How to Travel from Cairo to Luxor by Train (during the day)
Last updated on November 1st, 2023 at 02:59 am
We wanted to find out how to travel from Cairo to Luxor by train and do it during the daytime. We didn’t want to take a night train, and so in this article, we show you how and why you should travel from Cairo to Luxor by daytime train, including how to buy tickets and what it’s like aboard the train.
Why we didn’t want to use the overnight sleeper train
We’d read many travel blogs and trip advisor forums where travellers have had major issues purchasing train tickets to ride the daytime train from Cairo to Luxor.
Most travellers who plan to make the train journey between Egypt’s main two cities quickly discover that at Cairo’s two train stations, Ramses station and Giza station, ticket sellers will not sell tourists those tickets to take the journey during daylight hours.
Instead, they force you to buy the far more expensive ticket for the overnight sleeper train.
Station officials insist that this is for tourists’ safety because sleeper trains are manned by armed guards in case of an attack.
But in reality, we actually think it’s far more dangerous to ride a train full of terrorist targets than it is to ride with the locals, but that’s our opinion.
So loaded with the information we needed, we made it our mission not to be forced onto the sleeper train, but to board that daytime train!
The Day Train From Cairo to Luxor is Much Cheaper
Can you believe they charge $80- $100 per person to ride the tourist sleeper train and only around $10- $20 per person to take the same journey during the day?
We think this is the real reason why they won’t sell the cheaper daytime tickets to tourists. We don’t blame them for trying, but it’s only fair that we get a choice of which train we want to ride.
How to Buy Tickets for the Day Train from Cairo to Luxor
Aside from our opinion on which train is safer for us to ride, the main reason for us wanting to ride the day train from Cairo to Luxor was the staggering difference in cost.
So we already established that you’re not going to be able to purchase daytime train tickets from regular train station ticket booths, but what other options are there? We can tell you how we did it, and it really was simple.
We bought our tickets online from https://enr.gov.eg. The website has an easy-to-find red ‘ENGLISH’ button which translates the whole website from Arabic to English.
Once the site is switched to English, it’s super easy to set up an account, look for train time information, and purchase tickets.
Once your account is set up and you are logged in, the site will ask you to agree to some terms and conditions.
When you click “I Agree to the terms and conditions above”, the site will then open a search page where you can enter your Cairo to Luxor journey times and travel class.
Everything is clearly laid out so there’s no confusion about what you’re buying, and once tickets are purchased, you can either print the reservation information immediately or use your login details and reservation number to print them later.
We obviously don’t carry a printer around with us when we travel, so the next challenge was to find one.
The helpful staff at Hotel Luna kindly drew me a map of where to find a man with a printer just around the corner in Downtown Cairo.
The man’s office was up a very dodgy-looking staircase between KFC and a pet shop, but he allowed me to use his laptop to access my enr.gov.eg account and print our reservation for just 2EGP.
Thankfully, because of COVID-19, there is now an app you can download for Apple and Android that will let you download the ticket to your phone – so much simpler than our adventure!
Buying Train Tickets for the Day Train From Cairo to Luxor at the Station
Foreigner’s Reservation Office
From December 2022, foreigners need to go to the “Foreigner’s Reservation Office” at Cairo train station.
You can’t line up at the regular ticket booths as these now won’t sell you any tickets. Instead, there’s no getting around “tourist” prices.
Self-Service Ticket Machines
Like the online booking system and the App, occasionally the Self-Service ticket machines at Ramses station are working and this gives you another way of easily buying daytime train tickets.
Just be resigned to probably having to go to the Foreigner’s Reservation Office if Egyptian technology doesn’t want to help you out on the day!
Our Day Train Journey From Cairo to Luxor
Our day train from Cairo to Luxor departed Cairo Ramses station at 8 a.m. and arrived at Luxor station at around 7 p.m.
We had no issues from anyone on the train, nobody telling us that we shouldn’t be on it, only friendly chat with locals who were curious to know where we were from and what we think of their country.
Our tickets were inspected by several different ticket inspectors and not one of them mentioned anything to do with us not being welcome on the so-called local train.
In fact, we were made to feel very welcome and felt the staff were kindly looking after us.
Our AC1 (First Class) Carriage
We booked onto an Ac1 carriage (First Class with air conditioning) and we were impressed with the huge seats, ample legroom, and sometimes too-cold air conditioning
The first-class carriages were clean (even the toilets – despite the smell) and never felt overcrowded. The staff made sure that everyone on board had a ticket so there was nobody standing in the aisle.
Snacks and drinks were served throughout the whole 10-hour journey by the same very friendly man who chatted to us each time he passed.
We loved that we could stare at the lush Nile countryside which we wouldn’t have been able to do if we’d taken one of the sleeper trains.
We bought some food with us for the trip so only needed to buy teas and coffees and a lunch meal towards the end of the journey which consisted of 3 very dry chicken and cheese rolls, a packet of crisps, some olives, and a piece of cake.
The meal cost just £2.
Luxor station has self-service ticket machines so it is easy to make a return journey if you didn’t start out with a return ticket.
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