A weekend in Cairo

We’re just back from a two day trip to Cairo and believe me it feels like we’ve had a weeks vacation. We’re back in Dubai feeling exhausted!
The Pyramids of Giza have always been on our bucket list so we jumped at the opportunity to tag a vacation onto our business trip. The Pyramids are amazing and they didn’t let us down.  One of our favourite travel experiences.

Check out our photos.

Cairo is the largest city in Egypt with an estimated population of 12million people and believe me the traffic and the roads certainly confirmed the bedlam.

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.

We stayed at The Conrad Hotel and paid just a little extra for a room overlooking The Nile. Yes, the view was awesome, especially the sunsets, however the street noise was crazy! Car honking seems to be a national hobby! A nice hotel but on reflection, we would take a hotel away from such a hectic roadside location. The Marriott, in the Zamalek district was a refreshing oasis of calm away from the hectic street life of  Cairo. Set in 6 acres of palace gardens still just a short walk from The Nile.

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.
View from our hotel across The Nile

Crossing the roads you need to take your life in your hands and weave your way  between heavy traffic with confidence. A small price to pay to experience the energy of the city.

A short drive from the city takes you to the pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, a symbol of ancient Egypt, guarding these ancient wonders of the world.

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.

We recommend privately hiring a camel or horse to trek across the desert to see the pyramids. It was definitely worth it for a once in a lifetime experience.

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.
My first camel ride!

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.

A few tips and changes we’d make if or when we go back.

  • Ladies, a shawl or cover up is an absolute must. Please remember that Egypt is a muslim country. Don’t wear short skirts or sleeveless tops. Believe me you’ll feel so much more comfortable if you avoid any tight fitting clothing, shorts and shoe string straps and dress conservatively
  • Visit the Egyptian museum late afternoon or evening when everyone else is heading back.
  • We’d definitely recommend taking a private guide and driver, avoiding the large tour groups and buses. They are reasonably priced and well worth the additional expense. we also found that the street vendors arn’t quite so annoying when you’re walking with a guide.
  • Pay the extra and take the camel or horse trek across the desert. Crossing the desert to the pyramids has to be one of my best all time experiences. Amazing!
  • At sunset take your camera and find yourself a spot along the Nile
  • Cross the Nile and wander around the Zamalek area
  • Find a reliable driver, hotel recommended, and visit the Egypt Museum and one of the many ancient churches. . Note: Be wary of unofficial guides!

Things to do over a weekend in Cairo.

Welcome to the Gili Islands, Lombok

Gili islands beaches travel review
Visit Gili islands impeccable white-sand beaches

The Gili Islands off the north-west coast of Lombok, Indonesia, are truly special. The tropical island getaway has something for everyone; picturesque white sandy beaches, stunning coral reef, deep turquoise seas and most favourably, no cars, no motorbikes and no distractions.

Transport on the Gili islands
Explore the serene islands

The word ‘Gili’ actually means ‘small islands’, with the most popular of the small island locations being Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili  Trawangan.

Previously renowned as a backpacker haven, Gili Islands now attracts a diverse group of worldly travellers looking for the perfect tropical escape.

The pristine waters around the three islands are abundant with thriving corals and thousands of species of tropical fish, attracting popular PADI dive companies and serious divers, as well as those looking to take it easy and snorkel the impressive array of sea life.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Gili Trawangan

We arrived at Gili Trawangan, the largest of the three islands, by boat from mainland Bali. The journey typically takes around 1 hour 30 minutes by ‘fast boat’ from Padang Bai.

We dropped our bags off at the hotel accommodation and hired bicycles. Immediately the feeling of freedom from noise, fumes and chaos created by the lack of vehicles is truly liberating. There is a real ‘laid-back’ feeling about the whole island, so leave your suitcase at home and pack a weekend bag with only your favourite beach shorts, sandals and t-shirts.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review
Our island transportation

Gili Trawangan is a 2.5km total round trip, which is achievable to cycle in under an hour – and not at all challenging even after a few Bintang local beers!

The island has two very different sides. The west coast (which is the opposite side to the landing dock) is very chilled and is ideal for daytime sun worshippers, surfers or to view the most amazing sunsets. You will find bars and restaurants dotted along the beachfront. The surf is small yet enjoyable, and boards can be hired on the beach at around 100Rp per hour. By contrast, the east side of the island (which is where you dock, and accommodates the many dive centres) is much livelier.

Admittedly, we arrived during the holy month of Ramadan and with most of the island population being Muslim, the party scene was quiet during this time. However, it is important to note that Gili Trawangan is labelled ‘the party island’ so be prepared for lots of young travellers and sun seekers during the high-season.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review
Casa Vintage bar and restaurant offers an authentic Jamaican menu

Beach restaurants - Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel reviewAlphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Gili Air

In contrast to Gili Trawangan, Gili Air  (just 20 minutes by local boat or 5 minutes by speedboat) is undoubtedly less ‘touristy’. A laid-back travel destination with cool beach bars and simple cafes, however over recent years the island has seen luxury accommodation developments added along the beachfront.

Gili Air offers low-key, unspoilt nature with the idyllic beaches and great surf locations. The views from the island are stunning but the east coast offers probably the most dramatic scenery with views across to Lombok and Indonesia’s second largest volcano, Mt Rinjani.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Gili Meno

And finally, the island of Gili Meno; the ‘couple’s island’. Gili Meno island is the perfect destination for those seeking a truly peaceful haven in the tropical sun with uncrowded beaches, beautiful clear seas, tranquil evenings – and a guarantee of no rowdy bars or full moon parties!

Gili Meno is a haven for those seeking an unspoilt island escape. With a population of only 400 people, the entire island is possible to explore and walk around in just 90 minutes.

Alphabet Lifestyle Gili Islands Indonesia travel review

Have you visited the Gili Island’s? If so, comment below and share your thoughts.