Traveling to Cairo, Things to Know

Travelers have a romanticized view of Cairo, and it’s not hard to see why. Linking Africa with the Middle East, the country is breathtakingly diverse—from its ancient ruins to the windswept desert. Given its unique customs and culture, it’s worth traveling to Cairo. Below are several important travel tips to ensure your trip to Cairo is a truly memorable one.

Visa

You will need a visa to enter Egypt, but the process is fairly straightforward: it can be obtained on arrival. The renewable single-entry tourist visa lasts for 30 days and costs $20.

Currency

The Egyptian pound is the currency of Egypt. It is divided into 100 piastres, or ersh, or 1,000 milliemes. The Egyptian pound is frequently abbreviated as LE or L.E., which stands for livre égyptienne.

Attire

In Cairo, be mindful of dressing appropriately. For nonreligious sites, the dress is relaxed, but when visiting any Islamic place of worship, ensure you have suitably modest clothing, covering arms and legs.

Getting Around

The best way to describe getting around Cairo is Chaos! There are no traffic lights or signs but they a million and one speed bumps. They do have lanes but no one uses them. For example, a 4 lane highway heading in on direction will be six (6) “lanes”. To pass or let the other drivers know what they are doing is by blowing the car horn. All you hear is beep…beep. In addition to the cars, you will see horses, donkeys, camels, tuk-tuk, and mopeds.

I’ve traveled to almost 50 countries and Cairo traffic is the only place that will raise my blood pressure and increase my anxiety level.

Accommodations

The hotels in the Middle East are different than all other hotels in other parts of the world. One word — Security. Cars go through screening before entering the property. Everyone has to go through a metal detector to enter the hotel. No exception! So be prepared.

Tours

Egypt Travel Square offers several tours of Cairo from the Pyramids to the Egyptian museum. My recommendation is to visit Old Cairo which includes The Church of Abu Serga, aka the oldest Coptic church in Egypt, dating back to the fifth century A.D.;

the Hanging Church;

and the Synagogue of Ben Ezra contains a copy of the Old Testament and is believed to be the site where Moses was found in his crib.

Besides, Old Cairo, there are lots of “touristy” things to see and do. See my blog post, Day Won! Cairo and Day Too! Cairo for more information.

Great Pyramids of Giza

Lastly, make sure to visit the Great Pyramids of Giza and ride the camels. The cost for the camel ride should be no more than $20. The guides will take the customary and “cheesy” photos. Oh, the will expect a tip, so be prepared.

So who is ready to go to Cairo? We can curate an itinerary for you. Just give me a call.

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