What city is 76% cheaper to live than London?


Can you guess what International City is 76% cheaper to live in than London? According to Expatisan, the cost of living index, its Cairo that is that much cheaper to live in. 

Could you imagine yourself living in Cairo? Not only will your bank balance still look good at the end of the month but you have a city full of old-worldly hospitality and you’ll be seated in the heart of ancient world. Life in Africa’s largest city with a thousand-year history is not always about the money, it’s about the living and the food you will enjoy, the lifestyle you will become accustom to and the years of civilisation you can explore. My time spent travelling through Egypt and staying in Cairo will offer you a taste of what to expect.


Cairo has been described by some as a financial haven for expats. The cost of food, entertainment and transportation are very low. A good example of this is the nation’s most famous dish, Koshari which in a popular Cairo restaurant will cost you on average 3.50LE (30p UK). I first tasted this dish the day I arrived in Cairo, after being driven through the streets of Cairo, by a highly talkative and extremely charismatic BNB owner who took it upon him to be our Egyptian tourist guide. He drove us around the city in his beat-up old car, seatbelt free with his eyes mostly on us in hearty-conversation whilst part me wondered if the car was steering itself? It was nearing lunchtime and our BNB host offered up a variety of potential food choices as he rattled on about the culinary delights in that part of the world and not a moment after I mentioned I wanted vegetarian food, the car swerved onto a pavement and we found ourselves parked rather too close to the entrance of a local eatery to discover the world of Koshari – the nations beloved street food and national dish. Now if the idea of carb overload excites you then this dish is a dream – inside this wee creation is rice, macaroni, lentils and topped with a tomato-vinegar sauce; garnished with chickpeas and crispy fried onions. This dish had me from the first mouthful, the flavours are so good together and although I would learn to fight the weighted feeling I would get after eating such a carb-overload, I pursued this dish in every city we travelled to after Cairo.


I stayed near the Nile in the Embassy area of Cairo and found walking through the inner city and to places like the museum very easy and at times I felt transported back in time as I noticed old men sitting on the same chairs talking and smiling day in day out. Time is on a go-slow. Everything happens at a slightly slower pace than here in London – life happens according to inshallah. The hospitality in Cairo is impressive – the service in every restaurant was relaxed yet hospitable and we were served by men who could have been working for the Egyptian tourist council – nothing appeared to be a problem. People seem generous with their time, from shop keepers who are trying to sell their wares but also want to discuss topics of life-interest, and share part of their culture through the warmth and friendliness of their conversation. Of course there are hands everywhere asking for money, but that doesn’t distracts from the wealth of personality and kindness shown to me by the Egyptian people during my time there.


My interest in travelling to Egypt was one that had sat firmly at the top of my bucket list ever since I was a younger woman and had thoughts on the meaning of life and the reasons why these incredible mathematical pyramids had ever been created? So let’s get straight to it - The Pyramids – if you love the idea of visiting and learning more about these almost magical historical monuments then you need to spend time living in Cairo. The Cairo Museum is also the home to some incredibly fascinating artefacts from Pharaonic Egypt. Why study it in a book or fly in for a fleeting visit when you can call this place home and learn more about it every day? And if you have children, is this not the best place for them to have a real life history lesson?

And if you find yourself ready for the next part of Egypt journey, then travel is very cheap and you have such a diversity available to you. Perhaps a long weekend diving or relaxing in Sharm El sheikh or an exploration to the Valley of the Kings in Luxor or perhaps a few days visiting the Isis Temple which is set on Philae island south of Aswan. You need to get there by boat over the Nile and once you are there you will find the most incredible… well, I guess you will need to go there yourself to find out.

Teaching in Cairo could be more than you expected. At edvetcus we work with some of the best International Schools in Cairo and can help teachers into an opportunity of a lifetime so contact me to find out more.

--By Lisa Bavidge, International Recruitment Consultant at Edvectus

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