Seven reasons to visit Egypt

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Egypt used to be part of the ancient Greek empire, traces of which can still be found in modern-day Alexandria.

“Why are you going to Egypt?”

“Don’t go there! It’s not safe.”

“Why don’t you just visit some other country instead?”

These were just some of the reactions – skeptical at best, discouraging at worst – that I received when I told my family and friends that I would be travelling to Egypt. Those who know me well, however, knew that there was nothing they could do to prevent me from visiting the country and that my fascination with Egypt is greater than my fear.

This obsession, as a matter of fact, started at a very young age. My early days in Sunday school first introduced me to Egypt, with characters from the Bible such as Jesus, Mary, and Joseph visiting the ancient land. Movies like Prince of Egypt and The Mummy also fueled my desire to travel to this country someday. Now that I had the opportunity, nothing could stop me.

I am sure that you have also dreamt of exploring Egypt one way or another. So despite the political situation there, I encourage you to turn your dream into a reality. Here are seven reasons why you should book that flight to Egypt.

First is that whether you are a history buff, an adrenaline junkie, or a shopaholic, Egypt has got you covered. Want to walk back in time and immerse yourself in the rich history of one of the world’s earliest civilizations? The Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx are waiting for you, as they have done for thousands of years. Want to make your trip a little more exciting? The Red Sea offers a world-class diving experience. Want to bring home exotic gifts? The country is filled with vibrant markets that sell textile, jewelry, brassware, spices, and so much more.

Second, you will have the pyramids all to yourself. Imagine going to all these tourist attractions without having to fall in line, or having your picture taken without any photobombing it. Hassle-free! Tourist arrivals in Egypt has fallen in recent years due to the unpredictable political situation in the country. Despite this, the Egyptian government has increased police visibility to make visitors feel safer. All airport passengers also go through security checks twice.

Third, you will be treated like a celebrity in Egypt. As a result of the dwindling number of tourists in the country, it has become rare for locals to see and meet foreigners. When my friend and I were visiting the Saladin Citadel, which is a medieval fortress in Cairo, we actually spent an hour taking selfies with the locals. It was crazy but fun! They are eager to know where you are from and are very much willing to offer tips on where to eat and what sights to see to make your stay more enjoyable.

Fourth, apart from the tourist attractions, Egyptian food is another area that is worth exploring. The dishes have been largely influenced by its neighboring countries and former colonial masters. Many of the food rely on vegetables and beans; hence, vegetarians as well those who keep a close watch on their weight will not have a hard time looking for a place to dine. Must-try foods include falafel, koshary, and molokheya. Meatlovers need not to worry, however, as Egypt also offers a wide range of dishes to cater to your heavy appetite. These include shawarma, kebab, kofta, and tajine.

Fifth, Egypt has a perfect climate even as the country is mainly a desert. While it is warm most of the year, Egypt is blessed to be located just beside the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, which bring the temperature to a comfortable level. The best time to visit is between the months of October and April when the sun is out, rain is little, and the wind is cool. Make sure to wear a jacket when you go out at night during these months as temperature may drop as low as 10 degrees!

Sixth, everything is cheap – food, accommodation, and transportation. Backpackers will surely love this place. For less than $2, you can already have a proper lunch, which can either be koshary, shawarma, salad, or falafel. Decent rooms can also be had at $10 per night. There is no need to book and most of these places have Internet connection. Domestic flights are affordable too. We booked a roundtrip flight from Cairo to Luxor and it just cost us around $70, which is cheaper and better than taking a train especially when you are traveling on a budget and on a limited time.

Last but not the least, you will be among the first to see things no one else has seen. As I write this, news about the discovery of another Egyptian pyramid built around 3,700 years ago are circulating online. Last month, a massive statue of what may be Pharaoh Ramses II was also unearthed in a bustling neighborhood in Cairo. These wonders, if ever you see them, will boost your bragging rights, on top of the fact that you have actually been to Egypt.

Egypt is a great country and has a lot to offer to globetrotters. There are so many more reasons why you should make it your next travel destination, but when someone asks you in the future why you are including Egypt in your bucketlist,  you already know what to say.