4-Day Cairo, Egypt Itinerary With Guide + Budget (Pinoy Solo Traveler)
By DAN FORTEZA
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No trip to Egypt is complete without a stay in its capital city of Cairo. While the Pyramids are on every traveler’s bucket list, those are just one of Cairo’s many stunners, and I finally got a chance to see them in person this year! Thus, allow me to share my 4-day Cairo, Egypt itinerary with you complete with my actual day-to-day expenses in this blog.
So get yourself ready! =)
Hi there! First of all, I am Daniel – a solo backpacker from the Philippines. If you don’t know my story yet, feel free to read this article where I talked about how I quit my job in order to travel. This article was also featured on TripZilla Philippines.
But honestly, it’s not just really because of the Great Pyramids of Giza why I wanted to visit Egypt this year. If you’ve been following me for quite a while, you know I am a geek when it comes to Geography.
Personally, visiting Egypt officially marks the fifth continent I set foot into: Africa. There are seven of them in the world. And that would mean I only have two more continents to go: North America and Antarctica.
It is my ULTIMATE travel goal to conquer all seven!
Don’t get me wrong though, seeing beforehand the Great Pyramid of Khufu–the sole surviving ancient wonder of the world has always been in my big travel bucket list. I mean who doesn’t?
DO YOU NEED A VISA?
First things first–do you need a visa to travel to Egypt?
If you’re also a Philippine Passport holder, you need to secure an Egyptian tourist visa first.
If you’re from another country, you might want to check first the visa policy of Egypt to verify whether you need a visa or not.
HOW I GOT TO EGYPT
Finding a cheap flight ticket going to Egypt from the Asia-Pacific region is easy when using Kayak flight search engine. I got my economy flight tickets from Manila via Cebu Pacific + Flynas going to Cairo (self transfer in Dubai.) Then I returned to Southeast Asia (in Bangkok) via EgyptAir.
NOTE: For Philippine Passport holders who will go through flight transfer at Dubai International airport (DXB), you DO NOT need any sort of UAE visa as long as you stay within the airside area of the airport. Even if your next flight is on another terminal, you can transfer with ease using DXB’s terminal-to-terminal transport buses.
Here were my flight itineraries with costs:
- Manila (Philippines) – Dubai (UAE) [$65.51]
- Dubai (UAE) – Cairo (Egypt) [$143.08]
- Cairo (Egypt) – Bangkok (Thailand) [$331.92]
- Subtotal: $540.51
If you’re also coming from the Philippines (or wherever in the world actually), I suggest you check Kayak as they usually offer cheap fare rates compared to other booking sites. Per my experience, they’re the best! Refer to Kayak’s widget below.
HOW TO GET AROUND CAIRO?
Subways / Metro
- Subway or Metro is the best way to get around Cairo especially for first-time travelers. Not only it is inexpensive but also very efficient in getting you from one point to another.
- Signages are both in Arabic and English.
- The ticket should cost you somewhere between 3 to 5 EGP (0.2 to 0.32 USD) depending on the distance.
Buses / Minivans
- Buses and minivans are another cheap transport network serving the whole metropolis of Cairo.
- Signages are unfortunately in Arabic only, so don’t be shy to ask locals (or even tourists) where the bus is going!
- From Cairo’s airport to a particular metro station, a bus costs me 4 EGP (0.25 USD).
- From a street in downtown Cairo to downtown Giza (the gateway to the Pyramids), a minivan costs me 2.5 EGP (0.16 USD)
- If you prefer not to hail off the street, Uber operates taxi services in Cairo and is often much cheaper than standard taxis.
- From my hostel to the airport (as I leave Egypt), Uber costs me 100 EGP (6.35 USD.)
Other Transport Travel Tips
- Your navigation would be much easier if you are using an offline map app. I use offline maps of Google Maps and Maps.me. Both are available for download on Android and iOS phones.
- Remember to walk a little more! As I mentioned in my budget travel tips blog – “walk as much as you can!“
NOTE: I have only listed the transport services I used per my experience during my Egypt itinerary travel.
WHERE DID I STAY IN CAIRO, EGYPT
You can book a room at any hotel in Cairo, Egypt through Agoda or Booking.com. I usually book my room accommodations through booking.com. Room accommodation ranges from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Book hostels through booking.com as they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.
If hotel isn’t to your liking, try AirBnb. Airbnbs are immersed in neighborhoods, condos, and townhomes. There is a feeling you get when you stay in an Airbnb that makes you feel like you belong in that city or town. Since it is someone’s home, there is a certain amount of pride you feel while staying there. I have used Airbnb on some of my other trips and I loved it!
If you’re new to AirBnB, then you can get up to 43 USD free travel credit by signing up via this link
MY 4-DAY CAIRO, EGYPT ITINERARY with EXPENSES
My 4-day trip to Cairo happens one week before things get crazy on the coronavirus outbreak. I actually intend to travel and see more of Egypt but I ended up taking another week in Cairo just basically staying at my hostel in the hope that the virus will just die out.
However, day by day it was getting worse. I ended up canceling my flight to Morocco and instead I booked a flight to Bangkok, Thailand.
I don’t want to be stuck in northern Africa while countries are closing borders and declaring lockdowns. So I decided to seek my refuge in Thailand until the situation improves.
I left Egypt one day before the Egyptian authorities suspend all international flights in and out of the country. So I guess I was lucky that I was even able to get back to Southeast Asia!
Anyway…enough of that! Let’s get back to my detailed day-to-day Egypt itinerary. See below:)
DAY 0: ARRIVAL at CAIRO AIRPORT
- EGP 4 – Bus: Bus terminal to El Shams Club station, see note 1
- EGP 7 – Metro: El Shames station to Attaba station
- EGP 88 – Hostel (Nile Plaza Hostel): 1-Night stay
- EGP 45.5 – Food: McDonald’s Meal
- Subtotal: EGP 144.5 [$9.17]
1 – A guy named Ahmed (in the photo above) helped me with the direction going to the metro station (El Shams Club station). He even paid for my bus fare because the bus conductor does not have a change for my 200-EGP banknote. Ahmed also walked me through the nearby metro train station after getting off the bus.
2 – I basically just walked about 10 minutes from Attaba station to Nile Plaza Hostel.
3 – Due to jet lag and tiredness, I decided to get rest and sleep most of the day haha!
DAY 1: DOWNTOWN & COPTIC CAIRO
- USD 21.39 – Hostel (Bella Casa Hostel): 4-Night stay, see note 1
- EGP 3 – Metro: Opera station to Mar Girgis station, see note 2
- EGP 10 – Food: Sandwich Bread
- EGP 10 – Softdrink Miranda
- EGP 5 – Metro: Mar Girgis station to Mohamed Naguib station, see note 3.
- EGP 12 – Food: 4x Instant Noodles
- Subtotal: EGP 377 [$23.9]
1 – The next morning, I moved to another hostel (Bella Casa Hostel). It was reachable 10 minutes by foot from my previous hostel.
2 – Old Cairo (or specifically in Coptic Cairo) is easily reachable through metro at Mar Girgis station.
3 – Mohamed Naguib or Sadat station are the nearest metro to my hostel, Bella Casa.
DAY 2: MOSQUES OF IBN TULUN & SULTAN HASSAN, AND CAIRO'S CITADEL & MUSEUM
- EGP 12.75 – Food: 3x Croissant Bread
- EGP 9.25 – Food: 1-kg Rice
- EGP 9 – Softdrink: Miranda
- EGP 4 – Bus: El Sayeda Aysha terminal to El Tahrir Square, see note 4
- EGP 26 – Food: 2x Canned Tuna
- EGP 6 – Food: 2x Instant Noodles
- EGP 200 – Entrance Fee: Egyptian Museum of Antiquities
- EGP 80 – Top-up internet 3 GB data, see note 5
- Subtotal: EGP 347 [$22]
1 – I walked almost 3 km to reach Ibn Tulun Mosque from my hostel in downtown Cairo.
2 – From the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, I walked another 1 km to reach the roundabout of Salah El Deen Square and took the photo of Sultan Hassan Mosque-Madrassa (as pictured above.)
3 – The Citadel is located at the foot of the Mokattam Hills which is almost 2 km from Sultan Hassan Mosque by foot. And yes! I walked that distance to reach the Citadel.
4 – There is a nearby bus terminal (near El Sayeda Aysha Mosque) from the Citadel where I took a bus going back to Tahrir Square, downtown Cairo.
5 – Later that night, I met Ebrahim and he let me use one of his brother’s sim cards. I had a chance to get to know him first via language exchange website. On Day 4, we went together to the Giza Pyramids!
DAY 3: MOSQUES OF SULTAN AL MU’AYYAD, AL AZHAR, & CAIRO’S AL-MUIZZ LI-DIN ALLAH ST.
- EGP 4 – Food: Croissant Bread
- EGP 12 – Food: 2x Street Bread
- EGP 5 – Metro: El Geish station to Mohamed Naguib station, see note 4
- EGP 6 – Food: 4x Eggs
- EGP 4 – Food: 2x 3-in-1 Coffee
- EGP 5 – Softdrink (Miranda)
- EGP 20 – Food: Koshary (considered as the national dish of Egypt!)
- Subtotal: EGP 56 [$3.56]
1 – I started Day 3 by walking towards Abdeen Palace, about 10 minutes from my hostel.
2 – From Abdeen Palace, I walked more than a kilometer (about 15 minutes) to reach Sultan al Mu’ayyad Mosque. It’s free to enter this mosque but there was an incident here where a guy tried to ask me for an entrance fee while I was already inside the mosque. Out of fear, I just walked away haha. You can read the whole story in this post.
3 – Cairo’s Al-Muizz li-Din Allah Street is oozing with fine medieval or Mamluk buildings, which have been painstakingly restored to their former glory. I created its separate photo album below.
The southern section of the street is a few minutes of walk from Al-Hussain Mosque.
The caption of each photo (by order):
a. Al-Muizz li-Din Allah Street
b. Mausoleum of As-Saleh Nagm Ad-din Ayyub
c. Qalawun Complex
d. Madrassa of an-Nasr Mohammed
e. Egyptian Textile Museum
f. Bab Al-Futuh
g. Al-Hakim Mosque
h. Bab Al-Nasr
4 – To finish up my Day 3 itinerary, I walked towards El-Geish metro station along Al Sofani street.
DAY 4: THE GREAT PYRAMIDS
- EGP 20 – Food: Koshary
- EGP 2.5 – Minivan: Charles De Gaulle St (in Cairo) to downtown Giza
- EGP 5 – Minivan: Downtown Giza to Pyramids entrance (via Haram Highway)
- EGP 200 – Pyramids Entrance Ticket, see note 3
- EGP 33 – Food: Koshary (again!)
- EGP 5.5 – Minivan: Pyramids to downtown Giza (two rides)
- EGP 3.5 – Minivan: Downtown Giza to the roundabout of Majdan al-Dzala
- EGP 13 – Food: Canned Tuna
- Subtotal: EGP 282.5 [$17.94]
1 – Visiting Hours: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM.
2 – I was with my friend Ebrahim during this whole trip. So asking a stranger or someone else to take my photos is not a problem! Haha. (But seriously, other than that, having a local as your companion is a sure big help in many things you can imagine!)
3 – There are other ticket fees you may purchase but if you’re on a tight budget like me, the main entrance ticket should be fine. I believe the free ones already satisfy my cravings of this ancient World Wonder.
4 – I didn’t utilize any horse nor camel to get me from one point to another within the Pyramid Complex. I just walk and wander around the whole Complex! It’s beautiful!
5 – The best view of the Pyramids is from the dunes which everyone called ‘the Panorama’. You can take a camel ride to get there but come on—if I walked all the way to get there, you can do it too!
6 – Be mindful of the scams! If someone asks you for something (e.g., taking pictures with their camels,) ask them first if it’s free. Typically, nothing is free there haha! So just decline politely to avoid any mishap.
And there you have it!
Including the flight costs, here is the overall total of my expenses in Egypt in 4 days:
TOTAL: $540.5 (flights) + $76.6 (costs from day 0 to day 4)
RECOMMENDED TOUR PACKAGES
I hope that you find this 4-DAY CAIRO, EGYPT ITINERARY with GUIDE + BUDGET blog useful!
If you have more days to spend in Egypt, you might consider these cool package tours:
- 8-Hour Private Tour of the Pyramids, Sphinx, Egyptian Museum and Bazaar including Camel Ride and Lunch from Cairo
- Full-Day Tour to Giza Pyramids, Memphis, and Sakkara
- Morning Alexandria Day Tour from Cairo
- Private Guided Night Tour of Cairo
- Full-Day Tour to East and West Banks of Luxor
- Private Guided Tour to Valley of the Kings
(you may choose one or more tours that may suit your travel needs.)
- Hotel / Hostel
- Booking.com. I usually book my hostel accommodation at booking.com. Thus, I recommend you guys trying it as well for your Egypt Itinerary. Room accommodation ranges from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Book hostels through booking.com as they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.
- Airbnb. Try Airbnb in finding comfy and cozy rooms for your Egypt itinerary! I have used Airbnb on some of my other trips and I loved it!
Have you tried Airbnb? Sign up with my link and you will get up to 43 USD (2,200 Php) off your first stay. Click this link to get that discount.
- KAYAK. All of my flight bookings are all from KAYAK. Kayak is one of the world’s leading travel search engines and searches hundreds of travel sites.
I suggest you check Kayak (click HERE) as they usually offer cheap fare rates compared to other booking sites.
- Other Package tours in Egypt
- Viator. Viator is the world’s leading resource for researching, finding and booking the best travel experiences worldwide. Perfect for your Egypt itinerary!
Click here to find the best Viator deals in Egypt.