Whenever people ask me where I’ve travelled to this year, I begin by mentioning Egypt. Now, entering Egypt isn’t as easy as packing your bags and hopping on a plane.
To enter the country, you must satisfy their entry policy. And most importantly, knowing the Egypt visa photo requirements is a necessary first step in getting the visa online. While you could go to a consulate or embassy, this online method is a far easier way to secure an Egyptian entry visa.
I won’t lie – it was quite the process. But all my efforts were rewarded in the end. Egypt is a cradle of human civilization – with 5,000 years of history, cultural travellers are spoiled for choice.
But when I tell people about my Egyptian travels, instead of excitement and wonder, I am often greeted with shocked and confused expressions.
Perhaps this is because of the violent protests that took place earlier this year throughout Cairo and other major Egyptian cities. As it turns out, I had returned to the United States mere days before the riots began. However, when I explain to people that I traveled through Egypt in early January 2011, they tend to assume that I was caught in the middle of the fights and immediately ask me if I feared for my life.
While I could definitely sense some misdirected tension in the days leading up to the riots, I left Egypt with a new outlook on the world. By learning about the Muslim faith and seeing so many ancient ruins, I somehow developed a firmer understanding of my own faith, culture and moral code. I believe a main reason for this was due to the many modes of transportation I took during my trip. While many vacationers travel through Egypt the luxurious way, I chose the broke traveler method, which ultimately made all the difference.
Here are Five Modes of Transportation in Egypt:
Sleeper Trains: Just as their name suggests, sleeper trains are intended for the budget traveler who wants to save both time and money. Although this way sounds luxurious to some, it is pretty bare bones when it comes to comfort. Yet, I managed to make the most of the experience and I would recommend it to other travelers as well. For one thing, don’t expect to actually see much of Egypt during your train ride. Since you are traveling at night, there is little to see along the train tracks. You also won’t get a wink of sleep but how can anyone when they have the excitement of reaching Valley of the Kings in the morning?
Bus: If you are a budget traveler trying to see as much as you can within your travel dates, it’s almost a given that you will take a bus throughout your journey. I had some of my most reflective moments during our bus rides in Egypt. As we headed from Aswan to historic temples at Abu Simbel, I witnessed the most beautiful sunrise I have even seen. As I looked at my fellow travelers and realized they were all asleep, I couldn’t help but feel like this was a special moment I was sharing with the nation. Bus rides are also the perfect situation to learn more from other travelers and your tour guide. On our ride back to Aswan from Abu Simbel, I spent nearly three hours speaking about politics, religion and racism with my tour guide.
Felucca Boat: Forget the touristy and over-priced Nile cruises. They real way to experience Egypt is by sailing along The Nile River on a local Felucca boat. Our group got up close and personal with nature as we roughed the hot Aswan air and set out on a twenty-four hour felucca ride. We sailed all day, talking and eating with our crew as they told us stories about their lives. At night, we built a campfire, stargazed and even had a run-in with a very intimidating camel. The highlight of our Felucca ride was having the chance to eat with a local Nubian family just before we set sail. Although the villagers could not communicate with us, their genuine hospitality spoke volumes.
Hot Air Balloon: It’s not every day that one has the opportunity to take a hot air balloon ride over Valley of the Kings but in Luxor, this is completely normal and highly recommended. As a traveler on a budget I was surprised how affordable this ride was and looking back on the experience now, the view is completely priceless. Making our ride even more entertaining was our unplanned landing in a local field where small children, animals and the not-so-enthused looking village leader greeted us. In many ways, this crash landing was the best part of the entire morning simply because we were able to see a local community living their daily lives.
Camel, Donkey and the like: A visit to Egypt is not complete for any traveler without a stop at the Great Pyramids of Giza, located just outside Egypt’s capital city, Cairo. Also slightly touristy, taking a ride on a camel is an ideal way to really take in your surroundings while providing you with many photo opts and a great view of the Pyramids themselves. As a local guide led my camel, I was somehow able to forget I was on an organized tour and actually pretend I was living in Cairo thousands of years ago. Similarly, when you reach Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens in Luxor, a donkey ride is one mode of transportation that gives you an equally worthwhile experience.
This guest post is from Megan Eileen McDonough Bohemian Trails.
Bio: Megan Eileen McDonough is the Founder and Editor of Bohemian Trails, an online travel magazine covering global art and culture for the avant-garde traveler.
Transportation Options In Egypt: Traditional To Modern
Egypt is a country that is steeped in history and culture, and one of the best ways to explore its many wonders is through its diverse modes of transportation. From the traditional to the modern, Egypt offers travelers a range of options to suit their needs and preferences.
Camels are perhaps the most iconic mode of transportation in Egypt, especially in the desert regions. Riding a camel can be a unique and exhilarating experience, allowing you to traverse the rugged terrain and ancient ruins while feeling like a true adventurer. Many tour operators offer camel rides that take you deep into the desert, where you can experience the solitude and beauty of this vast landscape.
Donkeys are another traditional mode of transportation that is commonly used in rural areas of Egypt. These hardy animals are ideal for navigating narrow alleyways and paths in small villages and towns. Riding a donkey can be a fun and authentic way to experience local life and culture, and it’s a mode of transportation that has been used in Egypt for centuries.
For those looking for a more romantic and leisurely way to explore the city’s landmarks and attractions, horse-drawn carriages, or caleches, are a popular choice. They offer a slower pace, allowing you to take in the sights and sounds of the city while feeling like you’re in a fairytale. Caleches can be found in tourist areas such as Luxor and Cairo and are a popular choice for couples on a romantic getaway.
Taxis are a common mode of transportation in urban areas, and they can be hailed on the street or booked through a mobile app. They are a convenient and affordable way to get around, especially for short distances. Taxis in Egypt are typically yellow, and fares are metered, so you don’t have to worry about haggling with the driver.
Microbuses are another popular mode of transportation in Egypt, especially for longer distances or intercity travel. They are small vans that can accommodate around 14 passengers and operate on fixed routes. Microbuses are a cost-effective option for travelers on a budget, and they can take you to many destinations that are not served by larger buses or trains.
Buses are a common mode of transportation in Egypt, with both government-run and private companies offering services throughout the country. They can be a cost-effective option for long-distance travel, and they often offer amenities such as air conditioning and onboard toilets. Many of the buses in Egypt are modern and comfortable, making them a great choice for those who want to see the country on a budget.
Egypt has a well-developed railway system, with trains that run between major cities and towns. There are different classes of trains available, including sleeper trains for overnight journeys. The trains in Egypt are modern and comfortable, with air conditioning and other amenities, making them a great option for travelers who want to see the country at a more leisurely pace.
Cairo has a metro system that serves the city’s main districts and tourist areas. It’s a fast and efficient way to avoid the city’s notorious traffic congestion, and it’s a great option for those who want to explore the city on a budget. The Cairo metro is modern and clean, and it’s easy to navigate, making it a great option for first-time visitors to the city.
Finally, for those who want to experience the Nile River in all its glory, there are several options available. Feluccas are traditional sailboats that can be found on the Nile River in Luxor and Aswan. They offer a relaxing and scenic way to see the river and its historic landmarks, and they can be hired for a few hours or a whole day. Nile cruises are also a popular way to explore Egypt’s ancient temples and monuments along the Nile River. They offer a luxurious and comfortable way to travel, with onboard amenities.
Traditional Modes Of Transportation In Egypt
Egypt is a land of ancient history and culture, and one of the best ways to experience the country’s rich heritage is by exploring it through traditional modes of transportation. For adventurous travelers, Egypt offers a variety of unique and exciting options to choose from.
One of the most iconic and traditional modes of transportation in Egypt is the camel. Camels have been used in Egypt for centuries and remain an important part of the country’s heritage. For adventurous travelers, riding a camel can be a thrilling and unforgettable experience, especially in the desert regions. Many tour operators offer camel rides that take you deep into the desert, allowing you to explore ancient ruins and rugged terrain while feeling like a true adventurer.
Another traditional mode of transportation in Egypt is the donkey. These hardy animals are commonly used in rural areas, where they can navigate narrow alleyways and paths in small villages and towns. Riding a donkey can be a fun and authentic way to experience local life and culture, and it’s a mode of transportation that has been used in Egypt for centuries.
For adventurous travelers who want to experience the Nile River in all its glory, there are several traditional modes of transportation to choose from. Feluccas are traditional sailboats that can be found on the Nile River in Luxor and Aswan. They offer a relaxing and scenic way to see the river and its historic landmarks, and they can be hired for a few hours or a whole day. Travelers can experience the gentle sway of the boat as they take in the sights of the Nile, and may even be lucky enough to spot local wildlife such as birds or crocodiles.
Another traditional mode of transportation on the Nile River is the dahabiya. These elegant sailboats were once the preferred mode of transportation for the wealthy and powerful. Today, travelers can experience the same level of luxury and comfort while exploring the Nile River in style. Dahabiya boats offer spacious cabins, gourmet dining, and personalized service, providing travelers with a truly unique and memorable experience.
Finally, for adventurous travelers who want to explore Egypt’s ancient ruins and landmarks, horseback riding can be an exciting and authentic way to do so. Many tour operators offer horseback riding tours that take you through the desert and to historic sites such as the pyramids of Giza or the Valley of the Kings. Riding a horse through the desert landscape is a truly unique and exhilarating experience, allowing travelers to connect with the country’s ancient history in a truly unique way.
In conclusion, traditional modes of transportation in Egypt offer adventurous travelers a chance to experience the country’s rich heritage in a unique and authentic way. From riding a camel through the desert to sailing the Nile on a felucca or dahabiya, there are many options to choose from, each offering a different perspective on this fascinating country.