Are there scams in Egypt?

May 1, 2019

I know some of you might hear that Egypt isn’t safe. Or you might hear that there are a lot of scams or other horrible things. Is it safe or not? I didn’t feel unsafe during my visit, even when I arrived at 1:30 am in the morning at Cairo Airport. Speaking of one of the weirdest times to arrive at a new country. I was alone but I got an airport pick up from the hotel anyway.

Here I would like to share several things that I experienced during my 12-day visit in Egypt. You might call some of these experiences are unpleasant, but to me, it was just the way it is. It’s not bad, but it’s also not good. Let’s start.

  1. In Giza (Great Pyramids), there were a lot of people trying to sell things to me (tourists). The most frequency service offered was riding a camel. Some of them were acting as if they were paid security at the pyramid complex and asked me to show my tickets. I would recommend you show the tickets but hold onto it, don’t give it to them. Unless they really look like the security at the complex. The real security usually uses a uniform (I think it was black uniform). I did give my tickets to the security guy in front of the Great Pyramid when we about to enter the Pyramid. And he needed to punch the ticket to mark that I’d been at that spot.
  2. Everywhere, mostly, especially in the tourist area, people always try to overcharge you (not only in Egypt). For example the cost of a taxi. The best way to avoid this is to do a bit of research to know roughly how much it costs to get from one place to another. In Cairo, this is not a problem because you can use Uber. And as long as it’s not crazily overpriced, I think give a bit more money to the locals won’t harm you.
  3. In the toilet, even at the airport, there was always a worker trying to get a tip (my experiences at the lady’s toilet). These people (according to some locals that I met) get a really low salary, so if you have a small change like 10-20 Egyptian pounds, you can always give it to them. If you don’t have small money and feel like you don’t need or want to pay them then you can always say “no sorry” or just walk away and say “thank you”.
  4. In the temples (and the tombs), there were several guys, not sure if they were working for the temples (as a security) or just locals hanging out at the temples, who tried to talk to you and get some money. The popular trick is showing to you where to get a nice photo or a nice pose or offer help to take a photo of or for you. If you’re stuck what to do, see number 3.
  5. Kids trying to get things from you … This happened to us in Aswan and Luxor. Some of them asked for pens, candies or money. I think the best thing to do is not give anything. They shouldn’t get something easily (especially from tourists). Though it seems no harm and it seems like you might be helping them when you give them pens or candies, in the long run, you actually don’t help them. You are feeding them to be lazy.
  6. In front of Al-Azhar Mosque, if you looked confused (we were definitely looked like 100% confused tourists), there might be a local guy walk to you and try to help out. In our case, he started the conversation with: I’m not as bad people in Giza. I’m trying to help you, and so on. And the rest of the tales seem to good to be true (which was so suspicious). In our case, he was trying to get us to go to his family workshop, which can transform to a restaurant in a few seconds when we told him that we weren’t interested in any crafts and we were hungry. I’m sure the services he would have offered would have been overpriced. Anyway, my heart said no, and we didn’t go.

I think that’s all the experiences that I have in Egypt in relation to scam/pushy stuff. Other than that, Egypt was marvelous! I didn’t think that I would have enjoyed exploring Egypt as much as I did. Have you ever been to Egypt? How was your experience?

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