With only three full days to explore and lots to see, we opted to take the overnight train from Cairo to Luxor a day of exploring. I was determined to see Djeser-Djeseru, The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, after learning about it in my high school art history class. Taking the train would allow us to see more of the country in a short amount of time without breaking the bank.
While it was far from the Rocky Mountaineer, it did the trick, and we were able to see all the sights we wanted to. If you’re planning on taking the overnight train while in Egypt, I highly recommend it. Here’s what you should know.
For about $250 US dollars, you’ll get a round-trip ticket for two from Cairo to Luxor – a ten hour trip. This was definitely the cheapest way to see both cities, especially because we were able to save on hotel accommodations for two nights. While Egypt Air runs around 7 to 10 hour-long flights a day between these two cities, the cost will run you around $250 USD per person for a round-trip flight, and you’ll still need to pay for hotel accommodations.
Note: If you are traveling alone, you can share the compartment to keep costs low, but you can also pay to have the car to yourself.
Aside from being thrown around throughout the night by the rough train ride, the couches and bed were relatively comfortable. I’d say it is more comfortable than a plane, but less comfortable than a hotel. Having your own compartment is wonderful, and being able to lie down to sleep is definitely a perk.
It’s not a 5-star hotel, but it is clean. Considering these trains run back and forth, I was impressed with the overall cleanliness. I wouldn’t say it was perfect, but our pillow and sheets were clean, and to me, that was all that really mattered. The bathroom was shared, so while it was clean in the beginning of the ride, it wasn’t pleasant by the end. But, again, this was to be expected.
After boarding the train, you are served an airline-style meal, with drinks at an additional cost. The same style meal is served to you the following morning. Again, the food is what you’d expect while traveling and is nothing out of the ordinary. Jeff and I also stopped at a shop for snacks and water before boarding, which saved us any additional costs, plus we were able to have some food that we enjoyed with us. I would suggest anyone traveling by train to do the same.
Even though, personally, I am not a fan of train travel, I would consider traveling by train again in Egypt, especially this way. The privacy is nice and it feels as if you are on your own private train.
While cost was one of the best reasons for traveling this way, one of my favorite parts was being able to watch Egyptian life go on as we traveled by.
My overall verdict would be to take the train. It’s cost-efficient and gives the traveler more of a feel for the country rather than hoping on a plane. Since it’s overnight, you aren’t losing any time experiencing the country and you are saving on hotels. The best part about this is that even if you don’t have a lot of time, you can still see more of the country than you may expect just by hoping on board.
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