Difference between revisions of "Hurghada"
Revision as of 10:39, 23 January 2012
Hurghada was once a fairly small and unimposing fishing village, located next to the Red Sea and boasting a number of superb beaches. Today, the resort of Hurghada is almost unrecognizable from its past life and has grown to become the most visited tourist destination in the whole of Egypt, with more than 100 different hotels, many of which line the shoreline.
Famous for its superb diving opportunities, Hurghada is especially appealing to those with little experience of scuba diving, who come to marvel at the underwater reefs and awesome marine life. Tourism is now a huge part of Hurghada and each year, many tourists choose to combine their holiday here with visits to other prominent locations along the Nile Valley, including the relatively nearby city of Luxor.
Hurghada is one of the main tourism attractions on the Red Sea in Egypt. Because of that, it can be reached from major airports in Europe and the Middle East. Prices depend on the time of the booking and the airline. Most major airlines in Europe and the Middle East can fly you straight to Hurghada without having to stop in Cairo.
f you are in Cairo, you can also fly to Hurghada on Egypt Air Express, which is the national airline of the country and a subsidiary of Egypt Air, which is now servicing domestic locations in Egypt. Prices vary: 400-900 Egyptian pounds depending on the seaon and depending on how early you book your tickets. The earlier you book your ticket ahead of your intended date of travel, the cheaper the price.
You can reach Hurghada by bus from Cairo. The trip usually takes approximately 7 h depending on the operator. Known operators include the Super Jet. There are a number of Stations which include one in Medan El Giza in northwestern Cairo, Ramsis Station in downtown Cairo, or Almaza Station in the Heliopolis district in northeastern Cairo. Your hotel or a travel agency associated with your hotel will be able to arrange excursions to nearby attractions, including Luxor.
Luxor is about 4-5 h by bus, and your tour operator will be required to leave and return at designated times in order to travel in a police escorted convoy (there are approximately 150 other tour buses). The Company 'Upper Egypt Bus" runs between Hurghada, Safagah, Luxor and Aswan. Hurghada to Aswan takes about 11 h by bus.
There are long-distance taxis leaving from the station in El Hegaz Street. Just contact the people standing at the entrance who ask for your destination. The taxis are used a lot by the locals and quite cheap. You could reach the most bigger cities in Egypt from this station.
To get to the station, take the bus 4 or 7 to "El Hegaz Bus Station".
Taxi drivers in Hurghada have astounishing talent on spotting tourists from far, far away; look at the apporoaching car and the wiill stop for you--at a price.
Before stepping in, find out if driver speaks any English, and show the wanted destination from the map. There are only few streets with names, so the destination is specified with nearby places, a hotel for example. Get out in front of the hotel. Discuss and agree the total price (not per person) with the driver: remember the price should be 5-10 Egyptian pounds inside the same part of the town and 20 Egyptian pounds when downtown to Sekalla, for example. Do not travell with the meter on, becouse there might be something extra for tourists. After the driver agrees on a price, jump in.
The method to avoiding confrontation with the drivers is to have correct amount of money you agreed at first, pass the money on at destination, get out and walk away; avoid arguing with drivers.
Another thing to note, if you pay with a 5 Egyptian pound note they can and do try to switch it for a 50 peasters (the lessor denominator) and then they request the original note that you have already paid. Piaster notes are smaller than pounds.
There is no normal public transport in Hurghada exept mini vans (Toyota Hiace) called jalla jallas with wight static routes. Descriptions are found at the van's side and on signs standing on the road. Locals are the main users, but it is quite easy to use them. It costs about 1 Egyptian pound, and they stop wherever needed.
Of course, the main reason to visit Hurghada is for the beautiful Red Sea, which is excellent for diving or snorkeling. If you are not allowed to dive, it is often possible to snorkel and see incredible coral reefs and hundreds of varieties of tropical fish just 10 m from the beach. Again, either your hotel will have dive escorts on site, or it can arrange a scuba diving expedition with guides. Scuba diving (2 dives) cost between US$50-65. The divers are locals and are excellent in handling beginners. You need not know how to swim to scuba dive.
In late March, the water may be a bit cold, so a wet suit might be necessary. It might also be windy in late March (or not). You may want to check if your beach resort hotel provides windscreens on the beach.
Hurghada has a variety of activities for those who enjoy the sea and the beach. Activities include scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, para sailing, andjetskis. You can also ride a glass boat (a boat with a glass bottom) where you can see the amazing coral reefs and underwater scenery.
For a desert adventure, you can also ride motorbikes or beach buggies into the desert.
Hurghada offers many activities not to be found anywhere else on Earth. Quad-biking hundreds of miles into the Sahara desert for tea with a Bedoin tribe, then camel-riding across Biblical plains to see remote and ancient wonders; diving and snorkeling around a vibrant and colourful coral reef; boat trips to the unpopulated Big and Little Gifton islands; swimming in the warm sea; good shopping; excellent and varied cuisine from across the world, etc. If you were to choose to stay in your hotel complex for the duration of your break, you would miss out on much more than you bargained for.
Those new to Egypt will find karkaday (a drink made from an infusion of hibiscus, served hot or cold and reputed to have many health benefits) and chi (local version of tea, usually served in a glass) offered everywhere. Both are delicious and will usually come replete with a smoke on a "sheesha" pipe, known in the West as a hookah. Sheeshas are used for smoking molasses tobacco in various flavours, with the smoke passing through water before inhalation through a long tube attached to the bowl. Although they may resemble a device used to smoke illicit substances in the west, (a bong), sheesha is completely legal.
Visits to Cairo and Luxor and multistop breaks are popular from Hurghada. Sharm-El-Sheikh and the Sinai peninsula (containing two of the oldest Christian temples in the world, St Catherine's and St Anthony's) is but a short hop away.
Cruise across the Red Sea to the uninhabited island of Giftun surrounded by magical coral gardens. Enjoy a lazy day on the white sand or swim amongst the coral reefs. This great day trip is hard to skip when you are in Hurghada.
You can buy many souvenirs from the shops that are spread inside the main town (Sekalla high street) and along the beach areas, also downtown (el Dahar) has a wide selection of bazaars with cheaper prices than Sekalla.
First, remember to haggle, haggle and haggle everywhere except in restaurants and drugstores. You should be able to get 75% off from the price that seller asks at first. This might vary with different products, so remember to check few shops for correct prices. There are souvenir shops that have fixed prices, mostly in New Hurghada area.
For brand-names and higher quality products, head down to 'New Marina' where you can find Nike, Adidas, Timberland, Dockers and Levi's as well as a traditional bazaar (Souk in arabic).
Hurghada offers a huge variety of cuisine, including fast food, western restaurants, oriental food, and many others.
There are various things to drink including both alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. Alcoholic drinks can usually be found in bars hotels. Hurghada has a very western atmosphere so it is much easier to drink than in other areas of Egypt. Nonalcoholic drinks include conventional drinks like canned drinks, sodas, or juice, as well famous Egyptian drinks such as sahlab, karkadeh, mirinda, yansoon, gansabeel, irfa, and many others.
Over the years, Hurghada has developed a bubbling reputation for its cosmopolitan nightlife scene, alongside the many bars within the new Hurghada Marina , Papas Bar  has two venues (one inside the marina, the other next-door to the Shedwan Hotel in downtown Dahr). The world-renown Hed Kandi Beach Bar ; still the world's first and only Kandi beach bar.
There are many bars, nightclubs and discos in Hurghada. Almost every hotel comes equip with its own disco, and then you can find the only beachside Ministry of Sound venue, coupled with the world's first Hed Kandi Beach Bar, other nightlife leaders in the city include Hard Rock Cafe, Little Budha, Calypso Disco, the new R&B Club, and throughout the summer months you can find the popular Voodoo parties (every Wednesday) within the Grand Hotel Resorts.
The Oberoi  in Hurghada is 5 star deluxe hotel.
Hurghada Clinic . Medical clinic with doctors who can speak English and Polish. International travel insurances are accepted.
There is a new shopping mall now open about a 10 minute faxi ride from town, on the airport road called Senzo Mall. It has a large Spinneys Hypermarket and many other shops, fast food outlets and a 5-screen cinema as well as a moderate sized kids play area.