Egypt has been in my bucket list since 2011 but the Revolution and political turmoils since then pushed this transcontinental country to the bottom in my list.
Until we boarded Gulf Air to Cairo, 1 April 2015, we’re still cautious on what’s happening there although armed with security information that as long as we stay within tourist areas along the Nile it should be okay. We decided to go on and alhamdulillah everything went smooth, business as usual there, and we felt safe and secure.
Three hours flight flew us from Bahrain to Cairo. All other airlines than Egypt Air (Terminal 3) uses Terminal 1 of Cairo International Airport. We were greeted by a hotel staff we requested before ($25 for the airport pick-up service which is worth the fee), just before immigration control, then he walked us over to Immigration Check. The immigration process was quick and although there was a sign of baksheesh demand from an immigration assistant I ignored it and she didn’t have any problem with handing back our passports.
There’re two main agenda on this very first day of our Egypt trip: one was visiting the Egyptian Museum and second stop was enjoying Pyramids Sound and Light Show.
It took us around 45 minutes (22km) from the airport to the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum. Located next to famous Tahrir Square, this grand museum is said to have an extensive collection of 160,000 items ancient Egyptian antiquities spread over its two-storey building and 107 halls. No visit to Egypt is complete without a trip through its galleries.
We’re met by an Egyptologist whom we arranged from our hotel (Guardian Guest House), at the entrance to the museum. He introduced himself as Yusuf. Not long Yusuf guided us into the museum, bought us tickets and flooded us with his immense knowledge of history and almost every object we stopped to inspect. Halls after halls, artefacts after artefacts, we’re overwhelmed by 5000 years of history spanning from the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom to New Kingdom. The exhibits are honestly not given their best presentation (compared to Musee du Louvre and the like) but they are all very impressive.
You could spend days easily in the museum, but I recommend to hire a good and knowledgable guide who will give you a great insight and highlights of the exhibits within two to three hours. Our favorites are The Tutankhamun exhibit (golden shrines, iconic burial mask, jewellery etc.) and the mummy rooms (such as popular Ramses II mummy).
HOURS OF OPERATION:
Open daily, 9:00 AM-7:00 PM
9:00 AM-5:00 PM during Ramadan
Egyptian: LE 4 (LE 2, students)
Foreign: LE 60 (LE 30, students)
Royal Mummies Room:
Egyptian: LE 10 (LE 5, students)
Foreign: LE 100 (LE 50, students)
Note: Camera is to be deposited in Deposit Counter by the entrance and not allowed inside the museum. (Expect to pay baksheesh to the keeper)
Pyramid Sound and Light Show
Our hotel is located just at the border of pyramids area and few meters from one of the entrances to the Giza Pyramids. It’s not promising from the outside, but once we stepped on one of its pyramid-facing rooms, we understood the high praises it received from travellers community.
Okay, it’s no TV, pool or even garden and fancy rooms. It’s this million dollars view from the room window that justifies all of its sorts.
The hotel bordered with other hotels on its left and right (Pyramid Inn and Sphinx Guest House). The former has lower rooftop.
Later, we climbed to its roof top; we hold our breath…..this is it: our long awaited and dreamed view before our eyes. All grandeur pyramids: Pyramid of Khufu, Pyramid of Khafre and Pyramid of Menkaure lined up behind sunset lights. It was just majestic!
The Sound and Light Show (English version) starts at 7pm, at least for that day whereas the second shows (8pm or 8:30pm) offers shows in Italian/German/Spanish/French, and the third show is only by booking.
Ordering dinner to be brought to rooftop we enjoyed the show which could otherwise cost 100 EGP. The voice, narrated by Sphinx, might not be clear from this rooftop but seeing the pyramids at night showered by different colors was still an excellent sight. The show lasted around 50minutes