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

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

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

And though catching a flight is fast, it’s not a really sustainable journey choice. However there’s one other selection to think about: to journey by prepare. 

As a prepare journey fanatic when overseas, I jumped on the likelihood to spend a day on Egyptian Nationwide Railways after I visited the nation again in January 2024 and was somewhat stunned with how my day unfolded. 

On this weblog publish, 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 great journey choice or not. 

Why Journey To Luxor From Cairo By Prepare?

luxor sunset egypt train travel

Properly, let me be completely sincere from the get-go right here: this prepare journey was a very lengthy day of journey and if I had the selection once more I might most definitely chunk the bullet and soar on a aircraft as an alternative or take a Sleeper Prepare somewhat than touring by day.  

However I might advocate the prepare journey if you wish to uncover what Egypt is admittedly like away from the foremost vacationer locations – it’s fairly an eye-opening expertise, to say the least. 

It’s also the most affordable journey choice and the perfect sustainable choice, however as talked about, anticipate a really lengthy, very tiring day!

Shopping for a prepare ticket from Cairo to Luxor

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Shopping for your prepare ticket prematurely and/or at Cairo prepare 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 selection doesn’t be just right for you then I might advise shopping for a ticket straight from the station a number of days earlier than your journey. 

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

The Foreigners Reservation Workplace isn’t precisely properly signposted on the station, however from the primary 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 payment as a foreigner (which value round 40 Euros) after which was given a handwritten ticket. 

Discovering your platform at Cairo station

cairo train station

So after paying the additional payment as a foreigner on the Foreigners Reservation Workplace, all it’s important to do is locate your platform, get in your prepare, 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 prepare to Luxor that was scheduled at about 8 am that morning. 

I requested at an info desk and confirmed my ticket and it was defined to me that I wanted to go to platform 11, which was slightly additional away from the primary corridor within the station. 

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

Looking back, 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 prepare

luxor temples 1 scaled

So what’s the Cairo to Luxor prepare journey truly like? Properly, I discovered the state of my carriage to be fairly enough – I’ve definitely traveled on quite a bit worse trains in my time (India instantly springs to thoughts!). 

The seats are nearly cozy sufficient and the carriages are spacious, though possibly 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 varied stops all through the day. 

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

The prepare stops at quite a few stations and passes by means of small cities and villages in addition to the Egyptian countryside.

Probably the most shocking side of the journey for me nonetheless 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 prepare in India, and I actually 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 suppose I might have had the identical perspective if I had traveled between Cairo and Luxor through aircraft 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 financial system. 

Is the sleeper prepare the higher choice?

luxor temples 2 scaled

So I caught a prepare from Cairo to Luxor throughout the day as I wished to really see as a lot of Egypt as doable from my prepare window, somewhat than sleeping by means of the journey. 

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

You will discover flights for across the similar worth or cheaper between the 2 cities, so it’s all a query of if that’s definitely worth the trouble or not. 

Sleeper trains are by far the extra fashionable choice with vacationers, with loads of tour firms providing dearer sleeper prepare journey tickets to Luxor

The good thing about touring on the sleeper prepare is that you simply don’t waste any of your vacation day touring by prepare, so in that respect it is a bonus. I’d somewhat expertise the prepare views throughout the daytime, but it surely’s all a query of non-public desire. 

Arriving in Luxor

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

It’s not straightforward to search out your bearings and you’re 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 prepare, and I maybe naively accepted his provide (I simply wished to succeed in my lodge ASAP after such a protracted day!).

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

My taxi driver insisted that the journey to the East Financial institution would take over 40 minutes and it was one other lengthy journey off the crushed monitor – not what I wished after the prepare 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 quite a bit faster and cheaper. One other lesson why it’s vital to analysis your vacation spot earlier than setting off. 

Is Cairo To Luxor By Prepare Value It?

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So all in all, would I like to recommend touring to Luxor through prepare from Cairo? All of it is determined by your preferences. 

In the event you take pleasure in prepare journeys in unique lands and have a way of journey then certain, it may be an enriching expertise and also you undoubtedly see loads of Egypt you by no means usually would. 

Nonetheless, should you’re quick on time and simply wish to get from Cairo to Luxor as rapidly as doable, then no, that is undoubtedly not the proper choice for you. Travelling by aircraft is the quickest choice if not the perfect sustainable choice. 

Touring by sleeper prepare is an effective choice too should you don’t thoughts sleeping on public transport and probably sharing a cabin with strangers. 

Cairo To Luxor By Prepare FAQs

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Nonetheless unsure about touring to Luxor from Cairo by prepare? Let’s reply among the mostly requested questions on this subject:

How lengthy is the prepare from Cairo to Luxor?

The prepare journey itself takes round 10 hours. Whenever you consider journey occasions out of your lodge to every prepare station at each Cairo and Luxor, then you possibly can see why it’s such a protracted, tiring journey. 

I might undoubtedly advocate having a great ebook to maintain you occupied all through the day as there’s no wifi sign on the prepare. 

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

Sure, however good luck when selecting from the menu! Round lunchtime on my prepare journey, a prepare crew member handed by means of 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 number 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 fundamental muffins, which wasn’t precisely what I requested, but it surely wasn’t a problem. 

There are loads of meals stalls promoting snacks like crisps and so on at Cairo station and on the varied stations you move all through the prepare journey. My recommendation can be to have a hearty breakfast in case you have time and refill on snacks for the journey. 

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

Sure, I’ve to say I felt fully secure all through my prepare journey to Luxor. Egyptians are identified to be very pleasant and I obtained a number of smiles from fellow passengers and folks 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 popular Luxor to Cairo. Sure, Cairo is a must-visit metropolis due to course the Giza Pyramids are shut by, but it surely actually doesn’t have a lot to supply other than that. 

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

Sure, undoubtedly go to Cairo to see the Pyramids that are undoubtedly an incredible sight, and possibly keep for an additional day or two most to go to among the prime museums, however that’s all I might advocate. 

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

Locals nonetheless attempt to promote you stuff 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 superb temples (Karnak Temple was my favourite) and naturally, the Valley of the Kings is a should to discover some amazingly preserved tombs.

from cairo to luxor by train

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

felucca boat on the nile cairo to luxor train travel

Conclusion: Cairo To Luxor By Prepare

In order that’s every part I skilled on my prepare journey from Cairo to Luxor. It’s a kind of prepare journeys that carry out a mixture of feelings – it’s bewildering, saddening, and complicated however satisfying all on the similar time!

It’s an journey for certain, however would I actually advocate it? I must say most likely not, it’s a protracted, 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 nations, largely as a solo traveler. Comply with his adventures on Instagram @mj_travelman and Twitter @MJ_TravelMan.

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

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