What good are 10 consecutive days off if you spend them in Cairo? We're coming up on Easter (Sham el Nessim) in just a few weeks and, if you play your cards right and bridge between the holidays, you could walk away with 10 consecutive days off using only a couple of your annual leave days. And while Siwa and Dahab are good options, perhaps it’s time to consider going overseas. Yeah, the Egyptian passport isn't the strongest in the world, but it holds way more options than you could imagine. Fact is, not all doors are closed to us, and there are some pretty fascinating destinations out there just waiting for someone to saddle up and leave it all behind.
Words will never quite do justice to just how gorgeous Nepal is – it’s one of those places where you really have to see it to believe it. Nepal is by far one of the best places to visit during Easter, especially if you’re a summer person. Expect warmer climate in mornings, with temperatures ranging from 25 to 30 degrees, and at nights it’ll get a bit chilly with temp dropping to 15 or so. In any case, the weather is beautiful and you’ll get to enjoy the wonderful scenery of mountains in the clear horizon.
The cool thing about Nepal is the fact that its visa is on arrival for Egyptians; all you have to do is fill out an application form once you arrive, and that’s it. It might be better though to apply in advance, before leaving, to avoid getting stuck in long line at the airport; you’ll find that their application process is fast. Either way, the Nepal Visa process is quite simple for Egyptians, which is usually our biggest obstacle before traveling.
Nepal is known for its wild nature and Buddhist and Sikh temples, all of which you can enjoy for little to no expenses. Your plan would be to land in Kathmandu, and then stay in any of the gorgeous hostels in the capital’s heart and soul, Thamel, which literally cost for a week less than a night in Sharm el Sheikh in a 5-star hotel. The city has plenty of temples you could enjoy, where you’d get to learn a lot about religions and cultures in the country – The Monkey Temple is where you should start; it's in the capital and offers some great views of the city as well as Buddhist shrines, not to mention monkeys lying around the place. But where you really should spend most of your time at is Thamel, and explore this little gem’s countless shops, bazars, and boutiques.
Then you need to head out to Pokhara, which is the most beautiful part of the country. A city overlooking a huge lake and mountain chains as high as you could see, Pokhara has much to offer, from paragliding to hiking mountains. They also have some really cool bars there like The Old Blues Bar, and a wonderful cinema atop a hill called Movie Garden, where you could catch a cool film under the starlight.
Average plane ticket for April: 8,000-9,000 EGP
Price range for 8 nights in a hostel/person: 600 – 1,400 EGP
Price range for 8 nights in a hotel/two people: 800 - 5,000 EGP
Average amount of money for food/person/day: 70 – 90 EGP
INDONESIAvia Sarah Beekmans
Indonesia is another country that does not require a visa from Egyptians. The weather in Indonesia is relatively good in April, which marks the transition between the wet and dry seasons. Temperatures are in the late 20s for the most part, but you should expect some humidity as well as sudden bursts of rainfall. Indonesia is gorgeous at any time of year, and its natural wonders are a treat to explore whenever you go.
You’ll want to explore Bandung and walk among its gorgeous street and Dutch colonial era buildings, visit the volcano just outside the city, and experience the rich and diverse culture of the town and its people. It’s around 150 km from Jakarta, and you can go spend a couple of days there after you’re done exploring the capital with its weird mishmash of Arab, Chinese, Indian, and European culture and ethnicities.
Indonesia is basically thousands of islands, so you'll definitely find more than your fair share of beaches and natural scenery. But not all islands are the same; for instance, Padar Island has some of the most gorgeous views you could find anywhere in the world. Komodo island is home to the huge Komodo dragon lizard, which is the biggest on earth, and also has some very cool sights. Gili islands is also worth mentioning just for their white sandy beaches and gorgeous reefs.
You will not have really visited Indonesia till you visit Bali. If you’re into nature and gorgeous scenery by any chance, then do yourself a favour and stop by Bali. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be on your honeymoon to go there, as there plenty of things to do, from visiting temples of different religions to exploring the wonderful beaches, mountains, and dormant volcanos the city has to offer for nature aficionados. There's also the experience of rafting in Tegenungan waterfalls if you're more of the adventurous type
Average plane ticket for April: 8000-9000 EGP
Price range for 8 nights in a hostel/person: 1800 – 3500 EGP
Price range for 8 nights in a hotel/two people: 1200 - 6000 EGP
Average amount of money for food/person/day: 80 – 100 EGP
HONG KONGvia Discover Hong Kong
After spending almost 150 years under British mandate, Hong Kong was returned to China in the late nineties and has been a self-autonomous region ever since then. While China does require Egyptians to have a visa to gain access, fortunately Hong Kong does not. Egyptian nationals may enter the country without a visa and stay for a period of up to three months. Hong Kong is one of the most popular tourist spots in the world, due to its unique blend of civilizations; it’s basically east meets west all in one place. The city has the highest number of skyscrapers in the world, and one of the most advanced transportation networks ever made by man, yet somehow you still feel and see the traditional Chinese culture all over.
There are plenty of things to do there starting with simply walking down the streets and exploring the cultural roller coaster that is Hong Kong, and don’t forget to thoroughly go through the Street Market for all the shopping and souvenir mania going on there. Still, there are a few must-dos whenever you find yourself there, starting with the Star Ferry, which takes you between the massive skyscrapers as you get a once in a lifetime view of Hong Kong from the sea – some recommend you take it at night to witness the Symphony at Lights Show, which is considered to be the world’s largest permanent lights and sound show. After that, you could make a visit to Victoria Peak for a glimpse of Hong Kong from the highest point on the entire island.
It’s worth mentioning that Hong Kong has its fair share of parks, gardens, museums, and everything else that might interest a curious traveler. Did I mention they have their very own Hong Kong Disneyland? There's also Ocean Park, which is considered to be the region's best theme park, with everything from exotic rides to wild animals.
Average plane ticket for April: 9,000-10,000 EGP
Price range for 8 nights in a hostel/person: 2,300 – 4,500 EGP
Price range for 8 nights in a hotel/two people: 4,000 - 20,000 EGP
Average amount of money for food/person/day: 200 – 250 EGP
MALAYSIAvia The Travel Intern
Like Indonesia, Egyptians don’t need a visa to enter Malaysia. Some say the best time to visit the country is between April and October, when the weather is at its driest, because after that you can expect heavy and frequent rainfall. Like its Asian counterparts, you can expect to find breathtaking nature in Malaysia and plenty of gorgeous scenery. Langkawi island is known for its gorgeous beaches, sunny weather, and duty-free markets where you can buy whatever souvenirs you want for cheaper prices; the island suits both honeymooners and adventurers alike as it caters to both their needs. Penang is another island in Malaysia where you could enjoy gorgeous scenery, but it’s a bit more of a metropolitan than Langkawi, though that’s not a bad thing because you get the best of both worlds.
Formerly colonized by the Portuguese, Malacca offers one of the most unique cultural and historical experiences you could have in Malaysia. You’ll find unique architecture, museums, art galleries, and so many more interesting things that would cater to a curios traveler. Because of the city's rich history and cultural backgrounds, many museums have been built to preserve these historic sites, like Orang Asli Museum which showcases the history of indigenous Orang Asli people and Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum, which is centered around the history and cultural background of ethnic Chinese-Malays. Other than the museums and galleries Malacca is full of, it also has something to offer nature lovers; Ayer Keroh Lake, Bukit Batu Lebah Recreational Forest, and Garden of a Thousand Flowers are just some of the few places where you could go to enjoy some nature and serenity in Malacca.
Don’t leave before you get to enjoy the beauty that is Kuala Lumpur; the city is a metropolitan masterpiece that is anything but devoid of beauty and nature. If it’s postmodern architectural wonders like The Petronas Towers you’re after, you’ll find that, and if you’re looking for nature and beauty, you can find them in the natural parks and gorgeous scenery the city is full of. Kuala Lumpur also has a very active nightlife with clubs and bars staying up all night for the party animals, most notably Zouk Club, and there's also the experience of fine dining in a place like Marini's on 57, which is possibly the country's most notorious rooftop bar and Italian restaurant where you could enjoy fine meals and drinks with a view overlooking the Petronas Towers. For a more exotic trip around the capital, visit Batu Caves in Selangor, which are a very unique set of caves and temples.
Average plane tickets for April: 8,000-9,000 EGP
Price range for 8 nights in a hostel/person: 600 – 3,000 EGP
Price range for 8 nights in a hotel/two people: 1,200 - 5,000 EGP
Average amount of money for food/person/day: 100 – 150 EGP
LEBANONvia Opening a Bottle
Lebanon’s visa on arrival is pretty easy to get, and its weather is perfect for an April trip. There’s so much to be said about and experienced in a country like Lebanon; its rich history is violent at times as it is beautiful and rich at others. Going on a trip to Lebanon ensure an engrossing ride that will see you explore the country’s turbulent history, and enjoy its present beauty and serenity, not to mention coolest nightlife in the region! Beirut alone is worth the ticket, for all its bars, museums, parks, and so much more. When in the capital, going to a live music venue is a must, for they are plenty and each offering a different type of music to enjoy at nights; you could be listening to jazz in on night and rock the next, and the choice is all yours. Whether it's in Mar Mikhael or Hamra, Beirut bars are something to behold, each with a different theme and awesome cocktails; Abbey Road, Anise, Coop D’etat, and Bar ThreeSixty are just some of the cool bars you could spend the night at.
Beirut also offers plenty for the culture and history buff, with museums covering a variety of topics, from the history of money in the world - Banque Du Liban Museum - to one of the most significant collections of minerals in the world at the Mim Museum.
The beauty of Lebanon is that there’s much more to do beyond Beirut, and plenty can be even made through a day trip from there. Whether it’s Batroun –- one of the oldest cities in the world –– or Baalbek with all its gorgeous ancient Roman temples and ruins, not a day will go wasted in Lebanon. Rio Lento and Arnaoon Village make excellent family trips from Beirut; both are basically adventure getaways where you can enjoy a variety of activities like swimming, water games, zip-lining, climbing, and other fun stuff.
If you find yourself in Lebanon come winter instead, do yourself a favor and go ski on the sloper of Mount Lebanon; Mzaar Kfardebian, the country's biggest and most well known ski resort, is where you'll want to go for a skiing experience you'll not soon be forgetting.
Average plane tickets for April: 3,000-4,000 EGP
Price range for 8 nights in a hostel/person: 2,400 – 5,000 EGP
Price range for 8 nights in a hotel/two people: 4,000 - 12,000 EGP
Average amount of money for food/person/day: 140 – 170 EGP
JORDANvia Muna Haddad, Jordan Trail Association
One of the oldest countries in the world, Jordan has seen waves upon waves of foreign civilizations over the years. Yet, somehow Jordan had retained its identity and core beliefs, something you’ll notice when and if you’re fortunate enough to go there. There is no visa for Egyptians, but you have to go by air not by boat. There’s also the advantage of the fact that the best time to visit Jordan is between March and May, where the weather is at its fairest.
The best way to truly experience the country would be to go on its biggest and most important hiking route, the Jordan Trail. It takes you across over 650 km of the country’s most beautiful landscapes and vistas, and its most treasured monuments and historic sites. You'll visit the city of Petra with all its hidden treasures and majestic view, you'll plough through Wadi Rum and know what it's like to live as a Bedouin nomad as you experience their cultures and habits, and if you're brave enough maybe you'll have a swim in Aqaba and the Dead Sea. You don’t need to take the entire trail though; it’s divided into shorter bouts, from which you can choose what you want. There's also the Dana Biosphere Reserve along the trail, which is a cluster of natural beauty and gorgeous scenery you will not want to miss; you can stay at Feynan Ecolodge there and experience the locals' traditions and hospitality. Then there's Ajloun where history and nature collide in this ancient city that has seen much events during the crusades, as evident by the historic castle there. There's even a biking route along the Jordan Trail, if walking/hiking isn't really your thing and you're more into cycling.
The capital Amman does have its hidden gems as well; Rainbow Street is one of the coolest ones in the country, where you'll find plenty of shops, restaurants, companies, and some historic sites like Al-Mufti House. If you're in the mood for some authentic ta3meya, Falafel hashem is the place to visit. Speaking of food, Weibdeh is full of restaurants offering ethnic meals you'll not want to miss.
Average plane tickets for April: 5,000-6,000 EGP
Price range for 8 nights in a guesthouse/person: 2,700 – 5,000 EGP
Price range for 8 nights in a hotel/two persons: 2,000 - 10,000 EGP
Average amount of money for food/person/day: 120 – 150 EGP
TANZANIAvia Kensington Tours
When Egyptians think about traveling and exploring the great beyond, they seldom consider African countries as a destination for a visit, despite the fact that some African countries have some of the most gorgeous scenery you could ever set eyes on. Tanzania is one of those examples, with natural parks filled with wild and exotic animals, breathtaking beaches, and plains as far as the eyes could see. The country is wet during April, but the weather is still mild and enjoyable to experience the country’s natural wealth. For Egyptians, you can acquire an e-visa or a visa on arrival.
Tanzania is filled with natural parks, like Tarangire and Serengeti National Parks, where safaris are daily for tourists to explore the vast field filled with wild animals, from lions to rhinos. The country also has its fair share of natural reserves like Ngorongoro Conservation Area which is home to a volcanic caldera and some gorgeous gorges. The beaches of Tanzania can’t be done justice by mere words, and suffice to say Zanzibar is part of the country, which is one of the most famous honeymoon and tourist spots in Africa, for its beautiful beaches and wonderful scenery. Divers, amateurs and professionals alike, would also love Zanzibar for its unique dive sites and colorful waters.
In case you didn't already know, Mount Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, and it's the highest mountain in Africa. Some people make the mistake of assuming it's an easy hike just because it's about half the altitude of Everest, but they're gravely mistaken. While Kilimanjaro is a must for climbing enthusiasts, it's far from an easy climb. Nontheless, it's a worthy one that could change your life forever, if you're up for the challenge.
Exploring the culture of the locals is one of the most interesting experiences you could have in Tanzania, for their customs and traditions are as rich as they are different from what you're normally used to. The best way to do so is visiting a local village and staying for a while to get to know the people and the customs; Iraqw Village, for example, is known for opening its doors to tourists where they could learn about the customs, language, and all about the habits and way of life of the locals.
Average plane tickets for April: 9,000-10,000 EGP
Average price for 8 nights in a guesthouse/person: 600 – 5000 EGP
Average price for 8 nights in a hotel/two people: 3500 - 15000 EGP
Average amount of money for food/person/day: 90 – 110 EGP
If you’ve seen the animated film by the same name, then you probably have a pretty good idea on how gorgeous this country can be. True, you won’t find many talking lions and zebras, but there’s plenty of fascinating animals and wildlife to keep you well interested, like lemurs –– which exist nowhere else. Madagascar has rain forests the likes of which you see only in movies, and it also has some gorgeous beaches and reefs. Egyptians can obtain visa on arrival for Madagascar and stay for up to 90 days.
The capital Antananarivo is quite an interesting place with a very rich historical background that would sure please history buffs; Ambohimanga hill offers a lot of insight into the cultural identity of the indigenous Merina people and their kingdom past. You can also visit Le Royal Palace which served as home for the rulers of the Kindgom of Madagascar, hundreds of years ago. If you're looking for something out of the box, Pirates Museum offers real and replica artefacts about the history of piracy in the region; bet you didn't see that one before! The city's architecture is wonderful, mixing the ethnic culture with the country’s colonial background. You’ll also want to explore the rain forests of the country , which can be quite an exciting experience and it's like nothing you've ever seen before.
Madagascar has some exquisite parks like Parc Tsarasaotra, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park which is home to indri lemur - known for their unique loud song - and various other fauna/flora, and Isalo National Park which offers some breathtaking rock formation, canyons, and natural pools, to name a few.
Admiring the beauty and majesty of Baobab trees is something some people go specifically to Tanzania for, and their roots in African folklore are another thing to admire. And while you’re doing that, don’t forget to visit the stone forests.
Tourists also enjoy swimming with the sharks in the country’s beautiful waters, and you can also just go scuba diving for the fun of it.
Average plane tickets for April: 13000-14000 EGP
Price range for 8 nights in a guesthouse/person: 1000 – 4000 EGP
Price range for 8 nights in a hotel/two people: 2500 - 12000 EGP
Average amount of money for food/person/day: 65 – 100 EGP