| Part 1: Introduction
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
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.
/ Exchange rate (December 2009)
1 Euro = ~ 8 LE (Egyptian pounds)
1 Euro = 1.45 USD
the Universal Currency
ATMs are everywhere, so that you can easily get cash with a
Cirrus/Maestro ATM card. You won't need traveller cheques.
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
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.
None required for Egypt.
VISA / Entry
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.
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.
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.