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How to Survive a Visit to the Pyramids

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The pryamids border a residential neighborhood, which is seldom the view you see on the Discovery Channel

The pryamids border a residential neighborhood, which is seldom the view you see on the Discovery Channel

I am not going to write about the history, the mystery or the grandeur of the pyramids. For over 4,000 years the pyramids have been one of the best known structures on Earth. We have probably all seen TV shows, read books, or did a fourth grade report on them so there is nothing I can really add that you can’t get somewhere else.

What I am going to talk about is the physical act of visiting the pyramids. I confess right up front that my experience to the pyramids might not be representative of the experience others have had. I went on a day there were few tourists and by myself. Had I been with a group or on a day with more people, then it might have been a totally different experience. It is one of the few attractions I’ve visited where I can say it is better to go when it is crowded. This is written from my first hand experience and talking to dozens of other tourists in Egypt who had experiences similar to mine.

From a straight tourist visitation perspective, my trip to the pyramids was the worst I’ve had. The management of the Giza Pyramids site is horrible and little to no investment has been put into even basic things like garbage cans or signs. Other locations in Egypt under the oversight of the The Supreme Council of Antiquities are not in this poor of shape or run this poorly. Abu Simbel was was a great example of how an attraction like this should be administered. In fact every other temple I went to in Egypt wasn’t really that bad. $1,000 investment (which is probably less than one day of admissions to the pyramids) could pay for garbage bins and a crew of people to walk around the ground to pick up litter.

This is the cop who shook me down fro 20 Egyptian Pounds

This is the cop who shook me down for 20 Egyptian Pounds

The nightmare of visiting the pyramids began with the taxi ride. EVERY taxi in Egypt is going to try and put the screws to you on the amount they charge to take you there. The pyramids are tourist attraction #1 and they know it. The advantage to being on a group tour is that you never have to deal with taxis. If you do take a taxi, make sure to set the price before you go. The cab driver will try to just get you to get in the car without setting a price. There are tons of taxis and they all want your money. Pass and take another if they wont commit to a price. You shouldn’t pay more than 20-30LE (Egyptian Pounds) for a ride. Also make sure they take you directly to the entrance gate, with no stops in between. There is a Giza stop in the Cairo subway system. It doesn’t go directly to the pyramids, but there is a mini bus you can get on at the station that will take you there. It is a much cheaper option (about 1LE for the subway fare) and you don’t have to worry about everything I listed above. The subway is what I should have done.

You will notice as you approach the pyramids that it is not like what you have seen in pictures all your life. While one side of the pyramids are up against the desert, the other side is right up against a residential neighborhood. In fact right across the street from the main gate to the pyramids is a Pizza Hut. That that is literally what the Sphinx is looking at.

When the taxi was still a kilometer away from the entrance, I had the first run in with the most aggressive and annoying touts I’ve seen at any tourist location in the world: the camel riders. There is a huge business built around giving tourists rides on camels, and they are very aggressive about getting business. When my taxi was still driving down the street, when we had to slow at a speed bump, one of the camel guys jumped into the taxi to try and tried to sell me on a camel.

Litter at the base of the pyramids

Litter at the base of the pyramids

The fact that this guy was willing to jump into a moving vehicle should give you an idea of just how aggressive they are. The taxi driver will get a cut of whatever the camel rider gets, so they have no incentive to protect you from them. They will do anything and everything up to, but not quite, theft. They will lie to you, they will scam you, they will try to con you. You need to know that before you get there because in typical con man fashion, they have developed a routine to try to be friendly with the tourists.

The first question they will always ask you is where you are from. This is not because they are interested in learning about your culture. They encounter thousands of tourists every month. They’ve seen it all before. They ask the question so they can a) set a price for how much to charge you, and b) use it as a hook to start a conversation to make you think they are your friend. If you say you are American, they will say “Obama!”. If you say you are Canadian, they will say “Canada Dry!”. No matter where you say you are from, they will say “Good people from xxxxx!” They are surprisingly adept at negotiating price and engaging in small talk and a wide number of languages.

They will charge higher prices if you are from the UK, US, Germany, or Netherlands. If you can somehow pass yourself off as being from a different country that isn’t very developed, do it. The pyramids were the only time on my trip where I resorted to lying about where I was from. I went from America to Canada, to Slovenia and finally to the fictional country of Karkozia. I’d speak some gibberish sounding Eastern European language and pretend not to know English. If they tell you they are with the government or that it is illegal to walk around the pyramids, they are lying. If you do want to do the camel thing, I recommend doing it early. That way you aren’t just buying a camel ride, you are also paying protection money so the other camel guys don’t harass you. I should make clear that the camel guys are not just outside the entrance, they are walking all over the pyramid grounds as well.

Camels: the source of all trouble at the pyramids

Camels: the source of all trouble at the pyramids

At every tourist attraction in Egypt they have metal detectors. The pyramids was the only place where they even bothered to have them turned on. I had a Leatherman in my camera bag and the guy working the x-ray machine tried to steal it. I put up a fuss and he relented. The lesson here is that even the officials who work there for the government can’t be trusted. While I was walking along the Great Pyramid, there was a small rope barrier. One of the tourist police said it was OK to go over the rope and climb up one flight of the blocks. The moment I got back down he demanded 20LE. Lesson: no one does anything out of the goodness of their heart. They want a tip no matter how inconsequential the advice they give (“stand here to take a picture….5LE please!”)

On top of all that, you have people trying to sell you cheap crap on the pyramid grounds. I didn’t find them nearly as annoying, just because they are stuck in one place because of their inventory. You should just know that all the trinkets they sell are made in China and can be purchased at other shops in Cairo. Despite the fact it is hot and it is in a desert, there was a surprising shortage of people selling beverages. I had one lady (and there are very few women you meet as a tourist in Egypt) who said to me “Sir, would you like to buy a Pepsi Cola?” I was so shocked at her honest and direct approach of not trying to con me that I bought a drink from her.

My other tip is to bring small bills. If you expect to get change from any of these vendors, they will come up with excuses about not having enough money to make change. I had one guy tell me that he pulled out a 100LE bill and the camel guy just ripped it out of his hand. He almost got into a fight with the guy. Most tourists are not that assertive and end up getting taken advantage of. You have to be very aggressive and if need be come across as a total asshole. Another scam I encountered, but never went along with to figure out how it worked, was the guy who gives you the free t-shirt. They will “give” it to you as a gift and shove it in your hands. I always just let it fall to the ground. I assumed they had partner up the road who would accuse you of stealing or something. If anyone has information on how the scam works, let me know.

In summary, for one of the greatest wonders of the world, the pyramids are a horrible place to visit. I put the blame for the squarely on the shoulders of the The Supreme Council of Antiquities which runs the pyramids. I suspect there is some political reason why they let the lunatics run the asylum. They really should be ashamed. They clearly know how to run these properties as I saw in almost every other attraction in Egypt. After a few hours, I was willing to forgo some photos I was hoping to get just because I wanted to leave….which meant getting another taxi.

Most of the independent travelers I met in Egypt had an experience similar to mine. If you do get a chance to visit someday, I hope you can learn something from my visit to make it more enjoyable.

  • 45 Comments... What's your take?

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Comments

  1. lawrence says:

    Let me preface this by saying that I visited the pyramids and have also traveled extensively abroad in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, so I can discuss this with some context.
    Get off your high 1st world horses (or camels) and chill. The Egyptian people are POOR. If they are ‘scamming’ you for extra money, its more than likely they do so that they can feed and clothe their family. What the writer (and others) did not indicate to you was how much an Egyptian pound is worth: .14 USD or .10 EURO. Unemployment disguised as underemployment may exceed 30 percent. Do your research before visiting (you have the computers and money). Go with tour groups, be respectful, hope for the best, plan for the worst. If it is your dream to visit, go visit, but examine it without the idealisms presented in National Geographic, but also not by the negatives presented here.

    • Gary says:

      I’ve spent almost a decade of my life traveling around the world. I’ve been to over 100 countries and I’ve seen plenty of poverty.

      No where in the world, not even in Egypt, was like the pyramids.

      I stand by what I say.

  2. Pxt says:

    Generalisation is bad but! This place takes a cake!! My ordeal started with the hotel concierge ! My initial booking with them to visit the pyramids was 355LE. On the day of the tour which was only the following day, the price had jumped to 500. If you despise dishonesty, you will be disgusted in Egypt. It is a culture of so many, i wonder where good religious people are hiding!

  3. Gary – you don’t know how many people I have sent to this post over the years. Thank you for your honesty, and for writing abt travel as it can be – not as we imagine it to be!

  4. Dave says:

    You should contact the Supreme Council of Antiquities. This is the director’s email address off of their website: sca.permits@gmail.com

    I know that it probably won’t make a difference, but I think you should just copy paste your whole blog post into an email to them and ask them why they don’t take care of the pyramid site.

    I was really sad to hear about your visit, and I believe you. I have spent my whole life since I was a child wanting to go to see the Pyramids in all of their glory, but now I find myself not wanting to go at all. Makes me sad that there is a pizza hut across from the sphinx. I can’t believe that a country with one of the oldest civilizations in the world isn’t doing what it should to maintain this wonder of the world. Thank you for being so honest.

  5. I recently read a post about how much harassment tourists get in Egypt. Great that you shared this experience about visiting the pyramids so others can avoid as many issues as possible.

    I love that you pretended to be from some obscure country. My Spanish could be useful, but I think my hair, eye, and skin color might give away that I’m not Bolivian :-)

  6. Matt G says:

    I had a similar experience at the pyramids back in March of this year. I traveled from Istanbul overland to Cairo and the touts in Egypt definitely test your limits with how aggressive they can get. I suppose it is the price you must pay to see the last remaining Wonder of the Ancient World.

    I was there shortly after Mubarak stepped down and the tourist numbers were still down. So when I went to the Pyramids there was hardly anybody and the camel riders really targeted me. My little piece of advice on dealing with the camel riders is to pretend your a running back and start doing zig zag patterns. It doesn’t stop them from approaching you but its entertaining to watch the camel rider continue to turn around and change direction.

  7. Steve says:

    Hi Gary,

    The situation is the same (if not worse) now that the tourist numbers have fallen after the January revolution.

    Everywhere I went in Egypt (by myself, with my wife, or as part of a tour group) it was the same – touts and people hassling us to buy something, inviting us to “see my shop”, telling us that was closed. It never stopped.

    My wife and I have traveled a lot. This was the first holiday where we were glad that it was over and we were going home.

  8. Hlewis1332 says:

    I’ve been three times. My experience is exactly as written but I did learn two things that I would like to share.

    1. All this trouble is in front of the pyramids. I went around to the back, and was virtually the only one there. It was great.

    2. Go for the light show at night. Professionally run, great time.

  9. Kevin says:

    This is not only the Pyramids but Egypt in general. I’ve traveled the Middle East extensively.. Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, UAE, Qatar and nowhere have I encountered more scamming and con as in Egypt. The scams started the moment I arrived in Alexandria where I caught a cab and agreed upon a fare of 15 LE, after the cab ride handed him a 20 and he decided to just keep it and suddenly pretended to not understand English. Funny he spoke perfect English just earlier…I had to threaten him to get my change back.
    Then at the subway station the guy selling tickets pocketed a pound for himself, the subway fare was 1 LE, I gave him a 5 and he gave me 3 LE back and refused to understand that the change was wrong.
    I had prepared well for the Pyramids so I just didn’t talk to anyone or look at any of the touts. One time someone shoved a T-Shirt into my hands, I just let it fall to the ground and walked on. Another time someone said “good luck” and tried to put something on my head, I just kept walking and they had to take it back.
    The scams and rip offs are annoying but I understand the economy is extremely bad and people are desperate…

  10. Maricela says:

    What a hard read. I can’t believe there was nothing possitive said. I mean, as far as I was able to read. I just kept hearing a bunch of whinning! I have traveled to many parts of the world where people try to rip me off. It’s part of travel. Get over yourself. I traveled to Madrid one year where I went into a cafe and ordered a cup of coffe and a pastry, I gave them a 50 dollar bill, and they refunded me a few cents. So you see, you need to be aware of where your going, and not be neive. It doesn’t make it right, it’s just the way it is.

  11. Oh man! I started the day in a bad mood and now I’ll end it in one. Excellent article, but not the kind of news I wanted to hear. Riding a camel at the Pyramids has been on my list forever! I guess I’ll keep it on the list, but not quite so close to the top. And now I’ll be better prepared. Thanks for the eye-opener.

    • Egyptian says:

      Gary,

      I’m really sorry to hear that you or any other person had to go through such an experience. I apologize on behalf of all of Egypt! To get to the point, I believe you realized, as you stated in your post, that The Supreme Council of Antiquities is indeed run by a bunch of low-life scumbags. I’m really sad that I have to say that about my people, but its true. As to the harassing that occurs around the Pyramids’ site, that happens due to the few uneducated ignorant people that try to sell the tourists ANYTHING they can in order to make ANY amount of money to feed their families.

      This is actually the first time I ever post on a blog or even really get interested in a blog post. However, your post really moved me, of course along with the other posts that people have shared here saying that they had a similar experience. I am going to take your post and try to pass it on to some officials to show them what tourists really think of their experiences in Egypt, and hopefully that can change something if anything. I would really appreciate if you can send me any videos or pictures that can support this. After all, I would really hate to see one more person go through such an experience in this lovely country that is full of history but unfortunately full of poverty too, which drives its people to perform such actions.

      I really hope that you enjoyed the rest of your stay here in Egypt. And I encourage everyone to come visit the land of the Pharaohs!

  12. Nelspruit Lodge – I’m also a South African and I had a very similar experience to Gary regarding the Pyramids. We had two days in Cairo and the first day entailed the Pyramids and the Museum and after Day 1, we could have happily closed the door on Egypt and never considered it again :-)

    If you want to chat, just let me know via Twitter/my blog!

  13. Daniel says:

    The pyramids are amazing, I can’t wait to go back. One thing that wasn’t as easy when traveling was calling home…thats why I found CallArc to be a lifesaver, Free International Calls, can’t beat that.

  14. Lainer says:

    I know how to survive visit to the Pyramids. Don’t go! LOL!! Seriously, if it’s that much of a hassle, I don’t see the point.

    I am reminded of my visit to the Dominican Republic where the constant harassing by local vendors became almost unbearable. Again, it’s a poor country, so I understand the desperation, but it ruins what would have been an otherwise great vacation.

  15. Great post! Good to know that other people get annoyed by the constant touts that turn up at large tourist traps like the Pyramids. I still want to go there since it’s always been on my to do list, but I will definently watch out and take care based on your advice. Thanks!

  16. dave says:

    Great post! I have Egypt in my sights for my next travel destination. Definitely some valuable information to keep in mind.

  17. Sean says:

    Gary,

    That is brutal! Sounds as if you were hit by EVERY crappy tourist scam there is…all at once.

    I find myself yelling and cussing a lot in those situations, it does not necessarily help but gets some confused looks from locals. Actually, I besides really hating such behavior on a personal level and having to put up with shelling out big dollars for an “attraction” without value – I am also consumed with ensuring my kids are taking care of and having a tout come at aggressively is usually a bit much.

    Great post! Think I will avoid the pyramids…

  18. Todd says:

    Echoing Anne’s comment: Acting like you are mentally impaired and deaf generally works like a charm when being harassed by touts. No eye contact, mouth slightly agape, no reaction when spoken to, and never…I repeat…NEVER STOP WALKING.

    That technique has gotten me through every tourist gauntlet in Egypt and India without a scratch!

  19. Anne says:

    I seem to be the only one here who didn’t have a horrible time at the pyramids. I just followed my time honored approach of not making eye contact and shaking my head no while continuing to walk. If you don’t provide any feedback at all they stop following you pretty quickly, or at least that’s my experience.

  20. Steve says:

    “You will notice as you approach the pyramids that it is not like what you have seen in pictures all your life. While one side of the pyramids are up against the desert, the other side is right up against a residential neighborhood. In fact right across the street from the main gate to the pyramids is a Pizza Hut. That that is literally what the Sphinx is looking at.”

    You think maybe after all this time, it’s getting a little hungry?

  21. Lynne says:

    Buggerit, you need an edit function.

  22. Lynne says:

    Your Message

  23. Lynne says:

    Just got back from Egypt. Did Cairo & the pyramids in a tour group.

    Please believe me, being in a tour group does NOT protect you, except from having to use the taxis. For the rest, though, unless you physically cluster in a totally impenetrable mass you are not protected, and even then, the hucksters get the people on the outside edge. As it stands, however, they are capable of cutting apart even the most tightly clustered group of people for individual harassment, more efficiently than I have ever seen sheepdogs cut a herd of sheep.

    From your description, you missed out on the “musical” epileptic toy camels being sold.

  24. Breckenridge says:

    When I visited few year ago, I was constantly being chased by locals who want to sell me one thing or another. Although I enjoyed many aspects of my visit, it was very annoying to have to deal with saying no every minute of the day. To say no is “La'”

  25. These are cultural experiences, I’m sure that people from Egypt going to US have issues with American systems too. At least they don’t treat foreign tourists as second class (or terrorists) in Egypt, or do they?

    When I went to Russia last year, I struggled with my newly learnt Russian – but everywhere I went, people listened and helped me with patience. Recently I was in NYC and a Russian man wanted to buy a burger but could not speak good English. He was treated in a bad fashion. Fortunately I could translate it.

    I understand you had bad experiences. But if you look at it from a perspective, it can be understood better. Who doesn’t have cultural experiences like that? But why am I telling this to a guy like you who is well traveled! ? Oops, my bad.

    But I’ll be careful before I lower my guards when I visit Egypt this fall. Thanks for the tips.

    • Gary says:

      Are you saying that the camel riders at the pyramids are evidence of Egypt’s culture?? I hope not and I don’t think many Egyptians would want them to be the face the world sees of Egypt. The vast majority of Egyptians are not con men and hustlers.

      It’d say it is as much a part of culture as getting mugged in New York City is.

      Not everything in a foreign country is a “cultural” experience.

  26. Lucía says:

    I went to Egypt last summer, luckily on a tour. While in Cairo, we had an amazing (female) guide, who managed to get us to all the famous and most interesting places without having to deal with most of those bloodsuckers.
    What really got to me were the roads (I was terrified of crossing the street, even locals stopped to help, surprisingly, out of the goodness of their hearts) and the fact that , being 3 sisters, we were goggled at everywhere we went, and that can get really uncomfortable, to say the least.
    Thankfully, it was only for 3 days, and we spent the last at the hotel.
    Averything in Egypt but Cairo was incredible, and I would definitely recommend it, even the bargaining prices at markets part. One day at Cairo is more than enough (pyramids and museum is all there is to see)

  27. Lainer says:

    I have no desire to ever go to visit the Pyramids. This story just seals the deal.

  28. A friend of mine lives in Cairo and has invited me for a visit. Thanks for the warning … I’ve been to the Taj Mahal and had similar experiences. Do you think there’s an international training school that teaches how to pressure the tourists into parting with their money?

  29. Bruce says:

    Was there in ’99 and had a similar experience. When we were supposed to go to the pyramids, our driver took us first to a papyrus store, then to a perfume store (for lunch, at least it was comp), then told us that there was no road out to the pyramids and the only way to get there was to take a horse or camel. So we were suckered into the camel ride. When we stopped near the Sphinx, some guy who was standing near a section of temple motioned to us that it was a good spot for a picture and then demanded a tip which we refused. Once at the pyramids, things were okay (probably because we’d already been ‘claimed’ by our horse/camel guys) but the two larger ones were being renovated apparently, so we went in the smaller one.

    Overall our Egyptian trip was a real headache because it was just my father, sister, and I doing things for ourselves, and we encountered pretty similar scams to all the above listed. Cairo was a nightmare, Luxor much more manageable, etc. On the other hand at least two of our taxi drivers were decent human beings who went out of their way to protect us from scammers. Sure, they were possibly hoping for a tip, but they didn’t badger us about it in any case. One guy even took us to his flat (where he lived with his elderly mother and father) and allowed us to get showers before our late-night train trip up to Luxor. He really went above and beyond the call of duty.

    So what does Egypt teach us? As a poor country with massive unemployment but a huge tourist reputation, traveling by oneself is not for the fainthearted or the thin-skinned. My father–who is usually a proponent of DIY travel–said that if he ever goes back there, it’ll be with a tour.

    Lastly, I have to agree with the fellow who posted above, that if your world tour doesn’t include Turkey (Turkiye) you are doing yourself a serious disservice. Forget Europe, which is an overpriced, overdeveloped, and overrated playground for the rich and boring. Get thyself to the underground cities of Capadocia, sunken ruins along the Mediterranean, the unmatched presence of Mount Ararat over Dogubeyazit, and that great romantic city, Istanbul. I was lucky enough to spend four months there as a student, and it was one of the best travel experiences of my life.

    –Bruce, US expat currently in Nanjing, China

  30. Jago says:

    Hey C,

    I went to Egypt lastChristmas with Cairo being the final stop. Yeah the beggers can be annoying. I got suckered into the Pyramid Camel ride con myself. Luckily I didn’t have that much money with me.

    Did you go down into one of the Pyramids?
    Did you visit the Hard Rock Cafe Store next to Pyramids?

  31. Sarah says:

    Oh man! I had nearly the same experience in Egypt, myself. While we’re in a long lay over in Cairo International (about 13 hours), we figured out that we had been included on a group tourist trip to Giza. Now the first thing that *really* screwed me up was that they take your passports and give you NOTHING in return. Just a promise that they are honest and will give them back. Hah. More on that later.

    We end up waiting outside on a hot August day with a group of about 30 people. About half an hour after the tour bus was supposed to be there, we all loaded up and started the long drive to Giza. It was then, that I realized I was likely the only American on the tour. Even my travel buddy was European. But no worries, right? I was safe in a group!

    We at least had some fair warning about the people trying to sell you everything everywhere. They told us not to give anyone money. The rest of the trip to the pyramids was pretty quiet. the smog of the city reminded me of L.A. and communication via # of honks, and 7 rows of traffic across 3 painted lines only made me a *little* nervous.

    When we first got to the pyramids, we were told we’d have half an half an hour to take pictures at the first site. We were bombarded by sales people, and my poor Danish friend who’s never had to hang up on a telemarketer (exaggeration) was trying the polite approach to get rid of this guy. Finally, I had to drag him away and tell the guy we weren’t interested and we weren’t buying anything while dragging my friend away.

    We stopped 3 times. Every time, this happened. The last stop we made had a row of curio shops, and they seemed pretty cheap so I figured I’d get one thing. All I had at that point was a 100LE bill, as I was ripped off by the camel ride guy (Yeah, I fell for it).

    Now, I’m not a real flea market savvy person, but I had just spent 2 hours in Swaziland going through a mile of curio shops and getting some really good deals on things. So I tried to play the game I knew how to play.

    No dice. After picking up a statue for 10LE, I asked for my change back, and the guy told me to pick something else. And something else. And something else. He said he had no change to give me, and he refused to give me back my 100LE. Lesson learned. NEVER give anyone money until they are offering you change.

    Eventually, I told him I was taking as many things as I wanted, because he had broken the deal we had originally made. I ended up with 3 Pyramids, a Tut, Sphinx and Scarab Beetle. I still wasn’t happy with the amount I had spent, but, you live and learn.

    After we made our way back sunburned, dry-mouthed and dehydrated, we all went back to receive our passports and wait for our plane.

    Yeah. Right. Everyone on the tour except my Danish friend and I had received our passports. For the next several hours, we waited, argued, and reasoned them back into our hands an hour before our flight into LHR.

    We ran into a nice British couple who had been doing the tourism thing around Egypt alone. They explained that they had a police officer escort them around town, and then beg for money after they got to each destination. How do you turn down a corrupt officer with an AK in a foreign country? You don’t.

    Never. Again.

    At least we weren’t surprised when our luggage was lost in Cairo and took an extra week to find us back home.

    When I got back into the states and people had asked about my pictures, I couldn’t tell them how disgusted I was with how things were run in Egypt. And I had just gotten out of South Afrika/Swaziland.

    Thank you for sharing. I’m so glad my friend and I weren’t the only ones.

  32. Gary,

    I used to work with a large number of Egyptians and they’ve all said the same thing. Egyptians can be very shrewd people. One of my co-workers was actually a tour guide at the Pyramids. Being as non-judgemental as possible, I couldn’t quite envision him being a guide.

    I appreciate your insight. If I do go to The Pyramids I will take my young Egyptian friend’s advice: go with him :)

    Ryan

  33. Blue_Chi says:

    Had a similar experience in Egypt. Really hated it.

  34. Tony says:

    I like your article on the pyraminds. I saw them once but it was from a 747 on my way back from the 1st Gulf War. From up high they are beautiful. I guess the scam/scum only shows up when you get close.

    Skull for the win!

  35. Jason says:

    Yeah, I was at the Pyramids five months ago. Very similar experience. Glad you made it out relatively unscathed!

  36. I have not seen any Turkey reviews. You are always welcome in Turkey…

  37. Andrew says:

    I went to the Pyramids one year ago and had a really similar experience. Once you got in the surprisingly underwhelming entrance everyone was trying to rip you off. It was amazing how relentless they were. I saw one guy get on a camel for a picture and then it started walking so they charged him for a ride.

    To answer your question about the “free” t-shirts. From what I saw, they will do anything to give it to you and then when you take it they will beg relentlessly for money since they gave you a “gift”

    Our personal story started with my mom buying a postcard from one kid and ended with the whole family taking a picture with head dresses on next to the kids and a camel. We almost got in a fight with the kids dad who was in on the scam and demanded a huge tip.

    It is definitely worth going, but be mentally prepped to get barraged.

  38. Jim says:

    Great post. I had the exact same experience when I visited the pyramids two years ago. Thankfully, I went to Cairo last on my Egypt trip and had already had great experiences in Luxor, Aswan, and Sinai. I spent about an hour at the pyramids before I got frustrated and when back to the hotel. It was probably the most disappointing travel experience I’ve had!

    I second the motion of taking the subway/minibus and bypassing the taxi and camel touts.

  39. mich says:

    This is a great post, very engaging. By your adventure, it can be a travel nightmare waiting to happen. I will put this in mind if we decide to do an independent travel in the area. Thanks!

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My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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