Perhaps no other civilization sparks curiosity and controversy like Ancient Egypt does. Did aliens really help the Egyptians build their magnificent pyramids? Were pharaohs truly the descendants of gods? Does the afterlife that Egyptians meticulously prepared for really exist? The best way to find out is to take a trip to land of magic and mystery.
The Egyptian Revolution in 2011 curved the flow of tourism into the country drastically. Although Egypt is still portrayed as unstable and dangerous by the media, this isn’t the case. I had no issues while wandering through Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, and Aswan even though I traveled alone for 2 weeks. If you’re a woman, then you will be catcalled but it’s rare for this to take an aggressive nature unless you don’t respect the country’s dress code (no shorts or tank tops). Even though I was catcalled, I never felt harassed and no one ever tried touching me. But be warned that Egyptians are extremely friendly. They may bump into you on the street and convince you to visit their family’s shop and kindly force you to buy souvenirs. This actually happened to me twice within the two days of my arrival in Cairo.
If you’re lucky enough to make real Egyptian friends, try to get them to take you to a wedding. Egyptian weddings last 2 weeks! They’re really fun and either happen in formal settings like hotels or more casually in the streets (weddings on the street are particularly popular in Alexandria).
OK now for some tips on how to get lost in Egypt. Below are some tips on wandering around the different Egyptian cities. It’s pretty safe to explore (even if you’re a solo female traveler) but try to avoid alleys and stay on the main streets after 7pm.
Tourism dropped significantly after the Egyptian revolution, which weakened the economy. This means you can stretch your dollar while wandering through the country. I spent $268 during my two weeks in Egypt (including food, lodging, transportation and shopping). Egypt is very cheap and I was able to eat delicious meals even though I was on a budget. There are a few good hostels. I stayed at Meramees Hostel, which is in downtown and includes free breakfast.
1. Eat as much as possible
Food is incredibly cheap. You can get a delicious falafel sandwich for less than $1! Koshari is a must when in Cairo. It’s a dish with a bunch of different noodles smothered with tomato sauce and lentils. Very simple and very delicious. Abu Tourek is the best koshari restaurant in Cairo. Kazaz is a solid choice for cheap and tasty authentic food (the lentil soup, falafel, and roasted chicken are AMAZING).
In Alexandria you can check out:
- Delices: a pastry shop established in 1922! It has a cozy feel and their Kit Kat cake and cinnamon apple cider are a must.
- Mohammed Ahmed: this is the traditional breakfast spot. You’ll only see locals there.
- Robusta cafe: cute and cozy cafe where locals hang out. Their Ginger Apple Cider is delicious.
- Pastry El Shiekh Wafik: try the rice pudding with milk and ice cream. It’s one of the best deserts my sweet tooth has tried. This desert shop has been around for over 70 years so they know what they’re doing.
2. Explore historic Egypt
Ancient Egypt is one of the oldest civilizations and its fascinating history and culture will give you a lot to ponder about. Whether you’re a history nerd or not, you will appreciate the rich culture ingrained in the stories, songs, landmarks, and buildings you hear and see.
The capital of Egypt is massive. There’s a lot of traffic so make sure to plan your days out to avoid getting stuck in jams. Egyptians refer to Cairo as a city that never sleeps because there’s always traffic and shops and restaurants don’t close till 11pm or midnight. Below are some of my favorite places.
- Coptic neighborhood: visit the St. Germaine Church, Hanging church, Coptic Museum, and wander around the cobblestone streets. The restaurant near the entrance of the neighborhood is pretty good. There’s also a market across the street, which sells products from artisans. I bought natural rose petal soap and Egyptian cotton towels for decent prices there.
- Khan el-Khalili: this is the most famous bazaar (market) in Cairo. But be warned it is complete chaos. It’s massive and it’s always busy so be careful with your stuff.
- Gezira Island: there are a few art galleries on the northern part of the island . It’s a really cool neighborhood to walk around in as there are several bookstores and vintage cafes.
- Giza pyramids: these are as impressive as you imagine. They’re about a 40 minute drive from Cairo and you can take a Uber or Careem (the Egyptian equivalent of Uber). Taking Uber or Career is totally safe. I had no issues despite being a solo female traveler. If you use my invite codes to get $$ for your rides.
- The Sphinx: this is close to the pyramids so make sure to visit this impressive lion-human esque sculpture while you’re in Giza.
- Egyptian museum: it can be overwhelming with so many pieces but definitely worth a visit.
- Wekalet el Ghouri Arts Center: catch a show here to see an impressive dance performance on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at 7:30pm. Make sure to go an hour early to get a good seat.
This is one of the oldest cities in the world and it was my favorite city in Egypt. It’s by the coast so it’s less chaotic than Cairo and you can try some of the best Egyptian food there. There’s a train that’s about $3 – $5 for a first class ticket depending on departure times. The government website isn’t accurate so best bet is to ask your hotel or just show up at the station and buy a ticket.
- Alexandria Library: this was one of the highlights of my trip. You can do a free tour that runs every 45 minutes, which covers the fascinating history of this intellectual space. While you’re waiting for the next tour stop by the planetarium to catch a show. You can check showtimes here. I watched 2 shows and was really impressed.
- Walk down the boardwalk and catch sunset.
- Montazah palace is a beautiful palace with huge gardens. Stop by the coffee shop there and try the cinnamon coffee. It’s on the best coffees I’ve ever had. Seriously.
- Alexandria Museum: it’s a cool museum that’s well done.
- Wander around and soak up the energies of this ancient city. You can people watch at the park in front of Alexandria Station and play soccer with the kids there.
Luxor is a popular tourist city in southern Egypt. You can take a 1hour flight from Cairo and explore the historic sites it offers.
- Luxor temple: this is one of the most beautiful temples in Egypt. Luxor temple is dedicated to the rejuvenation of kingship and were kings were crowned. If you’re interested in experiencing the divine energies there then read the “Spiritual” section on the bottom of this post otherwise just go click pictures and admire 🙂 The hieroglyphics at this temple were some of my favorites.
- Karnak temple: one of the most famous temples. If you’re there during high season then best bet is to get up early to avoid the crowds and the heat (temperatures reach 100F in July!)
From Luxor you can take a relaxing cruise to Aswan and see epic sunsets along the journey.
I was only there for a day, but wish I had more time since Aswan was very relaxing . You can find cool street art if you walk along the boardwalk where the cruise ships park.
- The Temple of Philae (for the Goddess Isis) was one of my favorite temples because you take a boat and see the beautiful bay. The temple has great views of the water and an overall great vibe.
3. Be respectful
Egypt is a progressive Muslim country but there are still some guidelines to abide by. Avoid wearing shorts regardless of gender. Though it’s fine wearing shorts and dresses in touristy places in Egypt, it’s best to avoid wearing them to avoid stares and catcalling. It’s also important to respect their culture and most Egyptians aren’t fond of seeing people’s legs.
Egypt is regarded as a divine sacred land throughout history. Many people today continue to make a pilgrimage to the land of mystery and magic to experience it’s unique energies and gifts.
You can experience these gifts either with a formal tour group or by yourself as long as you have good intentions. It’s important to know what your purpose is for trying to connect with the land, gods and energies there. Figure out whether you want to have: clarity, healing or energy etc.
When entering any sacred space it’s important to state your gratitude for the opportunity to be there to receive the blessings. Before entering, ask the gods and guards of the space for permission to enter. Everything that you do must be done with genuine intention from the heart. This will ensure that you respect the space and that you receive the blessings for your highest good. Ask the god(dess)s of that space to prepare you at all levels possible to receive all divine blessings and grace that lies there.
If you walk to the end of the Luxor Temple (known as the chamber) you can sit or stand still there for a few minutes and soak up the energies of this magical space. See if you feel anything, but don’t use your mind. Simply listen to your body. Many people also touch some of the stones there so wander around and see if any place within the temple calls you.
You can do this at all of the sacred sites that you visit in Egypt. The Pyramids are a great place to manifest. Manifesting means asking the Universe (Source, Spirit, God, etc.) for anything that you want. It’s a similar principle that the Law of Attraction implements. Don’t worry about how it will happen. Just send the request out and trust that the Universe will hear it.
I was raised Catholic and started exploring other religions in 2011 when I first learned about meditation. My awakening happened in 2012, when the Earth entered a period of massive shifts and we entered into the Age of Aquarius (I’ll be writing another post about this). I was listening to a chakra guided meditation on Youtube and I saw the color green when focusing on balancing my heart chakra. This triggered my awakening. I was always searching for logical explanations for spirituality and religion, but this experience was anything but logical. It opened my eyes to the magic within us and the magic of the Universe.
It wasn’t until I developed a consistent, daily meditation practice. The more you meditate and work with energy, the more sensitive you will become. It’s like going to the gym, the more you workout, the bigger your muscles grow. I also started drawing sacred geometry and working with crystals, which helped me hone in on my intuition.
Showing my quartz crystal around Egypt.
I had a very beautiful and powerful experience at the Temple of Isis (Temple of Philae). Isis was known for performing healing rituals. Isis is one of the most famous Egyptian Goddesses. She was the wife of the divine king Osiris and when Osiris was killed by his evil brother, Set, she helped to resurrect him. Set chopped up the body of Osiris and scattered all the pieces throughout Egypt. Isis went out to collect all of the pieces, resurrected Osiris, and they had a child, Horus. This is why she is considered the divine mother of the pharaoh.
I started smelling scents in my meditations a few weeks prior to my trip to Egypt. At the Temple of Isis there is a room dedicated to rituals. I saw a hieroglyphic that called me and touched it. I felt energy move in from my palm up to my arm and through my body. Later, I was told that essential oils and perfumes were used for healing practices. The synchronicity was so crazy and beautiful. This experience was only possible because I’ve been practicing to connect with my heart and shut my monkey mind off. There’s so much magic and many blessings in Egypt, which you can explore and benefit from regardless of your religion, spiritual knowledge, age, gender, race, ethnicity, etc. The most important thing is that you come with an open heart and trust.
Remember that everyone’s journey is different. Although you may not get visions or sensations, when visiting sacred sites, trust that the energies there are transforming you. As you become more sensitive through a consistent meditation practice, you will start feeling and recognizing the energy work.
Hope you enjoy your time exploring this magical land and meeting the beautiful people of Egypt!