After walking for four hours through what can only be described as Cairo’s city of garbage, we arrived at Giza station. From Giza station we took the metro to Ramses Station, where most overnight trains leave from, and where our overnight sleeper train to Luxor would later leave from.
We tried to buy water before entering the station, assuming water would be pricey on the train. The first vendor we found wanted 180 Egyptian pounds for 2 waters, or $14 Canadian. We tried at three different stalls, but it seems that surrounding the train station is also not the place to buy water. We gave up and decided to enter the train station, except we didn’t get to enter… a “nice” security guard wouldn’t let us enter the station and instead ushered us into the “tourist police” office. He made us super uncomfortable, which I am sure was mostly our fault. The policeman offered us food and drinks, but we had just come from the most touristy place in the world, and our guards were WAY up. We couldn’t help but say no to everything he offered and sat in awkward silence as he occasionally tried to show us something or ask us questions in Arabic. After about 15 minutes of awkward silence, the policeman let us leave and we went back out onto the street and the busy market.
We were finally able to buy water at a reasonable price, and headed back into the train station. This time upon entering the station we skirted the “tourist police” office and made it through security into the train station.
We went to the top floor where the food court was to sit and have a bite to eat. The station was BEAUTIFUL, and looked like it was decorated in an art deco style. We ordered two lime and mint drinks and two potato crepes and ate them as we watched the trains and people down below on the tracks. The crepes were filled with fries, cheese, peppers and olives, a somewhat weird combination, but delicious and hit the spot.
At about 7:30pm we went down to board the train (the train would leave at 8pm) but the board showing all the arrivals and departures did not have our train on it yet. This seemed odd, so I went and asked for help. The person at the desk that I asked looked disgusted to be talked to by a tourist and wouldn’t help, so we walked away… we stood awkwardly in the main area of the train station, hoping we could figure out which platform our train left from before it left in a few minutes’ time.
Just as we were getting desperate, a police officer came over and showed us where to go. It turns out that we had to go through a tunnel under the tracks and to a second set of tracks we didn’t even know existed (it was platform #11 incase that is helpful to anyone).
We booked our tickets through 12Go Asia and wold totally recommend them, as we have used their services many many times all over the world. (They will help you with the process and if you have questions)
Alternatively you can book here: https://wataniasleepingtrains.com/Home
We boarded the train as it arrived, and went in search of our bunk numbers. All the room doors had numbers except ⅞ was missing and my bunk number was number 7, Jives was number 5. We struggled to figure out what was going on, and ended up just sitting in seats 6 and 5. It really looked like we had booked ourselves in two different rooms. Eventually the carriage attendant came by and we tried to ask if it was ok to stay where we were and he said yes. It ended up that we booked the double berth thinking it meant two beds together when it actually meant two beds each, it would certainly explain the price we paid when we booked the train.
The train left right on time and the attendant brought us dinner right away. We booked the vegetarian meal which included: fries, boiled potatoes, carrots a bun and some plain rice with a side of tzatziki like sauce.
The room was a lot like the room we had on the train from Thailand to Laos, with a bunk bed, the bottom seat of which converted to chairs to sit and eat at. The room also had a small wash basin and mirror with a single electrical outlet. We decided to go to bed pretty early around 9pm. The sleep wasn’t terrible, just not too constant, as the train stopped and started many times.
We would totally recommend the train to others, just make sure you book the appropriate amount of beds… they will try their best to place you in the same room if you book the tickets together, so you shouldn’t have to worry about sharing with strangers.
Hi a good helpful read,
but I,m interested in websites to buy tickets from Cairo to Luxor,the Luxor to Hurgadaand cost,thx Jayne
Hi! Interesting blog. But I’m unsure from the title of it whether you are truly saying – don’t take the train it’s awful? I mean your blog itself had challenges but ultimately y didn’t seem that bad to warrant the headline?
I’m trying to decide whether to fly or take the train because for my dates the flight times aren’t great and the train would be more efficient and save a nights extra accommodation.
Would be travelling with a 9 year old. What do you think?
I would definitely recommend the train! In the title I was referring to us accidentally double booking our tickets and paying double the price. The train overall was a great experience, and it should be fun with a 9 year old.
Fantastic reading. Thank you. Travelling with partner and 4 teenagers and couldn’t decide plane or train. Really feel this would be a memory for them as opposed to a plane.
I would 100% recommend the train! We loved it! Just don’t over book your cabins like we did.