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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am planning a 2 week holiday on one one of the Red Sea resorts for my wife and myself and 2 teenage kids .. this will be at the end of March. We have already visited Cairo and Luxor last year, so we'll skip them this time.

I am wondering how would it be on the North Coast, is it a lot different to the Red Sea? Would it be a good idea to visit the North Coast for a couple of days? I saw some beautiful pictures of Marsa Matrouh. What do you suggest?
 

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Hi, I am planning a 2 week holiday on one one of the Red Sea resorts for my wife and myself and 2 teenage kids .. this will be at the end of March. We have already visited Cairo and Luxor last year, so we'll skip them this time.

I am wondering how would it be on the North Coast, is it a lot different to the Red Sea? Would it be a good idea to visit the North Coast for a couple of days? I saw some beautiful pictures of Marsa Matrouh. What do you suggest?
If you're looking at Red Sea areas, as per thread title, then I would recommend Sharm (of course) or Makadi Bay (South of Hurghada). Only be careful of the hotels in Sharm, you really get what you pay for so do your research well.

For the other areas I don't know much about. I've visited Alex, which is lovely, but it was too cold whilst I was there to go to the North Coast. Given the Mediterranean weather I'd presume end of March would be very mild, so it may depend on how hot you like it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I appreciate your reply, Sam. I think I'll just stick to the Red Sea. The end of March ''mild'' weather of the North Coast might not be what I need .. I'll stick to the warmer climate of the Red Sea:) And thanks for the Hotels tip as well. All the best:)
 

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I appreciate your reply, Sam. I think I'll just stick to the Red Sea. The end of March ''mild'' weather of the North Coast might not be what I need .. I'll stick to the warmer climate of the Red Sea:) And thanks for the Hotels tip as well. All the best:)
I quite like Dahab as well. I found it cheaper and more laid-back than Sharm and there are a lot of young people there, so it was easy to socialise.
 

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Hurghada is very busy and touristy..... but with wonderful scuba diving!!
There are good and bad areas for a hotel..... the 'main strip' in Hurghada is called Sekala.... the "not so touristy" area is Dahar. There are many big and nice hotels in Hurghada..... most on the beach.
95% of the beach is taken up by hotels... with just very few public beaches.
I'd avoid the north end of Hurghada.... stick to the centre and the south.

Dahab is on the Sinai side... about 2 hours taxi ride from Sharm El Sheikh. It's a much smaller resort..... but IMHO much nicer. Cleaner, less hassle from vendors, and more quiet that Hurghada or Sharm. It's harder to get to than Hurghada (No direct airport).... but most hotels overlook the boardwalk and the beach.
Dahab is generally more windy than Hurghada... which is a bonus in summer when it's stinking hot!
Diving is not so great in Dahab... all dives are from the beach.... no 'boat diving' at all.

I lived in both Hurghada and Dahab for many years, working as a scuba diving instructor.
Can't tell you much about Sharm.... it was just a place I visited a couple of times.
 

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Dahab is on the Sinai side... about 2 hours taxi ride from Sharm El Sheikh. It's a much smaller resort..... but IMHO much nicer. Cleaner, less hassle from vendors, and more quiet that Hurghada or Sharm. It's harder to get to than Hurghada (No direct airport).... but most hotels overlook the boardwalk and the beach.
Dahab is generally more windy than Hurghada... which is a bonus in summer when it's stinking hot!
Diving is not so great in Dahab... all dives are from the beach.... no 'boat diving' at all.
Which way did your taxi driver go?! Lol

Dahab is only about 45 minutes from Sharm. My friends achieved it in 2 hours on a scooter! It is lovely and definitely cleaner and less hassle, but as you say it is very windy. Every time I go I end up feeling cold, even in July/August! The Blue Hole is a fab diving site there and Le Meridien a lovely hotel (or the Hilton). I personally prefer it as just a day trip though, not much to do there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Very informative posts guys, thanks:) The more I read about Dahab the more I like it.
The words ''laid back'' and less resort-ish are often used to describe Dahab .. this would definitely appeal to the wife and myself. The night life of Sharm would definitely appeal more to the kids. I think Dahab could become the base, with a few day trips to Sharm. Nuweiba is also very close to Dahab and hasn't yet been ''discovered'', might be nice to pay it a visit while the kids check out the goings on in Sharm.

Where are the best swimming beaches .. Dahab or Sharm or Nuweiba?

I know that Egypt is safe, right? Should I be worried at letting my teenage kids wonder about on their own? Also, the harrassment of women is something that worries me. It was bad when we were in Cairo and Luxor last year, but from what I am now reading it seems to be in the increase!! Both wife and daughter have blond hair, blue eyes .. but they are very much aware of the Egyptian culture/ traddition/religion etc.. I heard some western women casually wear a scarf over their hair, as to not draw too much attention and show the locals that they respect their ways .. is this a good idea?
 

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To be honest wearing a scarf will make no difference your wife and daughter will still get hassle,
however they should be aware of what they wear in terms of clothes.
I wear western clothes here but if it is low cut etc I wear a shawl etc until I get to my destination.
Ramadan saw me with my jaw on the ground.. I was in City Stars when a bus load of tourists turned up for shopping and the state of dress left alot to be desired.. hotpants and I mean short short hotpants.. skimpy tshirts etc was the norm and they wondered why the young boys were following them up the escalators. I have also seen this type of dress worn at the museum.
This is not suitable clothing for Cairo at anytime.
 

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Very informative posts guys, thanks:) The more I read about Dahab the more I like it.
The words ''laid back'' and less resort-ish are often used to describe Dahab .. this would definitely appeal to the wife and myself. The night life of Sharm would definitely appeal more to the kids. I think Dahab could become the base, with a few day trips to Sharm. Nuweiba is also very close to Dahab and hasn't yet been ''discovered'', might be nice to pay it a visit while the kids check out the goings on in Sharm.

Where are the best swimming beaches .. Dahab or Sharm or Nuweiba?

I know that Egypt is safe, right? Should I be worried at letting my teenage kids wonder about on their own? Also, the harrassment of women is something that worries me. It was bad when we were in Cairo and Luxor last year, but from what I am now reading it seems to be in the increase!! Both wife and daughter have blond hair, blue eyes .. but they are very much aware of the Egyptian culture/ tradition/religion etc.. I heard some western women casually wear a scarf over their hair, as to not draw too much attention and show the locals that they respect their ways .. is this a good idea?
I would have to agree with Maiden - wearing a scarf would make very little difference. Here in the touristy areas the locals are more used to the ways and dress of the westerner, and to be honest you don't get that much sexual harassment as you do sales harassment! And they don't discriminate against who they want to sell to!!!

As far as letting your teenagers out, I would say if they are under 16 then definitely not. Older than that if they are sensible and mature then perhaps is okay. There is very little trouble or crime here, fraud is most prevalent which is irrelevant in this case.

In terms of beaches - I LOVE the beaches of Dahab. Much softer sand and direct access to the water in the bay area. Sharm is much more rocky and stony, but better for snorkeling or diving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good information is coming in all the time, thanks guys:)

Hi Sam, ''fraud is most prevalent'', I am aware of this and it's a big shame that taxi drivers and shop keepers and vendors and people wanting to be your ''guide'' are all out to rip you off as much as they can. To be fair, tourists face this in most poor (and not so poor) countries. Having said that, I feel that in Egypt the scale of the ripping off and corruption is way over anything I've exer experienced .. and I've done my share of travelling (especially to East Africa). The problem in Egypt is that it's almost every Egyptian you meet!! I can't tell you how many times we were ripped off when we were there last year .. even by one policeman!! This, together with the bagsheesh culture there, makes it very difficult to budget for a holiday in Egypt. Still, I love the place, go figure:)
 

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Good information is coming in all the time, thanks guys:)

Hi Sam, ''fraud is most prevalent'', I am aware of this and it's a big shame that taxi drivers and shop keepers and vendors and people wanting to be your ''guide'' are all out to rip you off as much as they can. To be fair, tourists face this in most poor (and not so poor) countries. Having said that, I feel that in Egypt the scale of the ripping off and corruption is way over anything I've exer experienced .. and I've done my share of travelling (especially to East Africa). The problem in Egypt is that it's almost every Egyptian you meet!! I can't tell you how many times we were ripped off when we were there last year .. even by one policeman!! This, together with the bagsheesh culture there, makes it very difficult to budget for a holiday in Egypt. Still, I love the place, go figure:)
Hi Jole

I think the others have mostly answered your questions but here's my contribution for what's it worth. As the others have said, I don't think wearing a headscarf will assist. You will be viewed as a walking wallet BUT I found that was less so in Dahab (other than a few of the shops). On one of my visits, I went with a few teenage girls (around 18 years old) who had blond hair and blue eyes and who walked around in hotpants etc (with me trailing after them looking like their grandmother as I was covered up!). To be honest they got stared at but it was nothing more sinister than that.

The girls loved it in Dahab as they went snorkelling and diving, found places that they could sit in during the day that did great milkshakes (I can't ever face another mars milkshake) and they also found places that they could sit around in the evening chatting to people of their age that they just met. They even found nightclubs to go to in the evening. There are lots of places where you can just sit around in the evening on big cushions on the floor chatting to people, smoking shisha, playing backgammon etc. I found Dahab much cheaper than Sharm and Hurgada.

I can't recall finding it cold but I have to admit that when I have visited Dahab, it was to get away from Cairo when I couldn't cope with the pollution anymore. So I may have been so grateful for the fresh air, that I didn't notice the temperature!

The rip-off culture can be hideous in Egypt though. The restaurants etc have prices in their menus etc. Some of the group I was with organised their dives (and excursions) through Penguin Village in Dahab which had been recommended to us by friends. It is very low budget so I wouldn't recommend staying there unless you want to have a very cheap stay, but I thought the guys there were helpful and didn't rip us off too much. I have kept a card with their number and I think the guy who ran it then was called Emad, but he may have moved on of course......

Good luck!
 

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Hi Beatle (I love forum names:)), many thanks for your post. Dahab has definitely got my vote, it's just now a question of deciding where we'll stay. I am leaving everything nice and loose, I'll just book a hotel for the first couple of days and then just compose as we go along:) The kids might try a beach camp for a day or two .. just for the experience, something like this one a place to enjoy and relax -

Thanks again for everyones input:)
 

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As far as letting your teenagers out, I would say if they are under 16 then definitely not. Older than that if they are sensible and mature then perhaps is okay. There is very little trouble or crime here, fraud is most prevalent which is irrelevant in this case.
LOL! I let my boys out in Sharm (without money!) during the day at 12 and 13 - but that was 9 years ago. They made some good friends of some of the shopkeepers, who recognised them by name the following year. As I've said before, it has changed quite substantially since we first visited.

Three years ago my (then) 18 and one week year old went to live in Na'ama Bay for a year - he certainly grew up in that year, and came back with a good smattering of Arabic phrases and swear words (apparently essential when dealing with taxi drivers!) as well as a dive instructors certificate. Apart from being chased around Sharm by an ex-Marine 'cos he didn't keep his rental room tidy I don't think he had too much trouble with the natives! :D
 

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....Still, I love the place, go figure:)
I know what you mean. it's a sexist, racist culture that doesn't believe in equality for women, but generally I like the people.

And that's the difference - people are the same the world over but they are moulded by their culture. Look through the culture and hey presto! There's another human being!

And when considering the 'ripping off' consider the following: they are brought up to bargain and to get the best deal they can. Most of them can't understand why we don't bargain better, and are stupid enough to pay what we do!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeah, it’s just the rhythm of the streets, it’s the way the Egyptians love to laugh and fool around, how they gather around and entertain each oither, how they are close to one another. A far cry from where we live, where everyone is so busy and getting close is a big challenge, where so many kids have all the latest playstastion3 games, and more TV channels than they know what to do with, and the latest mobiles with all all the gadgets .. and still so many complain how bored they are!!
 

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Hi, I went to Dahab last August and we loved it - so much so that we are going back in 5 weeks. The best beach area is the Lagoon where the Iberotel Dahabeya, Hilton and Swiss Inn are. There are plenty of diving/snorkelling trips available from there. The main nightlife and shops are in the Masbat area which is about a 5 min taxi ride from the Lagoon area but is only about a Euro - but make sure you check the price first as we got ripped off too!

My friend, her 13 year old daughter and I are all blond and blue eyed. The daughter did get a lot of attention (particularly when we walked through Masbat at night) however she has exceptionally curly hair which draws attention even in the UK and she did have on a shortish skirt (despite us advising her otherwise - but you know what teenagers are like) but like previous posts have said it was more sales hassle than anything else.

Have you thought about El Gouna? It looks lovely and I've read some great reports on it - not sure whether it is suitable for teenagers though.

Wherever you decide - have a great time.
 

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Hi, I am planning a 2 week holiday on one one of the Red Sea resorts for my wife and myself and 2 teenage kids .. this will be at the end of March. We have already visited Cairo and Luxor last year, so we'll skip them this time.

I am wondering how would it be on the North Coast, is it a lot different to the Red Sea? Would it be a good idea to visit the North Coast for a couple of days? I saw some beautiful pictures of Marsa Matrouh. What do you suggest?
Hi,

I'm a retired english GP and live on the beach in sharm! Eachof the places mentioned has a different ethos.

I would totally discard the north coast except June/July/ August. Even then, its very "egyptian" and not REALLY geared up for foreign tourists.

Sharm is beach/reef/snorkel/dive/boat trips/desert trips/restaurants/night clubs and has something for everyone. BUT it is VERY touristy and the touts in the main Naama Bay area will drive you mad-but you can ignore them. It has lots of great hotels and resort hotels, and plenty to do for your teenagers. The Nabq Bay area to the north of the airport is quieter.-a little more breeze, and hence home to possibly the best kite surfing school in Egypt(british run!).

Dahab, 70 Km north of Sharm, is less frenetic but then less amusement for the teenagers! It is the best for windsurfing and kitesurfing because of its constant directionof wind across the bay.

Nuweibaa, 70 Km northof Dahab, is even more laid back, and has a string of eco hostels on the beach between it and Taba (further north near the border with Israel. It would probably be too quiet for your teenagers. I spent 3 days over the New Year there, in a peach of a small boutique hotel on Tarabeen beach, called Nakhil Inn. Do look it up on the internet.

Personally I dont like Hurghada and find it utterly charmless. I gather that some of the resorts to the south of it-Marsa Alam, Sahl Hashish, Port Ghalib are up and coming and interesting.

Finally. The girls dont need scarves, but please no walkingaround town or supermarkets in Bikinis!! You wouldnt do it at home so dont doit here! Also no topless sunbathing!

You WILL have fun, wherever you choose to stay on the Sinai/Gulf of Aqaba side of the red sea. Stock up on suncream.

--------------------------------
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you so much AMT123 and Docmaurice, so nice of you to share this very helpful information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I read that February - June are the best months for a beach holiday in Sharm or Dahab, would you agree? So what's the weather like outside these months?
 
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