Faq

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(Applicable for Egypt and UAE)

Why book with Galaxia Tours?

There are many reasons to book your trip through Galaxia Tours. We have been in the business of operating high quality tours in Egypt since 1989 and pride ourselves on using this experience to consistently deliver high quality, personalized tour experiences. We have extended our services not only to all corners of Egypt, but as well to the UAE, Jordan, Oman and Israel. Click here for more reasons why Galaxia Tours should be your preferred option to visit the Middle East.

Galaxia Tours is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to receive your inquiries. You can contact us at any of the contact information below; or submit a request through the website by filling out the available request forms provided.

Emails:
Egypt: web@galaxiatours.com
U.A.E: web@galaxiadubai.com

Facebook page:
www.facebook.com/travelwithgalaxia

Telephone:
Egypt Office: +202 24 14 41 01
Dubai Office: +971 42 65 69 56

The rates displayed on our website for tour packages or for transfers or excursions are for different group sizes. However, should the tour, transfer or package need be operated for the sole traveler he/she will be responsible for all the fees for guides, transportation, etc. by themselves and as a result the price will increase.

Booking a tour is simple. All you need to do is contact our representatives via one of the methods listed above in question 2. You will receive a prompt response outlining the options available to you and then you can build a tour that will suit your needs in terms of budget, number of days, and points of interest with the help of one of our travel consultants. Once a plan has been decided, Galaxia Tours will send you a detailed itinerary that includes all necessary information and plans for your trip. At this point, you will have to confirm your reservation with payment of the amount due. Your reservation will not be confirmed until full payment of a deposit is received by Galaxia Tours.

Galaxia Tours charges an additional 3% for credit card transactions. We accept Visa and Mastercard.

The deposit is normally 25% of the total price, however during peak seasons (mainly New Years and Christmas) we charge 50% deposit. We accept credit card payments for the deposits as well as direct bank payments to Galaxia Tours. In the case the traveler wants to pay in installments he/she will have to contact our offices to negotiate a payment plan.

- Galaxia Tours’ refund policy is detailed in our Terms and Conditions. The amount refunded depends on how far in advance we are notified about the cancellation.
- For hotel bookings, you will be notified of the cancellation deadlines at the time of the booking.
- If you have booked a Shore Excursion from a cruise ship with Galaxiatours.com and weather conditions or circumstances otherwise outside of your control prevent the ship from coming into port, then a full refund will be granted for whatever amount you have paid in advance.

Visas

How can I apply for a visa?

All travelers to Egypt must have a passport valid for 6 months after arrival and all foreigners without exception need a visa to enter the country. You can apply for a tourist visa at any Egyptian consulate or Embassy around the world.

If you are from North America, Western Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Malaysia or Singapore, you can get the tourist visa upon arrival in Egypt. There is a bank counter before entering customs that sells them and it should only take a few minutes depending on the number of people.

Yes. When leaving Egypt your visa is stamped and you will require another one is you wish to re-enter. For travelers from the above mentioned countries, you will be able to buy another one upon arrival in Egypt. For those who are not from the above mentioned countries and need a pre-entry visa, when applying in your respective embassies you will need to apply for 2 visas.

Yes, you can. To do it you have to apply for an extension in the “Mogammaa” located in Tahrir Square. Ask any of our company representatives and he will let you know what to do.

Safety and Security

Is it safe to travel to Egypt?

Egypt has always been a very safe destination for tourists, especially the locations which are considered to be “touristic”. However, since the Egyptian Revolution took place in January 2011, there have been sporadic episodes of political unrest in some areas of Cairo and especially in the borders with Palestine and Israel. It is important however to stress the fact that these attacks have been very discontinuous and under no circumstance have they been aimed at tourists. People tend to consider Egypt as a violent country and comparing its situation with that of other surrounding countries like Syria or Libya, which is far from the truth.

People tend to consider Egypt as a violent country and comparing its situation with that of other surrounding countries like Syria or Libya, which is far from the truth.

Egypt is undoubtedly dealing with a Political transition which like any other country, tends to have some bumps. However, there have been no major incidents with tourists and the most visited cities in Egypt like Cairo, Luxor, Aswan or Hurghada have not been affected by this transition. Wherever you go you will have a feeling of safety as the Police, the Tourism Police and the Army are always visible and present in practically all the major locations.

Egyptians have historically earned themselves a reputation of being extremely friendly to tourists, and now more than ever they want to showcase that reputation in order to help the industry recover and be able to make a living after a really tough few years.

In touristic areas there shouldn’t be any problems with what you wear, especially in coastal cities like Sharm El Sheikh or Hurghada. However, in less touristic places it is advisable to dress modestly and comfortably in order to withstand the dry Egyptian climate and remain sensitive to cultural norms especially during tours that include visits to Mosques or other religion related locations. Very tight clothing should be avoided as well as extremely revealing necklines and anything revealing knees.

Languages:

The official spoken language in Egypt is Arabic, however English is taught and commonly used throughout the country. Spanish, German, French, Italian or Russian are spoken to a lesser extent, however professionals of the tourism sector understand the need to learn other languages so they will know enough to be able to communicate with you.

Our Galaxia Tours personnel speak perfect Spanish, English, Chinese, Russian and Portuguese.
Common and helpful phrases in Arabic:
- Hello: Al Salam Alaikom / Ahlan Wasahlan
- Bye: Maa El Salama / Salam
- Yes: Naam / Aiwa
- No: Laa
- Please: Men Fadlak
- Thank you: Shukran
- Youre welcome: Aafwaan
- Sorry: Maalesh / Sorry
- Good morning: Sabah el kheir
- Good evening: Masaa el kheir
- Good night: Tesbah ala kheir
- Ok: Tamam / Ok

Health Inquiries:

Not really. Occasional intestinal upsets in people who normally suffer from weak stomachs tend to happen, and they are caused especially from drinking tap water or eating street food from places not recommended by your local guide or Galaxia representative.

Also, bear in mind that during the summer months, the temperature in Egypt can get quite hot so make sure to use sunscreen to protect you from the sun, and remember to stay hydrated throughout your stay.
There are no compulsory vaccines for travelling to Egypt.

Accommodation:

Hotels in Egypt are classified from 1 to 5 star deluxe. After that you have pensions and unclassified hostels that cater especially to backpackers on a tight budget.

Deluxe hotels compare just fine to international standards and belong to famous international chains like Four Seasons, Marriott, Hilton or Sofitel to state a few. They are modern, luxurious hotels with all the usual facilities that you would expect included. Four star hotels are below international standards for a hotel of that category. However, they are still very capable of offering a decent service along with the usual facilities you would expect. This doesn’t mean that you can’t find the occasional over achiever that will exceed your expectations.

Anything below 4 stars we believe is risking your stay. 3 star hotels tend to be “shabby” and basic things like AC or cleanliness are less than reliable, not to mention WIFI which is practically nonexistent. If a 3 start hotel has those types of problems, you can imagine what the 2 and 2 star hotels are like. They are barely clean, rarely get AC, located in old un-renovated buildings, but on the upside they tend to be well located.

Absolutely not. On the contrary, we encourage travelers to go out and experience the Egyptian night life as it has a lot to offer. Our packages are often quite full and some people get tired by the end of the day and prefer to rest in their hotels, however Cairo is the real “city that never sleeps” so it would be smart for you to at least experience the city for one night. For travelers that prefer to be accompanied by a guide or one of our representatives, we have a few optional tours that you can buy (either online or once you have arrived in Egypt), or if you prefer to experience the city on your own you can consult our representatives for tips and any relevant information.

Currency and Banking Services:

The official currency is the Egyptian Pound. There are notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200. There are coins of 25 piasters, 50 piasters and 1 pound. It is always advisable to have change for tips or taxis

There are many banks and currency exchange offices all around Egypt. Moreover, in touristic destinations shops, bars and others will accept dollars or euros. Ask our Galaxia Tours representative and he will point you to the nearest place where you can exchange currency. Make sure to always be aware of the exchange rate as it is volatile and there’s a difference between exchanging them in banks and exchange offices.

Yes, ATMs are very common and available almost everywhere. All banks have ATM machines, as well as malls and busy streets.

Credit and debit cards are widely used throughout the country in most shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. The most common cards are Visa, Mastercard and American Express. However, when shopping in street markets its advisable to carry cash.

Alcohol and Cigarettes:

Yes, and it is recommended. All international airports in Egypt have duty free shops where you can purchase up to 4 liters of Alcohol and up to 200 cigarettes. There are alcohol shops in Egypt but they don’t sell international brands, only local ones. Local beer brands are very good actually, especially Sakkara and Stella. On the other hand, hard liquor is not nearly as good as the common international brands. It is drinkable however.

Yes, there are. Egypt doesn’t have a no alcohol policy like other Arab countries. Alcohol is served in a lot of restaurants and in almost all hotels. There are also plenty of bars spread throughout all the major cities in Egypt so you shouldn’t have a problem finding one. Ask our Galaxia Tours representative and he will guide you in the right direction.

Most recommended sights in Egypt:

Since most tourists don’t have the privilege of staying in Egypt for enough time to truly experience it in its entirety, here is a short list of what we feel are the most important monuments/activities to be seen

- The Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx
- The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities
- The Citadel of Salah El Din and Mohamed Ali Mosque
- Khan El Khalili bazar
- The majestic temples of Abu Simbel
- Going on a Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan and visiting all the temples in between (Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple, Valley of the Kings, Temple of Hatchepsut, Kom Ombo, Edfu Temple, unfinished Obelisk, Filae Temple)
- Diving or snorkeling in the Red Sea
- Visiting the White Desert
- Exploring Mount Sinai and the Monastery of Saint Catherine
- Visiting the oases of Siwa and Bahariya
- Bar hopping in downtown Cairo
- Experiencing the local cuisine, especially Fool, Taamiya, Koshary, Fatta
- Exploring Islamic Cairo on foot
- Dinner or drinks in the island of Zamalek by the Nile

Transportation in Egypt:

As soon as you step outside the airport you will be bombarded with transportation offers. Here are your best options:

- Taxi: Be careful not to take the old black and white ones. They are usually not in great shape and they don’t use a taximeter so the driver can rip you off on the fare. Aim for the new white taxis, those use a meter and are cleaner. A trip to downtown Cairo should cost you around 100 LE.
- Limousine Service: as soon as you step outside you will be approached by many limousine services. Those can be a bit more expensive than taxis and the cars a bit better.
- Book an airport transfers with us. We have vehicles that can take up to 50 people. Our cars are in good condition and you save yourself the hassle of finding a ride once you land when all you want to do is get to your hotel and rest.

The railway service in Egypt can be considered decent. It connects The Nile Valley, the Delta and the Suez Canal. They don’t, however, connect to the Red Sea Coast or the Sinai cities.

The trains are divided in 2 categories: Luxury A/C train and the “Local” train. The local train can get really crowded and is uncomfortable to say the least so we wouldn’t really recommend it. The AC train has 2 classes and is much more comfortable. The First class tickets are more spacious and private and they’re not that much more expensive. In our point of view, given that nowadays the difference of price between the trains and the flights is not that much, we recommend tourists to travel by air instead of the railway. However, if you are running on a tight budget and/or would like the experience of travelling the Nile Valley by train, we recommend the Luxury AC train that is quite comfortable and safe. The trains to Luxor and Aswan are overnight trains so you will have a room and be offered a hot meal which makes the ride much sweeter. As for the Alexandria trips, we undoubtedly recommend you take the train as it is just 3 hours and very comfortable.

Since there are no trains to get there, the options are by air, by bus, or by car. There are bus services that are fairly cheap and comfortable but take almost 7 hours to get to both Sharm and Hurghada, further cities take even more time. Renting a car with a driver is also a good option, especially if you are a few people to split the cost. By air is still the easiest way to get there and depending on the season, the flights can be quite affordable.

Yes, there is. It is a great way of getting around in Cairo, the cars are clean and the drivers are very respectful. The price is a bit more expensive than taxis but still rather cheap compared to other western countries. There is also another service called CAREEM which is also similar to Uber and allows you to pay in cash. We highly recommend both services.

Cairo is one of the most crowded cities in the world with over 25 million people living in the city. This means that there is traffic at practically all times. Using the metro service is a fast and cheap way to move inside Cairo, however it can get really crowded and uncomfortable.

Visas

How can I apply for a visa?

All travelers to UAE must have a passport valid for 6 months. If you are a citizen of one of the following countries, visas are available upon arrival to the UAE airports (entry & Exit Stamps) for a period of 30 days:

• • Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, New zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland (Except the British overseas citizens), Vatican, Hong Kong, Hungary, Kuwait, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brunei, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, United States of America.

For all other nationalities, a visa will be needed to enter the UAE. Galaxia Tours processes visas, here is what you need to know:

- Passport valid for 6 months

- Fill in the form that will be sent to you from Galaxia Tours and send it back along with a clear scanned copy of a valid passport and a scanned recent photo (4x6cm)

- Issuing the visa requires 5 working days (Friday and Saturday off). Galaxia Tours UAE, can provide you with the following visas:

- Leisure Visas: 14 days / single entry or 30 days / single entry

- Multiple Entry Visas: 90 days / single or multiple entry

- Cruise Ship Visas: which is a multiple entry visas to the cruise passengers only.

If it’s a Single entry visa, then you will require another visa, which means you will have to wait for another 5 working days for the visa to be issued before coming back to the UAE. Multiple Entry visas are valid for 1 month from the day of entry.

Leisure visas are not extendable. That’s why we always recommend the 30 days single entry visas.

Safety and Security

Is it safe to travel to UAE?

Not to exaggerate or anything, but the UAE is one of the safest destinations in the world, if not the safest. In fact, it has been designated as the world’s safest travel destination by the International Travel Industry on a couple of occasions.

The crime rate is minimal, and in the improbable event that something happens, it’s mostly non-violent and happens away from the tourist areas. Despite it being located in the Middle East, with all that entails, it has never suffered from a terrorist attack.

A big part of the reason why it’s so safe, is because of its strict legal system. For instance, drunk driving can be punished with immediate deportation from the country. Drug possession or use can also result in deportation or imprisonment.

Women living in the UAE have a much more liberal life style than what you might think, nothing to do with their Gulf counterparts like Saudi Arabia. Cultural norms are to be kept in mind, especially in Emirates that are not Dubai or Abu Dhabi, there it is advisable to cover shoulders and knees to avoid attention. However, in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, especially in Dubai where there are so many foreigners living, it is a bit more laid back, just try to avoid extremely revealing clothes. In Hotels, Beach Clubs, Resorts, Club or any private establishments, feel free to wear whatever you want.

Languages:

The official spoken language in UAE is Arabic, however English is taught and commonly used throughout the country. Dubai is a very international city, with people from over 200 countries living in it, meaning that there needs to be a common language that serves all, that language is English.

Our Galaxia Tours personnel speak perfect Spanish, English, Portuguese and Chinese.

Common and helpful phrases in Arabic:
- Hello: Al Salam Alaikom / Ahlan Wasahlan
- Bye: Maa El Salama / Salam
- Yes: Naam / Aiwa
- No: Laa
- Please: Men Fadlak
- Thank you: Shukran
- Youre welcome: Aafwaan
- Sorry: Maalesh / Sorry
- Good morning: Sabah el kheir
- Good evening: Masaa el kheir
- Good night: Tesbah ala kheir
- Ok: Tamam / Ok

Health Inquiries:

Not really. There are no required vaccinations to travel to the UAE, the country is extremely clean making it unlikely to get any serious illnesses, and there are very good hospitals and doctors in case of emergency.

One thing you should keep in mind is that some medicines that are commonly sold abroad, are not sold in the UAE without a prescription. So in the case you need any prescription medicine, make sure to bring that prescription with you.

Also, bear in mind that during the summer months, the temperature in the UAE is quite hot so make sure to use sunscreen to protect you from the sun, and remember to stay hydrated throughout your stay.

Accommodation:

Hotels in the UAE are classified from 1 to 7 star deluxe. After that you have Hotel apartments classified as Deluxe or Standard, and pensions are limited but available.

There is a misconception that accommodation in Dubai is extremely expensive because of the city’s reputation as a luxury destination. A few years ago that would have been true, however as the years have passed Dubai’s hotel industry has expanded and opened up to people of all budgets. Today, there is a wide range of reasonably priced hotels 3 stars and above as well as the most luxurious hotels in the world that have prohibitive prices.

Dubai is a very young City, and the tourism sector is even younger. This means that most of the hotel properties are very new making them very comfortable and very nice. A four-star hotel in Dubai could easily be a 5-star hotel anywhere else in the world, the same could be said about the 3-star hotels. Even two-star hotels are more than decent. All offer all the basic amenities such as the availability of AC and WIFI.

Currency and Banking Services:

The official currency is UAE Dirham. There are notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 Dirhams. There are coins of 1 Dirham, 50 fils and 25 fils. It is always advisable to have change for tips or taxis.

There are many banks and currency exchange offices all around the UAE. Moreover, in some of the touristic destinations, the shops, bars and others will accept dollars or euros, but not advisable as the exchange rate will be less than what you can get from other exchange bureaus. Ask our Galaxia Tours representative and he will point you to the nearest place where you can exchange currency. Make sure to always be aware of the exchange rate as there’s a difference between exchanging them in banks and exchange offices.

Yes, ATMs are very common and available almost everywhere. All banks have ATM machines, as well as malls and busy streets – if not in every corner.

Credit and debit cards are widely used throughout the country in most shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. The most common cards are Visa, Mastercard and American Express. However, when shopping in street markets its advisable to carry cash.

Alcohol and Cigarettes:

Yes, customs regulations allow visitors to a maximum of 4 liters of alcohol (or 2 cartons of beer), and 400 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 500 grams of loose tobacco. Once you have entered the country, you will not be allowed to purchase alcohol at any supermarket or liquor store without a liquor license issued by the government. It is, however, available for purchase in Hotel bars and restaurants.

Yes, a lot of them. The licensing law however obliges any venue that serves alcohol to be located inside a Hotel or in a private club. That doesn’t mean that there is a shortage of bars, on the contrary, Dubai is famous for its vibrant nightlife and that is in part thanks to its many bars, restaurants and clubs that all serve alcohol.

Most recommended sights in the UAE:

Here is a short list of what we feel are the most important monuments/activities to be seen/done:

- Burj Al Arab
- Burj Khalifa
- Dancing Fountains
- Desert Safari
- The Gold Market and the Spices Market
- Dubai Mall
- Dubai Marina
- Jumeirah Beach Residence Walk
- Palm Jumeirah
- Madinat Jumeirah
- Ski Dubai
- Dubai Creek
- Dhow Cruise Dinner
- Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi
- Get a coffee at the Emirates Palace
- Ferrari Park in Yas Island
- Formula 1 Circuit in Yas Island
- Heritage Village
- Saadiyat and Lulu Islands

Transportation in the UAE:

Transportation in Dubai in general is very easy. Like any other major city in the world, there is a taxi stop in the airport, all taxis are metered, safe amd accept credit and debit cards. There is also a metro stop as well as public buses that will take you to the city center for a cheaper price than the taxi.

Travelling between the UAE’s 2 major cities is very easy and affordable. The distance between the 2 is around 150km and there are several options to get there:

- Taxi: in the case you want to travel between 11pm and 6am, then the only way to go is by taxi and the price should be around 300 DHS.
- Bus: Bus departs every 20 minutes from Al Gubaiba Bus Station and drops you off at Al Wahda Sultan Bin Zayed 1st St / Bus Station. The trip takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to get there and it costs 25 DHS.
- Car Rental: the prices are normally affordable depending on the car of course. The gas prices are also very cheap compared to Western countries, given that the UAE’s main export is Petrol. You will need an international license.
- Galaxia Transport: at Galaxia Tours we also offer all types of transfers. Our cars are very clean and comfortable and our prices are very competitive. For more information click here:

Yes, there is. It is a great way of getting around in Dubai, the cars are clean and the drivers are very respectful. The price is a bit more expensive than taxis but still rather cheap compared to other western countries. There is also another service called CAREEM which is also similar to Uber and allows you to pay in cash. We highly recommend both services.