The pound (abbreviated as LE) is the currency of Egypt and one pound is 100 piasters. The value of a note (text and figures) is shown in both Arabic and English. The front of notes always shows a mosque and on the back there are images of famous Egyptian and historical sites.
The notes look quite similar: do not confuse pounds and piasters …. and wash your hands because the bills are usually dirty and smelly. Coins are now being used more for values of a pound and below.
In Dahab there are several ATMs and they function most of the time, but we recommend you bring enough hard currency (euros, dollars or GB pounds) just in case …..
ATMs dispense notes of 50 or 100 pounds. Try as soon as possible to break these into small bills because there is always a lack of change. You need to have 1, 5 or 10 LE notes for baksheesh (tips).
There are coins, worth 1 LE, jokingly called the Egyptian Euro because of the resemblance. At International airports you can change money on arrival before you go through passport control (at the same counter as you buy your visa stamp). When you buy a visa you get the change in Egyptian pounds. Always count your change out loud. In many tourist shops you can pay in euros, but the exchange rate will certainly not be to your advantage.
Straight away at the airport, you will experience the phenomenon of ‘baksheesh’: tipping / gratuities. This is a part of the culture. For each ‘service’ you give baksheesh. Keep in mind that the wages in Egypt are very low and unemployment is high; everybody wants something extra to earn. Egyptians also pay baksheesh: it is all part of Egypt. How much baksheesh you should give is hard to advise on: follow your feelings. Someone who carries your luggage or gives you some extra information or shows you extra highlights beyond the usual route, you should give 2 or 3 pounds, for example.