Are you ready for Jordan & Egypt? Note about clothing.

For those on the first departures, you are less than a month away! I expect some good feedback from you folks on those early trips- we don't go until 22 March so I have tons of questions for you when you get back. I'm especially interested in tour and lunch timing at Petra (I have some extra, afternoon hiking planned). I also have questions about which/how many pyramids we have a chance to enter (Tauck HQ says one each at Saqqara and Giza), policy on photography (w/ and w/o flash) in tombs and temples (some places require a special ticket), if you are able to learn the status of when the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) will open (still nothing online except sometime in 2020), and how Tauck is handling the fact that many (most?) of the interesting objects once in the old Cairo Museum (tour stop) have already been moved to the GEM- is Tauck arranging special tours of the restoration labs and some of the GEM (now available to small groups)?

Note: The trip is now live on the Tauck app, at least through March of 2020.

Note: In the "What to Pack" section under the "Need to Know" tab, it talks about about what to wear for comfort on tour, when visiting mosques, etc., etc., and this about the need for special clothing for dining:

"No special attire is required for dining, although you may wish to dress more formally for fine dining experiences in metropolitan areas."

However, I just noticed this at the bottom of the Pricing & Availability pages on the website:

Please Note: The included dinner at the 1902 Restaurant at the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract requires that gentlemen wear a sport coat and women wear cocktail attire.

Oh, and for another cinematic look at the landscape of Wadi Rum go see the latest (and last) Star Wars movie, "The Rise of Skywalker." :D

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Comments

  • Hi AlanS....Countdown for me is 355 Days!. Thanks for asking the questions. I'm sure I'll learn plenty from the responses and will probably have many questions for you upon your return. Assuming the GEM will be open during my December trip and truly hoping it will be open during your travels in March.

  • edited December 2019

    PureLuxury, 1:46PM, Hi AlanS....Assuming the GEM will be open during my December trip and truly hoping it will be open during your travels in March.

    Shukran. It is looking more and more dim that the GEM will be open by early April when we are supposed to be in Cairo. I keep searching the web and checking with "Egypt Today," "Egypt Independent," and other English language papers and sources- I've seen nothing new or definitive.

    As to when it will actually open, potential dates are often followed by the Arabic expression- "Inshallah" which meas "God willing." e.g. "The GEM will open in 2020, Inshallah." When they compare Inshallah to the Spanish word "mañana" which literally means "tomorrow" (or "morning") but colloquially often means "whenever," or "someday, maybe," those with knowledge of the languages and cultures of the Middle East and Latin America say Inshallah involves considerably less urgency than mañana. :o:D

    FYI, 2019 has been a banner year for the discovery of Egyptian antiquities. Here is a summary of discoveries from just this fall from "Egypt Today." https://www.egypttoday.com/Article/4/79177/Egypt-amazes-the-world-with-2019-archaeological-discoveries-P2

  • This is such a great time to visit. I'm so excited. The only good thing about waiting 355 days is the time I'll have before the trip to do adequate. The Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibit was in New Orleans in 1977. As a child I remember being in awe of the treasures and waiting in the long line to get into the museum. It will be wonderful to see the treasures again after 43 years. "Inshallah"

  • edited March 4

    A excellent book with lots of great photos, maps, and a lot but not too much text is "The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt" edited by Helen Strudwick*. It is over an inch thick, soft cover (and hard cover?) and about 9" X 12", almost the size of a coffee table book. It has a photo of Tut's golden funeral mask on the cover. You can get some editions from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, often for less than $30. There are several editions available, the latest printing being 2019(?) but I don't know if it has been updated since originally published (in 2006?) and certainly doesn't include the new discoveries. Check it out.

    *Helen Strudwick is Curator of the Egyptian galleries at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, and archaeological director of the Cambridge mission to document private tombs at Luxor, Egypt. She is also the author of The Pocket Timeline of Ancient Egypt.

  • Hi AlanS . Happy New Year! it looks like you, British and I are traveling same places @ different times...I will do this tour next Nov.26,2020. and Singapore Bali early 2021. So all your questions are so appreciated and a great help. I have done already some homework but there is always some ..... I also wanted to know , how much do we really get to see of Cairo? I have read the itinerary and it looks like Cairo and Amman have a light schedule. I guess we'll have to wait.. I'm flying Sea.-Dubai-Amman and coming home Cairo-Dubai again. Taking the 12:01 flight out of Cairo.
    Well have a great evening . Best wishes.
    Mil.

  • edited January 3

    mil- my gut feeling is that what we will see in Cairo (and Giza and Saqqara) may be a bit flexible- Coptic churches, mosques, suq or souk (market), Old Cairo Museum (if there is anything left that hasn't been moved to the GEM and if the GEM hasn't opened.) My March tour and possibly fall/winter 2020 tours could experience an almost empty Cairo Museum and a not-yet-opened GEM. You have more of a chance to see the GEM than we do.

    As far pyramids, at Giza and Saqqara, we may have options and restrictions as to which pyramids we enter (Tauck HQ says only one at each place). All three great pyramids at Giza are open (but each one is not necessarily open every day). The Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara is open. At Saqqara it is also possible to enter the Pyramid of Unas, which was restored by Ramses II, the Pyramid of Teti, the Mastaba of Ti, and the Serapeum, the burial site of the mummified Apis bulls. Saqqara has been the site of numerous discoveries in recent years.

    2 km further south is Dahshur. In 2019, for the first time in 50 years, the Bent Pyramid and a smaller satellite pyramid were opened to the public. The nearby Red Pyramid is also open.

    We fly out after midnight so decided to reserve another night at the Mina House. That gives us full day of touring after the tour ends. Depending on what we didn't get to see or want to see again, etc. and availability of a guide (probably book through concierge) we may hit Saqqara, Giza, or GEM a second time or go to Dahshur. Decisions, decisions, too much to see and so little time!

    I hope the recent (and possible future events) in Iraq won't affect safety of American tourists in Jordan and Egypt.

  • mil - I've been on a few trips where you expect a country's "major" city to have some sights worth seeing, but that's not always the case. Auckland, NZ was one. Amman is another. I haven't been to Cairo (yet).

  • On my extra day "in Cairo," I went to Alexandria. I found it very interesting, especially the catacombs. I booked a car service and an English speaking guide both during the car ride and a local English speaking guide in Alexandria. It was a lot of driving, but well worth it. (This was all arranged by my Amex travel agent.)

    (After yesterday's events, I'm having second thoughts about my March trip to Israel and Jordan. I'll have to see how the situation plays out.)

  • We will be booking the Egypt Jewel of the Nile tour (we've already done Israel and Jordan) and will also appreciate all the feedback on Egypt especially the GEM and extra day activities. Thx all !!

  • Virginia_Travelers - seems we've been following each other around. This one is in my future, too :-)

  • Hi, all.
    Thanks AlanS. Yes, I booked a late tour thinking on the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) hopefully it will be open by then...
    The pyramids in Cairo are visited but I'm not sure if we visit the 2 main Mosques and in Amman we don't visit the citadel-amph etc.. that's why, I thought the itinerary is light.. But, I know Tauck always emphasis the main attractions.. so I guess it is okay.
    By the way, I called the HQ to see how much leisure time it's available daily...I'm thinking Spa time ! :)) and I was told this tour is pretty tight! not much extra time.. lots of walking and many early departures-late arrivals...
    About yesterday's event , we humans are always worry about this type of events and our safety abroad... I do too, but remember no where on this earth there is a 100% safe place anymore... and most of the time retaliations are focus towards official buildings, government facilities etc... not a group of tourist.... Also ,to start Jordan as well as Morocco have always been in good relations and supportive of U.S; and Egypt as is .. after loosing 98% of their tourist industry in the last 8-10 years ( huge hit to their economy ) are now eager to provide a friendly & safe place to any tourist regardless of their nationality. I tell you... I don't feel any safer here than I do abroad.
    Lets hope for the best and have a safe happy travel.
    Have a great weekend everyone.

  • Joycesw went to Jordan & Egypt with A&K last August. At many places (?) her group was chaperoned by a security guard toting an Uzi-like automatic weapon only partially hidden under his coat.

  • On the Israel/Jordan trip, we had an armed Tourist Policeman with us the entire time in Jordan - on the bus, walking with us on tour, etc. It's SOP there. Explanation from TD was King Hussein started the Tourist Police when he signed the peace treaty with Israel and wanted to insure the safety of Israeli tourists. As Jordan is a poor country (no oil), it was a way to increase employment and was expanded to include all tour groups a number of years ago.

  • BKMD - when were you in Israel/Jordan? We went October 2018. We had the same experience with the Jordanian Tourist Policeman and he actually made it more comforting especially when we went to Jerash. We are thinking of going on the Egypt Jewel of the Nile trip February 2022 once it opens up for booking. Where are you from?

  • Virginia_Travelers - I did Israel/Jordan Nov 2019. Was in Jerash a week after the Mexican tourists stabbing. BTW, for anyone else concerned about Jordan, despite being a little creeped out by the high security everywhere in Jordan, we had no issues, whatsoever.

    Haven't looked into dates yet for 2021 or beyond. Going to Japan in April and ESW in Sept 2020. I'm in Colorado.

  • GETTING SICK IN JORDAN. The last night in Amman we were able to shop at the outdoor mall across the street from the hotel for awhile as we searched for additional stomach meds. The only issue we had in Jordan was that about 10 of our group, including us, got the stomach virus at different times real bad. Some had to skip events. We suspect people got sick from the lunches while in Petra at the restaurant, the going away dinner and/or the last night at the Amman hotel. Even though we were all very careful in what we ate no one really knew for sure what caused it. Good thing we were in Business Class as we spent much of the time away from our seats on the flight home.

    BKMD - we have Romantic Germany July 2020, Australia (Tasmania and Kangaroo Island) Feb 2021, and planning for Egypt Feb 2022. Looking into Russia and a few others. Colorado is our favorite state!

  • BKMD - sent message about our Israel experience. Look at top right of your Forum page for message. It was a superlative trip in every way except for the above but now we smile about it all.

  • Virginia_Travelers, 10:32PM, . . . . We suspect people got sick from the lunches while in Petra at the restaurant, the going away dinner and/or the last night at the Amman hotel.

    That wouldn't be good on the Jordan & Egypt trip- Jerash, Petra (and Welcome Dinner) occur at the start of the tour!!

  • Alan - To put your mind at ease, on our Israel/Jordan trip, I'm not aware of anyone in the group getting sick. We didn't eat in the Amman hotel. We stopped at a restaurant in Amman just before getting to the hotel. In Petra, the lunch was a buffet, and the farewell dinner was catered by the Movenpick.

  • We’re leaving for Egypt in two weeks! I’m happy to answer any questions when we return on 1/28. Just give me a shout!

  • edited January 5

    ChicagoTravelers, Super, thanks!!! PM sent.

    Oooh, Oooh, I just learned how to use color (and a few other tricks) in Markdown! :) So far it looks like underlining is not possible.

  • Alan - I think we were just an unlucky group. That bug could happen anywhere. So not to worry - Jerash and Petra are so worth seeing. As I've said in previous posts only 7 of us (5 guys and 2 ladies) went to Jerash because many were tired from the previous days' long drive and chose to have spa treatments and relax at the pool. The 7 of us were not disappointed and we actually returned in time to spend a good deal of time at the pool right outside our hotel room door. First 2 photos are of Petra and the third is Jerash.



  • I'll add a few to supplement the above.

    This is what you see after the hike up 800 steps after lunch - the Monastery at Petra:

    And a wider shot from Jerash. In our group, about 20 went to Jerash. You can do a spa anywhere. You can't see stuff like this anywhere:

  • edited January 6

    Virginia_Travelers, 7:48PM, . . . As I've said in previous posts only 7 of us (5 guys and 2 ladies) went to Jerash because many were tired from the previous days' long drive and chose to have spa treatments and relax at the pool. The 7 of us were not disappointed and we actually returned in time to spend a good deal of time at the pool right outside our hotel room door.

    Skipping the tour to Jerash!! :o that is like skipping a game drive on K&T to lounge by the pool or hit the spa or heading back to the Movenpick right after eating lunch instead of exploring more of Petra! Oh, well, to each his own. :)

    Great photos of the Treasury, Siq, and the colonnaded street in Jerash- straight out of Nat Geo! :)

    BKMD- could you put a request in for the same weather 23 Mar - 3 Apr? :)

  • Alan - I'll do my best. I know you research trip timing like I do, so statistically, I expect similar weather. On our trip, it was beautiful the entire 2 weeks except on our final night in Amman, there were thunderstorms in the evening, gone in time for the trip to the airport.

  • I picked this date mainly for the temps- should be pleasant- not too cold or hot, but just right for my planned trekking in Petra and though quite warm, should not be overly so in Aswan and Abu Simbel. Joycesw went in August and had temps well over 100 F in Egypt.

  • Hello my travel friends...
    I do have a question for those that will travel before I do.
    In Petra, once the group enters the complex, do we walk from the ticket booth towards the Siq - to the Treasury etc.. or do we have the options of tacking a horse -drawn carriage/donkey-camel ride?.
    Do we visit The Royal Tumbs with the group or are we getting some time on our own to visit them & the rest of the city?
    Also, is there a chance to see the candle lit sights? I know this happens 3 nights per week.. Monday ,Wed. and Thursday.
    Please advise.
    Thanks.

  • In Petra, at least on the Israel and Jordan tour, there was an option for a horse drawn carriage going down/into Petra. We had one person on our tour that did that. On the way out we got a camel ride from the bottom back to the Treasury and then a horse drawn carriage from the Treasury back to the top. Both are quite an adventure. I had the slowest camel of anyone in our tour, but then my horse for the carriage ride could be entered into the Kentucky derby. FYI - Some people on our tour got different levels of chafing on their butt from the camel ride. Not sure what you can do to prevent that or if it will be an issue on your tour.

    We did not visit the Royal Tombs with the group. Not sure about the candle lit sights since I didn't and I didn't hear about anyone that did that. Our time in Petra was short. We arrived late in the afternoon. The next day we left early for Petra, spending the day there. Upon arrival back at the top Tauck had arranged that we could get a scarf and have it wrapped like an Arab headdress. After that we spent some time in the new Petra museum. That same evening was our Good Bye Bedouin dinner at little Petra.

    For us the camel ride back up from the bottom started immediately after lunch. If you want to do further exploring on your own at that time, at least on our tour, you would have to make special arrangements with the Tour Director. Just a guess, but I think the distance from the entry to the bottom of Petra might be 1.5 to 2 miles. We were there in September and in the afternoon the temperature was fairly warm (high 80s). The camel/horse carriage ride to the top was appreciated. We walked the entire route down, at a very leisurely pace. We stopped at one point and had fresh squeezed pomegranate juice and then had lunch at the very bottom.

  • Agree with Smiling Sam's comments on the visit and the time spent in the Canyon. However, we had the opposite experience on our camel. We started out the 4th couple in line for the camel ride and finished first! Our group said we had the Ferrari Camel as it flew by others and knocked down a temporary covering over a souvenir shop. Our ride was a lot of fun but had 3 major issues. We finished so quickly that the photographer taking photos at the end wasn't even there yet. Fortunately some friends were able to get our photos. Another issue is that we were going so fast we really couldn't take pictures while on the ride with our camera as we were bouncing around too much. The other issue was that we got lots of extra chafing on our ride. Not good at all.

  • I have read that long, loose pants are recommended for a camel ride and may help to minimize chafing (but most agree that it is not a comfortable experience).

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