Cairo itself is as busy, noisy, memorable and exciting as New York City. The pyramids that most tourists go to see are in the city of Giza, about thirty minutes away by taxi. The traffic is much, much worse, but I didn’t care because I was in Egypt, the land of the pharaohs! If you can get past the chaotic taxi driving, there’s much to experience that will have a lasting effect on the way you see ancient Egypt and the world as a whole.
The pyramids, culture and museum were well worth every penny. Actually, the museum deserves a day all to itself to really see everything and to take your time with the intricate displays. Some of the basalt statues tower two and three stories inside the museum. No pictures could be taken but just the feeling you get from being around them is incredible.
The prices for all activities, including food, taxis and souvenirs were reasonable. We stayed in Heliopolis, about twenty minutes from shopping and the heart of Cairo. Scarabs are the rage in Cairo! Everyone wears a scarab ring or buys basalt scarab statues before leaving. There’s an assortment in styles, stones and sizes to fit everyone. Basalt statues of the Obilisk, Sphinx and pyramids are abundant and beautiful. Ancient Egyptian writing is a popular adornment of many souvenirs as it is on purses, papyrus paper and carved stones and statues.
Once you arrive at the pyramids, I advise women to stay in groups of at least two, preferably three. The Sphinx has chambers that are not on the regular tour and always seems to have a number of Egyptian men hanging around the chamber doors promoting “private tours”. Be careful and use reputable guides and tours to avoid disappointment. Your hotel can usually guide you in the right direction. The pyramids themselves, what can I say except awesome, awesome, awesome! The vibe from the pyramids themselves and the amount of tourists visiting from around the world make it a great place just to hangout and have a drink.
I was actually able to stand on a pyramid stone and take a picture. There are abundant picture opportunities at the pyramids. Camera buffs will love the nighttime colored light show over the pyramids. It costs only a few bucks so I suggest it be a priority on your to-do-list. There is a nice covered venue for the show and seats for everyone.
I loved the experience of visiting the pyramids so much, that in three weeks I went three times. I should have gone back to the museum again, it was absolutely fascinating. Visiting the pyramids at Giza is a life changing experience and a MUST for any well-traveled person who loves a new experience.