Thursday, May 13, 2010

Egypt & Jordan Itinerary -- Oct.-Nov. 2010

Paintings above by David Roberts.

First, let me assure you that I am NOT a travel agent or in the travel industry at all and I will not earn any commissions or other pay for this trip. I'm planning this trip for myself because I love to travel and explore other countries in a more customized manner. I've done this many times before, so I'm experienced. The benefits I get by having other travelers come along are: 1) I'll feel safer as a woman traveling in the Middle East with a few other people, 2) lower costs for EVERYONE (including me) because transport and accommodations can be shared, and 3) the pleasure of other travelers' company! So, if you or someone you know is interested in doing any part of the itinerary below, please contact me at . Update (September 27): I've found someone to travel with me on the Western Desert oases segment, so we're definitely going! And we're open to having another couple folks come along. The Western Desert looks so amazing, I can't wait!


• Egypt Travel Dates: Oct. 13-Nov. 14, 2010.
• Jordan Travel Dates: Nov. 14-24, 2010.
• Choose to do any or all parts of the trip depending on your time schedule, budget, and interests.
• Small group forming now: 4-6 travelers.
• Single/individual travelers can share a room with another group member.
• Budget accommodations.

Wanna come along?: There is still space on the Western Desert oases safari and other day tours I'm doing in Egypt. Please contact me if you're interested -- or tel: 323-256-8406 (USA). A 30% deposit is required by the tour operator at least one week in advance. AFTER OCT. 13: Please contact Aladin Tours (Eman Ahmad), the tour operator directly as I will be traveling and my e-mail use will be greatly reduced (you won't be able to contact me at the U.S. phone number above either). Aladin Tours' contact information appears near the bottom of this page. Thanks for your understanding.

What makes this trip unique?

• This is a customized itinerary incorporating the very best of Egypt and Jordan in 43 days total if you choose to do the whole trip... at a very reasonable cost.
• Visit Egypt's spectacular Abu Simbel temple for the Sun Festival and watch the sunrise illuminate 3 of 4 statues in the inner sanctuary, leaving only the god of darkness in shadow. This only happens twice a year.
• Spend Halloween in well-preserved Abydos, "gateway to the afterlife" & Egypt's most sacred city. Spooky cool!
• Instead of spending half our time in Upper Egypt on board a Nile cruise ship, we will venture overland between Aswan and Luxor, to more fully absorb the culture and scenic landscape en route.
• Visit all 5 Western desert oases, including Siwa, and the Great Sand Sea.
• Climb Mt. Sinai and snorkel or dive in the Red Sea.
• Visit historic and biblical pilgrimage sites in Jordan.
• Spend two nights at a Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum, land of Lawrence of Arabia.
• Explore legendary Petra by Night.
• Enjoy floating in the Dead Sea at a Dead Sea Resort.
*** No package tour companies offer as much in one trip; believe me... I've looked and looked -- NO ONE!!! That's why I've created my own trip! : > ***

EGYPT: October 13 - November 14, 2010

Oct. 13: Depart home airport for Cairo (CAI).

Cairo Area Segment: October 14-20, 2010 (7 days)

Oct. 14: Arrive in Cairo; afternoon/evening free to rest up from flight or explore independently.

Oct. 15: Cairo, Giza Zoo, Egyptian Museum.

Oct. 16: Giza pyramids, Sphinx, Solar Boat Museum.

Oct. 17: Memphis, Saqqara, Dashur -- Visit Step and Bent pyramids.

Oct. 18: Suez Canal day trip.

Oct. 19: Coptic Cairo, Hanging Church; Mohammed Ali Mosque (Islamic Cairo).

Oct. 20: Marvel at the ancient whale fossils in the "Valley of the Whales" (Wadi Al-Hitan) near El-Fayoum oasis. Depart Cairo for Aswan on a comfortable sleeper train.

Sun Festival at Abu Simbel & Journey to Luxor Segment: October 21-31, 2010 (11 days)

Oct. 21: Short morning flight from Aswan to Abu Simbel. Optional visit to Abu Simbel for sunset.

Oct. 22: Visit Abu Simbel temple for Sun Festival at sunrise.

Oct. 23-24: Aswan -- Philae Temple, High Dam, Unfinished Obelisk, Elephantine & Kitchener's Islands (felucca ride).

Oct. 25: Drive from Aswan to Kom Ombo, Edfu, and Luxor.

Oct. 26-30: Luxor -- East & West Banks, Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple, Valley of the Kings & Queens, Hatshepsut Temple, Colossi of Memnon, hot air balloon ride over Valley of the Kings, Luxor & Mummification Museums.

Oct. 31: Dendarah & Abydos, "gateway to the afterlife" and Egypt's most sacred city... on Halloween!

Western Desert Oases Segment: November 1-10, 2010 (10 days)

Oases visited: Kharga, Dhakla, Farafra, Bahariya, and Siwa.

Nov. 1: Depart Luxor for Kharga oasis, ancient Christian necropolis of Bagawat, and tombs of "the lost city", Oum Dabadeb.

Nov. 2: Dhakla oasis: Beshandi village with Graeco-Roman & Islamic tomb.

Nov. 3: In Dhakla, visit Qasr, one of the oldest towns, and Mouzawaka Tombs. Continue to Farafra oasis to visit Badr Museum (contemporary art), and White desert where we camp have a BBQ dinner, and sleep out under a starry sky.

Nov. 4: Drive to Bahariya oasis, stopping at Crystal & Black Mountains en route. 4WD jeep safari of Black Desert, naturally shaped pyramid, salt lake, and Valley of the Golden Mummies. Watch sunset from English Mountain.

Nov. 5: Drive to remote Siwa oasis via the Great Sand Sea with rolling dunes up to 100 m high in every direction.

Nov. 6: Explore exotic Siwa oasis with its unique mud-brick architecture, traditional Bedouin culture, and Berber dialect.

Nov. 7: Drive to El-Alamein (war memorial) en route to Alexandria.

Nov. 8-9: In Alexandria, visit the famous Bibliotheca, Catacombs, Pompey's Pillar, Citadel of Qaitbay, Al-Montazah Palace's Garden, & Abu El-Abba Mosque.

Nov. 10: Spend the morning in Alexandria and then return to Cairo to visit the colorful Khan Al-Khalili Bazaar.

Sinai Segment: November 11-14, 2010 (4 days)

Nov. 11: Fly from Cairo to Sharm El-Sheikh, then drive on to St. Catherine's Monastery for a visit.

Nov. 12: Very early morning climb of Mt. Sinai to watch the sunrise over the surrounding landscape. Then, drive to Dahab for a relaxing day on the beach.

Nov. 13: Spend a free day in Dahab swimming, snorkeling, or diving in the Red Sea.

Nov. 14: Drive from Dahab to Nuweiba to catch the ferry to Aqaba if traveling on to Jordan. Otherwise, return to Sharm El-Sheikh or Cairo (at separate cost) for your flight home.

JORDAN: November 14-24, 2010 (11 days)

This overland trip covers approx. 574 km (357 mi.) total from Aqaba to Amman, including stops at all sites below. WHAT AN ADVENTURE!

Nov. 14: Arrive in Aqaba mid-day and drive to Wadi Rum, land of Lawrence of Arabia. Optional camel trek for sunset. Arrive at Bedouin camp to enjoy the local hospitality and spend the night in a Bedouin tent.

Nov. 15: Wadi Rum Visitor's Center & museum. Wadi Rum 4WD jeep tour to several important sites (e.g., Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Burrah Canyon, Khor umm Ishrin, Lawrence's House, Alameleh rock inscriptions, Nabataean Temple, sunset lookout). Return to Bedouin camp for dinner and a second night stay.

Nov. 16: After breakfast in camp, depart Wadi Rum for Petra, ancient rock-hewn home of the Nabataeans. Spend most of the day exploring Petra's Siq (by optional horseback ride) and hallmark Treasury building. Learn to cook some local Jordanian recipes at Petra Kitchen as an optional evening activity (including dinner).

Nov. 17: Spend a second day in Petra, hiking to the High Place of Sacrifice, Royal Tombs, Theater, and Roman Soldier Tombs. Optional Petra by Night tour.

Nov. 18: Depart Petra, driving north to Little Petra (Siq Al-Barid), Shobak crusader castle, Lot's Cave, Gomorrah (now called Numeirah), Sodom (now called Babh adh-Dhra), and Kerak crusader castle.

Nov. 19: From Kerak, drive to Wadi Mujib for a morning hike to spot wild Nubian ibex and other animals native to Jordan (weather permitting). Continue on to Mukawir (Machaerus) to see the ancient ruins of King Herod's Castle where John the Baptist was beheaded at Salome's request. Heading further north to Madaba, we visit St. George Church to see the elaborate Byzantine-era (560 AD) mosaic map of all major biblical sites from Egypt to Palestine; it is the oldest map of Palestine in existence.

Nov. 20: Morning drive to Dead Sea beach panorama and museum. Free day at Dead Sea resort and time to float in the buoyant, 31% saline waters of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth at 408 m below sea level!

Nov. 21: Morning drive to Bethany where John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the River Jordan. Also, visit Mt. Nebo where Moses is said to have viewed the Promised Land and was then buried. Drive to Amman for the night.

Nov. 22: Morning drive to the historically Graeco-Roman town of Jerash. Explore several sites at Jerash and watch a chariot race in the hippodrome. Return to Amman in the afternoon.

Nov. 23: Full day sightseeing in Amman -- Citadel, Roman Theater & Museums/Odeon, Al-Husseiny Mosque, & the old Souk, then drive through Amman's new city area.

Nov. 24: Depart Amman airport on international flight home.

ACTIVITIES in Egypt and Jordan: These are just some of the cool things you can do in Egypt and Jordan.

• Sound & Light Show (night) in Giza and/or Luxor/Karnak
• Khan Al Khalili bazaar in Cairo
• Papyrus workshop visit in Cairo or Luxor
• Cooking class to learn how to make Egyptian dishes in Cairo or Luxor
• Coffee and sheesha cafes of Alexandria, Cairo, etc.
• Felucca ride/s on Nile in Aswan and/or Luxor
• Hot air balloon flight in Giza or Luxor
• Camel ride in Giza, Western Desert, or Sinai
• Climb Mt. Sinai for sunrise
• Red Sea snorkel or dive (Dahab)
• Bedouin camp experience (Wadi Rum)
• Learn to cook Jordanian dishes (Petra)
• Hiking in one of Jordan's nature reserves or wadis
• Float in Dead Sea (Jordan)

PRICES (in Euros): You can use to convert from Euros (EU) to your currency.

Days 2-19 and 30-33 (22 days, WITHOUT Western Desert Safari): Includes 26 meals.
EU 1925 per person -- if 1 person traveling
EU 1330 per person -- if 2 people traveling
EU 1165 per person -- if 4-6 people traveling

Days 20-29 (10 days, Western Desert Safari ONLY): Includes 23 meals.
EU 720 per person -- if 2 people traveling (EU 1440 total for 2 people)
EU 638 per person -- if 4-6 people traveling (EU 2555 total for group)

TOTAL FOR EGYPT TRIP, Days 2-33 (32 days, including Western Desert Safari): Includes 52 meals.
EU 2050 per person -- if 2 people traveling
EU 1803 per person -- if 4-6 people traveling

TOTAL FOR JORDAN TRIP (in Euros), Days 33-43: Includes 14 meals.
EU 1315 per person -- if 1 person traveling
EU 1191 per person -- if 2 people traveling
EU 1106 per person -- if 4 -6 people traveling

Please contact the tour operator directly for a list of what is included: or .

International airfare, tipping, optional activities, and items of a personal nature.

If you have any specific questions about the tour operator's services or programs in Egypt, please contact Miss Eman Ahmad at Aladin Travel Services & Adventure Tours (in Luxor, Egypt): or  .

UPDATE (May 27, 2010): Prices subject to change after June 30, 2010. Contact me ( for up-to-date information. The tour operator requires a 30% deposit on this trip in order to make the necessary reservations. Please reserve your spot at least ONE WEEK before touring departure date. Thank you.

Contact for more information. Thank you.

DISCLAIMER: Laurel Colton is not a travel agent or a seller of tours. As an independent, paying traveler on this trip, she will not be held responsible or liable for the safety or welfare of other travelers, the services and accommodations provided by the tour operator or affiliates, changes in itinerary or costs made by the tour operator or affiliates, or any other existing or unforeseen circumstances in Egypt and/or Jordan that make travel in this part of the world unpredictable. Fellow travelers on this trip acknowledge and agree to this liability release and sign on with their own judgment of risks involved and with an understanding of what is included in the trip and what is not. If you have specific questions, please contact the tour operator, Aladin Tours, directly. Thank you.

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