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Adventure in Egypt –Day 7–

Time flies and we have been in Egypt for a week already! Today we finish our cruise and checked out from Sonesta St George at 8am.

The crew is amazing and kids gave the cruise thumbs up!

Karnak Temple- the biggest temple ever build

With our luggage safely tucked in the van, we headed to Karnak Temple on the East Bank of Nile River in Luxor. It is the largest temple ever built and it is indeed spectacular with its endless columns to explore. The avenue of Sphinx leads into the courtyard of the temple where rows of huge columns spans the area. There was 2500 sphinx build and so far 1400 has been discovered. Excavation works are still ongoing, hoping to find more of the sphinx. The special feature of this sphinx is it is face of ram with lion body compared to other sphinx with human face and lion body. Further in, we can see some statues of Hatchepsut but most of them has been disfigured or destroyed by her stepson. The most magnificent features of this temple is the vast number of columns spanning the courtyard.

Avenue of Sphinx- lion body with ram head

As the area of the temple is huge, not all the area is open for visitors. There are certain area which is closed for restoration works and we saw them rebuilding one of the statues but no photos were allowed.

Luxor Temple-seen in the picture is one of the Luxor Obelisks. It was originally a pair of Ancient Egypt Obelisks and now one of them is in Place de la Concorde in Paris.
The Luxor Obelisks in Paris

After Karnak Temple, we are headed to Luxor Temple. They are not far away and are actually link by the avenue of sphinx in the ancient time. For now, we had to drive around it and not able to walk the avenue of sphinx.

Luxor Temple is just by the River Nile and also very near the Luxor train station. Once we reach, we were greeted by six large statues sitting on the entrance majestically. This temple has been build by many people over the years so we could see many different side of it. There are roman scriptures, church with painting of last supper and the disciples, mosque, and some of the pharaoh’s carving and statues. Interesting to walk around the place.

Look at the design of these columns, they are different from the usual ones with lotus shaped and not round columns.

TIPS: There are usually people guarding the entrance to toilets at these attractions so prepare some EGP 1 coins and can give it to them when using the toilet.

After a quick stop at McD for our lunch takeaway, we head to airport for our flight back to Cairo. There is not much to do at the airport, one cafe and a souvenir shop at the domestic departure are and that’s basically it.

Flight back is again fully booked with close to 90% of the seats occupied.

Once back to Cairo, we tried to get Uber instead of booking limousine. The Uber costs us EGP 150 vs limousine which cost us EGP330, more than 50% off. The waiting point is at parking area B5 and C2.

Today we have booked a covid test with Pure Health (certified by Emirates for pre-flight Covid Test). It costs us EGP 368 per person for the test and we paid extra EGP 100 for the staff to come to our hotel.

It has been many days since we ate Chinese food so we decided to head to Peking @ Zamalek area. Little did we know that the traffic at 5pm is crazy. The journey usually takes 20 mins but we only reach after an hour and the worse is that the restaurant has closed down!

Luckily we met one lady who point us to this place called Crave, around 10 minutes walk. The food there is amazing! I particularly like their seafood risotto and dynamite chicken(starter). Did I mention that the food portion in Egypt is crazily huge. It doesn’t matter whether you get in cafe, or hotel restaurant. Everything is just HUGE! After 1-2 days, we have learn that ordering 2 main courses for four of us is more than enough.

Dynamite Chicken
Seafood risotto

After a rush dinner, we manage to head home before our covid test appointment time.

Wish us luck- hopefully tested negative and we can go back to Dubai!

Adventure in Egypt –Day 6–

This morning, we were awaken again when the ship start cruising at 5am but it was good that we were awaken before that is when we pass by the Esna Lock. This is where the ship took an elevator up or down the River Nile depending on which directions you are sailing. For us, it was going down. The ship reach the locks and enter an area where the doors are closed. Then water is pumped out and our ship saw a significant drop in altitude. Then when the level of water matches the level on the direction we are headed, the door open and we continue our sailing. It is am amazing process!

Enjoying a view from Hatchepsut Temple

After breakfast we started our half day land tour exploring the West Bank of Luxor where we visited The Valleys of Kings (EGP 240), Hatshepsut Temple(EGP 140), and The Valleys of the Queens (EGP 100). We also stop by an Alabaster workshop, to see how they make the vase and tea light candle container. The alabaster shine amazingly under the lights showing a beautiful design, they all are each unique in their own way.

The Valley of the Kings are the resting place of the kings who used to rule Egypt. Instead of building the pyramids which is costly and take a very long time, they found a huge area of mountain/valleys with limestone that is easy to dig in (the mountain has the shapes of the pyramid). When the kings started its reign, he will choose a spot for his tomb. He then start to dig the hole and carve the walls and build the room for his tomb. As the ancient Egyptian King believes in afterlife, they also buried their personal belongings together with them in the room where their tomb is located.

A picture depicting the workers digging the tomb , carving and painting them with natural colours from stones.

There are more than 70 tombs found in the Valley of the kings and at any one time, only 6-7 tombs are open for visitors while the rest are closed for restoration, they rotate the tombs once every 5 years. To prevent crowd and in hope of preserving the colour of the drawings on the walls, each visitor is recommended to stay 10-15 mins in the tomb and tour guide are prohibited from explaining inside the tomb itself. The tickets purchased allowed each visitor to visit 3 tombs!

One of the highlight today is the Hatshepsut Temple build on the bottom of the King’s valley dedicated to Queen Hatshepsut, one of the most popular queen in Egypt. After her husband passed, she send her stepson away to be priests and reign for many years. She is the only queen that was buried in the Valley of The Kings.

Restored statues of Queen Hatshepsut

As her stepson grew up, he retaliate and destroy Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple. All of her statues are destroyed and cut into pieces. What we saw today is restorated statue, and the process is still ongoing. It is a temple of three storeys and with a nice stairway leading up to it.

We then headed to the Alabaster Workshop to see how they make alabaster vase from its raw material. Each alabaster vase is unique in its own way and has its own fingerprint.

Ended the tour with a stop at Valley of the Queens. It was very obvious that this is a much less popular site compared to the Valley of the Kings. There are much less people and the tombs are practically empty and for ours to ‘enjoy’. As with all the other attractions, entrance to certain area is not included in our tour and require additional fees should we wish to enter. Usually they cost EGP 100-200 per person for this additional one but the Nefertiti Tomb here in the Valleys of the Queens actually cost EGP 1400 to enter, OMG!!! I wonder what is inside —-

We visited Queen Titi’s tomb and one of the prince’s tomb. Then went back to our boat for another buffet lunch which the kids love. I especially like the baked sweet potatoes , it is really yummy and I have second serving.

There is an optional city tour in the afternoon to see the local life at USD 35 for adult and USD 20 for kids and hot air balloon over the city at USD 90 for adults and USD 45 for children. We definitely wasn’t interested in the city tour but was considering the hot air balloon. However, the 5am wake up call and having a city tour straight after is kinda tired. Plus we need to fly back to Cairo straight after the tour so decided to give it a miss.

We spend the rest of the day chilling, blogging and having drinks on the sun deck enjoying the magnificent view of the Valley of the kings.

Dinner is served as 4 courses meal and ended the day with belly dancing performances.

Enjoying the Nile River while docking at Luxor

Jaclyn rated the cruise satisfaction 100% and Justin 99%. They both loved the buffet, food, hospitality, good service, great room with jacuzzi, great guide with very detailed explanations. Justin only rated 99% as there is no free wifi onboard (please do not tell him that I used up his 1GB allocation :p)

Adventure in Egypt –Day 5–

Good morning!

After docking overnight in Aswan, the boat set sails at 5am in the morning heading to Kom Umbu Temple. Wake up call is at 7.30am and after breakfast, we head out to our first land tour at 8.30am.

Kom Ombu Temple and the crocodile museum is just by the river bank so we head out on foot. The general architecture of the temple is very similar to the Philea Temple with it’s giant carved stone on its entrance and a courtyard followed by the sacred sacrificial area. Umbu means gold so the area is famous for it’s gold mine.

This is the temple dedicated to two gods equally. The good (Horus -falcon) and evil ( Sobek-crocodile) god.

Ancient calendar. The round symbol means Day, the reverse U means 10 and the straight is 1. Example the first carving on the top right: Day 22

One thing to note in this site is the ancient calendar carved on its wall. The ancient Egyptian calendar is divided into 3 seasons, each seasons 4 months and each month 30 days.

Also, take a closer look at the carvings (very 3D looking) showing the clothes of the ancient Egyptian king and queen. The older kingdom were shoeless and the lady wore very thin layer of clothing showing the shape of the breast but in the newer kingdom, the king wore sandal and the lady wore thicker clothes, covering their body.

The ancient Egyptian king and queen. The king was shoeless and the queen wearing thin dress showing her body and breast as sign of motherhood
In the newer kingdom, the king wearing saddle and the queen wearing thicker dress

We then head back to our ship have a swim in the pool and shower while cruising to the next destination- Edfu Temple. Lunch is served on their sundeck with spectacular view.

Next stop is Edfu Temple (Horus Temple) and we reach in style via horse carriages. In this temple, there is a room which has the ingredients used to make natural essences carved on its wall. Egypt is famous for treatment of rheumatic arthritis using aromatherapeutic oil.

The recipe for making aromatherapy essences

It also has the story of the battle of the nephew (god Horus) and his evil uncle depicted as rhinoceros.

Our land tour tour has ended and we went back to ship only to realise it is time for afternoon tea again. Love the view onboard the ship on sundeck, enjoying afternoon tea with the cool breeze blowing. After the sun has set, we went back to our cabin to freshen up before heading to our dinner served Egyptian Style.

Afternoon tea

At night there were some entertainment and we joined for a bit before heading to bed.

Adventure in Egypt –Day 4–

Aswan.. here we come!

We took an inter-city flight from Cairo to Aswan to begin our second leg of adventure. Flight is via EgyptAir internal flight. There is complimentary 10MB wifi onboard which is good enough for some WhatsApp messages. We reach Aswan at 2.30pm to be picked up from our tour guide Honey that we had booked in advance for our 4 days 3 nights River Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor.

The cruise usually starts at 12pm with lunch followed by tour and afternoon tea, then dinner but because our flight did not reach until 2.20pm (the morning flight are fully booked) so we missed the lunch and afternoon tea. However we manage to visit the High Dam and Philea Temple which is good as most attractions in Egypt close by 4-5pm.

At the high dam!

Our first stop at the high dam which is a huge dam that generate green energy. Lake Nesser which is the second largest manmade lake is a huge reservoir of water. There is military around the area but public are able to access part of the dam. We stop by for photo for 10 mins before heading to the old dam (British Dam) which is also where the Philea Temple is located.

On motorboat heading to Philea Temple

Philea temple is located on an island and the current location of the temple is actually a reconstructed area as the original location of the temple is totally flooded under the water now. The stones were cut into pieces and transported to the current location. It is build during the Greek Roman period over the ancient Egyptian Temple where you can still see the remains of the red granite stone. Some of columns of the temple is still not completely done so you can see a different in designs in between the right and left hand columns leading to the temple. The whole temple’s wall is meticulously carved in pictures and symbols which all have its own meaning. It is amazing that no spot is left uncarved.

On the left, we can see the Pharaoh holding his enemy’s hair and the enemy are all asking for mercy.

Most of the pictures depicts the Goddess of Isis and her beloved husband. As Aswan is famous for its abundance of flowers, many different flowers are also carved onto the columns. Our guide is very knowledgable on the study of the symbols and gave us good explanations.

The original red granite with engraving.

Afterwards, we headed to a local store selling pure essence. There are many types to choose for – flower essences and aroma therapy essences. The staff patiently explained and let us try to see which one we are interested in. In the end, we went for the lotus essences at USD 45 for 125ml.

Kids enjoying their own room on cruise

Finally it is time for us to board the cruise. It is in medieval British design with lots of paintings and wooden flooring. It was nice. We had a welcome drink before heading to our room. We got an interconnected room- one double bed in one room and two single bed in another. The big surprise is the shower, it is a combination of shower, sauna and jacuzzi, our own personal one! We were really excited to try it!

The Sonesta cruise that we opted for has four floors. The first floor consist of the dining area where three meals are served. Second level is where the lounge and reception is located . Third and fourth floor is the rooms and there is also a spa and sundeck with swimming pool.

The captain welcome us at 7.30pm with a welcome drink and a speech. That is followed by dinner at 8pm. For dinner, we get a four course meals with a starter, soup, main course and dessert followed by coffee. Any other drinks are at additional cost but it is of reasonable price.

After dinner, we can’t wait to go back to our room to try our jacuzzi and it did not disappoint.

We paid USD 1850 for a family of 4 (kids age 8,9). Price includes two rooms, full board (3 meals plus an afternoon tea), tea and coffee in room, mineral water in room, airport transfer, personal tour guide for our family during the land tour, entrance fees to all attractions, motor boat ride to Philea Temple, and horse carriages. Complimentary wifi at 1GB per person for the cruise. The only exclusions is tips for our guide, cruise staff and driver.

Adventure in Egypt– Day 3–

Today is an easy day for us and one of the most exciting one as well.

We booked a tour on Viator.com and for USD40 for adult and USD 20 for children, we got ourselves a one day tour to The Great Pyramid of Giza (includes entrance fees to the general area), Sphinx, a traditional Egyptian lunch (koshary), visit to The Egyptian Museum (includes entrance fees) and a bazaar.

At 8am in the morning, we got picked up from our hotel lobby and began our adventure at the pyramid, the first and most exciting stop to wake us up from our sleepyhead. Before heading to the pyramid, we stop by a gas station with a view of the pyramid. We went to the washroom and got ourselves some On The Run coffee and cake for snack. We ate them while enjoying the pyramid. The Nutella tart is amazing , highly recommended.

Enjoying little snacks before heading to Giza Pyramid..

Next the driver drove us to the entrance where our tour guide purchase the tickets and we just too excited and keep snapping photos. Going into the pyramid is not included in the tour and we opted to top up EGP 100 for adults and EGP 50 for children to enter the Khafre pyramid (the middle one).

Listening attentively to the explanation of history of Egypt and the pyramids..

After the usual security check of our bag, we enter and our tour guide explain the history of Egypt and the pyramids. It is build on the hill and the tallest pyramid look even taller on the hill. Build in 2500BC, the Great Pyramid of Cheops (Khufu) has been standing strong for over 4000 plus year, and one could not stop and wonder how the ancient people can make such magnificent building with almost non-existence technology. The tallest pyramid used to be 146m tall and now it is only 138m as the tip broke off. It took 100,000 workers 20 years to build it. In a year, the workers work 9 months on building and the remaining 3 months was when it flooded, so that was the time where the pyramid building work was stop, and the limestone was transported to the pyramid area using the high level of river water.

Look at how huge each of the stones that makes the grand pyramid is! It is even taller than the kids!

The ancient Egyptian believe in the God of Ra which is the sun and since the sun rise in the east and set in the west, the kings stayed on the east of the River Nile and build their tomb on the west of River Nile.

Next to The Grand Pyramid of Cheops (Khufu), we have the son (Khafre) and grandson (Menkaure) and they are not allowed to build taller than their respective father. To make a distinction, the Khafre Pyramid has a painted top to make it look different. There is also a Sphinx next to it which has an interesting story. It was not build intentionally but rather a mistake which turns out to be amazing. That is supposed to be the site of the tomb but due to the piece of stone that was not hard enough , the tomb was moved to another site and when the pyramid was build, this piece of stone decided to be carved into a sphinx, a lion with a human head to symbolise power.

Did you know that till today, the tomb of Khufu has not been found yet. This is because his tomb was build in an upper room as compared to the other pyramid where the tomb is underground. The empty room hat Khufu build for his queen has been found in the middle of the pyramid and words are that his tomb is at the top of the pyramid. Many has tried to look but to no avail as there are many false door and since the building was not build with cement, removing blocks and stone may cause instability and the pyramid might collapse.

The empty tomb of Pharaoh Khufre

Entering the Khafre Pyramid was an experience. The stairs are narrow and we had to descend down before ascending to the room where the tomb is found. There is not much headroom as well and we had to bend down. There was already nothing in the tomb as the mummies has been moved to the museum but it is good to have an idea how the tomb looks like.

A short clip of our visit today and you can see the narrow walkway in the Khufre Pyramid

Next up, we had our camel ride with the three magnificent pyramids as our backdrop! It is not our first time riding a camel but definitely one of the most unforgettable experience.

Next to the Sphinx there was a temple where the mummification process is made. I think the temple has a more interesting story as that is where the mummies are made. Although the exact process was not known but here is what our tour guide told us. The deceased body was clean with lotus oil (which is one of the scared flower in Egypt, you can see them a lot in the statue and inscription), then the organ is removed except the heart because they believe in afterlife and that your heart determine if you will be going to a good afterlife. Next the body is rub with lots of salts to remove the water and then wrap in many layers of clothes and kept in layers after layers of coffin. The male coffin consists of four layers while the female three layers. Each layer is carefully designed and look different. We saw one mummies in the museum and it was very much well preserved. The facial features are still maintained and even the hair is intact. It is indeed an amazing technique that no one to date able to figure out exactly what is used.

After leaving the pyramids, we headed to a papyrus making shop where we saw real papyrus tree and get an idea how paper was made in ancient days.

Lady showing how paper is made from papyrus plant.

For lunch, we had a choice of shawarma and koshary. We had too much shawarma back in Dubai so we decided to try koshary. It is a very traditional Egyptian meal that is a mix of Italian, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It is made out of rice, pasta and lentil, served with tomato and garlic vinegar sauce, topped with chickpeas and fried onion. I have to say it tasted amazing! We loved it and glad to have an Egyptian twist to our meals here.

Next, we braced the traffic and reach The Egyptian Museum. I am not sure if I would count ourselves lucky or unlucky. There is a big event going on in a couple of days so the royal mummies has been removed from the collections to prepare for their transport to the new Egyptian Civilisation Museum so we did not manage to see the mummies but because of the move , a collection of special cars has been made for the transport and they are all parked outside the museum so we were able to see those cars up-close and that might not be possible during the procession as many would be rushing to the streets to catch a glimpse of the mummies’s car.

The Egyptian Museum is huge and our tour guide spend time explaining to us many of the history behind the signifiant exhibits and pointed to us many of the details that we would not notice otherwise.

I did not know that the pharaoh wore a fake beard and they has always made them in their statue. The are many kingdom of the pharaoh and each of them has different inscription in their coffin. One even had a goddess protecting him at the cover of his coffin. The Coffin are all made according to their face so that in afterlife, their soul would come back to search for their body. Khufre King had a falcon holding its head in its statue and that make the head strong and well preserved, you can see that at the EGP 10 pounds money.

Another highlight in the museum is this amazing statue with an almost real eyes (made from gemstones). It is the picture on the EGP200 note! The real statue is amazingly real!

We ended the night with a cold Sakara Gold beer before leaving Cairo, heading to Aswan tomorrow for our second leg of adventure!

Adventure in Egypt — Day 2–

We headed out exploring looking for breakfast option near the hotel. Found a small stall selling burger and fried chicken in hotdog bun which taste amazing! On his last bite, Justin said.. huh? no more already?

Couple of shop next door, we got our freshly squeezed orange juice.

Around 12pm , we headed to Coptic Museum via Uber. Uber is pretty reliable in Egypt and you can pay using cash or credit card. Prices is really cheap compared to Dubai and it is fixed price. Considering the traffic in Egypt, having a fixed price system is really good for tourist. We paid EGP30-50 for a 10-20 mins trip.

There are security check before we enter the area. There are many churches at the same area and some shops selling souvenir and food. We had our lunch at Old Cairo Restaurant and Cafe. Their food is good and their lentil soup is amazing, MUST TRY! Juices are fresh as well and their prices are reasonable.

Amazing lentil soup!

We then headed to the Coptic Museum (entrance fees are EGP 100 for adults and EGP 50 for kids) where many information on Egypt’s early Christian period are displayed. The coptic art collection is vast too. Great for an artsy afternoon.

Depicting Abraham’s faithfulness-also in pic is Isaac and the sacrificial lamb
Adam and Eve

There are many churches in the area along the remains of Babylon’s fortress. We explore the Hanging Church and Ben Ezra Synagogue which is a Jewish church.

The Hanging Church which I don’t see it hanging .. haha!

Then head back to hotel for a short nap before heading to SeaGull Restaurant for dinner with a friend.

Dinner on a boat dock by Nile River
Seafood soup

Adventure in Egypt –Day 1–

We are leaving for Egypt!

I would never have guess that our first holiday destination during the pandemic would be visiting Egypt. After not travelling for 15 months , I felt weird packing our luggages which has been kept at the farthest back of our storeroom.

Going to airport seems very surreal but we are actually heading to Egypt. On a normal day, Egypt is packed with tourist but these days, the crowd has definitely toned down a lot.

I have not said the word “boarded” for a long long time!

Many would question our decision to travel at this time especially when we are bringing two kids that are not vaccinated (Both Steven and me has been vaccinated). I guess we just wanted something other than staycation over this spring break and as the weather is getting really warm in Dubai, the weather in Egypt is perfect for visiting. After watching a couple of YouTuber’s vlog on travelling to Egypt during the pandemic, it seems that Egypt is beckoning us to go.. and so, we did our Covid PCR test and book our ticket upon getting a negative results.

We flew via Emirates direct flight and Egypt is 3.5 hours away. Keep printed Covid PCR test results in your hand carry as it will be check at check in, when boarding the plane and also upon arrival in Egypt. Custom is cleared in 30. mins which is pretty fast. Upon arrival, there is a counter to check your Covid test results and you have to hand in the health declaration form that you would have filled in on airplane.

Next proceed to one of the bank counter just before the border control to purchase a visa which comes in a form of sticker at USD 25 each (paid in cash). Stick the visa on ourselves and get a stamp at border control. Then proceed to get your luggage. At this area, you can get your money changed into Egyptian pound at a better rate than in Dubai.

Buy your visa sticker here before proceeding to the border control checkpoint

Once you are out, there are lots of limousine service (able to book online) or can book an Uber. There are many telco service to purchase a SIM card, if need to.

We go straight to our hotel and there are security dogs sniffing the car and our luggages before we check in. Covid-19 precautions are done in the hotel, with mask on and sanitiser provided.

We got our room upgraded to a Nile River and Cairo Tower facing room. It has two double bed and perfect for our family.

View from room

After a quick rest, we walk over to Cairo Tower where we had our lunch. Security check is done before entering the compound, water bottle is not allowed. They will label and keep your bottle for you to pick up after the visit. After lunch at one of their cafe downstairs, we bought ticket(EGP 200) to go to the observatory tower. They had crowd control in place so we waited for a good 30 minutes before it is our turn to go up. Cairo tower is the highest tower in Egypt and the view is good but the observatory area is small and windy. We spend only 30 mins enjoying the view before heading back to our hotel. We manage to catch a glimpse of the Giza Pyramid far far away in the horizon.

There is a revolving restaurant on top of the tower that has a separate lift to go up. If you bought tickets for observatory, you can also choose to have some snacks or coffee at their coffee shop just one level below the observatory. Price are reasonable for tourist attractions but the windows are not very very clean so not insta-worthy!

Nile River view from Cairo Tower
If you can spot the little triangle far far away, that is Giza Pyramid!

Had our dinner with a friend at Casa Mia, an Italian restaurant. We were shocked with its huge portion. Apparently, the standard food portion here is American size. So, we learn something- must share dishes when we order the next time!

Seafood penne for dinner, it is very delicious but huge portion.

Ending first day blog with a sunset from Nile River:

Xoxo

The cheapest covid PCR test in Dubai!

A standard Covid PCR in Dubai cost an average of AED 150. Some requires an appointment and some are walk in or even drive through.

It is spring break now and we are thinking of something crazy (probably the side effects of coping around for too long). We wanted to go somewhere out of the country and not just a staycation. Weather is getting warm in UAE and hiking is no longer a good option this holiday.

Of course we had to choose a country that does not require quarantine, otherwise our break will be sucked quarantine-ing somewhere. So we have shortlisted it down to Egpyt or Georgia. Steven has contact in Egypt and that makes planning easier with our last minute decision.

Many things has to be considered as there are many uncertainties. We checked the requirements for travelling int Egpyt and it is negative PCR test within 72 hours of entering with exception for kids below 6 years old. Returning to Dubai require PCR test as well for adults and kids below 12 years old are exempted.

We did not want to buy air tickets in advance in case we fail the pcr test as steven just gotten his vaccination shot less than a week ago so our plan is to get the test done and buy the air ticket later as this minimise our risk.

We found out that the cheapest test is done via SEHA, a National Screening Centre that has a few branch. The nearest one would be in City walk, which is around 30 mins drive away.

First we had to download the SEHA apps and register an account using our Emirates ID and phone number. Then we can book an appointment.

If you belong to any of these categories- you can get the test done free of charge once every 4 months: UAE Nationals, residents above 50 years old, and people suffering from chronic diseases. For the rest, it is AED 65 and you can pay after u make an appointment.

Appointment can be made via its apps or by calling their hotline 80050.

Once appointment is made, turn up on the day in your time slot and it is seamless. There is an area where you do registration using your emirates ID and then a staff will pop by your car window to do the swab.

Prepare a tissue as you would feel some discomfort after the swab.

Test results will be available within 24-48 hours, u will get a SMS notification and then results and printable copy is available on the apps.

Update (January 2022): The cost of PCR has dropped from AED 65 to AED 50!!

Educational Visit to Terra Sustainability Pavilion @Expo 2020

Terra pavilion at Expo 2020 are now open for public until Apr 10, 2021. The theme for this pavilion is sustainability. There are two main components – under the ocean and under the forests. Using hands on activities and interactive games, it highlights the importance of us taking care of the environment to sustain the earth we are living in now. Many of our daily activities harm the earth and there are many ideas on how we could do our part in reducing these harms even in our daily lives.

As the kids are learning about environmental issues in school now, this is a good addition for them to further enhance their understanding in their school UOI this term.

Did you know that 2700L of water is used to produce just ONE COTTON T-SHIRT!

Entrance fees are at AED 25 each, you get free entrance if you are less than 5 years old or more than 60 years old. Tickets are available online and you can choose your time slot. Gates open at 3pm on a weekday and 4pm on a weekend.

You can enter the expo area at any time but only able to access the pavilion area at your designated time slot. For example, if you book your time slot at 4pm, you can access the pavilion area between 4pm to 4.59pm.

Tickets available here:

https://www.expo2020dubai.com/en/pavilions-premiere

Once you enter the pavilion, there is no time limit. Take your time to explore and learn. There are two entrances – one is the under the ocean and another under the forest. It doesn’t matter which entrance u use to enter as it is link inside. Once you are inside, you can access both exhibition without the need to Q again.

There are security and thermal check at the main gate so do allocate extra time for that and make sure you are in time to enter before the end of your allocated time.

Water and snacks are allowed on the premises but if you did not bring any food, not to worry as there is a cafe at the end of the exhibition and also many food trucks available to grab a bite. As the weather cools down at night, it is nice sitting around enjoying the music and have some food.

Wadi Abadilah – stream and greenery hike

Hey guys, I am back to my blogging mode.

Today I am sharing our hike at Wadi Abadilah. Located somewhere in Fujairah, it is 1.5 hours away from Dubai. We had our simple breakfast at home before setting off for our hike. I am guessing early breakfast and car journey do not agree with me because this is the second time I am having nausea/diarrhea on our way to hiking. I puke the last time we went to Wadi Showka and it was definitely not a pleasant experience.

Although I did not vomit this time round but I was feeling totally unwell on the journey there. I only felt better after hiking for a bit and out in the fresh air.

Yes, there are lots of fresh air around as the first leg of the hike consists of stream/pools of water with trees surrounding it, making us lots of oxygen as I have learn in my UOI classes.

At the car park, you would see the flag. Head down the stairs next to the flag, and u will soon see the streams and trees.

Upon reaching the car park, you can see a flag which is next to a staircase. Take that staircase down and it will lead to a trail and at any point if you are comfortable, take the downward trail to the stream (there are a few to choose from). From there onwards, just explore on your own. The stream trail will come to an end and then it will be hiking on rocky trail, lots of boulders which are huge and require a push. The rocky trail part are mostly not shaded so do bring lots of water, wear a cap and put lots of sunscreen. Mini bites are definitely a must to keep the energy going!

Us playing at the big rocks along the way. So fun!

My sister and me had lots of fun at the stream area. Bring a chance of clothes or pack along a pair of slippers to wear after playing at the stream, otherwise bring a towel to wipe yourself dry. We spot lots of fishes, two frogs, a dragon fly (red one no doubt) and not forgetting a lizard that ate our strawberry. Totally fun playing at the stream, I would say it is the highlight of our hike!

trying out insta 360, see if it is really waterproof!

Do be extra careful though as snake had been spotted in the area before!

If you do plan to head here, this is the google map link to the entry point where you park your car. A 4WD is not required.

https://goo.gl/maps/gJbkUCU9BxuoszXcA

We had burgers for lunch after our hike at Outlet Burger and I would definitely recommend it. The burger bun is really soft and the fillings where fresh and abundant. They had Cheetos burger and it was so yummy!

Loving these burgers and fries!

Mummy made a YouTube video on our hike. Check out the cool underwater view of the fishes taken using our insta360.