Egypt is a conservative society and visitors should respect local customs and sensitivities and dress modestly. For women especially, the wearing of long skirts or loose fitting trousers and covering the shoulders discourages physical and verbal attention. Religious customs should be respected, particularly during the month of Ramadan when eating, drinking and smoking during daylight hours should be discreet as it is forbidden by the Muslim culture.

Local time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 from last Friday in April to last Friday in September).

Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are standard.


Arabic is the official language although English and French are widely spoken, especially in the tourist areas.

Money: The unit of currency is the Egyptian Pound (EGP), which is divided into 100 piastres.

Most credit cards are accepted in major hotels and restaurants.

Visitors are advised to take travellers cheques in US Dollars or Pounds to avoid additional exchange rate charges.

Banks are usually closed on Friday and Saturday, but private exchange bureaux, called ‘Forex’, are open daily and banks in major hotels are open 24 hours.

Cairo branches of the Egyptian British Bank and Banque Misr now have ATMs available that accept Visa, MasterCard and Cirrus and are quite common in the main tourist areas.