Hate is such a strong word, right? Let’s go with I didn’t like it very much at all. I couldn’t wait to get out of Egypt and grew tired of it very quickly.

No, it’s not because I had diarrhoea on day one of being there. It’s also not because Daniel went to the hospital twice and somehow managed to get typhoid and some parasite. It’s not even because some ridiculous law made it near impossible for us to get our Egyptian visas simply because we crossed from Israel (a story for another time).

I hated Egypt for two reasons: the harassment and the lies.

My story starts in Cairo, along the Nile River. Our Egyptian friend has negotiated a one-hour felucca ride (a motorised wooden boat found everywhere along the river) with three stops for sightseeing.

15 minutes into the ride, the felucca turns around and heads back. Our mate tells the driver that it’s only been 25 minutes so then he turns around and heads back in the same direction again. We basically just did this in the Nile:

The felucca docks after 40 minutes and the guy that made the “deal” with our Egyptian friend is standing there.

There’s a bit of “hey mate, you told us an hour with a few stops but we got 40 minutes and circles” but the guy doesn’t care and is like “yeah, whatever, I ripped you off my fellow Egyptian friend. High five?” So, lesson one: even locals get hustled. 

Some of my other fave lies during the trip (in no specific order):

  1. “The restaurant is open,” despite the lights being off, the staff absent and the kitchen clearly closed.
  2. “Pay whatever you like,” followed by a series of verbal abuse for not paying enough.
  3. “It’s expensive because that place is 7 km away,” even though my map is clearly showing it’s only 2 km away.
  4. “OK, fifteen pounds,” and later demanding FIFTY pounds.

Sigh. It’s all a lie. Lesson two: be on guard, the trickery is real! 

A couple of days later we’re outside the gates of the Pyramids of Giza. Totally off topic but the stench poop is inescapable – probably because there is camel poo all around me and no one cleaning it up. What’s up with that?

We choose to go early to avoid running into busloads of tourists and to enjoy some peace in the complex. Ha! Jokes on us.

As if we resemble the stink of camel poo, the vendors smell us from a mile away. We are bombarded by vendor after vendor as soon as we pass through the gates.

Camel ride. Horse and carriage ride. Camel photo. Guide. Photographer. Souvenirs. Water.

You name it, someone is selling it. And selling it isn’t the problem. The biggest problem I have is that ’no, thank you’ is inadequate. ‘No, thanks, I’m happy walking’ is also inadequate.

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‘I don’t have money.’ Nope.

‘I don’t want a ride.’ Nope.

‘I’m okay, really.’ Nope.

For every rejection, there’s a counter. These guys are tenacious, I’ll give them that. And mind you, this all takes place as I’m walking so as one vendor finally stops following me, another starts.

“LEAVE ME ALONE!!” I want to say. I don’t. I understand that tourism has significantly declined in Egypt and this behaviour is a reflection of the desperation for tourism is grow and for income to generate as it once did. But it really is tiring.

We go back and forth until the only option I have is to completely ignore them and run away.

Cairo is the capital of Egypt, so my thinking is that it can’t get any worse, right? Wrong. After escaping in one piece, we travel to Luxor – a city rich with Ancient Egyptian sites and also the absolute epitome of harassment.

It’s 9 am and already 30-something degrees. The sun pierces my skin like a blanket of fire and with the sweat dripping down my thighs this bloody early, I’m uncomfortable and agitated. Daniel is in the hospital and hopefully getting discharged today. Tami and I leave our hotel and in the space of 500 metres, we have received the following remarks:

“Oooh very nice.”
“Taxi? Taxi? Come on, I can take you. Do you want to know how much? Where are you going? I’ll take you.”
“Hello, are you from China? Where you from?”
“Don’t be angry, smile for me.”
“Ferry to the other side? Come, come with me, we can go now. Yes? No? OK later?”
“Ni hao!”
“Tour? Tour? Do you know how much?”
“Hello, flower.”
“How many camels for you?”

After 2 weeks of being in Egypt, I’ve reached boiling point (and it’s not because of the sun).

I’m sick of being followed. I’m tired of being polite. I have never felt this objectified in my life and I hate it. 

My fists tighten and jaws clench as I swallow the tirade of remarks I want to hurl back. Despite telling them that I find their comments offensive, disgusting or just plain stupid (“you walk like an Egyptian”), I fall on deaf ears.

I feel uncomfortable and even allow myself to start thinking ‘do I need to cover up more?’

No, girl. You don’t.

I’m so sick of this patriarchal bullcrap that enables men to objectify women as if it’s their right. I don’t care that this is ‘their culture’ – it doesn’t excuse it. Even when I post about the harassment on Instagram, there are women telling me that they’ve gotten used to it. We shouldn’t have to be used to it. Ever. My body was not created for your perverted eyes.

And for the millionth time, NO! I DO NOT WANT A BLOODY HORSE AND CARRIAGE RIDE.

Deep breath.

My feelings about Egypt can be summed up in two words: impressive and irritating. 

Certainly impressive

 

These jarring feelings made this hard to write. On the one hand, I was beyond blown away by Ancient Egypt; the sites are truly magnificent and I was awestruck. On the other, I couldn’t wait to escape never-ending harassment. It’s so bad that Egypt’s Parliament just passed a new law where:

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Unless there is a tougher penalty stipulated in any other law, whoever harasses tourists or visitors of archaeological sites or museums, with the intention of begging or promoting, offering or selling a good or service, shall be punished with a fine of not less than LE 3,000 ($169 USD) and not more than LE 10,000 ($563 USD).

It’s promising but I’m not sure how the reality of this will play out. One can only hope.

The reality of travelling is this: not every place you visit is going to come with some profound, life-changing and remarkable experience. There are places that are absolutely delightful and others that are pretty shit (sometimes literally, like in Giza. I can still smell the camel poop). Every place has redeeming factors, and Egypt certainly has its own. Besides the Ancient Egyptian sites, the Sinai Peninsula is actually pretty rad and I absolutely love Dahab (this little coastal town along the Red Sea).

All of this being said, I still recommend travelling to Egypt (and will be bringing you some guides very shortly). You can’t exactly go anywhere else to see Egyptian temples and pyramids. It’s also so cheap to travel right now and I imagine that this will change as Egypt slowly recovers from its decline in tourism.

The final lesson for Egypt? Bring earplugs. Here, it’s completely acceptable to ignore a person and just keep walking – no matter how counterintuitive or impolite it may feel. Particularly if it’s going to prevent you from punching someone in the face – which I may or may not have considered.

Have you been to Egypt? Could you relate to my experience or was yours completely different? Have you been to a place that just completely let you down? Let me know in the comments below.

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55 thoughts on “Why I Hated Egypt

  1. Jose Ortega says:

    Hi Amanda, thank you for the post. I was in Egypt last month for thirty days. I had the exact experience and fully worn out. Could not wait to leave. I am a seasoned traveler. Egypt was the most fascinating and exasperating country I have visited. I will return but far more prepared. Hopefully that will make a difference to my frustrating journey.

  2. Saif A.K. says:

    I read and know exactly where you’re coming from….

    I live in Egypt, and do not look Egyptian and the rare times (once every ten/eleven years) I will visit the pyramids with friends or relatives and also have to go through that BS of tourism hassles… It is frustrating as I know Arabic but that doesn’t stop the hassle…

    I cannot imagine how you must feel as a woman and all that sexual harassment… Am glad you also had some positive memories and experiences… Definitely enjoyed reading your blog about the travel…

    Peace be upon you, Namaste, and all that jazz…

  3. Jen says:

    I went to Egypt in February 2019. I would NOT recommend it to anyone. The monuments are amazing but all of the cheating, lying and money grabbing ruined the who experience. I have always want to go to Egypt and couldn’t wait to get there. With in 24 hrs of being in the country I was looking for a flight out. That is all it took was 24 hrs. I have been in a place where when anxiety and anger ruled every second of the day. I could type a very long post about what it was like there but I will just give you the basics. You are a walking ATM machine. You will pay to get into the museum, you will pay to use the bathroom in the museum. You will pay to use the bathroom anywhere including the airport. All of which are filthy. You are paying the so called bathroom attendants. The “bathroom attendants” hold the toilet paper hostage. They will literally run to the bathroom the beat the person that is heading there, run into every stall and take out all of the toilet paper. I watched this everywhere. If you bring in your own TP the get upset. If you pay them less than 10 pounds the get upset. Someone will say “watch your step” and then say “give me a tip. I just helped you” Money for everything. Pay an entrance fee to see a site and think you are done? Not a chance. There are men everywhere inside the temples that will come up to you and try to tell you something about the temple. Then want money. If you ignore and it is a busy temple they will leave you alone. If it is a quite temple they will follow you until you give them something to go away. And I forgot to mention the men trying to sell you something while you are in the temple. Then the men trying to sell you something when you leave the temple. Oh, and the men who try to sell you something when you arrive at the temple. And they are in you face, will not take no for an answer. You cannot even view the sites once inside without being harassed. I will stop here. This is just the a scratch in the surface of what you can expect.

    • Amanda | LVV Travel says:

      Hi Jen, so sorry about your experience but I can definitely tell you that not all of Egypt was like that at all. I felt the complete opposite (and very liberated) in Dahab! Loved it there! But yes, in Luxor, I was drained. I do hope that changes happen in the near future because it’s a beautiful country and I’d love to return without feeling the burden of being harassed. All the best with your travels.

  4. Madhurima says:

    I am back from Egypt ad have got great memories of the country. Harrasment and haggling exist, just the way you narrated it but they didn’t bother me much. Is it because I am from India and these things happen in my country too? And I do try and understand where that is coming from and choose to accept the bitterness of unjust life? I don’t know but I do know I felt people in Egypt were the most fun and confident lot I came accross in Africa as a continent (after traveling to Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe and Ethiopia).even with the lush and haggling and stalking and lies and rudeness! Loved them 😀 may be because they reminded me of my own lot?

  5. Charlotte Tweed says:

    I was in Egypt this summer with my husband. I wonder, did you hire a private guide? I agree there are always people trying to sell you things but our guide informed us right off the bat to not even make eye contact with them. Do not say “no” as this is considered an invitation to conversation. Our guide also warned us not to go on the street alone as the “human mosquitoes” would never leave us alone. I would not say that I was sexually harassed. I wore sleeveless shirts. I have long blonde hair and am fair so I certainly did get a lot of stares. One young guy winked at me on the train platform in Luxor and gave me a nod. I found it kind of funny and so did my husband. The only time I felt really uncomfortable was at the Giza train station. Small children were coming up to me and saying things and I could tell it was not nice. Our driver said we could go someplace else but there was nowhere else on the platform that would have been different. I couldn’t understand what they were saying anyways. I was very grateful for our guides and drivers as they protected us from being ripped off and buying fake souvenirs that are just plastic. For me, the big thing that bothered me about Egypt was all the garbage. There was garbage EVERYWHERE! However, I didn’t notice the camel poo issue at the pyramids. Thanks for your post. It is good to hear the good and the bad. I also wrote a post about our travels to Egypt and how it was a culture shock. I’m glad we went but 10 days was enough.

  6. Lucie says:

    Thank you so much for your honesty. Every travel experience is not positive and I get so tired of everyone acting like it is. We were in Egypt about a month ago. I am a married woman in my fifties and my husband is a very large man so my harrassement was minimal. I also had a guide with me at all times which helped as well. I told anyone who listened to me that tourist are being chased away because of the vendors. I read a lot before we went and was well aware. It is very hard in my culture (southern American) to be rude, but that is what I had to be. I brought an extra suitcase for souvenirs but came home with only a few trinkets because I would not shop. I loved Egypt, but this certainly soiled my experience.

    • Amanda | LVV Travel says:

      Hi Lucie, thanks for reading and I’m so grateful that you can appreciate my honesty. It is difficult and I do hope that some things will change so that tourism keeps improving there. Glad you still had a great trip otherwise. Amanda

  7. Carmen says:

    I totally agree. Apparently I’m worth 300 camels. I was with a small tour group (9 in total with a local guide), and it was honestly worse than traveling through Turkey myself, which I thought was as bad as it could get. Yes – I HAVE BOOBS! And yes – I AM BLONDE! Ugh. If I look last the never ending annoyance and harassment, I did enjoy my trip (and I never felt physically unsafe – probably because I’m also 6’ tall), but I won’t be going back! /endrant

  8. Frances says:

    Hello! I visited Egypt last month to meet my boyfriend who is from there but from Alexandria, we visited the pyramids as it was a first for both of us and I too was annoyed with the vendors that I didn’t get to really enjoy visiting the pyramids because they were too busy taking our pictures on the camels haha but I would suggest visiting Alexandria, it is so beautiful and everyone there is so nice!

    • Amanda | LVV Travel says:

      Hi Frances, that’s for your tip! Will definitely head back Alexandria next time we visit. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time but good to know that you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading. Amanda

  9. James says:

    For someone who has been traveling for two years, you do come off as somewhat ignorant. Here’s the thing. Times are hard in egypt. These people you encountered have no other source of livelihood, thus they will continue to bug you just to be able to put food in their mouth for the day. If you only spent some time getting to know these people you’d be ashamed for even thinking of writing this hate filled post. And about your tirade about being respected, just so you know: the way they act is ingrained in their culture. So believe it or not, to them they are not sexually harassing you. I know because i actually befriended locals and confronted them about this. It’s their culture. You are the visitor. You should be the one adapting. You can’t make demands, you can’t impose your beliefs on what’s proper and what’s not. You cannot change their way of thinking even if you spent years trying. If this is how you travel, here’s an unsolicited piece of advice. Stick to those countries with customs and traditions that are similar to yours. Believe me, these things you hated are present in many other countries, you’d only end up hating a lot more.

    • Amanda | LVV Travel says:

      Hi James. Thanks for your comment. I can see that you are someone who really cares about Egypt and I appreciate and understand that. I hope you’ll allow me the opportunity to respond to each part of your comment because I feel very strongly about everything you’ve said. Warning, it’s long but I hope you’ll read it in its entirety.

      For someone who has been traveling for two years, you do come off as somewhat ignorant. Here’s the thing. Times are hard in egypt. These people you encountered have no other source of livelihood, thus they will continue to bug you just to be able to put food in their mouth for the day. If you only spent some time getting to know these people you’d be ashamed for even thinking of writing this hate filled post.

      Actually, I did get to know locals and what’s ironic about what you say is that they were the ones who warned me in advance and I chose to see those warnings as “oh they’re just exaggerating”. I am not ashamed of sharing my honest experience. I’d be more ashamed of pretending that nothing went wrong and that my time in Egypt was pure bliss. I also don’t think the post is hate filled at all. I actually feel that I approached some pretty serious issues in a bit of a comedic and somewhat light-hearted way. If I took you back to exactly how I felt in my near month there, it was far more stressful, anxious and exhausting than I let on. There’s no hate (besides in the title) but a reflection of how I felt as a traveller there. 

I have reflected that times are tough in Egypt and the bugging I can understand a lot more. This is why I said that I chose NOT to respond rudely and learned that ignoring was okay. The reality is, I can’t give money to every single person. The point of that part of the post was to highlight that this will happen and that not responding is also acceptable.

      However, “times are tough” doesn’t excuse the outright lies though now does it. Hopping into a taxi and agreeing to 15 only then to change it to 50 is not okay anywhere in the world. Telling me that you’re going to take me for a 1 hour trip only to actually go for 15 minutes isn’t doing you any favours. Scams exist all around the world. I think it’s pretty important to let other travellers know what they might face. I’m not sure why that’s a bad thing. Common scams are always highlighted when talking about travel.

      And about your tirade about being respected, just so you know: the way they act is ingrained in their culture. So believe it or not, to them they are not sexually harassing you. I know because i actually befriended locals and confronted them about this. It’s their culture. You are the visitor. You should be the one adapting.

      “Behaviour ingrained in culture” is a pathetic excuse for justifying shit behaviour – usually towards women – that is unwelcomed, unsolicited and unacceptable on an objective level. Regardless of ANY culture, when a person asks you to stop something you are doing towards them, that is a very OBVIOUS sign that they would like you to… well, stop.

      Here’s the thing – you may well believe that an act you commit is not wrong. However, you can see from the other person’s reaction whether it is or not TO THEM. That’s what matters, not whether or not it is TO YOU. Take for example if you went and punched your mother in the face. She immediately screams, starts to cry and perhaps has some bruising afterwards. She is clearly not okay with this. Unless you’re a psychopath who gets off and that kinda thing, you know that it’s wrong. No one has to tell you that.

      So, like I said in my article, the issue I take is that even after asking the men to stop, telling them that I don’t find it okay and that I think it’s disgusting (and let’s be real, you can’t use language barrier as an excuse because these people spoke English well) – they laughed it off. So yeah, whilst this is something “ingrained” in their culture, it doesn’t make it okay and when someone makes it clear that something you are doing is making them uncomfortable, the ONLY appropriate response is to stop. That’s being HUMAN and goes beyond all culture, language and race. Don’t play the culture card as a pathetic excuse to allow that behaviour. There are still people who want to call “honour killings” that – it doesn’t change the fact that it is murder.

      I too have had conversations with locals about this. When I ask them how they would feel if they saw the same behaviour towards their mothers, sisters or wives, guess what they said? Not okay. So yeah, don’t feed be the BS that “to them they are not sexually harassing you”. They might not have a name for it and you can label it or not label it but when it comes down it, it’s obvious that it’s unwelcome and that’s kinda all that really matters.

      And for you as a male having conversations with other men about this, I can only hope that you reiterate that this behaviour is not okay. Unless of course, because you’re in another country it is now acceptable for you to also sexually harass women. Is that what it means to “adapt”?

      You can’t make demands, you can’t impose your beliefs on what’s proper and what’s not. You cannot change their way of thinking even if you spent years trying.

      There’s a difference between imposing beliefs on what’s proper and what’s not – e.g “I should be able to wear shoes in your house” vs speaking up for basic rights. Let me ask you this if you walked past a child having the shit beaten out of them by an adult, would you speak up or do something to stop it? Would it matter to you what country you were in?

      James, if everyone thought that way, there would be no fight for human rights or no one would speak up for injustices around the world. It’s that kind of line of thinking that allows disgusting “cultural” behaviours like “honour killings” to exist and be justified. There are girls and women who get murdered by their families because they have been raped which instead is seen as “fornication”. I’ve spoken to locals on this side of the battle, trust me when I say that to them, to the victims, it’s imperative that these behaviours are continually seen as unacceptable.

      And you’re wrong about not changing ways of thinking. I’m sure you’d agree that in fact, things are changing all throughout the Middle East and around the world, particularly for women and on so many levels. While this is not at all an effort only by the west, it’s the joint effort that has helped change things for so many people. It’s because people speak up collectively and reject behaviours and actions that progress can be made.

      If this is how you travel, here’s an unsolicited piece of advice. Stick to those countries with customs and traditions that are similar to yours. Believe me, these things you hated are present in many other countries, you’d only end up hating a lot more.

      I’ve been to many other countries with customs and traditions outside of mine. My family is Vietnamese – I grew up being told that men and women had different sets of rules and that beating up women was acceptable. Doesn’t mean it is. And using “culture” as an excuse is a bit of a cop-out. I have also travelled to many places where the behaviour very much resembled what I experienced in Egypt. However, when I turned around and said that I wasn’t okay with it, most people apologised. Also, as I pointed out in the article, I don’t have to LOVE every country I visit. That’s not the purpose of travelling. Not every country has to give you some enriching life-changing experience. You’re allowed to travel and to walk away not liking a place. And even then, I STILL recommended travelling to Egypt and still hope that people visit. Even then, I can still see some of the many great qualities and places it has to offer.

      Finally, let me tell you why it’s important for articles like this to exist. I thought long and hard before writing this post. As a pretty positive person in general, I do not enjoy disliking a place. I much prefer writing about how great a place is and focusing on only the great things. But that’s not the reality of travelling, is it? There is also an additional factor, which you may not consider, but the other half of the travel population do – what is like to travel to a place as a woman? I want to highlight true experiences, no matter how ugly they may seem, because not doing so is in fact potentially harmful. If you’ve ever been sexually harassed or assaulted before, you will understand that my honest reflection is helpful. For some people, this type of behaviour could be seriously threatening and triggering and it’s important that they aware of the full extent so they can make an informed decision about travelling to a place. I’m not going to shy away from the truth which is that sexual harassment is extremely commonplace in Egypt and that speaking up for yourself does not help. Being covered up does not help. If it’s something you have never had to consider, please don’t sit there and tell me that it’s not necessary to write.

      This was a very lengthy reply but I felt that you too came off as very ignorant and considered my article to be nothing more than an attack on Egypt. It wasn’t and I think that if after all that I experienced, that I am still recommending travelling to Egypt speaks to that. Hopefully, I’ve shed light on a different way to look at things. And to be frank, you will never understand what it’s like to be or travel as a woman. So, it’s easy for you to sit there and talk about “adapting” as a “visitor”. I was first sexually harassed when I was 12 years old travelling in Vietnam with my mum walking right beside me. I was touched inappropriately and told of vile things that they wanted to do to me. Would you tell that 12-year-old girl that it’s culturally ingrained so let it go? Would you tell her to not “impose her beliefs” of speaking up? Would you tell her that the feeling she has in her stomach, that feeling of disgust, guilt and shame all mixed up together is not valid because she’s just a visitor? I would hope not but from all of your suggestions, I wouldn’t be surprised if you did. I’m glad that at the time my mum was someone courageous who stood up for me when I was too scared and vulnerable to do so on my own. I’m glad that my mum “imposed” her beliefs when she spoke up. When people speak up against injustices, change happens. When you don’t, you simply accept it.

  10. chanaberk says:

    Great article, I appreciate when travel writers share the bad as well as the good. Keep up the great work and safe travels!

    • nick jesty says:

      Excellent assessment of Egyptian harrassment. You seem to be too nice a person to be able enjoy egypt where it is imperative that you take absolutely no notice at all of all the “offers” being made all of the time. If it is likely to get to you then don’t go.

      The country is fantastic , especially the Sinai, but the idea of “making a deal ” is inbred in the egyptian psyche.

      • Amanda | LVV Travel says:

        Hi Nick. If by ‘too nice a person’ you are saying that I am a human being who expects to be treated with some decent dignity and respect, then perhaps I am. I am not sure that there is a person who would take “no notice” of this kind of harassment – even for people accustomed to it, I assure you, it is noticeable. I am also tired of the responsibility falling on the victim of harassment to be expected to ignore it. It’s a dangerous expectation because harassers are never held accountable and with your suggestion, NOTHING will ever change. Many unacceptable behaviours are inbred in psyches all around the world. This doesn’t mean that we should simply accept it and not speak up. Here’s a video I made that you should watch and I hope will shift your mindset, if only a little. https://www.facebook.com/lvvtravel/videos/633695166975795/

        I can only assume you didn’t read the entire article since I did specifically mention Sinai and that I still recommend travelling to Egypt:

        Every place has redeeming factors, and Egypt certainly has its own. Besides the Ancient Egyptian sites, the Sinai Peninsula is actually pretty rad and I absolutely love Dahab (this little coastal town). All of this being said, I still recommend travelling to Egypt

        Thanks for your comment though. I hope that you can appreciate that not every country has to be “fantastic” for every visitor and that this doesn’t mean people shouldn’t go. Harassment is never acceptable under any circumstance and telling people “don’t go” is the same sentiment as telling women “don’t wear this” or “don’t go here” or “don’t be alone” if you don’t want to get raped. It doesn’t deal with the problem, does it?

  11. Elaine Masters says:

    Wow. I’ve longed to visit forever. Glad I waited until I’m a boomer & somewhat out of the harassment age. Or that may be a naive assumption. Well written. Hope your friend in the hospital got good care.

  12. Viola says:

    Wow very glad to read this honest post. I want to go to Egypt although it’s not high on the list right now. Thanks so much for sharing. Now I know what to expect. Sorry to hear you didn’t have a good experience 🙁

  13. Mirela says:

    Hi, so sorry to read about your experience and thank you for the great tip: earplugs. I am looking forward to see how the new law will function, but is a huge step that the authorities acknowledged the problem. I was planing to see Egypt alone, but day by day my plans go to maybe have a packed vacation, really I don’t want to deal with all this mess and harassment. Such an useful post!

    • Amanda | LVV Travel says:

      Yeah, it will be interesting to see how effective the new law will be. Definitely a great step forward. I think seeing Egypt alone would be fine (definitely in terms of safety) but yes, you’re likely to receive a fair bit of harassment.

  14. Janine says:

    What a great read. I want to head to Egypt and have definitely taken note of your experience. I am sorry to read that you were harassed and irritated. The comments received around the Pyramids is so typical. I felt like your story was mine from Istanbul. I hope that if you do any further travelling that you are not treated in this fashion and that Daniel is okay after being in the hospital.

    • Amanda | LVV Travel says:

      Hi Janine. Thank you so much. You should definitely still head to Egypt and I do hope that with the new laws, your experience will be a little different. You’re the first to mention Turkey actually. I haven’t been but will also keep that in mind. Daniel is all better now!

  15. mayuri says:

    I have never been to Egypt. But I want to visit just for the pyramids. Its a good article I will definitely keep these things in mind when I booked my trip to Egypt.

  16. Carly | FearlessFemaleTravels.com says:

    Yuck – when I went to Egypt I was constantly harassed, usually by the men working at the hotel where I was staying. Management refused to even acknowledge my complaints until I said, “I’m sorry, is management the wrong place to report harassment by hotel staff? Should I speaking directly with the Ministry of Tourism?” I’m sorry to hear that you had a similar negative experience!

  17. Christie says:

    I’m sorry you had such a bad experience! I’ve heard very mixed things about Egypt. Like you said, the ancient and natural landmarks look beautiful, but the harassment seems so over the top. It sounds much worse than any of the experiences I’ve had in other places known for vendors who won’t leave you alone. Hopefully the new law will make a difference, because I would like to visit Egypt someday but am not keen on the scams and harassment there. Thanks so much for sharing your experience, and I hope you have a better experience on your next trip 🙂

  18. Rowena says:

    The harassment part is why I hated Kathmandu. I was literally stalked and followed multiple times. It’s sad that in some cultures the women have to deal with this all the time. Glad you were safe!

  19. Mexico Cassie says:

    Gosh. I haven’t been to Egypt since 2001 and it was pretty bad at times then but it sounds as if it’s much, much worse now. I suppose the revolution hasn’t helped at all. I’m sorry…I don’t disagree with a lot of what you’ve said… I remember being there with my friends and us walking in a line through the market so if the person at the front got touched, the last person could issue a quick elbow to the man as we walked through. It wasn’t ok then and it isn’t ok now. I did also find some incredibly kind people there who just wanted to help or get to know us. I think people who work in tourism can be incredibly pushy and often ruin an experience for visitors.

  20. linziclark2013 says:

    I worked in Egypt on one of the Nile cruise boats where I had similar harrassment experiences to you and non-stop pressure to promote the gold shop to guests which I refused to do – making me very unpopular! it is a real shame that the culture is so difficult as it is an amazing country with breath-taking sights.

  21. Hannah says:

    WOW. I had the total opposite experience and actually loved Egypt when I thoguht I might feel like you do. I went with my brother in November, and we totally look alike so it was pretty obvious I was ‘available’ but I only had two incidents (and both were very much light-hearted jokes) about ‘how many camels’. I was actually shocked at how well I was treated as a woman and never felt objectified. I didn’t wear tight, revealing clothing but I didn’t dress local either.
    Cairo was shit for sure, so much harassment from everyone wanting us to buy. But I did barter for taxis and such ahead of time, or made sure they turned on the meter so wasn’t ripped off (at least not completely- I was happy with what I paid). But after Cairo everything was pretty easy. We did hire a professional guide for the main attractions because I’m a nerd like that and wanted the stories so I’m sure that made a difference. But we walked around and explore a lot on our own and most people just said ok when I told them no thank you.
    Just goes to prove gow everyone has very different expriences. I’m sorry yours was bad though because I loved my time there.

  22. Amanda says:

    And I’ll comment with an experience from the other side! I went to Egypt last year in November/December, and actually experienced far LESS harassment than I had prepared myself for. I think, though, that the fact that I was on a guided tour with a local guide helped a lot; many of the vendors would approach HIM, and then he would present us with stuff people were selling. I was approached more often by local school kids wanting to take selfies with me than aggressive vendors.

    The sexual harassment/comments are indeed indefensible, though, and I’m sorry you experienced that. I agree that the “but it’s their culture!” argument is crap; it’s not acceptable.

    But the vendors that bug you… I didn’t think they were that bad, but when I would really start to get annoyed, I reminded myself how much tourism has suffered in Egypt in the past few years. Many of these people are literally desperate. Our guide (who has been guiding in Egypt for 15+ years and would be considered quite well-off by Egyptian standards) told us about having to sell his car and a bunch of other things in the years after Egypt’s revolution just to be able to feed his family. I can only imagine how some of the less-well-off vendors fared!

    Just wanted to share my experience, since I think right now is actually a great time to visit Egypt for those who have always wanted to go.

    • chanaberk says:

      I was thinking of your article on Egypt as I read this one! Was very interesting to see two sides of the same coin.

  23. thegeniepants says:

    “Even when I post about the harassment on Instagram, there are women telling me that they’ve gotten used to it. We shouldn’t have to be used to it. Ever. My body was not created for your perverted eyes.” I have this thought all the time. There is a difference between respecting a more conservative culture and allowing harassment to become a normalised part of your experience. Never stop fighting against it because it’s never an okay thing, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world!

  24. countdowntofridayblog says:

    Sorry to hear about the harassment you experienced in Egypt. You’re right that it’s something no one should have to go through, no matter what place they’re visiting. I would rather pay more to visit a place and have a less ‘touristy’ experience with cheap souvenirs, being ripped off on tours, and people in my face all the time. And it’s in a country’s best interest to keep their tourist sites authentic!

  25. Suzie says:

    It happens in too many places around the world unfortunately. As a tourist I hate being treated like a commodity rather than a person! So good about the new law though, hopefully that sorts them out a bit 🙂

  26. Rachel Heller says:

    Sounds very familiar. I found a strongly-said “No!” without a softening “thank you” worked pretty well. I’ve also found, as I got older, that the harassment is distinctly less. You become practically invisible once you hit your 50’s.

  27. Charlotte says:

    I’ve been wanting to visit Egypt for years and this is the exact reason I still haven’t booked the trip. My skin is very pale and my hair is very long and blonde so I just know I will get harrased a lot! And just like you mention above, I can’t stand it when people say it’s just their culture. No, what a load of crap!

    But then again should I let stupid people stop me from visiting a place I really want to see? I don’t know haha 🙂

    • Amanda | LVV Travel says:

      I don’t think you should let it stop you. I don’t regret going at all and like I said, there’s nowhere else you’re gonna see what you can see in Egypt. I also don’t imagine that things will change anytime soon. Let me know what you do inevitably decide!

  28. Donna says:

    100% my experience when we went there as a family when I was 15, all these feelings were present! The “overwhelming” pyramids unfortunately did not make up for the highly tainted experience. Now when people tell me they are visiting Egypt I can’t help but feel sorry for them! Onwards and upwards gurl! xx

    • Amanda | LVV Travel says:

      Ugh, I can’t even imagine having to go through this as a teenager!! Grosse. From some of the feedback, it sounds like it’s a love it or hate it kinda place as some people have been really surprised by my experience. Thanks Donna! x

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