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The Charm Of Sharm
Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt)
Member Name: MollyWH
Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt)
Advantages: Friendly locals, nice beaches, family orientated, hot, good for diving
Disadvantages: Some of the locals can be pushy, sunburn
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.
Summary: The Charm Of Sharm