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Exploring Egypt for P30,000 All-in: 8-day Itinerary, Budget, and Tips

Lucky enough to tick South East Asia off of your bucket list? Looking for some place different to explore? Solo traveler Julio Fajardo of is here to save the day. Take a page from his blog and read up on how he managed to accomplish everything on his Egypt itinerary for only PHP30,000:

Egypt – the land of Pyramids, mummies, and the famed Nile River. Most people have heard of this country from elementary history books, and true enough, everything written about Egypt sounds too good to be true that it seems like a fantasy.

You know what else seemed out of reach? Actually going there and experiencing the magic firsthand. Let’s face it, since the Philippines is so far from that side of the world, it’s easy to get the perception that travelling that far is expensive.

I’m here to break that perception, and make you realize that it IS possible. So without further ado, here’s my 8-day Egypt itinerary, along with the costs! Let me begin by highlighting my top five experiences during this trip:

1.Hot Air Balloon Ride, Luxor (PHP2,550)

Imagine flying hundreds of meters above the ground, feeling the cool breeze of the wind and hearing the whoosh of the flames, knowing that you’re in the mercy of the natural forces and the captain (who has only flown 5 balloon rides prior to this one.) Exhilarating! The view of the Valley of the Kings on one side and the lush greenery surrounding the Nile River is something I will never forget.

Not to mention that it’s really sulit! For PHP2,550, I got a roundtrip transfer from my hostel to the landing site, and had my own compartment – whereas people in the other compartments of the balloon had to pay roughly P10,000 for the same service.

Tip: Book with Bob Marley Hostel, as they have connections with balloon operators and can get you special discounts.

2. Private Nile River Felucca Cruise, Aswan (PHP159)

No typo there, it really is PHP159! If the hot air balloon had an amazing sunrise, the Nile River Cruise had an ethereal sunset. Cruising on feluccas, or wooden sailboats whose sails can reach up to 20m, was such a soothing experience as you spend about two hours sailing across the Nile. Feluccas are normally run by two people: the captain and another crew member who helps row the boat in case the wind disappears and the boat gets stuck.

The felucca I rode can fit up to 10 people, but since the fare was so cheap anyway, my friend (whom I met in the hostel) and I decided to have the entire felucca to ourselves. The crew was so funny and kept making sailor jokes, which made the cruise even more enjoyable!

In my opinion, a much more authentic, relaxing, and affordable way to cruise the Nile rather than spend thousands of pesos per night for a luxury cruise. I got the deal as part of a package – we were asked an additional 50 Egyptian pounds because we had another trip to Philae Temple already.

Tip: Schedule a sunset cruise! Much more serene, and water and wind conditions are relatively stable compared to other parts of the day.

3. Abu Simbel Temples, Abu Simbel (PHP207)

The four mummy carvings welcoming you to the temple was so grand that it really made me feel like my achievements are nothing compared to what people from the early ages were able to accomplish. This was my favorite Egyptian temple because of its sheer scale yet intricate details. The price above includes a 3-hour roundtrip van transfer from Aswan, along with the entrance fee.

<p>The location was so far south in that the temples were only kilometres away from the border with Sudan. This tends to lure away travellers, but for those who push through with the trip, those hours of travel will be well worth it.</p>
<p><strong>Tip:</strong> If you will do an overnight Aswan to do Abu Simbel early in the morning, stay in Aswan city proper. I stayed in Elephantine Island and almost missed the van as I still needed to cross the Nile by boat to get to the van loading site.</p>
<h3>4. Great Pyramids of Giza (PHP191 for both site entrance and going inside Pyramid)</h3>
<img class=

The only remaining Wonder of the Ancient World – need I say more? Being able to see and touch these structures which have withstood the sands of time was more than just checking off a bucketlist, it’s a learning experience rarely captured in history books.

You never really get to appreciate something unless you experience it firsthand, and that’s what happened here. I even got inside the pyramid! There’s not much to see inside, but who else can say they’ve gone inside THE pyramids.

Tip: There’s a light show at night where they illuminate the three Great Pyramids and narrate the history of Egypt. Must watch for me! It’s located near the Sphinx entrance.

5. Lighthouse of Alexandria (free)

Considered an Ancient Wonder of the world, this lighthouse served as a guide for incoming ships from Europe and Middle East. The lighthouse has been destroyed by an earthquake, but seeing what could have been from along the coast was something else.

Watching strong waves from the Mediterranean Sea crash to the Citadel nearby the lighthouse was so soothing – imagine waking up to this view everyday!

Tip: Book a hotel in front of the coast – waking up to that view made me feel like royalty!


PHP30,000 is typically how much you spend in nearby destinations like Japan, but if you play it right, it can get you to Egypt for a week! Here’s what you need to know:

  • Egypt’s currency is down right now. Before, the conversion rate was about 1EGP = 8PHP, but now it’s just 1EGP = 3.2PHP. This means that basically, things are more than 50% off in Egypt right now! Perfect time to go.

  • Most activities have student discounts. Just make sure you’re under 26 and have a university ID which has the word “University” in it.
  • You may be thinking that I stayed in dormitory rooms for hotels of above price. WRONG! I always stayed in private rooms during my Egypt trip. In fact, I stayed at a hotel in front of the Mediterranean coast, and in another on Elephantine Island. It’s about being smart in looking for hotels!

  • Flight cost was that low because I was able to get Piso Fare from MNL-DXB, which cost ~P3,000 both ways. Full disclosure: my actual flight price above was not ~PHP12,000 because my trip included Kenya. However, if I did my trip in that my sole country to visit was Egypt, then the price would have been the one indicated above. The airlines which show that price are Cebu Pacific for MNL-DXB, and Egypt Air for DXB-CAI (but if you’re lucky, FlyDubai sometimes has cheaper fares compared to Egypt Air)
  • Train travel in Egypt is a must! You get to save up on a night’s worth of accommodation (I had 2 overnight trips on the train, which explains why my accom cost was so low), but the views are amazing! You get to see rural Egyptian communities and the Nile river bank along the way.

I hope that by reading through this, I’ve convinced you that travelling to Egypt is definitely possible, and maybe even inspired you to do the trip yourself!

*Words and pictures: Julio Fajardo

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