Most nationalities require a valid passport and tourist visa. Tourist visas are available at Egyptian embassies and consulates around the world. A single-entry visa is valid for 3 months from when you acquire it, and allows you a 1 month stay in the country. It is, however, possible for most tourists and visitors to obtain an entry visa at any of the Major Ports of Entry. Please check with your nearest Egyptian Consular mission for more details concerning visa regulations applying to your citizenship.
Note: Once you arrive to Cairo you have to register at the local police within one week of arrival. If you are staying at a hotel, the hotel takes care of this formality and if you are traveling with a travel agency the agency will handle this matter for you.
Time Zone and DST :
Egypt is two hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT +2) and operates daylight Savings Time (GMT+3 ) from the last Friday in April until the last Friday in September.
Egypt has a moderate climate all through the year. In summer the weather is hot and dry and in winter it is mild and dry. Rainfall is confined to few days in the year all through Egypt. If you are traveling between March and May you might encounter the Khamaseen “literally the fifties” wind which blows from the south and carries dust particles that cause temperature to raise to 100°F (38°C) in the desert.
Temperature averages between 80 and 90°F (27 - 32°C) in summer and between 55 and 70°F (13 to 21°C) in winter. However, on the Red sea coast and southern Egypt temperature is a little higher to reach 109°F (42°C) in summer.
Egypt is a Muslim country, it is advisable to dress conservatively when visiting churches and mosques. For men do not wear shorts and as for woman do not wear any thing short or sleeveless unless on the beach or by the pool. This will save you unwanted attention. If you are traveling in the summer loose, light cotton clothing is absolutely essential. Don’t forget to bring with you your sunglasses, comfortable walking shoes, and a hat.
What to bring :
If you are traveling in summer make sure to bring comfortable shoes, light cotton clothes, hat, sunglasses, sun block because it is relatively hot in summer. For ladies bring a head scarf and a light jacket to cover head and shoulders if planning to visit sacred Islamic places. In winter warm clothes are required. Don’t forget to bring your prescribed medication. Your Camera and a torch is advisable when visiting the monuments although some places forbid using flash cameras as it harms the monuments.
The official currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound £ which is divided into 100 piaster. There are notes for 25 and 50 piaster in addition to notes of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Egyptian pounds.
We recommend that you take sufficient local currency for buying gifts, souvenirs etc. on your shore visits as there maybe little opportunity to visit a bank.
However, no more than 5,000 Egyptian pounds per person can be taken either into or out of Egypt. Please exercise normal precautionary measures when carrying cash about your person.
Weekends and Holidays
Friday is the principle day off in Egypt with many businesses and banks closed on Saturday too. Official holidays are as follows:
|Weekends and Holidays
|January 7th - Coptic Christmas
||July 23rd - Revolution Day
|February 22nd - Union Day
||July 23rd - Revolution Day
|April 25th - Sinai Liberation Day
||September 11th - Coptic New Year
|May 1st - Labor Day
||October 6th – Armed Forces Day
|June 18th - Evacuation Day
||October 23rd - National Liberation Day
|July 1st - Bank Holiday
||October 24th - Suez Victory Day
Customs at Cairo Airport:
The following goods may be imported into Egypt without incurring customs duty:
- 200 cigarettes or 25 cigars or 200g of tobacco.
- 1l of alcoholic beverages.
- 1l of perfume or eau de cologne.
- Gifts up to the value of E£500.
Note: Persons traveling with valuable electronic equipment such as cameras, video cameras or computers may be required to list these in their passports to ensure that they will be exported on departure. If you are planning to bring your own pet, make sure you have a veterinary health certificate, which should include a valid rabies certificate.
All cash, travelers cheques and gold over E£500 should be declared on arrival.
Prohibited Imports :
Narcotics, firearms, cotton, gold and silver purchased locally unless for personal use only and in small quantities;
Arabic is the official language in Egypt. The Egyptians have a distinct dialect than other Arab countries. The dialects varies as well among different regions within Egypt. You can notice speech differences between Cairo and Luxor. The colloquial Arabic is different from the standard written Arabic in the news papers and literature. You will notice during your stay that Egyptians have a talent for acquiring languages. Most Egyptian speak more than one language especially the elites. In tourist destination you will find them knowing your nationality and speaking your language the moment they see you.
The range of Egyptian food is very wide and cosmopolitan. Mostly you will find the dishes a combination between Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. There are plenty of restaurants and snack bars that offer good range of inexpensive food. Typical Egyptian food of falafel and Beans “ful” is sold every where. Western style restaurants are now present in most Egyptian cities like Pizza Hut, Mac Donald’s, Kentucky,…etc. Food is also available in large restaurants or from street corner stalls and snack bars. Egypt is famous for its street coffee shops where you can smoke shisha and have a drink while watching people passing by. Muslims do not drink alcohol although they are tolerant of visitors drinking in moderation.
By Taxis :
In the cities taxis are a very safe, cheap and convenient way of getting around. They are always painted in special colors, in Cairo they are black and white and in Luxor they are blue and white. In Cairo and Luxor it is often much more interesting to use the taxis and a good guidebook instead of traveling around in a tour bus. Generally the best way is to ask at your hotel for the prices from point-to-point prices. Or ask a pedestrian or policemen for the correct price. It is sensible to state your price when you get in to reduce the possibilities of arguments after arriving at your destination.
By train :
The trains in Egypt are all run by Egyptian National Railways, a state-owned and -run company.
Train tickets can be bought at most major railway stations' booking offices once you are in Egypt, (although a great deal of patience is often required...)
Ramses Station in Cairo has several booking windows, for example, one for each class and group of destinations, so be sure to check with locals (usually very helpful) that you are joining the right queue. Train tickets can be paid for in Egyptian currency, except for the deluxe Abela Egypt sleeper which must be paid in foreign currency (dollars, euros or pounds sterling). An alternative to self-booking, if you don't mind paying a little commission to avoid the inevitable hassle and frustration, is to a local travel agent to buy tickets on your behalf (preferably at least the day before you intend to travel).
By plane :
The domestic air network is fairly extensive and covers most major towns in Egypt. The national carrier, EgyptAir, has the most regular services and is the easiest place to start looking before you go. From Cairo there are services to quite a few towns and places of interest around the country, the most common being Luxor, Aswan Abu Simbel, Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh, Alexandria, Mersa Matruh and Kharga oasis.
We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance as additional security in the case of cancellation or interruption of travel plans, lost or damaged luggage, travel delays, illness, or accident. Keep all boarding passes, ticket copies and receipts for expenses paid during your trip if it later becomes necessary to file a claim.
The electric current voltage is 220 Volts, with European-style plugs. For TV broadcasting, Egypt uses MESECAM which is a derivative of the SECAM standard. Usually, VCRs sold in countries using MESECAM can also play tapes recorded in the PAL standard. All of these standards, however, are incompatible with the US standard (NTSC).
Without Your Own Computer:
Internet cafes are easy to find in Egypt around major tourist spots and in most neighborhoods, in every governorate.
With Your Own Computer :
Egypt uses 220 volts (240 volt appliances work as well) and standard RJ-11 telephone cables, same as those used in the United States. If you bring your own computer, you should be able to plug it in using an adapter, which attaches a two-pronged rounded (European) plug to your existing one. Most computers are able to automatically switch into the correct voltage, so that shouldn't be a problem. If you forget yours at home, most upscale supermarkets will sell you the plug adapter. There are also several Radioshacks in Cairo, as well as a number of local gadget stores that will sell you voltage converters.
There are a number of health risks associated with travel to Egypt and travelers should check that their inoculations are up-to-date before leaving. Typhoid, Hepatitis A and polio immunization is recommended. Come prepared to beat the heat with a high factor sun block, and drink plenty of water to combat dehydration. Drinking water in the main cities and towns is normally chlorinated but it is advisable to only drink bottled water. Traveler’s diarrhea is the most common form of illness for travelers; visitors should only eat thoroughly cooked food and fruits they have peeled themselves. The waters of the Nile are contaminated and should not be consumed or bathed in. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over one year of age coming from infected areas. Medical treatment can be expensive and standards vary so insurance is strongly advised, including evacuation. Medical facilities outside of Cairo can be very basic. Cases of bird flu have been reported, although the risk is low for travelers, all close contact with caged, domestic and wild birds should be avoided, and all poultry and egg dishes well cooked as a precaution.
Credit & Debit cards:
MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club and Visa are accepted. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available .
Gratuities and Tipping:
As most Egyptian are of low income, tipping plays an important role in raising their standard of living. It is up to you to pay the tips you want relative to the service you receive. If you are not satisfied with the service do not tip.
Travel Guides :
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