Review: Ernst Watania Sleeping Train Cairo to Aswan, Egypt

In this review we will take the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train (Abela night train) from Cairo to Luxor and Aswan in Egypt.


After a great couple of days in Cairo it was time to travel deeper into Egypt.

Some of the most important historical sites of Egypt can be found between Aswan and Luxor in the south of the country.

A popular way to visit some of these sights is by making a multi-day river cruise on the Nile between these two cities – and that was exactly what I was planning to do.

As I had booked a downstream Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor I had first to make my way south from Cairo to Aswan.

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Although it’s 680 kilometres between Cairo and Aswan as the crow flies, it’s around 900 kilometres by train as the railway line more or less follows the meandering course of the River Nile. ©MapHub/Paliparan

Train or plane in Egypt?

The most popular way to travel the 680 kilometres as the crow flies between Cairo and Aswan is to take the plane – and unsurprisingly this is the fastest and usually the most expensive option.

There is however also the option of taking the train from Cairo to Luxor and Aswan.

The Egyptian Railways run daytime trains between Cairo, Luxor and Aswan, while the privately-run Ernst Watania/Abela sleeper train also links these cities.

Most tour operators will however suggest you to take a domestic flight.

Heck, the tour operator where I had booked my Nile cruise (the highly recommended Luxor & Aswan Travel Agency) even writes on their website that they “never recommend [trains] to anyone except for those who have tried them before and asked for them again” and even concludes that “sleeper train cabins are very tiny and uncomfortable”.

Personally, I disagree with this. Trains make for a wonderful way to travel as you absorb so much more of the country you are travelling in.

Whether it’s the landscapes you are passing by or the local life along the railway line and on board, you get a much better impression of place, distance and time on the train than you would ever get from a plane.

That of course includes sleeper trains as well. It’s a mode of transport which I adore and I’ve always had great experiences on board night trains.

Nothing beats going to sleep in your cosy and comfortable train compartment and waking up the next morning after a good night of sleep to completely different views.

What’s not to like about going to sleep just out of Cairo and waking up the following morning as the train trundles along the banks of the Nile?

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Riding along the Nile on board the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train. ©Paliparan

Ernst Watania/Abela Trains

For many years, the night train from Cairo to Luxor and Aswan has been operated by Ernst Watania, although in 2023 another private company called Abela Sleeping Trains took over the concession to operate this sleeper service.

Although I travelled on the train when Ernst Watania was still operating the service, nothing really has changed from a passengers’ perspective since Abela took over, as the same train carriages are being used and the service is similar.

On my journey, I took the Watania Sleeping train from Cairo to Aswan on the outbound, and took an ordinary daytime train back to Cairo after my Nile cruise to see how the two experiences would compare.

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The Ernst Watania Sleeping Train at Aswan. ©Paliparan

Booking your ticket

You can book your Ernst Watania/Abela Sleeping train ticket online or at their reservation office at the station.

It’s straightforward enough to buy the ticket online – and you are well-advised to do so in advance if you want to be assured of a place on board.

Just like most other businesses in Egypt there is three-tiered price system in place, with cheaper tickets available for Egyptians and Arab nationals while other foreigners pay full price.

For example, I paid the full price of 120 USD for a one-way ticket in a private sleeper compartment (‘single cabin’) from Cairo to Aswan.

Egyptians would only pay 700 EGP (44.50 USD) for this, while nationals of other Arab states pay 1,050 Egyptian pound (67 USD).

When you have completed the online payment you will immediately receive a PDF with your train ticket.

There is no need to visit the Ernst Watania reservation office at the station if you have booked online as you can just board the train by showing this PDF to the carriage attendant.

Ramses Station

From the great Sofitel Nile El Gezirah hotel in Zamalek where I had stayed the previous nights, I took an Uber to Ramses Station.

Also called Misr Station, Ramses Station is the main hub of the Egyptian Railways and a Cairo landmark.

Ramses Station was built in 1856 as the terminal of the first railway line of Egypt, linking Cairo with Alexandria.

The current station building however hails from 1892 when British architect Edwin Patsy redesigned the station in a neo-Classical style with Mamluk influences.

There are several entrances to the station building and you will have to place your luggage on an X-ray baggage scanner before you can enter.

The Ernst Watania reservation office can be found in an archway next to the station entrance on the western side (before you go through security to enter the actual station).

Inside the station, you can find ticket booths as well as ticket machines from where you can buy tickets for the normal Egyptian Railways trains.

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Cairo Ramses station ©Paliparan
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The western side of Cairo Ramses station. The Ernst Watania reservation office can be found underneath one of these arches right next to one of the station entrances. ©Paliparan

Inside Ramses Station

The interior of Ramses Station is a far cry from the neo-Classical and Moorish Revival architecture of the old station façade.

What you see here is the result of a controversial renovation of the station which took place between 2001 and 2011.

Although the renovation project was criticised by some for ruining the original character of Ramses Station, I personally adore the new interior.

The central hall of Cairo’s Ramses Station is dominated by some kind of Art Deco steel-and-glass artwork with a reversed obelisk on the ceiling which just looks absolutely amazing.

There are a couple of shops and kiosks in the main hall and on the platforms selling all kinds of snacks and drinks for the train ride, although you may find a larger selection at the many stores outside the station.

You can also find a left-luggage office at Ramses Station as well as a few ATMs.

Given that there is no WiFi internet on board Egyptian trains, I visited the handy Vodafone shop inside the central hall to buy an Egyptian SIM card for the ride.

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The gorgeous central hall of Cairo’s Ramses Station. ©Paliparan
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Cairo Ramses Station. ©Paliparan
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Cairo Ramses Station. ©Paliparan

Food court

In the central hall you will see escalators leading up one level to the mezzanine floor where you will find a food court.

It’s a great place to wait for the departure of your train and have a drink, snack or light meal.

From the food court, you have some amazing views over the railway tracks and platforms 1 to 4 down below in the train shed.

Watch for packed commuter trains arriving at Ramses Station as it’s good fun to see thousands of people suddenly jumping out of the train and crowding the platforms.

As I had no idea what to expect from the food on board the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train, I decided to order a light meal just in case.

The Hawawshi (a kind of pita bread stuffed with a mixture of ground meat, onions, peppers and garlic) was delicious.

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You can access the food court by taking the escalators up to the mezzanine level. ©Paliparan
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The food court on the mezzanine level of Cairo Ramses Station. ©Paliparan
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From the food court café, you have a great view overlooking the platforms and tracks underneath the train shed of Ramses Station. ©Paliparan
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Take a seat at the window and admire the views down over the platforms while you have a drink or a snack! ©Paliparan
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Some yummy Hawawshi as a light meal before my train departure. ©Paliparan
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A Russian-built express train at Cairo Ramses station. ©Paliparan
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A fully packed commuter train has just arrived at Cairo Ramses Station. ©Paliparan


Although Cairo Ramses Station was originally built as a terminal station, it has a couple of through tracks as well these days.

Terminus platforms 1 to 4 are underneath the impressive train shed while terminus platforms 5 to 7 can be found just outside it.

If you walk from the central hall to the platforms, you will find the four through platforms (platforms 8 to 11) on your left-hand side.

Of these platforms, platform 8 can be accessed right away from the central hall while you need to take an underpass to reach platforms 9, 10 and 11.

The Ernst Watania Sleeping Train usually departs from platform 8 – but do confirm whether this is indeed the case by looking at the electronic departure boards which switch from Arabic to English every 30 seconds or so.

On – the world’s best railway website – you can find more general information about the station and train travel in Egypt.

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Platforms 1 to 4 can be found right underneath the train shed. ©Paliparan
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A so-called “Spanish train” at Cairo Ramses Station, waiting for its departure to Alexandria. The II written on the train indicates that this is a 2nd class wagon. ©Paliparan
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A train arriving at Ramses Station. ©Paliparan
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An older, non-air conditioned train at Ramses Station. ©Paliparan

Ernst Watania Sleeping Train Cairo to Aswan
Train 86 –
Departure: 7.45pm – Arrival: 09.25am (+1 day)
Duration: 13h40m – Distance: ~913 kilometres
Carriage 3, berth 3 – Costs: 120 USD

Boarding the Ernst Watania Train

Some 20 minutes before departure, the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train pulled into Cairo Ramses Station at platform 8.

Each train carriage has its own attendant, who will check your ticket at the door before you board the train.

I was rather excited to board this special train as I walked through the narrow aisle towards my compartment.

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The Ernst Watania Sleeping Train arriving at platform 8. ©Paliparan
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The night train attendant will check your ticket before you can board your carriage. ©Paliparan
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Walking down the carpeted corridor to my compartment. ©Paliparan

Sleeper compartment

The Ernst Watania Sleeping Train exists entirely out of sleeper carriages with two bunk beds in each compartment.

These compartments can be booked for single (private) occupancy if you are travelling solo or as a double when you are travelling as a couple.

As a solo traveller you can also just book a berth, in which case you have to share the compartment with another passenger of the same sex.

If you travel as 3 or 4 passengers together (and opt for private occupancy) you will be given adjacent compartments with a connecting door which can be opened.

The sleeper compartment itself is rather similar to those found on European sleeper trains.

When I entered my compartment, the lower bunk was still in daytime mode with a tray table fixed between the two seats.

It can be easily converted into a bed when you go to sleep. If you cannot find out yourself, the carriage attendant will be glad to help you out and do it for you.

Each compartment has a small wash basin. If you open the doors, you will find a mirror and power socket inside.

There is plenty of storage space both underneath the lower bunk as well as into a recess right above the compartment door.

The Ernst Watania Sleeping Train is fully airconditioned and you can adjust the temperature in the compartment with some easy-to-use buttons found next to the door.

Of course, the compartment doors can be locked from the inside – and it’s highly recommended to do so before you go to sleep in order to secure your personal belongings.

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Sleeper compartment on the Ernst Watania train. ©Paliparan
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A comfortable bed on the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train. ©Paliparan
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Inside my compartment looking towards the corridor. ©Paliparan
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Each compartment has a small wash basin and a single power socket. ©Paliparan
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There is plenty of storage space for your bags above the compartment door. ©Paliparan
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You can control the temperature in the compartment through these buttons. ©Paliparan


At exactly 7.45pm, the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train departed and slowly rolled out of Cairo Ramses Station for its long run south.

Minutes after departure, the train crosses the River Nile as it makes its way through the Cairo suburbs towards Giza Station, which would be the first stop of this journey.

Giza Station

Even though Giza Station (sometimes called El Giza Station) is still a good 9 kilometres away from the actual Pyramids of Giza, it can make sense to board the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train here instead of Ramses Station.

If you happen to stay in a hotel near the pyramids, a taxi ride to Giza Station will be significantly shorter than the one to Ramses Station – especially so at rush hour.

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The Ernst Watania Sleeping Train arrives at Giza Station. ©Paliparan
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Giza Station, with the carriage attendant again guarding the door and checking the tickets of new passengers. ©Paliparan
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Giza Station. ©Paliparan


Including in the fare of the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train is a light meal for dinner, as well as breakfast the following morning.

Soon after departure from Giza Station, the carriage attendant brought the dinner box and informed me that he would serve breakfast about an hour before arrival in Aswan

I found both meals to be rather disappointing, so I would certainly recommend anyone to eat a proper meal before boarding the train and to bring some snacks with you on board.

The ‘dinner’ box contained two rather stale sandwiches, an orange, some orange juice, a small desert and a bag of cheese crisps.

Breakfast consisted out of a dry croissant, a bun with a cup of jam, a piece of cake which tasted better than it looked and Egyptian “feta” cheese, which was quite revolting and an insult to Greek cuisine.

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Dinner box on the Ernst Watania sleeper train. ©Paliparan
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Breakfast box. ©Paliparan

Lounge car

The Ernst Watania Sleeping Train also has a lounge car attached.

It’s open throughout the entire journey and makes for a great place to sit down for a while.

Although this bar wagon is built in the 1980s, it’s refurbished in such a way to make it look like an old-fashioned dining car.

It certainly oozes an old world railway charm thanks to its dark wood interior, red carpet and sturdy chairs.

You can buy tea, coffee, bottled water as well as sandwiches at the bar counter.

Alcoholic drinks aren’t sold on board the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train, although you are free to bring along your own beers or bottle of wine and drink them in your own compartment.

I can certainly recommend to visit the lounge car in the evening for a cup of tea as it’s not only such a beautiful train carriage, but also makes for a perfect place to socialise with other travellers.

Egyptians are a friendly bunch of people and in a few minutes after sitting down I was already engaged in some lively talks with fellow passengers.

Do however note that smoking is allowed in the lounge car, so if you might be uncomfortable with this you may want to stay away as Egyptians do like to smoke!

Although I’m not a smoker myself, I wasn’t bothered with it that much as it only added to the cigar lounge charm of this unique train carriage.

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The gorgeous lounge car of the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train. ©Paliparan
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The lounge wagon is a great place to socialise with fellow passengers. ©Paliparan
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You can buy a cup of tea or coffee at the bar counter of the train for just a few cents. ©Paliparan
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Friendly service in the bar wagon of the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train. ©Paliparan
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Yours truly enjoying a cup of tea in the lounge wagon. ©Paliparan


One aspect of the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train which pleasantly surprised me was the cleanliness of the toilets.

There are shared toilets at each end of the carriage.

Although the toilets were very basic, they were kept immaculately clean by the train staff and there certainly wasn’t any shortage of toilet paper, soap and paper towels either.

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A shared toilet on board the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train. ©Paliparan
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A shared toilet on board the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train. ©Paliparan

Time to sleep

Having visited the lounge wagon, it was time to retreat back to my compartment, where I made myself comfortable with a cold beer and a good book before going to sleep.

I found the beds on the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train to be spacious and very comfortable – certainly on par with the average night train in Europe.

That said, the ride was certainly less comfortable than you may be used to in Europe.

Due to the bad quality of the railway tracks, the ride on the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train (or on any other Egyptian train for that matter) is rather shaky and noisy.

Although it took me some time to fall asleep and I was woken up several times at night by some loud honking or rattling sounds, I did manage to get a solid five hours of sleep all combined.

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A small nightcap before going to sleep. ©Paliparan
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Snug and sound in my night train bed! ©Paliparan


The following morning I woke up to some lovely views of the River Nile just north of Edfu, one of the places I would visit in the next days as part of my Nile cruise.

It’s just such an amazing feeling to wake up, open the curtains and see a completely different landscape from the evening before.

It just adds enormously to the anticipation of what’s next to come on your grand tour of Egypt!

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The Nile Bridge at Edfu. ©Paliparan
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Riding along a palm grove just south of Edfu. ©Paliparan

Irrigation canals and river views

As the railway line from Luxor to Aswan is built parallel to the Nile, you often have some great river views from your compartment window.

But even when the train runs a bit more inland away from the riverbank there is still lots to see from the window.

Already since antiquity, the Egyptians have mastered the art of irrigation and you can therefore see lots of irrigation canals and agricultural fields.

As most of Egypt consists out of inhospitable deserts, most of the population lives within these fertile lands within a few kilometres from the Nile.

You can therefore also see many settlements, from small villages to bigger towns and cities with all their human activity.

It’s well-worth it to wake up on time and to admire some of the views before you reach Aswan – especially so if the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train will be your only railway adventure in Egypt.

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Agricultural fields and irrigation canals a bit more away from the River Nile. ©Paliparan
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The River Nile as seen from the train, with the moon still visible high above in the skies. ©Paliparan
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Some more agricultural fields as seen from the train window. ©Paliparan

Kom Ombo

The city of Kom Ombo is another major stop between Luxor and Aswan and just like Edfu I would visit it later on as part of my Nile cruise.

With only some 50 kilometres to go until Aswan, it was also time to get fully dressed and to prepare myself for arrival.

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Kom Ombo station. ©Paliparan
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Man sleeping on a bench at Kom Ombo station. ©Paliparan
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Kom Ombo station. ©Paliparan

Arriving at Aswan

Perhaps the best views of the entire train ride from Cairo to Aswan are on the last few kilometres before arrival in Aswan.

This southern Egyptian city is famous for occupying a particularly attractive stretch of the Nile with yellow sand dunes forming a spectacular backdrop to the deep blue waters of the river.

With only a few minutes delay, the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train pulled into Aswan station.

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Just north of Aswan you will see desert dunes and spectacular rock formations right next to the River Nile. ©Paliparan

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The Ernst Watania Sleeping Train at Aswan. ©Paliparan
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Aswan Station, the far southern end of Egypt’s passenger railway network and the final destination of my night train from Cairo. ©Paliparan


I had a great and amazingly fun experience on the Ernst Watania (Abela) Sleeping Train from the moment we departed Cairo all the way to the arrival in Aswan.

This classic night train journey begins at Cairo’s wonderful Ramses Station, and watching other trains arrive and depart already builds up the anticipation for what is to come on your trip across Egypt.

Once on board the Ernst Watania Sleeping Train, I had a comfortable compartment all to myself for a very reasonable 120 US dollar.

Although it’s certainly faster to fly from Cairo to Aswan, you would miss out on a fabulous experience if you don’t take the overnight train.

Whether it’s drinking a cup of tea and chatting with fellow passengers in the beautiful surroundings of the lounge wagon or admiring the scenic views of the River Nile as you wake up the following morning, the train journey from Cairo to Aswan is one you are unlikely to forget.

Sure, not everything will be perfect on board the train.

The Egyptian railway tracks are old, which makes for a shaky and noisy ride. If you are a light sleeper, you may not get much shut-eye on board this train.

Besides, the food on board left something to be desired.

In the grand scheme of things, I personally think these are all rather minor downsides compared to all that makes this train journey such a fun ride.

Ernst Watania clearly runs a professional operation and you can expect a friendly service on board the train, clean toilets and comfortable compartments.

Taking the Ernst Watania night train really makes for a great way to travel from Cairo to Luxor and Aswan in southern Egypt.

Trip report index

This article is part of the ‘Walk Like an Egyptian: A Grand Tour of Egypt‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:

1. Red-Eye Ramblings of a Late Night Flight to Cairo
2. A Visit to the Pyramids of Giza by Camel
3. Review: Sofitel Nile El Gezirah, Zamalek, Cairo
4. Exploring the Medieval Old Town and Islamic History of Cairo
5. Visiting the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo
6. Mar Girgis: The Churches of Christian Old Cairo
7. Review: Ernst Watania Sleeping Train Cairo to Aswan (current chapter)
8. The Ancient Quarry of Aswan and the Unfinished Obelisk
9. A Boat Ride From Aswan to the Temple of Isis at Philae
10. A Visit to the Aswan High Dam and Lake Nasser
11. A Visit to the Nubian Village on Aswan’s Elephantine Island
12. Aswan Guide: A Visit to Egypt’s Most Stunningly Located City
13. A Half Day Trip From Aswan to Amazing Abu Simbel
14. Nile River Cruise Guide: All Info for Your Egypt Boat Trip
15. Review: M/S Princess Sarah Nile River Cruise Ship
16. Nile Cruise: Sailing From Aswan to Kom Ombo
17. A Visit to the Ancient Crocodile Temple of Kom Ombo
18. A Visit to the Temple of Horus at Edfu
19. Nile Cruise: Sailing From Edfu to Luxor
20. Luxor, Egypt: Visiting the Sights of Ancient Thebes
21. A Visit to Luxor’s Giant Temple Complex of Karnak
22. Visitor Guide to Wonderful Luxor Temple
23. Valley of the Kings: A Visit to Luxor’s Ancient Necropolis
24. The Temple of Hatshepsut: A Visit to a Unique Mortuary Temple
25. Review: Sofitel Winter Palace Hotel, Luxor, Egypt
26. Review: Daytime Train Luxor to Cairo, Egypt
27. Review: Steigenberger Hotel El Tahrir, Cairo
28. A Visit to the Pyramid of Djoser and the Saqqara Necropolis
29. A Visit to the Dahshur Pyramid Complex
30. Memphis: Exploring the Old Capital of Ancient Egypt
31. From Cairo to Alexandria by Train: My Travel Experience
32. Review: Paradise Inn Le Metropole Hotel, Alexandria, Egypt
33. Alexandria: A Visit to Egypt’s Historic Mediterranean Port City
34. Egypt: Impressions and Reflections After My Two Week Trip
35. Epilogue: Safety and How to Deal With Street Hassle in Egypt

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Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

If you enjoyed this travel article and found the information provided useful, please consider supporting us. Although we gladly share all information for free at, a one-time donation is a great way to help out an independent publisher! You can support Paliparan by buying us a coffee for €5, or by making a donation through PayPal. Thank you for your support!

26 thoughts on “Review: Ernst Watania Sleeping Train Cairo to Aswan, Egypt

  • September 22, 2021 at 4:15 pm

    Excellent and informative as ever Koen – but you’re slipping, it took an awful long time to get around to your first beer in this report! I was thirsty for you reading it.

    • Avatar photo
      September 22, 2021 at 6:07 pm


      I had some earlier at the hotel before going to the train station 😉 and as it’s Egypt, you won’t find any at the station or in the train if you don’t BYOB.

      But generally speaking I don’t actually drink that much (or even nothing at all) when visiting more conservative Islamic countries. It’s not Germany or the Czech Republic after all 😉

  • November 5, 2021 at 6:02 pm

    Very usefull!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to share this infos!! I’m gonna try it next week 🙂

  • December 19, 2021 at 10:27 pm


    Thank you for this very informative review of the night train. However I was wondering; Are there some covid restrictions for using the train? Do you need a PCR test?

    Thank you very much.


    • Avatar photo
      December 20, 2021 at 3:02 pm

      At the moment there are no extra restrictions for travel within Egypt regarding to COVID. Whether you take the Ernst Watania night train, normal Egyptian Railways trains, buses or even domestic flights, you won’t be required to show a negative PCR test result or vaccination certificate. Have a great trip!

  • January 1, 2022 at 8:56 am

    Hi. looking forward to seeing the post about the Nile cruise. thank you

  • October 1, 2022 at 4:20 am

    A very informative & detailed article. Enjoyed reading it & it has been of tremendous help since I am in the process of planning my trip.
    I am planning on taking this train from Giza to Aswan but I am wondering how to buy my ticket.
    When I look at the list of train stations on the website, Giza is not listed. So, my question is, Can I buy a ticket going from Cairo but board the train at Giza? Will this be ok?
    Thank you very much.

    • Avatar photo
      October 3, 2022 at 8:07 pm

      I can’t find Giza station back in the drop-down menu on their website as well, so I assume that booking a ticket from Cairo would be perfectly fine for this. You can always send them a message if you want to be 100% sure – they were quick replying to me when I send them an email with an inquiry! See the contact page/form on their website for details.

  • October 9, 2022 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks so much for this article – we go next week with our three children and it really helped reading this as it answered so many of my questions.

    • Avatar photo
      October 15, 2022 at 3:57 pm

      My pleasure! Hope you have a fantastic trip!

  • October 11, 2022 at 3:52 pm

    We will be taking this train in a few weeks, arriving in Aswan to hop on a 4 day cruise around noon that day. I talked to my sister-in-law in Cairo and she advised against this train, saying that often it runs as late as 8 hours! I’m a bit nervous now, because I really want to take the train, but can’t miss the cruise. I’ve looked online to try to find “on-time percentages” (the way the airlines do) but am not having any luck. What say you?

    • Avatar photo
      October 15, 2022 at 4:06 pm

      From what I’ve heard, 8-hour-delays are really quite uncommon for the Ernst Watania Train, it being the most premium of all trains in the country.

      Yes, Egypt’s rail system is antiquated, delays are common and certainly the less premium trains can suffer from them. But I’d highly doubt you’d be hit with that when taking the Ernst Watania Train! Perhaps one or two hours late, but eight? Unlikely.

      That said, you can always face such a problem while travelling – the same is also true for taking the plane. You might as well find a similar 8-hour delay if you find your morning Egyptair flight to Aswan cancelled for example! What I mean is that it’s always wise to plan for contingencies. If you really must be at a certain point in the morning in Aswan, take the train or plane a day earlier to ease your mind.

      Also, I’d advise you to contact your cruise operator to learn the full schedule of your arrival day in Aswan. Most Nile cruises have flexible schedules on arrival day as they know that passengers can at times arrive late on incoming planes/trains! That’s also why many cruise itineraries have a light schedule on day 1, focussing just on sights in and directly around Aswan. Although my cruise itinerary started on day 1 in Aswan, we actually only set sail from Aswan towards Kom Ombo on day 2, the ship being anchored in Aswan during the entire first night.

  • December 6, 2022 at 12:45 am

    Hi, great review. Thank you!

    I have a quick question: Is there a place at the Ramses station to store luggage the same day you travel? Like, leave the luggage in the morning, go to the Pyramids, and then come back for it for an overnight trip?

    Thank you

    • Avatar photo
      December 6, 2022 at 11:30 am


      I’m not entirely sure about this as I haven’t seen a dedicated luggage office. However, you *may* be able to store bags at the Ernst Watania office (the entrance is outside the station proper, so before you go through security control to enter the main hall) as I saw some bags put away into a corner. I recommend you to contact Ernst Watania by mail and ask them to confirm this – they were quick to reply to an email I sent with some questions!

  • December 21, 2022 at 12:03 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this. It’s helped me decide whether to book a sleeper train to Aswan or a flight. And after reading your review I’m going to book the sleeper train now! Although $120 is quite pricey and a flight is actually cheaper so I’m going to opt for sharing. Fingers crossed I get a good room mate for the night!
    Keep up the good work!

  • December 28, 2022 at 8:09 am

    Hi Koen! Great travel blog! Thanks to your review we visited old town Cairo and it was a great experience!

    But our experience with the Ernst Watania train is quite different. We had a much older train. It was dirty and many things (like reading lights) were broken. Electric wires hanging from the ceiling lights- unprotected. And the toilet was disgusting. I guess it depends a lot of which train you are on. May be interesting for your readers to know.

    • Avatar photo
      December 28, 2022 at 4:39 pm

      Thanks for the feedback!

      It might indeed be either a difference in rolling stock used on your travel date, or a one-off in terms of cleanliness etc (at least I hope so, as most of the feedback about cleanliness has been positive so far).

      I hope they do fix things like wires hanging out soon though on that particular wagon you were in!

  • January 23, 2023 at 8:14 am

    Great informative review! Thank you!

    The Watania online booking site is currently dysfunctional. This was confirmed by other passengers who tried to book online. One booked through a travel agent and received a ticket cancellation by email a few days later. But I had no problem following your instructions and going to the booking office at Rameses station where staff were friendly and helpful.

  • April 18, 2023 at 5:04 pm

    Great to see so many pictures, helping me to re-live the memories. I took this train twice in Oct 2022 as part of a tour. I found it was super fun and worthwhile 🙂 I went between Giza and Aswan stations both times – would love to see the Ramses station one day.

    The train I was on was a bit dusty and old but I found it fine. It was perfectly on time for both journeys. My window had a lot of scratches on it, but I spent a lot of time chatting to my tour-mates in the hall or their rooms.

    1 person in solo cabin = awesome. The people I knew sharing a cabin found that more difficult. And very tall people struggled with the bed size.

  • May 8, 2023 at 4:32 pm

    Hi. Same as Horst my experience was different. I travelled in April 2023 from Cairo to Aswan. Maybe it’s only one old train they have. The railcars are MBB and from late 70s or the early 80s. It is really dirty and half the lights or switches are not working. The main light has not cover and electrical wires are peaking out. The toilet is so worn that part of the seat has no colour anymore. Looks like the the windows have never been cleaned which is a shame as it is hard to see outside. You still get there though. 🙂

  • September 6, 2023 at 9:31 am

    Muy buen post.
    He comprado los tickets en Abela sleeping trains y no me ha llegado al correo el ticket. No se si el que aparece en la pagina seria valido, o si me puedes explicar las caracteristicas de tu ticket.

    • September 22, 2023 at 8:32 am

      Hola Uxia,
      Yo también había mirado para comprar los billetes en Abela sleeping trains pero no estaba segura si era la página oficial porque en todos los blogs que he visto hablan de Watania sleeping train… ¿Es entonces la página oficial?

    • November 3, 2023 at 4:15 pm

      Hola, me pasa igual que a ti, que he comprado on-line los billetes pero no me ha llegado nada. Supongo que ya habrás viajado en el tren, asi que ¿me podrías decir cómo accediste finalmente al vagón?

  • September 22, 2023 at 10:33 am

    Hola Uxia, Hola Ara,
    Tambiùen compré el billete hoy en la pagina web pero no lo recibí todavia.
    Gracias por vuestros feedback.

  • November 18, 2023 at 11:18 am

    Just completed the same trip. Have to say the train, the carriage, the compartment and the toilets were all in a very bad state of repair (broken) and filthy, we’ll fly next time

  • January 20, 2024 at 9:23 pm

    Thank you for this informations


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