Cairo - Aswan Overnight Sleeper Train

May 5th, 2010, 11:19 AM
  #1  
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Cairo - Aswan Overnight Sleeper Train

Hello Fellow Fodorites,

Do the first class sleeping compartments have sturdy, locking doors? From viewing the photos on Seat 61 and video clips on Youtube it is diffficult to tell if there is a door or just a privacy curtain separating the compartments from the aisle. In some parts of the world theft on trains is rampant, and I would hate to lose my belongings and spend time shopping for necessities rather than seeing the fabulous sights of Egypt.

I have traveled by train in India so I know not to expect The Orient Express on this journey. Are there any other tips you would like to share?
tamtalb is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 02:10 PM
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Yes, there is a sturdy locking door between your compartment and the aisle.

My main tip is to bring your own food. Dinner was vile, and breakfast consisted of four different kinds of carbohydrates.

We loved the trip -- slept like a baby. But then, I can pretty much sleep anywhere.
sf7307 is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 03:48 PM
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P_M
 
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Do not even think about going into the bathroom barefoot or just with socks. In fact, be sure to wear closed toe shoes in the bathroom.

Don't ask why, my answer is pretty gross.
P_M is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 05:34 PM
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<>

Been there, done that! YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Grcxx3 is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 07:18 PM
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Although I completely agree that you should wear shoes to the bathroom, ours wasn't "gross", it just wasn't too nice.
sf7307 is offline  
May 6th, 2010, 11:31 AM
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Thanks everyone. Looks as if I'll be packing my Wellies as well.
tamtalb is offline  
May 6th, 2010, 11:32 AM
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Wellies and pajamas - sounds good!
sf7307 is offline  
May 6th, 2010, 12:27 PM
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Wellies, LOL!! Wish I had thought of that before my train ride.

As soon as we got to the hotel in Aswan I went to the bathroom and cleaned my shoes. I'm not joking. Blecchh!!
P_M is offline  
May 6th, 2010, 01:51 PM
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I have a "thing" about bathrooms.... not for me. Peg for nose also????
MissGreen is offline  
May 6th, 2010, 02:25 PM
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I love nice bathrooms, and I love train travel -- one of them had to give LOL!
sf7307 is offline  
May 6th, 2010, 06:24 PM
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Have to agree that you should bring your own food. We had fortunately gotten a sandwich at a convenience store since our train was a late one. When our dinner came I was very glad we weren't hungry. It was edible, but only barely. The breakfast was straight carbs and mediocre ones at that. I wad glad I had some granola bars with me. But the compartment was quite comfortable and the toilets were tolerable. There is a sink in the compartment and we had some wash clothes so we were able to do a "sponge bath" in the morning.

The train was a fabulous way to go. Waking up in the morning to the countryside going by was wonderful. The train was a bit bumpy, but we both slept well. Enjoy!
jcasale is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 09:58 AM
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<<>>.

I forgot to mention that all those carbs were pre-packaged --- croissant, bread, something sponge-cake like, maybe crackers. Whatever, it certainly would have filled me up, but I didn't even open any of the packages! I would have preferred one fresh baked croissant to lots of prepackaged carbs (kind of like one Rolls Royce vs. lots of Yugos!) The coffee was okay, though!
sf7307 is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 10:00 AM
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sf7303 - I know it sounds crazy, but if they were similar to the pre-packaged stuff that Egypt Air hands out....there is actually a sponge-cake thing that is pretty good.

Either that - or I was just in Egypt WAY too long!
Grcxx3 is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 12:52 PM
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It might have been good (it's not like I've never eaten a ding-dong, after all LOL!), but it was awful in concept!! (As opposed to the dinner food, which was awful in reality )
sf7307 is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 01:13 PM
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I disagree about the dinner food. I think it is at least as good as 99% of any airline food. The breakfast is bleak though. Save your fruit off the dinner tray and have it with a cup of coffee or tea in the morning.
The worst part about the train is the time of day it arrives in Cairo on the return trip. You need to either have a hotel reserved anyway to go to, or plan to do something very early in the morning, but I'm not even sure what to suggest as none of the sites in Cairo open that early.
And... I've never had a bad experience with the bathroom on the sleeping train. There is generally TP in it and unless some man (it would be a tourist) has peed all over the floor it should be pretty clean. If you really think these bathrooms are bad, NEVER ride the first class seated train anywhere that might require a bathroom break. If you ever do take that train to Alexandria, I sort of recommend taking the 9 a.m. train on Wednesday as that is the day Grand Circle goes up on the train and I think GCT puts TP in the toilets for their people. It's the only time I've ever seen TP on that train....and that has happened at least twice, so I credit GCT for that.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 05:15 PM
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CC, I'm glad you mentioned the first class train. I should state for the record I was on that, not the sleeper train so maybe the bathrooms are better on the sleeper train. I understand why it would be hard for a man to hit his target on a moving train but c'mon guys, please practice your aim. I don't like urine sloshing on my shoes.

For those who haven't been to Egypt before, don't be fooled by the term "first class." It isn't exactly first class as we know it--not even close. I can only imagine what second or third class must be like. If you must take the train then take the sleeper train, or better yet, fly.
P_M is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 08:09 PM
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We did take the sleeper train, but several of the not-for-tourists "sitting trains" passed through the station while we were waiting for our late train. All I can say is, OMG, you'd really have to be dying to have a "locals" experience to get on one of those!!
sf7307 is offline  
May 10th, 2010, 12:05 PM
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FYI - 2nd class generally just means a narrower seat than 1st class. In first class there are 2 seats/aisle/1 seat. In second class there is 2 seats/aisle/2 seats.
2nd class arrives at the same time and is good for back packers and those with less money.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Jan 5th, 2011, 02:20 PM
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Reviewing this thread has cemented my decision to use air to get from Cairo to Aswan. DW would "kill" me. LOL. She tolerates travel inconveniences and surprises quite well, and is a real trooper, but never purposely plans to be in less than clean situations. And I'm with her. I know this thread is a few months old, but exactly what I was looking for in planning for our first Egypt trip in October.
BillJ is offline  
Jan 8th, 2011, 10:32 PM
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BillJ, I would use the "camping test". The bathroom is one step above a latrine. If your wife doesn't camp, she probably won't forgive you for choosing the train. The train is an adventure, and saves time if time is tight. The colorful minarets and church domes you pass at night are surreal. Forget to tell you to bring a flashlight if you do take the train. Our locomotive needed to be replaced on the journey south, and we were stopped on the tracks without power on-an-off for about two hours until a new locomotive arrived.
Binthair is offline  

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