We’ve all seen them in pictures or on our 3D Hi-Def Tv’s, but there’s nothing like seeing them in true life. Whether you visit them on foot, camel, horse, or see them from the second floor of the adjacent Pizza Hut, they are truly a sight to behold. They are a grand testament to man’s ever enduring discontent with mortality, and need to be witnessed at least once in ones life.
Unfortunately, many believe that visiting the Pyramids is a luxury reserved for the wealthy world adventurer. But the truth is, getting to the pyramids doesn’t have to be expensive. If you’re willing to take long layovers, sleep in cheap roof top hostels, and eat delicious cheap local food, you can have an affordable adventure to an ancient wonder as well.
Getting to Egypt
It is not uncommon to find flights from New York to Cairo in the fall and late winter for just under 500$ one way. However, you might be able to go even cheaper if you fly to London and then on to Cairo on a budget airline such as EasyJet. The longer you look, the cheaper the flight you will find. Check out this guide for more info on How To Fly For Cheap. Or, connect with me on Facebook and I will find one for you… seriously, I love to find cheap flights.
From The Airport To The Hostel
Once you arrive, the best way to downtown Cairo is by taxi. Be sure not to pay over 50 EGP or 8$ and make sure that it includes the 5 EGP airport parking fee. This may take some time and haggling skills. Be sure not to pay the driver until you reach your hotel/hostel.
The Best Hostel In Cairo
Although it’s not the cheapest, it is one of the cleanest and coolest for it’s price. This hostel is Dahab Hostel, and after finding it, I have never stayed anywhere else. A single room goes for 45 EGP or 7.50$/night. That’s just 50$ a week. For more info on this hostel check out The Best Hostel In Cairo. However, if you want to go 1$/night cheap and don’t mind bed bugs, have a look at Safari Hostel just a few blocks away.
What To Eat
Cairo is full of great fast food restaurants and you can always find a variety of filling meals for around 10EGP or 1.50$. Check out the Koshary at Abu Tariks or a chicken or steak kebab sandwich by the court house. And when you’re finished you can wash it all down for 17 cents at one of the many juice bars. *Be sure to try the sugar cane juice.
How To Get From Downtown Cairo To The Pyramids
Although the cheapest way to get to the pyramids is a bit of a challenge, that’s what makes an adventure an adventure. First get on the metro at Tahrir Square for 1 EGP or 17 cents. Get off at Cairo University. Be sure not to listen to any prospective taxi drivers, and walk over the platform to the other side of the street. Once on the street, ask locals which mini bus goes to Ginza, or the pyramids (Haram). Though it takes two mini busses, it’s will only cost you around 1$. Alternatively, you can always catch a cab for around 10$. If you manage to round up a group of backpackers, this option is most convenient and economical. Remember to haggle no matter what!
Entering The Pyramids, Fees, Discounts, & Tricks
On the road to the Pyramids you will be approached with countless offers to ride everything from a donkey to a camel. However, even if you want to ride a camel, I would hold off on striking a deal until after you enter. This way you can explore the secret passage ways and tombs on foot first. Then when you become exhausted you can always jump on a camel later.
Walk up to the ticket booth a present a student ID. Even if you’re not a student, present any kind of ID and say you’re a student. Besides, we’re all students of life. The ticket vendors often can’t read English and can’t be bothered to confirm. This will bring the entrance cost down to 30 EGP or 5$, a bargain considering your going to see one of the worlds ancient wonders.
Although there are ways to enter for free, such as jumping the wall, walking in from the desert, or by quickly presenting an old ticket that you found on the ground, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s bad Karma, it makes the experience a bit stressful, and plus it’s only 5$.
Although The Great Pyramids of Giza are in Egypt, they aren’t as hard or as expensive to visit as travel agencies would have you believe. If you look hard enough you can find a remarkably reasonable ticket. If you don’t mind a simple clean bed in an awesome rooftop hostel, you can sleep for cheap. And if you don’t mind a bit of a challenge you can get to the pyramids from downtown Cairo for just 1.17$. Total cost of a two week adventure to visit the Pyramids in Caio, Egypt, 1,400$.
Let Me Know What You Think!
Great article… thanks! My question is whether you’ve run into any problems with customs or other “red tape” if you’re traveling to Egypt with few (if any) official arrangements such as hotel reservations, tour plans, etc. I’d love to go cheap for a few days, but would be scared I’d get turned away or detained if I seemed like a drifter.
The Runaway Guide says
Hey Mark, Egyptian immigration is very relaxed. I’ve been 5 times and never had a problem. Right now they really want more tourists! I would highly recommend Dahab hostel. It’s my favorite hostel in the world and it’s only about 8 dollars/night for a nice private room with street side window.
Thanks for the reply! This was the answer I was hoping for :^).