The estimated total population of Egypt is about 79 million, according to the 2007 population census. Most of the Egyptian population is concentrated near the River Nile, in cities and towns such as Alexandria, Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Port Said. Smaller settlements include the Western Desert oases, and main destinations of the Sinai Peninsula.
Egypt is two hours ahead of GMT, except at the start of May and the end of September when it is three hours ahead.
Egypt’s official language is Arabic, but foreign languages, such as English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish are also widely spoken, especially in educated circles.
All foreign travellers require an entry visa to visit the Egyptian territories. Most of Egypt’s tourists and visitors can obtain their visas at any of the country’s entry points (airports and ports). This type of visa is valid for a one-month period, starting from your arrival date. Cost is approximately $15 USD.
No visas are required in advance for North American, EU or Australian passport holders. Visas can be obtained upon landing in country. Note: Airport Assistance and Visas are included in the cost of any GTS tour.
The Egyptian Pound (EGP) is the national currency in Egypt. The pound (or “Geneeh” in Arabic) is divided into 100 “piasters” (or “Ersh”). Egyptian banknotes come in denominations of 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 pound, and 25 and 50 “piasters.”
While Dollars and Euros are accepted at hotels, for tourist shopping and small purchases it is recommended to carry the Egyptian Pound while touring. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in the tourist areas – ie: Restaurants, Shopping malls and Hotels. ATM’s are readily available throughout the country.
Please refer to a currency converter prior to travel as the value of the Egyptian Pound is fluctuating in recent years. For example: $1 USD is the equivalent to approximately 17.5 EGP.
Egypt's electric current standard is 220/240V/ ~50Hz. Visitors from the US will need a transformer for their plugs. Note: All hotels come equipped with convertors in the bathrooms along with hairdryers.
Alcohol is widely available at bars and hotels throughout Egypt. During Ramadan, drinks are only available to visitors (non-muslims) in their hotels.
While water is safe for ice cubes in your drinks and brushing your teeth at the hotels, it is recommended that bottled water be drank at all times to avoid stomach or intestinal ailments. Note: Welcome drinks at hotels, in many cases, are made with tap water. It is always a good idea to be mindful and ask when unsure.
Egypt is a primarily Muslim country, although the freedoms of all religions are protected. Muslim women’s clothing often covers their arms, legs and hair. Western women are not subject to these customs, but very revealing clothing is never appropriate and semi-conservative dress is advisable for both men and women while touring and outside the major cities. Shorts are rarely worn by men. Suggested attire are pants for men, t-shirts as opposed to tank tops and shorts that reach the knee for women. Topless sunbathing is prohibited and one-piece swimsuits are preferred, although two-piece swimsuits are acceptable at hotel pools or on a private beach.
The Egyptians, from all origins, are known for their welcoming attitude towards tourists. If you respect the local customs and traditions, and avoid offending anyone, especially in places of worship and remote locations where some old traditions are maintained, you are sure to spend an unforgettable holiday in Egypt.
Egyptians are known to be the most funny, friendly and helpful nation of the Middle East. They will go out of their way to help you in any troublesome situation, always with a smile. If you're sensitive to their humour, which is renowned world-wide, you'll be surprised to see how far a smile or a joke can take you in Egypt.
Information courtesy of Egyptian Tourist Authority.
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