Travel to Egypt – Episode 36

categories: africa travel, middle east travel

The Amateur Traveler talks to Chuck who has recently returned from Egypt. He talks about cruising the nile, Egyptian historic sites and scuba diving in the Red Sea off Sharm el-Sheikh.

click here to download (mp3)
click here to download (iTunes enhanced)

Show Notes

Photo Gallery
Map of Egypt
Fact: The temple of Ramses & Nefertari is 3200 years old
Abercrombie & Kent

Internet Resources

Podcast & Portable Media Expo
Sounds for Sights Blog and Podcast

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

12 Responses to “Travel to Egypt – Episode 36”

Kirk Crawford


I liked your interview with Chuck. It reminded of me of our trip to Egypt back in 2003 ( We had more time, (3 weeks) so we went slower, but we saw all that he did and a bit more. (Alexandria) We took the falluca up the Nile instead of the luxury cruise. It is unfortunate that he had such problems diving in Sharm el-Sheikh. We went past Sharm el-Sheikh to Dahab which is a much smaller town. We had a much better experience with the diving.

My wife agrees on his assesment of the food in Egypt. Just a bit too much goat cheese.


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Ann Pfaff-Doss


I am sorry that Chuck had problems in Egypt. I haven?t been there since 1978. At that time I could take pictures of the outsides and insides of all the tombs and temples. There were also lots of fair-quality slides for sale.

A friend went in March of last year with his daughter and took over 1400 pictures, including many of the temples they visited. The only place they couldn?t photograph was the inside of Abu Simbel.

While I?m not surprised at the postcard scam (Egypt is a poor country), their tour guides should have warned them. Also, I was sorry to hear, but not surprised, that they had such poor meals. When I was there, we only ate in one upscale tourist hotel and it was terrible. They served what they thought was European food rather than the delicious food Egyptians eat. The stuffed artichokes, butter and fresh pita breads were to die for. In some towns you could also find fresh sugar cane.

I?m not a scuba diver, but I understand that there is quite a lot of it off the Mediterranian coast of Turkey. There are dive centers in Alanya, Bodrum, Fethiye, Kas, and Marmaris. I?ll be there next week and can let you know if you like. Chuck and his wife might want to try southern Turkey next time.




I went to Egypt in January 2003 with the egyptologist Bob Brier and had a fabulous time. I’m a very amateur egyptologist and went mainly to see the antiquities but also to experience the culture. The only really major site I missed was Abu Simbel and I heartily regret it. Will have to go back to see that.

The monuments are marvelous…the Temple of Karnak is one of the most wonderful places I’ve ever been. I could spend days in there. Going inside pyramids and into tombs was great fun (if sometimes physical taxing). At that time we were allowed to take photographs pretty much anywhere as long as we bought photo permits.

Cairo’s incredible Egyptian Museum is not to be missed. That’s another place I could have wandered about in for days on end. The place is poorly lit and many of the thousands of objects aren’t labeled but I still loved it!

I found the Egyptians to be very warm and astonishingly welcoming although one black-draped, old woman definitely gave me the evil eye when I brushed my hair in public. I tried my best to dress conservatively and be respectful of Egyptian culture but I think I blew it with the hair-brushing thing. Be advised….

Our group mostly ate in large hotels and the food was fine. The best place we ate was a little restaurant in the the tiny Pharaoh’s Hotel on the West Bank in Luxor. Great hummus!

By the way, I bought a packet or two of those postcards from a vendor at Giza and mine were fine…they definitely weren’t photocopies. So not all the vendors are scam artists.

Go to Egypt! I intend to go back as soon as possible….



hey i, loved it when i went to Egypt they are so warm and nice.
i really think the nile river is a nice place to go to.
we ate lunch on a boat from the ancient egypt and watched a hippo get cort.



I went to Egypt in September of 2008 and I had an amazing time. I went with G Adventures. I had the same problems with photography, but our guide told us that if you paid the guards that they would sometime over look your picture taking. I didn’t want to risk it though. We also took a felucca instead of a cruise ship and I would recommend that if you are wanting to get from Cairo to the south that you should take a sleeper train. We took the train to Aswan then a bus to Abu Simbel. Also, camel and donkey rides are a fun and unique experiences.



I have shown my wife the brochures where you get to sleep on the deck of a felucca as you come up the Nile. She did not get as excited as I did. πŸ™‚

Angela Brown


Hi friends
i really liked your comments and the information you are presenting about Egypt. I have been to Egypt about 5 months ago and i really enjoyed the weather and the journey in the Nile river with my friends. After turning back i became more interested in gathering pictures about the ancient Egyptian monuments. While searching i found
Photos form Egypt
i wish you all like as i did and helps you to remember the good time you enjoyed there.



I was really surprised by Chuck’s assessment of Egypt… I’ve been a few times, as recently as late 2007, and found almost the opposite of everything he mentioned.

β€’ Photography is welcomed and encouraged at most monuments, except for flash photography inside temples, and inside contemporary religious sites, like mosques.

β€’ For those who do not take their own photos, there are almost always CD-ROMs of digital photos for sale, as well as books, postcards, and other decent souvenirs.

β€’ The food is delicious, and the street food is usually better than the Westernized hotel food.

β€’ I have never, ever heard of being required to travel in police-escorted caravans. I traveled frequently in taxis, buses and cars, with and without guides. As he mentioned, police are everywhere and will go out of their way to ensure the safety of Westerners. But in terms of police escorts actually riding on buses and boats, that’s new to me. (Perhaps, it was during a special event, since world political dignitaries often meet in Sharm.)



Egyptian police both uniformed and secret police do travel very often with tourist’s. They have normal uniform police who who mostly static security and traffic that you see mostly. However, Egypt has Tourism Police that wear suits and carry H&K MP5 submachine guns under their suit coats. Then you have the secrect police that are plain clothes and you will not know who they are as they could be standing right beside you.

I have been to Egypt several times and had dealings with each of the above mentioned police officials. I have also had the occasion to walk into my 5 star hotel room and discover Egyptian secret police on my laptop computer. Of course when I questioned them regarding it they advised they were only in my room to check for a water leak??

Lorine Twidwell


Diving in Sharm el Sheikh is fantastic. I have friends how have been at Marsa Alam but havent gone there myself. Have you ?

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