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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.
Transferring through Cairo Airport - all good!
New Terminal 3 airport is great. Very few problems with it. I flew in from New York and transited to Athens. At first i was afraid of missing my transfer flight (2 hours later), however, upon arrival into the terminal 3, when i went to the international transfers desk they took care of me completely. They strangely asked for my passport and wanted to take it away, which i promptly refused (Never part with your passport unless you're completely sure what they're doing with it, and unless you have a name!). So they explained to me they needed it to get my boarding pass and to get me through immigration (for some reason, although i'm transferring, i would be going through Egypt land, and hence need immigration authorisation...silly if you ask me, but that's how it is!). So i took down the person's name who took my passport, and kept my eye on him as much as possible. Anyway, all went well and he did in fact do what he said he would. He also made sure my checked baggage got onto the flight, and he gave me new baggage receipts. Top guy...he wouldnt even take my 'tea money'. The whole process took slightly under one hour, and i was never stressed (except when he first took my passport away). The new terminal 3 is fabulous. No problems about going through there again for a transit.
Beware airport security corruption
At Cairo airport, don't give in to security staff when they declare you cannot proceed to board with cologne in your check in baggage - then changing their tune, saying that you can if you pay a "tip". This is just one more case of the endlessly annoying corruption with which Egyptians are bleeding the tourists dry.
Navigating Cairo Airport terminals
It is not simple at all to transfer from the domestic terminal to the international terminal at Cairo. There are actually two domestic terminals now--one of which is not even remotely within walking distance of any of the other terminals at CAI--and two international terminals. It is extremely confusing as to which one you will arrive at and which one you need to catch your next flight from. There is a free bus, but using it is challenging to say the least. The inter-terminal bus is not marked; nor is the bus stop; and you may have to change buses halfway through the ten-minute trip!!
My latest experience at transferring between domestic (Sharm el Sheikh-Cairo) and international flights (in from London on BMI, out to Dubai on Emirates) was in March 2009. I am an extremely experienced traveler and even I thought the whole thing was deeply confusing. The easy, but expensive, way to get between terminals is to pay for a cab. I find this an outrageous rip-off, so I made the effort to figure out the free bus, which does exist, but is not made clear in any way by the airport. The most helpful people were the guys running the pickups for tour groups--they could tell me where to go, whereas the information desk in the airport could not. After about 25 minutes of wandering around outside the terminal and asking four different people for help, I got on the bus and ended up at the right place--by sheer luck I think.
to Airport from 6th of October City
Since we were staying at the New 6th of October City which is located more then 65 kilometers away from Cairo International Airport in Heliopolis, the only mode of transport in going to the airport will be via Taxi or private van and tour buses (since we are on a group tour, tour buses ferried us to the airport) and public buses travel from the city to Heliopolis is long and the Cairo Metro does not have a stop at 6th of October City and Cairo International Airport at Present. travel time takes 1 1/2 hours along the busy roads of Giza to elevated ring roads in Cairo then to the wide avenues to Heliopolis and the airport.
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Total Chaos !!!!! to and from Airport
I must say getting to and from the airport in Cairo is an adventure in itself, it seems the minute you come off the airplane you are swamped with people trying to take you somewhere. And for all those who fear a langauge problem DON'T WORRY they all SPEAK, ENGLISH, SPANISH, FRENCH, ITALIAN, GERMAN, MANDARIN....you name it they have someone there ready to speak to you and get you to your destination.
Try to walk outside before determining who your going to ride with, people will follow you and be annoying....just keep your cool and you'll be ok, don't make eye contact and basically ignore them until you are ready to deal with them....the going price as of 2/19/2007 was 50 LE from the Airport about $10 US dollars for a regular very beat up'd car, think twice about this option, many don't have AC and the trunks are small and your luggage might not fit, to 100 LE for a nice Mercedes Benz with A/C, and after you see the conditions of the cars 100 LE for a BENZ about $20 US dollars it's a bargain, with the traffic and the heat....we choose the BENZ after dropping the price from 150LE we ended up paying 100 LE and were so glad we did, all of our luggage and coats (since we came from Europe) fit in the trunk. And from there hold on baby, because I don't care where in the world you have been, you have never seen anything like the driving in CAIRO.....WOW !!!!!!! but it was an experience we'll never forget !!!!!!!
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Cairo Travel Guide
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