It could be wrong of me to mention this in a tip, because I'm also a part of the tourist population.
But personally I think some places are overcrowded, especially the public coral reefs.
When you're looking for a tranquil place to enjoy the aqua fauna, Giftun is the wrong place.
Ok, it's been posted in the transportation section of the tips here and we experienced it and we were told by the stafff at our hotel to only pay 1LE (that's like 15 cents) for a one way trip per person from Hurghada to
Sakkala. When the white van taxis "honk" for your attention and you want to get on, first look the guy in the eye and hold out your 1LE and say it firmly - these guys will try to say more but don't give in. the locals pay less. and it's funny too- we jumped on for 1 LE each and then along the way, they picked up a couple and told them 15 LE, to the same place we were going! Well, for safety and argument sake, we didn't say anything to these tourists. not like you'd lose alot of money (2 dollars) but still, it doesn't feel good to be ripped off. So don't budge from the 1 LE per person- that is the set rule for tourists and tell them you will go to the tourist police if it starts to get out of hand.
Unique Suggestions: you really haven't lost too much money. :(
Hi, I recommend GEM travel for excursions. Not GEO travel which is next door!
It is opposite macdonalds in sakkalla and Ahmed is wonderful. He arranged so many trips for us and his english is great and he has a great manner, not slimey like some, of the operators. He can do Cairo, Luxor , safaris etc for very good prices. Many operators are overpriced and horrible. Ahmed is very european like in his manner and polite and courteous.
Do not buy silver jewelry in Hurghada in any tourist areas. A small pair of plain silver and turquoise earrings could cost you 600 L.E. That's over 100.00 USD!
Fun Alternatives: Instead, shop for silver in the souqs and markets away from the resort areas
Many tourists who vivt hurghada and meets with the local beach boys and bazaar guys thinks that those are the real egyptians. No please hold on. They are guys who works in tourism to make money and then have fun.
I have met tourists who thinks that all Egyptian people are the same like those working in hurghada.
Unique Suggestions: If you meet them and you are a lady, then try and make sure if he has the kind of mentality that you like.
Fun Alternatives: Dont get attracted by appearance only. Ladies, if you are in Hurghada, you will find zillions of guys in discos so you dont have to secure one from before.
I decided to have a walk across evening Hurghada. As I already wrote the city extends along the sea coast on some tens kilometers. I would like to pass some of them on foot. I was going to reach an old part of the city before sunset. But it happened it was not possible. Numerous shops and sellers became the reason of my failure. Sellers did not give pass by their shops. They threw on each passing by tourist, offering the goods and made it persuasively enough.
I had to enter conversations with sellers many times. They were not limited by my firm "NOT". As soon as they understood that I was Russian, their persistence was doubled. They spoke in love and friendship to Russian, that firstly was pleasant. But when it repeated tens times, I was tired and decided to stop such tiresome walk!
No genuine beach, waters filled with oil, restrictions mostly to the "civilized" quarters of the main hotels which happen to be price gougers because of their quazzi monopoly state, and the special non-stop staring at you if you happen to be a woman. What a bliss!
Unique Suggestions: Go on a boat with a glass bottom if you are not a diver so at least you see something unusual unless you have seen it somewhere else. There are more expensive propositions with larger boats and better views of the marine life but you will miss out on the "local flavour" represented by your boat driver.
Fun Alternatives: Do not go Egypt for a beach vacation. Greece would do.
Despite of the sun and splendid weather in winter........it's not that splendid nonethless :) as they have a cold strong annoying wind. I didn't see much ppl swimming in the sea. As for me one time was enough for me:))
And don't forget about a sweater, it's getting really cool by the evening:)
Unique Suggestions: Don't pay attention to this and enjoy yr holiday there:)
"Khawal, metnak, olla" are different names for describing a homosexual man. If you are one then i have to warn you from the trap.
You might find guys who pretend they are gays and will lead u to believe so till u r inside a room or so and they will start the blackmail game. They might rip you off of your money and still wont give you what you want.
Unique Suggestions: Dont show you are a gay and wait till you know what's going on around.
Fun Alternatives: Get to know the person very well before getting involved. Many murders happens around gay community in Egypt.
for some stuff, any, even riding a camel you bargain and you come to a certain amount...
precise the currency, as my friends bargained for 10, but it turned out to be US dollars not Egyptian pounds!
so, always say - that and that EUROS, EGYPTIAN POUNDS....
Unique Suggestions: if this happens you'll have o pay more
maybe not all 10 dollars
but not 10 LE either
Fun Alternatives: pay middle to 70%
In Hurghada city they hassle you all the time in order to sell something. Even worse than in Turkey. Hurghada city is very dirty.
Don't expect to shop till you drop like in Turkey. The only interesting items to buy are the statues I find. But most of them are made of pieces of stone that have been put together.
There are not the original alabast stone like they claim (firm stone - unbreakable).
I bought a nice statue of the God of Mummification with a body on a nice decorated table.
I had put it in our suitcase and it was broken in the return, so obviously fake stone. I bought the same statue online from Germany, when I was home, cause I liked it so much. It arrived in perfect condition.
We also bought a big statue of Horus (Falcon head) of about 50cm. It's very nice. They asked €60, we offered €20. After 30 min. we got it for that price. I slammed it to the wall by incident, and the snakes were off the head. Glad i had rapid glue :) So also fake stone.
They are shops that claim to be authentic, but you cannot thrust anyone there...
Here we have prices tagged on every item in shops.
In Hurghada we had to bid off even for a bottle of Coke!!!!!
We were thirsty and asked someone from a shop where they sell softdrink bottles.
He brought us to a shop and said something in Egyptian language.
I suspect something like 'i brought these customers here, so i have also a percentage of your sale'.
They asked €2 for 1.5L! I said it's even more expensive than in Europe!
They asked how much I wanted to pay. I said €1 and they agreed. Even this is expensive i think for Egyptian standard. But we don't wanted to go in discussion for a drink, but they had to be reasonable...
Allways negotiate the price before you get on the Camel. Don't give more than 10LE (usualy 1-2 LE will be enough) . One guy had to pay 25 euros in order to get off it.
I dont like repiting the tips but I have to put this one on every of my Egypt pages
My agency offered us 'facultative trips' as every does, I believe. The hometown one in Bosnia I mean. We went to some with them. Later on we realized that in hotel (local Egyptian agencies) and agencies you can see along the streets of Hurghada sell exactly the same stuff for 50% less price!!!!!
Unique Suggestions: Check local before you trust your own!
This tour was a one day trip(16hrs) from Hurghada to Luxor advertised to including Karnak, Nile trip, Collisi Memnon, Valley of Queens all for the reasonable price of €55pp(extra €10 for Valley of Kings instead of Queens). Should have known by the price!
Adhmed working in the main office in Hurgada(Opposite McDonalds)is polite and happy to take your money. However, once your money has been taken the following did happen to us: 1. Pick up was at meant to be at 04:45 but no sign till 05:25(40mins late). Drove around Hurgada locating other tourist hotels, driver seemed to have no idea where he was going. After driving round for >1hr in Hurghada we ended up where we started.
2. Met up with convoy in Safaga (60kms) towards Luxor from Hurgada for police escort. Driver did not have documents for our transport but the usual arabic chit chat and a few name taken all seemed okay. An experience- All traffic stopped for the some 40+ tourist buses all the way to Luxor
3. Arrived Karnak temple first (On bus 3 languages spoken as first language) met by guides??? Only 2 so one doubled up and repeated. Our guide was very interested in us as needed money from us. Once he got the money pushed tour through as quickly as possible. Give very little insight into anything and show no interest in anthing at all. Said what each part was and nothing more. His attitude stunk. Took him a total of 15mins to do his part then he was off to cafe to have a drink.
4. Then we were hurtled off to Papyrus shop or a Perfume shop. Guide really trying get his cut on anything that we purchased. No poblem spending time here. Surprise Surprise. Also recieved lesson on how papyrus is made. Pritty good. Mad for sales
Unique Suggestions: ctd from above as not enough room
5. Then off to Karnak Hotel 3* for lunch. Don't do it. Food seemed like been left over from a buffet 3 weeks ago and still going cold. Had to pass on food. Charged for drinks. During lunch they were mad yet again to yet again try to SELL us a trip to banana island or a trip on Nile by motor boat. More commission.
6. Motor boat across Nile to other side where met bus for pick up.
7. Off to Colossi Memnon. No guide intro just here they were.
8. On to alabaster factory shop. Lesson on how made by staff. Very informative and interesting. Again guides are on comission for any sales that are made here.
9. Next to Valley of Kings(Or Queens) where no information from Guide given at all, apart from what is written on the outside of each tomb "Tomb of Ramses VII" etc .
10. We were informed end of tour but one good surpise they did show us Temple of Hatshepsut. Think this was more down to the fact that nobody would go to the banana island or motor boat on Nile.
11. Tour over and still had 1hr to show us something so took us back to that LOVELY (NOT)3* Hotel to spend money and ensure they keep the hotel sweet. When we arrived there we opted to go somewhere else to drink.
At end of tour with guide he searched our thoughts on the tour asking did we enjoy, was really looking for money. Sorry not here by the way neither did anyone else.
My biggest disappointment about this whole tour was that the guide was money searching all day everywhere and they showed no interest in the main attractions the sights! They were also unfriendly.
I do have to say on the positive side we did stick to a schedule and we did get to see all the sights itemised. However, I hope this article clarifies how GEM tour operates and that if you do book with them you get no surprises.
By the way they were one of the cheaper tour operators. Maybe I am bit cynical and they make thier money from the commission?? I'll leave it up to you to decide.
Fun Alternatives: Will only do it once be prepared and do your own homework on each site
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