Travel FAQs

Below are some of the frequently asked questions and their answers:

Q: Is it really safe to visit Egypt now a days?

A: Egypt is very safe to visit, the police, tourist police, and army are in prominence wherever you go, giving you a feel of being in secure surroundings.

Q: How do I get my tourist visa?

A: Usually, you need to apply to your local Egyptian Embassy or Consulate General for a pre-entry tourist visa but if you are from North America, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia or Singapore you can get your tourist visa upon arrival in Egypt.

Q: I am going to visit Jordan and/or Israel; will I require a visa when coming back to Egypt?

A: Yes, as soon as you leave Egypt your visa will be stamped and so you will require another one. If you are from a country that can get their visa upon arrival in Egypt, you can get the new one when you re-enter the country, but if you require a pre-entry visa you should apply for 2 of these, using the second one when you re-enter Egypt.

Q: Can my tourist visa be extended to more than one month?

A: Tourist visa can be extended if required. To do this you have to apply to Mogamma, in Tahrir Square, or to the equivalent offices in Alexandria, Luxor or Sharm El-Sheikh

Q: What is the difference between a 5 star and a 5-star deluxe hotel/cruise?

A: The star ratings get higher as the facilities and overall standard of the accommodation gets better and so it is easier to imagine 5 star deluxe (or any suffix added to 5 stars) as being 6 stars; something that those who fix the star ratings seem feared to utilize.

Q: What are the differences between bed and breakfast, half board, full board and all inclusive?

A: Bed and breakfast: only breakfast will be served
Half board basis: breakfast and dinner will be served
Full board basis: has all meals supplied (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
All inclusive basis: all meals and drinks are supplied; some hotels also supply alcohol. This latter point should be checked when making the booking.

Q: Do I have to stay at my hotel after the day tour ends?

A: No, we would encourage you to go out and enjoy the culture of Egypt. Many packages are full board, which tends to make people think they have to stay imprisoned in their hotel, but the sites and sounds of Cairo, especially, are too great to be missed. Why stay in the same hotel, with the same faces, when you could go out and have your dinner on a cruise boat sailing around Zamalek Island, accompanied by either a belly dancer or a Whirling Dervish; or sometimes both. This is your holiday, so enjoy every minute and get out and explore.

Q: Where do I get the bus in Cairo?

A: The bus station in Cairo is situated in downtown beside Ramses Hilton Hotel, Abd El Monem Riyad Sq.

Q: Where do I get the bus in Luxor?

A: The bus station in Luxor is situated behind the Luxor Temple.

Q: Is it safe to drive in Egypt?

A: Unless you are used to the way that Egyptians drive, it is not advised to attempt this. Lane etiquette is unknown, cars will cut you to make a turn, and the use of lights during the night is very seldom done. Though some road signs are in English and Arabic, the majority are in Arabic alone and there are simply not any good road maps, especially town ones.

Q: Can I go inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops)?

A: Yes, but ticket sales for this are restricted to 300 people per day; 150 at 0800 and the other 150 at 0300. Tickets for this can only be bought at the main entrance, not the entrance close to the Sphinx. As tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis it is advised to get to the office as soon as possible as buses will arrive at opening times and they tend to get the majority of the tickets. If you can spare the time, try for the tickets in the morning, and if you are not successful you can be first in line for the afternoon tickets.

Q: Can I take photographs inside the tombs?

A: No, photography inside tombs, including the pyramids and Abu Simbel, is strictly forbidden, which has led to all cameras being banned from the Valley of the Kings (you have to leave all cameras at the x-ray point at the second entrance). Excessive flash damages the paintwork inside the tombs and so, because of people who ignore the rules, draconian measures have been implemented to safeguard these ancient works of art. The simple rule of thumb when visiting sites is: no cameras inside, cameras are okay outside.

Q: Do I need to take anti-malaria tablets/injections?

A: No, Malaria has not been in Egypt for well over 85 years and there is no need for any type of anti-malaria medication. To be honest, it is quite the obverse as any types of anti-malaria medication can actually cause side effects that will simply ruin your holiday. Just because Egypt is in Africa does not mean malaria is here as well.

Q: Is it safe to drink the water in Egypt?

A: Yes, but not advised! Egyptian water has a high chlorine level in it which can upset the microbes in your stomach, causing diarrhea. For drinking purposes it is far safer to stick with bottled water, ensuring the seal is intact before drinking it.

Q: Is it safe to brush my teeth with tap water?

A: Egyptian water is highly chlorinated, not poisonous, and so it is perfectly safe to do this. You often swallow small amounts of water whilst in the shower, or swimming, and this causes no problems.

Q: How should I dress for entering a mosque (male)?

A: The protocol does ask for men to wear long trousers as opposed to shorts, though Egyptians are used to the latter being worn and so say nothing, or little if it occurs.

Q: How should I dress for entering a mosque (female)?

A: The protocol does ask for women to cover bare skin as much as possible and so shoulders, especially, should be covered and a simple scarf will suffice. Again, it is advised to wear long trousers, or skirts, as legs should also be covered. Heads do not need to be covered, despite what some tourist books say, though it is a sign of respect if you do this.

Q: Can I use my credit/debit cards easily?

A: Yes, Most places accept these nowadays, including all decent hotels and cruises. You are advised to carry cash when shopping in the many street markets (souks) through the larger malls, and street shops can accept plastic.