What should Tourists NOT DO in EGYPT?

  1. Don’t go looking for excitement in the middle of a big crowd, regardless of what is going on
  2. Don’t arrive in Egypt thinking it is easy to find a hotel, a guide, or whatever at the last minute once you get here.  Do a bit of research in advance.  Know who you are hiring.  Book with reputable service providers.
  3. Don’t go walking along the Nile at night or darkened streets away from the main streets, especially not alone.
  4. Don’t go off the beaten track looking for the ‘hidden Egypt’.  Anything worth seeing will definitely not be hidden
  5. Don’t be so quick to follow people offering to show you the “local market” or something “special”  I wrote the post “Follow me” – Don’t do it! in 2015 and it still amazes me how many tourists don’t give a second thought to following strangers down alleyways all over Egypt!
  6. Don’t lose your head in a nightclub.  If you are a ‘party person’ it can be tempting to head off to a night club other that the one in your hotel (some, but not all hotels have nightclubs which can go on til 6 am).  If you do, then at the very least make sure you let someone know where you are going and what time you will be back.  Allowing yourself to be taken from your intended nightclub etc to a second or third “better party”  is a terrible idea in any strange country.
  7. Alcohol is allowed in hotels, licensed bars/restaurants, cruise boats, some restaurants – don’t drink alcohol on the street.
  8. Cannabis etc is illegal and carries severe penalties.
  9. “Local” coffee shops is not a good a good idea for hygiene reasons.
  10. Don’t take photographs of security personnel, police stations, anything to do with police or army.  This is for their safety and to prevent members of the security forces from being personally recognised and targeted by criminals or terrorists.
  11. It is becoming popular to use drones for photography – don’t!  It could get you in trouble with police and/or army and may be seen as espionage.
  12. Don’t do stupid things like climbing the outside of the Great Pyramid or anything else equally childish to make a name for yourself.  Firstly, it is a protected ancient and sacred monument, so show respect.  Secondly, you could get seriously hurt or killed.  If you don’t, but a security man gets injured or killed going after you – do you want to face 25 years in an Egyptian prison or face the death penalty?
  13. Don’t use local transport such as buses or micro-buses UNLESS you are 100% sure you know the route it is taking.  If you do take one and don’t know the route you could easily end up in a suburb where nobody speaks english and neither does the driver.  What you do then?
  14. Don’t eat “street food” plain and simple – no exceptions.   Buy a packet of Antinal as soon as you arrive in Egypt – do not take it as a preventative measure.  You might want to read my post on the Egyptian Tummy Bug – Pharaoh’s Revenge!
  15. Don’t touch or pet cats, dogs, donkeys, horses or ANY animal – you may have a soft spot for cats but a “pretty” little cat or kitten can suddenly turn on you.  One scratch can leave you with what we simply call “cat scratch”.  Symptoms are EXTREMELY red face, intense itch, headache and fever for about 3 days even if diagnosed immediately.  You will most likely need anti-histamine and pain relievers.  Should you also need an antibiotic because you also got an infection at the same time, bear in mind that antibiotic mixed with antihistamine can lead to anaphylactic shock which is potentially life-threatening.  Not to mention they probably carry ticks, mites, infections and all kinds of nasty germs.  Apologies for scaring you – just leave the animals alone!
  16. Be careful crossing the road, this may sound silly but wait until you experience Cairo traffic!  Not every driver knows that a red light means “STOP!”  Some think it only means it if there is also a policeman there.  And there are few traffic lights anywhere anyway.
  17. Don’t assume that zebra crossing (pedestrian crossings) are for crossing the road anywhere, EVER!  Egyptians don’t use them to cross the road – they cross the road everywhere and anywhere they want, safely.  Few drivers know what the black and white lines painted across the road mean… seriously.
  18. Don’t assume that all UBER drivers are safe – are they all safe where you live?  I would not use UBER traveling by myself.  I feel safer using a regular, signed taxi -there is always one passing by, wherever you are and he is more likely to know where you want to go than an UBER driver using google maps.  That observation is based on personal experience.
  19. Taking a taxi? Just agree the price BEFORE you get in, most likely the meter is not working anyway and, at least, you can relax knowing what you are going to pay.  This way you also avoid a disagreement at the end of the ride.
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