Israel stamp- no worries… Taba border going to Cairo beware

If you have a stamp from Israel on your passport it limits your travels in the Middle East. A friend informed me that you could bypass this by requesting it upon entry. They are not the frIMG_6957iendliest or most welcoming when you arrive at passport control or at least weren’t to me. Lots of questions then they kept my passport and had me wait in a room with twenty or so other people. The wait was thirty minutes or so. ¬†They came out with my passport and all was good.


I exited Israel en route to Egypt via the taba border. There I was given a 15 day visa in sinai and told I could get a visa to Cairo at the Sharm El Sheikh airport. After wandering around sinai for two weeks I went to sharm el sheik to get the visa and head to Cairo to see the pyramids. Getting to the sharm el sheik airport is one thing. There are no buses and a taxi was pricey- 150 Egyptian pounds which is around $20 one way. To put it in perspective this was more than I was paying for my hotel. A local bus would take me half way for 1.5 pounds however he tried to charge 15 pounds since I was a foreigner. A cab the remaining part of the way was 50  pounds.

Sharm El Shek Airport

At the airport I was directed to purchase the Egypt visa as if I were just coming in to the country. However they would not give me a stamp, which would allow me to continue traveling through Egypt to Cairo and out of Sinai since I entered at the taba border. Thus they knew I had been in Israel. I needed a guarantee from a tour company saying that it was okay. What??? There were phone calls made but no one would do it. I went to the information desk to find out what I could do. There I met my hero of the day Diaa. A kind gentlemen I befriended who worked at the airport. He made phone calls until he found someone who came and wrote the appropriate letter for 320 pounds ($40us). An Egypt visa ending up costing me around $80 U.S. Not cheap. But at least it was done and I was back on track to check out the Sphinx and pyramids.

Egypt the most expensive visa yetIMG_6966Sidenote: Sharm El Shek sucks! I would assume that tourism is driven by the fact that the airport is there. You have to pay to get on the beaches, everything was overpriced, people were not helpful and borderline rude.
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