Egypt’s official language is Arabic, but for those lacking the country’s mother tongue, English is also common. Always respect local customs and seek out tourist police if you’re in trouble. To know more about Egypt before you go, read on.
Australians traveling to Egypt on holiday will need to obtain a single entry tourist visa before entering the country. Initial entry is granted for a maximum of 1 month. Make sure your passport has at least 6 months’ validity from your planned date of return to Australia. Please be aware that this information is only a guideline. For up-to-the-minute visa information, contact your local Embassy or Consulate of Egypt.
The currency of Egypt is the Egyptian Pound. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and Egyptian Pound fluctuates constantly, so it’s a good idea to monitor the rate before buying cash. For safe spending while overseas, consider using a credit or debit card.
Overall, Egyptian food is simple Middle-Eastern cuisine with staples of legumes, veggies, herbs, lamb and chicken (and large serving sizes). Dishes such as ful medames (mashed fava beans) and koshari (rice, lentils and macaroni) are widely popular and tasty. Drinks-wise, karkadeh (hibiscus tea) is a refreshing after-dinner tea also found in traditional coffee houses (ahwa) alongside the strong-flavoured Arabic-style coffees and sheesha (water pipes). Cities like Cairo are well-equipped to the Western palate and international cuisine offering everything from fine dining to fast food.
In respect for a Muslim culture, if you dress appropriately and behave yourself, an enjoyable nightlife is still found in the main cities and tourist towns of Egypt. For example, the baladi (traditional) bar has survived from its heydays of the 1940s and ‘50s as an icon in downtown Cairo where you can enjoy a beer, sheesha and even some belly dancing. In the mood to do some dancing of your own? Check out the high-end clubs on the island of Zamalek in Cairo. Other Egyptian nightlife hotspots include the Red Sea tourist resort towns of Dahab and Sharm el-Sheikh. When it comes to dress codes, take your cues from the locals - most Egyptians dress to impress when they head out.