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Your Travel Guide to Egypt:

Facts about Egypt:
 Capital: Cairo
 Total Area: 1,001,450 square kilometer (24x Holland), including the Sinai; land: 995,450 sq km, water: 6,000 sq km, only 66,000 km2 is inhabitable.
 Location: North-eastern Africa and southwestern Asia
 Population: 74.7 million (July 2003), Population density is 74 people per square kilometer when calculated for the whole country, but 1132 per km2 inhabitable area.
 Time Zone: Egypt time is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich mean time, Egypt observes daylight saving time from May until October.
 Phone Code: The international telephone access code is 20. The city code for Cairo is 02, for Alexandria 03, for Luxor 095, for Port Said 066, for Suez 062, and for Aswan 097. Omit the zero if calling from abroad.

Electricity:
 The electrical current in most areas is 220 volts , 50 Hz AC, although some rural areas still use 110–130 volts, 60 Hz AC. Plugs are the two-pin European style

Money Matters:
 Currency: Pound (EGP, LE), divided into 100 piaster.
 Credit cards: accepted by larger hotels, restaurants and shops—especially those which cater to tourists—but cash is still the preferred method of payment.
Traveler's checks: can be changed at most banks and are accepted as payment at many tourist shops, hotels, and restaurants. Don't forget to take your passport when exchanging money.
 Banks: Open 8:30 AM–2 PM, Sunday–Thursday, and closed on Friday and Saturday

Weather:
Egypt has a desert climate with hot, dry summers and moderate winters. Difference in temperature in the day and night can be quite big. The hot summer starts in May while in November the mild winter starts. Rainfall is very sporadically and only falls in the north.

Holidays
New Year's Day (1 January), Eid al-Fitr (three-day celebration; dates vary), Sinai Liberation Day (25 April), Labor Day (1 May), Islamic New Year (date varies), Evacuation Day (18 June) Revolution Day (23 July), Prophet Mohammed's Birthday (celebration date varies), National Day/Armed Forces Day (6 October), Suez City and National Liberation Day (24 October), and Victory Day (23 December).

Religion & Habits:
● 90 percent Sunni Islam; 10 percent Christian, including Coptic, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Armenian churches
● Egyptians are very welcoming and friendly people but some things that are taken as norm in other cultures, such as kissing and/or fondling your partner in public, wearing revealing clothing etc., are frowned upon here.
● When Visiting Mosques, Mausoleums, and Madrassas (religious schools) Visitors must remove their shoes! Most Muslims walk around in their stockings, yet sometimes in mosques that are major tourist attractions, canvas overshoes are available; a tip of 50 PT to 1 LE is in order for the people who put them on for you. Women must cover bare arms. There is no need to wear a hat, or to cover hair. Men and women should wear a long shirt and long trousers when you visit a mosque.

Language:
● Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes

General Tips:
● In Egypt they drive on the right, be careful when crossing roads. Take special care in Cairo, where the traffic is a lot busier than in other Egyptian cities – especially outside the Egyptian museum! UK and Japanese travelers should be extra careful, as you will be used to traffic driving on the left.
● Take a small, pocket, flashlight with you when visiting the sites. Many tombs, temples etc. use the natural light for illumination (including a local with a large mirror, reflecting the light!) and a small flashlight can be very handy. A small mirror, such as the one in a ladies make-up, can also be used to highlight a relief. Please Note: Do not take one of the really bright halogen torches, you could cause damage to the monuments!
● Egyptians, if offered anything, will refuse the first invitation, which is customary, so therefore (unless you're dealing with Egyptians used to western frankness) you can expect this and should repeat your offer out of politeness.
● Many monuments have signs that say “ No Flash Photography”, please obey these signs (you can be ejected from the site if you ignore the sign!). The very bright flash can cause serious damage to some of the ancient paintwork!
● During the summertime, sun protection is the most important single consideration for an Egypt trip, especially for the fair-skinned. Wearing a sunhat is essential.
● In winter, bring a few items of light but warm clothing, so that you can cope with the cold early mornings and the occasional, and unseasonable, cold snap.
● Bring one or two dressy outfits along for evenings out, especially for parties, and special occasions or just to get out of your tour clothes! If you are staying in a hotel or on a cruise boat, please be warned that luxury hotels and all the Nile Cruises have efficient, but surprisingly pricey laundry services. If you object to paying 12LE for laundry, you can wash out your T-shirts; just bring some detergent with you, as well as a few yards of clothing line.
● Also bring a swimsuit, as most good hotels and cruise ships have nice, warm, swimming pools.
 

 

 
 
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