Do you have a list of places in the world you want to visit? Is the Middle East on it? If not, I would encourage you to update your list and put the Middle East at the top! This was easily one of my favorite trips. I am already eager to go back! The history here is unlike anywhere else in the world. It is a fascinating and beautiful place. Even though we made it to quite a few places on this trip, there is still so much more to see and experience in this part of the world!
Here is (my current) top 10 list of things to do in the Middle East:
1. The Pyramids of Giza
This is probably at the top of everyone’s list when visiting Egypt. Honestly, I’ve heard of some people having a rather disappointing experience when visiting the pyramids. I can honestly say I enjoyed it and was well worth the visit. Take a private guided tour. Our guide was great. Pay the extra few bucks to get a quick camel ride in front of the pyramids. It’s short but you get a nice picture. I’m not sure I’d want to be on a camel very long anyways. Climb through one of the pyramids…. I wouldn’t recommend this if you are claustrophobic or have bad knees. You have to do a sort of hunched crawl up a long ladder/stairway, but I mean who doesn’t wonder what it looks like inside the pyramids!? Just go for it, remember… it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
2. Float in the Dead Sea
This was up there with one of the most fun things we did on the trip. Don’t skip out on this stop. It’s the only place on earth you can have this experience (to my knowledge) and it is a blast! We were laughing and smiling the entire time. We stayed at the Movenpick Resort & Spa which was right on the sea. The view was absolutely gorgeous, overlooking the dead sea all the way to the coast of Israel.
3. Visit Petra
All I can say is we did not spend enough time here! Unfortunately we were on a tight schedule and only gave ourselves a few hours to explore this ancient city. We easily could’ve spent a whole day here. It is a magical and fascinating place. I would recommend going in the morning as early as possible when there are fewer people there. After much walking, we bartered for a good 10 minutes with the donkey handlers to get a rid up to another part that we wanted to see. In the end, the ride was worth the money. It was nice to get off our feet and have a ride up the mountain. It provided some fun and laughs along the way too! Don’t pay full price though, bartering is common place here.
We stayed at the 7 Wonders Hotel, which for the price, was surprisingly nice, and they have some pretty neat turkish baths that we of course had to try!
4. Luxor & The Valley of the Kings
We started our trip in Cairo and were debating on either going to Alexandria or Luxor from there. I am SO glad we chose Luxor. The day tour was awesome! This place is full of fascinating history and beautiful, mysterious places to visit. Be sure to visit The Valley of the Kings and do the tombs. Again, our tour guide from Emo Tours was great!
5. Sunrise hike up Mount Sinai
Our trip to Mount Sinai deserves a whole different post (it was overnight and very long… being held up at a checkpoint by the police for hours). Despite the uncomfortable ride battling our frustration and exhaustion, this is a must do! The hike was not “too” strenuous and doing it in the dark gave it an added excitement, not to mention the night sky is just incredible! Reaching the top just in time for the sun to peak over the horizon was truly awe-inspiring.
Tip: Have some cash with you to rent a blanket (or just have warm layers). It was freezing at the top.
6. Visit the many Biblical Sites
Like I said before, the history here is unlike anywhere in the world. Dating back to Biblical times, there is no shortage of sites to see. Mount Sinai, Bethany beyond the Jordan, Lot’s Cave, the Red Sea, the Dead Sea, and the Kings Highway were a few that we visited.
7. Scuba Dive in the Red Sea
Some of the best scuba diving in the world is found here! The Sharm El Sheik area on the southern end of the Sinai Peninsula is a popular resort area. If you’re looking for a more relaxing time this would be the place to go. We stayed at the all-inclusive Hilton Sharm Waterfall Resort.
8. Sail a Felucca on the Nile
Perfect way to see the Nile river and experience these unique boats.
9. Museums in Cairo
The Egyptian culture is quite fascinating… Mummies of course being a big part of the Egyptian practice. This picture is actually illegal! They warn you about taking pictures of the mummies and will confiscate your camera or phone if caught. I’ve always had a bit of rebel in me 😉 Sshh… don’t tell! Aside from the mummies, the museum is full of interesting things to see. You could spend all day inside!
10. Experience Dubai
There is no shortage of things to do and see in this city of Luxury. This lavish city has it all! Skydive over the Palm, head to the top of the world’s tallest building, ride dune buggies through the dessert, visit the beautiful Sheik Zayed Mosque, and so, so much more.
This trip really had a bit of everything…. rich history, phenomenal beauty, fascinating culture, relaxation, and just plain fun! Like I said before, if the Middle East isn’t on your list of places to visit, it should be!
Did I mention… I paid a mere $5.80 for a first-class flight to Cairo!!
Read my travel hacking post on how I did it!