Sharm el Sheikh

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Sharm el-Sheikh is a well-known port and resort town at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, popular with package holiday makers and divers. About 9,000 British tourists are in Sharm on any given day. Numbers have doubled in the last 3 years and seemed set to continue to rise despite the worldwide economic situation, until the Arab Spring and related instability and conflict in Sinai and the rest of Egypt.

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Hotels

  • 5 star hotels 5 star hotel
  • 4 star hotels 4 star hotel
  • 3 star hotels 3 star hotel
  • 2 star hotels 2 star hotel
  • 1 star hotels 1 star hotel

Cities

  • Metropolis over 100 hotels
  • Big city 50-100 hotels
  • Medium city 20-50 hotels
  • Small city 5-20 hotels
  • Village below 5 hotels

Points of Interest

  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
  • Interesting place Interesting place
  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

Points of Interest in Sharm el Sheikh

Sightseeing and Excursions in/from Sharm El Sheikh:

  • Sharm Old Town Hail a taxi or local bus to take you to the Sharm Old Town, ask the driver for the old market. This is a much different experience for tourists staying in the Na'ama Bay area. Most of Sharm is less than 25 years old so don't expect a Morrocan style 'Souk' experience! Ignoring the touts outside each shop make a better experience, unless you are serious about buying. Stay strong in you determination of what to pay.
  • Na'ama Bay is the tourist center of Sharm El Sheikh, an unusual sight and a bit exotic for a westerner are huge fans pumping fresh air and water to street cafes and terraces near hotels.
  • A visit to the desert is highly recommended. Various trips to the Bedouins, the beautiful Coloured Canyon, White Canyon , quad bike and buggy safari tours.

The more adventurous should try to find a private guide, who takes them for a few days into the mountain desert with a camel. You will walk through hidden valleys, rest at secret oasis and during the night you sleep under a breathtaking firmament.

  • Boat and snorkeling trips to the beautiful snorkeling sites in Ras Mohammed National Park and Tiran Island. For non- swimmers, the submarine or glass bottom boat is an ideal alternative to discover the underwater world of the Red Sea .
  • Cultural excursions in Sinai like Saint Catherine's Monastery and Mount Sinai, where, according to tradition, the God spoke to the prophet Moses. Excursions from Sharm El Sheikh to Cairo, where the famous three pyramids, the Sphinx and the Egyptian National Museum, or to Luxor, the famous capital of ancient Egypt. As well as excursions to sightseeing in the neighboring countries like Petra or Jerusalem.
  • Day visit to Dahab Lovely relaxing trip - a totally different vibe to Sharm. One hour away through a mountainous road, best not attempted at night. Taxis should be 150le each way or 20le each way from the bus station then a Dahab 'taxi' (pick-up) for 5-10le into town. Take the number of your driver if you want to leave at a different time. The bridge is in the center of Toun with a promenade in each direction.
  • Enjoy the sight and sound experience and the live show at Alf Lela w Lela (A thousand and one Nights) everyday. the live show is amazing, with different shows featuring a great male Belly Dancer well known as Mero, and other belly dancers. Also some Egyptians weddings, tanourra dance and shows. A bit down at heel but worth a look around.
  • Short trips to Aqua Park, the largest water park in Sharm El Sheikh, Dolphinella where dolphin shows and dolphin swim takes place and crocodile show.

Hadaba Beach

Naama Bay Beach

Shark\'s Bay Beach

Montazah Beach

SOHO Square

Rehana Beach

Tiran Island

Jackson Reef

Ras Mohammed National Park

Sharm El Sheikh Golf Resort

Nabq Protected Area

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About Sharm el Sheikh

Climate

The climate is very dry. Rainfall is very rare. The weather is very hot in summer days and moderately hot at summer nights. In winter, it is warm at days and has one of the warmest night temperatures in Egypt.

Activities

Diving

Diving is the main activity in Sharm el-Sheikh. When you dive into the warm water of the Red Sea and leave the remote desert behind, you will enter a world full of life and colours. Divers, especially photographers, should be confident with their buoyancy to avoid damaging the fragile coral reef system.

  • The reefs of Tiran and Ras Mohammed are known as two of the best diving-spots in the world. They can be reached by boat from Sharm within two hours. Ras Mohammed is the name of the southern most point of the Sinai peninsula. There, the current of the Gulf of Aqaba meets the Gulf of Suez. Due to the increase of plankton in the water the amount of fish is incredible. Huge schools of Barracudas, Sharks and Murrays can be seen there every day.
  • The wreck of the SS Thistlegorm is generally regarded as one of the finest wreck dives in the world. However, it can also become very crowded with divers and definitely is an advanced dive due to strong currents and part of the dive is usually in an overhead environment.
  • Smarter divers book a diving safari. This way you avoid the crowds at the popular spots and have the possibility to dive beautiful reefs way beyond the reach of any daytripping boats. The overall costs of a diving safari does not exceed daily diving and it saves you a lot of stress. Check out your chosen boat online and make sure the photos are current!

Operators include:

  • Oonas Dive Center. A small, friendly Dive Centre at the quieter end of Na'ama Bay offering daily diving and all PADI courses - discounts for internet bookings.
  • Sinai Divers Naama Bay.
  • Camel Dive Club.
  • Colona Divers.
  • Emperor Divers.
  • Enigma Charters.
  • Ocean College.
  • RedSea Diving College.
  • Diving Ocean.
  • Ultimate Diving Holidays.
  • Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village.
  • Dolphin Diving Center.
  • Divers International, Sofitel Hotel (North end of Na'ama Bay),  0020106770462. 9AM-6PM. PADI five star diving centres offering daily diving trips, PADI courses, and liveaboard safaris.

Horseback riding

  • Stables at Sofitel Hotel. Helpful personnel. Require helmets (provided); several pairs of riding boots available. After the ride, offer you to give showers to your horse. Bambi and Kelly are declared as the fastest horses. Too far from the desert: in 2-hours route, only 40 minutes is actual ride in desert, the remainder time is spent to get there and to return back. For 2 hours, better choose stables at the edge of desert. EUR45 for 2 hours.

Quad bikes

There are dozens of operators who seem to use just the same route, length and sequence of stops: when you drive, you meet many groups who follow just the same route as yours. There are several really shaky pieces of the route, very much like a washboard.

Wear a long-sleeved shirt; shoes are safer than sandals. Always wear a helmet and make sure your travel insurance covers this activity. Expect all your wear (and skin) to be covered with grey dust.

2 hours of riding is just enough for a non-professional rider; expect several stops along the way. It's ideal to start your ride at 4pm or later--to catch a sunset and ride back when air is not that hot.

At departure point, choose a bike in the beginning of the motorcade: being one of the first allows to drive faster, and results in less dust.

  • Tiba Safari / Tiba Trip. Sold by many agencies. Groups are 10-15 bikes; two persons per bike is allowed (although bikes are originally designed for a single person). Tasting Berber tea is very risky for your stomach--proven several times. Group is accompanied by a car with camcorder--video is not worth buying, and the car generates much extra dust (you can't do much about it unless your whole group ask in advance to not make video at all). $20 single person per bike for 2 hrs; $25 for two people sharing the same bike for 2 hrs.

Make sure you stay on the path and follow your guide, as Egypt has one quarter of the world's landmines buried in its deserts, some of them surprisingly close to Sharm el-Sheikh.

Para sailing

Para sailing is very enjoyable. But, for a less than 5 minutes ride, they charge 260 pounds for 2 persons and 220 pounds for one person.

Camel trekking

The best place to do this is in the Sinai desert on a tour with the Sinai's on their own bred camels. After this you can look up at the desert stars at midnight after having a homemade meal cooked by the Sinais themselves.

Food

If you need a break from resort food try one of the local places below. If you're looking for a taste of home Il Mercato houses a McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Costa and a Starbucks. Manchow Wok has nice Chinese food and is opposite Stella, the only place to drink in El Mercato.

Budget

  • El Masrien, Old Market (next to the market exit),  +20 (69) 366 2904. 12:00 - 4:00 am. Offering the finest Egyptian barbeque cuisine including Kabab, Kofta, Reyash, Nefa, Tarab & liver, all types of oriental dishes including veal shank, stuffed pigeon & stuffed duck, all types of pasta & rice & different types of stuffed vegetables. Alcohol free. Enjoy all types of grills. Also worth is GAD a few more doors down, look for the big red sign. Both are full of locals.

Mid-range

  • Fares Seafood, Horus Mall and Old Market. All kinds of seafood fresh from the Red Sea.
  • Fawanes Cafe, Naama Bay. Lebanese cuisine. Good place for waterpipes; order a smaller one (Fawanes); apple one is ideal.
  • Onions, Il Mercato. Fusion food, good services and reasonable prices.
  • Safsafa, Naama Bay. Probably one of the best fish cafes in the town. A rare place where grilled calmaras are really good. However, the lobster included in the mixed seafood plate is dry.
  • Tempo Cafe. Features some percentage of locals. Waiters are uniformed in disctinctive orange-and-green. Waterpipe is good, but when served for several people (with many hoses), the menu price may be multiplied by number of people--ask in advance; maybe it's just a scam.
  • Indian Restaurants. There are 3 Indian restaurants in Sharm. One is Maharaja, on the beach pathway. Other two are India House Restaurants, of Thai Chain hotels. One is the old market and another one, opposite little Buddha, on the road near Taxi stand. Can get Indian menus.

Drinks

Fresh Guava juice is a must-try, excellent in any cafe, along with Bedouin or Mint tea.

Alcohol (including beer) is available in restaurants and street cafes. Travellers must be aware that taxes are now levied on alcoholic drinks that are purchased in cafes or bars that are not associated with the hotels. Please also be aware of drink prices in general as they can be relatively expensive, compared to other european destinations. Always ask to see a drinks menu before ordering a drink. Check in the Naama Bay cafes that you will not be charged 'entrance' and to watch the 'floor show' (bad dancing). Tea and coffee is around 15-25le, make sure you are paying sensible prices.

  • Black House. Second famous venue after Pacha club. Presumably owned by Russians and avoided by everyone .
  • Bus Stop, Naama Bay.
  • Hard Rock Cafe, Naama Bay.
  • Little Buddha, Naama Bay Hotel,  002 069 350 1030. Good music and cocktails. Not the cheapest place in town.
  • Ministry of Sound Red Sea, Pacha/Sanafir hotel,  +31624930603. 23-03.45.
  • Pacha club, Sanafir hotel, Naama Bay,  +20(69)360-0197-8. One of the most famous dancing clubs.
  • TGI Fridays, Naama Bay.

Shopping

  • water in shops cost around 3-5 LE
  • bring your sunscreen, because they cost 80-200 LE anywhere in town, if you are without tan, shopkeeper will sell you one at very bad price - welcome to egypt :-)
  • Carrefour Express, Marina , one street west of 'main disco street' (one street off from the main shopping/nagging street in Marina part). one of the classic Europian shops with price tags, option to pay with credit card without disadvantages, exchange machine and ATM inside,

- they do have a lot of local spices and even some souvenir items, like small papyrus just for 2 LE

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Sharm el-Sheikh on Wikivoyage.

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