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We stayed at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in March 2009. Fantastic hotel and while a bit pricey, definitely worth it and much less than a RC would be in most other parts of the world. Definitely recommend this hotel.
Anyway, we booked a trip to the pyramids with the tour arranger in the hotel, Raja Tours. This was a very easy way of seeing the sights, just be warned that you'll end up being dragged into a perfume shop, from which it is very difficult to escape without having to spend several hundred dollars on mediocre perfume. Don't let them take you there, it is a waste of time and money.
Unique Suggestions: Just do not go in the shop in the first place. The only good thing was that it was air conditioned!
Fun Alternatives: We were very sorry later that we did not look into doing a short Nile cruise, instead of wasting time in the perfume shop.
Written Jul 3, 2009
As usual all reps will offer various organised trips to see the Pyramids at Cairo, Luxor etc etc but having been shocked at the price declined. However in Naama Bay there are various travel agents, the one I used was within the large shopping complex, offering exactly the same trips much cheaper! My partner and my daughter decided to take the risk and book to see the Pyramids in 2008. Hotel rep wanted £179 each but we paid £110 so for 3 of us was a saving of over £200! It is an early start but mini bus picked us up at 4am and we could not believe when we realised hotel guests who had paid the full price were on the same flight etc! The guide we had was superb and we had a great day. However regardless who you book with have your wits about you at the airport as internal flights are a different matter, it is like a cattle market! Please note therefore that EVERY trip your rep offers you can be bought much cheaper in Naama Bay and is exactly the same!
Written Jun 9, 2009
We were recommended to go to Old Sharm by our tour rep to experience a more authentic side of Egypt life. The place is an absolute run down dump. If being hassled by hundreds of Arabic men appeals to you and also receiving death threats - yes, I was told "I'm going to ***ing kill you American", then this is the place for you. Incidentally I'm not an American, I'm Irish but thats besides the point. All of this if you manage to survive the taxi trip which will inevitably entail an immature Arabic man driving at ridiculously dangerous speeds in heavy traffic. So to sum up if you really want to experience authentic Egypt away from the horrible artificiality of Sharm resort, then this dump is for you !
Written May 8, 2009
Pacha Night club. They tell you that you were responsible for handing in a fake £20 note. They then ask for a real replacement. They will show you a clear fake and insist you were the one that handed it to them.
Unique Suggestions: Try and keep the same designed £20 notes. Dont give in to them, argue your honesty!!! Go to the counter in a group and not on your own. Dont come across to drunk, as they may take advantage. Ask to see management- as its likely it is a staff scam and not a company scam.
Written Jun 9, 2008
Bedouins are muslims and speak an arabic dialect. Most of the Bedouins from the Sinai and Negev desert have come from the Arabian peninsula, other migrated from the desert of Egypt, Transjordan and Syria.
In the Sinai area, they have learnt how to make huge sums of money from tourists through organizing camel rides, dinners, ATV rides etc and are not hoarding vast amounts of cash as a result.
When you go on for example a Bedouin camel ride, they will try and give you a bracelet at the end. They tie it very tight and then ask for a about $4. They are very pushy about this and make it seem initially like it is a gift. You will already have paid enough for the camel ride, so if you are offered this and don't want to cart back a bracelet you will throw away, then just say No.
Unique Suggestions: Take a camel ride, it is an experience
Updated Jan 2, 2008
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..!
Written Nov 3, 2007
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.
Written Oct 16, 2007
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.
Written Aug 9, 2007
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!
Written Jun 24, 2007
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.
Updated Jun 24, 2007
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