Thursday, September 7, 2023
Cairo Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Cairo

travel guide

Cairo is Egypt’s capital and, with a population of over 16 million people in the Greater Cairo metropolitan area, one of Africa’s and the Middle East’s most populous cities (the regions which it conveniently straddles). It is also the world’s 19th biggest city and one of the world’s most densely inhabited.

Cairo, on the Nile River, is known for its unique history, which is maintained in the magnificent medieval Islamic city and Coptic buildings in Old Cairo, which has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its many Ancient Egyptian treasures, the Egyptian Museum in the city center is a must-see, as is shopping in the Khan al-Khalili market. A visit to the Giza Pyramids and the neighboring Saqqara Pyramid Complex, where tourists may witness Egypt’s first step pyramid, constructed by the architect Imhotep for the third dynasty king Djoser, is a must for every visitor to Cairo.

Cairo, although steeped in history, is nevertheless home to a thriving contemporary civilization. Built in the 19th century during the administration of Khedive Ismail, the Midan Tahrir district in central Cairo long aspired to be a “Paris on the Nile.” There are also a number of more contemporary suburbs, including as Ma’adi and Heliopolis, as well as Zamalek, a peaceful enclave on Gezira Island with upscale shopping. The ideal time to visit Cairo is in the autumn or spring, when the temperature is cooler. A felucca ride on the Nile or a visit to Al-Azhar Park are both excellent ways to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Egypt has served as a crossroads for various civilizations throughout history, dating back over four thousand years. The Pharaohs, as well as the Greeks, Babylonians, and Romans, have left their mark. Islam was brought to Egypt by Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula, commanded by Amr ibn al-A’as. With his Albanian ancestors, Khedive Mohammad Ali set Egypt on the path to modernity. Given its history, the city’s cultural diversity is only inevitable. Egypt is like to an open museum, with monuments from various historical eras on exhibit all around the country.

Cairo’s nocturnal culture is ascribed not just to young people in nightclubs, but also to the prominence of cafés, which stay open late as social meeting places for shisha smokers, and even to the late-night public activity of families with children.

Cairo is also one of the few Muslim cities with a number of casinos.

Egypt’s finest retail mall, Citystars, is equivalent to an international mall. It carries the majority of multinational brands and cuisine chains. It has a movie theater and an amusement park. The Mall of Arabia is a brand new, large retail mall in the 6 October City suburbs. It is Cairo’s second-largest retail mall, with many of the same American and European brands as Citystars.

Tourists have departed Cairo in considerable numbers since the 2011 revolution and continuing counter-revolution. This has allowed for unique experiences of Cairo’s and Egypt’s cultural riches away from the masses. It’s now possible to find oneself alone within a pyramid. Prices are also less expensive.

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Cairo | Introduction

Climate of Cairo

The climate of Cairo and the Nile River Valley is a hot desert environment with considerable humidity due to its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile Delta.

From March through May, wind storms are common, blowing Saharan dust into the city, and the air is frequently unbearably dry.

In the winter, highs vary from 19 to 29 °C (66 to 84 °F), while lows fall below 11 °C (52 °F), often to 5 °C (41 °F).

Summer highs seldom exceed 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), while lows hover around 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit).

Geography of Cairo

Cairo lies in northern Egypt’s Lower Egypt region, some 165 kilometers (100 miles) south of the Mediterranean Sea and 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of the Gulf of Suez and Suez Canal.

The city is located along the Nile River, just south of where it leaves its desert-bound valley and branches into the low-lying Nile Delta area. Despite the fact that the Cairo metropolis stretches in all directions away from the Nile, the city of Cairo only occupies the east bank of the river and two islands within it, with a total area of 453 square kilometers (175 sq mi).

The northern and extreme eastern areas of Cairo, which contain satellite towns, are among the city’s newest expansions, having been built to support the city’s fast development in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The Nile’s western bank is generally included in Cairo’s metropolitan area, although it also includes the city of Giza and the Giza Governorate. Giza has also grown significantly in recent years, and the city now boasts a population of 2.7 million people, although being a suburb of Cairo.

Economy of Cairo

Cairo is home to 11% of Egypt’s population and 22% of the country’s GDP (PPP).

Cairo is the epicenter of Egypt in every way, as it has been since its establishment in 969 AD. The city generates or travels through the bulk of the nation’s trade. The vast majority of publishing firms and media outlets, as well as virtually all film studios and half of the country’s hospital beds and universities, are all present. This has fuelled fast development in the city, with one out of every five structures being less than 15 years old.

Internet, Comunication in Cairo

Cairo’s main post office is located in Midan Ataba (open 7AM-7PM Sa – Th, 7AM-12 noon Fr and holidays). The poste restante office is located down the side street to the right of the main post office entrance and is accessible via the final door (open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Friday and holidays) – mail will be stored for three weeks. For international and domestic usage, there are two types of postal boxes. They are usually spotted in couples on the street, and are green and yellow in hue. It is stated that regardless of the method you employ, your letter will be delivered.

In Cairo, like in many other Egyptian and Middle Eastern cities, the Internet is fast expanding. There are currently a plethora of established internet cafés and venues, with a growing number of new ones starting each month. A rising number of cafés, such as Cilantro and Beanos, provide free internet, and if all else fails, you can always try the network at a McDonalds. WiFi is often provided at a cost in luxury hotels. In addition, mobile companies provide USB dongles that enable reasonably high-speed internet connection.

Cell phones are a part of life in Egypt. Most Egyptians seem to be glued to mobile phones whether walking along the street or on a packed bus (similar to what you may find in Japan or Korea). Consider getting an Egyptian SIM card or an inexpensive unlocked phone instead than using your phone from your own country (which frequently has extremely high roaming costs). Mobinil and Vodafone Egypt are Egypt’s two primary carriers.

How To Travel To Cairo

Get In - By plane

With over 16 million passengers each year, Cairo International Airport is Africa’s second busiest airport. Egyptair, the national airline, and its Star Alliance members Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, and LOT) provide excellent service. Air France, KLM, and Alitalia are members of the Sky Team, whereas British Airways is a member of Oneworld. Emirates and Etihad are two Gulf carriers. TUI-fly and Jet-Air-Fly are two low-cost airlines.

Arrival

Proceed to the airport and exchange some money; it’s better to do it before travelling through customs. In the arrival halls, ATMs accept all major credit cards. Prior to immigration, visas are accessible at bank counters. They cost USD25 and may be paid in any currency. EGP or USD change is indicated.

For USD50, without including visa costs, the airport provides “Exclusive Services,” which takes you up at the gate, handles all immigration formalities for you, and picks up your bags as you wait in a luxurious arrival lounge. It may be reserved in advance by calling +202 16708

On arrival, visitors are entitled to purchase duty-free items. If you’re visiting European or American pals, they’ll always want your passports so they can acquire more beer and smokes than what’s allowed at customs. The extra amount at the airport is four bottles of alcohol. A customs officer will inspect your passport and provide authorisation for the item at the checkout. You are welcome to be accompanied by the person who picks you up.

There are three terminals at the airport, the most recent of which opened in 2009. All flights to and from the new Terminal 3 are now operated by Egypt-Air and all Star Alliance members. The majority of other airlines land at Terminal 1. Terminal 2 has been closed for renovations since 2010. Every 30 minutes, a free shuttle bus travels between the two terminals and the bus station, 24 hours a day. Taxi drivers attempting to entice you at the airport will try to convince you that the shuttle bus is not free, although the free shuttle bus can be found outside the terminal. It’s on the arrival level, near the end of the bus lane, at Terminal 3. (turn right after the exit). The Shuttle Bus stops at Terminal 1 are in Hall 3 in front of the AirMall and in Hall 1 on the curb side. The bus stops, however, are not well indicated. Due to the driver’s coffee break, you may need to change buses at the bus station.

You may also utilize the new APM (automated people mover), which is free, clean, and quick (as of June 2012). Stations, on the other hand, are not placed inside the terminals. If you’re in Terminal 3, you’ll need to exit via the front entrance and turn right. Turn right and go to the end of the building. Then, depending on your level, you may need to mount or descend a ramp (departure or arrival). Turn left at the end of the ramp and you’ll see the station 50 meters ahead on your left. Although there are no obvious signs at this time, the APM is operational and provides a very simple way to travel between terminals. To get to the station from Terminal 1, go via the main exit and turn left.

The Heliopolis airport is located on the city’s north-eastern outskirts. There are now three hotels available at the airport if you wish to stay the night. Other accommodation alternatives may be found in Heliopolis, which is close by.

Public Transport

Getting to the heart of Cairo may be a hassle. White meter taxis have been accessible at the Terminals since the revolution. The base fare is EGP2.50, with an additional charge of EGP1.25 each kilometer. Persistently use the meter. Accept no set prices, since they are often twice the meter charge. Notify Airport Security or Tourist Police of taxi drivers who refuse to utilize the meter. Refuse to pay the driver’s “ticket” (EGP5 airport parking charge). If you’re heading into central Cairo, you may be able to share a cab with other tourists or backpackers. Another alternative is to utilize the transportation provided by your hotel or hostel, however this is sometimes not gratis.

However, the most simple method is to use one of the various “limousine services.” Pick-up locations are located directly in front of the terminals (curb side). Prices are predetermined based on the location and automobile type. Luxury limousines (Mercedes-Benz E-Class) are classified as Category A, Micro Buses for up to seven people are classified as Category B, and midsized automobiles are classified as Category C. (e.g. Mitsubishi Lancer). Since 2010, Sixt has offered London Taxis as a new Category D service.

For the brave, take a public bus to Midan Tahrir or Midan Ramses from the bus station (buses 111, 356, and 27 should take you there), which is linked to the terminals through the free Shuttle Bus. Consult a local if in doubt, but avoid the infamous (non-air-conditioned) green buses. Occasionally, the bus destination and/or number will be shown in Arabic. If this is the case, be prepared to inquire with the driver or other passengers as to whether the bus will stop at your location. Buses depart every 30 minutes, travel between 60 and 90 minutes, and cost EGP2. To reach the airport from downtown, catch an air-conditioned bus from the bus station immediately north of the Egyptian Museum (under the highway bridge). Finally, there are direct fast buses that run every 30-60 minutes from the airport to Alexandria; however, the buses operate only during daytime hours (04:00-19:30).

As of October 2013, public bus number 400 () operates between the Egyptian Museum and the Ramses Hilton Hotel, departing from the bus terminal (in the middle of the road). Inquire carefully and provide sufficient time for a response. In one instance, the wait time was forty minutes, the transfer to the airport bus station was ninety minutes, and the fare was just one LE. The Arabic term for airport () may come in help when requesting a bus.

Departure

Allow plenty of time to return to the airport for departure (2–3 hours is acceptable) since the roads may be quite crowded. There are no traffic delays on the new airport route, which links the airport to the junction of the Ring Road and Suez Road. The travel to the airport will be swift if you leave on Friday morning or mid-day, since the roads will be desolate as people flock to the mosque for Friday prayers.

From Terminal 3, Egyptair and all Star Alliance carriers (Lufthansa Group, Singapore Airlines, LOT, and others) depart. Saudi Arabian Airlines departs from Hall 2 of Terminal 1. All other airlines depart from Terminal 1 Hall 1 (Sky Team, Oneworld, Emirates, Etihad, and so on).

Before you can go to the ticket counter/check-in area, you must first pass through a security checkpoint. To get past the checkpoint, you must carry a copy of your itinerary or ticket to present the security officers. Just before boarding your plane, you’ll go through a second security checkpoint. Allow plenty of time to get through security and check in, since lines may be lengthy. The airport does not have a baggage claim area.

You may bypass the lines by choosing the Exclusive Service, which will handle all of your check-in and emigration paperwork while you relax in a luxurious lounge and then allows you to skip the initial security check and passport control lines. It may be reserved in advance by calling +202 16708

Duty-free stores and eateries may be found in both terminals. Across from the gates in Terminal 1 are various Egyptair duty-free stores. On the first level, there are more boutiques and designer outlets. On the second level, you’ll find lounges, a tavern, McDonald’s, and coffee shops like Starbucks. A central market and food court are located at Terminal 3. The number of stores on the concourses is minimal. In both terminals, gates open one hour before departure. Seating in front of the gates is quite restricted, so keep an eye on the flight data screens for delays.

Get In - By train

Ramses Station (Mahattat Ramses), Cairo’s principal train station, is located on Midan Ramses, which also houses the Shohadaa (Martyrs) Metro Station. Most other areas and towns in Egypt have train connections to Cairo. Egypt’s trains seldom run on time and are usually always at least 15 minutes late, if not more. Ramses Station offers train service to Alexandria, while the Giza Railway Station offers service to Luxor and Aswan. Visitors who want to connect with trains to Luxor, Aswan, and the remainder of upper Egypt can take the Metro from Midan Ramses Shohadaa Metro Station on line one to Giza Metro-Train Station, which will take around 20 minutes.

Although trains go to the canal cities, buses are substantially quicker.

To ensure a seat, it is advisable to buy tickets in advance. Travelers should also confirm with the ticket office that the train is not a local train that Egyptians use to visit all of the little places south of the Nile Valley, but just the larger cities. For maximum comfort, tourists should request a first-class seat, but no less than a second-class seat. On-line ticket purchasing are now accessible; see Seat 61’s “how to buy tickets” section to learn more about the system. Note that on-line tickets are all in English, which might make matching your train to the Arabic information on the departure board a little confusing – give yourself plenty of time! Trains between Cairo and Alexandria often sell out, especially during the summer months, therefore booking ahead is recommended. It is sometimes feasible to purchase rail tickets in the morning for a journey later that day, or if the train is not overcrowded, you may be able to board the following train. Check that you are in the proper line since there are many windows for various classes and destinations.

There is no longer a baggage storage area.

Throughout the day, Alexandria is serviced by a considerable number of departures. El-Espani (Spanish) is one of the greatest trains, with a morning run from Cairo at 09:00. The finest services are El-Espani and Turbine (Turbo), which go nonstop to Alexandria in 2 hours and 40 minutes. The next best service is Al-Fransawi (French), which makes stops along the way in the main Delta cities. First and second class are available on the Express (French) and Turbo trains to Alexandria, which are all air conditioned. On the train, refreshments are available for purchase. Although first class is favored, second class is also very pleasant.

The rail station at Giza also serves trains to Luxor, Aswan, and other Upper Egypt destinations. The Abela Egypt Sleeping Trains depart Cairo at 8:00 a.m. and arrive in Luxor at 05:05 a.m. and Aswan at 08.15 a.m. A 21:10 departure from Cairo is also available. More departures, including one three times a week from Alexandria, may be found on the website. It’s a little pricey, at USD60 one way for a bed in a double-person cabin. Tickets may be purchased at the ticket office on the left as you enter the railway station from the Metro or taxi station. Tickets may only be purchased in US dollars, euros, or British pounds. The railway station does not have any exchange offices. Reservations may also be made in advance by phoning or faxing Abela, and then paying for and picking up your tickets at the station. Because these trains are for visitors only, you will be seated in special carriages secured by armed plainclothes cops.

Ordinary trains are an affordable alternative to the pricey sleeper (or flying) trains to Upper Egypt. One of them leaves at 00.30 a.m. for Luxor and Aswan, taking 10 hours in Luxor and 13 hours in Aswan. A night train with both first and second class carriages departs Ramses Station at 21:00. First class costs about EGP110 per person and includes three big, business-class-style seats per row as well as air conditioning. Leg space is plentiful, and the chairs recline for a comfortable night’s sleep. However, the lights will be turned on during the night, and you will most likely be awoken multiple times for ticket checks.

Give yourself plenty of time to locate your platform. There are relatively few English-language signage, so you’ll have to depend on station workers to direct you to the right platform. It’s a good idea to verify with a few individuals since you can get conflicting facts.

Get In - By bus

Buses come in Cairo from almost every corner of the nation. Midan Ramsis and Cairo Gateway, originally known as Turgoman, are the two principal destinations, however vehicles also stop at other locations, most notably Abbasiya. It’s a simple EGP5 taxi cab journey to downtown from Midan Ramses and Cairo Gateway, and EGP7-10 to Zamalek. Cairo Gateway is a new, contemporary indoor station inside the new Cairo Gateway Plaza, around 500 meters from the Orabi Metro Station.

Destinations:

  • Port Said, Ismailia, and Suez – hourly services from Cairo Gateway (2 hr EGP20-30)
  • Sharm el-Sheikh – East Delta buses (EGP80) take around 8 hours, whereas Super-jet buses take about 6 hours. Dahab is still served by certain East Delta services. Keep your bus ticket and passport available while travelling the bus to Sharm, since you will pass through a number of checkpoints that demand passengers to provide identity and tickets. To travel to Sharm by bus, take a bus, rail, or minivan to Suez (EGP10) and then take the 11AM or 13:20 bus to Sharm for just EGP31 from the major bus station there.
  • Taba and Nuweiba – Buses depart Cairo Gateway four times a day (06:00, 09:30, 22:00, and 23:00), with morning buses costing EGP70 and nighttime buses costing EGP80. Nuweiba is about a 6-hour drive away.
  • Siwa – At 19:45 on Sunday and Wednesday evenings, direct buses depart Cairo Gateway (EGP60)

Microbuses, which are uncomfortable but inexpensive, depart from Cairo for a variety of places. Midan Ramsis (for Alexandria, EGP22, and to the delta valley) and Al-Marg metro station are the primary garages (for the north-east and Sinai). They are speedier and may be a good alternative for short journeys, but they have a high rate of accidents. Ask locals whether there are any alternative locations where these buses depart from, depending on your destination. Foreigners are not permitted to utilize the microbus system, at least in the Sinai.

Get In - By car

Driving is not advised nor essential in Cairo. For the average passenger, the traffic is at the very least daunting. The driving is consistent, but not in a formal sense. Road signs, lanes, right-of-ways, and other regulations are disregarded, and there are several intersections and flyovers. Only a few traffic signals exist, and they are often disregarded. At major crossroads, however, police officers will sometimes control traffic. Drivers in Cairo’s downtown area are known to slam into other automobiles that are in their path. Also, if your side-view mirror is hit, do not be alarmed. Many drivers do not use headlights at night, so drive cautiously or avoid driving at night. Vehicles in Egypt travel on the right side of the road. You may need to perform a U-turn and retrace instead of a left turn, or you may need to make three right turns.

Parking garages and formal parking lots are uncommon. Cars parked two or three deep on the side of the road are often left unlocked and out-of-gear so that they may be relocated. Many individuals labour to care after parked automobiles in various locations. For this service, a little gratuity is required. Valet parking is also available.

Drivers should travel the Cairo – Alexandria Desert Road from the Mewhwar Road- 26 July corridor in Down Town Cairo to reach Alexandria, the North Coast, the Delta, and the Western Desert.

Drivers from Downtown should take the The Sixth Of October-Fayoum exit at the Remaya Roundabout beside The Giza Pyramids at Le Meridien Hotel, to the Fayoum turn off at the Fayoum – Sixth Of October junction, 6 km (4 mi) from the Remaya Roundabout, to get to Beni Sueif, Fayoum, Assyut, Luxor, and Aswan.

Drivers from Downtown should use the Ring Road to the Suez Road junction for Suez, and the Ismailia junction off the Ring Road for Ismailia and Port Said.

Drivers from Downtown should use the Ring Road to the New Ain Sukhna Toll Road near Kattamaya to go to Hurghada and Ain Sukhna.

Drivers from Downtown should use the Ring Road to the Suez Road intersection near the J.W. Marriott Hotel, via the Ahmed Hamdy Tunnel, and into the Sinai Peninsula to reach Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba, Ras Sidr, Al-Arish, and Rafah.

How To Get Around In Cairo

If you want to move around Cairo on your own, you’ll find that having numerous maps handy is a good idea. Street and place names are spelled differently from map to map and from map to real location, and not every street will show on every map.

Get Around - By Metro

The first and largest metro system in Africa is located in Cairo. While Cairo’s metro system is contemporary and stylish when it is fully operational, the two lines are all much too restricted in scope. However, they are a huge help in the regions they serve, and the flat fee of EGP1 every journey is a steal. Visitors wanting to utilize the metro in Cairo should avoid being discouraged while purchasing a ticket at a ticket window. Egyptians do not queue, so be prepared to negotiate your way through the mob to the ticket window gently but assertively. If you plan to take the metro many times throughout the day or within a few days, it is advised that you buy numerous tickets to avoid waiting in “line” on your return or subsequent travels. Shohadaa (Martyrs) (previously Mubarak), at Midan Ramses, Sadat Midan Tahrir (sometimes closed), and Attaba (Ataba;) are the main interchanges.

Stations for the Cairo Metro may be found at Dokki and Maadi, among other locations. The Metro may also be used to go to Giza to visit the Pyramids, however it is usually quite packed during peak hours, so you’ll have to take a bus the rest of the way (change to bus for “Al-Haram” at the Giza train station). You may also go to Heliopolis (Masr el-Gedida) by taking line 3 to Al Ahram (Korba) and Koleyet El Banat stations (Merghani).

It’s worth noting that each train has two cars dedicated for women in the center section; one is reserved for women exclusively until 9 p.m., while the other is reserved for women at all times. Around 12:20 a.m., the metro stops running and resumes around 5:15 a.m. Lines 1 and 2 do not have schedules, however departures are frequent. Another metro of line 3 comes every 8 minutes. If you want to escape traffic jams, the metro is a better option, as long as you are willing to ride it when it is very full (for lines 1 and 2) and take additional precautions to prevent pickpocketing. It features a straightforward navigation system and costs one pound for one journey.

Get Around - By taxi

Solid-White Taxis: These are contemporary sedans with meters that are typically utilized, with or without air conditioning, and operate on natural gas. Most visitors will save money by using these cabs rather than bargaining with their non-metered counterparts. They can be called from the street and are prevalent enough that any traveler might use them solely (with a little patience). All visitors will find them more pleasant than black and white cabs, and most will find them less costly.

Taxis in bright yellow are becoming more scarce. Usually only accessible via reservation, however fares are sometimes picked up on way. The meter, like the solid-white taxis, begins at EGP2.50 and increases at EGP1/km after that. Drivers are not permitted to smoke in their vehicles. Known as “City Cabs” or “Cairo Cabs.” Call 0104343438-19155 from inside Cairo.

Older black-and-white cabs are becoming more scarce. Because they are generally the oldest drivers, communication may be difficult, and the meters are exceedingly obsolete and seldom utilized. For locals, however, prices are predictable, and every Cairene knows how much to expect based on the time and distance. Because drivers often hesitant to deliver change, it is strongly suggested that you have precise change before entering.

Ordinary Egyptians do not announce prices in advance. Instead, after departing, the right amount is paid via the window. Some drivers may raise objections because they anticipate visitors to pay more than usual. The “step away” strategy may be used. You’ll be OK as long as the driver does not get out of the vehicle. If this occurs, get help from someone nearby. As a visitor, you may choose to offer a price ahead of time to avoid ripoffs, but this will force you to quote costs that are higher than local pricing. To keep this to a minimum, avoid lingering outside 5-star hotels and restaurants. Choosing a large hotel as your location might further increase the cost. Always pick the cab rather than allowing the taxi to choose you.

For ferrying additional persons, they normally ask extra money (EGP2-3). If you don’t discuss the price ahead of time (which is the best option), be prepared to abandon ship and/or haggle hard if the cabbie raises the rate after you’ve gotten in the vehicle. A cab will seldom take more than four persons. Add EGP5-7 if you’re traveling late at night, especially if you’re in an older cab without a counter.

In general, never continue to travel in a vehicle that you believe is hazardous or in which the driver is driving recklessly, particularly in the nighttime on dark roads or on single-track highways where overtaking is perilous. If you feel frightened, just advise the driver to slow down; if he does not, ask him to stop, and then get out and walk away; however, be cautious not to wind yourself in a remote location where finding another mode of transportation would be risky and difficult.

Get Around - By bus

The city’s enormous red, white, and blue public buses, which cost EGP1, cover the whole city and are substantially cheaper, however they are generally packed and sluggish. Similar air-conditioned buses, on the other hand, cost 2 or EGP2.5. They may be seen in Cairo’s biggest squares. Smaller minibuses, generally orange and white or red, white, and blue, may also be spotted in major squares. Women are recommended to ride exclusively on tiny microbuses and buses that do not need standing due to issues with sexual harassment. The fare on microbuses begins at EGP0.5 and goes up to EGP2.5.

Buses may be hailed from the street level, in addition to the major bus terminals. Buses are seldom labelled with destinations; instead, passengers yell out their destinations (or use a variety of sign-language like hand codes) and the bus will stop if it gets there. Travellers who are unfamiliar with Cairo might ask bus drivers or passengers to direct them to their destination. Simply say your destination’s name to the bus driver or a friendly-looking passenger, and they will take care of you.

Late-night bus users should be aware that bus frequency, route length, and, in certain situations, fares might change from late evening to early morning. In rare situations, a route may abruptly end before reaching your goal. Locals depend on private people looking to earn some extra cash to deliver them to their ultimate location when this happens. If you prefer to use private transportation, proceed with care. One additional comment regarding late-night bus transportation: since many mini-buses do not leave until almost full, you can expect to wait a long time while the driver waits for enough passengers to board.

Throughout the city, there are a number of significant bus stations (mawqaf, pl. mawaqif). In Midan Tahrir, one of the biggest is conveniently placed beside the Egyptian Museum. It’s worth noting that there are two stations: the main bus station for city buses and the microbus station behind it. For example, visitors visiting the Pyramids may purchase a seat on a microbus for just 2 pounds. Visitors to the pyramids who see a bus or microbus driver shouting Hàràm should always make a pyramid triangle with their hands before boarding to ensure that the driver is driving to the actual pyramids, not just to the Haram district, which, while close to the pyramids, can end a long way from the pyramid entrance.

Midan Ramses also has a bus stop beneath the flyover. Ramses offers bus service to Heliopolis, City Stars Mall, and other locations not served by the Tahrir bus stop.

Prices in Cairo

Tourist (Backpacker) – 32 $ per day. Estimated cost per 1 day including: meals in cheap restaurant, public transport, cheap hotel.

Tourist (regular) – 77 $ per day. Estimated cost per 1 day including: mid-range meals and drinks, transportation, hotel.

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk 1 liter $ 1.15
Tomatoes 1 kg $ 0.60
Cheese 0.5 kg $ 2.70
Apples 1 kg $ 1.98
Oranges 1 kg $ 0.70
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $ 1.45
Bottle of Wine 1 bottle $ 10.00
Coca-Cola 2 liters $ 1.10
Bread 1 piece $ 0.50
Water 1.5 l $ 0.45

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range) for 2 $ 18.00
Dinner (Mid-range) for 2 $ 30.00
Dinner (High-range) for 2 $ 62.00
Mac Meal or similar 1 meal $ 5.10
Water 0.33 l $ 0.30
Cappuccino 1 cup $ 2.15
Beer (Imported) 0.33 l $ 2.10
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $ 1.45
Coca-Cola 0.33 l $ 0.45
Coctail drink 1 drink $ 8.50

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema 2 tickets $ 10.00
Gym 1 month $ 60.00
Men’s Haircut 1 haircut $ 5.00
Theatar 2 tickets $ 56.00
Mobile (prepaid) 1 min. $ 0.03
Pack of Marlboro 1 pack $ 3.00

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics 1 pack $ 5.40
Tampons 32 pieces $ 4.90
Deodorant 50 ml. $ 4.10
Shampoo 400 ml. $ 2.80
Toilet paper 4 rolls $ 1.15
Toothpaste 1 tube $ 1.35

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar) 1 $ 67.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M) 1 $ 52.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas) 1 $ 95.00
Leather shoes 1 $ 70.00

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline 1 liter $ 0.35
Taxi Start $ 0.40
Taxi 1 km $ 0.20
Local Transport 1 ticket $ 0.25

Districts & Neighbourhoods In Cairo

Greater Cairo is a massive metropolis with a population of over 17 million people, making it Africa’s and the Middle East’s biggest metropolitan region. Tahrir Square is the focal point.

MIDAN TAHRIR

Midan El Tahrir is the heart of the contemporary city, with large hotels, transportation hubs, and the Egyptian Museum, as well as a downtown that stretches from Midan Talaat Harb to Midan Ataba. Midan Tahrir (literally, “Liberation Square”) is well known for the enormous 2011 demonstrations that led to the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. This plaza continues to host large political gatherings.

MIDAN RAMSES

It houses Cairo’s major train station as well as a booming retail and lodging district.

GARDEN CITY

A area near the city center and the Corniche el-Nil that is an excellent choice for centrally located lodging.

ISLAMIC CAIRO

The Citadel, Mohamed Ali Mosque, Khan el Khalili (the largest market or souq), old mosques and medieval architecture, as well as some of Cairo’s Turkish baths or Hammams, are all situated east of downtown.

OLD CAIRO

Coptic Cairo, Fustat (Cairo’s historical nucleus), and Rhoda Island are all located south of downtown.

DOKKI AND MOHANDESEEN (GIZA)

Located on the Nile’s west bank, featuring upmarket restaurants, shopping, and lodging.

GEZIRA AND ZAMALEK

The Cairo Tower and the Opera House, as well as some fine shops, restaurants, cafés, and lodging, are located in this upscale sector on the Nile’s Gezira island. This is where the Gezira Sporting Club is situated.

GIZA

The word Giza is usually used to refer to the area or city of the same name, rather than the actual site of the pyramids. The Giza Zoo, as well as a few other attractions, are situated west of the urban center, overlooking the Nile. Giza city comprises the Haram (pyramid) area, which contains the Giza Pyramids, as well as Dokki and Mohandeseen.

HELIOPOLIS AND NASR CITY

The two of them are actually completely distinct areas. Heliopolis is an older district where well-to-do Egyptians and higher class people live, built by a Belgian architect. Nasr City is newer, and contains City Stars, Cairo’s biggest and most modern shopping mall, and retail social complex. The airport is actually located a bit further east of this area out in the desert near Masaken Sheraton

MA’ADI

A relatively tranquil residential zone in southeast Cairo that caters to many foreign expats and where upper-class Egyptians dwell.

Sights & Landmarks In Cairo

  • Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. It is the country’s most renowned tourist destination and the only preserved monument of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
  • Egyptian Museum (250 m north of Tahrir square),  +20 2 25796948. The Egyptian Museum, formally called Museum of Egyptian Antiquities but often known as the Egyptian Museum, is located in the Midan Tahrir district and houses the world’s largest collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities.
  • Citadel and Mosque of Mohamed Ali Pasha, in Islamic Cairo. Salah Al-Din constructed a magnificent fortress. Parts of the water pipelines (Majra Al-Oyouon) that carried water from the Nile River to the citadel are also still visible. Mohamed Ali, the ancestor of Egypt’s last king, King Farouk, is regarded as the founder of modern Egypt.
  • Al-Azhar Mosque. One of the most important centers of Islamic thinking, as well as the site of the world’s oldest university.
  • Ibn Tulun (مسجد أحمد بن طولون) (Close to Sayida Zeinab). Built between 868 and 884, it is perhaps Cairo’s oldest mosque.
  • The Coptic Museum, in Coptic Cairo.
  • The “Hanging Church” (Church of the Virgin Mary), in Zabaleen Area (District of Manshiet Nasser) below Mokkatam Hills, not far away from the Citadel
  • Cairo Tower – On Gezira Island, the Cairo Tower (185 m/610 ft) provides a 360-degree panorama of Cairo, as well as the Giza Pyramids in the distance to the west.
  • Al-Azhar Park. A new set of manicured gardens with a view of the Citadel has just opened.
  • Khan El Khalily. Cairo’s souk district is home to several merchants selling perfume, spices, gold, and Egyptian handicrafts.
  • Abdeen Palace. Located around one kilometer from Midan El-Tahrir, a five-minute walk, this is the house of Egypt’s last ruler, exiled king Farouk.
  • Pharaonic Village. It is about twenty minutes driving from Downtown.

Museums & Galleries In Cairo

Egyptian Museum

Located in the Midan Tahrir neighborhood, it is formally known as the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities but is more often referred to as the Egyptian Museum. It has the world’s finest collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities.

(250 m north of Tahrir square),  +20 2 25796948.

Museu do Cairo

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo has the world’s largest collection of pharaonic artifacts; no journey to Egypt is complete without a visit to its halls. The original collection was founded and held at Boulaq in the late nineteenth century by Auguste Mariette. The artefacts were relocated to Ismail Pasha’s palace in Giza in 1891 and then to the present structure in Tahrir Square in 1902, which is the world’s first purpose-built museum edifice.

Address: Cidade do Cairo | City of Cairo, Cairo, Cairo Governorate, Cairo 11511, Egypt

Phone Number: +20 2 33777263

The Coptic Museum

This museum has some of the best collections of Coptic art extending all the way back to Egypt’s Christian period, including ancient ankhs and Horus-like falcons, stone sculptures from the Mamluk era, a 6th-century Coptic stone pulpit, and the 1,600-year-old Coptic book of Psalms of David.

Address: No 4 Fakhry Abd el Nour street | Abbassia, Cairo 11511, Egypt

Phone Number: 3639742 – 3628766

Manial Palace Museum

Between 1901 and 1929, this palace complex was built by Prince Mohamed Ali (1875-1955). It consists of six buildings, including a hunting museum belonging to the late King Farouk, the prince’s apartment and furnishings, and a lovely garden.

Address: 1 Saray Street | Manyal, Cairo, Egypt

Things To Do In Cairo

Coffee and shisha

El Fishawy’s coffee shop in Khan El-Khalili serves coffee, mint tea, and Cola. Watch the world go by while smoking a shisha water pipe (try the “double apple” flavor). Excellent value for money.

Felucca

Along the Nile River, take a felucca ride. A fantastic way to unwind and spend a night beneath the Cairo sky. Feluccas are offered in Garden City just across from the Four Seasons Hotel. To hire your own boat, negotiate a reasonable price of no more than EGP20-30 for roughly a half hour, or EGP50 for an hour, regardless of the number of passengers. Pay for your ride afterward, or you may get much less than you bargained for. For EGP2, public boats with loud music and a laughing throng are also available for 1/2 hour, although they are quite uncomfortable.

Parks

There aren’t many parks in Cairo, although there are a few.

  • The most well-known is the Giza Zoo, which is situated in Cairo’s Giza area, just in front of the entrance to the Four Seasons Hotel in Giza. This is really one of the world’s oldest zoos (it was built approximately 100 years ago).
  • Hadiqat Al Orman (Al Orman Gardens). This is a pretty big park in the Giza area, near to the Giza Zoo, and it is accessible by purchasing a day ticket at the entrance. It has a variety of trees and flowers and is a wonderful area to get away from the city’s noise and traffic. However, it may be quite packed with locals, particularly on weekends and official holidays such as Eid, etc.
  • Hadiqat Al Azbakiya (Al Azbakieya Gardens). Another lovely park to enjoy the beauty and splendor of trees and gardens while being inside the city limits. It is situated in Cairo’s Azbakiya neighborhood, and the easiest way to get there is to take a cab.
  • Another park in Zamalek is Genenet El Asmak. It’s a beautiful park with numerous enormous tunnels with water tanks where you can observe various types of fish and aquatic life via glass windows. A very low-cost ticket allows you to enter and spend the day at the park, as it does at other parks. In English, Genene El Asmak translates to “Garden of the Fish.”
  • Merryland, also known as Genenet El Merryland in Arabic, is situated in the Heliopolis area, near the Roxy Cinema. Another park with trees and gardens and great views, but in the past 5 years, a lot of restaurants and cafés have sprung up within the park, making it a site where people can eat, drink, and enjoy the park all at the same time.
  • El Hadiqa El Dawliya, which translates to “The International Garden,” is situated in the Nasr City neighborhood. It is one of the most recently established parks, having been constructed as part of the Nasr City complex. It is another another park, with portions housing various replicas of renowned structures from throughout the globe. (Of course, the duplicates are considerably smaller and look like miniature sculptures that you may look at) (i.e. The Eiffel Tower of Paris, The Great Wall of China, The Windmills of Holland, etc.) It’s interesting to watch.
  • Al-Azhar Park is undoubtedly Cairo’s newest and most recent park, complete with eateries and entertainment. It provides an excellent view of Islamic Cairo and the metropolitan skyline.

Recreation

Other relaxation options include visiting the Giza Zoo and the Cairo Botanical Gardens, or watching horse racing at the Gezira Club in Zamalek. If you need a break from the city, play a round of golf at the famous Mena House Golf Course overlooking the Pyramids, or the Hilton Pyramids Hotel tournament Golf Course and nearby Sixth Of October City, both of which are ten minutes drive from the Giza Pyramids.

If you and your family get tired of gazing at monuments and museums, a ten-minute ride by microbus, taxi, or vehicle from the Giza Pyramids will take you to two of Cairo’s largest and greatest amusement parks, Dream-park and Magic Land, both in adjacent Sixth Of October City.

The Mövenpick Hotel, where guests may see Egyptian TV and drama sets, as well as studios that house many of the Egyptian and other Arabic TV stations, is also part of The Media Production City complex.

Shopping

Egypt’s finest retail mall, Citystars, is equivalent to an international mall. It carries the majority of multinational brands and cuisine chains. It has a movie theater and an amusement park. The Mall of Arabia is a brand new, large retail mall in the 6 October City suburbs. It is Cairo’s second-largest retail mall, with many of the same American and European brands as Citystars.

Food & Restaurants In Cairo

Cairo offers a large number of restaurants that appeal to a wide range of tastes. Ironically, any eateries featured in popular guidebooks should be avoided. After getting listed, Egyptian eateries have a propensity of creating a unique English menu with exorbitant rates. However, affordable food may be obtained at street restaurants and snack shops all across the city. Top-tier restaurants are often, but not usually, found in hotels and on Nile cruises.

In Egypt’s capital, the distinction between restaurants and cafés is not always evident. It is completely okay to merely have a drink or sheesha in many settings. There may be a minimum fee for medium and high-range outlets. In most cases, less priced restaurants will not provide alcohol as well as more expensive establishments.

In general, downtown is ideal for budget eating, whereas Zamalek, Mohandiseen, or any of the other more wealthy areas of town are better for higher quality dining.

Egyptian and middle eastern food

Traditional Egyptian staples may be found practically everywhere. Traditional dishes such as fl (bean paste), falfel, moussaka, koshari (rice, macaroni, lentils, chick peas, and tomato sauce), feTr (pancakes with various fillings), and shawarma (an import from Lebanon and Syria — pieces of roasted meat usually wrapped in bread) can be found in stalls and street restaurants. Cheaper restaurants will simply offer veggies and sometimes meat hot dogs or corned beef. Eggs, fried potatoes, and salads are generally provided as well.

Hygiene varies greatly, and the best suggestion is to stick to the most popular destinations. Avoid eating in deserted restaurants because the food will be less fresh. There are several fine koshari stores, especially downtown, including many locations of the renowned Koshari Tahrir franchise. Delicious and inexpensive fl, falfel, and shawarma sandwiches may be purchased at the numerous Gad fast food establishments strewn across Cairo. A tub of takeout koshari costs around 3 to 5 Egyptian pounds, fl or falfel sandwiches cost about 1 to 1.5 Egyptian pounds, and shawarma sandwiches cost about 4 to 8 Egyptian pounds.

Traditional Egyptian meals will be more restricted in the middle and above price ranges. Despite improvements, traditional Egyptian gastronomical experiences are still primarily limited to private houses. Quality chain restaurants such as Felfela (many locations), Abou El Sid (Zamalek, Maadi, and Dokki), and Abou Shakra provide traditional Egyptian cuisine.

Otherwise, oriental or Middle Eastern restaurants try to combine styles or go entirely for more Lebanese-style dining, which is regarded more fashionable by wealthy Egyptians. The good news is that Cairo has a plethora of high-quality Lebanese enterprises, ranging from Dar Al-Qamar to chic restaurant establishments. There is also Turkish cuisine and eateries catering to Gulf guests.

Western and Asian food

Cairo is home to an increasing number of Western fast food restaurants, which are also some of the greatest locations to observe young Egyptians relaxing together, since fast food restaurants are allegedly rated among the hippest spots to hang out. McDonald’s, Hardee’s, Pizza Hut, and KFC are available throughout the city, however they are more costly. The majority of them also provide free wireless internet access.

Table 11 in Tahrir Square Tahrir Square is located near to KFC. Meals range from locally inspired to international and are owned by a Swedish woman. On the second story, there is a view of Tahrir Square. Beer and wine are available.

Cook, mo’men chain The Egyptian version of McDonald’s, Door, offers a similar menu at comparable costs, as well as free wifi internet.

Lighter fare such as sandwiches and salads, as well as pastries, are available at western-style bakeries and cafés. Popular franchises like as Cilantro, Beanos, Costa, and The Marriott Bakery, as well as individual locations, all provide meals that are comparable in certain ways. The majority of these establishments also provide free wireless internet access.

There’s also a charming TGI Friday’s on the Nile banks near Maadi that serves beer but no wine. Gezira also has its own Chili’s restaurant. For burgers, try Fuddrucker’s [www.fuddruckers.com/] (Maadi and Mohandesseen) or Lucille’s (54 Road n° 9) in Ma’adi, which is run by an American lady. Maison Thomas has multiple locations in Cairo, including Mohandiseen, Zamalek, and Maadi, and offers some of the greatest pizza in town.

There is an Italian restaurant named the Mint in Mohandesseen, 30 Gezirt Al Arab ST., open 9AM-1:30, with a very trendy atmosphere but no alcohol. If you prefer more upscale foreign eating, Cairo has plenty of options: Italian, Chinese, and Japanese restaurants, as well as the confusing continental cuisine, abound, particularly in Zamalek, Mohandseen, and Dokki. Rossini seafood restaurant 66 Omar Ibn El Khatab ST +202 2291-8282, Cedars 42 Gezerit Al Arab Mohandeseen +202 3345-0088, this Lebanese restaurant is popular with Mohandesseen’s women, who may order grills and salads on a spacious outside patio.

Hygiene and diet issues

Drinking tap water or eating unpeeled fresh fruits and vegetables is not recommended for health reasons, at least for the first few days of your stay. There are few vegetarian alternatives; nevertheless, L’aubergine in Zamalek is a nice vegetarian restaurant. Aside from that, Egyptian cuisine is dominated by vegetable courses, although watch out for “hidden” meat in stock, sauces, and other dishes. Sushi (slushees?) and ice creams offered outside of major hotels should also be avoided. Also, if serving eggs, make sure they are properly cooked before serving (sunny side up eggs may allow certain organisms to be transmitted).

Self-catering

The Metro chain and Alfa Market, which are located across Cairo, are both handy supermarkets. They often carry Western brands. Vegetables and fruit, on the other hand, are abundant and inexpensive. The Bakery chain, for example, sells western-style bread and pastries. Organic food from the local ISIS brand is available in Metro and Carrefour supermarkets, as well as the Sekem Shop on Ahmed Sabri Street (), Zamalek.

Buying from Souks and outdoor markets is by far the cheapest and most fulfilling choice, not to mention a crash education in Arabic and negotiating, not to mention the product is frequently excellent! Bread is available on practically every street corner and comes in two varieties: whole wheat aysh baladi and white flour aysh shami. Both are cooked fresh every day and brought to every part of the city by hundreds of children riding bicycles. Every neighborhood has a few streets devoted to the sale of fruit and other commodities. Before consuming any fruit, make sure it’s completely washed. In the heat of summer, eating a fresh Roma tomato directly from a market vendor after it has been cleaned is a thrill that is difficult to duplicate. Egypt’s fruits and vegetables may not meet EU or US size criteria, but their flavor is considerably greater.

Small bakeries (furne) serve every kind of baked food conceivable, from nigella and sesame seed bread sticks to croissants, doughnuts, and anything with dates in it. Fresh bread from these bakeries is a lovely alternative to the traditional Egyptian breakfast of beans, beans, and beans, and it is relatively affordable.

Coffee & Drinks in Cairo

Cairo has a diverse assortment of drinking establishments, from the most historic to the most stylish and sophisticated. On the opposite end of the spectrum, practically every street in Cairo has a classic coffee shop, ‘ahwa, a traditionally male institution of social life that dates back hundreds of years. Aside from that, you’ll find everything from fruit stands to patisseries and bakeries, as well as contemporary cafés serving a variety of modern European coffees. In addition to the traditional Turkish coffee and shai tea, you’ll find drinks like hibiscus tea kerkedeeh, which is served warm or cold depending on the season, sahleb, a milk-based drink typically served in the winter, fakhfakhenna (a type of fruit salad), sugarcane juice, mango and tamarind juice, and Tamr hindi almost everywhere.

Traditional coffee houses

Cairo is one of the greatest places in the world for experiencing the region’s unique coffee house culture. In Standard Arabic, they are known as maqhâ, while in the local dialect, they are known as ‘ahwa. Turkish coffee is a must-have in every Cairo coffee shop, while water pipe (sheesha) and tea are even more popular. While deemed “old fashioned” for a while, these establishments are once again becoming popular among younger groups, and smoking a water pipe is no more a male-only habit. Places range from simple affairs (plastic chairs and tables placed on the street) to more elegant cafés, particularly in upmarket and tourist regions.

The sheesha, or water pipe, is the major draw for many visitors to a Cairene coffee shop. It is commonly offered in at least two flavors: mu’assal, which is pure tobacco, and tofâh, which is apple-flavored. Other fruit types are sometimes available. Coffee shops vary from the ornately furnished to a modest counter with a few plastic seats and tables laid out on the street. Foreigners are always welcomed, however ladies may feel uneasy visiting coffee shops in traditional, underprivileged districts of the city. However, solitary or women-only parties should not anticipate much more than the usual inconvenience in Islamic Cairo’s downtown and tourism zones.

Turkish coffee (‘ahwe turki) is served sweet (helwa), moderately sweet (masbout), lightly sweetened (sukr khafeef), or without sugar (sâda). Sweet implies very sweet. Tea (shai) is given in two forms: loose tea (kûshari, not to be confused with the Cairo macaroni-rice stamplekushari), sometimes known as dust tea in English, or tea bags. On request, most coffee establishments will provide fresh mint leaves to add in your drink. Soft drinks are frequently available in a variety of flavors. Typically, hibiscus tea (karkadee) is served warm in the winter and cold in the hot months.

Fruit juice stalls

Fruit juice vendors offering fresh juice (and sometimes fruit salads and other soft beverages) are a must-see during the sweltering Cairo summer. Essentially, these establishments offer fresh-pressed juice of whatever is in season. Orange (borto’ân), lemon (lamn), mango (manga) and strawberry (farawla), guava (gawafa), and pomegranate (Rommân) are common selections. Prices and quality vary according on season and availability. These establishments are located across the city and may be found in practically all tourist areas as well as all local residential neighborhoods. Traditional coffee shops and fruit juice stands may offer any or part of these beverages.

A health-related reminder If you prefer to drink drinks from fruit stands, take additional precautions. Food handling techniques in general do not meet Western food cleanliness standards. It should also be noted that some merchants blend their fruit juices with less-than-ideal tap water.

Modern cafes and pastry shops

Modern cafés and patisseries may be found all around the city. They often feature light fare such as sandwiches and salads, as well as espresso-based coffees and pastries. Many of these establishments are franchises, such as Cilantro, Beanos, Cinnabon, Orangette, The Bakery, and Coffee Roastery. The majority of these establishments, including all of the chains listed above, also provide wireless internet access. International coffee businesses like Costa Coffee and Starbucks are also commonly accessible in Cairo.

Shopping In Cairo

Citystars is Egypt’s top retail mall and is on par with an international mall. It carries the majority of foreign brands as well as the majority of international culinary chains. It has a cinema and an amusement park. Mall of Arabia is a brand new, huge retail mall in the 6 October City suburbs. It is Cairo’s second most popular shopping location, with many of the same American and European brands as Citystars.

ATMs may be found in a variety of locations across downtown. ATMs at five-star hotels are a more secure choice. There are also various currency exchange offices, or you may go to any big bank, such as HSBC or Commercial International Bank, for currency swaps or to redeem traveler’s cheques. In Cairo, there are also a handful of Citibank branches.

Foreign currencies may also be exchanged into Egyptian pounds at all Egyptian banks, including Banque Misr, National Bank of Egypt, Banque De Caire, Arab African Bank, The United Bank, and big Bureau De Change branches.

Be warned that many sellers will attempt to defraud you as much as they can. Papyrus museums are a particularly prevalent ruse. They vary in a variety of flavors, but they are often referred to as galleries, museums, or workshops. You will be given a short explanation or demonstration on how papyrus is created, and you will be advised against purchasing papyrus from cheaper stores that use banana leaf (though no matter where you go, no one has a sample to show you, questioning the legitimacy of this “warning”). Prices will be in the hundreds of dollars, and you will be given what looks to be a substantial discount. However, if you look around, you will see that the majority of what they provide is only worth EGP1-5 at best. Tour guides, taxi drivers, and hotel personnel are all in on it, and they often get a 50% fee if they lead an unsuspecting visitor into this trap.

In Islamic Cairo, the Khan El-Khalili market is a massive souq. The merchants in this town are hungry and skillful, so don’t fall for the hard sell and be prepared to haggle. This is an excellent location for purchasing rustic glassware and perfume bottles. Take your time.

Zamalek offers a lot of tiny yet upscale businesses, as well as shops providing crafts, jewelry, and other products. Fair Trade Cairo, located in Zamalek, is a fantastic boutique that sells high-quality goods manufactured by local craftsmen. Nefertari, which is situated in Zamalek, sells amazing organic cotton linens, skin care products, and other such items. Nomad also has a modest, beautiful second floor storefront in Zamalek, as do Nagada and Khan Misr Taloun.

Midan Talaat Harb and its adjoining streets, especially Talaat Harb Street, are teeming with stores offering everything from shoes to books to sweets.

The Midan Ataba district of Downtown Cairo is home to big bookstore markets, where you can get affordable books, as well as electronics and apparel shops; however, be wary of the overcrowding, since it makes pickpocketing easier.

Nightlife in Cairo

Cairo, for a Muslim country’s capital, is quite open when it comes to alcohol drinking. Every big hotel has a variety of pubs and dance clubs, some of which are open 24 hours a day. Downtown is the place to go if you want to discover Cairo’s less upscale drinking establishments. In and around Zamalek, you’ll find upscale nightlife.

Cairo’s very nocturnal lifestyle is ascribed not just to young people in nightclubs, but also to the popularity of cafés as social meeting places to smoke shisha at night, and even to the late-night public activity of families with children.

Cairo is also one of the few Muslim cities with multiple casinos.

Festivals & Events In Cairo

Cairo International Film Festival

Egypt’s appreciation of the arts in general may be traced back to the Pharaohs’ rich legacy. Egypt has had a rich cinematic legacy since the early twentieth century, when the art of filming was initially pioneered. Cinema quickly blossomed into a massive motion picture business as a logical continuation from the busy theatrical scene of the time. This, along with a far longer musical legacy, propelled Egypt to the status of Hollywood Middle East and the Arab world’s cultural capital.

Egypt has intrigued and inspired the West’s creative powers for more than 500 years, from playwright William Shakespeare through poet and dramatist John Dryden, novelist and poet Lawrence Durrell, and film director Cecil B. DeMille. Since the silent era, Hollywood has reaped the benefits of blending Egyptian storytelling with visual effects at the box office.

Egypt has also produced some of the twentieth century’s best Arab authors, from Taha Hussein and Tawfiq al-Hakim to Nobel Laureate novelist Naguib Mahfouz. They’ve all written for the big screen.

With such credentials, it seemed obvious that Cairo should strive to host an international film festival. On Monday, August 16, 1976, the Egyptian Association of Film Writers and Critics, led by Kamal El-Mallakh, opened the inaugural Cairo International Film Festival. The event was organized by the Association for seven years, until 1983.

This accomplishment prompted the Festival’s President to approach the FIAPF once again, this time to propose that a competition be added in the 1991 Festival. The request was approved.

After the death of Saad El-Din Wahba, the Festival was presided over by one of Egypt’s greatest actors, Hussein Fahmy, who was selected by the Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosni.

Cherif El-Shoubashy, a journalist and novelist, was elected president four years later.

For 33 years, the International Festival has honored dozens of international superstars, including John Malkovich, Nicolas Cage, Morgan Freeman, Bud Spencer, Gina Lollobrigida, Ornella Muti, Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale, Victoria Abril, Elizabeth Taylor, Shashi Kapoor, Alain Delon, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Susan Sarandon, Greta Scacchi, Catherine Deneuve, Peter O’Toole, Charl Since its inception in 1976, the Festival’s presidents have been Saad El-Din Wahba, Hussein Fahmy, and Sherif El Shoubashy.

Stay Safe & Healthy In Cairo

Stay safe

Civil unrest has been a chronic concern in Cairo since 2011, when a revolution deposed President Hosni Mubarak. President Mohamed Morsi was deposed in July 2013, sparking deadly street protests and riots. Protests in Tahrir Square and others, although typically nonviolent in nature, may quickly turn violent, posing a threat to many women. As stated at the top of the article, it is not recommended to go to Egypt at this time (as of July 2013); the streets of Cairo, in particular, are dangerous.

During politically quiet periods, you may go around the major streets whenever you like. It is rather safe, and there are constantly people smiling and wanting to assist. Women should expect to be the focus of frequent catcalling, but it seldom, if ever, extends beyond that.

Another key issue in Cairo is crossing roadways. Traffic signals, which are only found in a few places, are frequently ignored. During peak periods in downtown Cairo, police officers may be monitoring traffic at important crossroads. Crossing the street is like playing the computer game “Frogger,” where you rush across one lane at a time when there is a short gap in traffic. One excellent method for crossing a roadway is to position oneself next to an Egyptian who is crossing the street and follow.

In addition, while travelling in a cab, the driver may drive recklessly and at high speeds. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, just urge the driver to stop and get out.

Stay healthy

Tummy upsets

As in the rest of Egypt, be cautious about what you consume. Raw green vegetables, egg-based condiments such as mayonnaise, and minced meat are especially dangerous. To be on the safe side, avoid cold salads and puddings from buffets, especially at 5* hotels. Although opinions on tap water differ, most tourists prefer to drink bottled water. Large bottles of water are available for EGP2-3. Avoid using ice in beverages and only consume fruit with a skin that can be washed or peeled. You may discover that the stomach drugs you brought from home simply do not work. All tourists would be wise to get Egyptian brand medications from any drugstore. Entocid and Antinal are the most effective and widely used. Taking two of these pills with a glass of water in a few hours nearly usually stops diarrhea and vomiting. If symptoms linger, it is best to see a doctor since dehydration in the summer may be severe.

Smog levels may reach dangerously high levels, particularly in the late summer and early autumn, before the rains arrive. This, along with the summer heat, may make spending time outside in the summer quite uncomfortable.

Mosquitos

Mosquitoes are present in several areas of Egypt, therefore you may encounter them. They are active from twilight until morning, then seek for a dark, secluded area to sleep throughout the day. They like damp and rainy settings to breed in. They also like hedges and lush green gardens. At night, sitting near lakes, pools, or in a garden might be suicidal. Only the female bites, and one female in a bedroom may cause a lot of pain by morning, therefore it’s always a good idea to get rid of any before going to bed. Because they move owing to air pressure, a fly swatter is preferable; swatting with a newspaper will not work. Mosquito repellent sprays are also ineffective.

At nightfall, most hotels will use smoke sprays to keep them quiet, although they will awaken and attack later.

The best defense is to murder anybody who is in a hotel room. When going out at night, wear long sleeves and long pants. They don’t like moving air, so sit in a wind or in front of a fan while you’re outdoors. Mosquito pills and burners just put them to sleep; they do not kill them. It is preferable to spend a few minutes wandering about the hotel room killing any that you notice than to suffer from itchy and painful bites for days.

Hospitals

Hotels often have a house doctor on call for medical services. Any significant surgery should be conducted outside of Egypt, although the following hospitals are widely regarded as the finest in Cairo:

  • Cleopatra Hospital, Heliopolis,  +20 2 2414-3931.
  • Dar El Fouad Hospital, 6th of October City,  +20 2 3835-6030.

Backpackers may see physicians’ offices on board signs all across Cairo. They are particular to their field. Simply hunt for one and then enquire about it. It’s worth noting that most operations don’t open until after 5 p.m. and occasionally don’t close until after midnight. A consultation cost includes a consultation as well as one follow-up session.

During the day, visitors may visit private hospitals such as El Salam, Dar Al Fouad, 6 October University Hospital, Ain Shams University Hospital, and Kasr El-Eney. Each features an outpatient clinic staffed by a variety of experts. There is usually no need for an appointment, and you will be seen depending on how early you come. The charge for a consultation and follow-up at the outpatient clinic at 6 October University Hospital is 40le.

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Gudauri

Gudauri is a mountain ski resort in Georgia located 2,200 meters above sea level on a south-facing plateau of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range....