1 day in Cairo. What awesome things should I do?
December 2, 2010 11:42 PM   Subscribe

What awesome things should / could I do in one day in Cairo?

I'm in Cairo for a conference and I have a full day at the end before I fly back home.

This is my first time in Egypt and I have plans to return sometime in the near future to have a better look around.

As awesome as the Egyptian Museum sounds, I was thinking I would leave it until I had more time to explore it.

Right now, I'm leaning towards just spending a day wandering around old Cairo and taking pictures.

Any and all suggestions (and stories) you might give me are appreciated.
posted by FunGus to Travel & Transportation around Cairo, Egypt (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Go to the Pyramids in the morning and wander Cairo in the afternoon.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:54 PM on December 2, 2010

The Egyptian musuem is definitely "doable" in a half day. I don't think you should miss out on Giza either. I would squeeze in Giza, the Egyptian Museum, and some old Cairo (including Fishawi's coffee shop).
posted by roofus at 11:56 PM on December 2, 2010

Roofus makes a good point--Cairo comes alive at night, and you'll get a much better flavor if you do some evening wandering.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:58 PM on December 2, 2010

See the Pyramids and the Sphinx.

There are some negative reviews out there of what a visit to the Pyramids is like as a solo traveler. The Lonely Planet guide to Egypt in front of me is more optimistic, though.

Alexandria might be cool too.
posted by mdonley at 12:10 AM on December 3, 2010

I have plans to return sometime in the near future to have a better look around.

Then you'll have time to do the serious stuff later. For now, do the "Hi, I'm a tourist!" stuff that your grandchildren will want to hear about. Not "I spent the day looking at pots in an air-conditioned museum," but "I climbed to the top of a pyramid -- that one you can see right there in the picture -- and I rode a camel around the Sphinx out under the Egyptian sun and then I went down to the Nile, took off my shoes, and cooled my toes in the river Cleopatra's barge sailed on. At night, I got lost in the old town..."
posted by pracowity at 12:15 AM on December 3, 2010

It's worth going to the Pyramids to say you've been. And the Egyptian museum has lots and lots of treasures. You can do both of these in a day and have the evening to take in a Sufi show and/or stroll around and soak up the atmosphere.

Your hotel can probably either get you a driver, or book you on an organised tour. This is easiest as you have limited time.

Do not put your feet in the Nile, or attempt to climb a pyramid. Do try and soak up the atmosphere.

Two days and I would spend the second touring Islamic and Coptic Cairo. Three and a train to Alexandria. More than that and it would be worth travelling south.
posted by plonkee at 1:15 AM on December 3, 2010

The Pyramids are interesting and unique. I would say you can skip the Museum, although it is amazing if you had more time. I liked the Khan el-Khalili (the large market) for people watching, photos and buying trinkets but it's similar enough to other bazaars. I also liked hanging out in a cafe and smoking sheesha. But I'm more of a mellow soak up the atmosphere/talk to locals/snapshots kind of traveller than trying to hit all the spots.

You can easily lose half a day drinking tea with carpet vendors so watch out for requests to "come inside and look around."
posted by acheekymonkey at 4:14 AM on December 3, 2010

You can visit the Egyptian Museum and the Pyramids in one day - we did! We got a tour guide (memail me if you want recommendation, our guy was great), and it was great to have someone go through the museum and explain the history and meaning of everything in depth (also dude the Egyptian Museum is distinctly shabby on the inside. It is a far far far cry from something like the British Museum. Plus not well labeled or informative. And fucking HOT. Guide highly recommended)
posted by mckenney at 10:21 AM on December 3, 2010

Khan el-Khalili and the pyramids of Giza for sure. The museum is amazing but it kind of depends on what kind of museum visitor you are - you can go, check out the King Tut items, and bounce, or hang for hours.

Also, I'm sure this sounds super kitschy but I kind of wish I had gone to the pyramid show with the laser lights at night. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what it entails but it sounds entertaining and that's something you can't do in Peoria or what have you.
posted by kat518 at 10:47 AM on December 3, 2010

Do see the pyramids and Sphinx of course, and spend time wandering around the souk, the market square in Cairo, where you can buy wonderful spices and carpets and, well, don't get me started on all the stuff you can find that you can't take home. At night is a great time for this, feels like an adventure in ancient times under glowing, low-watt incandescent light in crooked alleys. The museum is terrific but if you're short on time, just check out a few mummies and hit the Tut room (I think it's a room, it used to be). Have fun, I wish I was going back. By the way, the Museum's shabbiness is one of the best things about it.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 10:52 AM on December 3, 2010

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