Myself and my boyfriend travelled to Egypt in May 2006 and we stayed in Sharm el Sheikh.
Where is Sharm El Sheikh?
Sharm el-Sheikh is probably one of the most popular places for people to visit in Egypt and it is certainly the most developed tourist resort. It is situated on the Sinai Peninsula.
How Long Does It Take To Get To Sharm?
The flight to Sharm takes just over 5 hours from any of the London Airports which isn't too bad.
We were told before we went on holiday that Sharm airport is really manic but we didn't find that at all, this could be due to that fact that they had a new terminal open earlier this year.
The airport is fairly small, especially considering that I am comparing it to the London Airports.
Avoid the local men with the trollies for your luggage, they will try and charge you £2 for using it so we made sure we carried our own luggage!!
Cost Of Holiday To Sharm El Sheikh
Our holiday cost us £575 per person for 11 nights at the Hilton Sharks Bay hotel staying on an all inclusive basis. Considering that we were all inclusive so in theory you have no need to spend any money once you are there, I thought the price was very reasonable.
Weather In Sharm
It's absolutely baking hot in Sharm. We have just got back (end of May) and it was in the 40's for most of our stay and these sort of temperatures continue throughout June, July and August. The sky is so clear and it a beautiful shade of blue with no a cloud in sight.
You will need to be very careful that you do not burn, my skin is fairly used to the sun but I used so much sun cream while we were out there as you can literally feel the sun burning your skin if you don't reapply the sun cream.
You especially need to be careful when sunbathing near the beach as it doesn't feel so hot due to the fact that there is a breeze so you need to remember to put your sun cream on!
Currency In Sharm
In Sharm the currency is the Egyptian pound and currently the exchange rate is 11 Egyptian Pounds to one English pound.
Nightlife in Sharm
We tended to spend most of our evening in the hotel because we staying on an all inclusive basis and wanted to take advantage of the free food and drinks. However, on the couple of occasions we ventured into town, we found that Sharm has quite a lively night scene. We spoke to various people staying in our hotel who informed us that the nightlife was great but things didn't tend to liven up until midnight.
There are plenty of bars to have a drink in and there is also the nightclub Pasha where quite a few famous DJ's have played over the years. They quite often hold themed nights at Pasha and people in the street hand out flyers.
The Egyptian people are a lovely race of people, so friendly and willing to help. The staff at our hotel was brilliant and would go out of their way to help you.
Some of the locals in town, and especially the taxi driver's could be a little too pushy for my liking but as long as you remain firm and tell them that you are not interested in what they are selling then they will go away - at the end of the day, they are just trying to make some money.
Always be prepared to haggle with the shop keepers, for some reason they think the English are rich and will try to charge you silly prices so you need to haggle to get a decent price - its almost like a bit of a game!!
Personally I really liked the locals and although some were pushy, once they realised you were not interested, they moved onto someone else.
The taxi's drive like absolute nutters!! They are not well looked after, there are no seat belts, the window levers are all missing etc and they drive at such speeds and are forever sounding their horns to warn other cars that they are just about to hit them!! Honestly, I held my breath at some points thinking we were going to hit another car! At night time they even drive without their light which is an experience!
Having said that though, we used a taxi several time and I am still here to tell the tale so it cant be that bad and is certainly an experience.
The taxis will try and rip you off so agree the price before you actually get in the car. If the taxi is doing a return trip (i.e. dropping you off and collecting you later) then do not pay then until the collect you - that way you can be sure they will turn up and not run off with your money and not collect you.
We agreed on a price with our taxi driver and he still tried to rip is off when we went to pay - in the end we threw the money at him (the price we had agreed to pay) and got out the taxi - the cheeky so and so!!
Things To Do In Sharm
There is such a vast choice of activities to take part in, in Sharm El Sheikh that there really is something to suit every taste.
You will see Shisha Pipes everywhere in Egypt. Pretty much all cafes and bars offer shisha pipes and they cost around £1.60 each.
The shisha pipe is basically a pipe with a long, flexible stem and a large base which is usually decorated with beads etc. The ingredients that you smoke and apparently all natural and contain no nicotine. Flavours include cherry, apple, melon, mango and strawberry just to name a few.
We found that many people who didn't even smoke were doing the shispa pipes, and I have to admit it does smell and taste very nice!!
Being the animal lover I am, we certainly had to take part in the camel ride. The camels are kitted out with lots of rugs over the top of them and you sit on a wooden frame which is positioned over their back. The ride is bumpy to say the least and trying to stay in your seat when the camel stands up and sits down is good fun! We paid £4 for about a 20 minute walk which was reasonable.
Glass Bottom Boats
There will be countless places where you can book yourself a trip on a glass bottom boat. This is ideal for people who can not swim as they can still experience the unique marine life that Sharm has to offer without even getting wet. A day trip on the glass bottom boat, with food and drinks included was £25 which to be honest, we thought was a little overpriced so we didn't go on this trip.
Visit To Naama Bay
Our hotel was about a 20 minute taxi ride away from Naama Bay so on a couple of evening we decided to head into Naama Bay to see what it was like and I would certainly recommend it to others. Naama Bay is fairly relaxed throughout the day and most of the people can be found on the beach. At night, it is a different story, the atmosphere in totally different. The one downside is that you get a lot of hassle from the shop keepers, trying to encourage you into their shops etc. I hate being rude and saying no but in the end you find that you have to otherwise you end up wasting half your evening with someone trying to sell you something you don't even want.
The shopping is excellent in Naama Bay. Most of the shops sell fake bags, purses etc from makes such as Louis Vuitton, Burberry, DKNY etc and the prices are very reasonable. The shop keepers will try and persuade you that the items are genuine and will try and charge you British prices but you can haggle with them and get them for a decent price.
There is a great selection of restaurants in Naama Bay ranging from small local run restaurants so large restaurants such as TGI Fridays and The Hard Rock Café. Five of us had a meal at TGI Friday's and the whole meal (2 course each) came to about £10 per person which was fairly reasonable.
The main strip in Naama Bay in fantastic with little cafes set up on either side of the street, there are loads of little lounges where you can sit on cushions on the floor, have a drink and smoke shisha pipes!
Our hotel offered a Stargazing trip (which we didn't actually go on). This is basically where you are taken on a boat ride, where you have a nice meal and lay and look at the stars - all very romantic. To be honest, I would have liked to have done this trip but we were so busy that we didn't have the time in the end. The trip was £25 for 2 people which was very reasonable.
I am not sure if every hotel would offer this trip but I know that ours and a couple of the other Hilton's did.
There are so many water sports on offer in Sharm. You could hire jet skis, canoes and pedal's and also do para-scending and banana boat rides. Our friend did the para-scending which they really enjoyed and it cost £35 for both of them which was an ok price. Again, we didn't have time to do any water sports so I cant really comment on prices.
Cairo - The Pyramids
Our hotel offered a trip to see the Pyramids. I would have loved to have done this but it either meant an overnight stay in Cairo or an exceptionally long coach journey and it was quite expensive too.
Cairo is over 500 miles away from Sharm so you have the option of a LONG coach journey, or flights and the flights with one night in Cairo cost £150 per person. If I had known we could have done that before arriving then I probably would have done it as I would love to see the Pyramids.
Hundreds of people return to Sharm every year for the scuba diving and snorkelling. We went snorkelling from the hotel jetty several times during our stay and it is incredible the amount of marine life you can see from just snorkelling.
You were able to rent snorkels and masks from the dive school but we took our own with us so we didn't need to.
As well as snorkelling from one of the jetty's, you could also go on boat trip where you could snorkel from the boat. A day trip on the boat cost £25 per person and that included a full day on the boat, the hire of the snorkel and mask and food and drink. To be honest, I thought that trip was a little overpriced and we didn't go on it but we spoke to other people that had done the trip and they really enjoyed it and were amazed with the marine life.
We met so many scuba divers while we were in Sharm. The Red Sea is one of the best places in the world to Dive so for obvious reasons, it attracts lots of diver and for that reason, there are many dive schools throughout Sharm. We have a dive club located at out hotel so we always did any dived with them.
We went on a couple of dives from the jetty, including a night dive and we also went on a boat trip and did three dives from the boat. It total we did one night dive, 2 drift dives and a wreck dives and each dive cost around 40 euros and that included the equipment hire.
If you have never tried scuba diving then there are quite a few places that offer introductory dives which enable you to see if you would like scuba diving.
I would thoroughly recommend it - there's something very odd but also very calming about being able to breathe underwater. I think it's a privilege that we have the means to explore a totally new world!
Quite a few places offered days out Quad Biking but to be honest this didn't really appeal to me as I didn't fancy being out all day on a bike in the baking hot heat with helmet and long sleeved clothes on! I was hot enough in my bikini. Also, the price put me off a bit at £55.
Many places offer trips to Ras Mohammad but this is mainly for people wishing to Snorkel and Scuba Dive. This is an underwater national park and you will actually need to get a visa at the airport (in Sharm) to gain access to Ras Mohammad. The visa was £10 and we bought them at the airport when we first arrived (be warned the queues are pretty manic!)
We did scuba diving at Ras Mohammad and it was a very enjoyable day with a plush boat where we could just chill and enjoy the boat journey before enjoying some diving.
The price of this trip was included in a package we bought from the dive school but I remember reading that it would cost £35 euros for the trip.
All together I found my first experience of Sharm el Sheikh a very pleasant one. There is so much to do that one of my biggest regrets was that we didn't have the time to do everything we would have liked. The local people are very friendly and welcoming. For anyone interested in diving, this is am amazing place with so many underwater places to visit.
I would definitely recommend Sharm El Sheikh to other people, it would be suited to couples and groups of people. Personally I would not be happy to take a child here because the sun is just too hot although Sharm El Sheikh caters extremely well for children and the locals are great with them.
A great location for a nice chilled and cultured holiday.
I have been here a couple of times now in different areas and different hotels and love it.
For the upmarket trip their is a gorgeous hotel called the Ritz Carlton, it is 5 star luxury and you really feel it. Clean, well maintained beautiful ground and quality rooms with great service.
This has its own beach many pools restaurants bars and more. Also an on site dive centre, this is why I visited, it has now changed hands so I cannot review it but when I went it was brilliant.
I have also visited a cheaper more budget type hotel, the ramada plaza, recently as i choose to spend a month their diving. This was cheaper, not so clean, the food left a little to the imagination, no real grounds, but it did have restaurants, bars and a pool on the roof, and a spa. The staff struggle to understand English so communication was hard but they did try. This hotel was cheap and you get what you pay for, it was perfect for a place to sleep but not as a place to stay all day.
Naama Bay, a big town in Sharm was good. It has a beach at the front, most of the beach is private though you have a either be staying in one of the hotels or be eating at the restaurant to use them. However you generally get a beach with your hotel.
Naama itself is primarily a large market, with different areas and hundreds of shops, some of these are wonderful and some not so. You will find you are pestered by the locals to buy and they all want to offer you a drink. You have to pick and choose and just brush off the comments from those you say no to as you cant physically please them all.
Shops cover everything from clothes, but european and local, jewelery both costume and quality, herbs, spices and teas, tobacciana and much more. Remember its a country of hagglers, unlike the UK prices are not set. Haggle and walk away if your not happy. Also remember when buying can you get it home? perfume there is wonderful but it might get broken in your case so I went for 100ml bottle and carried it in hand luggage. Any larger and you will loose it at customs. Also remember your wieght limits, over kg are very costly.
There are many places to eat and drink in the area. Local themed bars and not so egyptian ones, so if your after the bedouin experience or a starbucks you will find it all.
One tip though, always ask to see the menu before ordering, if they say its ok im the menu dont listen, unless you get the prices up front they will charge you double. this isnt them being nasty, just despearate as we all are now in times to recession. They have less tourists therefore need more from those who do come. But get prices upfront and you will be fine.
Also remember there are no measurements with alcohol so dont go made you only need a couple!
In terms of diving, the place is excellent and go with the right company and you cant have a better time.
Do do your research, the scare stories you hear are generally from individuals doing something stupid which unfortunately we cant do much about, or badly organised companies. However go with the right one and you couldnt be in better hands.
I personally recommend red sea diving college, they are friendly, proffessional, flexible and safe. I have dived with them and trained with them and cannot complain about anything. They even have loyalty schemes which are worthwhile.
Not to just praise the one I have also heard camel dive are good and one or two others.
Things to remember, Egypt is a muslim country, a lot of tourist areas allow european dress but do take with you something to cover your shoulders and stomach and a scarf is handy, just incase you decide to visit a religeous area, women in particular need to be covered.
Also the do not eat pork, although you may find it in some european markets it will not be readily available and asking for it is quite an insult.
Alcohol is expensive and most of it is imported so bare in mind drinks are pricey. However I can reccomend the hibiscus cosmo, try it if you see it as you wont find it here. Also hibiscus tea is gorgeous and very good fro you another one to try.
Currency wise, most market stalls like local currency, egyptians pounds but larger places, restaurants etc will take euros and some even dollars. So it does help to have a mixture with you. Money can be taken out there from cashpoints this comes out as egyptian so remember when requesting it you are asking for there money not ours otherwise you may get out too much or too little.
Medical, you dont need any vaccinations for sharm but it is advisable to boil or drink bottle water, this isnt because of bacteria but the sulphur content in the water, to locals it is fine but to those not used to it it can make you feel sick.
Do drink a lot while your there, it is hot and too easy to get dehydrated. the best test is drink until your pee is clear. otherwise you could end up feeling ill and its not uncommon for people to faint from the heat in summer.
The waters are warmer than the UK all year round. Peaking at about 30 degrees and dropping to about 20.
on the surface a swimsuit is fine, diving a skinsuit for protection in summer and a 5mm wetsuit in winter. You may see the drysuits come out in some but that is usually staff who are in 4/5 times a day and never have a chance to dry or warm up.
There are corals in the water and therefore tropical fish. The coral is endangered as it takes a ridiculously long time to grow so please dont break it or try to get a souvenir if we all did that it would be gone in no time. Also some corals will burn your skin, firecoral being the main one. There are some poisonous aquatic life there but they dont come looking for you so as long as you dont touch them you should be fine. Basically look and dont touch.
Do stick to designated swimming areas as these dont allow boats in, outside these the boats have allmost freereign and can cause harm is your get hit by one. This isnt a worry though as they are many places for swimmers.
Lastly, i think, i will add more as if i find iv forgotten bits, try and learn a couple of local words or phrses it goes a long way. And also please dont litter, the place has too much already and if we just took our own rubbish away that wouldnt be an issue.
Went here last year for a nice break to get away from uni after i had finished.
I wish i could say i reccomend it, but i cant.
Everyone there just seems to be trying to get as much money out of you as possible.
Including the hotel staff.
Be prepared to argue, get leered at, perved upon and harassed. They do not know what no means and will try to rip you off on every occasion.
The theme tune to my holiday was the constant beeping of horns from the taxi drivers, who are easily the worst con artists that sharm el sheikh has to offer.
Ask around first to see how much it should cost to get to places, otherwise they will try to charge you 10x as much as it should have cost in the first place.
The food is terrible, everyone i know that has been there has gotten ill, i myself had food posioning.
The only safe place i had food was mcDonalds, what does that say?
Apart from all of this the weather is gorgeous, the beach is nice and the ocean is great.
I would reccomend doing the excursions but again look around, the hotels may say that they are the cheapest and safest but they just take your money then go to the people on the beachfront and give them even less then what you paid for the service.
Look around in the shops, they get everything they sell for really cheap but try to mark it up stupid amounts, haggle with them, if they say no or demand another price just walk away. Nothing is unique, everyone does the same stuff.
I can understand why they are like this, but they just dont learn when enough is enough.
I feel sorry for the women who go there, i was there with my girlfriend and we were harassed by many men, it gets annoying very quickly and theres not much you can do espechially if some of the men are the police, all with guns.
I booked Egypt as I had heard quite a few good reports of the newly developed tourist resorts, and it was ideal weather in January.
We stayed in Sharm El Shaikh and booked our holiday through Thomas Cook.
First impressions were quite good the airport seemed very clean and was a pleasure to see when we arrived.
Whilst travelling to our hotel you can see the amount of building work that is being done, hotels are shooting up everywhere!
We took a trip out into the dessert which I would highly recomend! Seeing the rural side to the country is such an eye opener and you have an amazing sense of calm when you are standing there seeing all but sand in the distance with no noise from traffic, it is a wonderful experience.
We did wish to take a trip to Cairo but was advised by a couple in our hotel not to take the trip as it is expensive and they rush you from one place to another so you don't really get to see anything!
If you get the opportunity go snorkling in the coral reefs, it is amazing! we went on an organised trip which was fantastic but quite off putting when we had to go to the shop to hire the equipment, as kids were jumping on the vehicle begging for money, the reps were shooing them away like animals!
When you go to a market area or shopping centre (naama bay was the wrost) be prepared to be harrassed! They are so forcefull it is unreal and quite frightening sometimes, we use to run through some streets just to avoid the hassle!
The locals can be friendly but if you are blonde like me then be prepared to have them dribbling over you! It is quite amazing how much being blonde can excite them and being with your boyfriend makes no difference in the slightest! I had my arm grabbed, my partner was offered camels for me (and i dont think he was joking). Just never be on your own always make sure you are with someone ideally a 20 stone wrestler then maybe they will leave you alone!
Be careful of the chemists, we visited the one in our hotel when I had a bad stomach and he tried to charge me £100 for some tablets! when i went to walk off he said he was joking and charged me £15! When we got home I looked at the tablets on the internet and they had been banned from the UK as they can have nasty side affects, so always take your own from home!
You are constantly being hassled by people on camels (especially on the beech) but be careful cause all you need to do is touch one and they will try to charge you.
Overall I wasn't very impressed and have reverted back to going to European destinations which I know have their faults but I feel more comfortable and safe.
I think in a few years Egypt will be very over built and very crowded, I don't think I will be returning and would not recomend.
I've recently returned from my first trip to Sharm el Sheikh with mixed feelings so though i'd write a quick review of it.
We booked a week long trip with Thomas Cook for about £550 each, all inclusive which i thought was a great deal.
We stayed in the Concorde Beach Hotel in Sharks Bay. There are 4 other resorts along that particular bay, each with its own private beach. There's not alot else to do there outside the hotel in Sharks Bay, there is a small restaurant/shopping area called Soho Square which has a few decent restaurants and some shops. Other than that most hotels put on a free shuttle bus to Naama Bay where there's alot more to do in terms of shops/restaurants/bars.
Very hot! Over 40 degrees C most days, best to stay in the shade! All inclusive is definately the way forwards in the heat as all the drinks etc are free.
The Concorde hotel was pretty decent, good facilities pools, bars, a couple of restaurants with a better than expected variety of food. I would recommend it. Theres a pretty good private beach area with an excellent private coral reef.
The service was reasonable but the odd tip to one or two people seems to get you better service, not sure that the right way to get good service but it seems to work.
Most of the guests at the hotel were Russian but there were lots of Italians and Brits as well. No real issues with the guests, all keeping themselves to themselves.
Things to do:
Watersports are the main things, all sorts of snorkelling/diving opportunities, waterskiing, banana boats, etc.
There are quite a few excursions available to places like Cairo, Jerusalem, into the Sinai desert, Camel Rides, etc. Most can be booked through a tour operator or in the resort.
Couple of negative points:
My wife and i were both i'll on the holiday, most people i know who have been to Sharm have been ill at some point on their trip.
There is a bit of a money for nothing culture, right from the airport to the hotel to people on the street everyone seems to be after your money, either for a tip or trying to flog you something!
I also found that you get hassled alot, in the hotel people try to sign you up for watersports, massages etc and dont seem to understand the word 'no'! Also outside the hotel people hassle you to go into the shop and in the shop itself. I did expect to be hassled a bit and to haggle (which is quite fun) but it does get tiresome and is a bit relentless, not what you want on a relaxing holiday.
We found ourselves amongst a psyched up mob at the boarding gates of London Luton airport, waiting to board the 6-seater/unlimited-standing bus and watching our fellow travellers exhibiting all the tactical posturing rituals that are now employed when you are in the final moments before the every-man-woman-pensioner-corpse-and-child-for-themselves scramble across the Tarmac and up the staircase and into the seats of the inevitable Easyjet flight.
The usual silent inner-monologue-bickering simmered but never boiled, and everyone took their seats, safe in the knowledge that this is an Easyjet aeroplane, and they're cheap, so the flights are short, and they'd all be going their separate ways in safety pretty soon.
This time though, and I'm not making this up, about half of the passengers audibly groaned when they seemingly discovered, thanks to the anxious-looking cabin crew, that this time, they were having you survive an exposure to Orange for 5 hours.
It takes 5 Hours to get to Egypt, because Egypt is in Africa, don't you know?
I actually enjoyed the flight, as my personal pet hate on flights is when the dwarf in the seat ahead of me reclines to the fullest and most unnecessary of degrees.
Sit up straight man! We are not going to the moon! Is something I've never said out loud.
Easyjet resolve this issue ingeniously by welding the seats in one position.
"Hinges are clearly more costly, sell them on ebay. But we'll leave the buttons in the chair arm anyway, because that'll be more fun".
5 hours of Ipod Shuffling and one pre-packed lunch later we landed on the smoothest runway I've ever known. Which was despite the Pilot's best efforts to gouge a dent on the touchdown, or more accurately, just 'The Down'.
3 inches shorter, we were feeling under prepared for what was facing us, even after the wild melee to board the aircraft at Luton.
That was a mere appetiser for what we about to be launched into at Sharm-el-Sheikh cattle market. AKA Arrivals.
I knew we were supposed to get a visa on arrival for around £10, and the mushy queues at the various desks informed us that most other people in the airport had also been told they'd need a visa too.
What they don't tell you, is which window from the choice of 20 or more are you supposed to go to, and when things involve windows and passports, I always like to know I'm not signing up for the local armed services.
We eventually settled on the only window that was displaying a price, $15, before we stood behind a Russian family who either didn't know how to queue efficiently, or were some sort of KGB blocking party, as they proceeded to allow half of Moscow to go ahead of us in the line, thus turning our short line into something resembling the queue outside the Leningrad branch of Greggs in 1989.
Lumbered with nothing but large value crispy new banknotes, I handed over 400 Egyptian pounds, roughly £45, and got a sum of change that could only mean the GBP was worth less than a dollar. There were Russians around, and I didn't want to make them wait any more, and the Visa window man's job description also meant he was allowed to have a gun, so I opted to grumble quietly rather than harrumph out loud and turned to be faced with another crowd of people, waiting to get the Visas we'd just bought, to be stamped. It's still unclear to me as to why the man who sold me my Visa, and was entrusted with firearms, wasn't also able to be entrusted with a rubber stamp.
Half an hour on the transfer coach saw us dropped off at our base for the next 7 days, the Park Inn Hotel, located in the utterly unpronounceable Nabq Bay area of Sharm el Sheikh.
Considering that Sharm el Sheikh was little more than a village in 1982, the area has undergone an outrageous amount of development into the beast it presents these days.
Our hotel came with it's own waterpark and it's own private area of beach. It was apparent that many of the guests here were entering through these gates of the resort with no intention of leaving them again for at least the next seven days.
Our room was on the third floor, the highest you can go, and was one of over 400 others that made up The Park, described as a 5 Star, but the facilities and fixtures were more equivalent to a Spanish 3 star, on the basis that Spanish 3 Stars are the same as English 2 Stars, or Greek 8 stars.
First impressions of the immediate area that surrounds the resort, and pretty much every resort in Nabq Bay might explain why the leatherettes wouldn't leave the free bar.
Aside from a few tourist-trap trinket shops, and several supermarkets that were so tidily presented it hinted toward the fact that perhaps opening a shop surrounded by All Inclusive hotels was possibly not the best business decision, there was almost nothing but sand and mountainous vistas for daylight hours, and nothing but inky darkness at night.
There is essentially one road that runs through the centre of Sharm, with resorts on either side, and the majority of bars and shops are in Na'ama Bay.
Na'ama Bay has shiny shopping centres and a few indoor markets and we took the hotel bus one evening for £5 each, after being quoted a cost of £40 by a man in a leather jacket who hung around the hotel lobby and called himself a 'Limo Driver' - Limo in this case being stretched metaphorically rather than actually to include a Toyota Avensis.
Right in the centre of Na'ama was unexpectedly familiar, as from the roof terrace of the rather marvellous Camel Club bar, you can point to a Mcdonalds, a Hard Rock Cafe, a Funky Buddha and a Pacha Nightclub, and then walk to them all within 2 minutes of descending the stairs. A true home away from home for the Sloane Rangers. Funky Buddha is also a club/bar, there wasn't a monk playing bass guitar.
Separating these western names were several shisha pipe cafe's - shisha pipes being hugely popular in Edgware Road, North London, and the idea has clearly travelled well over to here too, because they were all at it, even the waiters, who (altogether now...) would hook a hookah pipe a up for you, demonstrated their undiminished lung capacities by inhaling from the giant bong contraption and exhaling tremendous amounts of smoke. Or steam. Or whatever it is.
I had Melon flavoured mist, and it was as weird as I hoped it would be, but my tongue did taste like a rancid Galia for the rest of the night.
On the days where we weren't on a boat pursuing turtles and diving certificates, we spent by one of the 3 pools that were around the hotel, and it was here where we discovered why the Russians couldn't queue properly. They were posing for photographs. With hindsight, the Airport experience probably means I'm part of several KGB Family portraits.
All around the pool, there were Russian women reclining on the grass or lifting one leg up and leaning a bit, or turning their heads in odd ways, whilst their speedo clad boyfriends took pictures on his SLR camera. All the poses gave the impression that there are more sequences in their collection of photos that haven't yet been taken.
The hilarity of our soviet cousins photography habits pales into insignificant disbelief when you are amongst an 80/20 minority and the complexity of standing in a queue outfoxes the 80% contingent once again, and there is a somewhat haphazard arrangement to the buffet restaurant whereby the 20% of British guests form a rudimentary and sporadic queue while the Russians interject randomly to pile onto their plate whatever the selection on the end of the spoon might be - traditional food combinations are not adhered to, such as Jelly and bread with chicken wings and rice, nor are painstakingly carved displays sacred. One night, one man with a short neck and square haircut had to be physically discouraged from tucking into the giant watermelon that was carved into a boat.
Entertainment aside, the food in the hotel wasn't fantastic, so we elected one night to eat at a restaurant in Na'ama Bay called Pomodoro, which served italian, and with delicious quality that meant we went back for a second go the very next night - both meals with drinks coming to less than £30 for both of us - and not a food fight brewing anywhere to be seen.
Excursions into the desert were available, and readily so from the gaggle of reps in the apparently one-stop hotel lobby, by either quad bike or camel, depending on your Laurence of Arabia or Mad Max aspirations, followed by an evening with some surprisingly immobile Nomads, and some star gazing at the unpolluted night skies, or to the nearby St Katharine's Monastery, which sounds like an oxymoron, but it actually exists, both for around £15-£30 each, or for slightly more expenditure, there's Cairo by aeroplane, or for the geographically naive, Cairo By Bus. In a Day. A 23 hour long day trip, with less than a third of that in Cairo itself.
Once again though, the fact I was underwater most of the time meant we did none of these, much to some dismay of the valiant sales people.
As a destination, Sharm El Sheikh offers little more than the Red Sea coastline that it stretches along, and if you're a diver, then it is highly recommended, although in summer, the boats, and consequantly the popular dive sites, are very busy, and overcrowded, like Stoney Cove on a Bank Holiday Weekend. We were there in March, when the waters are more quiet, but the coral is less vibrant than in the summer months. If you're not a diver, or someone who likes snorkelling, then either expect to spend a lot of time by the beach, or on a boat, or by the pool, because there's not much else for you to do.
To experience Egypt properly, you would have to travel to Cairo for longer than a few hours, or by a cruise from Luxor.
Sharm el Sheikh is a product of modern tourism, and lacks a heart on dry land, relying instead on the milking the pockets of self contained underwater breathing enthusiasts.
I could have loved it.
Sharm el Sheikh is the most popular upcoming resort in Egypt. Me and my boyfriend decided to go here last year for our summer holiday, as after trawling through all the holiday site, thomas cook, first choice etc, egypt kepy coming up the best value for money over places like the canaries, so we thought we would give it a go!
Ive never really been interested in going to egypt, i thought it was all pyramids and historical stuff, until my mum went there and absolutely loved it! I didnt realise it was a place you could just go to lay on a nice sandy beach, eat all you want and just relax, just like you can in places like spain, greece etc.
We paid £489 each for a week all inclusive with thomson. I thought this was a bargain compared to other places at that time of year for just self catering!
We went to Sharm el sheikh on 26th June last year for 1 week. I did not realise it got so hot during this time of year! I was told it was hot, but one day it reached 45 degrees, i love hot countries, but this was just unbearable for me! We constantly had to sit in the shade, as the sun just felt way too hot!
My mum went in March last year, and she said the weather was gorgeous and came back with a nice tan, i think if i was going to sharm el sheikh, this is the time of year i would choose next time. It was too uncomfortable in the summer. We spoke to locals, who were telling us 45 degrees was nothing to them! In august they said it goes well into the 50's! I dont know they work in that heat!
The people in Sharm were the nicest i have ever come across abroad, i didnt expect egyptian people to be so friendly and chatty, but they always made an effort to talk to you.
Sharm el Sheik, has some gorgeous beaches. The hotel we stayed at had its own private beach, which seems to be the same for most of the hotels. I think all the beaches are split up with every hotel having their own section.
I think this may be because the hotels in sharm el sheikh are all inclusive, as it is not like spain, with loads of main strips of restuarants and bars. When we were on the private bus to the beach you drive past vast amounts of land which is just all being built on, not many restuarants to be seen! I think this resort is going to be very good in years and years to come when it is a bit more built up, as there are just areas of land just wasted here.
I think the main strip of restuarants is in Nama Bay, although as we were all inclusive we did not try any. We had heard stories about Nama Bay which actually made us too frightened to go! We had heard about people being locked in shops and restaurants until they bought more, i would be absolutely terrified if i went in a shop and they locked the doors!
The sea is clear blue in sharm el sheikh, and if you ever visit you must go snorkelling! I am not a fan of water and never get off the lilo, but i decided to be brave and go snorkelling with my boyfriend as everybody was recommending it. This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, if you swim up to a coral reef and put your head under the water, it is amazing the different types of fish you sea! They are all so close, and you can get an underwater camera from most shops, we bought one from our hotel, and took loads of pictures.
I would go back to sharm el sheikh just for the snorkelling, it is an amazing experience! There are many diving and snorkelling trips to try, although we didnt bother as you can see just as much yourself for free in the sea at the hotel beaches.
There are glass bottom boats aswell, if you dont like to go in the water yourself, deffinately go on one of these and see all those amazing fish!
We went on a quad bike trip to the desert, as it was so hot the trip did not start until 4pm, and we came home about 11pm. Usually it is a day trip starting in the morning when it is not too hot. I would well recommend this, it was one of the best trips i have been on abroad ever! Although we didnt go on the quad bikes, as i was a bit too scared to drive one, we went on the sand buggies which are just as fun!
My boyfriend drove ours, and the guides go really fast, but not too fast you cant keep up, so its good fun! You also get your tea in the desert which was lovely, and they put on a bit of a show for you, belly dancing etc. This trip cost us about £50 each and was more than worth it.
We also went on the star gazing trip, which is a night out in the desert, you get a meal, they show you how they make bread etc, and then at the end of the trip you get to look through the telescopes at the north star, the moon and saturn. They tell you all about the different constellations etc. This trip is amazing, you can see them so clearly and is well worth it even if your not really into that sort of stuff, im not really, i only went because my boyfriend really wanted to go, but i actually found it fascinating. This trip cost us about £25 each i think, i cant remember exactly but i thought it was good value for money.
We also went paragliding in sharm el sheikh at the hotels private beach, but it gave us a wonderful view of all the other beaches in sharm and it looked gorgeous. This cost us £35 for the two of us for 8 minutes in the air, but was well worth it.
You can also visit the pyramids if you want to, although it is a 24 hour trip and very expensive. I think it was about £200 each to fly there, but a lot cheaper to go by coach. The coach ride was 6 hours, so we decided not to bother!
I loved sharm el sheik and although i thought everywhere was very clean and the food was cooked well, when i got home i was very ill, and didnt feel better for about 2 weeks after i got back, which was a shame as it really put me off going back. However i have been told doctors it is the heat that upsets your stomach so much, so i wouldnt worry about going in the cooler months. My boyfriend was also ill, but my mum who went in March was absolutely fine.
Overall, i would recommend sharm el sheikh to anyone wanting a nice beach holiday, or a sight seeing trip. Just go in the cooler months, as it gets way to hot in summer!
We decided to try Egypt in July last year as we got a very good last minute deal, and temperatures of 40degrees + were very appealing.
Sharm el Sheikh is situated on the Southern side of the sinai desert and is on the coast of the Red Sea. It is only a five hour flight from Manchester airport so is ideal if you are looking for a week in the sun.
Our flight left Manchester at around 5pm so we arrived in Egypt at 11pm, When we stepped off the plane, the heat was unbelievable, it was 37degrees! I am used to hot countries but had never felt heat like that at that time of night. During our stay, the average temperature during the day was around 44degrees.
One thing to note about Egypt, is that the locals like to be tipped, when we left the airport and were heading to the bus with our cases, a very friendly guy offered to help me carry them, it didn't even enter my head that he would want paying! He held his hand out and would not put the cases down until we paid, I was too tired to argue so I gave him a five pound note, which i was later told that this was around a days wage for him, so if you are tipping, keep it to around £1 or less.
We stayed in Three Corners St George apartment complex, and were all inclusive. I would well recommend this hotel, it was very clean, good sized rooms and a good selection of food out each day, plenty to chose from even for fussy eaters. It had two pools which were a very good size. The staff could not be faulted, very friendly and would do anything they could to help. The hotel itself wasn't close to the beach, but it did have a private beach around ten minutes away. The hotel offered a free shuttle bus to the beach every 30mins which was brilliant, there was a restaraunt at the beach too, so no need to return to the hotel each time you want feeding. Luckily the rooms all had air con as standard, which was free to use, this kept the room
The beaches in Egypt are very good, all the sun beds were free on our beach, the sea, even at 9am was warm enough to walk straight into. It's well worth taking a set of goggles and a snorkle, the fish are amazing, if you just swim out a bit to where the coral is, you will see fish similar to what you would see in an aquariam. I'd recommend buying some coral shoes that can be bought for around a 5er, the coral will rip your feet to shreds if you don't have these shoes on. If you walk further out to sea, you will see fish a lot bigger around 1ft long that hang around you, we used to take bits of bread roll to feed them, at first it seemed strange having such a big fish swimming around you, but they don't touch you or do any harm. There are guys walking around the beach selling excursions, paragliding, glass bottom boat, jet ski, speed boats etc... these were all well priced and you could often get discount if you buy more than one trip.
Naama Bay is a good place to visit for a night out, there are plenty of well known restaraunts around, the most famous being Mcdonalds! these will even deliver to your hotel as a takeway would back home! As we were all inclusive we didn't eat out the hotel, but looking at the menus, i think you would feed a family of four for less than £50. If i was were you, i would avoid going in the perfume and jewellery shops alone, they really pressurise you to buy stuff, and try to keep you in until you pay. Nothing bad happened to us but we did speak to a couple that got locked in the shop until they bought something. The best way to avoid this we found, was to not even look in the window or make eye contact, show them a bit of interest and they don't leave you alone.
Getting around locally is easy, busses and taxi's are readily available and £1 will pretty much get you anywhere. I wouldn't recommend hiring a car, the driving takes some getting used to and there don't seem to be any highway codes to follow. When using the taxi service, always agree a price before you get in, or the driver will try to rip you off after the journey, they are always up for a laugh though, and are harmless really.
There are many trips that you can chose to go on while staying in Sharm, far too many to list. We booked a trip with Thomson called ultimate desert expericnce, this involved driving your own quad bike through the desert, then a camel ride, then a traditional bedouin dinner. This trip was brilliant, on the quads you were in a long convy and there were at least 100 of us all in a line, the organizers kept the speed nice and fast, it was really good fun, the food could not be faulted considering it was all cooked in the middle of the desert, absolutely bob on!
Overall, if you are looking for a good hot break away, then consider Egypt, If you are unsure what hotel to stay in, then try to get Three Corners St George. We will definitely be going back!
I recently went on Holiday and stayed in the resort of Naama Bay Sharm el Sheikh. I was very excited as we got a fantastic deal, we paid £482.50 each for a week all inclusive including in-flight meals and transfers with Thomas Cook. With the recession many people are opting to go to non eu countries and Egypt seems to be more popular than ever.
HOT! HOT! HOT!
We stayed at the 4 star Tropitel Naama Bay and you couldn't ask for a better situated hotel. As soon as you walked out the doors everything is on your doorstep. The complex was huge and has 4 pools, but you have to get up early to get a sunlounger. For a hotel with over 800 rooms, it typically has about 50 sunloungers to each pool.
The beach is divided up into sections so that each hotel has a 'private' beach. There are that many sunloungers crammed on that it's hard to see the sand. But the sea is amazing. It's crystal blue and great for snorkelling.
A snorkelling trip is a must do if you got to Egypt, but don't book through your travel comapny because they will rip you off big time. Thomas Cook wanted £44 each for an all day trip to Tiran Island. We booked it through a guy on the beach and paid £20. Beware though, when we booked the trip the guy told us the price included the use of snorkelling equiptment, but on the day of the trip he tried to charge us. The trip was fantastic though, we stopped at 3 different spots to snorkel and lunch and drinks were all included. We also did quad biking in the desert which cost £15 or about £20 if 2 of you go on the same quad bike. Although, the quad bike is only intended for one person. Safety is not really a priority. You can choose to go accross the desert in a number of ways though, both motorised and non-motorised.
The majority of the nightlife is shhesha bars. Some you sit on cushioned floors and others have normal chairs and tables. Here you can smoke the famous sheesha and drink. There is also an Englsih bar called The Tavern which has 7 screens and shows sport. Alcohol is expensive though. We paid 28 Egyptian Pounds for a pint which is approx £3.45 and for spirits easily £5.50. So if you like your drink I would strongly recommend taking advantage of all inclusive. For those who are a bit more hard core there is a hard rock cafe and a Pacha, but we didn't visit either of these so can't really comment if they are any good. If you like a bit of a gamble there is the option of the casino.
If you are looking for jewellery this is definately the place for you. There are plenty of jewellery shops and prices are much cheaper than here. The majority of shops though sell Egyption perfume, trinkets etc. You are expected to haggle though and you will often find they will start at a ridiculous price. My boyfriend wanted a football t-shirt, a guy was selling fakes and at first wanted equivalant of £30 sterling. For me, it was the experience of the shop owners which put me off this place. We were constantly harrassed, and when we tried to decline politely we continued to be harassed and on a couple of occasions we found the people got a bit shirty with us when we said we weren't interested in purchasing what they had to offer. Even when we were trying to have a quiet drink in a bar we still got harassed.
Overall I ended up being quite disappointed with the holiday. It was mainly down to the harassment. I wanted to have a relaxing holiday. But also, both me and my boyfriend suffered upset stomachs. I just want to add a couple of extra notes. In terms of money, you will get a much better exchange rate over there. The rate in the uk was 8.2 EP, but over there we got 9.2EP. If you are a smoker, in resort they will try sell you cigarettes at £30 a box, in the airport they will cost you £15. And lastly, make sure you pack bite cream. I have never been one to be bitten but here I was eaten alive.
Egypt was my first ever holiday abroad in 2008 and I will try to provide you with as much information as I possibly can..
Sharm El Sheikh is definitely an upcoming new holiday spot, with more and more people visiting it each year. It is sometimes considered as North Africa or the Middle East due to it's location but it definitely is Africa. Located in Southern Sinai on the Gulf of Aqaba, it's roots are that of a small fishing village. It began development in 1982 and is continuing today, you will notice that it is about half way there in terms of development.
It contains the following sub towns, Nabq Bay, Ras Um Sid, Ras Mohammed, Na'ama Bay and a couple more I cannot remember.
My particular stay was in Ras Um Sid a rather more quiet district of Sharm. We visited in June and the temperature fluctuated between 37 to 43 degrees in the day. Gosh it was absolutely steaming. As my first time abroad I was very nervous about the expected temperatures, now let me assure you, it is bliss. Not at all stifling or heavy. No stickiness. There is no doubt that it is extremely difficult to walk very far in that kind of heat so we took taxis if we were going for more than a five minute walk.
Of course taxis are plentiful and the drivers are ace, such a good laugh, agree a price upon entering, and I recommend arranging the same one to pick you up if you know what time you are coming back.
The vehicles you will travel around in are very very cool and air conditioned. Often you will be provided with a small water if on one of the many trips you can do.
Taxis lead me on to the subject of roads. I have never known anything like the roads, they are long straight roads and you have to go for ages in one direction just to turn around and go back, you will see what I mean when you go. The main road here is Peace Road which goes for miles. Sharm is known as the city of peace so a fitting name. It is so called due to many international meetings and conventions held here.
In the evenings the temperatures in June were brilliant. Very bearable to move around in. My friend asked if she should be taking jumpers etc for her visit in June this year, I just laughed and told her not to bother. Vest tops and cool linens all the way for Egypt.
Just a word of warning, do not go into any of the perfume shops if you wonder outside the hotel. Just don'tgo into any of the shops. They do their best to get you in and will make it very difficult to leave without purchasing, we lost a large chunk of money cos the OH wanted to go in one when the man was calling us in. I called him many names after we got out.
Things to do=
I won't lie. In Sharm we found very little to do apart from Il Mercato and Na'ama Bay. I will detail my experiences of what we found to do. Our holiday consisted of taking trips out with the holiday company reps.
We travelled with Longwoods who are specialists in Egypt and Israel and thoroughly recommended. So this was our itinerary=
Ras Mohammed National Park, we took the boat trip option so therefore never set foot on the actual land unfortunately, I would have liked to though. This trip consisted of going out on a quite nice boat to the waters surrounding the park, a very good family trip, we have no kids but there were kids enjoying themselves. The boat stops at 3 snorkelling spots and it was a real joy to watch from the boat as I am a non swimmer and therefore I stayed on the boat.
I had never been on the sea before and it was a great experience with knowledgeable guides and divers. Lunch as provided on the boat. Absolutely fantastic. The food in Egypt is just gorgeous. I say lunch it was more like a banquet. Very plentiful!!!
Cairo and Giza, we flew to Cairo although could write a seperate review on this so will keep it simple, took a whole day, roughly 2 hours travelling there and back on the plane. Coach optional although 9 hours overnight on a bumpy road for a saving of fifty pounds, well I know someone who did this and regrets it, honestly the plane is far better. I only recommend this trip for children aged over 12 as it is extremely tiring. An absolute must do if in Sharm.
Israel and Dead Sea, an absolute must. An overnight trip and returns very late the next night. Absolutely fantastic. Again not for the younger kids. We had to take a day outafter this as it was so intense. We passed through the Taba border and it was absolutely steaming hot it was way hotter there than Sharm.
Buggying/Quadding, brilliant, although you go a lot slower than expected, hilarious laugh as we chose a buggy instead of going it alone on quads, lots of other people to dodge as there seemed to beloads of people there. Great fun, loved it.
Stars and Bedouin night, this was crazy!! Knowledgable astronomer then we made bedoiun bread and sat in a large circle with candles and dancing, it was such a laugh we loved it.
Blue Hole and Dahab, Blue hole is one of the most famous snorkelling sites in the whole world and of course even though I am a non swimmer I wanted to make the most of my time in Egypt, so whilst everyone went toddling off I sat on cushions onthe floor talking to the guides drinking sweet traditional bedouin tea. A must try. Then we went on to the town of Dahab and visited a fixed price shopping centre, and a fantastic market where I was so proud of myself and haggled on some spices, haha.
This is a fixed price shopping centre with no danger of hassle and it felt a bit like a shopping centre at home. Therefore it provided a very relaxing shopping experience. It was about 4 min taxi ride up the main road from the hotel. Easily accesible from all over Sharm via taxi.
We did go to Onions for lunch in Il Mercato - very cheap and lovely food!!
Very recommended for a visit and to get a bite to eat. Onions was fantastic.
This is the centre of Sharm really, one huge tacky tourist trap. The Egyptians love tourists only because of the fact we are so easy to rip off, so they think. I felt rude ignoring people at first but some of them were so vile I had to else I would have ended up in some kind of argument.
Lots of shisha cafes and chill out areas, perfume shops, lots of things you will recognise such as McDonalds etc, many eating places some of which are meant to be amazing, and there is a big hotel in the middle of it, quite why you would want to stay here is beyond me, however the whole place was very clean, obviously quite new and spacious and very easy to spend a couple of hours whiling away the time especially if you get stuck in a shop. Advice, keep away from people who ask you into their shops. Just say no.
We were bed and breakfast but on hindsight wish had done half board as ate in hotel mostly, due to the fact once we got there we didn't really fancy going into Na'ama bay to eat. We ate in Na'ama bay the last night. After a great meal at Hard Rock Cafe (we chose here as we couldn't handle searching around for anything else) we waited for the hotels bus outside the duty free shop - it never arrived so we went in a shop right by the pick up point and basically the men in there do not let you leave without taking your money. They charm you in and they started tying clothes on me and putting loads of stuff in carrier bags etc and physically wrapped the bag in my hand.
They demanded more money off my boyfriend after he gave them £20 for something (which originally he was selling to us for £95) and stopped me from leaving the shop by which time I was upset as they had our money. I ended up trying to find police I was that scared. On hindsight, never again. Eventually we got our goods and left. The hotel bus eventually turned up 40 mintues late. No explanation. I was pretty digusted needless to say. My fella reckons the driver of our bus gets paid to turn up late so the shopkeepers can extract money from the people who are waiting for it to turn up. Absolutely vile experience.
I cannot recommend Na'ama as it almost spoilt my holiday due to one nasty shop keeper, you just get approached all the time like some sort of walking money bag.
The same thing happened to my friends also, although there are a lot of great reviews on the place so go and make your own mind up.
I felt it was stressful and tacky and wish I had not bothered going. Many people compare it to a Blackpool abroad, it really is nothing like that, Blackpool is lovely and enjoyable, it looks a bit similiar at night though when it is all lit up.
Marriott Renaissance Golden View Beach Resort
Well where do I start? It's roughly 20 mins from airport at the end of a loooong line of hotels right on the end of Ras Um Sid. The entrance is beautiful and very elegant with lush gardens, the lobby is really big and a lot of marble!! We arrived about 6.30pm. We were escorted, after a minute or twos wait to our rooms on a golf buggy style thing which sped through the gorgeous grounds to room 7108 - a lot of the rooms have views over the sea to Ras Mohammed national park on their own private balconies with cane chairs, the view was lovely and we found it really quiet to sit out on.
The bathroom was lovely, but the shower door didn't shut properly but not really a problem. The water came out from the bath brown when first turned on but soon was ok and didn't really bother us. It was a basic clean comfortable room, would have loved slippers/robe and tea/coffee facilities though!! Air con was great and kept the room at a lovely temperature whilst it was 40 degress outside. Cash exchange machine by the lobby does not accept new £20 which is all we had haha, but we paid for stuff in hotel in £'s and had change in LE.
On a better note... the breakfast was lovely, fresh juice, tea and coffee included, it was fab!! Room service food was a bit of a rubbish choice, but the hotel restaurants were fine, first night we did the mexican Acapulco Joe's and the food and atmosphere in there is really good. The Aqua swim up bar we found ok - on the last day though we waited literally ten minutes to be acknowledged for a drink though while the waiters seemed to be standing around eating. They do a mean falafel sandwich though!!
Il Palio was dead most nights, Zinzina was ace and has a lovely lounge area with pool table. The Coast buffet bar is very dear, £15 not inc. your 22% service charge, but they have a different menu each day of the week and most nights really enjoyed the food. On average it cost us about 20quid for lunch and between 30 and 40 quid for dinner in the hotel including drinks and taxes. Every night was extremely quiet in all the restaurants, maybe a lot of people were half board and eating in the buffet restaurant. Big bottle of water is about £1.30 which is reasonable.The entertainment was a joke, it was really poor but it was a laugh so not all bad.The best was a man juggling fire to Scooter booming in the background whilst me were having sheesha by the main pool - an odd experience.
Out and around the hotel - if you walk up the main road past Hilton, watch out for the row of 5 shops on the right, the people in the perfume shop will not leave you alone. One of them started following us!! About 15 mins walk is Il Mercato fixed price shopping centre which is rubbish, just go to a shopping centre in the UK instead, prices are the same. It had a pharmacy, mcdonalds, starbucks, pizza hut, quiksilver shop, puma shop you get the drift. We were there an hour one night and got bored but it's ok for a quick browse or if you need a fast food fix. We found we got a bit bored easily but that's cos we didn't fancy shopping out or going Na'ama, the hotel has some nice gift shops and we got all our stuff there it was way easier.
First week in hotel was pretty quiet then it started getting busier, and pleasantly enough had Russian men drunkenly singing in the corridor at er 8am, gobbing off til god knows what time at night, one night I was in the lobby at 1am complaining about them, the staff took it very seriously though. Most of the staff were so pleasant, I found it hard to adjust to the fact they wanted to do everything for you include pour your cans of pop into a glass etc, they took slight offence when I said it was OK I would do it! We did leave tips for the waiters but no one in the hotel really expected it I don't think, we did tip our room cleaners, the cleaners were fab, and the hotel is SPOTLESS. I defy anyone to find a spot of dirt, they were constantly cleaning, gardening etc.
Keep an eye on the minibar - we were asked to pay for 2 beers that we never had at the end!!
So we chose to make it a really active holiday, about 5 days out of the 14 we spent doing nothing apart from sizzling in the sun at the hotel and pool. We were absolutely battered when we got home.
Another thing, we were not ill whilst there, we did not drink alcohol or overeat too much, I wouldn't have even considered drinking whilst out there, it's such a different environment to what your body is used to.
The money in smaller denomination noted is rancid filthy. Keep your hand gel handy!!
Water is cheaply available. Take loads if you do any of the trips. You will need it.
I really hope someone gets use out of this review, my arms are aching from typing so much but I could write even more and will try and update in the future. Questions or comments please get in touch, I am happy to help or provide more info :D
I went to Sharm El Sheikh 27/08/2009 - 10/09/2009.
We booked this holiday a year in advance as Thomas Cook was promoting a special "egyptian week". £650 per person for two weeks in a 4* holiday (incl breakfast).
This has definately been one of my most favourite holiday locations.
Egypt is a very hot country. We visited in late August when it was supposed to start cooling (apparently). It was 40 degrees ++ & evenings were often 30-34. Stepping off the plane I nearly fainted! At the airport prepare to queue, you have to fill in medical forms and also at the time we had to declare any symptoms relating to Swine Flu. You may need to purchase a visa for approx £13 if you are going to visit the pyramids or St. Catherines.
Once you leave the airport you are not allowed to re-enter so ensure that you have all your luggage with you. We were located to our coach and a man was ready to start loading our luggage. The man demanded that we pay him for putting our bag on the coach. Many of us didn't realize this was wrong until another man came running over shouting at the man to stop charging us. So Beaware of this!!
The coach was air conditioned which was definately a relief! Immediately it was possible to ses how beautiful Egypt actually is. We stayed in Novotel Beach which is a ten minute walk away from Naama Bay, the main town. This hotel was beautiful with its own private beach.
Egypt is very very clean, not once did I see litter or mess on the streets. It is made up of small markets, hotels, shops and in Naama bay a long stretch of restaraunts and Shisha bars. Every night we made the ten minute walk to Naama Bay. We had two options on how to get there howevever, leaving from the front of the hotel and along the main roads was not a very pleasant experience, taxis kept pulling over and shouting over to us, the pavements were not very safe and the kerbs were very high. However, our second route from the back of our holiday was lovely, a short stroll along a well lited street.
Naama Bay is full of choice for evening meals. Well known restaraunts such as TGI Fridays, Hard Rock Cafe & McDonalds. In particular I would recommened: Onions, Taj Mahal & The Mexican Bar. Food in Egypt is very good value for money. For three adults to have a starter, a main meal and a few drinks it costed us on average £27. The food portions in Egypt are fairly large. Drinks can work out more costly. Cans of pop cost £1.50 in restaurants and the hotel. Local shops charge just 50p which is quite a difference. Large bottles of water can be bought for just 30p so my advice is to stock up from your local shop.
We never really had a problem with the locals. Walking past shops/stalls can be a little off putting at first as they are determined to get you into there shops . We just usually said "no thanks" and kept on walking. Chances are they will call after you but my advice is just to ignore it. They can be fairly cheeky in name calling, my 13 year old cousin was called a "cheeky donkey". LOL. Security is high in Egypt, by our hotel there was security and along the main streets guards were present. I never felt unsafe walking on my own in Egypt.
Locals do come up and make comments to younger girls. This can be a bit off putting but its best just to laugh it off and ignore it. Most locals are very friendly and want to help you enjoy your time in Egypt.
There are many trips available in Egypt. In particular the trips to visit include the Pyramids. Five members of our party went to see the pyramids (not including myself) and they all thoroughly enjoyed it. Two went by plane (45 mins) and three went on the long coach trip (not recommened with the bumpy roads). I visited Tiran Island, Ras Mohammed and Bedouin Nights, all of which were excellent.
** Don't bother buying trips through your rep or the hotel as they organise the trips through the same company that charges a lot less money. Our hotel quoted £45 per person for a boat trip to Ras Mohammed, we went on exactly the same trip but for £14 as we directly booked with the locals.
Ever fancied camel riding in the dessert? I didn't particularly but I must say what an amazing experience. An air conditioned bus picked us up and took us to the Sinai dessert. We were then guided over to camels suitable for us, ie our height and weight. The tour guide was very friendly and helped me get on/off the camel and laughed at our faces as the camel stood up. Warning** Hold on for deal life when the camel stands up and sits down if not you may end up falling straight over the camels head!
After a 20 minute ride on the camel we were then directed to a large group of sofas/cushions on the floor. We were introduced to some of the locals who live in the dessert. Bedouir tea was handed around which is supposed to be healing and good for stomach complaints. People were randomly selected to help make bread with the locals and a real effort was made to ensure we were all enjoying ourselves. As it got dark the mountain was lit and dinner was ready. Entertainment was provided for a further 2 hours and then we went back onto our bus and was taken back to the hotel. A lovely evening which was enjoyed by all :)
- Ras Mohammed
We used the same company that organised the bedouin nights trip. This trip was also excellent. We visited Ras Mohammed via boat. We were picked up by bus and taken to the dock. The guide was very friendly, talking to us on the bus and making jokes. We had to queue and have our bags checked by security before we could board the boat. That said the search was more a "quick glance". We stopped three times during the trip to go snorkelling or if we wished to stay on the boat. Snorkelling was amazing there was a large amount of fish all sizes and colours. We stopped for an hour to have some lunch which was very nice and also included in the price (£14). We arrived back a 4pm after leaving at 9am. Brilliant day, just remember the sun tan lotion!! One day on the boat is apparently equivalent to three days out in the sun. I'd advise that you at least have a base tan before considering a boat trip as you may return rather burnt!
Overall Egypt in general was an excellent experience. There is however, one major issue that stops me rating it 5* and that is the stomach bugs. 8/10 of our party become ill at some point during our holiday, sufffering with diarhhea & stomach pains. We were all very careful to use hand santitizer, drink bottled water, no ice, ice cream yet it appears that the dreaded illness still managed to get the majority of us. Due to the heat and sickness I would not recommend Egypt for Very young children. The pharmacists in Egypt were excellent, they asked us to describe symptoms and prescriped medication that worked immediately Luckily!
Definately a holiday I would recommend to those who enjoy the heat and a relaxing holiday. :)
I went to sharm el sheikh july 2009 with my boyfriend. We paid £415 each, through teletext holidays, who had ripped us off a bit, as advertsied lower and kept adding on standard costs. But £415 each for 3* all inclusive did not seem bad at all.
We flew from London Gatwick, to Sharm el sheikh airport, took around 4 and a half hours. At Airport you have to cue for ages and full out medical forms, they also try to sell you a visa, which you do not need if staying in Sharm.
From Airport we got a taxi to hotel, in Naama bay, was £5 english 200 egyptian. RIP OFF! (at time 100 egyptian approx £12.50).
Hotel was okay, I'll see if I can review that in itself.
The weather was so hot, on getting off the plane at 10pm it was 40 degrees, very very hot. hotels do all have air conditioning though, however almost un-noticable as so hot!
Excusions to cairo on coach 25 hour trip is approx 80 egyptian pounds, did not go, as very long on hot coach! but bargain if you can tolerate heat!
The red sea in sharm el sheikh has great facilities for scuba diving, Ras Mohammed park is the hot spot!
We went into Naama bay centre once, which was lots of tourist shops and bedoin cafes. We had a huge dinner at the hard rock cafe which was great.
***** THE SHOP KEEPERS*****
Shops in sharm el sheikh have people outside on the street whose job is to get you inside. The will not leave you alone. In Naama bay i was reduced to tears as we were being so badly pestered. There are tourist police who occasionaly step up and help you, but best to walk in crowds in the centre with head down. They will literally drag you in a shop, do not touch anything as you will be made to pay for it.
***** BEDOUIN CAFES *****
These are oout doors places, where you sit on scatter pillows, all lit up with a great african feel, you smoke sheesha, which is a water pipe, where you smoke fruity tobacco, very nice, non addictive. Bedouin Tea, is a mint tea which is said to be good for settling your stomach. Came in a bit handy.
*****SOMETHING IN THE AIR? *****
Everybody i know who had beento sharm has got the sh*ts. Avoid water, ice, salad, or any thing that may have been washed. I went as far as using all these precautions and still got it! as did my boyfriend. the plane ride home had people holding stomachs and constantly going toilet. The tummy cramps were really bad, and it made the whole holiday very unpleasant.
I wouldnt recommend sharm el sheikh, it was like a city filled with hotels. and thats all. Its great if you enjoy scuba diving and holidays are quite cheap. I would advise only go and stay in 4* or 5* hotels, my 3 star the food was quite poor, as were facilities.
Its hot, be prepared, take immodium! factor 50 sun cream!
Everything in Egypt is cheap, 200 cigarettes 100 egypt pounds, thats good. Food was cheap, we paid about 50p for litre bottles of water. Was quite a bargain.
I went to Sharm quite some time ago but I have never forgotten it - It was the most wonderful holiday.
The Plane Flight is not very long (about 4 hours) although it IS rather hot there, I went in August and the heat was in excess of 40C. I found it quite dry heat and very manageable.
The best places to stay are just outside of the main part of Sharm as Na'ma Bay is too noisy although wonderful!!
Na'ma Bay is basically a long street with several shops on it - I would recommend buying Jewellry and also buying some Perfume Oil. Be careful of the Shop Owners, they are lovely but can sometimes be a bit touchy feely although I don't think they mean anything by it, just keep your distance although be friendly.
I would recommend that you learn a little Arabic before you go - Just enough to say hello, goodbye, thank you, how much - It will endear you to the Locals because it shows that you've made an effort to get to know their culture a little bit.
One thing that I found rather disrespectful was Women walking around in tiny little shorts and bikini tops - The majority of the locals there are Muslim Men, that means that for them to look at a Woman like that would be dishonouring their religion. I'm not saying dress like a nun, but at least make sure that your legs are covered to the knees and your arms to your elbows.
I know this sounds weird but I visit a McDonald's in almost every single Country that I visit and Egypt was by far the best - The meat tasted clean and it was delicious, I suspect this may have something to do with the way they kill the meat.
I didn't have much money when I went so I only really did one main excursion which was to Mt Sinai. I can recommend the night-time climb as it's much cooler and so much more surreal and special. You can take a Camel about halfway (for an extra small fee) but then when you get to the Steps they obviously can't go up them. There are about 640 steps but the Guides are lovely and my one was quite happy to go slowly with me as he could see that I'm not very fit. Once you're on the top you feel like you're on top of the world and you get to see the Sunrise, which is stunning. On the way down you'll visit St Catherine's Monastry which is very beautiful and well worth a look.
Overall, the Food is incredible (don't drink the water, make sure it's bottled) and the people are wonderful. The beaches (although I'm not a beach person) are lovely and I'd recommend a glass-bottomed boat excursion which doesn't cost a lot and the Sea is as clear as water from a tap.
Go, enjoy and tell everyone about it!!
I have not long come back from sharm this was my second vist to sharm el shiek i was not very impressed this time as i was last time!
This year i went on holiday with my boyfriend being on a budjet we got the holiday off Lollipop.com for £400 per person Two weeks all inclusive this includes flight and 1 transfer to the hotel .
We basically paid for what we got the hotel we got was standard and didnt meet the terms all inclusive the bar was 10oclock and the only food was breakfast lunch and dinner NO snacks what so ever the food was un edible we had to eat out everynight !
Last year i went on holiday with my parents to sharm and stayed in a 5 star hotel this was a completey different story the hotel was like a palace the food was delicious the bar was 24 hours there was snacks all day and up intill 1 oclock at night what more could you want
So the reason i am saying this is because if You are going to go to sharm el sheik i would recommend you pay the Extra for the 5 star hotels rather then the 3 star for the reasons that you will have a much better holiday !
sharm is very clean it is spotless even There is a place called nama bay where you can go for nightlife and shopping but around the hotel areas it is extemely quite it is usually around 10 minuets from all the hotels but you can get a hotel by there but it would be noisey !
sharm is extrememly hot reaching around 40c midday from around may to august it will be much hotter than what they say it is because if it goes above a certain temprature the hotel workers have to stop working and the hotel owners arnt going to want them to do that are they ! There are coral beaches in sharm i made the mistake of going in the coral without coral shoes and cut all my feet open !!
so make shaw You buy coral shoes if your going to explore the coral reefs !
You can usually get these from any supermarket
activities -there is lots to do in sharm there is a water park you can do scuba diving and there are submarine and boat trips
The locals and workers of sharm have a really sarcastic but funny attitude they are really nice people even with the sarcasm and like to wind You up but they just like to have a laugh with you !
Be careful when shopping in sharm as shopkeepers have been know to lock you in shops to make you buy they also try to rip you off so learn how the money works before You go !
Overall Sharm el shiek is a very nice holiday destination and is extemely hot and you will certainly get a tan ! I would recommend this holiday for couples and familys as it abit to quiet for youngsters !
Me and my girlfriend stayed in the Ritz Carlton between the 17th and the 24th of April 2007 and I have to say we had a great time there.
I have read lots of reviews saying how the hotel is not a 5* hotel. Well basically it isn't but you get what you pay for. All the 5* hotels I have stayed in have been roughly £800 a night. This holiday cost £500 with flights. Basically if you want 5* go elsewhere! For the price, the hotel is very good.
We booked a standard room. When we got there we were offered a suite for an extra $80 a night but decided to stay in our room originally booked. The room was probably a 3* room though. It wasn't very nice at all. The showers were not power showers and were like running water out of a shower head.
The view was rubbish but you did have a little garden you could sit in if you want. The TVs are pretty poor but the selection of channels are really good. Whenever we were in our rooms getting ready we always found something to watch. The beds were nice and comfortable. The rooms were pretty basic and I would advise you take your own hair dryer as my girlfriend did because there wasnt one in our room.
Basically there are three pools. One of the pools is near the tennis courts, close to the back of the resort. Around this pool is a lazy river which can break your day up if you decide to go on it. Theres only about 4/5 rubber rings but its never too busy so it shouldnt take you long to get one. The pool here is really cold but really deep. It's never really busy and has a little water fall thing near it which is nice.
The main pool is near the main building. This is quite a big pool. It gets really busy in there but the pool is big enough to cope with the amount of people. The pool is divided into two sections. The section closest to the main building is not heated. This bit of the pool is really cold. The part furthest away from the building is where the heated pool is and where most people will be.
If you sit round this pool - staff walk round and bring you drinks from the bar so you don't have to walk up there and you enjoy the sun.
The other pool is just past the main pool and is tiny.
Breakfast is £7 a day i believe but we were bed and breakfast so we didnt have to pay. Breakfast was wuite good. There was a big selection of food to choose from. Breakfast is just a huge buffet.
Dinner in the hotel. I would advise you not to have dinner at the hotel! One couple we were speaking to had a seafood bbq that the hotel arranged. Without any drinks it cost them £130 for the two of them.
My girlfriend and I don't really like fancy food and as most of the restaurants in the hotel only sell this we decided to go to the 'cafe' where breakfast is served. Here there was supposed to have been an 'International Buffet' with food from France, England, America etc. The only food we found that wasn't Egyptian was German Pasta. We ate nothing but still had to pay £60 between us for the pleasure of sitting down.
Naarma Bay is a lot better and cheaper for food. We went to Hard Rock Cafe three times on our holiday because there was a great atmosphere in there, the food was lovely and it was very very cheap. Me and my girlfriend had a big starters each, a big main course each, a big desert each and 2 alcoholic drinks each and the bill never came over £20!!!
We also went to TGI's out there. The atmosphere was really nice and relaxing sitting on the balcony looking out onto Naarma Bay. The food was ok. A lot of the food on the menu they never had and the prices were the same as they are in England. The service was also really bad.
We also went to an Italian restaurant which had a balcony on looking Naarma Bay. The food here was really nice and it was very cheap. But all drinks here are non alcoholic.
I have heard lots of people on here saying that there was a lack of beds around the pools. I think they must be blind to be honest. Every day we would get to the main pool about 10 and there would be lots of beds to choose from. When we left usually around 2 there would still be lots of beds to choose from.
Over at the small pool there was hardly any beds being used at any time!
The staff at the hotel were lovely. They tried to do everything they could to please you and they all spoke great english. Every one was friendly and did their best to help you out.
Shops in the hotel:
There was about 5 shops inside the hotel lobby. These shops were incredibly over priced. If you go in to Naarma Bay you will find the same items at a much cheaper price. It did make me laugh that in a place like the Ritz, they would allow a shop to sell fake bags. I bought aftersun in one of the shops at the hotel and was charged £14 but I had run out of the one I brought and was really burned so basically I had to pay that pathetic price. I ran out of the bottle in a day and bought the exact same one in Naarma Bay the night after for £5.
One shop though the one that has a variety of different items in. The one that is opposite the other 4 shops was actually quite a good shop. They sold a lot of things I hadn't seen in Naarma Bay, was cheap and the owner was very nice.
It's a bit of a shock when you first arrive there but after a few hours you get used to it. Nearly every Egyptian man there shouted 'Lucky Man' to me while I walking with my girlfriend. And made lots of comments. Just ignore this as it happens to everyone. A lot of people try to get you into their shops. Just ignore them or pretend you can't speak to Language.
The Mall was the best place to shop in Naarma Bay I found. But in the shops you have to haggle. A lot of places will sell you something for half the price they first quoted.
A lot of the shops also sell fake things.
The first few hours may be intimidating but when you are used to it you can really enjoy yourself in Naarma Bay.
A lot of the taxis out there are about 60 years old. They are blue and white rust buckets. Nearly everyone tries to get you into their cabs.
The whole holiday we used a man called Saad whom we had seen recommended on here. His car is basically brand new and a hell of a lot nicer than most of the taxis in Sharm. Saad not only charges cheap prices but he also takes you to places you wouldnt otherwise see. He's a nice bloke and recommended we go to a few different places.
The hotel was charging us £40 each to go on quads. With Saad it came to £35 between us, so less than half price.
The only excursion we did was Quad Biking as we were enjoying ourselves enough around the pool we didnt do any others.
I would definately recommend this excursion. It was quite an experience in the desert.
I had an Egyptian Massage at the Spa at the hotel and I can say that this massage put me off massages for life. I have really hairy legs and felt I was going to come away with no hairs left. When that was finished she basicaly punched my back for half hour and then took £42 for the pleasure! The only relaxing part of the massage was leaving the spa!
The bar in the Lobby is a quite nice and relaxing place to go for a drink after coming back from Naarma Bay. The service is quick and the drinks are nice. My GF said she had the best ever white wine spritzer she's ever had as they put a bit of strawberry in it.
The prices though are very expensive. English nightclub prices!
As a whole the hotel was good value for money and we had a really good holiday! I would definately recommend it to anyone and I will go back in the next few years.
"Sharm el-Sheikh (شرم الشيخ, also transliterated as Sharm ash Shaykh), often known simply as "Sharm", is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, in Janub Sina', Egypt, on the coastal strip between the Red Sea and Mount Sinai. Sharm el-Sheikh is the administrative hub of Egypt's Southern Sinai province which includes the smaller coastal towns of Dahab and Nuweiba as well as the mountainous interior, Saint Catherine's Monastery and Mount Sinai. Sharm el-Sheikh is known as The City of Peace referring to the large number of international peace conferences that have been held there."