September 2009
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Sharm El Sheikh – the beautiful coastal city in Egypt

If you think Egypt, what comes to mind ? Most people associate Egypt with the teeming bazaars and mosques of Cairo, or with Cleopatra, the pyramids, or the Sphinx. Yet more people think about a cruise on the Nile. It is a few (increasing hugely in number) who know about the incredible beach and diving experiences you get at Sharm El Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula. A huge number of those who come here want to have the pleasure of coming again.

Brief update about the weather: Sharm El Sheikh promises some great weather throughout the year, with dry warm tropical weather providing reprieve from rain or cold in many parts of the world. However, it is hotter and drier in the summer (with temperatures between 25 Celsius and 35 Celsius).

Some amount of history of Sharm El Sheikh. Even a few centuries back, Sharam El Sheikh was shown on a map (showing up in 1762 on a Spanish map), but nothing significant happened here till a few decades back. Even till around 1968, it was nothing more than a quiet fishing community. When Israel took control of the Sinai Peninsula after the war, there were efforts put in to develop Sharam El Sheikh into a tourist destination. Even after Israel handed back the Sinai to Egypt under an agreement, the Egyptian Government continued with those efforts. As a result, Sharam El Sheikh is now known as one of Egypt’s best beach resorts, with many excellent and high class premium resorts opening up in the area. Other than these, you also have restaurants from around the world, ejoyable water sports and golf courses. As well as some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world, and arguably the best in the world. In short, you can really relax and unwind on a trip over here.

Location of Sharam El Sheikh on Google Maps:

View Larger Map

Geography: If you decrease the view of the above map, you can see that Sharam el Sheik is situated on the Southern tip of the Sinai peninsula, being surrounded by some classic natural features, the Red Sea towards one side, the mountains of Mount Sinai on the other.
If you try to further break down the internal geography of Sharam El Sheikh, you will find that the reagion comprises of 3 main sections.

Na’ama Bay: First starting to become known in the 1980’s, this bay with long stretches of sand saw the first hotel appeared in the early eighties. With more effort spent on this area to make it more beautiful and appealing, one of the attractions is the shoreline of this bay, with a seafront comprising of a long beautiful paved walkway for leisurely walks, lined with flowers of all types such as bougainvillaea and oleander. You will find many more tourists at Na’ama Bay in the evenings. This is where you will find many shops, restaurants, bars and ‘Sheesha’ cafes.

Ras Um Sid Cliff: Located centrally between Na’ama Bay and the bay of Sharm El Maya (not being more than 5-10 minutes drive from each other), Ras Um Sid Cliff is essentialy famous for some very beautiful coral reefs, as well as a cliff top area where a number of hotels and resorts are located.

Sharm El Maya: The bay area of the older sections of Sharam El Sheikh. Why the bay area ? Well, it has a natural harbor, and you can view a large number of boats of all sizes in the water. And of couse, who can forget the beach, the reason to visit Sharam El Sheikh. The beach is surrounded and full of palm trees, and relaxing under these palm trees is what provides a beautiful green natural shade for the sun soakers. This area is starting to see more premium hotels coming up, and also provides easy access to the old town area.

For more details on what you can do there, and some of the great places to see.
I cannot forget to mention the beautiful underwater scenery (it can get truly amazing) you can get to see in the area located between Tiran Island and Ras Mohammed National Park on the tip of the Southern Sinai. As with any great reef area, you can find crystal clear water, incredibly beautiful reefs, and an incredible variety of exotic fish amongst the colorful coral. If you are not a scuba diver, don’t worry, since you can even do short depth snorkelling (surface depth) and still catch sight of these incredible pleasures; and of course if you have come here for scuba diving, Sharam El Sheikh has an excellent reputation world-wide for scuba diving, providing access to some of the Red Sea’s most prominent and interesting dive sites.
One of these is a protected site, called Ras Mohamed. It was declared a protected site to ensure that the incredible beauty of this area does not get spoiled. Ras Mohamed is located to the south of Sharm, on the very tip of the Sinai.

What about attractions for others, those who do not know diving, or want more pleasure besides the water ? Now, you can enjoy many pleasures in Sharam El Sheikh; diving is only part of the attraction here, you can come here to soak in the sun, for adventure sports such as parasailing and windsurfing, or to explore the magical desert landscape of the southern Sinai. Since the mid-1980s, the Sharm el-Sheikh area has come into its own as a world-class resort destination, with the construction of a large number of hotels and resorts.

Back to the diving: It is accepted by many that the diving experience in Sharm-el-Sheikh is one of the best in the world. The variety and easy access of corals and the fish life astound every visitor to the area, even to those who have experience in snorkeling and diving. The corals can be found at shallow depths, starting from approx 1 meter from the surface and then going down into the depths. The fish life is all over the reef, allowing visitors the opportunity to view them from the surface, and with such colors, they are easily noticeable. You can see all kinds, from small fish, to the more exotic sharks and rays.

Some of the diving regions: If you already don’t know, the diving spots are spread from the Straits of Tiran in the North to the protected region of Ras Mohamed in the South. For diving, the usual experience is using medium size boats, around 20m. These are designed for divers, with a large dive deck and easy access in to the water and then a ladder out. And of course, if you are going with a diver but not stepping into the water, you will find a sun deck on the boat where you can soak in the sun.

And now to something that may not seem so obvious in all the talk about diving, cliffs, and water. Sharam Ek Sheikh is also now having a night life, , with many of the clubs and bars staying open all night, almost until dawn. There are some that operate at timings to attract the divers, while others are geared towards people who want to enjoy the night life. Then there are the ones that are restaurants during the day and converting to night clubs as the night progresses. Regionwise, Naama Bay is the place to be in if you are a night animal. As always, there are exceptions to such a rule, with one of them being El Fanar, which is at Ras um Sidd. This holds a beach party every Wednesday.

And there are also other natural beauties, such as the mountains of the Sinai. Sharam El Sheikh offers an insight into the beauty of the Sinai, with its majestic mountains and valleys, a number of national parks, as well as some well known nearby tourist attractions such as St. Catherine’s Monastery.

Details of water sports available at the Sharam El Sheikh. You can find a wide variety of water sports over here, as well as other pursuits such as four wheeling to go cart tracts, from horse riding to championship golf. Everything that goes to make the place a family vacation, one that the whole family can enjoy. In addition, for the more active, you have bungee jumping and, incredibly, ice skating.

Places to stay in Sharam El Sheikh / hotels / resorts:

1. Domina Hotel & Resort El Sultan (site)Contact details: P.O Box 74, Hadaba 46619 Sharm El Sheikh, Sharm El Sheikh, Phone: 069 3601610

2. Jolie Ville Royal Peninsula Hotel & Resort (site)
Peace Rd. PO Box 95, Um MArikha Bay Sharm EL Sheikh, South Sinai – Egypt
Phone +20 69 3604 200
The Jolie Ville Royal Peninsula Hotel & Resort is located at the southern tip of Sinai Peninsula 7kmto Naama Bay and 5km to the Sharms international airport.

3. Maritim Jolie Ville Golf & Resort (link)
Um Marikha Bay, Sharm El Sheikh
Phone: 069 3603200

4. Sharm El-Sheikh Jolie Ville Resort & Casino (link)
Naama Bay, South Sinai, Sharm El Sheikh
Phone: 069 3600100

5. Sheraton Sharm Hotel, Resort, Villas & Spa (link)
Al Pasha Coast, Sharm El Sheikh
Phone: 069 3602070
Nestled on the east shore of the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula on one of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs. Located at Al Pasha Coast, four kilometers from the nightlife of Na’ama Bay and 10 minutes from Sharm El Sheikh International Airport.

6. Beach Albatros Resort Sharm El Sheikh (link)
Ras Om El Sid Cliff, Sharm El Sheikh
Phone: 069 3663923
069 3663924
This all inclusive resort is only 18 km from Sharm El Sheikh Airport and 10 km from the famous Naama-Bay.

7. Aqua Blu Sharm El Sheikh (link)
Photos (link)
Aqua Blu Sharm, Ras Om El Seid, Sharm El Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt
Tel: +20-69-3665993/7
Aqua Blu Sharm is only 18 km from Sharm El Sheikh Airport and 10 km from the famous Naama-Bay.

8. Royal Albatros Moderna Sharm El Sheikh (link)
Royal Albatros Moderna, P.O.Box 215, Nabq Bay, Sharm El Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt
Tel: +20-69-3710401 to 8
This elegant all inclusive resort is only 12 km from Sharm El Sheikh Airport, and 20 km from the famous Naama-Bay.

9. Creative Badawia Sharm Resort (link)
Ras Om El Sid Cliff, Sharm El Sheikh
Phone: 069 3663981

10. Creative Grand Sharm Resort (link)
Ras Om El Sid Cliff, Sharm El Sheikh
Phone: 069 366383

11. Creative Mexicana Sharm Resort (link)
Ras Om El Sid Cliff, Sharm El Sheikh
Phone: 069 3661490

12. Sultan Gardens Holiday Inn Hotel (link)
The resort is located in Shark’s Bay, just 5 kilometers from Sharm el Sheikh International Airport and 7 kilometers away from the Bazaars of the City Center.
Phone number: 002 069 360 21 30

13. Habiba Village (link)

14. Iberotle Palace (link)

Listing of hotels along with recommendations available at TripAdvisor (link)

Red Sea Diver’s Guide, Volume 2: From Sharm el Sheikh to Hurghada

Blogs / Sites about Sharam El Sheikh:

1. Some details about the location and various things you can do.
4. Weather for Sharam El Sheikh (link)
5. Tips from the T list (link)

See the sun rise over the desert on an unforgettable visit to the place where Moses received the 10 Commandments. On this sunrise tour you will watch the sun rise over the Sinai Mountains, and retrace the footsteps of Moses when he climbed Mt. Sinai. On your journey back down the mountain you will stop at St. Catherine’s Monastery, built between 527 and 565 A.D.

6. TravBuddy (link)

So, I indulged, in true tourist style, in snorkelling (like, wow!), quad biking (whose idea was it for me to don the shades coming back across the desert when it was dark already?), clubbing (had to see the New Year in somehow), and generally lazing around the pool (temperatures could have benefitted from being just that little higher though, give the coldness of the pool’s water).

7. TravBuddy (link): Reports on diving and enjoying

For those of you who’ve dived the Sinai for the sake of form I’ll list some of the dives I was able to enjoy in my time there. Ras Katy and Temple in the Rastan Sea; Fiddle Garden or ‘Tony Blair Reef’as its occasionally called now owing to the condo the former Brit PM now owns on the shoreline.

8. Coastal vacation club blog (link)

Shark Bay is in the surrounding area and has a great diving centre for those tourists who are looking for some excitement from their holiday. Diving is great fun and Shark Bay is the ideal location for families as there is a very relaxed atmosphere and you will be diving with a dedicated crew with years of experience.

9. Akira Travel (link)

Sharm el- Sheikh was formerly a port, due to strict environmental laws introduced in 90s, commercial shipping was drastically reduced. After the development of civilian port there has been a huge raise in visitors to 5.1 million from 16,000, which invited business and star hotels.
The Sinai Peninsula and its luxury hotel resort areas are collectively called the Red Sea. It is a coast dotted with oases, mangrove forests, and habitat to many species of terrestrial and marine wildlife.

10. Amman adventures (link). Some good photos of a holiday.
11. (link)

All around are Bedouins, colorful tents, mountains and sea. There are small, intimate hotels with modern designs, as well as larger hotel complexes belonging to International chains, plus about all the amenities one could expect of a tourist center, including casinos, discos and nightclubs, golf courses and health facilities. In fact, with diving and snorkeling, windsurfing and other water sports, horses and camel riding, desert safaris, and great nearby antiquities attractions, it is almost impossible for a visitor to ever suffer from boredom.

12. Travel Suggestions Blog (link)

With Sharm el Sheikh being so well known for its activities you could be forgiven for thinking that history and culture have taken a back seat. However, visitors to the area are in a prime position to see one of Egypt’s most significant religious sites. St Catherine’s monastery – with the looming Mount Sinai beside it – is where Moses is said to have seen the burning bush before journeying up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments.

13. (link)

For those who live to shop, then shopping in Sharm El-Sheikh mall provides shops with both foreign and local products, including jewelry, leather goods, clothing, pottery and books.
Though there are two main seasons, as both of them are desert climates, where the weather is very hot and dry, do make sure to drink plenty of water and take enough protection from dehydration.

14. Elite diving school at the Red Sea (link)

Picture / Image gallery for Sharm El Sheikh:

1. Beach in Sharm Ek Sheikh (link)
2. Many photos (cliff, beach, ships, dive boats, topography) at (link)
3. Huge number of photos at (link)
4. Great photos of diving, coral, and water at (link)
5. Photos of Sharm Ek Sheikh at tripadvisor. in (link)
6. Photos of Sharm El Sheikh at (link)

Videos of adventures at Sharm El Sheikh on Youtube:

1. Naama Bay, Sharm el Sheikh (link)

2. Snorkelling at Middle Garden Reef – Sharm El Sheik (link): Views of coral and colorful fish

3. Shark encounter while diving in the Red Sea October 2007 (link)

4. Dolphin Dive; Sharm el Sheikh (link)

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