You know you have been travelling too long when you experience sheer joy that you have a ticket in your hand for a bus that should not exist. It is a short-lived joy, granted, but I will come to that in a moment.
So. Contrary to the belief of the entire internet, there is a direct bus from Aswan to Hurghada. It is a budget traveller’s dream at $85 Egyptian pounds ($4 USD) per ticket.
It is not a budget traveller’s dream for a 7 hour journey to become an 11 hour nightmare. I am sharing my pain so there is no confusion about this. If you are currently cross referencing this post with Google maps, heed my wooooords! It will be a long transit day. Bring snacks. Bring a lot of snacks.
The important things
The bus leaves from Aswan station right outside the ticket office at 3pm daily. Arrive at least an hour early, or pick your ticket up the day before you travel. It is air conditioned and comfortable, but has no wifi.
You will stop a few times on the road for the driver to have a break. If you forget to bring my suggested post-apocalyptic amount of snacks with you, you might be okay…probably…
There is a cafe next to the ticket office which has plentiful power points, tv and cold drinks. A gas station over the road has all the usual essentials, and at the time there was a very tasty street food cart also. Another falafel wrap? Don’t mind if I do!
The odd things
If you are a lady, like I sometimes am, you might need to fend off one or two advances from local men while you wait for the bus. These men appeared quite eager to add a dishevelled and pasty white wife to their collection. It does not even help to have your betrothed sitting right next to you, or to insist that you are already married.
In the event you do not want to get married on this day, I suggest you keep a pen handy that you can trade instead of your affections. Pens are a much valued commodity in these parts, especially if they are a bit fancy. I’m not even joking here.
What to expect:
* Two drivers taking turns to chain smoke and spit out the window
* Loud Arabic music during the daylight part of the journey, kung fu movies on the bus tv after dark (yes!)
* Excellent village scenes
* Lots of locals jumping on and off the bus for free
* Security and police checkpoints – these took up a lot of time, often requiring full i.d. and bag checks of all the locals on the bus (as tourists we were exempt from this military operation)
* Luggage/backpacks must stay in the hold under the bus. The driver will get all crazy if you try and sneak it in with you. If you are anxious, tie your bags onto something secure, and always take valuables and cash onto the bus with you.
This sounds awful! I’ll take the plane instead!
No! Don’t do that! It is a taxing journey for the unprepared, but for $4 USD, it was excellent value. These sights and experiences can not be found at 10,000 feet. I would trade on this trip again, with an extra Twix or two of course.