The buses to Siwafrom Cairo and Alexandra are reliable, safe and take 9 hours from Alexandria and 11 hours from Cairo. The buses range from brand new to maybe 10 years old and a bit tired but fully functioning. They generally have air conditioning and a toilet on board. The seats are reclining and the same as any coach seat in the UK. You have enough room to read a book and you normally get one movie in English and one in Arabic.
Cairo to Siwa: all buses from Cairo to Siwa now leave from Turgoman Station – you might see it advertised as the Cairo Gateway station but nobody calls it this. It’s a ten minute cab ride from downtown (get a white cab and watch the meter). If you telephone or your hotel checks the times they will tell you there is one bus a day at around 19:00 direct to Siwa. This is correct, but what they don’t tell you is there is a direct bus to Marsa Matruh every hour. They start at 07:00 and leave every hour, on the hour. The cost to Marsa Matruh is 155 EGP. Change at Marsa Matruh for a direct bus to Siwa. It’s very easy and you buy the ticket for the Siwa bus from the driver before you get on.
The cost is around 50 EGP per person from Alexandria and 65 EGP from Cairo. There are several buses a day to Siwa from each city.The buses from Cairo terminate at Marsa Matrouh but there is a simple connection there to continue on to Siwa. The timetable does change so I haven’t put the times here, but there is one around 07:00, 10:00, 14:00, 17:00 and 22:00. We can confirm all of this for you at the time of your visit. The overnight buses are popular with the locals and if you can sleep on a bus, this is a good option.
When we travel as a family, we take the train to Alexandria from Cairo and then catch the bus from there to Siwa. The bus stops three times on the way for tea and toilets. The toilet facilities are basic but a new half-way house is being built on the way to Siwa that will fix this problem. You will often meet other travellers on the bus and talk the hours away.