Difference between revisions of "Hurghada"
Revision as of 14:50, 26 February 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.
Information for tourists
Hurghada 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 International Airport (IATA: HRG) without having to stop in Cairo.
If 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 season and how early you book your tickets.
From Sharm El sheikh tou can fly with Egypt Air for about 450-550 LE (the trip takes about 1 hour).
You can reach Hurghada by bus from Cairo. The trip usually takes approximately 7h depending on the operator. Known operators include the Super Jet (ph. 16108) and Go Bus (ph. 19567). There are a number of stations which include one behind Cairo railway station Ahmed Helmy. There are many price options starting from 50LE and rising to 150LE, every hour you can find bus to Hurghada(avoid MCV Co). In Medan El Giza in northwestern Cairo often extremely crowded, or Almaza Station in the Heliopolis district in northeastern Cairo. Bus schedules often change, but if you go to the bus station without booking you'll find many options. (February 2012)
There is no normal public transport in Hurghada. White mini vans (Toyota Hiace) called micro bus have established routes. Locals are the main users, but it is quite easy to use them. It costs about 1-2 Egyptian pounds, and they stop wherever needed and go wherever you want expect 1-2 neighbourhoods. Ask the driver for destination before getting in.
Taxi drivers in Hurghada have astonishing talent for spotting tourists from far, far away; look at the approaching car and it will stop for you - at a price.
Before stepping in, find out if driver speaks any English, and show the wanted destination on the map. There are only few streets with names, so the destination is specified with nearby places, a hotel for example. 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 Senzo mall, for example. Do not travel with the meter on, driverd can control it. After the driver agrees on a price, jump in. Get out in front of the hotel.
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 5LE or 50LE notes drivers can and do try to switch it for a 50 Piastres and then they request the original note that you have already paid. Piastres notes are smaller than pounds. Sometimes the driver agrees on 15LE fare and when you arrive tells you he said 50LE and his accent starts to appear worse.
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.
The main reason to visit Hurghada is the Red Sea, which is excellent for diving or snorkeling. 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 don't need to 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.
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.
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 variety of cuisine, including fast food, western restaurants, oriental food, and many others.
You can find KFC, MacDonald's, And local fast food GAD.
At "Sherry St." branches from Sheraton St. you can get chicken meal in "Brost eldik" for 14LE, popular with backpackers and young people.
Alcoholic drinks can usually be found in bars or 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.
Global leaders in dance music, Ministry of Sound Beach Club,  operate a varied daily schedule ranging from disco grooves, through to R&B/hiphop and house/techno. There are also many other discos and late-night bars dotted around the city, generally speaking ask your guest relations or tour guide to recommend you a venue suited best to you.
There's famous Czech pub "PRAHA" at the end of Sheraton St.
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 taxi 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.
You can take bus to El Gouna it move every 15 minutes from El Dahar Sq. opposite of Egypt Telecom building 45 minutes ride costs 5LE for one way.
Alexandria. There's 2 bus move from Alexandria to Hurghada first one "Upper Egypt" move 18:30 from the new bus station, and cost 90LE arrive Hurghada about 4:30AM is not recommended because you'll find all the city in deep sleep and seems like Ghost city, the second bus Arab union and the famous name of it "Super jet Co." move from the new bus station at 20:30clock and cost 95LE arrive in the morning so you can find public transport and the taxis. February 2012
Luxor is about 4-5h 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.
Aswan. There's one transport company to the Red Sea, Upper Egypt. The buses are new, the ticket costs 50LE (maybe you pay extra 5LE as foreign), there's 2 bus move first one 15:30clock and the second 17:30clock, remember the trip takes 8 hours or more, that means you'll arrive to Hurghada after midnight. February 2012
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 most bigger cities in Egypt from this station.
To get to the station, take the bus 4 or 7 to "El Hegaz Bus Station".