Survival Tips for your first visit to Cairo
Το Κάιρο είναι αδιαμφισβήτητα μια πόλη που αποτελεί όνειρο για πολλούς να την επισκεφθούν.
Two of us were also among those who couldn't wait to see the Giza Pyramids, 5000-year-old monuments(!), and the famous Egyptian mummies up close.
Later on, we'll talk about the other places we visited in Egypt, but for now let's focus a bit on Cairo.
In general, it is a safe city, where we did not feel any danger even at night, while staying in Giza! However, there are some issues that require attention, mainly to avoid unnecessary inconvenience and confusion.
- Do not trust anyone blindly. Even inside the airport, they tried to deceive us. Just to clarify, their intention was not to rob us and we were not in danger. The issue is that a girl approached us, introducing herself as an employee of the Ministry of Tourism (she was even wearing a badge), and asked us where we would be staying. I was a bit afraid, so I asked a security officer at the airport if the girl was who she claimed to be and if I could trust her, and he said "Yes, of course." As it turned out, this was not true. The girl took us out of the security area and led us to a travel agency kiosk after scaring us by saying that the area where we were staying was not safe and that our hotel was not really a hotel. But we had booked the hotel through booking.com and knew it was reliable. Once we realized that none of what she said was true, I pressured her to take me back so I could buy a sim card (it was 2am and the stores outside were closed). To sum up, the hotel employee waited for us for an hour and a half at the airport and, if he hadn't, we wouldn't have known where to go! Fortunately, everything went well in the end
- Use Uber instead of taxis. Often, taxi drivers ask for excessive amounts of money for a route. They also give less change with the excuse that you had given 100 EGP instead of 200 EGP. The application works normally in Egypt and you can also pay with a credit card.
- Regarding Uber, there are some places in Cairo where we went several times and never managed to communicate with the drivers about where to pick us up. The first place was our hotel in Giza and the second was Khan el-Khalili bazaar. Most drivers do not speak English, so communication is extremely difficult.
Our tips :
a) If you can't communicate with the driver for the Giza area, head towards the pyramids where the road is more central. (This way he will find you easily without you having to explain where you are in Arabic!)
b) For Khan el Khalili, ask for the taxi from the opposite side, at the Mosque. It is the only point where we were served with ease.
4. You plan to include distances. This is something we didn't exactly realize how difficult it is until we experienced it ourselves. The distances between points of interest are huge (at least 40 minutes) and the traffic is insurmountable. In these times, the waiting time for Uber should also be added. Ultimately (at least for us), we spent 2 to 3 hours of our day on routes.
5. Regarding Giza. With a little research, you will notice that most hotels in Giza have an incredible view of the Pyramids at very good prices! You may wonder how this is possible. Despite not having the best reputation, we felt that Giza as an area is very safe. The negatives that it has, which make hotel prices low, are that it is quite far from the rest of the city and that camels and horses are placed there at night, which are located in the space of the pyramids during the day. This results in a smell of animal waste on the street. Personally, from our experience, the smell does not reach inside the hotel to practically bother, and it reminds us of the smells of the village in the summer as soon as the shepherd passes the sheep on the road.
In general, in Cairo, like in all of Egypt and all over the world, you need to pay attention to specific things and you won't have any problems! There's no need to overly stress about your trip and miss out on all the enjoyment. If you carefully consider where you'll stay, read reviews before eating, and pay attention to the people around you, then nothing will ruin your trip!