Taba Info

Taba in the eastern Sina peninsula of Egypt marks the location of the southern border crossing between Egypt and Israel servicing travellers coming into Egypt and the Sinai via Eilat. The town has grown up around the border crossing and offers basic amenities for travellers - greatly enhanced by the Taba Heights development about 20 minutes ride further south. Taba is a centre for Red Sea diving.

Visitors to Taba arrive either north from Israel south from Egypt or by air to Taba International Airport. On leaving Israel a departure tax of 106NIS (as of October 2015) is charged at the border although if you pay this in advance at Eilat main post office on HaTmarim Street you will pay 5 NIS less. You can pay with credit card for an additional 5NIS. For entering Egypt most nationalities can receive a free Sinai permit allowing 14 days within Sinai itself. You must have an advance visa if you wish to proceed out of the Sinai (if not organised in advance expect a USD$35-85 fee if the local travel agent can come to write you one - you can get their contacts from the Egyptian border control officers). Whether you have a visa or not you'll be charged 105EGP (as of Oct 2015) as "Sinai tax". (The tax is collected at a checkpoint 1 km from the border.)

When crossing the border there are 150 meters between the Egyptian terminal and Israeli checkpoint. Touts may offer you the use of carts to carry your bags but will charge (approx. 2EGP) for this service. There is no charge on the Israeli side for carts. Due to recent drops in tourism you may or may not see these touts.

On the Egyptian side long-distance taxis await at the traffic circle just past the border crossing. These are usually shared taxis and they have the reputation of ripping off tourists. Except the usual haggling pretending to go take the bus (from the bus station further down the road on the left side) usually gets them to agree to a sensible price (45EGP to Dahab at 3PM as of Oct 2015 and 20EGP to Nuweiba). Negotiations will get you a private taxi to Dahab for 250-400EGP (March 2016) which takes about 2.5 hours.

On the Israeli side local Egged bus #15 connects to Eilat's Central Bus Station about once an hour on the half hour (5 NIS schedule listed on the Egged website) or take a taxi.

The Taba bus station is on the left hand side of the main road about 1 km from the border. Look for the East Delta sign with a big gravel patch in front of it. (There may be buses parked there to make finding it easier.) The buses to Cairo leave at 10:30AM and 4:30PM and it costs 50-70EGP (Sep 2012) depending on the time at which it leaves. The only bus to Dahab leaves at 3PM (March 2016) and costs 45LE. WARNING: as of March 2016 foreigners are (still) BANNED from taking the bus from Taba to Cairo (they must make the much longer and more expensive trip to Sharm first then Cairo for about 85-105EGP). This bus ride will vary in time depending on how often check points decide to board the bus and inspect everyone's documentation. Currently there are security checkpoints going in and out of all towns. The trip takes at least 7 hours. Also it likely only stops once for a bathroom break at a dusty and decrepit roadhouse that belongs in a Mad Max movie. The bus is generally a decent new-ish model a notch or two below a Greyhound in the states. There is air conditioning but maybe not as much as you'd want. Seating is unassigned. (Avoid sitting near the toilet.)

If you are coming from Eilat be forewarned that there could be a time change when coming into Taba since Israel observes Daylight Savings Time while Egypt does not. You'll have a hard time finding a clock in Taba telling you what time it really is. The main effect of the time change is that in the summer the bus to Cairo may seem to depart an hour late.

Most foreigners need an Egyptian visa to travel to Cairo. Unlike arriving in Cairo by air (where a visa can be purchased upon arrival) you need to arrange your visa in advance (at an Embassy or Consulate) before you get to Taba. If you don't have the proper visa you'll be evicted from the bus at one of the checkpoints AFTER you have paid your tourist tax (120 EGP as of Oct 2016) at the first checkpoint.

Coming from Cairo there are four buses leaving from the Tugormen bus station (AKA the Cairo Gateway Mall) in Cairo heading to the Taba border crossing. Two in the morning: 6AM & 9:30AM and one in the evening: 11:30 PM (Dec. 2011). The cost is about 90EGP (Sep 2012). If you need help finding the bus station there is a tourist information stand in the main Cairo train station they speak English and are generally helpful. Notice that this service is currently unavailable (Dec. 2012). Take a bus to Dahab (90EGP) and get another bus there.

It is not advisable to discuss further travel plans as in going to Israel aloud or with other travelers as this may elicit unwanted attention. Notice that when the bus arrives at Taba the bus conductor will demand an extra 5 EGP to take you to the border itself from the bus station. Avoid the rip-off and walk those 600m by foot.

Note: that the journey across the boarders Taba to Eilat to Aqaba back to Eliat and finally Taba again (so in any direction) can be done without any stamps being placed in your passport. No extra fees are incurred and all stamps are placed on separate cards given to you by immigration officers. You must ask for this nicely but the procedure was simple and quick with little hassle.


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