I have always believed that the middle east is one of the most mysterious unexplored area in the world. Not to mention, the fact that most media like to paint the area negatively because of all the turmoil in the region. Granted that some area are dangerous but that does not mean that the whole of the middle east is dangerous. To prove this, I decided to go on a "Pilgrimage" journey through the middle east starting from Egypt.
Repeated terrorist activities in Egypt is a problem that has affected the once popular desintation gravely and this can be seen throughout the country from the sight of the crumbling Cairo to the people desperately trying to make a living out of the collapsing tourism industry.
Egypt need us more than ever before and I hope this post will inspire the adventurous hearts in all of us to travel there and pull the country out into the light. After all, it is the only Egypt we have.
The first thing people do when they arrive in Cairo is to visit the Great Pyramids of Giza and because of this, the pyramid is where people got scammed the most. That was the case for me as well.
The scam started right from the entrance. I was dropped off by a taxi at the wrong entrance and a guy approached to help me out. Because of my desperation and the fact that he looked like an authority, I followed him. It was not until we arrived at the entrance that he showed his true self. He won't stop following me. He asked me to pay a whooping 300 EGP for the service of bringing me there. It was an expensive lesson for my stupidity and from that point on, I made a pact to myself not to get scammed by them again.
Despite the bad experience, the looking up at the pyramid from the bottom rendered me speechless.
I was there when the gate openned so I basically had a whole pyramid to myself. It was magical!
Here is me for scale. I was not even that close to the pyramid and I was still dwarfed by its majesty.
Another important sight at the Giza is the Sphinx. It is much smaller than I thought and you can no longer get close to the statue as it was fenced off to prevent people from damaging the popular figure.
After a day at the Giza Pyramids, I decided to explore Cairo a little bit more. Places I visisted were Coptic Cairo, Islamic Cairo, the Mosque of Muhammad (as shown here) and the Khan-El Khalili Bazaar.
The Mosque of Muhammad was my favorite place in Cairo for a reason. There were free of scammers and you can really see how genuinely nice the locals are here.
From the Mosque, you can also see Cairo from the top. Quite a sight to behold.
Aswan & Abu Simbel
After Cairo, I hopped on a train to Aswan and headed straight to Abu Simbel, a remote temple near the border of Sudan. We were accompanied by a militiary convoy, causing a bit of a fuzz among us travelers. It was a little strange but we all felt pretty safe throughout the journey.. which was a good thing.
The great temples of Abu Simbel made it all worthwhile to travel 9 hours from Cairo to Aswan. Definitely my most favourite Egyptian temples of all.
From Aswan, I took a train to Luxor which has been dubbed the land of palaces and I can see why. Most of the impressive ancient temples are all in this region.
One of those temples is the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut which resembled a certain stage of a popular computer game called Serious Sam.
Excused my language but "motherfucking huge" is the only word I could describe the scale of these Egyptian ruins. This was the gigantic gate of Medinet Habu.
Next up was the Karnak temple which was only a few kilometers away from the city center.
Epicly walking through the gate of the Karnak temple.
"How the fuck did they built this?"
These gigantic pillars is part of the structure that supports the Great Hypostyle Hall of the God, Amun Re.
Can you feel any smaller?
Many obelisks were constructed in the Karnak temple. One still stands as the tallest surviving ancient obelisk on Earth.
Another popular temple in the area was the Luxor temple, one of the only few temples that are accessible at night.
With beautiful light illuminating the ruin, walking through this once populated temple at night was eerily satisfying. It was a good closure for my 2 weeks trip in Egypt.
Do you enjoy this type of photography? Check out these posts I wrote for Vietnam and New Zealand. If you have any suggestion on what I could improve, do not hesitate to let me know in the comments below or tweet me here: @peachananr
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.