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Jasmine Kilic

Jasmine wrote this article. Jaz is a Customer Service Representative at 1Cover, from Sydney, Australia. She has been in the Insurance industry for more than 4 years, and worked in the Travel Industry for more than 7 years. Learn more about Jasmine.

Best things to do in Egypt

What is this one thing that you absolutely must experience in Egypt? From the one thing you must explore, to the one thing to eat in Cairo, Aswan and Luxor, I am unveiling Egypt’s must-do travel secrets. My ‘one-thing’ guide will provide you with insider tips, hidden gems, and essential travel advice to ensure that your Egyptian adventure is nothing short of one-derful!



The One Thing you should do in Egypt Is...see the civilisation museum

Being in Egypt, there are so many things to visit, that you can’t narrow it down, however one place you should visit is the Civilisation Museum in Cairo. Most of the Royal Mummies are here, such as Ramses the Great, Hatshepsut and Thutmose the Third. Some of them are quite well-preserved, where they still have their hair! I wonder what shampoo they used to keep their hair looking lush after thousands of years…

The One Safety Tip in Egypt is...beware of pickpockets!

Always keep your belongings on you, and try to avoid carrying a backpack. Keep all bags on your front or side, including any handbags. 

The One thing you should Eat in egypt Is...koshary

A delicious vegetarian dish made up of lentils, pasta, fried onion and a tomato based sauce. If it sounds heavy, that’s because it is. The Egyptians don’t skimp on the portion size so come hungry! There is a restaurant in Cairo that only serves this local dish, and they’re always busy and filled with locals so you know it’s good!

The One thing you should not do in egypt from souvenir stands

Buy souvenirs from the souvenir stands at the tourist sites. Most, if not all, of these souvenirs are mass-produced and not authentic, therefore you would be better asking your local tour guide and hotel for the best places to purchase your souvenirs that help support local businesses.

The One thing you should drink in egypt Is...cold hibiscus tea

There is nothing more refreshing than having a nice, cold, hibiscus drink that will be sure to cool you down, while you admire your surroundings, and come to the realisation that you are in one of the most amazing places on Earth that is filled with so much history - Egypt! Most restaurants will serve this drink, as well as hotels, and when you go to a shop to buy some authentic souvenirs, they will almost always offer you this drink (if not, then don’t feel shy to ask for it!)

The One thing you should know about egypt Is...tipping is customary

Tipping is customary in Egypt, however there is no set amount. Also when buying local handmade items, such as perfume, spices, alabaster and papyrus, bargaining is a must. Always start at a low price then work your way up to an amount that you are happy to pay.

The One thing you should know how to say Is...thank you

 Shukran means thank you! Manners go a long way in Egypt.

the One place only locals know in egypt Is...Seheil island

Seheil Island. It is a small, local Nubian village south of Aswan that is only accessible by boat. Not many people go here as they go to another nearby island which is overrun by tourists, taking away its authenticity. There is a colourful house where a local Nubian lady lives where she’ll be more than happy to have you over for afternoon tea. She bakes delicious sweets and serves it with tea. You don’t need to spend much time on the island as there isn’t a lot to see, however the boat ride there and back on the Nile will leave you speechless. If you can organise your visit to the island in the afternoon, you can time the boat ride back to Aswan so that you can watch the sunset over the Nile. There is nothing more beautiful than to witness an Egyptian sunset on the Nile!

the One temple you should visit In egypt is...karnak temple

This is a hard choice, as both Luxor and Karnak Temple are high up on the list. You could literally spend hours at both of these temples, appreciating all the intricate work on the pillars and walls of the temples, and transporting yourself back to the time of the Ancient Egyptians. There are still some original flooring in the temples where the High Priests and Pharaohs once stood! You can also walk in between the two temples, along the Avenue of the Sphinxes. It’s approximately a 3km walk, and it has only been recently excavated. There is still around 90% of Egypt that is undiscovered!

the One thing you must pack for egypt is...toilet wipes

Some bathrooms such as tourist sites, charge a fee to use the bathroom, however these bathrooms are usually clean. They will usually also give you toilet paper so it’s always handy to have some on you. There is no set price, just whatever small change you have on you.

The best things to do in Cairo

Cairo is a vibrant city nestled along the banks of the Nile. Cairo is the capital of Egypt and home to lots of historical and cultural sites, that are world renowned. Cairo is full of things you won't see anywhere else in the world, so what are the best bits? ​​​​​​

The Pyramids of Giza

The One Thing you should do in Cairo Is ... Visit the pyramids

I know it sounds cliche, but how can you go to Egypt and not see the Pyramids? 

However, did you know, the Pyramids of Giza are not the only pyramids in Egypt - there is the Bent Pyramid (the Egyptians’ first attempt at a pyramid that proves that aliens did not build them), the Step Pyramid (which is over 4,700 years old and was built for the Pharaoh, Djoser) and also the Red Pyramid (which you can go inside, but it’s not for the faint-hearted, as it is an 85 metre, hunched, walkway down into the pyramid!)

The One place you should stay in Cairo Is ... zamalek

The Zamalek area in Cairo is a safe and prime location for tourists to stay. Most of the embassies are located in Zamalek so lots of security. It’s safe to wander around during the day and night but always take extra precautions in the evening. There’s quite a few restaurants here and also some shops to buy some local handmade items such as Egyptian cotton hand towels. No need to worry about bargaining in the stores in this area as everything is at a set, and reasonable, price. 

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the best things to do in luxor

Luxor in northern Egypt is absolutely steeped in history. This was the pharohs capital at the height of their power, and it shows all the signs of this status. With so many sites and ruins to visit, Luxor is a must go for history buffs.  


The One Thing You Should Do In luxor Is ... Visit the valley of the kings and queens 

Here you will find the tombs of Pharaohs such as Ramses IV, where, after thousands of years, the colours of the tomb are well-preserved and still bright enough to give you an idea of how colourful and amazingly detailed these ancient burial chambers once were. 

The famous boy-king, Tutankhamun, has his final resting place in the Valley of the Kings too, where his mummy is perfectly preserved in the burial chamber, along with images of the different Gods and Goddesses on the tomb walls depicting the Pharaoh’s journey into the afterlife. 

Luxor is also known for its alabaster. There are locals who to this day, still do this trade, where they get the large alabaster pieces  and turn them into wondrous keepsakes! The Ancient Egyptians used alabaster for many things such as funerary items, ritual objects and also household items. There is even one tomb in the Valley of the Kings where alabaster was used in the floors and walls! If you place a light or candle in or against the alabaster, the light will shine through. This is how you will know if it is genuine alabaster or not.


The best things to do in aswan

This southern city has been at the forefront of Egypt's commercial dealings for thousands of years. Nestled along the Nile river it contains temples and ruins dating back to the 4th century B.C. 

Abu Simbel


The One thing You Should Do In aswan Is ... visit abu simbel

It is about a 3.5 hour drive from Aswan to Abu Simbel, but I promise you, it is worth it! It took about 20 years to be built and it was during the time of Ramses the Second, otherwise known as Ramses the Great. He built it as a place of worship, so that the Ancient Egyptians could worship him while he was still alive! (He was the first Pharaoh to do this, they don’t call him Ramses the Great for nothing!) It was also most likely a propaganda scheme, to show the surrounding places such as Nubia, just who exactly was in power! He also had a temple built next door to it for his favourite wife, Nefertari. These temples will leave you in awe! You could spend hours just marveling at the details and work that was put into these temples. It’s amazing to think of how they managed to build all of these - I wonder if they knew that these temples would still be admired, thousands of years after their reign!

Aswan is also well-known for their spices and perfumes, so go ahead and ask your guide where to take you for the best spices and perfumes and make sure there’s plenty of room in your luggage!


The one insider tip for egypt

With Egypt being predominantly an Islamic country, it is best to cover up and wear appropriate clothing. Not only out of respect, but also to protect yourself from the sun. Temperatures can get quite high in the summer (over 50 degrees celsius). Best time to go is in the Winter, so between December and March, however you will find there may be less tourists in the summer months, so less crowds. Clothes that are thin and made from cotton are usually best as they will keep you cool. Pants, dresses and skirts that are at least knee-length are appropriate, and sleeveless tops/dresses are also acceptable but invest in a shawl or scarf that you can wrap your shoulders. Sounds like a good excuse to invest in some Egyptian cotton!



protect your trip to egypt

No one can really explain just how awe-inspiring and how wonderful Egypt is! You could spend weeks just in one city and see something different everyday. From the Pyramids to the Sphinx, to the Valley of the Kings and Queens, to a Nile Cruise where you can sail along just as the Pharaohs did!

There is something for everyone in Egypt. Visiting all the archaeological sites, sometimes it is hard to wrap your head around the fact that you are standing where the Ancient Egyptians once stood. It is a place that everyone needs to visit. After all, the Ancient Egyptians built their civilisation for everyone to admire for years to come.

Now you're ready to go don't forget to pack your 1Cover travel insurance. The one thing you need when one thing goes wrong. 


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If You Only Do One Thing...


Find out more insider tips about other destinations: read our "One Thing" series here

The One Thing You Should & Shouldn't Do In Brazil

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How about our other ideas. 

The One Thing You Should & Shouldn't Do In Japan

Sushi, tea houses, yes...but don't head to Japan without reading our tips. 

The One Thing You Should & Shouldn't Do In the UK

London Eye, Big Ben, Tower Bridge...or not. Maybe you'll be surprised what we suggest to do on your UK adventure.



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