Mike Murphy, his son Bowen (5) and daughter Ingrid (4).
Cashing in their frequent flyer miles, the Murphys flew business class on Cathay Pacific Airlines to Hong Kong and then Gulf Airlines to Bahrain. The points also allowed the family to stay in luxury hotels during their travels.
The Murphys arrived in Cairo and stayed at the Hilton Pyramids Golf Resort for four days. On the second day, they met with their good friends, the Maos (see p37). The two families then traveled via night train to Luxor.
Having been to Egypt before, Mike revisited the sites that he wanted to share with his children. They explored the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Karnak, Luxor Temple and King Tut’s Tomb. After three days in Luxor, they took an evening flight to the diving resort of Sharm El Sheik. While there, they enjoyed the luxuries of the Hyatt Regency Sharm El Sheikh, including its 80m-long waterslide – the longest in the Middle East.
The Best Part
Mike’s favorite part of the journey was spending 12 full days with his kids and seeing some of the most spectacular monuments on Earth with them. He recalls the surreal feeling of watching them play on the lowest blocks of the Great Pyramid, knowing that people have been making the same journey for over a millennium. Other highlights included sailing on the Nile and taking an early morning hot-air balloon flight.
The Worst Part
In busy tourist areas, there is a lot of competition for your money. Mike warns that buying something in Egypt is ten times more challenging than at Beijing’s Silk Street Market. It’s not just limited to newcomers; even locals experience the burden of bargaining.
English is widely spoken and there are few language barriers. All the high-end hotels have great facilities for the kids, including swimming pools and outdoor activities. Egyptian food consists mainly of pita bread, dips, and meats that are not too spicy, so kids love it.
The Murphys believe Egypt is a must-see for any world traveler – and Israel and Jordan are close enough for side trips. Traveling within Egypt can be a breeze, but an organized tour is best for travelers pressed for time. If you are traveling there with kids, the Murphys suggest drawing up an itinerary of destinations, but giving the kids space for self-discovery once you arrive. To see all the major sites, seven to ten days is sufficient, but two weeks is necessary to see all of Egypt. After visiting over 50 countries, Mike considers Egypt his favorite non-tropical destination and plans to return.