The Pyramid Complex of Giza is the only surviving wonder of the world from the ancient days. Located in Giza, a suburban area of Cairo, the capital of Egypt, these pyramids attract millions of visitors every year from all corner of the world. Most tourists generally stay in Cairo City,preferably in the Downtown and adjacent areas of Cairo. Giza Pyramid Complex is located about 18 kms away from Downtown Cairo across the Nile River. This post is intended to help you to reach Giza Pyramids from Downtown without any hassle using the Public Transports available in Cairo.
There are three major modes of transports to reach from Downtown Cairo to Pyramid Complex of Giza:
1. Private Taxi: The most comfortable way and do not require any effort from your side. From your hotel/hostel, just walk on the main streets, wave your hands and hire a taxi, that’s it. Pyramids are normally 30 minutes away from Downtown, but depending on traffic conditions, it may take 60-90 minutes.
Just keep some points in your mind while choosing a taxi:
i. There are three types of taxi cabs running in the Cairo: Black Taxi, Yellow Taxi and White Taxi. Black taxis are the oldest one. Most are without meter and without air-conditioner. White taxis are the modern version of black taxis with meter and air-conditioner.Yellow taxis are professionally run and the costliest one. It can be book on the phone also.
So, my suggestion is always try to get a white taxi as far as possible.
ii. Bargain hard and more harder to get a good taxi fare. Normal taxi fare between Downtown Cairo to Giza Pyramids is about 30 LE (Egyptian Pounds).
iii. Giza Pyramids Complex is huge enough to spend an entire day, and may be you will be interested in The Evening Light and Sound Show also. So, no need to book a taxi for both the sides from downtown and paying unnecessary waiting charges. You can always get another taxi while returning back.
2. Public Buses/Micro-Buses: Another way to reach Giza Pyramids from Downtown is by using the Public Buses and it is very cheap. Bus Number 355 and 357 are available from Downtown to Giza Pyramids. 355 and 357 buses are available from a bus stand behind the Egyptian Museum on the main road. It is a convenient option for the people staying in Tahrir Square area as well as on the bank of Nile river, but it is difficult to get these buses for the tourists staying in the backpacker’s hostel spread around Md. Farid Street in Downtown. These buses are large, comfortable and some have air-conditioners also. Fare is about 2.00 LE.
You can also use mini-vans known as Micro-buses from the same bus stand. These buses are less comfortable and very crowded.
1. Fare is about 2 LE for big buses and 50 pt. (half of LE 1) for micro-buses, but micro-bus driver (conductors of big buses are fair enough) may intend to charge you more after seeing you as a tourist. Always ask for the fare before boarding the bus.
2. In Cairo, most people do not know speak English, but Arabic Language. They may not be able to understand your query. Always double check any information.
3. Another suggestion for you to learn the Arabic Numerals. Learning the numeral from 0 to 9 is not a very big task and it will be really useful during your stay in Cairo.
These two types of road transports, i.e., Taxis and Buses are good options, but traffic condition on all the road of Cairo is unbearable all the day. It is horrible and very chaotic, jams are very frequent, so an 1-hour drive may become a 2-3 hours nightmare. There are lot of flyovers, underpasses and highways available and many are still under construction, but overall traffic condition still needs a major overhaul.
3. Cairo Metro + Public Bus/Private Taxi : You may have heard that Cairo Metro is too crowded, filthy and very slow, but for me it is the best way to commute in Cairo around the major tourist sites. It is really crowded during peak hours, so start your day early and come back late to avoid that crowd. Metro Network does not cover the whole Cairo, but it covers the major attractions of Cairo. It is really efficient and also the fare is dirt cheap (LE 1.00 flat for a single trip regardless of distance).
Luckily, Downtown Cairo has a good metro connectivity with four metro stations located at its four corner. There is no metro station in the immediate vicinity of pyramid complex, but Giza metro station is situated about 10 kms away from the Pyramid Complex.
So, in order to start your journey from Downtown, first locate the nearest metro station to your hotel. Four metro stations in the Downtown area are Attaba, Md. Naguib, Sadat and Naseer. Best way to locate a metro station to look for a sign with the large, red “M” in a circle. If you know Arabic alphabets, you can also find the Metro written above the “M” in Arabic language. Normal operating hours of Cairo Metro are from 6 AM in the Morning to 12 AM Midnight.
Attaba metro station is close to Md.Farid Street. Popular hostels located here are Roma Pension, Aussie Hostel, Alexander Hostel, Dino’s Hostel etc. So, if you stay at any of these hostels, you can get a metro from Attaba after 5-10 walks.
Sadat Metro Station is located underground the Tahrir Square. It is close to Egyptian Museum and Nile River. Most spurge hotels like Intercontinental, Hilton, Kempinski Nile Hotel and hostels like Egyptian Night and Sara Inn Hostel are in the close vicinity of this metro station.
Naseer Metro Station is close to the junction of 26 October Road and 26 July Road. Carlton Hotel is loacted in the close vicinity of this metro station.
Md.Naguib Metro station is located at the South-East end of Md. Sabri Abou Alam Street. It is very close to Royal Hotel, Bedouin Hotel, Happy City Hotel and Meramees Hostel.
Giza metro station is located at Line 2 of Cairo Metro Network. Sadat, Md.Naguib and Attaba are also located on the same line, so if you take a metro from any of thee stations, you can directly reach to Giza. But, if you catch a metro from Naseer Metro Station, which is located at Line 1, then you have to change another metro at Sadat Metro Station.
Some of the metro station on Cairo Metro are underground and some are elevated. All four above-mentioned metro station in Downtown are underground. After descending several steps, you will reach at the underground station premises. Most of the stations have elevators, so they are also disabled-friendly. At the station premises, look for the ticket window. The fare is flat 1 LE irrespective of the distance. You can also exchange the metro lines with that ticket without coming out from the stations.
Ticket will be issued in the form of a small rectangular paper sheet. At the entrance gate, you have to insert this paper in a machine and it will pop-out from the other side. The electronic door will open automatically, take back your paper ticket and go to the platform. At your destination you have to either insert this paper in machine again and it will not pop-out this time, or you can handover it to a guard standing near the machine and move out from the station.
In order to locate a correct platform for the right direction train, it is always better to know the both end of your metro line. For example, if you are going to Giza from Downtown, just remember that you have to go to the platform of Giza Direction, which is clearly mentioned in the station premises. Last station on this line is El Mounib, but it is mostly written as Giza direction. While coming back to Downtown, you have to go on a platform of Shobra direction, which is the last station at that end.
Similarly, if you are boarding a train from Naseer station, catch a metro of Helwan direction, leave that at Sadat Metro station and catch another train to Giza direction.
Two coaches of each metro train is reserved for ladies passengers only. Do not board these coaches, else you will be thrown out . The position of these coaches are clearly marked at the metro platform.
A metro will take around 20 minutes from Attaba to Giza and 15 minutes from Sadat. There are two metro stations in Giza area- Giza Railways (El-Giza ) and Giza Suburbs. Leave your metro at El-Giza (not the Giza Suburbs), which is the second station from Cairo University.
Walk out from the station and you will find many mini-vans waiting for the passengers. They only depart when they have full passenger capacity, so avoid them and move 100 meters further on a downward slope towards the main road. This road is known as Al Haram road. Cross this road and go the other side of the road. There is a bus stand on that side of the road. You can catch a bus from there to the pyramids, which is about 10 kms away. Micro-buses and cabs are also available from that place to Giza Pyramids.
Bus number 900 and 997 operate on this route to the pyramids. Bus fare is LE 2. But these buses, do not operate till the gate of the pyramids complex (Normally buses leave you 1 km before the pyramid complex). Bus conductor can be busy and may forget to tell you about your destination, so it is better to inform your local fellow traveler about your intended bus stop.
1. Most people do not understand the word “Pyramids”, so either use the Arabic word “Haram” or make a sign of triangle using your palm while asking for the direction to Giza Pyramids.
2. Bargain about the price before boarding a cab. It should be about 15 LE for the pyramids from the metro station.
3. There are two ticket counters for the pyramids complex, one is situated near The Great Pyramid, while other is close to The Sphinx. If you traveling by a bus, the ticket counter close to The Great Pyramid will nearby and if you are traveling by a hired car, you can go any ticket counter.
In the next post, you will find a detailed description of The Pyramid Complex of Giza. If you are enjoying the travel tips from Solo Backpacker, let us celebrate this journey together. Follow us on Facebook as well as on twitter.