We had a great time exploring Egypt last year on our Egypt Adventure Intrepid Tour. Egypt is such an incredible destination and we were in awe at every single site we visited. The one thing we were dreading was the Egyptian night train as we’d heard horror stories about it. We had two a mixed experience across our two train trips however it was a much better experience than we’d imagined. Here’s our experience with the Egyptian night trains.
Cairo to Aswan Egyptian Night Train
Our night train from Cairo to Aswan was at 8:30pm and took about 13 hours. I’ll admit that I was dreading the night train however it was so much better than I thought it would be.
We were exhausted after a massive day exploring the Pyramids and Egyptian Museum so after dinner we crashed hard! We were travelling in the middle of Summer and were so glad that the cabins were air conditoned and the temperature could be controlled from within our cabin.
Overall the night train from Cairo to Aswan was quite good, it was so much better than we had expected and we managed to get quite a bit of sleep as the train didn’t stop and was quite smooth.
We enjoyed waking up and watching the Egyptian countryside pass by as the train continued south along the Nile through Egypt to Aswan. We pulled into Aswan around 10am and were surprisingly feeling quite refreshed!
Luxor to Aswan Egyptian Night Train
Our night train from Luxor to Aswan left around 10:30pm and was a much shorter trip than Cairo to Aswan being only 10 hours. The train looked newer than our first train but it was a much worse journey.
Dan got locked in the toilet within the first ten minutes and about fifteen minutes after he’d left I went looking for him and had to get the staff to rescue him!
The food was terrible on this train trip and almost inedible. We were so tired though and the left so late, we pretty much had the attendant set up our beds straight away and went to bed. I don’t know what was wrong with the train but it was incredibly jolty and a pretty rough journey but we still managed a little bit of sleep.
We arrived back in Cairo early, around 6:30am and were picked up from the train and taken to the hotel.
Cabins on the Egyptian Night Trains
We had a lockable cabin with two bunk beds, air conditioning, a basin and mirror as well as a large window. The beds were comfortable enough and sheets, pillows and blankets were provided.
Whilst far from luxurious, I was quite impressed with how clean the cabins on the train were! Each carriage had about 10 cabins and two shared toilets. The bathrooms were kept clean and always had toilet paper and water to wash your hands.
Meals on the Egyptian Night Train
Dinner and breakfast are provided on Egyptian night train. Our experience was completely mixed, the food was average on the first trip and almost inedible on the second.
On the Cairo to Aswan train we were served up fried chicken, rice, vegetables, chickpeas, a bread roll and a small slice for dinner. Breakfast was basically just three types of bread roll (the Egyptians do love their carb heavy meals)!
The Luxor to Cairo dinner was near inedible with some form of meat in gravy, rice, vegetables, a bread roll and a slice for dessert. The meat looked quite suspect and I was concerned it was camel meat so we decided against eating it. We’d boarded the trains so late that we weren’t too hungry anyway and were happy to go to bed straight away. Breakfast again was just three types of bread rolls.
You are given a tea or coffee with each meal, and we’d brought bottles of water with us on the train as well. You can buy extra tea, coffee and water on the train if you want too.
The meals were far from gourmet, but the first was definitely edible and we didn’t have any concerns about hygiene or anything.
Tips for the Egyptian Night Train
- Pack anything you’ll need in your day back/pack back so you don’t have to unpack your big suitcase on the train.
- Pack plenty of snacks and water. You can buy water on the train, but it is definitely cheaper to buy it before you get on the train. The food is far from gourmet and is pretty hit or miss so you’ll likely appreciate it if you’ve packed some of your favourite foods and snacks to see you through the trip! Whether it is chips, chocolate or fresh fruit healthy fermented and probiotic food, you won’t regret packing it!
- Pack some wipes so you can freshen up before you get off the train in the morning.
- The bathrooms on the train always had toilet paper and hand wash, however prior to our trip I had read really mixed reviews, so I would recommend packing toilet paper and hand sanitiser.
Before you set off on your vacation, be sure to choose the affordable options. You may want to live in a fancy hotel in France, but you could find a relatively cheaper one in a picturesque town. Also, research your transportation options and choose one which is better suited for your pocket. It is usually more expensive to book a rental with your travel agent than taking the train or bus to your destination. Do not be afraid to go on a culinary search for affordable foods when you arrive; you might get your healthy fermented and probiotic food at a reasonable price in local whole food stores.
We obviously had a fairly mixed experience with our Egyptian night train journeys, however overall the experience was so much better than we thought it would be. We felt completely safe, the trains were clean and the staff friendly. My favourite part of the journey was waking up on the journey from Cairo to Aswan and being able to watch the landscapes change as we sped alongside the Nile.
This post was written in collaboration with Gutsy Ferments.
All words are our own.