Monday, January 17, 2022

How To Travel To Cairo

EgyptCairoHow To Travel To Cairo

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BY PLAIN

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.

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.

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.

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.

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