Sharm el Sheikh Egypt

Sharm El Sheikh Holiday Guide and Photos.

The Egyptian holiday destination of Sharm El Sheikh is within easy reach of Northern Europe making it a good choice for some reliable winter sunshine.

Egypt's Red Sea holiday resort of Sharm el Sheikh (normally simply referred to as "Sharm") is located on the southern tip of the Sinai Desert, approximately 500kms from Cairo, Egypt and around 5.5 hours flying time from the U.K..
Sharm-el-Sheikh's hotels and main resort is centred around Naama Bay - this part of the Red Sea is renowned as one of the top areas in the world for snorkelling and scuba diving. The variety and amount of colourful fish which can be seen by just swimming a few metres into the sea is amazing though the coral close into the beach has mostly been killed due to people walking on it. However once you go out onto the reefs the coral is fantastic - as are of course the fish. If you want some winter sunshine you are pretty well guaranteed to get it in Sharm El-Sheikh so it's well worth considering for a December through to March warmth and suntan holiday.
Sharm el Sheikh - The Old Town. Egypt's Sharm el Sheikh holiday area.Getting around Sharm el Sheikh. There are loads of taxis available - if you are just wandering along the road they keep slowing down and offering their services - most of the taxis seemed to quite old Peugeots. A taxi ride from the end of the Bay to the Old Town cost around 25 to 30 Egyptian pounds (10 Egyptian Pounds is about 1 English Pound) - there are meant to be fixed prices for various destinations but you do need to agree your price before getting in the taxi. Some of the hotels run courtesy buses and there is also a local bus service running from the Bay to the Old Town - this is a stop on demand service from what we could see. We did not consider looking to hire a car or jeep - this is after all the Sinai Desert (if you like "the real thing") and going off on your own into it would be perhaps not a good idea. You can anyway sort out a trip into the desert via one of the kiosks along the front who offer all manner of trips (see below for several we did and others we know were available) and they probably would organise an individual request.
Security. Somewhat unusual for us to mention this on our various holiday web sites but then Sharm was sadly affected by a bombing not so long ago and it has to be a consideration. The beach entrances each have Tourist Police present but they are quite unobtrusive and often are happy to have a chat if you so wish. The hotel entrances have several varieties of police and do make a quick check to ensure you are a guest though they soon get to know who is who and you just walk in freely. Along the wide paved walkway which goes right along the beach there are more Tourist Police sat on chairs (with their papers and radios) at about 300 yard or so intervals. We always made a point especially when walking back late at night to at least say hello or goodnight or something - it must be terribly boring for them. It's probably worth emphasising the point that these guys are virtually invisible and you do not feel at all like you are in a heavily policed area or anything like that.
Food in Sharm. There are plenty of restaurants along the bay offering a wide variety of food from delicious steak to really nice pizzas and all sorts in between. Many people on holiday stay at Sharm in hotels and on an inclusive basis and we found the restaurants to be not that busy when we tended to eat i.e. around 9 to 10 in the evening. Also quite a few of them located along the beach were closing up or closed by around 11pm - but they were still open nearer the shopping centre area end. There are several Chinese and Indian restaurants as well as other types of food restaurants located around this shopping centre area. We paid about 12 UK pounds for a really big steak plus a few beers - however the wine was really expensive for some reason and we did not think it at all good value and only of reasonable quality. We had a really big and most delicious steak on the beachfront at the Sea View beach restaurant which is located opposite the Kanabesh Hotel.

Beach on Sharm el Sheikh Sharm el Sheikh Sharm el Sheikh Hotels, Accommodation, beach area: Naama Bay is ringed with large hotels - these are not high rise and lay a little way back from the actual beach. Each hotel has it's own beach area - with the usual umbrellas and sun-loungers available plus cafes etc. where you can get drinks and varying varieties of food. The hotels offer a really useful facility - you are given a card and then you can have a beach towel which you simply change whenever you wish. There is at least one public beach along the front but all the hotel beaches generally have just one entrance which is controlled/manned by Tourist Police (see above). The beaches are initially sandy into the water which does not get too deep very quickly but you do need something on your feet because of the exceedingly sharp coral. Perhaps unsurprisingly there were no beach areas around the Hotel surrounded Bay which would be available for nudists/naturists.
Egyptian Currency. The currency in Sharm el Sheikh is Egyptian pounds ( LE) and there are around 9 LE to 1 UK Pound Sterling at time of writing. Just about any currency can be used though and they do particularly prefer UK Pounds, USD, Euros and so on rather than those Egyptian pounds. It is not unusual especially near market areas for you to be approached to change for instance a 1 UK Pound coin for LE since Pound Sterling coins tend to be given as tips. There are of course plenty of cash machines around as well.
Market entrance on Sharm el Sheikh old village in Egypt. Sharm's market is well worth at least one visit just for the experience despite the pestering mentioned above - it looks really good in the evening which has to be the best time to visit. Here you can buy anything and everything is negotiable on price. We had decided to buy a hubbly bubbly (Shisha) and having wandered perilously close to a shop with lots on display we were promptly whisked into the shop, the door was closed, seats were provided plus a drink of tea. After about 20 minutes of various chat about goodness knows what (except shishas) the subject of the shisha did enter the conversation - we were shown several and one was started up for us. Over the next maybe hour we had a few puffs on it plus more tea and a very protracted conversation about how much the selected shisha would cost us. It was offered to us at 55 UK Pounds - we thought about 10 UK Pounds was nearer the mark - and so on and so on until we eventually reached a price we could agree on.
Sharm el Sheikh's Climate etc. These days it's hard to say what is typical anymore with the weather. We found day time temperatures were getting to around 80 degrees when we were there - the sun starting to disappear around 5PM and sunrise was at about 6:30AM. The evenings could get a little cool and many people were using cardigans or sweatshirts as the evening progressed. The wind always seemed to pick up a little just around sunset but then stilled again as the evening progressed. The sea was still quite warm in the Bay although just a little cooler out on the reefs - Sharm el Sheikh is certainly a great place to go for almost certainly guaranteed nice winter sunshine.

The Local People. The Egyptians we met/talked to were really nice - go to a restaurant once and they are absolutely happy to have you there, the next time it's almost like being at a Greek Island Taverna in the way you are made welcome. We got to know several of the Tourist Police at our Hotel and often had a chat about all sorts of things with them. The only thing we found really irritating was when we were near or in any of the market stall areas - the incessant "where you from" and "please sign our shop guest book" - these guys had a knack of making you feel guilty and rude if you ignored them but in fact that was the only way to proceed after a while. We got to know several local Sharm residents and they said they hated this too - the people doing it were mainly from Cairo and just down to try and make a few quick pounds and had no real idea how to deal with people/tourists.
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