Like you know Marrakesh is a very touristic town. I found something very disgusting, i was with my uncle who is a morrocan and we were looking for a place to stay the night near the Djamaa El Fna Square. We found a lot of hotels but none of them would let us sleep in the same room. The only way to stay in those hotel was to rent two rooms.
The hotel manager were affraid of the morrocan prostitution. Be aware if you are traveling with a morrocan friend or family member!!!
A taxi-driver offered us (myself & my boyfriend)a tour around Marrakesh for a certain price (can´t remember how much it was anymore), and I asked couple of times if the price was for both of us etc. etc. trying to make sure he wasn´t trying to con us. So we agreed on doing the "tour", because the price was ok and it sounded like a good idea seeing the town from a local point of view. He took us to some amazing places, so the tour itself was a real succee, but in the end he wanted more than the double price and things got very awkward, I told him we had a deal for this and this amount and he insisted that the agreed price was only for one person.. I refused to pay him that much and finally ended up giving him a bit more we had originally agreed on, but much less than what he asked for. He didn´t take us back to the hotel and we had to walk a bit to get there, but that was ok. The tour was great and he was a good guide, but the nasty end of the trip felt really bad...
There are some women sitting near the centre of town square. They will show you the pictures of the tattoo and ask you to take it. The tattoo can be made on your hands, feet or somewhere you like. Two of my friends would like to try and were told to pay Dh20 (the local money, its around 2 Euros). After finishing the tattoo on their hands, the women asked them to pay Dh50. They increased the price. Finally, one girl paid Dh20 and the other paid Dh50. The girl who paid Dh20 washed the tatto away and left her hands orange in colour. The tatto can last for a month. Pls make sure you like it or not.
While entering the old Medina, dozens of persons will approach you pretending to be your guide, eventually saying that the Medina can be dangerous (not true), etc.. Once you are in, it calms down a bit, but still you'll be approached every 2 minutes. You have two choices: be very very patient, or let a boy be your "guide" (but be very clear you do not want to spend time shopping).
I've already mentioned it in my Morocco-page:
The water is NOT SAFE TO DRINK in Morocco. You can suffer from stomache for the rest of your holiday after drinking this water.
Buy water in a bottle. It is very cheap and safe! Be sure that the bottle is still unopened when you buy it in a store or on the market.
Moroccan traders are hard to convince, so here are some rules:
- Don't ask the price unless you're prepared to bargain.
- Don't point at something to show it to your friend...
- Relax... they are going to try very hard to get your attention.
- It's more polite to say 'la prochaine fois' (next time) than 'no.'
- When bargaining, their first price is NEVER their last! Neither should yours be. Start much lower than what you want to pay, then get more reasonable.
- Try to ask someone who is experienced in shopping for moroccan souvenirs for what a good price is. (Don't ask someone who is selling them!)
- Walking away is a good technique to get a lower price.
- Don't be in a hurry... you'll end up paying more.
- 'All that glitters is not gold,'... and all that is black is not ebony.
- BUY LOTS OF STUFF!! (it will probably be cheaper than at home) Remember your trip forever!
Close to the Bab ed Debbagh Gate to the Medina (east) you can find the place where they give color to the animal skins. The place is quite interesting but it smells like hell!!. As you get near the place 2 things come to you: the insane smell and several little guides that will show you the place for a few dirhams.
They offer you mint leaves to disimulate the odour. Use them, you'll need to...
Boohh, most of guide books including Lonely Planet and Routard, advice to take a private official guide to go around Medina as, otherwise you would be bothered or you could get lost, we did it on our way and it was pretty easy and, if you look at the suks(shops) taking a certain distance, noone will stick on you untill you buy something.Medina a part, I walked in the streets at anytime of day and night and never felt in danger, nor in the new town, nor in the old one.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
being in a very touristic place in a muslim country keep your eyes open that you won't be cheated..by too high prices..we paid for very simple food in a so-called speciality restauranta fortune..keep the eyes open when someone recommends you the restaurant DAR-MOUNIA...it is only money-making..
Be care full what you eat at the Djemaa El-fna square, don't eat anything that isn't well done! One of the people I was travelling with ate something that wasn't well done and he noticed that the same evening and next day. Be aware!
Be careful when wandering the old town particularly at night. Not that I ever felt threatened but you really could get lost. It's a maze in there and once in it could take you a long time to get out. I got lost in the daytime (in the hot sun) and was very glad to finally find a taxi to get me out.
If you're jet-lagged and traveling in from the airport after an all-night flight.... please remember that even during off-hours (when crowds have thinned out considerably), NEVER take your eyes off your baggage!!
Experienced thieves WILL wait for these kinds of moments and if you're not alert enough, they'd just grab your luggage and dash out of the door... your suitcase in hand, in seconds!
Travel Safety: Use your good common sense. If an airline is notorious for poor on time performance, lots of passenger complaints and severe financial problems, then perhaps it is time to find an alternative airline.
The same rule also applies if you're arriving via ferry/ ship. The port at Tangier can be absolutely chaotic! So be extra alert.
The Djemaa el-Fna Square, in my opinion, is definitely the highlight of any trip to Marrakesh, but even though there are many tourists around, you still have to be on your toes. The area has many pickpockets and other undesireables. For instance on the way back to my hotel (which was only about a block from the square), I was stopped by a local man who was extremely persistent in offering me marijauna for sale. When I kep refusing he got angry, and after about my seventh refusal of his proposals, he pulled a knife on me. Luckily, he was just flexing his muscle, but nonetheless, it taught me to be careful when in the area. (While I want to let everyone know about this unfortunate incident, don't let that keep you away from this area, just be on your toes when you go to visit).
Well, I don't think a guide is really necessary in Marrakesh, but if you do plan on hiring one, make sure he is an official guide. The police (both uniformed and undercover tourist police) are pretty vigilant in Marrakesh. In an attempt to overcome the bad press about the hustling, they have become pretty suspicious. Our friends were not guides nor were they official, therefore, they were questioned by the police and were only 'released' after proving that they were residents of Casablanca and not Marrakesh. We were told different penalties by different people, but it all ended in jail time. The situation was sticky...don't get yourself into it, hire an official guide or be careful if you have Moroccan friends. Supposedly, even walking with a tourist carries a penalty...these guys were braving a bit of danger when showing us Marrakesh. They were actually stopped by the police at one point and were told to report to the tourist police and only 'escaped' because they were not residents of Marrakesh.
Beware the mopeds! They are everywhere and do their best to not slow down so take great care - especially while crossing the streets! My husband was actually hit by one.