Sharm El Sheikh – An Oasis in a Desert

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Sharm El Sheikh

The Red Sea resort town of Sharm El Sheikh is now a top tourist destination but little over 25 years ago it was a strategical important military naval base. This remarkable transformation is down to the Egyptian government realising the potential of this naturally beautiful part of the country and investing heavily in its infrastructure.

Sharm, as it is commonly referred to by the regular visitors, is situated the southern most tip of the Sinai Peninsula. The resort itself stretches for over 12 miles along the golden beaches of the Red Sea coast and with it’s clear blue waters it is considered to be one of the best diving destinations in the world.

Sharm el Sheikh is divided into three areas, Naama Bay, Sharm el Maya and Ras Um Sid Cliff. El Maya is where you’ll find the old town of Sharm el Sheikh. The cliff top resort of Ras Um Sid Cliff links Sharm el Maya with Naama Bay. Here you’ll discover great places to shop, eat and drink. Sharm el Sheikh is quite a new development and is a favourite destination of the Europeans, in particular the British, Germans and Italians who all flock to this dedicated resort.

Sharm el Sheikh hotels

Sharm el Sheik has many top class hotels to suit almost every budget. As Sharm is a relatively new resort many of the hotels have been recently built and therefore you can expect a large choice of quality hotels equipped to modern standards.

Sharm el Sheikh Shopping

There are two types of experiences you can enjoy when shopping in Sharm el Sheikh, the traditional way haggling with cash which occurs in the Old Market area and the new modern way, fixed prices and credit cards, found in the shopping malls.

In the Old Market you’ll find the usual souvenirs, oils, perfumes, spices and belly dancing suits etc which are all priced to ensure that you either get ripped off or to encourage haggling, so throw away that British reserve and get down to bare knuckled haggling. To avoid looking silly make sure you have the cash to buy the haggled for item, as credit cards will not be accepted. Please bear in mind when shopping in Egypt it is best not to draw attention to yourself so dress modestly and be respectful of their traditions.

The shopping malls of Sharm provide a great variety of shops where you’ll find more than just souvenirs. Perfume, clothes, shoes, sunglasses bags can be bought in these malls, but don’t be blinded by the price. Keep an eye out for counterfeit goods and ask yourself why is a Prada handbag is selling for £40 and would you buy the bag if it did not have Prada on it? Is the perfume genuine, in an area of the country where you can’t drink the water would you go splashing it on your face? When you have decided on a purchase, you can either use a credit card or cash. However, you’ll find the prices are generally fixed and on the high side.

Sharm el Sheikh Entertainment

Sharm El Shake, has been described as the Vegas of the Middle East and this means that there are plenty of casino’s, bars restaurants etc for the tourists. Being a muslin country you may be surprised by this but the Egyptians are keen to accommodate the tourists so not really that surprising.

Nightlife in Sharm typically begins at around 9pm and ends at various times depending on what you want. For a more authentic night out try the Bedouin cafes and sheesha bars which close around 2am. If you have the stamina, the casinos and some bars will stay open until 6am!

If you are looking for nightclubs and parties then go to Naama Bay and Hadabah where you’ll pay around 20 Euro’s to get in, which usually includes a free drink!. In Naama Bay check out Pacha/Bus Stop and Mojo’s, fantastic!

Sharm el Sheikh Weather

Sharm el Shiek’s weather can be split into two seasons, summer and winter. Winter (October to April) is warm and dry and summer (May to September) is very hot and dry. It is this type of weather which makes Sharm el Sheikh a great winter sun destination and all year round destination. Rain is practically unheard of in the summer, indeed many summers pass without a drop of rain!

The height of summer (July to August) can see temperatures sit in the 40’s which makes sitting by the pool or on the beach a necessary activity! Fortunately, the cooling breezes from the sea offer some light relief. At night the temperature remain high, typically staying in the mid 20’s so make sure that your hotel rooms has air con.

In September the heat is as scorching as it was in height of summer, but it is still very hot. The temperature slowly declines into the 30’s during October and in the mid 20’s during November, making it a very pleasant time to visit Sharm el Sheikh. The coolest time of the year is from December to February. The average temperature is about 19C, seeing the low 20’s during the day and the low teens during the night.

In March and April the Khamsin wind sometimes disrupts the beautiful weather. This is a warm wind which blows across the Sahara and can sometimes cause sandstorms or dust storms.

Sharm el Sheikh Visa

If your intention is not to travel further than the South Sinai resorts then a free 14 day visa should be obtained. However, if you intend to venture further afield eg Cairo or Ras Mohammed you’ll need to obtain a 30 day Egyptian visa ( 2008 £18). UK visitors on a Egypt holiday must register with the Office of Foreigners and Nationality within 7 days of arrival: your hotel will normally take care of this. You should also ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months before entering Egypt.

Useful links

Official Egyptian Tourist website

Egypt State Information Service

write by thompson


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