When we were in Egypt, we had planned a trip from Cairo to Sharm El Sheik on the Red Sea Coast. Rather than fly or use a tour operator, we planned to use public/private transport when we arrived in Egypt.
East and West Delta are the main coach companies in Egypt. Unsurprisingly, East Delta serves the east of Egypt and West Delta the west. There are some other coach companies, such as Superjet, but we thought the Delta coaches looked in the best condition.
We unintentionally found out there are several bus stations in Cairo, with Abbassia being the main one. You can probably arrange the tickets through your hotel, but we decided to walk to the station to buy our tickets, as it didn’t seem that far on the map. Two hours later, we arrived after asking directions about 10 times. I heartily recommend getting a taxi (approximately EGP 15) or getting your hotel to sort out the tickets.
Buying a ticket is simple, even though our Arabic was nonexistent and their English limited. Pointing at a diary with the intended date and writing down the desired time did the trick. It’s little use looking at the ticket for conformation that everything has been understood, as it made little sense.
We paid EGP 65 one-way to Sharm El Sheik on the overnight bus. It arrived at 6am at a bus station about 3km from the centre. We paid another EGP 20 for a taxi into Sharm and were soundly ripped-off. I wouldn’t advise the overnight bus if you want to sleep. They showed a film (in Arabic) very loudly and stopped twice on the way. Together with a very cold air-conditioner we couldn’t turn-off, sleep was patchy to say the least. Be aware that if you get offered food and drink, you have to pay for it at the end of the journey; regardless of how they make it look like it is in the ticket price (i.e. giving it to you even though you’ve declined it five times).
Also, if you are returning to Cairo like we did, you may well get dropped off at a different bus station. We were expecting to get dropped off at Abbassia, but got dropped off elsewhere. We had no clue as to where in Cairo we were, which side of the river we were, and how far it was to our hotel. Asking the locals was not much help; even presented with a map of Cairo, several people couldn’t point to where we were. Haggling with a taxi driver as to how much the fare to the hotel should be was very difficult and we ended up paying EGP 35 for a 45-minute journey, which seemed a fair price.
Overall, the value for money was outstanding and well worth the additional hassles involved.