Train from Cairo to Luxor
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Nov 4, 2007 7:21 AM Last Post By: megacatt
Oct 30, 2007 9:37 PM
Also is it possible to get a train from Luxor all the way to Alexandria?
Having read a bit on here about hassels from Aswan to Abu Simbel. Is Aswan and Abu Simbel worth the trouble. My real interest apart from Cairo and Luxor is Alexandria and Siwa. I would love to see the White Desert but as yet haven't sorted a way of seeing it safely. I am travelling on my own.
Thanks for any assistance.
Oct 30, 2007 10:18 PM
No, they are not a horrible experience. 3rd. class however is not for everyone (all those trains which is only signposted in Arabic, are dirt cheap and which nobody wants to tell you about)
All trains except for the sleeper trains can be paid for in Egyptian pounds.
No, there are no train from Luxor to Alexandria. You'll have to change in Cairo.
There's no particular hassle to go from Aswan to Abu Simbel as long as you 'play the game' and book a daytrip. All transport leaves in a convoy in the morning. All accomodation in Aswan will book you on a tour, and as cheaper place you stay in in Aswan, the cheaper the tour they arrange will be.
Aswan is not worth the trouble, but is nice enough. Abu Simbel IS WORTH THE TROUBLE.
The white desert IS fantastic.
What do you mean with havn't sorted a way to see it safely? - not because you're traveling on your own I hope. Lots of people do.
Take a train to Asyut and 'desert hop' between the oasis with public transport. That is the cheapest way to do it. Somebody will certainly find you and offer you a daytrip or overnight trip to the white desert when you arrive in Farafra. Lots of travelers do it that way, otherwise there are plenty of tours on offer.
Oct 31, 2007 2:08 PM
2The first class train was great. The seats are wide and go pretty far back and are comfyyyyyyyy. Best sleep I had on a 2 week trip in Egypt one year.
Oct 31, 2007 6:09 PM
3I recently took a few second-class air-con trains in Egypt and they were quite confortable and not crowded. But for the 12-hour Cairo to Aswan journey i didn't have the heart to make my wife sit in a chair for the whole night, no matter how much I wanted to save money; so we got the night sleeper, and it was great.
Aswan town is not worth much of your time. There's a pretty modern and well-organized museum of Nubia in town and a crappy "Aswan museum" on the Elephantine island (which also has some ruins), and that's it. The attractions are out of town: Philae, Kom Ombo, Abu Simbel, Esna... We had planned to visit those, but on our first day in Aswan we met an egyptian family and ended up spending the next 4 days with them, drinking tea, eating, playing backgammon, going to weddings and taking a lot of pictures of their kids. I guess we'll leave the temples for next time...
Nov 1, 2007 2:58 PM
Nov 1, 2007 4:00 PM
5There seem to be no direct, regular train that goes from Luxor to Alexandria. Trains to and from upper egypt stop in Giza; The regular trains to/from Alexandria stop at the Ramses train station. Unless you take the Abela train mentioned by #4, you will have to take the metro between the two stations.
Nov 2, 2007 4:07 AM
6I rode the Cairo to Luxor sleeper train 1 month ago. You can pay for it with a Visa card, but not any other card. I asked. But since I had read LP I brought USD. and used that.
Also, another thing to note is that the sleeper train from Cairo to Luxor does not leave out of Ramses station. When I took it, It left from Giza station. So you had to hop on the metro and GET OFF at the "Giza" stop. ------------DO NOT get off at the "Giza Suburban" stop.
So damn confusing. The walkway entrance to the sleeper train is located outside the station near the control booth. There is a crappy wooden barricade and a guard that checks tickets.
Nov 2, 2007 2:05 PM
7The overnight first class service, although hardly "first class", from Cairo to Luxor is a good deal, and certainly comfy enough. I actually wanted to book 2nd class but after one hour of fighting my way to the front of lines at the chaotic ticket counters at Cairo's Ramses station I had it confirmed for me that the 2nd class was sold out for the following night. Not wanting to stay another night in Cairo and not wanting to shell out 6 times as much (and in hard, stable currency) I figured out where to go (same room as Sleeping Trains booking) to get a first class ticket. I think it was about 80 pounds.
There was only one other person (really cool older French solo traveller) in my 6-person compartment, and we each had three seats to ourselves. We put the armrests up, locked up our stuff and went to sleep. Note that there are NO doors on the compartments, even in 1st class, and that if you don't establish a nice rapport (e.g. baksheesh) with the train dudes you are likely to find 2nd class drifters wandering into your compartment. And someone might even try to charge you to use the toilet. (Which, the cockroaches in my friend's compartment notwithstanding, was the main Not-1st-class feature of the ride.)
For anyone that knows the trains in India and is looking for a comparison... I would say that the Egyptian 1st class is less cosy than even the 2nd Class AC in India. Carpets and curtains don't impress me much, especially when they are filthy...
Not a bad expenditure of about 9 EUR, though!
-overnight train buff
Nov 3, 2007 11:46 AM
Nov 3, 2007 9:17 PM
9Thanks everyone. And yes I have travelled the trains in the south of India extensively, so thanks JPM, that gives me a bit of a bench mark. I always travelled 2nd class A/C and had a great time and met great people. One of my favourite experiences in India.
I will probably go 1st class on the train that I can pay in Egyptian Pounds. Has it got a name and have you any other hints? I plan to book my train to Luxor as soon as I arrive in Cairo so I'm assured of a 1st class seat.
Who Who, I will be in Alex towards the end of my month ... around 20 March I guess. I have just read that you are only allowed to stay in Egypt for one month even though the visa is for 3 months. Is this true. I will also ask the question on the board in case this one doesn't get looked at again.
Nov 3, 2007 10:42 PM
10I'd try to book the Cairo-Luxor train at least two nights in advance. I did mine a night in advance, and as I mentioned at that point all the 2nd class tickets were sold out. There were still a fair number of empty seats in 1st.
The train I would recommend is the 996 (10pm-ish to 8am-ish). Again, I got my ticket from the same room as the "Sleeping Train" tickets, which along with the crazy regular ticket counter for the Luxor trains is sort of behind the main station, assuming you come in from the front or metro stop. You'll use a tunnel and go under the tracks to the office. There are two different offices. The counter for 1st class is, not surprisingly, much more civilised. I'm not joking when I say I fought my way for an hour to the front of the lines for 2nd class. It was pure chaos there... maybe it isn't always so.
If you find 2AC in India fine enough, you will be fine with the Egyptian train in 1st. They do take egyptian pounds. It is the sleeping train that charges much more and only takes EUR or $. (I've heard very nice things about the train if you can afford it, the only downside being it departing from somewhere else.) I wish I saw what the 2nd class compartments were like for train 996... I am sure they were more crowded and not quite as comfortable as my "first class" cabin. And I have to say that the 3rd class coaches I saw were downright bleak! Quite like 3rd in India, possibly worse.
If you're curious, here are some photos of the train compartment (hall and the seats):
(scroll to the bottom)
Nov 4, 2007 7:21 AM
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