Egypt Packages FAQs
A. You need to get an approval for the same from either the Egypt embassy in New Delhi or the consular office in Mumbai. There is no provision for e-visa for Indians. The visa application along with the supporting documents need to be submitted to the consulate or embassy between 09:30 am and 11:00 am. You can even have this done by an agent by providing him with a valid authorization letter. The documents required to get a tourist visa to Egypt include two passport size photos, a completed visa application form, your income tax returns for the past three years, a covering letter, return air tickets, bank statement for the past 6 months with a minimum of INR 50,000 in the bank and a copy of the first and last page of your passport.
Q. What is the best currency to take to Egypt?
A. Egyptian Pound (LE) is the official currency of Egypt, with 1 Egyptian Pound equalling to INR 4.32. It is recommended that you don’t exchange your currency before entering Egypt since you are bound to get a better rate locally. There are plenty of currency exchange stores across all Egyptian cities. Avoid changing the same at the foreign exchange desks at hotels as you might not get the bank rate. Though most businesses prefer if you paid in cash, your Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. The same, however, doesn’t hold true for American Express. Places that accept cards require you to pay a 3% processing fee to the bank. However, there are ATMs all over the city, at major hotels, and outside banks where you can withdraw the money you have previously loaded into your credit or debit cards.
Q. Is bargaining a norm in Egypt?
A. Bargaining is very much a way of life in Egypt whether you are shopping at a souk or a local market. The key is to quote a price you think is lower than what you wish to pay and not showing any enthusiasm while striking the bargain. If the hawker wants to sell it to you, he will definitely stop you from leaving without buying it. In case you reach an impasse, take a step back and accept the tea he offers you, and you might just end up closing the deal. But backing out on an agreed price is frowned upon and never ever put up a bargain for the sake of it especially when you are hardly interested in buying the product.
Q. What to wear in Egypt?
A. You had rather be conservatively dressed in Egypt - it being a Muslim country. In Cairo for either men or women it is not acceptable to wear clothes that reveal legs such as skirts or shorts, or for that matter sleeveless tees and tank tops. In the resort towns of Sinai, Hurghada and Sharm-el-Sheikh, the dressing can be more liberal on the beaches. But the moment you step into the market you need to put on your full jeans or trousers. For an Egypt holiday, pack loose linen or cotton clothing that cover your legs and sleeved tees or tops. Cleavage display is a big no-no. At all times wear sturdy walking shoes, and carry along a sunscreen lotion, hat, sunglasses and bottle of drinking water.
Q. Can I openly take photographs of monuments and daily life in Egypt?
A. At monuments and museums across Egypt photography is usually allowed, though it can come at an additional cost. But places like Luxor’s Valley of the Kings and the Egyptian Museum of Antiques, photography is prohibited and you need to leave your camera behind before entering the complex. About taking photos of people on the street particularly women, ask their permission first before going click-happy. At dams, bridges and airports, photography is not allowed.
Q. What language is most commonly spoken in Egypt?
A. Since English is taught across in schools all over Egypt, it is spoken widely and understood by people living in the cities. You can easily get round in Egypt without knowing a word of Arabic. However, being familiar with a few words of greetings or gratitude in their native language can go a long way in winning you friends and acquaintances. The language barrier isn’t too overwhelming as Egyptians by nature are friendly and helpful folks.
Q. What are the timings to visit the Pyramids of Giza?
A. This open-air site of both historical and archaeological importance is open from 08:00 am until sunset. Most monuments and museums across Egypt typically open at around 09:00 am and shuts at 05:00 pm. There are a few museums that have separate morning and evening opening hours such as from 09:00 am to 04:00 pm and from 05:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
Q. Is there any train connectivity from Cairo to other major Egyptian cities?
A. Egypt has a decent railway network that connects the Nile Valley, the Nile Delta and the Suez Canal. Summer time flags off trains to Egypt’s Mediterranean coast such as Alexandria. Domestic air travel in Egypt can be pretty steep and hence an average traveller prefers train travel for their economical price point and also for the frequency and timeliness of service. Additionally, what better way to take in views of the Nile Valley than with a train ride through its heart. There are sleeper trains too between Cairo and Luxor and Aswan that leaves from the capital around 09:00 pm and arrives into Luxor at 04:00 am and Aswan around 07:00 am. A train ride is extremely comfortable with provisions for a nice hot dinner in the privacy of your cabin.
Q. Can I take the underground metro to travel within Cairo?
A. The metro remains one of the best as well as fastest ways to travel within the city as the streets are prone to snarls due to rise in vehicular traffic. Be mindful that metros can get chock-a-block in the peak hours, aside from that it is the most budget-friendly way to explore central Cairo. The metro ride starts from the city’s southernmost point, Helwan and goes all the way to its northeastern zone, Al Marg. There is a second line that begins at Shubra in northern Cairo and terminates in its west in Giza. A third line takes you from the city to the airport. A ticket comes at 1 Egyptian Pound for going from one station to another regardless the line you choose. Besides, there are two women-only cars on each metro.
Q. What are the check-in timings of hotels in Egypt?
A. It is pretty much at par with hotels around the globe. Check-in at most hotels starts around 12 noon or 01:00 pm. Needless to say, if you arrive or stay until later than your check-in/check-out timing, you will straightaway be charged for an extra night.