Cairo Airport: quite nice, well laid out, little hassle, buying visa is a breeze. Buying visa, clearing Immigration and customs were also easy, one or two guys approached to help with ID, but was easy to get rid off. But the game starts when you come out of customs. Taxi racket leeches stick to you no matter what you say. And, the airport shuttle service that I booked online (LE110 to central Cairo) was nowhere to found.
SO I walked outside, crossed the road and started negotiating with the most mature looking driver, he asks for 50LE to Central Cairo. Excellent…. We had to walk a bit to reach the parkinglot downstairs where his car was parked, had an uneventful (!) trip to hotel. He wanted 5LE for airport parking fee, gave him 10, so total cost was 60LE.
Giza: Hotel concierge said it is enough to tell taxi driver GIZA Pyramid, but three drivers did not know what I am talking about. Fourth one said ok and then keep asking me where in giza I want to go, then I saw the road sign in English/Arabic and told him the Arabic name(I can read simple Arabic), then he asked me which me which gate, told him to take me to the gate near Mena House Oberoi…he said ok but guess what, we ended up at the gate near Sphinx, which was probably not a bad thing. Taxi charge 30 LE from central Cairo on a Friday morning.
We got our tickets and started exploring in the reverse order, good thing was no tourist around us, bad thing we were the sole target of Camel/horse/donkey guys, it spoils the mood immediately. And the smell of the poo poo that was around the sights were horrible. On our way back, we took a taxi to the Giza Metro, that somehow cost us 25 LE and took Metro back to our hotel in Central Cairo.
Visiting sights in old Cairo was easy, took taxi to Saiyida Zainab mosque, another short taxi ride o Ibn Tulun mosque and walked to the Citadel. Ibn Tulun to Citade is slightly steep uphill walk, better to go the other way. From Citadel we took taxi to Al Azhar. This place is super crowded. Walked to the other end of Khan el Khalili but the taxi had to go through the Al Azhar area again to reach central Cairo.
Tahreer square:Saw a small meeting going on at Tahreer square on Friday afternoon, demanding release of the Egyptian blind Sheikh from US prison, but no agitation or violence noted.
Egyptian Museum: Went to Egyptian museum today (7 Nov). Not many tourists. At the opening time, went to 2nd floor first. In Tutankhamen’s room and jewelry room, we were the only people around. Same thing happened at the mummy rooms as well.
1. if using taxi, use the white taxi with meter, make sure they start the meter, 99% taxi driver are honest
2. do write down the destination in Arabic before you venture out of the hotel, will make life easy
3. Some taxi drivers don’s understand airport, so saying Al MataarAl Kairah (Cairo Airport) helps
4. For Egyptian museum, you should tell the taxi “Al Mehtaf Al Masri”
5. For Giza pyramid, say “Ahramat Al Giza”
6. To take taxi at airport terminal 3, just go out of the door, cross the road and go to the car park, start haggling, central Cairo should be 50-60 LE with 5LE airport charge, depending on your bargain skill
7. Cairo Metro is clean, safe but slightly uncomfortable but very efficient, so good for long distance travel within the city
8. If you are a party of more 2 people or more, better to take white taxi
9. Money changers at Cairo airport are safe and give good rates as well