Visas: Visas are required for most foreigners, 30 days visa available on arrival at airport. If traveling overland from Israel, visas at border only if guaranteed by Egyptian travel agency; otherwise, apply in advance in Tel Aviv or at the consulate in Eilat.
Local transportation: Cairo has an expansive and modern metro system, at the flat rate fare of 1 LE per trip. Two carriages in the centre of each train are reserved for women. Trains run every five minutes or so from around 6am until 11.30pm. Look for the blue ‘Ladies’ signs on the platform marking where you should stand.
There are two types of taxis in Cairo: the newer white taxis with meters and AC, and the older unmetered, black-and-white taxis. Meter rates start at E£2.50, plus E£1.25 per kilometre and E£0.25 waiting. ALWAYS ask for the meter before you get in, agree to a price (or meter) before you get in, and only pay once you have gotten out of the taxi. Sit in the back of the taxi - the only time you have to sit in the front is if the taxi is already carrying passengers and you’re desperate for a lift. Sitting in the back on the other side of the car from the driver avoids you getting into any uncomfortable situations. Uber is available in Cairo.
The large red, white and blue public buses cover the entire city and are much cheaper, but are usually crowded. However, there are the similar air-conditioned buses that charge 2 L.E. for the trip and prohibit standing on the bus. Also found in main squares are the smaller mini-buses that are usually orange and white or red, white and blue. They can be found in the main squares in Cairo. Apart from the main bus stations, buses can be hailed from street-level. Buses are seldom marked with destination, instead passengers shout out their destinations and if the bus goes this place it will stop. Because of problems with sexual harassment, avoid taking buses and minibuses if you don’t speak Arabic, don’t know where you are going, and if you feel uncomfortable with verbal sexual harassment. A hijab or nicab will not save you.
Where to buy a SIM card: There are three mobile operators in Egypt: Etisalat Egypt, Mobinil and Vodafone Egypt. You can pick up a local SIM card for less than $1 at a supermarket.
Popular areas: Tahir Square, Downtown Cairo, Islamic Cairo, Old Cairo (Masr al-Qadima), Mohandiseen
Popular food: Ful Medames (mashed fava beans), Koshari (a mixture of lentils, rice, pasta, and other ingredients), Baba Ghanoush, Falafel, Hummus, Kofta
With at least 22 million inhabitants, Cairo is a very crowded, loud, dusty yet energetic city. Skyscrappers and street food vendors can be found along the streets, nestling up to world heritage monuments. Traffic is chaotic and can be intimidating, and crossing the street is both a science and an art.
Cairo is a conservative and mostly Islamic city, and women should dress conservatively. While you do not need to wear a hijab or a veil, you should "cover up" (with the help of a scarf) and wear long sleeves and long pants (make sure they are lightweight fabric that is breathable). Wearing sunglasses are recommended to avoid "eye flirting" or eye contact with men. Women digital nomads should be vigilant, particularly at night, as sexual harassment of women in the street has increased in recent years. There are reports of single women hassled late at night around Midan Tahrir and in the Islamic quarter of the city. At all times avoid the cheapest buses (notorious for frottage) and large groups of aimless men. Also be a bit wary of men (or boys) who want to escort you across a street – it’s a prime groping opportunity. Women should try to use a female cabbie at night.
Threat of terrorism in all of Egypt remains real. Egypt is still suffering instability and remains part of a highly unstable region.
The best times to visit Cairo are from March to April and from October to November. These short shoulder seasons welcome comfortable temperatures, fewer crowds, and lower accomodation rates. Summer temperatures can reach a searing 38°C, which is compounded by the city's terrible pollution which is at its worst in the fall before the rains. November to March is winter, and while it does not snow, the weather gets cold. So don't forget to bring winter jackets, jeans and sweaters during this time. Note that buildings/accomodation do not have central heating.
Coworking Spaces in Cairo
Cafes with wifi
Don't want to work at a coworking space? Check out these cafes with wifi instead.