Info About Egypt


Egypt: is a country in North Africa and partly, due to the Sinai in southwestern Asia.

Covering an area of about 1,001,450 square kilometers (386,660 sq mi), Egypt borders the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.

Egypt is one of the most populous countries in Africa and the Middle East. The great majority of its estimated 75 million live near the banks of the Nile River, in an area of about 40,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq mi), where the only arable agricultural land is found.

The large areas of the Sahara Desert are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt's residents live in urban areas, with the majority spread across the densely-populated centers of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.
Egypt is famous for its ancient civilization and some of the world's most famous monuments, including the Giza pyramid complex and its Great Sphinx. The southern city of Luxor contains numerous ancient artifacts, such as the Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings. Egypt is widely regarded as an important political and cultural nation of the Middle East.

Business Hours:
Banks are open Sundays to Thursday from 8:30 to 14:00 and are closed on Fridays and Saturdays. ATM's are available round-the-clock outside all banks and in most commercial areas. Most embassies take a two-day weekend, either Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday. Shops generally operate from 9:00 to 21:00, and some close on Sundays.

Advisable attire is light cotton in the summer and woolens in the winter. In the evenings, a jumper or an overcoat may be required. With respect to Egyptian culture, where semi-conservative clothing is the norm, it is wise to generally avoid very brief clothing. In all seasons, light walking shoes and a hat are essential. Sunglasses can be quite useful.

The Egyptian Pound (LE) is divided into 100 Piastres (PT). For guidance on currency exchange rates, please refer to any bank or foreign exchange bureau. Visitors are advised to keep a cash supply at hand, as credit card options are not guaranteed.

Free foreign currency is allowed in and out of the country. A declaration form must be completed if objects of value such as jewelers or electronic devices like video cameras, professional still photography cameras, sound systems, etc.

Passports and Visas:
All visitors must have visas and passports valid for six months. Visas can be arranged through Egyptian embassies worldwide and they can also be authorized at airports of entry. Visitors must register with tourist police within 7 days of arrival. Hotels take care of this service upon check-in. In any case, contact the nearest Egyptian embassy or consulate in your home country before making your travel plans. Visitors from the US, Canada, EU and GCC countries may be able to purchase a visa stamp upon arrival at many large airports. One-month visitor's visas can be extended.

It’s possible to travel in Egypt now relying solely on plastic as ATMs are becoming more and more widespread. Tourist-friendly cities such as Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada are saturated with cash dispensers, and you’ll also find them in Alexandria, Dahab, Nuweiba and Aswan. Where you will be hard-pushed to find ATMs is anywhere between Cairo and Luxor (the towns of Minya and Asyut have just the occasional one) and out in the oases (there’s just one each in Siwa and Kharga).Of the numerous types of ATM in Egypt, the vast majority are compatible with Visa, MasterCard and any Cirrus or Plus cards. ATMs at Banque Misr, CIB, Egyptian American Bank (EAB), National Bank of Egypt and HSBC are particularly reliable.

Credit cards:
Amex, Visa, MasterCard and Diners Club are becoming ever more useful in Egypt. Generally speaking, they are accepted quite widely in foreign-friendly hotels, shops and restaurants, though away from tourist establishments, they are far less common, and in remote areas they remain useless. In many places you will be charged a percentage of the sale (anywhere between 3% and 10%) to use them.Visa and MasterCard can be used for cash advances at Banque Misr and the National Bank of Egypt, as well as at Thomas Cook offices.To report lost cards in Egypt, call Amex (02-870 3152); MasterCard (02-797 1179, 796 2844); Visa (02-796 2877, 797 1149); or Diners Club (02-578 3355).

Currency Exchange:
Money can be officially changed at Amex and Thomas Cook offices, as well as commercial banks, foreign exchange (forex) bureaus and some hotels. Rates don’t tend to vary much, especially for the US dollar, but if you’re keen to squeeze out the last piastre, then the forex bureaus generally offer slightly better rates than the banks, and usually don’t charge commission. Egyptian pounds can be changed back into hard currency at the end of your stay at some banks, forex bureaus, and Thomas Cook and Amex offices. It is also possible to have money wired to you from home through Amex. This service operates through most Amex branches, and can be used by anyone, regardless of whether you have an Amex card or not. The charge is about US$80 per US$1000, payable in the country from which the money is sent.