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Shopping

Because of the superb exchange rates, Egypt is a fantastic place for shopping: just be careful that you do not overfill your suitcase when you leave and end up having to pay for excess baggage! This is especially true with clothing, and many people find it beneficial when renewing their wardrobes. And who can complain at the low, low, prices of 100% cotton items?

But it is not just clothing that tourists can purchase, souvenirs are also high on their lists and the opportunities for these are endless.  Apart from the stores, from malls to small businesses, every Egyptian city and town has their own souks/bazaars. Cairo has many, including the world famous Khan El Khalili, which has to be on everyone’s list of “must visit”, as well as Ataba Square; unknown by many visitors but a huge area for getting excellent bargains. A big hint when visiting these markets: don’t just stay in the main thoroughfare; explore the side streets as well, as this is where the majority of the best bargains can be found. You will also find many cafés and restaurants as well, which are handy for relaxing and soothing your tired feet. 

One thing that many people find off-putting is the ancient tradition of “haggling” over a price. When one is used to seeing a price sticker on an item, and paying that price for the item, it is a complete new experience having to bargain or negotiate for something, but it is a way of getting the bargain you want, something that fixed prices do not, usually, allow. Many people offer different advice on how to haggle, but the common consensus tends to be: ask the price; when told, offer half of what is said; slowly increase your offer as the salesman slowly lowers his; do not be scared to stick to one price for a while, forcing him to lower his offer even more; walk away if you are not happy (this often encourages the seller to agree with your price, just to get the sale). And do not feel, at any time, that you are obliged to purchase an item; you can leave whenever you want.

Should you decide that you never wish to haggle over prices, do not worry as the many shops and malls do have fixed prices, so shopping can still be the experience you want. Cairo boasts the largest shopping mall in, not only Egypt, not only Africa, but the whole of Africa AND the Middle East. City Stars, in Nasr City, houses hundreds of outlets, from small Egyptian companies to the large international conglomerates, as well as a plethora of food outlets where you can take a break from constant shopping. Bargains can be got here, without having to negotiate, though there is no rule that says you cannot try to if you want, just for that slightly lower price. You can also find other malls in Egypt, especially Cairo, that specialise in one aspect, be it food, clothing, fashion accessories, or computers.

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