Mt. Sinai's Steps of Repentance – Keep Calm and Wander

Mt. Sinai You can’t miss the Steps of Repentance when you climb Mt Sinai (aka Moses Mountain). It’s a steep climb that would really make you think to repent all your sins – unless if you’re an atheist who’ll probably think it’s just another tourist scam. 🙂 There are two authorized walking / climbing trails to Moses Mountain. On our way up there, we thread the Camel Trail early in the morning. And on our way down, we took the Steps of Repentance Trail that ended in St. Catherine’s Monastery, the world’s oldest monastery that is still occupied until today. Related: Read my experience of climbing / hiking Mt. Sinai here to see the breathtaking sunrise, an adventure that would stay with me for a long time.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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Karnak Temple – The World’s Largest Open-Air Museum

Karnak Temple Karnak Temple in Luxor is both an interesting and photogenic archaeological site. There are so many things to discover here, and in fact, I saw a few people in the area still digging and brushing important stones / relics that could help them understand further on the history of the country. This is a vast open-air museum were broken pieces of structures, cracked walls and missing parts of statues are ubiquitous. From north to south and east to west, you’ll be feasting on hieroglyphs that covered walls, columns and altars. Statues of gods, goddesses and pharaohs are in every corners, standing like proud guards of the temple. This is simply a place you won’t miss when visiting Egypt.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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Habu Temple in Luxor is an Architectural Wonder

Madinet Habu Temple The Madinet Habu Temple in Luxor is an architectural wonder of ancient Egypt. Its classic and timeless style remains intact until today as evidenced in the relics and antiquities that are found here. Most of all, this temple doesn’t draw much attention from tourists, thus, it is less crowded than the rest of the attractions in Luxor. In fact, on the day we went there, only 9 of us were the ones roaming around. This ancient fortified temple was built as a Mortuary Temple of Rameses III.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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Scams and Annoyances in Egypt

Camels-Pyramids-of-Giza-Egypt-Cairo Wherever I travel, scammers, touts and annoyances are unavoidable, especially in touristy areas. Or maybe, I’m a tout/scammer magnet. They are part of the challenges of travelling. And believe it or not, I’ve fallen victim to some of these people because I’m too trusty, always believing on the positive side of the experience. Call me a fool, if you want. 🙂 In Egypt, these annoyances are in a different level. I can understand the desperation of the people but being aggressive is a totally different story. There are times when my smile and polite “No, thanks” work but in many cases, they don’t. I had to say “No, thank you,” a gazillion times before the guy would leave me alone–and in most times, they’re cursing me (judging from their facial expressions). And oh boy, they’re good in guilt-tripping, too!

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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Exploring the Pyramids on Foot

Pyramids Though Egypt’s tourism has experienced a big slump in the past years, the Pyramids of Giza has no shortage of visitors everyday. There are more local tourists going in (mostly students on one-day excursions), and only few are foreign travelers going around and about the pyramids—on foot. Most foreign tourists come in the comfort of their aircon buses, taking them from one place to another. If you’re adventurous enough and you’re traveling with friends or alone, there’s a way to beat the crowd: don’t follow where most of them go. Make a detour. There are three things, however, that you need to bring: a hat, water, and a few chocolate bars or some nuts. And oh, wear shoes, not sandals or beach flip flops.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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Sunset at the Great Pyramids – Keep Calm and Wander

Sunset-st-the-Great-Pyramids-Giza-Egypt-2 After a delayed flight, I finally landed in chaotic Cairo at 3 in the afternoon. From there, someone helped me to get a visa on arrival and whisked me off to the guest house right in front of The Great Pyramids. It took us almost an hour drive from Cairo International Airport to Giza. The traffic was the worst I’ve experienced and drivers don’t really follow traffic rules. Most of the streets have no lanes at all and some buses and vans leave their doors open. Avoiding cars AND accidents left and right is another story to tell. If you survive or are expert in driving around topsy-turvy Cairo, you’ll be great driving anywhere—even in Bangkok, Manila or Mexico–all combined.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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Burj Al Arab Dubai is Not a Seven-Star Hotel – Keep Calm and Wander

Burj Al Arab Dubai - Alain Burj Al Arab Dubai is not a certified seven-star hotel in the world. You read the title right. No one ever rated it as such. In fact, its website doesn’t boast of itself as “the only seven star hotel in the world.” No, they don’t use that, too, in their advertising anywhere. Also, the hotel doesn’t rate itself as five-star hotel but a luxury hotel. Period. And oh, if you’re really curious how much will it cost you for a night, check here. The truth is: a British journalist dubbed it as the “world’s only seven star hotel” during its press briefing. She was so impressed that she rated it herself–and the world believed her. So, now, no one can ever stop the gossip she spearheaded. LOL….

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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Walking Tour in Abu Dhabi

Alain Abu Dhabi I had my own walking tour in Abu Dhabi. I figured it out using Google Map. My Lonely Planet Guidebook didn’t even have one–which I understand because Abu Dhabi is not a walkable destination. You’ve got to have a car to go places of interests. While they have public bus transport, good luck seeing all the things you plan to see in one day. On a backpacking budget? Sigh. Good luck with that! 🙂 I told my brother to drop me off at the gate of the Presidential Palace early morning on his way to work. No, not that early, really. At 9. Though it’s late November, the sun could still be a bit hot–I’m Asian, remember? We use skin whitener! Hahahahaha… At 21C, I thought it was tolerable. I started at the gate of the Presidential Palace. No visitors are allowed inside, so, I just stood there and took a photo. As I left and turned my back away from the Presidential Palace, the luxurious 5-star hotel, Emirates Palace is on the left. You can actually go inside but make sure you’re properly dressed–no shorts and sandals. They’ll allow visitors starting at 10 in the morning.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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Dubai's Arabian Nights – Keep Calm and Wander

Dubai - Alain Arabian Nights is, perhaps, associated with talented belly dancers showing off their dancing prowess to the delight of the crowd (mostly men?) while breathing their hookah in and out. Throw it with an rhythm of the inviting arabic music and the air is filled with amorous desires for mid-eastern beauties with hypnotizing, tantalizing gazes that would stick in your memory forever. Ok, I think that’s a very graphic description that raises internal libido—Hollywood style. While staying in Dubai for 4 days, I joined a desert sunset safari just 45 minutes drive outside the city. The sunset, of course, was magnificent–but that’s another blog post later here.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

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