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Past the Vacationer Path: A Day’s Journey from Cairo to Luxor by Practice

With Cairo and Luxor being the 2 must-visit cities when in Egypt, selecting your methodology of journey between each locations gives some attention-grabbing choices. 

Over 650 kilometers separate Cairo and Luxor, and whereas some go for an unforgettable cruise down the Nile, this could be a slightly costly few days. 

And though catching a flight is fast, it’s not a really sustainable journey possibility. However there may be one other selection to contemplate: to journey by practice. 

As a practice experience fanatic when overseas, I jumped on the likelihood to spend a day on Egyptian Nationwide Railways once I visited the nation again in January 2024 and was slightly stunned with how my day unfolded. 

On this weblog submit, I’ll recount every part that I skilled touring from Cairo to Luxor, together with what stunned me most and whether or not it’s actually a very good journey possibility or not. 

Why Journey To Luxor From Cairo By Practice?

Nicely, let me be completely trustworthy from the get-go right here: this practice journey was a very lengthy day of journey and if I had the selection once more I’d almost certainly chew the bullet and bounce on a airplane as an alternative or take a Sleeper Practice slightly than touring by day.  

However I’d suggest the practice journey if you wish to uncover what Egypt is de facto like away from the most important vacationer locations – it’s fairly an eye-opening expertise, to say the least. 

Additionally it is the most cost effective journey possibility and the very best sustainable possibility, however as talked about, anticipate a really lengthy, very tiring day!

Shopping for a practice ticket from Cairo to Luxor

Shopping for your practice ticket upfront and/or at Cairo practice station is kind of a complicated affair, to say the least. 

I attempted and succeeded in shopping for a ticket on the Egyptian Nationwide Railways (ENR) app previous to my journey to Egypt. Nonetheless, this doesn’t all the time work and is a little bit of a lottery. 

If this feature doesn’t be just right for you then I’d advise shopping for a ticket instantly from the station a couple of days earlier than your journey. 

Whether or not you’ve luck shopping for a ticket on the app or not, you continue to must pay an additional charge as a foreigner. To do that you must head to the Foreigners Reservation Workplace at Cairo station. 

The Foreigners Reservation Workplace isn’t precisely effectively signposted on the station, however from the principle corridor head up the escalators, take a left right into a hall and it is best to see indicators to the workplace from there. 

I headed to the workplace and confirmed the ticket I had bought on the Egyptian Railways app. I then paid the additional charge as a foreigner (which value round 40 Euros) after which was given a handwritten ticket. 

Discovering your platform at Cairo station

So after paying the additional charge as a foreigner on the Foreigners Reservation Workplace, all you must do is locate your platform, get in your practice, sit again, and chill out – if solely it was that straightforward!

There are many show boards on the station however after all I couldn’t discover any information for my practice to Luxor that was scheduled at about 8 am that morning. 

I requested at an data desk and confirmed my ticket and it was defined to me that I wanted to go to platform 11, which was a little bit additional away from the principle corridor within the station. 

Having headed via an underpass I discovered platform 11 and was kindly greeted by a practice conductor, who took me aboard my practice and confirmed me to my seat. 

On reflection, this was fairly lucky, however most Egyptians are very pleasant and are all too prepared that can assist you out, even when their English isn’t all that nice. 

My Expertise of touring from Cairo to Luxor by practice

So what’s the Cairo to Luxor practice journey truly like? Nicely, I discovered the state of my carriage to be fairly satisfactory – I’ve definitely traveled on rather a lot worse trains in my time (India instantly springs to thoughts!). 

The seats are nearly cozy sufficient and the carriages are spacious, though perhaps not the cleanest or most fashionable you’ll ever see. My carriage was pretty quiet to begin with, however there’s a fixed circulate of individuals boarding and getting off on the numerous stops all through the day. 

As for the practice journey itself, at occasions it was tediously gradual, with a number of cases when the practice stopped for 10 or quarter-hour with no reason why, however that’s no huge deal actually.

The practice stops at quite a few stations and passes via small cities and villages in addition to the Egyptian countryside.

Essentially the most shocking side of the journey for me nevertheless was witnessing the alarming quantity of poverty in these backwater, middle-of-nowhere locations which is kind of saddening to see. 

It jogged my memory loads of the identical form of poverty that you simply see when touring through practice in India, and I truthfully wasn’t anticipating to see the identical stage of poverty right here. 

It’s fairly an eye-opener to see how poor of a rustic Egypt actually is, and I don’t assume I’d have had the identical perspective if I had traveled between Cairo and Luxor through airplane or on a cruise. 

Aside from that it was good to see the Egyptian countryside; it’s scenic at occasions however the abandoned cities and poor villages are far too frequent all through the journey. You see loads of deserted buildings that by no means accomplished building, which is a mirrored image of Egypt’s poor economic system. 

Is the sleeper practice the higher possibility?

So I caught a practice from Cairo to Luxor in the course of the day as I needed to really see as a lot of Egypt as attainable from my practice window, slightly than sleeping via the journey. 

I’m not the very best at sleeping on any mode of transport and the sleeper trains are a bit costlier, with a mattress in a twin cabin costing round 80 Euros and a single cabin costing about 120 Euros. 

You’ll find flights for across the identical value or cheaper between the 2 cities, so it’s all a query of if that’s definitely worth the problem or not. 

Sleeper trains are by far the extra in style possibility with vacationers, with loads of tour firms providing costlier sleeper practice experience tickets to Luxor

The advantage of touring on the sleeper practice is that you simply don’t waste any of your vacation day touring by practice, so in that respect it is a bonus. I’d slightly expertise the practice views in the course of the daytime, nevertheless it’s all a query of non-public choice. 

Arriving in Luxor

Having left Cairo at 8 within the morning, it was darkish by the point my practice lastly arrived in Luxor. Getting off the practice at Luxor with so many different vacationers may be fairly an awesome expertise. 

It’s not straightforward to seek out your bearings and you might be quickly approached by a number of native taxi drivers providing their companies. 

I used to be approached by an Egyptian as quickly as I left the practice, and I maybe naively accepted his provide (I simply needed to succeed in my lodge ASAP after such an extended day!).

My lodge was primarily based on the West Financial institution of the River Nile, with Luxor practice station being located on the East Financial institution, which is the principle central half of town. 

My taxi driver insisted that the experience to the East Financial institution would take over 40 minutes and it was one other lengthy journey off the overwhelmed monitor – not what I needed after the practice journey!

Because it turned out, I might have simply caught a public ferry on the Nile and cross over to the West Financial institution which might have been rather a lot faster and cheaper. One other lesson why it’s essential to analysis your vacation spot earlier than setting off. 

Is Cairo To Luxor By Practice Price It?

So all in all, would I like to recommend touring to Luxor through practice from Cairo? All of it will depend on your preferences. 

For those who take pleasure in practice journeys in unique lands and have a way of journey then certain, it may be an enriching expertise and also you positively see loads of Egypt you by no means usually would. 

Nonetheless, if you happen to’re brief on time and simply need to get from Cairo to Luxor as rapidly as attainable, then no, that is positively not the suitable possibility for you. Travelling by airplane is the quickest possibility if not the very best sustainable possibility. 

Touring by sleeper practice is an effective possibility too if you happen to don’t thoughts sleeping on public transport and probably sharing a cabin with strangers. 

Cairo To Luxor By Practice FAQs

Nonetheless unsure about touring to Luxor from Cairo by practice? Let’s reply a number of the mostly requested questions on this matter:

How lengthy is the practice from Cairo to Luxor?

The practice experience itself takes round 10 hours. Once you think about journey occasions out of your lodge to every practice station at each Cairo and Luxor, then you possibly can see why it’s such an extended, tiring journey. 

I’d positively suggest having a very good e-book to maintain you occupied all through the day as there’s no wifi sign on the practice. 

Are there meals choices on the practice from Cairo to Luxor?

Sure, however good luck when selecting from the menu! Round lunchtime on my practice journey, a practice crew member handed via my carriage handing out menus and taking lunch orders. 

I had a take a look at one of many menus and naturally, it was all in Arabic. I might make out a couple of meat choices, however as a vegetarian, there didn’t actually appear to be something appropriate. 

I attempted to speak with the crew member that I’d like a cheese sandwich and I assumed he understood what I meant. He then returned 10 minutes later with a tray filled with desserts! 

There was a muffin, a croissant, and another primary muffins, which wasn’t precisely what I requested, nevertheless it wasn’t a difficulty. 

There are loads of meals stalls promoting snacks like crisps and so forth at Cairo station and on the numerous stations you cross all through the practice experience. My recommendation can be to have a hearty breakfast in case you have time and fill up on snacks for the journey. 

Is it secure to journey by practice from Cairo to Luxor?

Sure, I’ve to say I felt utterly secure all through my practice experience to Luxor. Egyptians are identified to be very pleasant and I obtained a number of smiles from fellow passengers and other people asking the place I used to be from of their damaged English. 

Which is the higher metropolis: Cairo or Luxor?

Personally, I a lot most well-liked Luxor to Cairo. Sure, Cairo is a must-visit metropolis due to course the Giza Pyramids are shut by, nevertheless it actually doesn’t have a lot to supply other than that. 

In my expertise, I discovered Cairo to be probably the most chaotic cities I’ve visited, with loopy drivers on the roads (I nonetheless have nightmares about airport taxis to my lodge), unhealthy air air pollution and locals always making an attempt to promote you belongings you don’t want. 

Sure, positively go to Cairo to see the Pyramids that are definitely an incredible sight, and perhaps keep for an additional day or two most to go to a number of the high museums, however that’s all I’d suggest. 

Luxor then again was a way more peaceable and aesthetically pleasing expertise. With town being divided on both facet of the River Nile, the ambiance is extra tranquil. 

Locals nonetheless attempt to promote you belongings you don’t want (I had a horrible expertise with a store proprietor who pressured me to purchase some tat within the El-Souk market), however there’s a lot fascinating historical past to see in Luxor. 

There are a number of wonderful temples (Karnak Temple was my favourite) and naturally, the Valley of the Kings is a should to discover some amazingly preserved tombs.

There are additionally some actually top-rated actions to do right here, equivalent to occurring a sizzling air balloon experience at dawn or enjoyable on the Nile on a Felucca boat experience

Conclusion: Cairo To Luxor By Practice

In order that’s every part I skilled on my practice experience from Cairo to Luxor. It’s a kind of practice journeys that convey out a mixture of feelings – it’s bewildering, saddening, and complicated however fulfilling all on the identical time!

It’s an journey for certain, however would I actually suggest it? I must say most likely not, it’s an extended, exhausting day that eats up your trip time, however a novel journey all the identical. 

Attending to see a facet of Egypt that’s not typical for many vacationers is a privileged expertise and one which I can promise you gained’t neglect in a rush! 

Mark (Wolverhampton, England) runs MJ Journey Guides. He has visited over 40 international locations, principally as a solo traveler. Comply with his adventures on Instagram @mj_travelman and Twitter @MJ_TravelMan.

Maintain studying: From Pyramids to Pharaohs: A First-Timer’s Information to Egypt