Cairo Basics

I’ve visited Cairo twice so far but feel I haven’t properly seen the city. What I have seen, however, is fascinating. It’s a huge sprawling city and there is a lot to see beyond the markets and the pyramids.

I arrived both times at Cairo International Airport. Once on the ground, I had to purchase a visa, put it in my passport, and go through passport control.

To get around the city, I didn’t have a chance to use the metro. I only used taxis. There are a few different types of taxis in Cairo. Black taxis have no meter and are the cheapest but least comfortable. They base their fares on distance and time spent in the car. The drivers will try to overcharge you if you don’t know how much pay. On my short 48 hour trip to Cairo in 2010, we took a black taxi and got ripped off.

Black taxi in Cairo, Egypt

Black taxi

The other taxis are the white taxis, which are more modern versions of the black taxis, and the yellow taxis, which run on a meter, are more expensive, and can be reserved in advance.

For hotels, on my first trip in 2010, we stayed at the Concorde El Salam. We got a fantastic deal for two nights at this 5 star hotel located in Heliopolis. It was immaculate. The rooms were large and very comfortable, the breakfast buffet was incredible, and the pool area was beautiful. We ate at the sushi bar one night and enjoyed drinks at the bar. For US$125 a night, we thought it was a great deal. It was quite far from the city center and attractions, which is the only negative.

Entrance to the Concorde El Salam in Cairo, Egypt

Entrance to the Concorde El Salam

On my second trip in 2013, I was on a tour with Expat Explore. They put me up for a few nights at the Oasis Hotel near the pyramids. This was also a nice hotel. I enjoyed my room and the pool, and the grounds were beautiful, but the food in the restaurant was terrible and overpriced. It’s only 15 minutes away from the pyramids but a good 30 minutes to central Cairo and you need a taxi. For safety reasons, I was told not to wander off the hotel grounds.

Oasis Hotel in Cairo, Egypt

Oasis Hotel

Oasis Hotel in Cairo, Egypt

Oasis Hotel

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