Page update - Aug 31, 2023
We sometimes talk about intercity bus travel on our pages about Egypt. However, we don't talk in great detail, but only briefly - showing prices and giving simple advices.
There are a lot of questions about buses from our readers. To be honest, I (website editor-in-chief Alexander) am tired of answering them. Therefore, writing a very detailed review on all aspects and features of traveling by intercity buses in Egypt. I do not usually write pages in first person, but I will make an exception here.
This page is made in the form of 'question and answer'. I think it's easier for the readers.
What do you need to know? What to plan for? How to proceed?
Right now (August 2023), the choice is obvious. The fact is that only Go-Bus (El-Gouna) has a suitable website in English, where you can see the prices and schedules in advance. They have even recently made a mobile app. You could say that Go-Bus is Egypt's foremost bus company.
The website address is https://go-bus.com/?lang=en
The Go Bus's prices are about the same as other bus companies.
Now the Blue Bus company is making a new website with an English version. The address is bluebus.com.eg. But it's a bit buggy at the moment. When it's up and running, I'll recommend it to readers as well.
Not necessary, but it's better to buy in advance if possible.
Intercity buses in Egypt are rarely full, so tickets can often be purchased just before departure. The buses are large and capacious. See the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge it.
But there are situations when you have to buy your tickets in advance.
The first such situation is the pre-weekend and pre-festive days. On those days, workers from the resorts want to go home, and Egyptians from the cities want to go to the resorts. The buses are packed to capacity.
The days off in Egypt are Friday (the holy day in Islam) and Saturday, as we explained in detail in the review "Friday and weekend in Egypt". On public holidays, the situation is similar, see the holidays calendar in the review "Public holidays in Egypt".
The second situation is the case of very long distance buses. For example, you take a bus from Sharm to Cairo. But the bus you plan to use doesn't start from Sharm, but goes from Dahab or Nuweiba. Then it already arrives at the Sharm bus station in half full. And there may be no seats available in this situation.
Buying tickets in advance is usually not difficult.
For example, if you are in Cairo, you will probably be taking a taxi to some place and passing through Tahrir Square. Ask the driver to stop near the Go-Bus office in Tahrir and you can buy your tickets there. You'll pay an extra 5-10 Egyptian pounds. But you'll have your tickets in your pocket and your seats will be reserved.
How the Go-Bus office in Tahrir looks like in the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge.
Or if you're in Sharm El-Sheikh, you'll probably go to the Old Town, then ask the taxi driver to stop at the Royssat bus station and you can buy tickets there. You'll have to pay a detour of 2.5 miles (4 kilometers), you'll pay an extra 15-20 Egyptian pounds. But tickets are in your pocket and seats are reserved. Wataniya bus station in Sharm will be on the way, which is even better.
You can buy Go-Bus tickets in advance at go-bus.com. How to do it? Is it convenient? Is it safe?
I don't know. I tried it once, but my credit card payment failed. If you have your own experience, write in the comments to this page.
How a Go-Bus ticket looks like, see the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge it.
The ticket is easy to check as the numbers in all fields are regular (not Indo-Arabic). But unfortunately, the departure and destination points are written in Arabic script and there is no duplication in English. If you want to double-check the correctness, ask people at your hotel reception, taxi drivers or any people you know.
Go-Bus ticket office staff rarely speak English well. So explaining in words the date and time of the required trip to them can be problematic.
THEREFORE! Proceed like this. On the Go-Bus website, enter the information, and the website will show you the timetable. Show the timetable on your smartphone to a Go-Bus employee and point to the correct trip. Then you are sure they will understand you correctly. The method is 100 percent reliable.
There are no children's tickets as such.
However, a ticket for a child under 4 years of age is not required. But in that case the child must sit on your lap, i.e. without a seat. But buses are rarely full. There will be a seat for your child in most cases.
Tickets are NOT named. When buying, the cashier often asks for a name and passport. But this is used just for the name of the order. And they check the passport to make sure that the passenger will not get into trouble with the police during the journey.
Have you lose your tickets? Your problem.
There are two bus stations in Sharm el Sheikh.
The first is Royssat. This is where Go-Bus, SuperJet, East Delta and several other bus companies stop. See the photo of this bus station near, click on the photo to enlarge.
Second Wataniya. Go-Bus and Blue Bus stop there.
Wataniya is obviously more convenient as it is located on Salam Street (Sharm's main street), close to the central hospital (the one shaped like a pyramid).
DON'T CONFUSE THE TWO BUS STATIONS! Go-Bus buses usually stop at both of these bus stations, but at different times.
There are several bus stations in Hurghada and they are all located on El-Nasr Street. The Go-Bus station is separate from the others.
When taking a taxi, you should clearly tell the driver the name of the bus company. For example, "Go-Bus" or "Super Jet Bus". Otherwise, you run the risk that the taxi driver will take you to the wrong bus station.
There are a dozen bus stations in Cairo. The main two are Nasr City and Tahrir. Most bus services depart from these bus stations. Buses usually start at Tahrir, travel to Nasr City and then continue to the destination.
Which station is better? An open question. Nasr City is more convenient in my opinion because it's easier to find your bus there. You know for sure that the bus will arrive in the certain time. You know it's your bus. But Nasr City is a long way from the city centre.
Tahrir Bus Station is located in Tahrir Square, which is the center of Cairo. Getting there is usually cheaper. But, Tahrir has an interesting "Find your bus" quest waiting for you.
Boarding starts 10 minutes before departure.
Once you arrive at the Tahrir bus stand (where you have to board), you will see several Go-Buses. Which one is yours? It's hard to know, as the buses don't have signs or other identification on them.
There is only one option. Walk around and ask the drivers and Go-Bus staff. Show them your ticket and tell them your destination. There is no other way. By the way, buses are often late, which is frankly "nerve-wracking".
It's unpleasant, but not fatal. I've never miss my bus yet. If possible, get on at Nasr City, there's no such quest, it's easier there.
There is one in every Go-Bus bus. The bio-toilet is located in the middle of the cabin, near the middle exit.
There is Wi-Fi in the Go-Bus cars. You can use it to watch films and listen to music.
But there is NO INTERNET. So make sure you have mobile internet. Read our detailed review "Internet in Egypt".
The buses are air-conditioned. And the air conditioners work hard. So, take some warm clothes in your hand luggage. A light jumper is fine.
You do not have to worry about that. As soon as you are recognised as a foreigner, a man will come running to you, carry your luggage, check it in and stow it. Obviously, he will ask for a gratuity at the end. Give him 10 Egyptian pounds or 20 at the most, but no more.
There are some cheeky guys who will tell you that your luggage is NOT free and ask you to pay 10 or 20 pounds per place. Don't believe them! Don't give them the money! Give the same 10 or 20 as tips.
When you check in your luggage, they hang a special sticker on each suitcase. The other part of this sticker is placed on your ticket. How the sticker looks like, see photo near, click on photo to enlarge it.
These stickers are needed to get your luggage after the trip. But that is in theory. In practice, nobody checks the stickers when returning your luggage.
That's subjective. It's up to you.
If you travel at night, you don't lose a day and you don't pay for a day in a hotel. But how will you feel after a night inside the bus? I personally feel bad after night rides.
You can, but not for long. There are police checkpoints all over the roads in Egypt now. There are five on the route from Cairo to Sharm and four on the route to Hurghada. At any one of them they can arrange for a document check or a full luggage check.
You can't get a good night's sleep under these circumstances.
There is nothing to be afraid of.
The bus stops near the special long table. The driver opens the luggage compartment. Passengers place their suitcases on this table. The suitcases have to be opened for inspection.
Next, the police officers look at the contents. They do not poke around too much inside and do not rummage through the bags. They are looking for something big, on the principle: "If you are not bringing a Kalashnikov or a box of ammunition, that's fine".
If you have been given the "Sinai stamp" on arrival at Sharm El-Sheikh then you are not allowed to leave the Sinai Peninsula. Naturally, it is not possible to travel by bus to Cairo or Alexandria.
People ask me, "Can I sneak through?"
I answer, "I don't think so."
There are five police and military checkpoints on the road between Sharm and Cairo. The first one is on the way out of Sharm. The second is "Ras Mohammed" a little further, near Ras Mohammed Park. The third is Wathnia, where the toll road begins. The fourth and fifth are at the entrance and exit of the Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel (the tunnel under the Suez Canal).
Do you think you can "skip" five checkpoints there and five checkpoints back without checking your passport? I don't think so. There's a theoretical chance, though.
I strongly recommend that you put your camera away for the time of your trip. It is strictly prohibited to take photos of government facilities, especially of the police and army.
I know from my own experience that they are strictly monitored. I was stopped by the police just outside the Go-Bus car park in Tahrir. I was taking pictures of the car park, but it turned out that there was a police checkpoint nearby. I didn't even see that police checkpoint! But the police saw me and detained me.
Luckily, I didn't have to go to the police station. The senior officer spoke good English. I was able to negotiate with him to erase the photos. Erased them under his supervision. They let me go.
Better put the camera away to avoid any trouble.
It happens. How often, I don't know. I had such a situation once.
We arrived in Nasr City. My suitcase was taken out of the luggage compartment, put on another bus, and I was kindly offered to go on to Tahrir on that other bus. No big deal, as long as you keep an eye on your luggage.
By the way, I didn't go. I just called an Uber and drove to the hotel. It was easier and more convenient for me. Fortunately, Nasr City isn't that far from the city center.
- I've already mentioned that you can't take photos of the police. For more on what else you can't do, read the review "What not to do in Egypt";
- The bus station in Tahrir can be reached by subway. But this is only theoretical. In practice, you have to walk far and cross some busy roads. I don't recommend it, better a taxi. But if you dare, read our detailed review "Cairo Metro";
- Bus station ticket offices in resort towns usually take dollars and euros. Cashiers in Cairo usually refuse. Better to change to Egyptian pounds and buy tickets in pounds. Read our review "Where and how to change currency in Egypt".
Have a good trip by Egyptian buses and read our interesting and useful pages about Egypt for tourists (see the list of the pages below).
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