Newest Review: ... you say no to as you cant physically please them all. Shops cover everything from clothes, but european and local, jewelery both costu... more
sharm el sheik, egpyt
Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt)
Member Name: bee-bee-m
Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt)
Advantages: stunning country with a lot to offer
Disadvantages: there is an issue of litter in places
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.
Summary: well worth a visit