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 the time I arrived at Sphinx Guest House and was ushered into my room on the rooftop, sunset has already begun. I wasted no time, I took my best friend (aka tripod) and camera and clicked a series of shots.
I’m no stranger to breathtaking sunsets anywhere in my travels.
But, this one is something you’d never dream of witnessing.
The Sphinx, the Pyramids and the sunset. What better view could you ask for?
A sunset like this is always a good way to end your first day in a foreign country.
On my second afternoon, the sunset was indescribably awesome!
The sky turned so pink—as if giving me another day of fabulous welcome to the country which is on the very top of my bucket list since high school.
I’m so glad I stayed at Sphinx Guest House because it’s literally right in front of the Sphinx and with a great view of the whole Pyramids landscape.
If you really want to experience a magical sunset like this, there are few other hotels/guest houses/inns you can stay offering rooftops or rooms with a view. To name a few: Guardian Guest House, Great Pyramid Inn, Pyramids View Inn, Pyramids Loft Homestay and Mena Inn Pyramids. You can all book them here.
Do not expect a really great accommodation. Stay for the view but not for the amenities. And also, despite their conditions, these places aren’t cheap nor backpacker-friendly.
If you are staying in downtown Cairo but you still want to see the sunset, go to Pizza Hut, right in front of the ticket booth / gate. Buy a piece of pizza and bring it to their semi-open rooftop. The view is as incredible as the photos above.
Related Travel Tip:
Question: Does Egypt still issue visa on arrival?
Answer: Yes and No.
No. Most countries advise you to get a visa from your current country before you fly.
Yes. You can still get a visa on arrival, in one condition: you have to be on a tour group. In my case, since I travel solo, I found a tour agent online and asked if they could help me get a visa on arrival. They said yes but with some fees:
Visa on arrival – $25
Document processing – $10
(Payment to the representative to process some kind of document that you are on tour with the company. Ask for the “document” which is kinda receipt when you hand-in the payment).
Airport Transfer to your Hotel – $25
(This is optional. This is actually way more expensive than taking a taxi to downtown Cairo which would only cost you EGP120 or 14. Agree on the price first before getting into the car.)
It’s better to pay them in USD. Do NOT pay in Egyptian Pound (EGP). Why? Because exchange rate in Cairo is a huge scam! $1 = EGP10. Check xe.com for the real exchange rate.
So, reserve at least $60 to pay for all of these. Or $35–if you don’t want the airport transfer service. I repeat, DO NOT pay in Egyptian Pound.
If you want to know the contact of the guy who helped me get a visa on arrival, comment below and ask.