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Info on Cairo airport and city tour

Somerville, New...
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Info on Cairo airport and city tour

I have a 11 hour layover ( 11am to 10pm at night) at Cairo airport between flights on May 31. Hoping to receive answers to the following questions:

1. Would it be possible to make a trip from the airport to the pyramids and back?

2. If yes, would I have time to see anything else besides the pyramids?

3. What other place would folks here recommend that I see?

4. Does the airport offer any pre-arranged tours of the city for transit passengers (Have written to the airport but no response yet)

5. Can a non-US citizen get a visa at the airport? (Have written to the embassy in DC but no response yet)

Thank you very much.

Ulaanbaatar...
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1. Re: Info on Cairo airport and city tour

1. Would it be possible to make a trip from the airport to the pyramids and back?

2. If yes, would I have time to see anything else besides the pyramids?

Definitely possible. The degree to which you can see other things depends on what kind of traveler you are and whether you like to linger or see more things. You should be in Giza by 1pm absolute latest.

3. What other place would folks here recommend that I see?

The other main attraction that people usually do is the Egyptian Museum, Downtown. But you'd have to move pretty quickly to make it there with any time to see things before closing. I think most people would probably say you don't have enough time for both. Other options are Khan el Khalili bazar, Islamic Cairo and Al Azhar Park, which is also back towards the airport direction. My recommendation would be take your time at the Pyramids, get something to eat or a tea and shisha at a street cafe if you have time to kill, sunset felucca on the Nile, back to the airport.

4. Does the airport offer any pre-arranged tours of the city for transit passengers (Have written to the airport but no response yet)

Airport, no. People have said EgyptAir offers some kind of package to their customers, I think. But you could set up a day with a guide or just a driver with any of the well reviewed agencies here on TA.

5. Can a non-US citizen get a visa at the airport? (Have written to the embassy in DC but no response yet)

Depends what nationality/passport. The list is here-

http://www.egyptianconsulate.co.uk/FAQ.php

2. Re: Info on Cairo airport and city tour

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Removed on: 21 May 2014, 14:59
Edinburgh
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3. Re: Info on Cairo airport and city tour

The bazaar is a good option. It's open late, you can eat there too, amf it's on the right side of the airport for a taxi.

Don't assume the airport organises anything - it barely organises itself. If you go to the bazaar or anywhere else that is not a major hotel in the evening, don't assume a taxi will understand the phrase "international airport" or even "airport." Unless you are confident of your Arabic, get a hotel to write the word on a card or use google translate and copy it onto a card.

There's an iPhone app that will put words on the screen in Arabic for major Cairo destinations (somehow it's missed 'international airport'). It does assume the taxi driver can read of course, which sometimes is not the case!

Part of the experience of Cairo (and charm once you get used to it) is the almost mind-boggling chaos. Enjoy! If you succeed, you'll come back.

Edited: 16 May 2014, 01:11
4. Re: Info on Cairo airport and city tour

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Removed on: 18 May 2014, 18:34
Cairo, Egypt
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5. Re: Info on Cairo airport and city tour

As others have said, we can not answer about the visa unless you tell us your nationality.

If you arrive on a Friday then the traffic will be far less and then a day trip will be much easier. Saturdays are not too bad.

I would suggest heading to the pyramids and then on the way back take in the Citadel, though that usually closes at 4 or 4.30 pm.

London, United...
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6. Re: Info on Cairo airport and city tour

Since the OP gives his/her location as New Jersey, I presume they carry a US passport but, for sensible advice on visas, they should say one way or the other.

As for Cairo’s cabbies, I may have been lucky but, I've taken a fair few taxis there and, with one exception, always had a driver that spoke (at least) enough basic English to understand where I wanted to go and negotiate a fare. As for the exception, a couple of his simple charade-like hand gestures were enough to do the deal.

A tour company (not necessarily the one ‘advertised’) may well be the way to go but I don’t think the OP has “plenty of time” to see whatever they want. If everything goes smoothly, the OP should arrive at the pyramids between 12:30 and 13:00. As said below, what can then be done for the rest of the day depends now on whether the OP likes “to linger or see more things”

A visit to Giza involves roughly 2 hours minimum (it can of course be done on a quicker, in-out flying visit) but extras such as horse/camel rides, the Solar Boat Museum and a look inside whichever of the pyramids is open add to the time. The first IMO would be a waste of the time available but the Boat Museum is well worth an extra 20 minutes or so.

The traffic gods permitting, the OP could then arrive at the Museum between 14:30 and 15:00 which easily leaves enough time for a good (but not necessarily leisurely) look around. (If it is Ramadan, the Museum will close early.)

There is then should be a bit of spare time to quickly see one or more of Coptic Cairo, the bazaar or whatever before leaving for the airport around say 19:00–19:30 to check for a flight at 22:00.

Edited: 16 May 2014, 16:56
7. Re: Info on Cairo airport and city tour

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Removed on: 18 May 2014, 18:34
Cairo, Egypt
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8. Re: Info on Cairo airport and city tour

The OP did actually ask about non-US passport holders...

"5. Can a non-US citizen get a visa at the airport? (Have written to the embassy in DC but no response yet)"

London, United...
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9. Re: Info on Cairo airport and city tour

The non-US passport question was the last on the list and I just presumed it was something of an afterthought for a companion or perhaps someone else and then forgot about it. But you’re right I shouldn’t jump to a even a tentative conclusion.

According to the (UK) Egyptian Consulate’s website—“Nationals of the following countries have the option to obtain a visa on arrival: UK, EU, Australia, Canada, Croatia, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Macedonia, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Serbia, Ukraine and USA”.

I would, however, be tempted to double check this before heading for the airport. They haven’t, for example, yet updated the on-arrival visa charge and there has been much talk about extending the on-arrival visa to other nationalities..

Edited: 16 May 2014, 20:15
10. Re: Info on Cairo airport and city tour

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