Egypt Travel Tips


Visa

As a major tourist destination, it is easy for visitors to obtain Egypt visas if necessary. An Egyptian Tourist visa is normally valid for no more than three months. Detailed information is as follows:

Citizens from many countries, like UK, EU, Australia, Canada, Japan, Georgia, USA and Norway, can get a visa on arrival at major points of entry. Eligible citizens queue at the visa on arrival window, apply for it, process and pay for the visa on arrival. They need to pay USD25 for single entry visa, and USD 35 for multiple entry visa.

A 3-month visa on arrival is available for citizens of Bahrain, Guinea, South Korea, Oman… Chinese and Malaysians may obtain a 15-day visa on arrival.

Citizens of the following countries, like Afghanistan, Kosovo, Malawi, and Kenya, are required to obtain a visa before arriving.


Accommodation

The price of accommodation depends on the facilities inside the room, generally varying between EGP 200 and EGP 500. The room usually has two beds, and many hotels are equipped with TV, available for general and payment TV programs, and the phone plug can be connected to a laptop. Slippers and toothbrushes are not provided in budget hotels. Hot water will be charged for room service. Tip is expected by the bellman, usually USD1 per piece of luggage or per room.


Expense

Local currency: Egyptian Pound (standard symbol: EGP; original symbol: LE)

Without luxurious consumption demand, the average cost is about EGP 200 per day. Except for EGP, USD is widely used in many places, such as restaurants, markets, hotels and taxis. In Egypt, international bank credit cards like Visa and Master Card are increasingly in circulation. You can pay by credit card for shopping in tourist hot spots. But you should know that the store that accepts credit card payments, is not cheap.

Price reference:
Banana (1kg): EGP 18
Cucumber (1kg): EGP 14
Coco cola (600 ml): EGP 3.75
Juice (1L): EGP 8.25
Pepsi (500 ml): EGP 3.70
Bottled water (1.5L): EGP 2.5
Milk (1 L): EGP 15


Food

The Egyptian diet is as diverse as the country's social and historical structure. Almost each dish is deeply influenced by Greek, Lebanese and French cuisine. There are three main types of restaurants in Egypt: Western restaurants mainly provide French food; Middle Eastern restaurants serve everything from Egyptian to Levant (mix cuisine of Egyptian, Turkish, French and other countries); a few specialty restaurants serves Greek, or Chinese dishes. Although Egyptian food is rich in variety, most food is related to sweet and meat products. Moreover, beer and wine are only allowed in bars and restaurants.


Language

The official language of Egypt is Arabic. Due to historical reasons, English and French are also widely used in Egypt. Most tourism operators, drivers and petty dealers can speak simple English. It is important to note that almost all Egyptian signs are in Arabic and that you are advised to learn some simple native languages ahead of time, especially the Egyptian Arabic numbers, which will help a lot when you are shopping.


Internet and Telephone

Egypt offers convenient modern telephone and internet service. The three major telecom providers are Vodafone, Mobini and Etisalat. Bringing personal visa and passport, visitors can buy tourist mobile phone card outside the arrival hall of the airport and in most cities, such as Cairo and Luxor.

Mobile internet access is cheap and convenient, and it's advisable to purchase the appropriate internet packages when buying SIM card. Most hotel lobbies provide pay wireless internet, but the signal is poor.

Emergency Line:
Police: 122
Tourism police: 126
Fire: 180
First aid: 123


Power Supply

In Egypt the power plugs and sockets are type C and F. The standard voltage is 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.


Clothes

Since it belongs to Mediterranean climate and is very close to the equator, Egypt weather is hot all year round. It's advisable to wear some breathable light clothes, but it is not recommended to wear shorts, skirts or short sleeved T-shirts when travelling for two reasons: the first one is that long-time exposure to the strong sun may easily cause sunburn; the second one is that Egypt is a typical Islamic country. Moreover, casual shoes, or sports shoes will do a lot during the long-lasting Egypt tour.


Shopping

Shopping in Egypt is one of the best ways to learn well about the country. Most of Egypt's department stores have fixed prices for goods, while one needs to bargain at fair trades.

Local specialties: various spices, silk scarves, glassworks, Koshari, coffee, soft sweets, scented tea, nuts, dried fruit, carpets, glass ware…
Recommended markets: Egypt Market, Cairo Khan EL-Khalili, Luxor souks


Festivals

Festival Date Festival Date
Coptic Easter Apr. 16 Coptic Christmas Jan. 7
Lesser Bairam Around July Revolution Day Jun. 23
Corban Festival Around September Coptic New Year Sep. 11
Islamic New Year Sep. 21 Armed Forced Day Oct. 6


Dos and Don'ts

Do prepare small bills by hand in advance for tips.
Do keep your personal documents and valuables safe.
Do learn a few Arabic words and numbers.
Do take off your shoes when entering a Muslim houses.
Do respect religious beliefs and travel rules.
Do not offer alcohol or pork to Egyptian.
Do not eat, drink or smoke in public.
Do not wear shorts, skirts on the streets, in the markets or in a mosque.
Do not travel alone if you are female.


Further Reading: 
Things to Do in Egypt   Egypt Transportation