Riding the Cairo Metro & Reading Street Signs

Dec 30th, 2010, 09:30 AM
  #1  
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Riding the Cairo Metro & Reading Street Signs

Still planning my April 2011 trip to Egypt and need advice. We have already arranged for private tours for most of our sight-seeing, but have a couple of "free" days without a tour guide. I have two questions:

(1) Is riding the Cairo metro trains (my wife & I are American & speak no Arabic) a good idea or should we stick with taxis? and,
(2) are Metro train stations signs and street signs written only in Arabic?
utrechtman is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 01:49 PM
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This is a map of the metro system. Looking at some pictures I've seen things like exit, etc. written in English but don't know how the stops are written inside the cars.

http://subway.umka.org/map-cairo.html
chris45ny is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 03:04 PM
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When I was in Cairo in November, I got lost walking from the Egyptian Museum back to my hotel. I saw a sign for the Metro, so I went inside there since I knew that my hotel was close to a metro stop and perhaps I could metro there. When I got inside the metro station, I couldn't figure out at all which metro station I was curently at. There was nothing written in English on the map in the station. I asked for help from the ticket sales guy, but I couldn't make sense of it. I ended up getting out of the station and hailing a cab instead since I was running late that day, otherwise I would've tried to figure out the metro system myself.

I don't remember seeing any street signs in English. They were all in Arabic.
Axel2DP is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 04:32 PM
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When I was in Cairo about five years ago I took the metro from the area around the Cairo museum to the Coptic area. I can't remember details, but I had absolutely no trouble going or returning. I used a guide book which told me where to get off and I had no problem recognizing the stop. I did my own tour of Coptic Cairo using my guidebook. My only caveat is do not use the metro during rush hour. BTW, the biggest problem I had in Cairo was crossing the street.
shelleyk is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 06:58 PM
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We did not have trouble using the Metro to Coptic Cairo, either. Going from Coptic Cairo to the Egyptian Museum was a
different story because we exited the Metro following the signs to the Museum and then couldn't get to the building because of the construction. Cairo is kind of a nightmare.

I loved my trip to Egypt, though.

Pat
wanttogo is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 07:52 PM
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I think the Metro is SUPER easy. Every thing is written in English and Arabic. As you enter into a station near the Museum, before you head down the stairs, if you look at the sign right there, it will tell you what station you are at. I think you might be right though that inside the station, NOT on the platforms there might not be any signs telling you where you are, so you have to buy a ticket and get on the platform, but if you do that, there are signs in English and Arabic telling you which station you are at.

If you get lost, look for the person dressed the nicest - meaning the most western and ask them if they speak English. If they answer "half and half", say thankyou and find someone else, you can bet the half they speak isn't the half you need, but I bet someone will overhear you ask, that will speak brilliant English and they will offer to answer your questions.
Know that the word for "station" is maHATit and if you want to know what station you are at, ask "kida maHATit ey?" and point to the floor or around as if you are asking where am I?

Everyone is so helpful, if you let it be known that you need help, someone will come to your aid.

Also know that a Metro ticket is only 1 Egyptian Pound per person. Keep your ticket after you've gone through the turnstile. You need it to get back out, or they can charge you 10 Egyptian Pounds if they think you cheated and snuck in.

Good luck - it's a good safe Metro and you don't have to worry much about getting pick pocketed on it. Having said that, if it is busy, don't be foolish - keep your bags zipped up and eyes open.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Dec 31st, 2010, 11:34 AM
  #7  
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Thanks all - very helpful comment indeed!
utrechtman is offline  
Dec 31st, 2010, 11:37 AM
  #8  
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I noticed on the cairo map that there is a metro station near my hotel on zamalek island (near the Cairo Opera). I also see a rail line going "east" and one going south towards coptic cairo. I'm thinking they are two separate lines.
utrechtman is offline  
Jan 1st, 2011, 10:20 AM
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As far as I know, there are 2 lines operating with 3rd planned/under construction. Check out www.urbanrail.net Click by the right Africa/Cairo. To get to the Antiquities Museum get off sadat station. For coptic Cairo get off mar girgis station.
chris45ny is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 02:24 AM
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I checked out the Cairo Metro map at http://subway.umka.org/map-cairo.html

This map is dated 2008 and shows Zamalek station as being "planned." Does anyone know if this station is now open? It's the closest station to my hotel.
utrechtman is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 10:43 AM
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No, it is not open yet. Opera is the closest station to any part of Zamalek. From there you can take a taxi into Zamalek, but it's best if you know which exit to come out (on which side of the street I mean) and then walk down past the main entrance to the Opera House and catch a taxi there or you'll waste a lot of time traveling to Dokki or back to Cairo and you'll be mad at the taxi driver for going so far out of his way, but it won't be his fault as there is no other way to get into Zamalek but to cross the river and come back.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Jan 5th, 2011, 02:15 AM
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Okay Casual_Cairo. I see Opera & Dokki stations on the Metro map. Thanks!
utrechtman is offline  
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