We are happy to answer your questions

Is Egypt safe to visit?

Egypt is very safe place to visit and the police and army are in prominence wherever you go, giving you a feel of being in secure surroundings. Egypt prides itself on its high safety record for tourists and will do all it can to maintain this.

How do I get my tourist visa?

Usually you need to apply to your local Egyptian Embassy or Consulate General for a pre-entry tourist visa but if you are from North America, Western Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Brazil/Argentina or Hong Kong/Japan/Macau/Malaysia or Singapore you can get your tourist visa upon arrival in Egypt.

How do I get my tourist visa if I live in a different country to that of my passport?

If you hold a residence permit in the country you live in you can apply to the Egyptian Embassy/Consulate General in that country, otherwise you have to apply to the country that issued your passport.

I am staying in a resort in Sinai; can I visit Cairo or Luxor?

Though many nationalities are exempted from requiring a visa for the many Sinai resorts, a full tourist visa is required if you come to any place in Egypt that lies to the west of the Red Sea/Suez Canal.

I am staying in a resort in Hurghada; can I visit Cairo or Luxor?

Though many nationalities are exempted from requiring a visa for staying in Hurghada, once you leave the confines of the town a full tourist visa is required.

What is the difference between a 5* and a 5* deluxe hotel/cruise?

The star ratings get higher as the facilities and overall standard of the accommodation gets better and so it is easier to imagine 5 star deluxe (or any suffix added to 5 star) as being 6 star; something that those who fix the star ratings seem feared to utilize.

Can my tourist visa be extended to more than one month?

A tourist visa can be extended if required. To do this you have to apply to Mogamma, El Tahrir Square, or to the equivalent offices in Alexandria, Luxor or Sharm El-Sheikh

I am going to visit Jordan and/or Israel; will I require a visa when coming back to Egypt?

Yes, as soon as you leave Egypt your visa will be stamped and so you will require another one. If you are from a country that can get their visa upon arrival in Egypt, you can get the new one when you re-enter the country, but if you require a pre-entry visa you should apply for 2 of these, using the second one when you re-enter Egypt.

Why am I being advised to stay in a hotel close to the Pyramids rather than in downtown?

If you are only in Cairo for a few days, it is a lot easier for you to see the sites starting from a base in Giza. The traffic from downtown to the pyramids can cause the journey to take over an hour, which means an early start if you want a full day’s experience, especially if you require to enter the Great Pyramid, when you have to be at the plateau before 0800. If you are in Cairo for a while, the hotels at the Pyramids are all on a resort basis, built in acres of land with outdoor swimming pools and relaxing areas, something which Downtown hotels cannot really provide. This is why you tend to find that the Downtown hotels are built like towers. Very tall and narrow, while Giza Pyramid hotels are limited in height, but cover more ground.

I have some expensive items which I do not want to leave lying in my room/cabin, what should I do?

All hotels and cruises have safety deposit boxes, sometimes even in your room/cabin. All you need to do is ask at the reception and they will give you instructions on how to use them, or will safely put away your valuables until you need them.

Do I have to stay in my hotel after the day’s tour ends?

No, definitely not, and we would encourage you to go out and enjoy the culture of Egypt. Many packages are full board, which tends to make people think they have to stay imprisoned in their hotel, but the sights and sounds of Cairo, especially, are too great to be missed. Why stay in the same hotel, with the same faces, when you could go out and have your dinner on a cruise boat sailing around Zamalek Island, accompanied by either a belly dancer or a Whirling Dervish; or sometimes both. This is your holiday, so enjoy every minute and get out and explore.

What are the differences between bed and breakfast, half board, full board and all inclusive?

Bed and breakfast means that only breakfast is supplied.

Half board means that breakfast and dinner are supplied.

Full board has all meals supplied (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

All inclusive, means that all meals and drinks are supplied; some hotels also supply alcohol. This last point should be checked when making the booking.

Where is the main bus depot in Cairo?

The main bus depot is called Cairo Gateway (El Torgoman) bus station and is situated just off the city center. Any taxi will be able to take you there.

Where do I get the bus in Luxor?

The bus station in Luxor is situated behind Luxor Temple.

Where do I get the bus in Sharm El-Sheikh?

The bus station is on the outskirts of the town on Freedom Road. You will require a taxi to get there, though many hotels do have shuttle buses which can do this.

Can I get tickets for the sleeper train service online and if not, how do I order them?

There is no online facility for this but you can order them by telephone. Call “El Watania” on +20225749474 or +20225749274, or fax them on +20225749074. You will be given a booking reference and you can pay and pick the tickets up at Cairo station at least 24 hours before departure.

How do I get from Hurghada to Aswan?

Many travel books mention the road and bus service between these two towns, but this is not advised for tourists and buses will often refuse admittance. The advised route is to get the bus to Luxor and then the train to Aswan.

Can I get to Esna or Kom Ombo without having to get a cruise?

You can visit either of these sites by taking the train, getting off at the relevant station and then getting a taxi, or by hiring a taxi or private driven car to take you to them (from Luxor or Aswan).

How do I get to Abu Simbel?

Abu Simbel can be reached by flight, which is the easiest and most convenient method taking about 4 hours for the round trip and visit, or, there are 2 police controlled bus convoys that leave Aswan at 0400 and 1130 that take about 9 hours for the round trip and visit.

Can I get to Egypt by Ferry Boat from Europe?

Unfortunately, the links between Alexandria (and Port Said) and other Mediterranean ports are not available right now due to the ongoing problems in Palestine and Israel. It is hoped that these will be resumed in the near future. Commercial ferries are available, some of which carry passengers, but you would need to contact the relevant port authority for information on these.

Can I hire a bicycle to visit the West Bank at Luxor?

Yes, there are many places that will allow this but before you do so please remember a couple of very important things:

  1. As the day progresses so does the heat, so by the early afternoon it can be exceedingly uncomfortable. Do you really want to be cycling for miles in this, with very little chance of shade? This is especially important for children, who will be very exhausted as the day progresses because of the heat.
  2. There are no cycle lanes and so you are sharing the roads with all other forms of vehicular traffic, which is not the best thing to experience. Many cyclists have been injured because of other road users not noticing them.

I am on a tight budget so to save money is it okay to hitchhike between towns?

NO!! If you were to do this, you could find yourself paying more for the ride than the fare by bus/train would have been.

Is it safe to drive in Egypt?

Unless you are used to the way that Egyptians drive, it is not advised to attempt this. Lane etiquette is unknown, cars will cut across you to make a turn, and the use of lights during the night is very seldom done. Though some road signs are in English and Arabic, the majority are in Arabic alone and there are simply not any good road maps, especially town ones.

Can I hire a car in Cairo?

Car hire is available and many of the world’s major car hire companies are available in Cairo. Car hire is NOT advised for those who have not been to Egypt before and therefore do not understand the laws of driving implemented in Egypt.

Can I just turn up at the bus station and buy a ticket?

You can, but you are advised to get your tickets at least 24 hours before travel, if possible. If you wait until the last minute you may find that you cannot get seats that are next to one another, or they may even be at separate ends of the bus. Not a good idea if you have children with you.

Can tourists use the Cairo/Luxor or Luxor/Cairo bus service?

Though these buses are air-conditioned and are good to use, tourists are advised not to and will be very lucky to either obtain a ticket or even be allowed to board the bus. This journey, for tourists, is restricted to trains or flight.

Can I hire a bicycle to visit the West Bank at Luxor?

Yes, there are many places that will allow this but before you do so please remember a couple of very important things:

  1. As the day progresses so does the heat, so by the early afternoon it can be exceedingly uncomfortable. Do you really want to be cycling for miles in this, with very little chance of shade? This is especially important for children, who will be very exhausted as the day progresses because of the heat.
  2. There are no cycle lanes and so you are sharing the roads with all other forms of vehicular traffic, which is not the best thing to experience. Many cyclists have been injured because of other road users not noticing them.

I am on a tight budget so to save money is it okay to hitchhike between towns?

NO!! If you were to do this, you could find yourself paying more for the ride than the fare by bus/train would have been.

Is it safe to drive in Egypt?

Unless you are used to the way that Egyptians drive, it is not advised to attempt this. Lane etiquette is unknown, cars will cut across you to make a turn, and the use of lights during the night is very seldom done. Though some road signs are in English and Arabic, the majority are in Arabic alone and there are simply not any good road maps, especially town ones.

Can I hire a car in Cairo?

Car hire is available and many of the world’s major car hire companies are available in Cairo. Car hire is NOT advised for those who have not been to Egypt before and therefore do not understand the laws of driving implemented in Egypt.

Can I get to Egypt by Ferry Boat from Europe?

Unfortunately, the links between Alexandria (and Port Said) and other Mediterranean ports are not available right now due to the ongoing problems in Palestine and Israel. It is hoped that these will be resumed in the near future. Commercial ferries are available, some of which carry passengers, but you would need to contact the relevant port authority for information on these.

Can I get to Esna or Kom Ombo without having to get a cruise?

You can visit either of these sites by taking the train, getting off at the relevant station and then getting a taxi, or by hiring a taxi or private driven car to take you to them (from Luxor or Aswan).

Can I get a cruise from Cairo to Luxor/Aswan?

Though movies like “Death on the Nile” show people using this cruise, it has not been possible to cover this route since the late 1990’s. Flight or train are the only ways to get from Cairo to Luxor or Aswan nowadays.

Can I go inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops)?

Yes, but ticket sales for this are restricted to 300 people per day; 150 at 0800 and the other 150 at 0300. Tickets for this can only be bought at the main entrance, not the entrance close to the Sphinx. As tickets are sold on a first come basis first served basis, so it is advised to get to the office as soon as possible as buses will arrive at opening times and they tend to get the majority of the tickets. If you can spare the time, try for the tickets in the morning, and if you are not successful you can be first in line for the afternoon tickets.

Can I go inside the Pyramids of Khafre (Chephren) and/or Menkaure (Mycerinus)?

There is no restriction on these sales but only one of them is open at a time. The timings change to allow them to breathe, dispersing the high levels of carbon dioxide levels that tend to accumulate inside. Tickets are available at the main entrance to the site.