Travel to Sharm el Sheikh – Isn’t it dangerous?
Travel to Sharm el Sheikh – Isn’t it dangerous? If you think so, read my story and make your own decision.
We found time in the calendar where my 3 kids and I could go on a sun holiday. For a few weeks we looked at the possibilities and stumbled across Egypt’s “snorkeling paradise” Sharm el Sheikh.
The beach at our hotel
The travel planning
It looked very good – many nice hotels, lots of good snorkelling, high temperatures and it was cheap.
The fact that there are suspicions of terrorists doesn’t frighten me – would I consider it, then eventually I couldn’t go anywhere.
That being said, of course, I checked up on the Foreign Ministry’s recommendations. They reported green light to Sharm el Sheikh as long as you behaved “cautiously” – which I read as “sensible”.
Our trip to Sharm el Sheikh became one of the best family vacations we have been on, and not once did we feel unsafe.
Security was high (in the pleasant way) and the Egyptians were the most friendly, smiling and service-minded people we have ever met. And they have a wonderful sense of humor.
Here you can read about our wonderful trip. Maybe you should also consider visiting Sharm el Sheikh while it is still cheap and the tourists are few.
Visa for Sharm el Sheikh
Due to the fact that we booked our flight tickets very close to the departure date, we were unable to get direct tickets and we therefore had a stopover in Cairo.
Before traveling, we thoroughly researched the rules for visas for Egypt. In particular, Sharm el Sheikh (we thought). We therefore knew that if you ONLY go to Sharm el Sheikh then you don’t need a tourist visa.
By no means did I imagine that because we had to change flight and thus had 2 hours in transit in Cairo, we also had to pay for a tourist visa.
When we arrived at Cairo airport, our luggage was checked in to Sharm el Sheikh and we had boarding passes’ for the next flight.
Despite fighting a battle with the visa-people for justice on all that I had read about visas, I didn’t win the fight not to buy a tourist visa for a 2 hour transit stay.
$ 25 per person we had to pay (in cash), to be allowed (at that time) to run out to our waiting flight.
Arrival at Sharm el Sheikh
We arrived at Sharm el Sheikh at midnight.
As we stood as the last people at the luggage strap without luggage, an airport employee suddenly came to mind that transit luggage was on another belt, in a locked room next door.
It took us another 15 min. to find a key to the room. Fortunately the luggage was waiting for us when we finally got the door open.
Odd that there is no sign of this “detail”.
As agreed with the hotel, our driver stood and greeted us with name tags and approx. 30 min. later we arrived at our very nice hotel.
Renaissance Sharm El Sheikh Golden View Beach Resort
Our hotel was really nice and in a great location facing the Red Sea.
The hotel had 4 pools, 3 restaurants and everywhere we were greeted by the sweetest, most accommodating and service minded people.
Next time we come to Sharm el Sheikh we will definitely stay here again.
Activities in Sharm el Sheikh
Already on the first day by the pool, we were introduced to all the representatives from the various activities offered by both the hotel and other providers in the area.
The idea behind selling experiences on the first day a guest arrives is that most tourists are easier to persuade on the first day. The need for self-pampering is huge and you are still totally unaware of the price level.
We were easily persuaded, and booked a trip to the Sinai desert with a visit to a small Bedouin camp from where we could snorkel. In addition, we also booked time for a full treatment at the hotel’s spa.
Ras Mohammed – desert, bedouin camp & snorkelling
Our trip to Ras Mohammed – the desert and the Bedouin camp, was a really good experience. By no means commercial, as I have experienced it in the Dubai desert.
We were picked up at 8.30 am by a really nice driver. Throughout the tour he was an extremely competent guide who spoke in fluent English about Sharm el Sheikh’s culture and history, and about everything we passed along our way.
Desert safaris are fantastic and highly recommended
Several times he drove us to places that were completely different from what was otherwise planned. Pplaces he thought we should see too.
The desert landscape in Sinai is stunning and stands out from other deserts I have visited. Even though the desert is dry, there is still plenty of water and life.
Everywhere you see water and in a distance the water is in the most beautiful colors that constantly change depending on the depth.
In several places we met “wild” camels (dromedaries) belonging to the Bedouins, but allowed to roam freely in the Sinai desert.
A clean desert
Our guide told us that in order to avoid waste flowing and spreading in the desert, the government has made a paid agreement with the Bedouins that they keep the desert clean of all kinds of waste and especially plastic.
It works! – and it was a pleasure not to see garbage lying on the roadside or elsewhere – something that is gradually a rare sight.
Seeing a desert framed by both mountains and water is almost surreal – usually you don’t associate desert with water.
My 3 kids at an earthquake crater in the desert
Bedawi ECO camping, Ras Mohammed
The little Bedouin camp we visited after our walk around the desert lay perfectly peaceful and lay by itself, right out to the Red Sea. Here we were going to snorkel.
The Bedouin camp consisted of approx. 5 tents that, if you really need a Bedouin camp experience, can rent for a night or a few days.
In addition, there was a main tent with a small kitchen on one side, chairs and tables in the middle, and mattresses on the other side to sit / lie down and relax on.
Toilet and open air shower was discreetly placed behind a small hill.
The cozy area and our taxi guide
Snorkelling in Ras Mohamed
About 20 meters from the main tent we ventured into the cold Red Sea, where we had our first snorkelling experience.
The Egyptian who ran the camp took us on the snorkelling tour as an instructor (it’s by law that an instructor participate in booked snorkelling trips).
The shore next to the Bedouin camp where we snorkeled on the reef
Our first snorkelling trip in the Red Sea was a success, and despite the water being VERY cold, it was an amazing experience with lots of beautiful and vibrant corals and fish of all colors.
After the snorkelling we sat in the tent and had a cup of Bedouin coffee while we heard about life in the desert and as a Bedouin.
Spa treatment at the hotel
We went all in on the spa treatment.
There were lots of treatments we could choose from, and according to the spa representative – we got the absolute best treatment at the most amazing price.
In addition to various individual treatments, you could also choose full treatments.
We tried to bargain the price down, but instead the spa man switched to the different treatments in the package and vupti, then the price of the treatment / package still remained the same, but with much better treatments according to the spa man.
The spa treatment was fantastic and at exactly the same price as we could get it back home.
Later we found out that at the same price, 100 meters from the beach, we could have been given a card with 10×1 hours of massage.
The whole treatment took 2 hours and cost approx. 700 kr. pers.
8 hour boat trip with snorkelling and lunch
At our hotel we met a Danish couple who talked about their many boat trips with scuba diving and snorkeling. A trip I had tried to find and book myself, but I had not really succeeded.
The couple went on another trip and arranged for us to come along.
This experience became the best on in holiday.
At 7.30am we were picked up at the hotel and driven to the Werner Lau Divers Dive Center.
We had a fantastic day with good snorkeling, fun on the deck, a lunch which became our best meal of the entire trip and sunbathing on large mattresses.
We saw amazing corals and fish in the purest and clearest water, and on the way back we saw dolphins playing with their children.
We really recommend going on a boat trip. It’s a huge experience for both children and adults.
Shopping and “must do” in Sharm el Sheikh
No travel without shopping – and if you need to shop for delicious “branded” items, from bags and clothing to shoes and sunglasses, then Sharm el Sheikh is definitely a good place.
First, we visited the shops at our hotel. Here we found a bag shop with a good selection of, in our eyes, nice bags, purses and suitcases from Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Hilfiger, Chanel etc.
(I don’t need to write that none of the above names have anything to do with the original brands).
A jewelery shop with sparkling “diamonds” and a souvenir shop with pyramids, camel things, Cleopatra in key chains etc.
SoHo Square, The Old Market & Naama Bay
We visited the shopping areas of SoHo Square – the fancy area, The old Market – the local area and Naama Bay – the area that is referred to as the most touristy.
Our general experience of all the shopping areas was that everything you can buy is CHEAP – cheaper than many places in Asia.
There are none of the areas that are cheaper / more expensive than others – unless you are accompanied by an Egyptian who can get the prices even further down than you can bargain yourself.
All goods are copy goods
All goods are copy goods, but of a really good quality – and their own leather goods are really good.
None of the places were packed with tourists and all the vendors were really nice and “pleasing” in a very pleasant way – they were by no means aggressive.
As such, we didn’t get a favorite shopping area, but Naama Bay became the place we went shopping. The area is large and offers much more than just shopping.
Immediately it will be in Naama Bay, we will go shopping another time.
If we got a favorite spot in Sharm el Sheikh, then it was Farsha Mountain Lounge.
Farsha – a very cozy Egyptian lounge
Farsha Lounge doesn’t seem like much, from the road. But when you get through the entrance and down to the stairs, it’s really a WOW experience.
Already from the first step of the long staircase leading down the mountain and past the many plateaus the lounge is built on, there is a very special atmosphere.
It’s completely like going into Aladdin’s cave.
Everywhere and on several levels, people sit on oriental mattresses and by small tables, enjoying water pipes and the view of the Red Sea.
The decor is complete and with beautiful details in the form of jars, benches, blankets, pictures and much more.
For a few hours we enjoyed the great atmosphere over a cup of coffee and some shakes while studying the many guests.
The place was packed and no matter where in the world people came from, you sat side by side and enjoyed a lovely evening.
Our experience with Sharm el Sheikh
Travel to Sharm el Sheikh was a fantastic decision. We had 11 wonderful days and at no time did we feel unsafe.
It’s clear that Sharm el Sheikh has a strong focus on security and is working hard to become an attractive destination again.
At no time did we find that their safety measures seemed uncomfortable, but more a good feeling of feeling safe. Soldiers do not walk around with guns and such – as you often hear about.
Almost invisible security
The security is felt by, for example, some shopping areas where, for safety reasons, all driveways may be closed. Elsewhere, you go through a metal detector to get into areas and so on.
At the hotels everyone has to go through a detector and have checked their hand luggage.
Outside the hotels, you should always carry your passport with you, as it must be shown by a security check. You must be able to document your identity – we did not get that experience.
Unfortunately, there are still many prejudices about traveling to Egypt – and yes, there are places you shouldn’t go to in Egypt, but Sharm el Sheikh is a closed area that has its very own rules and laws.
If you stay within Sharm el Sheikh’s borders, staying in Sharm el Sheikh is not more dangerous than anywhere in Europe.
Useful info when travel to Sharm el Sheikh
Book your flight well in advance – the closer to the departure date, the more expensive the tickets will be!
Just a few days before we bought the tickets we found them for approx. 2400 kr. person, meanwhile, they increased approx. DKK 3,500 per pers.
We flew with Egyptair (booked via Momondo.dk which, at the time we traveled were the cheapest), an ok company when not to fly anymore.
If you are able to book direct flights, do it! If you are going via Cairo, you must pay an extra US $ 25 for a tourist visa. You must book your tickets well in advance to ensure that direct tickets are not sold out.
If you are going on a safari / bedouin trip, book a private tour rather than a bus trip. We were only the 4 of us in our car (we booked through the hotel). Several times we drove past filled buses that drove and stopped in the same places as all other buses. Our driver made sure to drive us to places where only we were.
- All hotel staff speak English
- Don’t expect much of your all incl. (in terms of food and drinks) – there are restrictions on what you get and it’s definitely not of the best quality.
- Be aware that guests at the buffet often grab food with their fingers (that’s why you always hear about bad stomachs)
- If you love food then don’t go to Sharm el Sheikh – there is no food culture at all and it’s mainly junk you eat.
- Price levels are LOW – lower than in Asia. Taxi, food, copy goods etc. are super cheap.
- You can only withdraw 2,000 Egyptian pounds at a time in the ATM machines and each time you pay a fee. Bring dollars or Euro.
Egypt proved to be an absolutely amazing experience. We chose Sharm el Sheikh based on the sun guarantee, a relatively short travel time and a cheap destination, but we got far more than we expected and dared to hope for.
My 3 kids and me
We are definitely going back to Sharm el Sheikh – because Travel to Sharm el Sheikh – is not more dangerous, than any other place!
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This article was updated on December 13, 2019