I started long-term travelling five years ago when I took a sabbatical from my job to travel through South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. That is when I fell in love with being on the road and discovering new cultures. After returning home, I felt slightly bored in my 9-5 job and so I applied for an international opportunity and became a trainer in India.
It was at this stage of my life that Third Eye Traveller was born – a travel blog inspiring and empowering women to travel. From then on, I began to write about my adventures travelling all over the world. My plan was to create a business around my blog. I continued to create content and grow my audience until I was in the position to sustain myself full time.
One of my latest adventures was a trip to Egypt. Ever since I was a kid, I have wanted to visit Egypt. Once the Mummy movie came out, I was obsessed! I used to drag my parents to the British Museum to see the mummies (sorry Mum and Dad!) and I even tried to learn how to read hieroglyphics. I guess it was a dream trip of mine that I had been putting off for years. Finally, late last year, I decided to take the leap and go.
First Impressions of the Chaotic Cairo
As soon as I landed in Cairo I could tell I was in for a wild ride. It’s such a culture shock to enter a city where everything is so beautifully chaotic. I love these sorts of countries as anything goes and it’s so different from the UK. Traffic was ten cars wide, people were shouting in a language I barely understood, you could negotiate prices, and it felt great!
My five-week Egyptian journey started in the capital city Cairo where I saw the Pyramids of Giza and Sphinx which were incredible and something I’ve wanted to do for ages. This is the most iconic attraction in Egypt and is the only ancient wonder of the world that still exists. The Great Sphinx of Giza was another impressive statue that you have to visit in Egypt.
From Cairo, I went on to Luxor, Aswan, Hurghada, the Western Desert, Alexandria and then Sharm El Sheikh. The classic Egypt itinerary normally goes to Cairo, Aswan, Luxor and it might also include Hurghada by the Red Sea. But since I had more time up my sleeve I decided to include a few more destinations that turned out to be amazing places.
In Luxor, I explored Karnak and Luxor temples and went to Valley of the Kings, even entering Tutankhamun’s tomb. Karnak Temple was my favourite sight in all of Egypt. It’s almost like a mini ancient Egyptian citadel full of temples, lakes and obelisks. As you wander down the Ram Road and into the Great Hypostyle Hall you can’t help but feel tiny.
The columns here are over 97 feet tall and weigh 323 tonnes. Karnak took 2000 years to complete over the reign of 30 pharaohs – it’s an extremely interesting and impressive place. I also loved the Sound & Light Show in the evenings. You can walk in amongst the temple while the show is still live. It was a little bit scary but so cool!
Indiana Jones’ Adventures at Abu Simbel
Cruising down the Nile is another must-do and is a great way to explore the south of Egypt as you stop off to explore ancient temples. You’ll start in ancient Thebes (Luxor) and make your way to Kom Ombo, Edfu and eventually arrive in Aswan where the incredible Abu Simbel awaits.
Like many who visit Abu Simbel, I wanted to have my Indiana Jones moment. Although, I was reluctant to visit this temple during peak hours due to the crowds. To get around this dilemma, I opted for a private taxi to take me there later in the day. I ended up having Abu Simbel all to myself. It was the most magical feeling that will stay with me forever.
You can visit Abu Simbel either on a tour or by organising your own transportation from Aswan. How they carved these impressive temples into the cliff – and managed to preserve and keep the detail intact – I will never know. Standing under the Great Temple of Ramses II and seeing the small temple dedicated to his wife Nefertari was an incredible experience.
The final temple that I saw in Aswan was on the island of Philae. All of these temples that I explored in Egypt really superseded my expectations. Until you see them with your own eyes, you can’t really grasp the feeling of being in front of 3,000 years of history. I had seen many of these temples in guide books but nothing prepares you for the real thing.
My Egyptian journey continued to Hurghada in the Red Sea and then onto the Western Desert where I experienced the Black Desert, White Desert, the Magic Spring, Sea of Sands and Crystal Mountain. Sounds fake, right? But these magical places do exist in Egypt. Make sure you check them out!
In Alexandria I visited the Citadel of Qaitbay by the Mediterranean and the medieval wonder of the Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa before finishing in Sharm El Sheikh.
Is Egypt Safe for Solo Female Travellers?
I loved the welcoming nature of the Egyptian people. They are famous for their hospitality and most people wanted to ensure that I had a good time. In general, Egypt is safe for tourists. In the five weeks that I was there I never felt at risk or unsafe. There’s so much security around that I always felt in good hands. But it was a balancing act a lot of the time.
Egypt is predominantly an Islamic country, so I always made sure to dress respectfully and not draw too much attention. Despite that, I was still being hurled all sorts of names and even marriage proposals! As a woman travelling alone, I often struggled with the cat-calling. My advice to solo female travellers is to always be careful and take the high road.