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Cairo overnight train with sleeping compartment - to Luxor

Cairo overnight train with sleeping compartment - to Luxor

Jun 20th, 2010, 10:38 AM
  #1  
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Cairo overnight train with sleeping compartment - to Luxor

The private compartments seem alright - my concern is the heat/stuffiness.
Are there porters available for help with bags?
We are 2 women traveling with previous train travel experience in Europe.
What is the experience like?
Its either the train or flying to Luxor - spending the night, prior to boarding our Nile cruise next a.m.
bams is offline  
Jun 20th, 2010, 03:37 PM
  #2  
 
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We really enjoyed the train experience, but then we love train travel, and preferred not to have to get up super-early for the flight (we know our family, and of the six of us traveling together, at least one would have missed the flight!).

The compartment is quite small, but clean and air-conditioned. The door locks from the inside. Yes, there are porters. We thought the food was pretty awful, but Casual_Cairo thinks the dinner is okay (at least no worse than airline food).

BUT, do not expect luxury. The trains are functional, the "beds" reasonably comfortable, but luxurious, they are not.
sf7307 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2010, 02:03 AM
  #3  
 
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If you ride the train from Cairo to Luxor, you still have to be up at the crack of dawn or before as the train arrives in Luxor no later (usually) than 6 a.m. which is a bit inconvenient unless you have plans for a tour the minute you get there. Most hotels/cruises won't allow you to check in that early.
If possible I suggest doing the cruise from Aswan to Luxor instead. This way you can take the train there, and you will arrive in Aswan about 10 or 11 a.m. - a much more reasonable hour to go to the boat and ask for a room.

And yes, I think the dinner on the train is OK. It's at least as good as airline food and more of it. Breakfast leaves a LOT to be desired, but then I'm not a breakfast girl - just give me my coffee...which they do.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Jun 21st, 2010, 07:50 AM
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The coffee wasn't bad! (And yes, the train arrives in Luxor far earlier than in Aswan -- I had forgotten that we went all the way to Aswan AND the train was late on top of that, so we had quite a lot of time to sleep, and watch the passing scene (the river, farms, etc.) from the train window.)
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Jun 21st, 2010, 08:11 AM
  #5  
 
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I don't know about the food quality on Egypt Air, but I will say that I much prefer airline food over the food on the Cairo-Answan train anyday, LOL. Well, the chicken for dinner wasn't that bad, but the breakfast pastries were very dry. I recommend stuffing some snacks into your bags before you board the train. Bring water on board also if you don't want to pay for it (10 L.E.) on the train.
Axel2DP is offline  
Jun 21st, 2010, 11:47 AM
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<<>>

and numerous! Breakfast consisted of four different packaged (cellophane-wrapped) carbs -- pound cake, bread and a couple of others.
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Jun 21st, 2010, 12:47 PM
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I've done the train both 1st class and 2nd class. 2nd was so much more of an adventure! But that was 32 years ago.
tinydancer is offline  
Jun 21st, 2010, 03:07 PM
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38 years ago I slept on the floor in train stations all over Europe. Doesn't mean I'd do it now
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Jun 22nd, 2010, 06:51 AM
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I understand, but my point is if you're not going to experience a big adventure, why spend the time on the train? Just fly and enjoy more time at the destination. Just my take on this.
tinydancer is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2010, 08:01 AM
  #10  
 
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I don't disagree....except that I think we spent no more time than flying. Taking the train you leave at night, sleep on the train and arrive in the morning. Flying you go to your hotel at night, sleep in the hotel, leave in the morning and arrive in the morning.
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Jun 22nd, 2010, 08:15 AM
  #11  
 
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The inconvenience of taking the train at night is that you normally have to check out of your hotel room by noon. So you have to occupy your time between then until you leave for the train station. I crammed in some more sightseeings during that time, but by the time I got back to the hotel to pick up my bags I was all sweaty and smelly. I would've loved to have had the chance to shower and change clothings before heading for the train station. In hindsight I think it would've been better just to fly out to Answan the next morning.
Axel2DP is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2010, 08:43 AM
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...but the train is cheaper than flying so if you're on a budget then the train is the better option.
Axel2DP is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2010, 09:30 AM
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The train sleeping cars are small but fine for the few hours you are awake. There is a sink, mirror, AC, and the bathroom facilities are shared. I found them clean - fine for one overnight. I don't recall porters helping with luggage, but I'm sure they would if needed. How much luggage will you have anyway? The cabins are very small and there is one luggage area by the top bunk - you'll have to fit everything into that compartment - two suitcases will fit fine, but they are a pain to get into once they are put away, so make sure you take out your toothbrush, pjs, etc. beforehand. The attendant will make up the beds for you in the evening - during the day, the bottom bunk is used for sitting. Food is pre-packaged, but fine. As others said, buy snacks & water beforehand (you can buy at the train station if you forgot while waiting to board). We enjoyed looking out the window at the passing villages and talking to our cabin attendant, who was very pleasant. Axel2DP brings up a great point about the delay between checking out of the hotel & boarding the train, so have something planned or see if your hotel will hold your luggage, etc.
Viatrick is offline  
Jun 29th, 2010, 09:08 AM
  #14  
 
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Hi Bams,

I took the train in June 2010 from Cairo to Aswan. The experience was a lot better than I imagined!
There were porters to help us bring the luggage onto the trains, and off the train. The train attendant also knocked on our door in the morning as our "wake up call".

There is an air conditioning temperature control dial in the cabin, so I didnt find heat to be a problem. I slept like a baby on the train (10:00-7:00 without waking up once!!!!) I think the rocking of the train helped me sleep very well.

As for food, the dinner had 2 kinds of meat, bread, rice, veggies, dessert, and fruit. (From what I remember). The breakfast mainly consisted of pastries and buns. The coffee was good in my opinion (then again, Im not a very picky eater).

The washroom was clean, and wasnt a problem at all.

As mentioned by another Fodorite, there is a sink and mirror in the cabin.

I think the experience was very enjoyable and was much easier than I expected!
roundbunny is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2010, 03:49 PM
  #15  
 
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Thank you for your very helpful information. I was wondering if you go through any type of security boarding the train in Cairo or Luxor. If so, what should I expect.

Thanks!
gettysburg63 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2010, 10:40 PM
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Don't expect much - the train itself is pretty much limited to tourists on it, so as long as you don't look too Egyptian you should pass their inspection.
The train stations are well secured with lots of policemen and dogs watching what is going on.
They changed the rules from the way it was before - before you could board the Sleeping Train in Ramses Station. These days you must board it at Giza Station. This was changed to make it easier for the police to watch the train as there are only two platforms at that station to watch at all. At Ramses there are something like 9 or more platforms and they considered that a security issue.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2010, 05:37 PM
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Re the trains being cheaper than flying, that isn't always the case. The sleeper train is $65 per person in a double cabin. I have often flown from Cairo to Luxor for under $30 and Cairo to Aswan for about $45. I took the sleeper train once and it was a fun experience, but once I flew the first time I never went back. An hour flight and a good night's sleep in a hotel bed beats it everytime. I save my train rides for the Luxor/Aswan route which is much more scenic and only 3 hours long.
AuthenticEgypt is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2010, 09:40 PM
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AE - I think they are referring to the cost of the $30/$45 flight PLUS a hotel room plus breakfast and dinner.

And you have to know that $30/$45 is NOT the average cost for that flight. No one reading this (and they will) should assume you can find flights that economical all the time. That would be a 250LE flight - I think that is not possible these days.... but I'll check and get back.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 05:55 AM
  #19  
 
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Actually, if you book far enough in advance and put 'Egypt' as your home country when you do, you can find these fares. I agree it won't be all the time. That's why I said 'I have often' flown. Prices have gone up slightly but you just have to keep checking back. It's just like flights anywhere else. You catch a deal if you book early enough, travel in the shoulder/off season and are diligent.

I take the point about the comprehensive cost. You are right there. I totally agree, but some people get no sleep on the train and the convenience is worth it to them.
AuthenticEgypt is offline  
Jul 4th, 2010, 07:39 AM
  #20  
 
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I just randomly plugged in dates for next March (which is one of the times we encourage people to travel) and I got flights for 275LE. This is just a random first try. Other flights for that same day are in the 600, 800s and even over a thousand. 275 = $50. A train is $65. Yes, you still have the hotel, but if you're a family where the cost is split or you're renting a flat for a week where the nightly cost is negligible, this is a good option to save you time and have you hit the ground running early the next day to start your tours.

It won't work for everyone but for some, hopefully it's helpful info.

Thanks,
K
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