Egypt Red Sea - Hurghada (Al Ghardaka)
Firstly, a description of the place:
I believe that around 20 years or so ago, Hurghada was just a small fishing village, a similar story as to the roots of most holiday resorts prior to the tourist invasion. It is now home to around 200,000 people, most of them having jobs somehow related to tourist service. Although I have never counted, I am told that the area now consists of over 250 hotels of various categories to suit all possible requirements of any tourist.
Hurghada is divided into three areas; the old original place is called El Dahar (known as Downtown); the city centre is called Sakala, this is where the new marina is situated, a place to eat, drink, be entertained or simply just stroll around taking in the views and see the watercraft belonging to the rich and possibly famous; the modern area is called El Mamsha, the pedestrian area. All ones needs are catered for in all three areas, banks and money exchange, bars and discos, shops and bazaars, markets and supermarkets.
Where do the tourists go?
Being proud owners of a small studio on the El Mamsha area, we travel to Hurghada on quite a regular basis. Usually the flights we travel out on, from the UK, are full to capacity so we know that at any given time there must be thousands of British tourists holidaying around the Hurghada areas.
But where do all these people go during their week or two holiday?
My thoughts are that they stay in their hotels throughout their stay…
I could be wrong on this thought but I will pass on my reasoning as to why I believe this.
Most of the people on flights from the UK are visiting All Inclusive Hotels, where food is permanently available and for at least 12 hours of the day the hotel bars supply free drinks. Not that there is anything wrong with using these hotels and facilities, we’ve enjoyed them ourselves! If this is the case though and one has no intention of venturing out, then why not visit the Canaries, where likewise, the sun shines all of the time, the flight time is shorter, and overall is possibly cheaper?
Holidaymakers using UK represented hotels may hear the words, “it is safer to stay within the hotel grounds” and “if you intend to go on any trips, book through your holiday rep”. What a load of rubbish! Hurghada is a safe place to walk around, even alone, even at nighttime, thought one should always be aware just as you would in your hometown. The reps only want you to book trips through them because of the commission added to the price, may be up to double the actual trip cost.
We have used the same small agent on several occasions to book trips out, and up to present have never been let down, we have been on boat trips, desert safaris, quad biking, even travelled to Luxor and Cairo. So if ever your in Hurghada, staying in an All Inclusive Hotel, please venture out and compare trip prices, you’ll be surprised, and you will notice that the coaches that pick you up will be the same ones that the reps organise??
When walking the streets in any of the three areas of Hurghada, the shopkeepers will approach you, usually with a polite “hello” or “where are you from?” they are all multi-lingual, they could greet you in Egyptian, English, Russian, German, French etc etc. They do want you to visit their shops, they do want you to buy something, please accept that they are only trying to make a living and provide for their families. If you wish to enter their shop, then do so, there is no obligation to buy, if you don’t wish to go in, then politely say so, no problem. Should you decide to enter a shop and find something that you wish to purchase, be prepared to barter? You will find that most authentic shops do not display any prices on any of their wares, ask the price and the response could be “how much do you wish to pay for it”, then the bartering begins, enjoy the experience!
So, Egypt is a lovely country with so much to see and do, it has more history than anywhere else in the whole world, the Egyptian people are friendly, polite and very hospitable, Hurghada is a fantastic place as a base to your Egyptian holiday. Come and sample what is on offer. Shokran.