BLUE AND WHITE, BLUE AND WHITE *
DON'T USE A TAXI IF IT ISN'T BLUE AND WHITE!!!!
Even if your hotel arranges a car for you. They sting like scorpians. Only use blue and white taxis, haggle the price (start LE10 under what you want to pay), look for the guys with stickers on the front windscreens with a tarriff on them and always clearly state what currency you'll be paying with - if your using Egyptian pounds - say EGYPTIAN pounds - otherwise they'll expect you to pay English money (which currently stands at ten times as much!)
Good Luck :)
The visa you do NOT need!!!!!
Fact.If you enter egypt by landing at Sharm airport and do not go outside of the designated sharm area(does not include Ras Mohammed national park),you do not need to pay for a 30 day visa,you only need the free one.On arrival at Sharm airport you will be given an immigration form to fill in,on the reverse put "Sinai only".At passport control your passport will be stamped with a free 15 day,Sinai only visa. A lot of people will try to tell you that it means that you will not be able to dive or even go in the sea etc but it is all rubbish.You can go to St Catherines,Mt Sinai etc but not Cairo,Ras Mo etc.If you think you may want to travel outside of Sharm,get the visa on entry as it is difficult to get once you have entered the country.
Shopping at Naama Bay
Do not go shopping in Naama Bay but go to the Old market instead. Prices are much higher in Naama Bay for exactly the same stuff and the shopkeepers are not eager to do any bargaining because there so many tourists all year round, if one doesn't but, the other right him will.
Unique Suggestions: Buy some little sovernirs, if you forget some of your friends and want to make a last minute buy.
Fun Alternatives: Go to the Old Market
- Budget Travel
you will feel like sheep first of all, forced to the visa queue, you are made to believe you have to pay the £15 visa charge , truth is if you are going to stay in Sharm and Namma bay area you do not need it , if your going travelling you will, you can argue the toss .
then you get to the point where you will need a baggage trolly XXX beware XX the egyptian guys will be holding out to you in offer but they want you to tip them...dont do it just walk off. Than the baggage carousel will start and the egyptian scum will be dragging you bags off (on their side ) so you have to ask for them , then guess what they want a tip ... just jump over and get your own, they dont stop you but try to take you for a mug. then the cheeky git who takes you bag to load it onto you coach wants a tip.....do it yourself.
Unique Suggestions: be aware
Fun Alternatives: do it yourself
Getting "tricked" into going into shops!
The guys who own the shops will do anything to get you in ! Just remember they are trying to earn a living and try not to lose your temper! They may ask you to go in to sign their bok, or to write something in English. They Will say, "Just look no have to buy" but they can be very very persistent. Best advise is don't go shoppping unless you actually want something!
The odd guy may grab the arms of your children to get them into their shop knowing you will follow, they mean no harm, they just want to earn some money.
Unique Suggestions: Smile, be friendly and try to have a joke about being a poor student or if you buy stuff your kids wont eat for a week! As long as you laugh with them they still respect you! They are not an aggressive race, so although it can be annoying, I never had any become violent, a couple just felt insulted that we did not buy in their shop!
Fun Alternatives: Like I said, only go shopping if you want something, window shopping is no fun here!
Don't book any thing with reps
Once you arrive in your hotel, you will go to a welcome party from you Rep; they will try to sell you trips for expensive prices. They will say that they are the best because they have insurance. But look around you will find other companies that have insurance and are much cheaper.
Fun Alternatives: We found an English lady that had a company of trips. All her trips where insured and much cheaper. For example the trip to Cairo by bus with the rep was £70 and with an outside company £30 and the same buses where used.
Don’t forget you can always look around for prices and if you decide to book with you rep after all they will always be there the next day, so don’t rush in to any thing.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
- Adventure Travel
Just Dont Drink the Tea ...
If you havent got a suntan be prepared to get hassled by every street trader around. They know youre a new comer and really do take the mickey! I found it really problematic in Naama Bay because you cant walk more than a few yards down the road without someone trying to lure you into their shop. Either that or they are wrapping scarves around your head and waist! I know its all done in a friendly way, but sometimes you just cant be bothered with the banter'. Tell them firmly 'NO and it normally does the trick. It isnt their intention to give you grief Im sure. If they do manage to get you within their walls dont accept the offer of tea unless you want to trade. Drinking tea is like shaking hands on a deal!
Unique Suggestions: Be firm but polite, at the end of the day there's no harm done.
Fun Alternatives: Try to trade in the larger shopping malls, The shops in there seem to be quite trouble free.
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
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
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.
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.
New arrivals taxi rip off
This is some advice for those not part of a tour group.Don`t get ripped off (as I did) travelling by cab from Sharm airport to Naama Bay area. The drive is about 10 mins and should definitely be no more than 80/90 egyptian pounds.Tip is expected and will probably be asked for if not proffered, 10 Egyptian Pounds is more than sufficient. All taxis are numbered on the side and if unsure about anything take the number.
This is the only time I was ripped off and found the locals charming and honest.Sharm is a great place to visit.
Bedouin Gifts - especially bracelets
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
- Hiking and Walking
They will never forget !!!!
As we found out in Kenya dont tell them you will look later because they will never foget you and make them no promises. The local shop traders are very friendly always telling my husband what a lucky man he is and complementing us both.
They do this to everyone to get you into there shops they will tell you they want to give you a small gift, some people can be rude to them, but they are only trying to make a living.
But if you genuinely want something they will go out of there way to get it for you.
Unique Suggestions: Be polite and tell them that you really are not intrested, or as we did, tell them you have already purchased one.
- Budget Travel
Around the beaches at Na'ama Bay, there are usually a few lads selling English, Italian, Russian etc newspapers.
These are pretty expensive and usually a couple of days old. If you really want something to read take a book. If you want to know what's happening in the news, pop into one of the many internet cafes for a quick surf.
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