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Getting to and from the airport
You will definitely try to be ripped off when going to and from the airport by taxi. From the central Cairo area to the airport, you should be paying LE30, although you will have to haggle hard for this price. LE40 is much easier to get and realistically isn't that much more than 30. Anything more than 40 though is not on and you shouldn't pay it. There is no need to either, as there are so many taxis on the street. Don't like the one you flagged down? Dozens more pass every minute.
You will have to pay a little extra going FROM the airport though, as there is an exit fee when leaving and you'll be expected to pay it - it's only LE5 though.
The amount of haggling required will depend on the time of day too. If you want to get to the airport in peak hour, you're going to have to pay extra. If your flight arrives at 2am though, the roads will be mostly empty and you'll be able to almost name your price.
KLM and Air France depart from new Terminal
Last Saturday (Sept 10th 2005) we were dropped at Terminal 1 - Departure International Flights, only to hear that KLM (and Air France and North West) now depart from the brand new Terminal 2 (Hal 2). We had to find transportation again, as the distance is too great too walk, certainly with all the luggage. The directions are poor and there didn't seem to be a shuttle bus....
The new terminal is beautiful, but a bee hive. A man volunteered to push our trolley, but was unable to help us for more than 10 meters. I gave him 1 pound, and he said: "This is a very small amount, sir". I said, "I know, it was only a small trip".
It also took us some time to figure out what line to take, and we were greatly helped by a tour operator who assumed that we were part of his party. We had to queue in a line at the back. After checking in, we had to fill in a form that was stamped by the douane, as was the visa in our passport.
After the customs, it is a bit small. We went upstairs, were there are some tax free shops. I managed to buy some nice Egyptian CD's and got rid of my pounds that way. In the boarding, area were not enough seats and we had to stand for about 45 minutes. Again one has to show one's passport. Have it open on the stamped page.
We were taken by a bus - there were plenty of busses - to the plane. There were two stairs, so embarkation went fast.
- Business Travel
The best way to / from airport is to hire a taxi. You hostel / hotel may arrange one for you. But if you are staying around midan-tahrir, you may take the chance share a taxi with other backpackers. I did the same and paid a fourth of the fare. Remember there is charge of Elbs 5 at airport what you are supposed to pay apart from the usual fare of 40 Elbs. Keep the money apart. OTherwise a bigger note will get you a smaller change as a form of forced 'bakshish' (tips).
Current taxi fare from the Airport to downtown Cairo is 35 to 40 LE. (August 2004). I had to pick people up twice and so the total of the three Airport - Cairo trips I made was about 40 each time, one time got it for 35 as we jokingly started out at 10,000 LE's.
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
The taxi "obligation"
I visit Cairo very often throughout the year - around four to five times. Last time I was there (late April 2004) I realised that the taxi drivers make an agreement with each other concerning the prices they charge to take a tourist to downtown Cairo or other places in the area. So I figured out that the standard price for a "limousine" type taxi is 65 LE, an average, modern taxi charges 55 LE and a normal black and white taxi takes you to the center for 45 LE - all these do not accept a pound less, especially when you arrive in the middle of the night and there's no other way to leave the airport! I have never seen those buses from the center that pass from the Airport, where is the bus stop in Terminal 1? However, I still believe that those taxis are the only efficient way to get out of both Airports.
- Budget Travel
Ask your hotel for aiport pick-up
If you are staying in a four of five star hotel, one service that should be available is airport pick-up. It is much nicer than having to look for a taxi on arrival and will be included in your hotel bill. The driver will usually meet you before passport control and help you get the visa stamps and go through passport control.
Getting around the madhouse
Heliopolis airport is located to the northeast of Cairo and a taxi ride to downtown takes about 30 minutes if the traffic is okay. It should cost you about EGP30. To other parts of Egypt, you most likely have to make your way to Ramses station (pic). It's a madhouse there, so be prepared!
If you're staying in downtown, most of the sights can be seen on foot. Taxi's are plenty and not expensive, but you have to bargain. For the pyramids, consider taking the 355/357 bus that departs next to the Egyptian museum. It says CTA on its side and costs only EGP2 per person.
Cairo Airport is 24 km from...
Cairo Airport is 24 km from downtown, which can be reached in 40 min during normal traffic conditions. There is no airport bus, only city buses pass through the airport as part of their routes. The No. 27 minibus departs from Terminal 1 and proceeds to Tahrir Square, the heart of city, it costs less than a U.S. quarter. Today, it's relatively easy to enter Egypt by bus from Israel, e.g. crossing from Eliat to Taba in Egypt's northern Sinai. Formalities at the northern border of Rafah, however, can be extremely time consuming because of the sensitive situation on the West Bank.
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Cairo Travel Guide
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