All foreigners travelling to Egypt, unless they are from Zimbabwe, Malta, South Africa and Arab countries, need to obtain a tourist visa before entry and are valid for three months. These can be got at the local Egyptian Embassy. More conveniently, they can be got at the airport. It is best to check with your local embassy before travelling to check out the entry requirements.
The official unit of currency in Egypt is the Egyptian Pound (LE/£E), which is divided into 100 piastres. Notes come in denomination of LE1 (brown), LE5 (blue), LE10 (red), LE20 (green), LE50 (red) and LE100 (green). The coins in circulation are 5pt, 10pt, 20pt, 25pt and 50pt.
The official language is Arabic. English and French are widely spoken and understood also.
Egypt has a very hot and dry climate which becomes more intense once you move further south.
There are hospitals throughout Egypt and are easier to find in the cities. If you are having trouble finding a doctor, contact your local embassy and they will direct you to one. It is advised that you take out travel insurance which covers you medically.
It is advised that you take out travel insurance before going. You can now purchase travel insurance on Hostelegypt.com. Click here for further details.
Egypt is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, and seven ahead of Eastern Standard Time (this is extended by one hour during daylight saving months).
Business hours are from 8am-3pm Monday to Thursday. Shops remain open longer, generally until 8-9pm.
The national tourist office can be found in Cairo, with other offices in the country’s other cities.
Value Added Tax in Egypt can increase the cost of goods and services by something between 17% and 25%.
The best place to change cash/travellers cheques is in banks. Egypt also have foreign exchange bureaus, known as Forex bureaux. They can be found in most towns and cities also.
Egypt’s country code is +20 so when ringing dial 00 then the country code, the area code (dropping the 0) and then the local number.
Public telephones can be found easiest in Cairo, although they are also becoming more common in Luxor and other cities. They are either blue and red or yellow and turquoise.
Opening hours are generally from 9am-5pm Mon-Thurs and until 2pm on Fridays. They may stay open later in cities.
The postal system can be a bit slow sometimes and receiving and posting parcels through customs can take a long time.
As salaries in Egypt are a lower than in the West, those working in the service industry see tips as a supplement for their low pay packets.
New Years Day (1st January), Eid Al Adha (23rd February), Islamic New Year (15th March), Sinai Liberation Day (25th April), Labour Day (1st May), Liberation Day (18th June), Revolution Day (23rd July), Armed Forces Day (6th October), Suez Victory Day (23rd October), Start of Ramadan (6th November), and Victory Day (23rd October).