|Internet in Egypy||Customs||Currency|
The Egyptian Pound (EGP / OR L.E) is Egypt’s national currency. It comes in denominations of (1-5-10-20-50-100 and 200) pound”s” (Genaih in Arabic) notes. The smaller denominations, (for the most part comes in coin) are (25 and 50 Piasters (in Arabic Qersh), with 100 Piasters to every one Egyptian Pound.
The currency depicts the country’s ancient and very rich heritage, including (for xample) Ramses II on the 50 Piaster note and the temples of Abu Simbel on the 1 Pound note.
Currency is readily available throughout the country with currency exchanges in just about every Main Street, big hotels and airports, as well as banks in every street corner, with daily exchange rate.
Using credit cards in Egypt
Most of the major hotels and stores accept credit cards, such as Visa and MasterCard, along with traveller’s cheques and certain foreign currencies like euro, sterling and dollars. But in general only the Egyptian pound in cash is accepted.
Visitors should keep the following pieces of Egypt travel information in mind…
- Egypt’s currency is the Egyptian pound (Abb: LE Livre Egyptienne)
- Most banks are open from Sunday to Thursday 8:30 – 14:00
- ATMs are common in towns, cities, hotels and resorts
- Major credit cards are widely accepted in hotels and most stores and shops.
- Inform your bank before traveling to prevent your card being blocked
- Tipping is expected (drivers, porters, pub-Toilettes, etc) so carry change to give away.
Upon arriving/entering Egypt, travelers should seriously put into considerations of the following:
- Each traveler can only have a maximum of one liter of alcoholic drinks.
- Each traveller can only bring 200 cigarettes/or 25 cigars/or 200 grams of Tobacco.
- Goods not exceeding more than $200 from the duty-free shops within one month of arrival may be exempted from customs along with all personal -items, as long as it is for personal use.
Prohibited items to bring
- All firearms, including sporting guns, drugs, and the like.
Drones are extremely forbidden in Egypt and not allowed to be brought into Egypt. In case you bring it with you into Egypt it will be confiscated at the airport upon arrival.
- Precious items purchased in Egypt, such as Gold and Silver, can only be exported in small quantities if it is clear it is for personal use.
Internet in Egypt
The Internet is accessible to the majority of the population in Egypt, whether via smartphones, internet cafes, or home connections. Broadband Internet access via ADSL is widely available. More people in the Middle East log on to Facebook in Egypt than anywhere else.
Wi-Fi (sign) is almost everywhere:
What’s a Wi-Fi? It’s a wireless system that allows a personal computer, mobile phone etc. to connect to the Internet through a LOCAL internet connection device implemented in a hotel, restaurant, coffee shop etc. Nowadays Wi-Fi systems are widely spread.
You need not to worry about being connected with the family home while traveling in Egypt as mobile phone coverage is generally very good in Egypt.
Stay connected while you’re travelling in Egypt by having a local SIM card. Upon arriving, and to avoid roaming charges, picking up a local SIM is what only you need.
Choose among the 4 Prepaid SIM Cards
Networks charge for international roaming is basically very expensive
You need not to be bored when in Egypt, stay away from the high roaming rate. The only thing you do to stay connected is to get a local SIM Card to enjoy local rates. What you are really have to do, is to be at least 18 years of age, and having your travelling passport with you, (whether) you’re living or visiting Egypt you can get an Egyptian SIM Card from one of the 04 Mobile Network operators in Egypt, Listed alphabetically as follows:
Orange “Former: Mobinil”.
Vodafone “Former Click”.
We “by Telecom Egypt”.
You need not to do more than having a phone that supports the frequencies used in Egypt (almost all new phones support such frequencies), of course buying a Local SIM Card needs you to comply with the SIM Card registration regulations.
N.B: Tourists’ SIM Card Rate is between 50-160 Egyptian Pounds (03-09 USD$ about).
Where to Buy a SIM Card?
Mobile Network Operators’ Stores are almost in every city street in Egypt, It is available at almost all international Airports, including Cairo Airport.
In one word, actually Egypt’ Media plays a great role in the whole region of the Middle East. And almost all Arab Speaking Countries, its 100 years of film industry together with TV Episodes supply much of the Arab Speaking World from Gulf to Ocean with unprecedented content, especially during the Holy Month of Ramadan in TV Programs and Episodes. TV Broadcast started in Egypt in the early sixties of the last century marking the beginning of an era of Media Domination in the Region, and probably will last for long. The state-run Egypt Radio and Television Union (ERTU) operate domestic networks (but regulation of All Egypt’s Media under the supervision of the “Supreme Council for Media Regulation” (www.scm.gov.eg) founded in 2016 as independent authority) and also operates satellite networks. Egypt boasts being the first Arab Country to have its own Satellite TV- Channels (Nile Sat 101/ later Nile Sat 201, and this year Egypt launched its new Nile Sat 301).
Frankly speaking, before the widespread Social Media, which allow you to access the most updated news, though mostly via Online-Press, but once in paper, The Egyptian press was without doubt one of the most influential and widely read in the region.
Of the most famous, even till today, is AL-Ahram Weekly (www.weekly.ahram.org.eg) published in English.
Postal system in Egypt is one of the very first in the world, founded in the 19th century.
Shopping in Egypt
What to buy in Egypt?
The Greeks, in the mid-6th century BC, were the earliest travellers to Egypt, when they returned back home they carried with them, souvenirs, but not like today’s souvenirs, they carried with them stories about a unique land, a fantastic land full of legends and myths. Today it’s totally different, tourists plus stories carried back home, the carry too some souvenirs particular to the country they’ve been, and what’s more than Egypt to carry back home all kinds of souvenirs one can imagine. The location of Egypt acting as the world bridge between Asia and Africa, helped to be the hub of world trade, moreover, Egypt, unlike any other country, through the ages perfected all sorts of handicrafts, and The mere mention of traditional Egyptian souvenirs and handicrafts brings to mind the atmosphere of a bazaar: spices and perfumes, copper and brass items, silver and gold jewelry, glass, ceramics, precious stones, carpets and rugs, cotton and leather products. Places such as Khan al-Khalili in Cairo and Shari al-Souq in Aswan are a dream for tourists looking for attractive goods, but in frank words it is not only in Cairo and Aswan, but almost in every travel destination nationwide, there is a Souq (Market-Place) where you can find whatever you look for.
Before you buy
Whenever you buy Egyptian souvenirs, try to choose things that are actually produced in the country.
Buying Souvenirs in Egypt
Hereunder are some of Egypt’s most famous souvenirs to bring back-home.
Galabeya is a wide, loose gown worn by women and men, the style makes the difference. The Galabeya is a comfortable lounging outfit to be worn in the home with its beautiful colors and great quality Egyptian cotton. Maybe it looks little strange for you, but you need to wear it, at least once, when you celebrate on board Nile Cruise at the celebrated Galabiya Party.
Once you walk in Aswan Souq, and enter one shop, you’re going to hear names not only, Black knight, (canna-lily), cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, hibiscus, and anise but you’ll hear the name of hundreds to the extent you’ll exclaim how the seller kept in mind all of these names, moreover he’ll tell you the benefit you get from each. Don’t forget that Egypt, particularly Cairo has been one of the Middle East’s largest spice trading centers for centuries. When in Aswan (as it’s today’s Egypt best spices’ Market), be sure to go to the local market, and buy a supply of spices! They are nothing like the ones we know from modern supermarkets.
Have you ever seen the treasures of the Boy-King Tutankhamon? Do you know why he’s called the golden king? Simply because most of treasures found in 1922, made of gold or gold-plated but the perfection of jewelry-making is far from Tutankhamon period, in fact it began with the beginning of the dynastic period more than 5200 years ago, according to legends, the ancient Egyptians believed that their gods’ flesh were made of gold. A manufacture perfected not only for artistic purposes but also for religious one. That’s why there’s no place in the globe compete Egypt in such manufacturing. Today, the Egyptians continue to prize gold, as you can see, with the number of jewelers in each city from Cairo to Aswan. As you wander about the tourist markets you will come across many stores full of golden trinketry. Coming above all of what tourists are interested in is to bring back home a golden piece of art called Cartouch (a long oblong- shaped piece where they write down their names in hieroglyphic letters like kings and queens in ancient Egypt. Moreover, Tourists are eagerly interested in Egyptian jewelry, because gold here in Egypt is relatively cheap.
Alabaster is that fine stone, from which masterpieces in Museums from ancient Egypt, Statuary and the like, were made. The profession was inherited through the ages from fathers to sons, and nowhere in Egypt you find the perfection of Alabaster products as in Luxor, where you’ll find “Alabaster factories” all the way along the road leading to Hatscepsut’ Temple at Deir IL Bahari “on the West Bank of The Nile”. The pink, orange, and purple-hued desert stone is carved into small decorative sculptures and vases. The best place to buy alabaster is in the shops in Luxor on the West Bank at the area called AL-Gurna. It’s The best souvenir you bring back home from Luxor..
The word paper in fact comes from the Greek word Papyrus. Made from river’s reeds, being cut into slices, dried up, pressed on in horizontal and vertical lines, after several days producing a non-such paper, in ancient Egypt down to the Roman period, was the most precious material to be written on. The production of the authentic papyrus can be obtained at the reputable Papyrus Institute in Aswan, Cairo, Sharm IL Sheikh, Hurghada and Luxor. You can buy there a range of souvenirs made of papyrus, from small postcards to beautiful works of art.
Carpets, rugs and tapestries
No less than a thousand years, Egypt is the most famous for its handmade rugs. Above all places in Egypt to get the best products are In Saqqara (south of Giza) and Aswan, where you can have a wonderful colored piece of art, to the extent you hang it on the wall not on the floor. The carpets are most often made of camel wool. As it doesn’t attract dust it’s without doubt 100% allergy-friendly.
Handkerchiefs and scarves, and colorful high quality scarves
Being in a Muslim country like Egypt, (Some 90% of the population are Muslims) so it’s not strange to find many women cover their hair with scarves. That’s why in every corner in Egypt you’ll find a great selection of high quality scarves in various designs and colors. At the souks, or local markets. Shawls are unique in Egypt, as the Egyptian Cotton as ranked worldwide the best. Therefore, once you decide to have it, think of Aswan where you find, The best handmade shawls.
Don’t be surprised and say, why I bring fruit back home, Egyptian Dates are the best source of vitamins and minerals, thanks to the uniqueness of the Egyptian desert which produce this heavenly fruit having healing properties.
Where to buy:
From street market to the most reputable stores:
While visiting the sights around Egypt, there are many opportunities to purchase souvenirs and gifts. Even before entering the monuments in Cairo, Luxor and Aswan, there are stalls and sellers offering various ancient Egypt souvenirs.
Egypt’ Most Famous Souqs (Markets):
A word should be mentioned, that the products generally have no prices, this is bartered (negotiated) with the seller.
Greater-Cairo’ Souqs (Markets)
Khan IL Khalili Bazaar:
Without doubt, the most famous worldwide Market, is Kan IL Khalili Bazaar, where you can buy items starting from 1$ to priceless items, it is a place where you can buy from a street vendor to a large establishment of over 80 years ago. The products mostly, have no prices; this is bartered (negotiated) with the seller.
Almost, specialized upscale stores, authorized to sell a particular item, prices are generally shown, but it doesn’t mean that, prices are bartered (negotiated) with the seller.
Once you visit, Sakkara Archaeological site, on the way, you’ll see a lot of stores, described as Carpet Schools, in fact they are large established stores for hand-made carpets and rugs, where you can see first ho it’s made, then going upstairs for the gallery, which in most of them a vast space gallery beyond imagination.
Attaba and Mousky Market:
Mostly for clothes and shoes, in a competitive price, but sometimes not high standard quality, as it is mostly a street market, you can have an idea by walking by, but recommended during high seasons, such as by the second half of the holy month of Ramadan, it’s too crowded as not advisable at all to be there.
Down town Cairo:
It is the same like Attaba and Mousky, but in general all are stores, many of them offer international brands and high quality products, but too not advisable during the high seasons due to the crowds of local buyers.
Maybe, what’s suitable for tourist in case of buying or even having a look is to head to one of the modern Shopping Malls in Cairo, where even busy, but more organized here are some of the most famous:
Cairo Festival City Mall
Awesome mall has two part indoor with all international brands and outdoor with a beautiful area to set and see the dancing fountain. Highly recommend in central location and near to Cairo international airport.
City Stars Mall
Amazingly huge mall with a wide assortment of shops. The food court is very extensive and the mall has plenty of restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisines. A lot of brand shops, cafe’s. Clean, friendly atmosphere. You can find everything you want.
Point 90 Mall
A specious mall including 3 floors have a variety of shops, cafe-shops, restaurants and food. The court, in the ground floor there is a skating circle for kids, while in the upper floor there is a cinema. A fantastic place where you can spend your time there with your family and enjoy your time.
Mall of Arabia
To be described in just a single word, Mall of Arabia is Egypt’s Biggest Mall in terms of space and number of stores
Dandy Mega Mall
One of the oldest in Greater Cairo, located in a very strategic place, the high – way of Cairo/Alexandria desert road. It has a great selection of restaurants covering all cuisines to suit everyone’s taste, as well shopping and promotions are all year round in different shops. Products are made in Egypt and the international imported brands.
Katameya downtown mall
A suggested Mall, where you get far from the city crowds and noise, great brands, variety of restaurants and cafes, big sales and more.
The First Mall
A recommended place if you look for the name and best quality. The First Mall at the Four Seasons Hotel at the First Resident; Egypt’s premium shopping and dining destination. With over 59 upscale boutiques, cafes and restaurants, The First Mall caters exclusively to the luxury shopper and the refined diner. BRANDS Canali Harmont & Blaine Rolex Azza Fahmy Tiffany & Co. Helene Boutiqe Polo Carlo Jewellery Enrica.D Tanis Fabrics Emotion Paul & Shark Bvlgari Bally Salvatore Ferragamo Ermenegildo Zegna Queeny Hebz Felopateer Palace Omega Time Trade Baraka People Davidoff Cigar Nefertari El Horreya Al Sagheer Boutique Royal Fashion Safi Celine Kenzo Just Cavalli D&G.
City Center Almaza Mall
A superb modern mal at Heliopolis. It’s big, clean and easy to navigate; plus it seems brand-spanking new. There’s everything you would expect in a traditional mall; Women’s/Men’s/Children’s Fashion, Luggage, Confectionery, Jewelry, Watches, Footwear, Toys, Gifts, Cosmetics, Health & Beauty, Sportswear/Goods, Leather Products, Books, Fashion Accessories, Electronics/Home Appliances, Furniture, Pharmacies and numerous services. A wide array of dining experiences are available at this mall, including cafes, fast food, casual, as well as formal dining locations. One of the highly recommended.
Mall of Egypt
It’s huge and new, with amazing outdoor entrance area full of great, clean restaurants, the favorite place to shop, dine and watch movies (Vox cinemas) for locals and Arab tourists. The mall is clean and safe; you will definitely have a great experience there. The mall and the restaurants are highly recommended.
San Stefano Grand Plaza
A superb modern mal in Alexandria. It’s a great, clean and easy to walk through; moreover it is brand-spanking new. There’s everything you would expect in a traditional mall; Women’s/Men’s/Children’s Fashion, Luggage, Confectionery, Jewelry, Watches, Footwear, Toys, Gifts, Cosmetics, Health & Beauty, Sportswear/Goods, Leather Products, Books, Fashion Accessories. A wide array of dining experiences are in and around all available at this mall, including cafes, fast food, casual, as well as formal dining locations. One of the highly recommended in Alexandria.
City Centre Alexandria
An array of different shops where you find whatever you are looking for,
3 Pyramids Shopping Center
A fantastic mall, it has all sorts of souvenirs papyrus, essential oils, along with clothes, food, cigarettes etc. the prices are acceptable.
Latest fashion for ladies and kids shoes, slippers and sneakers
In Sharm IL Sheikh
La Strada Shopping Center
Litrally no hassle. Good restaurants if you want a break from hotel food and good prices.
Famous Souqs in Luxor & Aswan
The popular market is located in the vicinity of the Luxor Temple, a copy of Khan El Khalili located in Cairo but on a smaller scale. It contains a number of shops and kiosks selling various types of merchandise from historical souvenirs and pharaonic statues, in addition to traditional Egyptian clothes, accessories, vegetables and fruits, and a group of popular cafes located on the outskirts.
Few meters from the river Nile, just a turn from Aswan Railway station is the famous Aswan Market, a vibrant shopping market, which is not only great for tourists but also for the locals. Both Egyptian and African goods are sold here. , similar to both Khan IL Khalili in Cairo and Luxor Souq,. It is a heaven for all those who have come to shop from the different parts of the world as the Souq is divided into different parts, one where you find fruits, another for spices, and handicrafts mix in a dazzling lively symphony. Among the products you will find available are products of leather, textile, typical Nubian) dresses and also precious objects of gold jewelry and silver, collars, bracelets, books and music. But above all Aswan Market is a typical destination for those who are fond of spices, where you find many colorful spices and herbs which have unique appreciable odors. Enjoy your favorite drink tea/coffee or Karkade, on one of the many coffee shops everywhere in the Souq while listening to the Nubian music.
Sports in Egypt
Sport’ activities is deeply rooted in Egypt, it goes back thousands of years before the Greks held their first Olympic Game. Tracing such activities need one to look on the tombs-walls of Beni Hassan (in Modern day Miniya 240 KM South of Cairo), and admire the wrestling and weightlifting scenes (C 1900 BC). Today sports’ life and activities in Egypt, is no less than European one, thanks to the support of people and the governments from Nasser to IL Sisi, Egypt pride of being at a prominent position in the field of some games (Single/and Group) in particular (Squash, Judo, Weightlifting, wrestling, “the last two won Olympic Medals) and Handball). But local-wise, Soccer-Footbal is the game people are crazy in.
Like many countries in Europe, Spain for Example, When the two Rivals (Barcelona VS Real Madrid) play everyone watches, the Cairo-Derby (Ahly vs Zamalek) makes the nation in silence for 90 minutes. Of less interest but popular too, are the Basketball and Volley Ball, but again the Derby exists between the two Everlasting-Rivals (Ahly and Zamalek).