First Time to Egypt Ultimate Guide

Traveling is awesome, but which country is worth this experience?

Definitely, Egypt as you will find one of its kind mixture of historical signatures, beautiful seas, and lovely people that you can’t find anywhere else, but only in Egypt. 

You can easily experience a magical trip without frustrations on your first time to Egypt visit.

All you need is a DotCom Travel guide to live the Egyptian vibes to the MAX.

Egypt is mentioned as one of the 25 breathtaking places and experiences for 2023.

According to national geographic.
Kan khalili- dahab- egyptian temple

In this blog, you will find out how to enjoy a smooth Egyptian trip;

What are the entry requirements?

How to use comfy transportation?

Restrictions you have to avoid in the streets.

What to eat in Egypt?

How do Egyptians live their life?

And all you want for your first trip to Egypt.

Let’s begin with your arrival to magical Egyptian lands.

Egypt Entry Requirements

Arrive to Egypt

COVID-19 Requirements

Do you need a COVID-19 vaccine to visit Egypt?

On June 17 /2022, Egypt’s COVID-19 entry restrictions were lifted.

As a result, travelers to Egypt aren’t required to take a COVID-19 test to visit Egypt.

Egyptian Visa

You may ask yourself “Do we need a visa for Egypt?”

The answer is dependent on your purpose in Egypt:

1. Short Vacation (less than 15 days)

You don’t need a visa if you are visiting the South Sinai Red Sea resorts: Sharm El-Shaikh, Dahab, Nuweiba, and Taba.

Instead, you can receive a free entry permission stamp upon arrival.

2. Long Vacation

Your excitement to visit Egypt can’t wait until the visa is out? Don’t worry, you can get your visa on arrival which is extended for 30 days in exchange for US$25.

3. Business Trip

Your business schedule may be full, so try to avoid hustles that may waste your time on arrival by having a visa before starting your business trip.

Technology makes life easier, you can use the e-visa system to get your Egyptian visa with validation for 3 months without consuming time like old days.

Tip: Make sure you are leaving within your visa days to avoid paying a fine.

If you want to extend your accommodation, you have an option for visa extensions by going to the Egyptian Passport and Immigration Offices to make your request.

But never exceed your available period.

Payment Methods in Egypt

Egyptian Pounds

1. Egyptian Pounds

The common and budget-wise method is to use Egyptian pounds in payment.

Try to have fair Egyptian cash with you while traveling the Egyptian sights and streets.

Some institutions and sellers accept only dollars from foreigners. To be in the safe side, hold some dollars with you.

But don’t pay with dollars until the seller asks for it, and you can negotiate if you don’t want to pay with dollars. In some situations, dollars may be overvalued to pay with it. 

2. Credit Cards

Large shops, malls, and supermarkets accept credit card transactions regularly. However, few restaurants and small shops have the option of paying with cards.

If they don’t accept payment with cards, Always carry your credit cards with you to withdraw some cash if needed from any ATM. 

You will find ATMs easily. Egyptian streets “especially main government streets” contain lots of ATMs for different banks distributed all over the streets, Malls, and metro.

Transportation in Egypt

Egyptian Metro
Endless transportation options to choose from
Depending on your budget.

Public Transportation in Egypt

It includes metro stations, buses, and trains. They are remarkable for their affordable ticket prices which range between 6 to 30 EGP.

So, it’s your first option if you are looking for a budget-friendly trip.

Be careful that not all the public options are available in each city. Make sure to ask about the main transportation methods for the city you will visit. To make a realistic budget plan.

4 Tips for Public Transportation in Egypt:

As a first time to Egypt traveler, you should be aware of some points in public transportation:

1. Public transportation tickets are paid with local currency.

In such wise, carry some Egyptian pounds with you.

2. Take care of your belongings.

Most of the time public transportation are crowded with people and you don’t want to be theft.

3.“A trip without a tour guide, can be guided by Egyptians.”

Helping people is in Egyptians’ blood, they would love to answer your inquiry and tell you the suitable public transportation that gives the nearest arrival to your targeted destination.

4. Ask Google.

Google maps can help a lot to track if you’re on the right way. And avoid getting lost. Download the Egyptian map to use it OFFLINE, you don’t know when an error may occur in the mobile network.

Private Transportation in Egypt

Microbus in Egypt
It’s an option for a higher traveling budget
  • Private Microbus

On your first time to Egypt trip, you will see a white microbus running fast on the road.

You may think it’s a kind of trip microbus or something.

But no, white microbus is local transportation here in Egypt. Interesting ha!

It will be a unique Egyptian experience to try.

However, it’s not recommended for first time travelers to Egypt, especially if you have no tour guide.

Private microbus has different destinations and tracks. So, you need to ask each microbus pass in front of you about the place you want to go before you ride, to make sure you will reach your desired drop-off.

The problem is nearly 99% of microbus drivers don’t understand or speak English. In addition, they are in hurry all the time, they won’t stop for a long time to exchange with you some words they won’t understand.

Only if you love challenges, try this method of transportation.

Before you do so, you have to put into your consideration some points:

1. Which one of the 50 different microbuses you should ride?

You can’t know the answer by yourself. You have the option to ask any Egyptian around you.

What is the suitable microbus to arrive at………?  

How much should I pay for that destination?

Know the average fee from locals, to avoid deception in the fees.

 “As the microbus driver counts the fees according to the distance. You may pay 5 EGP while the next passenger to you pay 4 EGP. The fee difference is due to the different destinations you will drop at”

Ask how to pronounce the destination in Arabic, to be easily understood.

2. Ask the driver before you ride, and say the Arabic word in a form of question and wait for the driver’s answer to say yes or no.

3. Remind the driver about your wanted drop-off. You can track it on Google maps. If you reached your spot on the map, tell the driver “Alla gamp yasta” which means I want to get off here.

  • Egyptian Taxi
Taxi in Egypt

Taxi drivers are greedy, they may increase the prices only to have more. Only if, you know the exact money for reaching your destination. A taxi will be recommended for you.

In case it’s your first time to Egypt, use a private car ride application.

  • Private car ride applications
Uber in Egypt
The best option for your first time to Egypt.

Features of car ride applications:

  1. Private car ride applications are EASY to access and make a request.
  2. Everything is CLEAR before confirmation. There are no surprises after you reach your destination.
  3. The car options you can choose are definite and dependent on your budget and level of service.
  4. The ride’s price is fair and calculated according to the actual distance.
  5. The estimated time of arrival that application shows is almost the exact real-time of arrival.
  6. You will feel SAFE and respectful as the car drivers care about the rating, so they will give you the best customer experience as possible.
  7. You have the full choice to accept the ride conditions before the confirmation.

Some of the driving applications are Uber, Careem, and indriver.

  • Private bus applications
Careem Bus in Egypt

They are affordable options for you.

Its disadvantages are that they don’t reach all the destinations and they aren’t available in each city, only provide their services in some areas in the main cities.

Some of these applications are Uber bus, Careem bus, and SWVL.

5 Egypt Travel Restrictions to Avoid on Streets

Egypt Travel Restrictions

1. Drinking alcohol outside licensed restaurants or bars.

Just as you are a first time to Egypt traveler, you may don’t know that drinking alcohol in Egyptian streets leads to arrest and a fine.

Which you don’t want to experience on your vacation. So avoid getting drunk outside the restaurants and bars specified for this activity. 

2. Using any type of illegal drugs even in a small amount.

This action itself can lead to 25 years long prison sentence.

Trafficking in illegal drugs results in life imprisonment or the death penalty. 

3. Saying negative comments about important political figures including the President or security forces.

To enjoy peace be on the safe side, and avert giving negative political, or even reacting to it.

4. Taking photos of military official installations is prohibited.

If a soldier notices you’re taking photos, he has the right to open your phone and delete the photos.

5. Sexual activities are explicitly criminalized in Egypt. In accordance avoid kisses and sexual touches with your partner in the Egyptian street.

7 Interesting Egyptian behavior to help you go with the flow

Down Town Egypt
“Go with the flow” is the perfect statement for the first time to Egypt trip”
  • Egyptian electricity is 220 volts, 50Hz. The electric plug is rounded.

If your devices can’t work in such condition, bring with you a convertor or adaptor, to keep your devices working without damage.

  • Most Egyptians don’t depend on tap water.

Instead, they put a filter for tap water in their home.

Drink water only after you checked if it’s filtered or mineral water. To avoid being sick.

  • Egyptian use bidets in toilets. WHAT!

Barley paper tissues exist in most public places.

If you are used to toilet paper, don’t forget to take some with you while going to the bathroom. Just in case.

  • The tap water isn’t good enough to be drunk, unlike India it’s good enough to get a shower with. 

Egyptians take showers with soap and tap water. Don’t worry to do so.

  • Most roads are bumpy and irregular. The result is noticing Egyptians wear flat and comfortable shoes. 

Don’t forget to bring with you comfy sneakers to walk happily in the Egyptian streets.

  • While walking in the streets, you can see someone break the traffic signals. A first time to Egypt visitor’s reaction will be OMG! 

But that is the norm here in Egypt. 

Egyptians love to play a real “cross the road” game.

  • Breakfast can be a heavy meal, even heavier than your normal lunch.

Egyptians use a lot of fats and carbohydrates in their food. 

You need to prepare your stomach for what it’s waiting for it in Egypt.

And that leads us to a good question. 

What to Eat in Egypt?

egyptian breakfast

There are various delicious Food in Egypt to choose for eating

  1. Oriental Egyptian Street food
  2. Small restaurants
  3. Luxurious restaurants
  4. Italian food restaurants
  5. American food restaurants
  6. Chinese food restaurants
  7. Syrian food restaurants
  8. Indian food restaurants

After you get enriched with Egyptian details for your first time to Egypt trip.

Which info you have never known before?

What is the most surprising fact for you?

Let us know your opinion in the comments.

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