We are planning to start a series of posts that we hope will give valuable insights into different destinations around the world based on our personal experiences living in each country for an extended amount of time.
In this post we will share our Egypt travel tips!
Egypt is one of the most budget-friendly countries in the Middle East. Street food is ridiculously cheap and quite good. You can get lunch or dinner for as low as $1-$2 USD per person quite easily.
Getting around is also very cheap, and it costs less than a few cents to use public transportation. However, this might be uncomfortable as it’s extremely crowded (which is most of the time), and for women travelers this might not be a good option. Buses between cities are generally cheap. There is no clear system for calculation, but usually fares will not exceed $20 for a 9-hour ride.
Between cities there are also 7-seat cars and microbuses (both options leave when car is full). These are usually cheaper and faster than buses, but a language barrier does exist, since in this case you will deal directly with the drivers.
Bathrooms are not available most of the time, and if available can be very uncomfortable (except in restaurants). Usually cars and microbuses stops between cities for a rest. This is a good chance to use the toilet.
We absolutely loved the town of Dahab on the Red Sea. Dahab has such a great atmosphere,and a great beach for windsurfing and snorkeling!
Dahab is a small place that is quiet in mornings, has beautiful beaches, and is great for snorkeling and diving, or learning how to dive. Also, you can get incredible seafood for really cheap.
Food is fairly typical Middle Eastern fare. It is mixed with spices, and sometimes can be spicy. The most common dishes are Koshary, Fava beans and Falafel. Egypt, like any Middle Eastern country, is like heaven on earth for vegetarians. For meat lovers, you may want to try some of the famous street foods like liver and sausage sandwiches, which are super cheap.
Egypt also has the more common Western chains, such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, and others, and for coffee lovers there is always Starbucks.
Egypt is a Muslim country, and like any other Muslim country there are some things that are not socially accepted, such as drinking in public, women to wear shorts and sleeveless shirts, and eating in public during Ramadan (the holy month). We’ve listed our do’s and don’ts in Egypt as a reference.
If things go wrong, avoid raising your voice and making jerking movements with your hands. If you lose your cool, you might get into trouble.
Bus schedules are usually kept, but most other schedules are pretty flexible (and even more so in the coastal and countryside areas). The Egyptians have their own standard for time. Two minutes could end up being two hours, and sometimes could even mean tomorrow or a week. Just go with the flow.
We witnessed the opening of the Deep Blue Hotel in Dahab, and since then it has become our favorite. With the small pool and air-conditioned rooms, it’s a great catch. The hotel also has a diving center with all necessary equipment.
In Alexandria, we love to stay at El Madina El Monawara Hotel near Sidy Gaber, the train station. This hotel is cheap, clean, and close to everything.
There are so many! Egypt is full of tourist attractions, from Pharos to Roman to Greek and finally Islamic! All have settled in Egypt and left a piece of their history for you to see.
Visiting the pyramids on camel back, a desert safari by quad, diving in the Red Sea, climbing Mount Sinai for an incredible sunrise, a Nile safari, visiting old, Islamic Cairo, sleeping under the stars in the great desert—options abound for the intrepid traveler.
Like most Middle Eastern countries, Egypt is generally a very safe country. It does, however, have its share of problems—like anywhere else—so follow the same guidelines you would in other countries. Cairo has more crime issues, but tourists are generally safe from violent crimes.
There is simply a higher frequency of theft and such. In case of trouble, don’t hesitate to ask for help. In general, people will help you immediately.
Egypt is famous for it’s moderate climate all year long (except in summer, which could have some hot days).
The coastal areas can be very warm and humid in summer, with temperature reaching 40 degrees Celsius. Egypt has very little rain year round, and is really quite inexpensive most of the year.
Pack light in summer and bring your swimwear. With two seas (the Red Sea and the Mediterranean) and the great Nile, there are several beaches where you will want to soak and lounge. In winter, pack for cold nights, but not too heavy—maybe just an extra jacket.
Camping is not very common in Egypt, but if you want to do so it will be through an agency that will provide all the necessary gear and food. There are no equipped campsites in Egypt that we know of, so be prepared for the basic.