not been written, sung or mythologized? From the awe inspiring, jaw dropping wonder of the Pyramids of Cairo and the archeologically rich Luxor down to the jewel coloured blue of the paradoxically named Red Sea, every type of person from the wannabe Egyptologist to the diver and snorkel wearing enthusiast can have a holiday of a life time. There are such a significant multi combinational types of holiday for you to enjoy in Egypt; The Egyptologist can enjoy seven night Nile River cruises that stop off everywhere you need to be, leaving Luxor and encompassing the Ancient Sites of the Pharaohs including, The Valley of the Kings and Queens, Island of Philae, Aswan High Dam and of course the awe inspiring Abu Simbel.
Luxor with an impressive world renown glorious history spanning almost 7000 years, is still one of the 'living Ancient Cities' of the world, and even if the river cruises down the Nile are not really your thing you'll find you can enjoy all the sites you would see with a Nile Cruise by just hopping on some felucca sailing boats and as the number and preservation of the sites in the Luxor area are unparalleled anywhere else in the world every day is discovery day. Luxor is actually split into three different areas, consisting of the City of Luxor on the East side of the Nile, the town of Karnak just north of Luxor and Thebes is on the west side of the Nile across from Luxor and if you are staying around the Nile corniche then it is easy to bump into most ancient sites by just taking a walk.
Cairo although several hundred kilometres away, is reached by air the cost of a return trip is little more that £120 return, but well worth it, it's not on every holiday that you get to see something you have been probably reading about and hearing about since you were a kid, The Pyramids of Giza have long held fascination and it has been said that way way back in the day of days, thousands of years before Greenwich in London that Giza used to be zero meridian, so if you are in the area do fork out that extra bit of money and go and see them. Yes it is dusty and loud and if you do not concentrate on the cars milling around you, you could almost be back all those thousands of years ago walking the same streets and smelling the same multi-scented mix of cooking meats to the fragrant and not quite so fragranced air of Cairo that is so distinct from others that quite frankly it should be bottled.
I remember going all misty eyed over Egypt in one of my earlier articles about Sharm, and I still stand by it and I am way beyond been mocked over my feelings on Egypt, it is magical and special and one of my regular clients and I spent a good hour on the phone once both misty eyed, trying to surmise why we both felt this way about this patch of land, because sadly not everyone feels this way about Egypt, which is alien to me and others who have a truly fevered passion for all things Egypt. So I am putting it down to lack of education on the area and the people that go there, I have had a selection of grumblings from clients once they are there mostly stemming that 'it's not like back home', which of course its not! Seriously now, Egypt was an empire thousands of years before us Brits and a little respect is in order.
Although the face of Britain has changed drastically in the last thousand years alone, the core of Egyptians and their way of life in the last five thousand years has not really changed that much, bartering is not just customary but I am convinced it is part of Egypt's DNA part of their genome and will never change, you want to shop in Egypt you'd better accept that bartering is part of the deal and it is pointless fighting against it. Egypt is also a tipping culture, has been forever, and whilst tipping is actually not a very British custom it is something that all travelers and guests need to accept without question, as it makes up to 60% of the annual wage of all the local workers, and if you consider that approximately ten Egyptian pounds equal to one British pound, even 20 pence a pop is not going to leave that much of a hole in your pocket. So remember, barter and tip the two key words for a happy holiday in Egypt!
Moving down to the biblical mention of the Red Sea (Moses, Naughty Pharaoh, and need I say more?) the incredible development of what once was a sleepy and exclusive haunt for divers; The Red Sea has been developed into three main resorts Sharm El Sheikh which has become the most popular summer and winter destination for holidaymakers around the world. Taba & Taba Heights, the original of Egypt's red sea resorts, and Hurghada, unlike Sharm El Sheikh which is a purpose built resort, Hurghada has always been a busy little town with gorgeous bays and beaches and with plenty of activities to keep you occupied throughout your stay.
Then fringing Sharm and Taba you have Dahab & Nuweiba for a complete get away from it all holiday with golden beaches and sparkling seas where dolphins frolic in the horizon, yup there is frolicking dolphins. And past the Hurghada area with all its bays and neighbouring areas that are now been sold as stand alone resorts in their own right, Marsa Alum or Marsalam as is known by some, is the young and newest addition to the Red Sea crown of resorts, this is the spot where the Red Sea starts to descend downstream and into the Indian Ocean, so you will have an increased flora and fauna under the water, we are talking 50 km of sandy beaches between Marsa Alam airport and the resort by the same name so crowded beaches are unheard off. It is the nirvana of all scuba divers with its virgin reef, but keep in mind that snorkelling can be tough due to the open sea, unless you choose a hotel located inside a bay. The area also offers a good spot for kite and windsurfers and some pleasant Bedouin camps where local wares can be purchased with the obligatory wild hand gesticulations of the time honoured traditions of bartering!