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



  • edited January 8

    Mil- I don't have my Green Book yet but from my research, discussions with prior Israel & Jordan tour travelers, and talking with Tauck HQ, the Jordan & Egypt tour day in Petra should go something like this:

    Early breakfast (6:30), depart the Movenpick around 8:00 walk to the site entrance, then (downhill) to the Siq, to the Treasury with a guide using Vox/Whisper listening devices. What follows is a guided walk along the Street of Facades, stop for tea, etc., past the theater, the colonnaded street, and old city center in the open area to the Crowne Hotel Basin Restaurant, arriving for lunch around 11:30 for a buffet lunch. It is 2 mi. walk but all down hill. There are no stops at the Royal Tombs nor organized climbs to Ad Deir (Monastery), the High Place of Sacrifice, or the climb to the Treasury overlook. The method of travel back to the Treasury/entrance to the Siq which is all up hill is your choice of camel, donkey, horse/donkey cart or walking. The afternoon is free if you want to stay at the site to explore more. After lunch, some will choose to make the climb by foot or hire a donkey to take them from the Basin Restaurant up to Ad Deir. If you stay at the site you need to be back in time for dinner- the bus departs the Movenpick hotel at 5:30 or later???? (argh can't find my notes!!!!) for a (Movenpick catered) Bedouin style dinner at 7:30. Remember, any or all of this is subject to change.

    Here are varous maps of the site (the second one is for serious "hikers" so if you are not one of those don't rely on times). I will stay with the group through lunch (if I decide to eat lunch), then plan to make the (800 step!) trek up to Ad Deir, then, if I have any energy left after arriving back down at the Basin Restaurant, I will follow the Wadi Al Farasa trail (marked in yellow) to the far side of Jabal al-Madhbah (the Treasury mountain), up to the High Place of Sacrifice, then back down to the Street of Facades and back to the hotel. You can use Google Maps to view the site in detail, do time distance planning, and even use Google Maps Street View to "walk the entire site AND trails virtually (someone walked all the main and many of the side trails with Google's 360° digital mapping camera!!!)

    The Google Map below shows my planned afternoon trek route - (toilets :) at) Basin Restaurant - Ad Deir (Monastery) - Basin Restaurant - Wadi Al Farasa trail - Renaissance Tomb, etc. - High Place of Sacrifice - (toilets at) the Street of Facades. If I can't get a cart, I will also need to walk back (uphill) through the Siq to the main entrance (and to our nearby hotel). If you do the math, Google's time is based on a speed of 3 mph- pretty fast stroll, even on flat terrain!!! (when I do my training walks, I do a 16 + min. miIe but that is non-stop on flat terrain and doesn't include stops to rest, drink water, or take photos. So, please, don't use these figures for hard planning. On a positive note, at least for me, if we choose to have dinner at the hotel instead of in a private home and for our, tour sunset doesn't occur until 5:53 pm. That should give me plenty of time to complete my trek even if it takes me twice as long (as long as my body holds out! :o )

  • AlanS, you are amazing! between you, British and I could have a travel consulting site. :))) you do your homework just like I do, it's the best way to take advantage of the travel time and not miss out on historical sights or personal interest.
    I think, I will stay @ the site to explore more in the afternoon and take pictures.... not interested on staying at the hotel doing nothing . I
    will ask the TD about the lights at night, a friend of mine saw it and said it is amazing.
    Thank you so much again! . I will print the maps and will Google more info.
    Have a lovely day.

  • edited March 4

    Latest UPDATE 3/3/20: New info about dinner on Day 4 (Petra Day). It appears dinner the first night in Abu Musa (town outside Petra) is either at the Movenpick (our hotel) or with a local family. Depending on weather, the dinner the next night, following the day touring Petra, should be as shown in the itinerary- a Bedouin inspired meal, with entertainment, in a tent.

    UPDATE: New info about dinner on Day 4 (Petra Day). In my post above I provided info about the dinner on Petra Day. The online itinerary (I don't have my Green Book yet) says,

    "Join us tonight for a private tented dinner in the desert, enjoying a fruit-infused hubbly-bubbly smoke, music and dancing by a local troupe of sword dancers."

    I was just informed by a Tauck agent about a change- we will have a choice between dinner at the Movenpick or dinner with a local family. I will need to think about that one. Eating at the hotel gives me more time for my trek! See the note I added to the Google time-dist. map of my planned Petra trek in my post above.

    I'm sure more adjustments will happen, especially after the first few tours have submitted critiques.

  • milmil
    edited January 9

    Thanks AlanS
    I agree, hotel dinner would give us xtra time at the sites... even a chance to see the treasury lit. ! sometimes they even have small concerts.

  • edited January 9

    Mil- If you are thinking about attending the Petra by Night illumination, you'll need to check which day you will be in Petra and whether the (daytime) admission ticket you get from Tauck is good for the evening event as well. It is likely you will need a separate special nighttime ticket.

    Petra by Night runs every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week, starts at 20:30 from Petra Visitor Centre and delivers you back by licensed guide to the Visitor Centre around 22.30pm. The entrance fee for Petra by Night is 17 JD ($24). Tickets can be purchased at the Visitor Centre shops, local tour agencies in Petra or at your hotel reception. A valid day pass is also needed.

    If I manage to complete my trek, I probably won't feel like walking more that night, though our departure puts us at Petra on a Wednesday.
    Check the Visit Petra website and Petra by Night sublink for more details

    FYI, this website is weak wrt descriptions of the site and trails- the maps are really bad.

  • Alan, I’ve just read on another forum that there is a pre opening tour of the GEM, is it something you are aware of? Apparently it costs $250.

  • edited January 9

    British, 5:42AM, Alan, I’ve just read on another forum that there is a pre opening tour of the GEM, is it something you are aware of? Apparently it costs $250.

    Yes, I became aware of the pre-opening behind-the-scenes tour early on in my attempts to track GEM progress (nothing new on that front, unfortunately, at this point I'll be surprised if it opens in 2020 at all). In this short, 1 min. video shot in December in the main atrium of the GEM,

    Rick Steves gives the typical response about the opening date- "It will open in late 2020, Inshallah" - there is still a lot of work to be done.

    The pre-opening tour is primarily a behind-the-scenes tour (for groups of 10) of the restoration labs but possibly includes some other areas with little or no construction and where it is safe to walk. While not in fancy display cases, many of the 5000 Tut artifacts, including some (mummy, gilded wood sarcophagus, etc.) that were recently removed from his tomb in the Valley of Kings, are there being cleaned and restored.

    When I queried a Tauck agent about the behind the scenes tour last month, she told me that it is something the tour development team "has looked at." I'm crossing my fingers that maybe for the first few tours when the GEM is not open it will be one of the Tauck surprises or a big lagniappe. :) Hope springs eternal!

  • milmil
    edited January 10

    Hi AlanS
    Yes, I had already checked all this info. for the Petra by Night illumination. Thank you! again.
    I think ,if the group is inform about the dinner changes and about this event going on early in the tour ... most likely a group will be interested (maybe something that can be arrange on the spot with the TD? ).....specially that is so a beautiful and mean full. I wonder if Tauck would mind hearing from us about this... the more they hear about what the customers would like to see .. the easier it is for them to surprise us..
    About the special pre- tours inside the GEM, Yes!, it is a better option than not seeing anything at all and I'm sure it is very interesting/ informative also.... It would be amazing to see how they restore and clean all these pieces... but at the same time.. although not as fascinating as in person, there are several shows on the Discover C.- BBC showing how they do it. So.. lets all cross our fingers and keep positive.... it will open soon. :))
    Have a great day.

    for more info. :
    For those fellow travelers on the Nov. 22nd 2020 group ; Wed. Nov 25th ( Day 4) would be the only day avail. to do this night event. ;)

  • Hello all! I am signed up for this fabulous tour in December (Pure Luxury - I think we are on the same trip :)

    Alan S. - I really enjoy your posts and your insight... thank you for sharing.

    I just got back from a 3 week Panama Canal cruise (on Oceania) and we had armed guards in every country we were in... Acapulco, Mexico; Guatemala; Nicaragua and more. In Cartegena, Columbia, we even had a US Navy ship!! So, yes, I would assume heavy guard in the Middle East.

    I,also, saw the King Tutankhamun exhibit in the '70's - and it whet my appetite for more. I am SO excited!!!!

    Thank you everyone for posting your experiences and thoughts. I look forward to reading more.

  • Yippee!!!....ksolliday. Looking forward to sharing this adventure with you!

  • Ksolliday , a US Navy ship!! in Cartagena Colombia? are you sure... it wasn't a sailors retreat weekend...:) Cartagena is Famous for the ladies entertaining American body guards and navy sailor..... :D
    I personally would question any Travel company that would offer a destination where the navy seals are used as security guards...
    I can see how... if something (political) erupts at the country they are visiting & they have to evacuate the American citizens.. than the army or navy would be call in but as regular security feature... I would stay away from that destination and questions the company policies... .
    I have travel with Tauck for years and I know that safety is crucial for them... to the point where they have pulled out tours (Turkey) and have not re- instated them yet because of safety concern.
    Now, regarding the middle eastern countries having guards escort the groups is a common practice. Jordan signed a treaty not to long ago where it would guarantee the availability of travel guards to the Israeli tourist as a security feature, now this has been extended to any tourist groups. same in Egypt.
    Let's uplift our hopes ... everything will calm down and will get better...
    Happy travels!

  • ****Alan, I’ve just read on another forum that there is a pre opening tour of the GEM, is it something you are aware of? Apparently it costs $250.**

    I would definitely be willing to pay the $250 for the behind the scenes tour. It must be reasonably extensive to take 4 hours. There are just too many places on the list to visit to travel back to Egypt to see the museum. $250 is a small price to different than the various hot air balloon rides.

  • I did some research today, the operative phrase now seems to be that the "The Gem is set to open at the end of 2020." According to the Minister of Egyptian Antiquities and Tourism, Khaled Al-Anany, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi could announce the specific date of the Gem's formal opening very soon.

    Cairo’s new Sphinx International Airport (SPX) is perfectly located on the northern outskirts of 6th of October City. It opened its doors earlier last year as part of a plan to alleviate pressure on Cairo International Airport, which is on the eastern side of the capital. It is too bad we fly from Luxor to Cairo on a commercial flight, if we had a charter we might be able to land at SPX, which is a very short distance from the Marriott Mina House, the GEM, and the Pyramids.

    Here is a link to a current article about the GEM:

  • edited January 14

    Hopefully Tauck is aware and will adjust the itinerary? This will be a great extra day arrival activity on our own for most of a day whether Tauck spends a lot of time there or not on the official itinerary. Then we can head with Tauck to the sections we care to see again the most during their stop. Great research job Alan.

  • Virginia_Travelers Timing is everything. My trip is at the end of 2020--however; reading between the lines without much optimism, I'm guessing the GEM may not open in 2020. If by some great miracle it does, perhaps we may have enough time to decide whether to extend our travels by a day to really have time to explore the GEM.

  • As I said to Viriginia_Travelers in a PM, manyana has its roots in Arabic :-)
    That's why I booked my trip for Fall 2021 (and fingers still crossed)..

  • Hi mil! In Cartegena we also had 2 Columbian ships hanging out with us. What we did not know (until later) - earlier that day (evening??) was when the US killed the Middle Eastern general. I think probably the Navy's presence was due to the fact they were already in port.

    And, Pure Luxury - I agree with you. I would also happily pay $250 for a 4 hour tour of the museum if that is the only way to see it. I may never get back to the area, and it would be such a disappointment to miss it. Fingers crossed it will be open by the time we are there in December!!

    And, and Alan S. and others have quoted "Inshallah!!"

  • So I booked Egypt yesterday and what's the first song I heard on the radio this morning after I got in the car?
    Walk Like an Egyptian by The Bangles :)

  • At least it wasn't Steve Martin! :D

  • Our experience was exactly like Smiling Sam's, and I must say all these photos look ever so familiar! Wonderful experience. As we settled on our camels, before they got to their feet, mine sweetly nuzzled my husband's ear. They do move with alacrity so be prepared for bouncing on their very broad backs. The conclusion is that I'll never ride into the sunset over desert sands. Our subsequent horse carriage ride was marred by the driver constantly berating our poor animal to speed up. We finally made him stop so we could get out and walk. The tented dinner was lots of fun - just remember to dress in all your layers as it gets chilly in the evening. We were there in February of last year.

  • You do not have to have a dress to dine at the 1902 restaurant, I took one and wore it but many women wore a nice pair of pants and blouse with shoes ( no sneakers no jeans ) The restaurant will provide a jacket for men. We were unable to have the dinner in Little Petra due to high winds. So options were dinner at Hotel or in the home of a Local family.

  • edited February 29

    You do not have to have a dress to dine at the 1902 restaurant, I took one and wore it but many women wore a nice pair of pants and blouse with shoes ( no sneakers no jeans ) The restaurant will provide a jacket for men. We were unable to have the dinner in Little Petra due to high winds. So options were dinner at Hotel or in the home of a Local family.

    Karen, so . . . you were on the Jordan & Egypt tour!?!?!?! A number of us have been eagerly waiting for a J&E returnee to check in!!! Do you mind checking back here regularly for a week or so to answer questions? We would be very appreciative!!!! My wife and I go in 3 weeks!

    I’ll ask about your post first. Was the 1902 restaurant worth it, or fancy place w/mediocre food and service?

    I realize the schedule can often change, so not sure if I got conflicting info from Tauck HQ (see my post above). I was led to believe first night at Petra was choice of eating at one of the hotel restaurants (# ?) or w/local family (a change from what is in Green Book) and second night was Bedouin meal (near Little Petra). Could you please clarify?

    Day/nighttime temps in Petra? I’ve been following temps from weather websites for Jordan, especially Petra, which indicated it has been darn chilly there- low to mid 50’s. What did you experience? (Your tour dates?)

    Many more questions to follow with your help. Thanks!

  • edited March 1

    First a little information about the trip. Voxes were used at each sight where we had a local guide. There is no USB available on any of the busses. Regarding Petra, The Movenpick is directly across from the entrance so 5 minute walk. You will have time on the day you arrive in Petra to do some hiking if you want... schedule a late dinner.(latest is probably about 7:30) We left the hotel at 8:00 and all walked to the treasury with guide... I think we were at the treasury by 9:00 (28 in our group and some slow going due to terrain) Lunch was at 11:30 at the Basin and we could return to the hotel or continue exploring at 12:30 or skip lunch. You will miss the camel ride back to the treasury. Several people hiked to the Monastery and beyond and got back to the Hotel in time for dinner at 6. Just be aware if you want the horse cart experience you need to be back from hiking before 2 as horse carts are finished at 2:30. There was discussion about changing the venue for dinner from Little Petra to the Movenpick in the morning and that was confirmed by mid morning. ( The winds were wild that day and not safe to be in a tent). Regarding COVID19 had no impact on our itinerary. ... we had our temperatures taken upon arrival in the airport in Aswan only. That may change obviously.Be prepared for some early morning bag pulls and some very filled days... it was a blast.
    You will ride in a horse cart in Aswan and Camels might be available for Photo at other sights... just not a ride . Weather in Jordan was chilly and windy ( remember that you have some early mornings and it might be in the 40's... It snowed in Petra the week after we were there) First night is at the hotel or with a local family.. but that is always subject to change. 1902 was worth it and they will provide a jacket if you don't have one (on our trip most men brought jackets and most women brought a dress , but nice slacks and a blouse will be accepted . no sneakers. Weather in Egypt was beautiful 70's in the daytime and cool at night. The time tables in the Green Book and we made all of our destinations like clockwork ( give or take 30 minutes due to traffic) .
    Happy to be home and ready to go back

  • karen1672 thanks for the extra info. we'll keep checking for more.....

  • Oh! Thanks God AlanS you are going, I'm already enjoying your report :))
    I moved my trip from Nov.2020 to May 2021, I want to give more time for the GME to open.. but I do like to hear other people experiences , specially when it is a new tour.
    Thanks everyone

  • edited March 2

    8:59AM edited 9:16AM

    First a little information about the trip. Voxes were used at each sight where we had a local guide. . . . . .

    Karen, Again, thanks so much!

    For the last few tours I have used a Bose headset instead of the supplied single ear piece with the VOX so I can hear better. This time I'm going to add the little Bluetooth transmitter I use with the TV at home, so I don't need to fuss with a cord.

    It sounds like my legs and knees will be the determining factors, not time, for how much I actually do and see in Petra! I might not make it back until just before dinner. :) (I never met a castle, ruins, etc. that I didn't like!) The horse cart appears be out of the equation so I guess I should plan on hiking all the way back to the Movenpick. Besides, I've heard about the the horse cart ride- one person reported it was a Mr. Toad's wild ride! As far as sitting on a camel, probably only briefly for a photo, no riding. Believe it or not, I am still suffering the after effects of a bad saddle sore I got horseback riding at the Mount Kenya Safari Club during K&T way back in 2015! :o (TMI?) Temps continue to warm. In the three weeks until we arrive it looks like it will be warmer but still comfortable in Petra for the amount of activity I have planned.

    So we actually have access to Petra the afternoon we arrive or would we need to buy our own tickets for that? What time did you arrive?

    Is lunch at the Basin Restaurant still a buffet?

    Below are a more questions I pulled from my list.

    • Did you fly from Aqaba to ASWAN in a Dash 8 (twin turbo prop) or a CRJ900 NexGen (small commuter jet)? (I posted photos in the other thread ). How long was the flight? Did you get a good view of the Sinai Peninsula?

    • Was there enough space in the overhead racks for a typical rolling carry-on luggage or almost no space? We don't use them but others have asked that question.

    • How long did you spend at Abu Simbel? Were the temple interiors rebuilt when they relocated the temples to avoid the rising waters of Lake Nasser? Could you enter?

    • One post by a Jewels of the Nile returnee said photography was allowed during the after-hours visit to Nefartari's and Tut's tombs but was restricted in a few other places (tombs?). Were there any places where it was restricted that you or your husband would have liked to take photos? Which ones? Was there an option to pay extra for an (official) photo ticket upgrade (I saw a price list for standard and photo passes for VOQ/VOK), or was there an "opportunity" to "purchase" an "unofficial" ticket and take photos? Wink, wink ;)

    • Was there just a short (photo?) stop at Hatshepsut's Temple, but little or no time to tour it?

    • Where was group photo taken- Treasury, Hatshepsut's Temple, the Sphinx, or ?

    • Was Day 9 (Luxor, Karnak, VOQ. VOK) as busy and tiring as it sounds?

    • The various itineraries on the website, app, and green book show a visit to the Old Egyptian Museum on Day 10 after you arrive from Luxor AND again in the afternoon on Day 12. The latest info I received from Tauck HQ is that the tour just visits once on Day 12. Could you please clarify? Since a lot of stuff has already been moved to the GEM, is there much left to see at the Old Museum?

    • Did you visit both Saqqara (location of Step Pyramid of Djoser, Serapeum (tomb of Serapis Bulls), Pyramid of Teti, and UNAS Complex (all of which are accessible) AND the nearby (just a few km south) necropolis of Dahshur (location of the Bent and its satellite pyramid, Red pyramid and Black pyramid, all of which are open, etc.)? Was it a drive-by, drive-by with photo stops, or were you able to walk around and enter one or more of the pyramids or mastabas? We are staying an additional day (until about midnight the night after the farewell dinner) and are considering going back to one to or both of those areas for a closer look, but I am not booking anything ahead of time- we will try to arrange for car and guide through the Mena House concierge if we decide to do that. Comments/suggestions?

    • How were the crowds at (1) Abu Simbel (2) Kom Ombo/Edfu (3) Karnak / Luxor, (4) VOQ / VOK (5) Giza?

    • How about Giza? Did you enter any of the pyramids? Tough climb, half doubled, over?

    • Like the Classic Italy tour which has often been referred to as the "ABC Tour" (Another Beautiful Church tour), or K&T where there are many amazing animals which you often see multiple times on almost every game drive, did you ever get to the point where you said or thought, "Gee, another beautify tomb, pyramid, temple, etc."? :D

    Laundry- Jordan is too early, so it would need to be at the Legend Old Cataract or aboard the Oberoi Zahra. Do they have laundry service on the boat?

    That's about it until I can think of more. :)

  • alanS, hi! . keep all those questions in mind... so you can let us know the answers once you're back. :smile:

  • A note about Cameras. I corresponded with Judy offline about the necessity to bring the fancy camera with zoom & wide lens for this trip. Judy replied "If you carry a camera, you will pay a fee to carry it into most sites. Phones are free. The Director asked ahead of time about cameras, so it wouldn’t hold up the group. Fees would have to be paid in local currency" .

    She said she carried an IPhone and IPad and got great shots. I will not be taking my Canon DSLR. The iphone 11 Pro will have to capture the shot!.....and i get to leave the heavy camera and lens behind without feeling guilty.

    Alan, please provide your opinion upon your return.

  • edited March 2


    A note about Cameras. I corresponded with Judy offline about the necessity to bring the fancy camera with zoom & wide lens for this trip. Judy replied "If you carry a camera, you will pay a fee to carry it into most sites. Phones are free. The Director asked ahead of time about cameras, so it wouldn’t hold up the group. Fees would have to be paid in local currency" .

    She said she carried an IPhone and IPad and got great shots. I will not be taking my Canon DSLR. The iphone 11 Pro will have to capture the shot!.....and i get to leave the heavy camera and lens behind without feeling guilty.

    Phones can be used to take some pretty decent shots in the right hands, but resolution may not be all it is cracked up to be once enlarged, and since flash may not be allowed, unless you have an iPhone 11 Pro, photos may be dark. I hope to have a few of my better photos enlarged and printed on canvas. I haven't decided if I will carry my iPad. As best I can tell, the cost for an upgraded photo pass isn't too pricey. A likely outdated TripAdvisor post said it cost an additional LE300 ($20 at today's exchange rate) for a photo pass in the VOK (3 tombs), but supposedly photos aren't or weren't allowed in tombs KV22 (Tut) and KV17 (Seti I) at all. One poster also said a $1 "tip" does wonders, but I also read, "tipping" not correctly done, can result in having your camera confiscated :D ChicagoTravelers (Judy), who recently returned from the Jewels tour, posted here on the Forum that Tauktourians were allowed to take photos in Tut's and Nefertari's tombs during our after-hours visit.

    I just don't understand the phone vs DSLR issue at the sites. What is the intent? - reduce annoying flashes, limit damaging flashes- both have flash, reduce number of people blocking everyone's view while people take photos- that happens with people having both phones and DSLR, neither group is faster than the other, and contrary to numerous erroneous reports and excuses offered by attendants, camera flash does not cause art, etc. to deteriorate- no harmful UV! We were allowed to take flash photos in the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel- if flash could cause damage, that wouldn't have been allowed.

    Speaking of photography in Egypt, below are links to some decent articles:

    This recent one (Dec 2019) is for photogs like me who are mere mortals:

    I didn't see a date on this one so take prices and policies with a grain of salt. It is for the more artistic and savvy photographers:

    Alan, please provide your opinion upon your return.

    Will do. Less than 3 weeks til we go and hoping COVID 19 doesn't cause problems. Still no reported cases in Jordan and only 2 in Egypt, one of which has recovered.

  • milmil
    edited March 3

    Phones are okay inside the Tombs- pyramids but for outside- Petra-Pyramids-Nile River, Sunsets etc... I will take my camera, not my Sony 600mm F4- "just kidding" :)) ! but my wide angle..... :)))) and yes my iPhone.....
    the site has great info. thank uuuuuuuuuuuuuuu AlanS

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