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. 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.
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.
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.
- These are some of our items about Egypt which may be of interest:
- Sharm el Sheikh Trips and things to do
- Sharm day trips - Ras Mohammed reef snorkelling, visiting Mount Moses and St Catherines Monastery, quad biking.
- Aswan Touring and Holiday Guide and Photos
- Visiting The southern Nile City of Aswan in Egypt - travelling to Aswan, hotels, restaurants, markets, things to do.
- Cairo Holiday, Sightseeing and Photos Guide
- About visiting Cairo, the airport, taxis, getting around, sightseeing, staying alive on the roads, eating in Cairo.
- Luxor Egypt Holiday and Sightseeing Guide and Photos
- Luxor is the starting point to see some of the world's most amazing archaeological sites and lots to see.
- Egypt touring and travel guides and Photos Our Home Page - shows all of our topics about Egypt.
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