Mobile phones
Getting around

Part 1: Introduction

02.01: Nuweiba -> Sharm El-Sheikh
03.01: Sharm El-Sheikh
04.01: Sharm El-Sheikh
05.01: Sharm El-Sheikh - St Catherine monastery
06.01: Sharm El-Sheikh
07.01: Sharm El-Sheikh -> Amman

Overview and overall impression
This was a relatively short trip of just six days to the Sinai coast. We had visited Egypt twice before that, in 2001 and 2003, focusing on the Nile valley back then.
Compared to that the Sinai coast is much more touristy. Particularly Sharm el-Sheikh is a "tourist ghetto" where the locals are all focused on squeezing as much cash as possible from tourists. If you go here it makes sense to make advance bookings of everything you need - hotel, car rental etc. because arranging things locally is very expensive.
Lot of police and army checkpoints on the roads of the Sinai.

The price level in Sharm el-Sheikh is almost on European levels for many items. Hotels and stuff in shops and supermarkets costs the same as in Europe. As explained, it makes sense to pre-book everything before you arrive.

Lots of different restaurants in Sharm el-Sheikh, all tuned to the tastes of the western tourist population. We didn't see original Egyptian restaurants in this area.

Tons of hotels everywhere. We spent five nights in a medium upper class hotel of the Marriott chain, which was nice and comfortable, but lagged behind the usually high Marriott standards.

Money  / Exchange rate (December 2009)
1 Euro = ~ 8  LE (Egyptian pounds)
1 Euro = 1.45 USD
For current exchange rates check the Universal Currency Converter.

ATMs are everywhere, so that you can easily get cash with a Cirrus/Maestro ATM card. You won't need traveller cheques.

Mobile phones and prepaid cards
We happened to buy Vodafone SIM cards when entering Egypt in Nuweiba, but there are several other operators in Egypt also offering SIM cards. I was unable to use this SIM cards to surf the web with the notebook computer.


Internet access
A bit complicated, because out hotel was charging very high rates for Internet access in the hotel, and there were no Internet cafes in the area near our hotel. Ended up using the WLAN hotspots of cafes.


Sunny and blue skies most of the time. Quite windy on the coast. Swimming in the sea was possible (and in fact we saw many people doing it), but not for too long.

Health / Vaccinations
None required for Egypt.

VISA / Entry requirements
We got our visa on arrival on the ferry boat from Aqaba to Nuweiba. We took the cheaper Sinai only visa, which allows you to stay on the eastern coast of the Sinai.

No issues here. Lots of police and army control points on the roads in the Sinai. It appears that the local authorities don't let anybody go to Sharm el-Sheikh.

Recommended things
Despite all development and large number of hotels the sea water in Sharm is very clean and crystal clear. This seems to be the reason Nr 1 for visiting this place.

Things to avoid
Perhaps stay away from Sharm el-Sheikh and instead stay in other places on the Sinai coast, for instance Dahab. Sharm is just too much of a tourist ghetto, pure mass tourism. Other places on the Sinai are probably more quiet and less overrun.

Getting around
We didn't do a lot of trips and just used taxis every now and then to get from A to B. For the trip to Mt Sinai I chartered a taxi for the whole day, also because I decided about this trip very short term.

Copyright 2010 Alfred Molon