Egypt is one of the most baffling and cryptic destinations on Earth and yet it remains at the top of people’s bucket list. The Red Sea, Cairo, Alexandria, and the pyramids date back to 2500 BC – there’s a lot of culture and history to experience. Regardless of whether you’re worried about the safety of the country or you’re just planning to visit Egypt, this comprehensive guide will show you how mystical a trip this can be.
Things to Expect in Egypt
Currency: Egyptian Pound (EGP) is the official currency of Egypt. According to the present exchange rate, 1 USD is equal to 16.55 EGP.
Language: Among the multiple languages that are spoken in Egypt, the main language is Egyptian Arabic, also called Masry/Masri.
Plugs: Once you’re in Egypt, the power plugs are only type C and F. The standard frequency in Egypt is 50 Hz and the standard voltage is 220V. So, while traveling to Egypt, get a universal adapter and also use a converter for other hot tools or hairdryers. Make sure the adapter has a surge protection feature.
Credit Card, Money & ATMs: The trendiest bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels, and shops in Egypt will all accept credit and debit cards. Shops have a sign at the entrance to inform you whether they transact with foreign cards. Nevertheless, it is still a safer option to ask a waiter or a cashier before purchasing or ordering something. ATMs are located in bigger cities like Alexandria and Cairo.
SIM Card: The three mobile network companies in Egypt are Orange, Vodafone, and Etisalat. Each of these companies has its own pre-paid packages but the most recommended carrier among them is Vodafone. You get easy access to Vodafone SIM cards right at the airport near the luggage carousel area.
All You Need to Know About Visas in Egypt
Will you require a visa to enter Egypt?
Yes, you will either need an Egypt visa on arrival or an e-visa for entering the country unless you are from any of the 9 exempt countries.
Eligibility of visa-on-arrival
Passport holders of the following countries can receive a visa-on-arrival:
- EU Nationals
- New Zealand
- Russian Federation
- Republic of Korea
- South Korea
How to get a visa-on-arrival
As long as you’re sure about where you want to go, this is easy. The only confusing thing about the Cairo airport is that you won’t find relevant signs that will instruct you where to get a visa. Locate any of the National Bank of Egypt stores that are placed before the customs officers. Pay $25USD to the bank and they give you a sticker. Add that sticker to any empty page on the passport and you’re done!
Is It Safe to Travel to Egypt?
You can’t just discuss Egypt without bringing in the elephant in the room. No matter how seasoned a traveler you are, the most common question you’d ask before visiting Egypt is ‘Is Egypt safe?’
The answer is ‘Yes’. After the Revolution of 2011, there was a drastic downturn in Egypt tourism. Though things have recovered now, yet it is still not at the pre-Revolution levels. The main concern about safety is due to the scenes of the world regarding Tahrir Square along with the stories of the Russian plane crash. However, the reality is far from what is usually projected.
Here are few reasons why Egypt is safe:
- Egyptians are extremely friendly
- Tourism accounts for the highest contribution to the country
- There is no civil unrest in Cairo
- Most of your time will be spent outside the metropolis and the countryside is hardly affected by the revolution
- There’s a striking presence of policemen everywhere with several security checkpoints at most of the tourism sites and the highways
As you already know, Egypt is a desert and hence your trip can get toasty due to the extreme heat. The best time to visit Egypt is from October to April. December and January tend to be peak seasons and hence you’ll find long queues at iconic sites like the Pyramids of Giza or the Temples of Luxor. Prices of resorts also skyrocket during the peak months.
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