Are you planning your first trip to Egypt?
Planning your first trip to Egypt requires to know some tips and information about Egypt. So, this articles covers some very useful tips to help you planning a lovely trip to Egypt.
Egypt is perhaps best known as the home of the ancient Egyptian civilization, with its temples, hieroglyphs, mummies, and its pyramids. Less well-known is Egypt’s medieval heritage, courtesy of Coptic Christianity and Islam – ancient churches, monasteries, and mosques punctuate the Egyptian landscape.
Today, Egypt is the most populated country in the Arab world and the third most populous on the African continent, with about 105 million inhabitants. Around 85% of Egyptians live in Egypt, and 15% live outside Egypt mainly in Libya, Saudi Arabia, the Arabic Gulf, and Europe. Some 5 million immigrants live in Egypt, mostly Sudanese “some of whom have lived in Egypt for generations. The once-vibrant Ancient Greek and Jewish communities in Egypt have almost disappeared, with only a small number remaining in the country.
The desert is 90% of the total area of Egypt, while the populated area is just 10%. The majority of the population (90%) lives along the Nile Valley and the Delta regions while 7% lives along with the coastal areas of the Red and Mediterranean seas and 3% lives in the oases of the Western and Eastern Deserts.
Egypt is divided into 30 governorates. The governorates are further divided into regions. The regions contain towns and villages. Each governorate has a governor selected by the prime minister.
Cairo, the capital of Egypt is home to many sites including the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Egyptian Museum, the Citadel of Salah El Din, and the Mosque of Mohamed Ali. Al-Moaz Street in Old Cairo has the greatest concentration of medieval architectural treasures in the Islamic world.
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Alexandria is Egypt’s second-largest city and window on the Mediterranean, with several historical sights and the stunning new Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Alexandria is the country’s main summer attraction for Egyptians escaping the summer heat and looking for a place to spend their summer vacation. The tourist attractions include Roman and Greek monuments, Catacombs of Kom El-Shoqafa, Bibliotheca Alexandria, Qaitbay’s Castle, and Qasr Al Montazah (Al Montazah Palace).
In Aswan (southern spot of Egypt), you can see the Temple of Philae, the granite quarry of the Unfinished Obelisk, the Tombs of the Nobles and the phenomenal Abu Simbel Temples. You can also visit Aswan Botanical Garden with its rare and varied plants.
Egypt’s beaches on the Red Sea and the Mediterranean are popular tourist destinations as Hurghada, Sharm El-Sheikh, Alexandria, and Marsa Alam.
One of the major things to think about before planning your trip to Egypt is climate. Egypt’s climate is usually hot, sunny, and dry. Average temperatures are high in the north with extremely high in the rest of the country during summer between 33 to 45 Celsius. While the winter is mild between 15 to 25 Celsius. In the winter months between October-March Egypt may receive some rains at the coastal cities, but many cities see no rain from one year to the next. December and January are usually the coldest months of the year (12-20 Celsius), although it is normally warmer the further south you go and within the bigger cities.
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Egypt’s economy depends mainly on tourism, agriculture, media, and natural gas. The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1970 and the resultant Lake Nasser have altered the agriculture seasons and the ecology of Egypt. Tourism is one of the most important sectors in Egypt’s economy.
Egyptian Arabic with some regional dialects is the main language in Egypt however, foreign languages are taught in schools with English, French, German and Italian being popular. Historically Egyptian was spoken, of which the latest stage is the Coptic. Spoken Coptic was mostly extinct by the 17th century but may have survived in isolated pockets in Upper Egypt as late as the 19th century. It remains in use as the liturgical language of the Coptic Church of Alexandria.
There are three different religions in Egypt: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.
Islam is the state religion in Egypt, and Egypt’s constitution is based on the principles of Islam. Islam arrived in Egypt as early as 642 AD, by Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula, and the majority of the Egyptian Muslims are Sunni.
About 9% of the Egyptians are Christians, and 90% of the Egyptian Christians are Coptic Orthodox. Egypt was one of the earliest countries to embrace Christianity. In language, dress, and way of life they are no different from Muslim Egyptians, their church ritual and traditions, however, date from before the Arab conquest in the 7th century. 97% of the Egyptian Christians are Coptic Orthodox, while 3% are Catholic. There is a small community of Jews in Egypt, about 500 people, living in Cairo and nearby.
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Traveling to Egypt:
Egypt has several international airports:
Cairo International Airport is the primary entry point and the hub of the national carrier EgyptAir.
Luxor International Airport receives an increasing number of international scheduled flights, mostly from Europe, and Arabic countries in addition to charter flights.
Aswan International Airport receives mainly Arabic and Asian International flights with internal flights.
Hurghada International Airport receives a number of charter flights from Europe.
Sharm El-Sheikh International Airport receives a number of charter flights from Europe.
Alexandria, Burg Al-Arab International Airport.
Marsa Alam International Airport.
Passports and Visa, Entry Regulations:
The first thing of planning a trip to Egypt is how to obtain your visa to Egypt. Tourists entering Egypt must have the correct travel documents: a passport with at least six months validity with the name on the passport matching that on the ticket (newly-weds must bring proof of name change).
A Tourist visa is required to enter Egypt. These can be purchased on arrival at the airport in Egypt for some countries as UK, USA and European Union. Visas can also be purchased online in advance through this official website https://visa2egypt.gov.eg. You may also purchase visa’s in advance by visiting Egyptian consulates in your country of residence.
Payment for visas purchased on arrival currently costs is $25 US dollars or equivalent in other currencies (the Egyptian Pound is not accepted to buy your visa). The Visa stamp is sold by one of the bank counters in the Arrivals Hall. Any change due will be given to you in Egyptian pounds.
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Customs and currency rules:
You are able to bring into Egypt: 200 cigarettes or 25 cigars or 200 grams of tobacco; 1 liter of alcoholic beverages; a reasonable quantity of perfume and 1 liter of Eau de Cologne and goods for personal use.
Local currency (Egyptian Pound-EGP and shorted as (L.E) “Livre Egyptian in French”): up to EGP 5,000, foreign currencies: up to USD 10,000 or its equivalent in freely convertible currency.
Currency & Exchange:
Credit cards are widely accepted in all resorts, hotels, and shops. Nile cruises generally accepted these however, a service charge will be made for this service.
Official receipts will be given when exchanging money, which should be kept for inspection. ATM cash machines are widely available. Check with the hotel or our representative for locations.
Egyptian pounds (L.E) come in the following denominations – 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 1. Coins come in the following denominations – Piaster coins: 20, 25, 50, and 1 Pound.
Please note that some of the notes look very similar so when buying souvenirs, be sure you hand over the correct notes.
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220/240 AC volts. An adaptor is necessary (usually two-pin).
Safety Deposit Boxes:
Most hotels and Nile cruise ships have safety deposit boxes and room safes are available for you to use.
Health and Safety:
It is important that you take out comprehensive Travel Insurance and take it with you when you travel.
If you’re traveling with prescription medication you should carry a medical certificate confirming that the medication has been prescribed for a medical condition. The Egyptian Consulate recommends: An official letter from your doctor is required, specifying that the medication you are taking to Egypt is for your personal use only, the quantity you will be carrying, and details of your condition.
Most of the larger hotels and Pharmacies in Egypt can obtain common medicines but, they may be known under a different names. Stomach upsets can occur due to the heat and change of diet, so it is best to bring preventive medicine with you.
Drinks & Food:
It is not recommended that tourists drink tap water, bottled water us widely available. Drink plenty of water, carry a bottle with you and keep hydrated.
Wash your hands before eating and use the hand sanitizer available at restaurants.
Lastly, if you have a particularly weak stomach, try to avoid foods such as salads that may have been washed with tap water.
Do not drink too much alcohol during the day as this can help cause dehydration.
An extensive range of local Beer, Wine, and alcoholic drinks are available, branded alcohol is available but can be expensive.
Fresh fruit juice is available dependent on the season, sodas are also readily available.
Tea and Coffee are served in all Cafes, Restaurants, Hotels, and Cruise ships. Please remember to ask for milk if you want it, as it often does not come automatically.
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You will find international and European-style cuisine widely available along with Arabic dishes for you to enjoy.
In Egypt try:
Falafel: A type of fried paste made from broad beans, chickpeas, parsley, and spices.
Tahini: Sesame seed paste, mixed with garlic, spices, and some olive oil, and served as a dip with bread.
Baba Ghannough: A dip made from tahini and mashed eggplants.
Kofta (is minced meat).
Stuffed vine leaves: Rice and sometimes minced meat wrapped in vine leaves.
What to bring in your trip to Egypt:
It gets very hot in summer so loose-fitting clothes ideally Cotton is most suitable for all the seasons, although you may wish to bring something a little warmer for winter. Sunglasses and a hat/cap are vital as is a pair of good comfortable shoes.
A suitable factor Sunscreen is vital to ensure you enjoy your holiday to the fullest.
Egyptians are generally conservative people and many are religious and dress very conservatively.
Women should cover their upper arms and should not wear revealing tops or shorts in public, especially when visiting religious sites.
Many Museums and historical sites in Egypt allow photography with mobile phones and cameras. Video cameras are allowed in some locations, but a larger fee will be charged. The use of flash is not allowed when taking pictures inside. Always ask permission before taking photographs of local people and expect to be asked for a tip in return.
Photography is strictly prohibited at military installations, public works, and government buildings.
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In Egypt, local taxis are readily available and inexpensive, but agree on the fare before embarking on your journey, and don’t pay until the end of your journey. The word Taxi will be heard by many drivers as Tax. The same goes for Caliches, or Horse and Carriage rides. For any transport, please agree on the fair first and in which currency and don’t pay before you get off.
Tipping & Onboard:
Tipping, or baksheesh as it is called in Egypt, is a way of life, most Egyptian workers expect tips after performing a service, even if it is a very small service. Your guide will advise you on suggested amounts and whom to tip.
Tipping your guide is a way of showing your appreciation. Guides are well-trained and many of them are Egyptologists who are there not only to share their wealth of knowledge and expertise with you but also to ensure you your holiday is one to remember.
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See you soon in Egypt …………