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One of the great delights of Egypt is the shopping! However, there are many pitfalls: from learning how to bargain to knowing where the best places are to buy certain goods; from understanding Arabic price tickets to getting the insider knowledge as to which are the best shops to choose. We can guide you to the best shops in each city and town; can tell you which ones are best avoided; and can point out the shops that are the most entertaining(!), if not the best value. We can introduce you to the traditional markets (souks) at a leisurely pace that will guarantee that you do not feel pressured, while being able to develop the necessary shopping survival skills at your own pace.

* However, you should remember that in Egypt the experience of shopping is more valuable than the goods purchased.

* So what is there to buy in Egypt? You will be truly amazed at the range of goods, from souvenirs to treasures, that you can purchase and package to take on the plane flight home with you. While there is a great deal of tacky or kitsch tourist paraphernalia on offer, you will also find everything from exotic spices to exquisite jewellery; gorgeously textured shawls and scarves to brilliantly colored papyri; handcrafted brass and copper ware to quality reproductions of antiquities; and delicately glowing alabaster to fabulously designed carpets and rugs. Around the area of the Nobles' Tombs on the West Bank at Luxor, you will find a craftsman who makes wonderful reproduction limestone stelae

* However, even if you choose to buy nothing in Egypt, the experience of walking through the Aswan souk, checking out the Luxor bazaars or exploring Cairo's world famous Khan-al-Khalili is not to be missed! And once you've done that you still have to see an alabaster "factory", a papyrus shop or a perfume "palace". Most of the alabaster factories or perfume palaces are actually the worst places to buy these goods, but the experience of exploring them and surviving the hard sell is unforgettable. It is also worth holding in mind that, while bargaining can be sensational fun, the more that you beat a shop-owner down on his price, the less food his family has on the table. The translation is often that simple. While it would be truly insulting not to bargain, and indeed it is expected, remember to maintain balance.

* Each city and souk has it's own specialties We will share our knowledge with you so that you can avoid some of the more common tourist traps. You will soon learn that Aswan is the best place to buy spices and gold jewellery but if you're after silver jewellery wait for Luxor or the Khan-al Khalili! Luxor is a great place to buy finely worked embroidered shawls, but if you want woolen ones then shop early in Aswan. The Khan-al-Khalili Bazaar is the place to go for copper and brass ware but look out for really interesting reproduction antiquities at Deir-el-Medina. Sadly, over the last few years, many of the traditional souks have been replaced by tourist souks, built by the local government. However, the individual shops still retain their charm and their owners are as irrepressible as ever!

* The first rule of shopping in Egypt is to allow plenty of time for it. Whatever you do, don't leave souvenir shopping for the last hour of your stay in a city and then expect to whip around the markets and pick up what you need quickly. You will either pay an exorbitant fortune for your goods, or end up a nervous wreck. You need to approach shopping with the same anticipation and excitement with which you would approach an ancient tomb or monument. Work out what you are looking for in advance, as this will help you focus your efforts. By all means, succumb to the impulse buy or that unloosed-for treasure, but you do need to plan your shopping trips to avoid being worn out or trapped by the persistence of the hawkers and vendors. As always, a few Arabic words and phrases can be invaluable at times like this.

One of the great delights that our groups have discovered during recent tours has been the opportunity to shop for Cairene fashion and shoes in the shops around the Grand Hotel in Cairo. Situated Down Town in the largest city in Africa. The Grand Hotel is located right in the heart of a popular shopping district. No bargaining here: the prices are all clearly marked - in Arabic - on the goods. If you want to be wearing something quite different from everyone else at home then this might be the shopping experience for you!

Many of the owners of the shops and stalls that you visit will offer you some tea. While one of the great delights of shopping in Egypt is to sip tea with a shop owner while you haggle - or listen to wonderful and colorful stories about their family - it is probably best to save tea drinking for those shops where you intend to do some serious buying: otherwise you will find yourself sloshing down the street feeling in urgent need of a pit stop! Egyptian hospitality, even in shops and markets, is warm and welcoming. You may be offered various foods as well as drinks when you are in shops. If you recognize the food and are comfortable eating it, then by all means do so but a good rule of thumb is, if in doubt, leave it out.

* You will love to shop in Egypt. The souks and markets of Egypt have an excitement and flavor that is all their own and quite unlike anything that you will experience elsewhere. The range of wares on display is mind-boggling and the friendliness and hospitality of the shop owners is unrivaled. The sights, smells and sounds will overwhelm your senses at the same time that the exotic atmosphere created by the place and its people will dazzle your imagination. Fortunately for you, at the end of your shopping odyssey.