Really want to sit on a bus for a long time in the heat? Heigh ho to Taba, and here’s how…
Still the cheapest way to travel (done right its about $80/£55 for a return trip, plus $40/£25 for the visa) Cairo by bus has gotten a little more complicated these days.
Since the most problematic part of the journey was not knowing how things worked before hand, and thus not being able to plan very well, here is what I learned, for posterity (and for other hearty
Also, for the record (and after a debacle of a ride south) the Air Sinai flights are actually rather reasonable. So, if you don’t have 20 hours to spend on a bus (each way, ouch) and you’d rather shell out $350 for a direct return flight, then, just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. I did see that you could book these online via eDreams, but for a lot more than they’re sold direct. But for direct bookings you can’t do it online, but via e-mail. Info for one way trip:
FLIGHTS ARE ON SUNDAY, MONDAY, THURSDAY, FRIDAYDEPART FROM CAI 0900AM ARRIVE AT TLV 1015O/W CAI-TLV TICKET COST USD303.00-INCLUDING TAX
And for return I was told $352, with similar flight times.
Now, back to the bus:
The most important thing to know when making the trip south, is that as soon as you cross into Egypt you will have to work very hard to sort out where the buses leave from, since signage is limited and the pool of taxi drivers waiting for you will almost never let on that there is a bus alternative. BUT: THERE ARE ALWAYS BUSES — so long as you are travelling early in the day.
So, here’s my suggested route:
Leave Jerusalem either first thing in the morning on the 6:30am bus, or do the overnight route with the 11:00pm bus to Eilat.
The bus takes around 4.5 hours.
Then take the city bus (4 nis) or a taxi (50nis) to the Taba border (note: currency exchange in Eilat is a total rip off, exchange to Egyptian pounds in East Jerusalem where the rates are actually reasonable).
Taba is open 24/7. The Taba bus station is about a 15 minute walk south of the crossing terminal. GO HERE. There are also some mini buses and taxis parked outside of the terminal, but these seemed largely unhelpful and all the guys just insisted there were no buses going and that a private taxi was the only way to go.
As of Feb 2016, there were no direct buses to Cairo, and no cars that would take me through the Sinai to Suez. Its all via the hideously long coastal road down to Sharm, and then back up to Cairo.
If you end up taking a private taxi, don’t pay more than 500 guinea, and you should be able to get it for 400. Negotiating started at 1250 guinea when I crossed.
There is a once-daily bus that goes from Sharm As-Sheikh to Taba, it leaves Sharm at 9am and gets to the Taba bus station at about 1pm. It then waits a bit and makes the trip back. Stops are at Taba, Nuweiba, Dhahab, and Sharm. It costs 50 guinea.
If you’re lucky, and if you arrive before noon, there are also minibuses that leave from both the Taba crossing and the Taba bus station that go to Nuweiba, Dhahab, and Sharm. If there are no direct buses to where you want to go, take a micro as far as you can and then taxi the rest of the way. (best rate I found for taxi from Dhahab to Sharm was 180 guinea).
Once you’re in Sharm:
This is the easy part.
The GoBus company runs a regular service to Cairo from Sharm, depending on how fancy the bus is the rates are 65-140 guinea. The top end bus thinks its an airplane, and has a steward and everything. woh.
The website and the guys in the office say its a 6 hour ride, but its more like 8. So, budget your time accordingly. I had no problem just buying a ticket for the next bus when I was in Sharm.
The bus station that the Taba-Sharm bus arrives at is DIFFERENT from the bus that the Cairo-Sharm buses go to. They are a 5 min walk away from each other. Taxi drivers will tell you that there are no buses that leave from ‘this’ station… and technically they are right…. but look round you and spot the other station and head that way. Ask the peeps at the ticket counters and they’ll tell you if/when there is another bus.
For the return journey:
Go Bus also has a night ride from Cairo back to Sharm, so you arrive in the resort town at 6:30am (ish), and then wait there for the 9am bus to Taba. This gets you to the border for 1 (ish), and into Eilat before 2.
Hope that’s useful! Holler if there are any details missing, and comment with any extra info you’ve got!
Enjoy the ride!