Funtasia -Dnt Shop Around
Funtasia is Kool place to hang around but definetely not a place to Buy Stuffs as Most of stuffs are too Over Priced...this compared to the Sharm el Sheikh OLD Market....!! Just get the entertainment and leave..No need to look around and fall prey to shopkeepers pushy and Sweet attitude..!
Very rude salesmen
I was in Sharm october 2007 and was unpleasantly surprised by the salespeople at Sharm Panorama in Naama bay's shopping area.... after hassling me (un invited) i was almost forced to buy something because the guy working there stated that he wasted half an hour of his tome on me....
Not a place to buy the standard souvenir stuff i would say.
Gem Travel Agency- They really are not gems
If you are planning to book any trips whilst visiting sharmel sheikh in Egypt please do not trap yourselves in booking one with Gem Travel Agency in Bank Street near the infamous crocodile show and opposite alf leila wa leila. These cowboys will take your money, promise you everything and give you the worst treatment possible, and forget about any form of refund even if you are on your death bed and cannot go to a trip. Please be very careful when booking trip but this agent in particular is now becoming famous its rudeness and disappointing trips. I will never forget when we were given an unsafe quad bike to ride on but we were told its fine until one of our group members injured themselves and they still didnt want to change our bikes or take any notice of us. no form of compensation was offered. So please be very careful of this company - there lots more in Naama Bay which I have since found out offer invaluable service.
Unique Suggestions: Do not go to this Agency their is no way round it - once you have departed with your money thats it
Fun Alternatives: You can either book your trips through thomson or first choice reps at your hotel. Alternatively you can go to Naama bay which is a great tourist location and find some very reputable agencies.
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
- Adventure Travel
Diluted Oil & Buying Oil Bottles
As with all touristic places, there are unscrupulous businesses that are willing to take advantage of people who do not possess a lot of knowledge of what they are purchasing.
There are a multitude of oil/perfume shops in Sharm el Sheikh. Of the ones I've been in, they did not try to pass off diluted oil. I have however paid way more than I should have for the little glass oil bottles at one seller who took advantage of my not knowing the real price!
Here are some tips to make sure that you are not ripped off!
Unique Suggestions: The trick is to add alcohol to the oil to stretch out the supply. When alcohol is added, the oil becomes oily and shiny. In addition to masking part of the oil scent, the diluted oil burns off its scent more quickly and does not have the same shelf life as pure oil.
The most common alcohol used to dilute is ethanol alcohol which is quite caustic and people with sensitive skin may have problems. Many of those with allergies to regular perfumes may actually just be allergic to the alcohol that is used and can use pure oil with no trouble. Just try on a small part of your skin before purchasing any large quantity.
For oil bottles, you should check the quality of the glass as well as the design. Check for broken pieces, especially the stopper. Also check the gold design, if any. Some sellers just have metallic paint rather than true gold and you can tell the difference when you inspect the bottle as the paint will lack the luster and brillance of true gold.
The price for the bottles varies on the design but according to a friend at one of the dive centers, you can pick up very good priced bottles in the Old Market near McDonalds for around 40-60LE. I paid more than triple that in one of the street vendors :( More complicated designs will cost you around US$20-30
Fun Alternatives: As mentioned, I have not had any sellers in Sharm try to pass off diluted oil to me but with so many sellers around, there may be a bad apple or two around...you never know! I just wanted to get the info out there so you know a bit more about what you are purchasing!
Make sure that the business carefully packages your oil with a tightly sealed stopper and wrapped in bubble wrap. Often they will put the wrapped bottles in a flimsy cardboard box, see if they have something more sturdy available. Also, just in case the oil does leak, try putting what you can in a sealed plastic bag so you don't end up coming home with oil-soaked and smelling clothing!
As in all tourist destinations, there is always some unscrupulous businessman that is willing to take advantage of tourists who don't really know much about the item they are purchasing.
Papyrus is a great gift and abundantly available in Sharm el Sheikh in the Naama Shopping Center (the big center in the middle of town). It is easy to travel with as your purchase will be rolled and placed into a small cardboard roll that easily stows in your lugguage or travels individually as a carry-on.
Here are some simple tips to make sure that you are not ripped off!
Unique Suggestions: Real papyrus does not crumble/crack when rolled. Now, don't go around crumbling the papyrus into a ball or folding it in half as you are likely to ruin the design...but just gently roll the paper like you were going to put it into a tube.
Additionally, check the quality of the design. Some vendors will "cheat" and save time by printing on papyrus with an inkjet printer rather than painting. The printed designs will often have a "bleeding" problem where colors will bleed into the next. A true painted papyrus will not have overlapping colors and paint will stay within their lines. Also with painted papyrus, the artist will sign their name.
You should also check the design to make sure that the painting does not crack and flake off. You would be sore to go home and discover cracks in your papyrus and/or painting! Most reputable papyrus dealers stamp the papyrus to certify the authenticity.
Fun Alternatives: Papyrus will range in cost from a few dollars to several hundred depending on the artist, size, complexity of the design, and whether or not the item is framed. A quick guess on the prices after my purchases is that you can count on paying around US$5-25 for an 8 1/2 X 11 design and US$20-75 for a larger wall design.
Remember the price is always negotiable when shopping in Egypt but don't get too stingy and try buying good quality papyrus for ridiculously low prices. If you purchase more than one item, go for a quantity discount and wrangle an extra picture or a few personalized bookmarks for friends.
New taxi con?
The taxi and mini bus prices in Sharm are fixed by the local government and they are fixed at a rate that is very generous in the drivers favour.The fixed rate tariff has to be displayed in the window of the taxi or mini bus(it is a round sticker with the vehicle description and common journey prices) and the rate varies depending on the vehicle,mini bus being the cheapest ,then white bonnet(local) taxis and finally the most expensive,the blue bonnet(peaugot,long distance) taxi.Not content with just lying to get more money from the passenger the mini bus and white bonnet taxi drivers have now resorted to putting a tariff sticker from the more expensive blue bonnet taxi on display in their windscreens.Take no notice of the tariff sticker if it is the wrong one.The mini bus sticker is green,the white bonnet taxi one is blue and the blue bonnet taxi one is red.
Unique Suggestions: Here is the official(prices correct june 07) tariff list,for journeys not specified just add the legs together.
Fun Alternatives: The trick is to look and sound like you know what you are doing.If they think you are a tourist they will rip you off.
Tours - Watch Your Time!
Sometimes tour operators will tell you what you want to hear rather than what you need to know.
My friend and I discovered this after we signed up and went on the St. Catherine's/Dahab tour with one of the agencies. The tour agent, one of the many on the street, told us that the tour would be 7 hours long when we explained that we needed to be back in time to catch an evening flight. The trip ended up being 12 hours and we had to run for our flights...fortunately we had padded in enough time for showers and packing!
Unique Suggestions: I definitely am not advocating skipping out on the tours. What I do want to warn people on is that the time that you expect the tour to be finished may not actually be the time you are done! Make sure your tour will finish well before you need to leave for the airport!
Maybe going on a longer tour the day you are leaving is not such a good idea. Perhaps save the long trips for free days and the short tours like quad-running in the desert can be on the day of departure.
Fun Alternatives: Check with several different tour companies before you decide on which tour to take. You should be able to gauge the correct time for the tour during your research. You will also be able to find the best price by talking to a couple different people.
Come Sign My Guestbook!
Anyone who has been or looked into going to Sharm el Sheikh probably has heard about how the shopkeepers hassle people walking by on the street. The favorite line is something like this --> Hi, my family just opened a new exhibit. I'm not a businessman but we do exhibits all over Europe, US, and now here. Would you please come sign our guestbook?
Another way they get you to stop and engage is to say "Hi, where are you from?" or even less courteous is to shout out "Hey, Irish" or trying to guess your country by speaking other languages until they get it right. They are generally surprised to discover Americans because most visitors are European.
It's just business and this is the way that the Egyptians have figured out it works in Sharm el Sheikh. They will yell out to you as you walk by basically the entire time you are there. Sometimes they will insult you just to get you to stop and engage them.
I've found that after a couple of days of refusing to talk to the shopkeepers, they will generally recognize you and leave you alone. It's that first couple of days that are the most frustrating though because EVERYONE is trying to get you to come into their shop or restaurant!
Unique Suggestions: If you do stop and engage a shopkeeper who asks you to go into their shop, go to the shop and sign the guestbook. If you aren't interested in their wares, simply say "No thank you" and leave. You are under no obligation to sit and listen to them talk about the family business and you certainly don't need to buy anything if you don't want it! A simple excuse of "I need to go meet some friends and I'm late" will work well...although often they will ask you to come back with your friends later and give you a business card.
Honestly, if you are planning on doing some shopping, it's not a bad thing to get friendly with one of the shopkeepers. No matter what you want to buy, they probably have a shop or know a friend with a shop that sells what you are looking for. Tell them that you aren't interested in what they have to sell or that you'll think about it and then get them to work for you!
"You know I'm not sure about that glass palm tree. I do like it but let me think about it. In the meantime, I really wanted to buy my mother a pashima. Do you know where I can find one?" is a great way to get your shopping done :)
Plus the guys running the shops aren't bad people...their sales pitch is just a little annoying :)
Fun Alternatives: Or if you want to avoid the hassle of dealing with sometimes over-friendly and often-pushy shopkeepers, go to the big Sharm Shopping Center in the middle of town. The shopkeepers are usually busy enough with customers that walk in that they don't go outside to bring in customers...the customers come to them.
It's more relaxed shopping but you can miss out on a little of the excitement of bargaining in the markets by going this route. Bargained prices can be a little bit higher because of the overhead of running a regular shop.
When you go out shopping in Sharm El Sheikh all the locals will ask you to come into there shops or market stalls or recommend there brothers shop lol... Its okay to look in some shops if your interested but trust me if you start a conversation with everyone who stops you to talk to then you would be there for years.
They will ask how are you, come into my shop to just look, or tell you your wife/girlfriend is beautiful and your a very lucky man, we got tricked into signing a tourist/guest book then they kept trying to make us buy perfumes that we didnt want. We ended up being there for an hour!
Unique Suggestions: It can get frustrating sometimes so we would just say hello and carry on walking or at least say no thank (La schukran in Arabic) that way we were not being rude but it stopped us hanging around a shop we were truely not interested in. The locals only want to make a living so dont be surprised if you get hassled. It is normal.
"Sign my book!"
"come sign my guest book", "please come and get my business card" just a couple of the ways to get you into a shop. "I have a gift for your children".... if you go into the shop - don't expect to come away without your wallet feeling a little lighter!
Unique Suggestions: It can be tedious but just be firm and polite and nobody should get upset.
Fun Alternatives: no alternative, just smile and be determined.... if you avoid the markets because of the constant badgering you'll miss some very worthy places and purchases!
Only get a insured blue and white taxi!
As it was the first time in a taxi to Naama Bay from my hotel, so i waved down a taxi which looked the real deal. However, it was a normal car and i realised it wasn't the insured taxi's (blue and white estates). We asked to go to Naama Bay and they dropped us off, which seemed to be the right place, we didn't know at the time! So we began to walk through the streets and were literally dragged into a shop try to sell us papyrus...he was really pushy and i didn't like it at all.
We evencually got out and got a lot of hassel on our walk...trying to find Panorama! I felt really intimidated. However, i soon realised that this was because the taxi wasn't insured and they couldn't drop us off by Panorama because the police won't allow the non insured taxi's to do this, only the blue and whites.
From that day on i always got a blue and white taxi which dropped us off to at the correct place and it was a much better experience, no enclosed back alleys!
Fun Alternatives: Always get the blue and white taxi's, these are insured and will be able to drop you off at the right place. When going to Naama Bay, ask to go to Panaroma, this will take you to the main strip where all the restaurants, bars and shopping centre are.
- Family Travel
- Spa and Resort
The Pyramids at Giza
AWESOME is not bir eneough a word to descride the pyramids I was blown away,many had said they were dissapointed when they saw them but when you sit and think they were built by hand in this heat, i kid you not as you can see with my travel pages i have been to some pretty hot places but this spot was stifleing.
Take plenty of cilled water and sun hats and high factor sun cream because you will need it.
Also much has ben written about the beggars and tourist police at the pyramids if you just look away and ignore them they will go to the next and when they ask.."english" " American" again ignore them and you will be fine
- Luxury Travel
- Family Travel
- School Holidays
Dolphins in January?
We were sitting on the beach of Hilton and come this skinny guy from Sun 'n Fun offering us a 'once in a month only' trip to Tiran with the company's flag ship the beautiful Sinai Dreams. He said we might be able to see dolphins if we are lucky. On the ship we asked the Captain about them too. He replied: The dolphins can be seen only in the warmer months like in May etc. I just wonder why his employee had not known of it.
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Sailing and Boating
In nice weather only?
Make sure you're really taken there! We booked a boat trip to Tiran Island with Sun 'n Fun. It was a fairly windy day so the Commodore, or the owner, who unfortunatelly decided to join the trip on this special day, managed to ruin our day. Instead of taking us to Tiran Island we found ourselfes in a boring place 100 meter from the shore, 20 min. from Naama bay. We spent 4 hours there doing nothing. The crew of the ship was obviously not happy with the situation either. They argued with their boss in Arabic several times. Finally we understood what it was all about. The crew found the see calm enough but the boss preferred to spend his time with his new girl friend in a peacefull environment. We missed the Island and the great snorkelling pleaces at the end and did not get any compensation. It's true it had been windy but other boats which were half size of ours went to the island on that day. Some were 'parking' next to us. Probably his other boats. This trip suppossed to be our fairwell trip in Sharm. Disappointing ending. Sharm is a lovely place and if you plan to do a really nice boat trip look for an agent which has 'West' in their name! We had a great trip with them to Ras Mohamed on the boat called Sarah. The best ever guide I've experienced' . His name was Fauzi or similar. Many thanks him from here too.
- Sailing and Boating
- Diving and Snorkeling
The Sharm population is very friendly and always wants to show their hospitality.
You will be offered tea several times a day when you go shopping downtown. But if you`re not interested in buying you may aswell leave at once, because they will not stop hassle if you show any interest.
Beware that most of the perfume-shops does not have quality stuff, most of it is actually fake.
ALWAYS remeber to bargain, as the price can be reduced atleast 50%.
Unique Suggestions: Always try to be friendly, remember they only try to make a living
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