Egypt – Cairo Pass And Luxor Pass Buying Guide (2022)

Row of Horus (eagle) sculptures at the bas of the gigantic Rameses statues in Abu Simbel.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
THE CAIRO PASS AND LUXOR PASS

In November 2016, the Egyptian ministry of antiquities introduced passes to facilitate easier access to nearly all landmarks and museums in and around Cairo and Luxor. But Egypt being Egypt, there is little official documentation on the process of buying the passes apart from the initial announcement and subsequently updated price list.

This post, compiled with the help of our local service providers and actual users, addresses all concerns regarding how and where to buy the Luxor and Cairo Passes and how to determine if either will add value to your visit.

Updated December 2022

Painted walls and ceiling inside the tomb of Seti 1 in Luxor

There are currently three passes on offer.

The CAIRO PASS is valid for five consecutive days and allows visitors multiple entry to a comprehensive list of attractions in Cairo, Giza and Saqqara through the period of its validity.

The LUXOR PASS is also valid for five consecutive days and allows multiple entry to the temples, tombs and attractions in and around Luxor for the duration of its validity, but with two major exclusions: the big ticket tombs of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings and Queen Neferteri in the Valley of the Queens. These are two of the best decorated tombs in the entire necropolis.

The PREMIUM LUXOR PASS is all inclusive and allows multiple entry into all temples, tombs and attractions over five consecutive days. However, visits to the Seti I and Neferteri tombs are restricted to one visit per day (x 5 days). This seems like a way to limit visitor numbers. Both tombs were closed to the public for a long time and the preservation of the vivid art they contain remains a concern.

If you buy the Cairo Pass as well as the Luxor Pass, you can avail a 50% discount on the second pass. The discount will apply regardless of whether you buy the Cairo Pass or the Luxor Pass first. Buying both Luxor Passes has no similar benefit.

Let us first consider value addition before we get to information on the cost of the Cairo and Luxor passes and where to buy them.

ARE LUXOR PASS AND CAIRO PASS WORTH BUYING?

That depends on how much you plan to do in either city and on how particular you are in choosing sites to visit.

If your plan is to do some cursory sightseeing in Cairo and then join a Nile Cruise whose itinerary includes most of the major sites in Aswan and Luxor, neither of the passes will be worth it for you.

It is also unlikely you will hit enough sites on a short visit to make either of the passes worthwhile when bought individually. Although the Luxor Pass might still be better value than the Cairo Pass

But choosing to buy both the Cairo AND the Luxor Passes gets you a a 50% discount on the second pass amounting to a total of US$150. Discount is applicable on student passes as well.

The (current) discounted price of US$200 for the Cairo and the Premium Luxor Passes (bought in that order – more details below) is even greater value since it would more than cover entrance ticket costs on this ten day itinerary. Without the pass, entrance to the tombs of Seti I and Nefertari alone would add up to US$150+.

The value is eroded somewhat if you land in Luxor first and decide to buy the Premium Luxor Pass before the Cairo Pass. Then the discount amounts to only US$50 on the Cairo Pass and a total price of US$250. Unless you visit every single landmark and include a night visit to the Egyptian Museum, the Cairo pass might not be worth your while in this instance.

Here’s a link to the ticket prices for all archaeological sites and museums in Egypt (2019 prices apply until further notice). Add up cost of entry to those you intend visiting in both cities and do the math yourself. Don’t forget to include even minor attractions, anything that will need tickets to be purchased.

CAIRO PASS COST

Adult: US$100; Student: US$50
With discount on possession of a Luxor Pass: Adult: US$50; Student: US$25.
Payment possible in US$ (cash) ONLY. Make sure you have the exact amount in NEW & UNCREASED bills.

There is not enough clarity on whether Euro payments are accepted. I’d stick with US$ for the time being.

Documents To Be Submitted: Original passport, a copy of the main page of your passport and one passport sized photo (carry a couple more copies of both just in case). Student discounts require the presentation of valid IDs. Preferably an International Student Identity Card. Children between 6-12 years are, apparently, not required to present proof but it might be a good idea to have their school ids handy.

You do not need tickets for the site you are buying the pass from. Just state your intention to buy it and you will be allowed in. There are posters stuck at ticket offices in all locations that you can point to in case something gets lost in translation.

WHERE TO BUY CAIRO PASS

  • The Egyptian Museum.
  • Main Ticket Office at Giza (Mena House Gate and not the Sphinx Entrance).
  • The Department of Cultural Relations at the Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities headquarters on 3 Al-Adel Abubakr Street, Zamalek, during working hours (09.00-15.00 Sun to Thu). No tickets sold on Fridays & Saturdays (Egyptian weekend) in the office. Be aware, especially if you are short of time, that there are some reports of ‘insane red-tape’ at this point of sale.
  • Qaitbay Citadel in Alexandria apparently sells both passes.

Please Note: Cairo Pass is NOT sold anywhere in Luxor.

RELATED: DETAILED EGYPT ITINERARY FOR AN EPIC TEN DAYS THROUGH THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN EGYPT

LUXOR PASS COST

Standard Luxor Pass: Adult: US$100; Student: US$50.
With discount on possession of a Cairo Pass: Adult: US$50; Student: US$25.
Premium Luxor Pass: Adult: US$200; Student: US$100.
With discount on possession of a Cairo Pass: Adult: US$100; Student: US$50.
Payment possible in US$ (cash) ONLY. Make sure you have the exact amount in NEW & UNCREASED bills.
As with the Cairo Pass, there is not enough clarity on whether Euro payments are accepted. I’d stick with US$ for the time being.

Documents To Be Submitted: Original passport, a copy of the main page of your passport and a passport sized photo (carry more copies of both just in case). Student discounts require the presentation of valid IDs. Preferably an International Student Identity Card. Children between 6-12 years are, apparently, not required to present proof but it might be a good idea to have their school ids handy.

WHERE TO BUY LUXOR PASS:

  • Sales office to the left of the ticket office at Karnak Temple (ask at the ticket counter and they will direct you).
  • Sales office at the Kings’ Valley Visitor Centre (on the right, immediately after passing through the metal detector). This might not be as convenient as buying at Karnak Temple.
  • It is possible to buy the Luxor Pass in advance in Cairo. While the documentation (linked to in the ticket price list above) claims the Luxor Pass is available in all the Cairo sales points, it is, currently, only sold at the Department of Cultural Relations at the Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities headquarters on 3 Al-Adel Abubakr Street, Zamalek.
  • Qaitbay Citadel in Alexandria apparently sells both passes.

RELATED: FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL TO EGYPT, WHERE TO STAY AND EAT AND MORE SUCH DETAILS READ THE ULTIMATE EGYPT TRAVEL GUIDE

GENERAL TIPS

  • While entry to all sites mentioned in the price list linked to above is guaranteed, restricted sections of a few active archeological sites on the list – like the burial chambers at the Step Pyramid in Saqqara – might still require purchase of special permits.
  • The 50% discount can be availed regardless of whether you buy the Cairo Pass or the Luxor Pass first. You will not need to supply a second set of documents when you buy the second pass, but they’ll insist on seeing the actual pass. A photocopy or receipt will not suffice.
  • Remember to hold on to your paper pass and ensure the guards hand it back to you intact. They might be used to discarding single-use tickets.
  • If you need more clarification try emailing: call_centre@tourism.gov.eg

MORE EGYPT TRAVEL INSPIRATION

Let me know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s