Why It’s The Best Time To Visit Egypt

1)     The flights to Egypt are not full.  When I flew from Mumbai to Cairo my flight on May 11 was cancelled because of a drop in business, so I was ‘squeezed’ onto the flight the day before… only the flight was still only about half full.  I had a row of seats all to myself for the 6½ hour flight.

2)     The same holds true for all the big tourist attractions.  Egypt has always been a popular destination but since the political upheaval in January/February hotspots like the Pyramids are almost ghost towns.  You don’t have to queue up in long lineups.  When I visited the Great Pyramid of Cheops there were only two other people inside, compared to the usual 150 at a time, also our tour van was the only one in the massive parking lot.

3)     It’s CHEAP.  Egypt has always been a bargain but now prices have dropped even further to entice the tourists to come back.  It also means you can get upgrades and freebies, again the hotels and tours want to keep you happy so you’ll go home and tell your friends to visit.  I visited a Papyrus shop and while tourists were being offered 20 percent discounts (25% maximum) I was able to strike a deal for 60 percent off a painting by a famous Egyptian artist!

4)     There is a spirit of renewal in Egypt and hope that many say Egypt had lost over the years. As the country prepares for its’ first real democratic elections ever, people are excited by the democratic process and optimistic about their country’s future.  Most are willing to talk politics (if you ask) and usually break into big smiles when they start talking about the revolution that they never thought they would see in their lifetimes.

5)     It is safe.  Egypt actually has a very low violent crime rate despite what some have been led to believe in the west.  Violent crime is almost never directed at tourists, we’re too important to their livelihoods, 11 percent of Egypt’s GDP is based on tourism.  Yes there are terrorist attacks but where in the world are people immune to fanatical random terrorist attacks? Because Egypt is undergoing a political transformation there are growing pains, witness the occasional protest demonstration or the violent clash between Coptic Christians and Salafi Muslims that left 12 dead (but the next weekend there was a rally in Tahrir Square demonstrating solidarity among ALL Egyptian people).  The best advice not to get caught up in something like that is to simply avoid it.  It is as easy as that.  It is not widespread, it is usually in one very specific location and if you don’t go looking for trouble, chances are it won’t find you.  If you hear the sounds of a rally, chances are it may be a protest and rather than going over ‘for a look’, turn around and walk the other way.  If it’s anything significant you’ll catch it on the evening news safely from the comfort of your hotel room rather than suffering the consequences in a hospital emergency room. (Believe me, I had trouble with that one with my journalism background, I wanted to check out the rally in Tahrir Square but was persuaded to take a tour elsewhere that day.) Also the streets are teeming with people all hours of the day and night (outside the 2am-6am curfew) so you can actually go for a stroll or a late night coffee in central Cairo at 11pm and not worry about getting attacked.  Can you say that about some of the big cities in your own home country?

This is really the best time to visit Egypt, they love tourists and they understand how important they are to their future.  They will welcome you with open arms and big smiles.  But just like many other countries be prepared to hold back the touts.  There are people everywhere trying to sell you something and you have to simply ignore them outright, show any interest in what they are selling and you won’t get rid of them.  Visit one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, see the beauty of the Egyptian people, be a part of this country’s transformation into a true democracy, spend some money and buy a few souvenirs… it will be an experience you won’t ever forget.

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4 Responses to “Why It’s The Best Time To Visit Egypt”

  1. john spark
    May 27 at 2:37 am #

    Hi Darren,
    Way to go man…you are inspiring in so many ways. Last Oct I was in Eygpt and Jordan for nearly a month. What a truly amazing experience.
    I have been reluctant to advice clients to return…now however after reading your post I feel confident to change my opinion.
    Would you mind if I reprinted on my blog you post word for word?
    I also subscribed so will be keeping an eye on you…LOL
    Perhaps you would entertain being a guest writter…kind of a roving reporter for my readers. What do you think?
    Always looking for tips and hints to help people get life enhoancing value from thier holidays.
    Feel free to skype if you would like a chat “sparksie” is my call sign.
    Thanks again and keep on inspiring you really are making a difference to some peoples lives.
    Cheers
    John c Spark

    • Darren
      May 27 at 12:06 pm #

      thanks John.. it has been an amazing experience and Egypt is very safe… just stay away from the protests. i don’t like the idea of copying my post… but feel free to link to it. i don’t really have time to do any extra writing just now, i’m still travelling and trying to keep up with my blog. but stay in touch and yes I can probably do something in the near future. and thank you for your support!

  2. Christy @ Technosyncratic
    November 24 at 2:55 pm #

    I really want to visit Egypt soon, but my partner is still worried about all the political upheaval going on. Hopefully this post will help convince him!

    • Darren
      November 26 at 9:07 pm #

      Thanks for the comment Christy. Even now with more upheaval it is still focussed on certain areas… particularly Tahrir Square (and surrounding streets) and parts of Alexandria. As long as you are cautious and keep a close eye on the news and any specific warnings (and your hotel and/or hostel can answer these questions for you too. It is a spectacular country with incredible beauty and history and if you go now not only will you be able to do it much cheaper than a year ago, you also won’t have crowds to beat and you will be helping the tourist industry which is now suffering its second crisis. Good luck and let me know when you convince him to go!

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